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Community

Day 639 and Act Local

I grew up in a hippie college town that was fond of bumper sticker activism. Showing off your sense of humor and your political priorities was a fun thing to do with your Subaru Outback in the late nineties and early aughts before Facebook and the rise of social media.

A classic of the genre was “Think Global, Act Local.” I found this example on Etsy. And no I’ve got no idea what charity it ties back into.

Think Globally, Act Locally Bumpersticker

Maybe it was just less cringe to have this sort of thing on your car before we all spent half of our days yelling at strangers on the internet. I personally remember thinking Visualize Whirled Peas (a band from Austin) was a hilarious way to protest American war mongering as a teen. Of course, I still wrote Amnesty International letters at the time.

Now I’m not even sure who to donate money to at the end of the year as institutional trust continues to break down. Thinking globally is often the source of much anxiety. Currency collapses and the threat of nuclear war from Russia might be throw backs, but doomscrolling and feeling helpless is too modern. What is old is new again but in more potent anxiety inducing form.

So it was a bit of a relief to enjoy the “act locally” part of the classic bumper sticker this morning. Our local volunteer fire department had a pancake breakfast. Now as an adult my husband and I live outside of a completely different college town in the wider surrounding Gallatin Valley.

The rural (as opposed to city) county fire departments operate with a lot of local good will. They have a professionally trained but all volunteer force and cooperate with other districts through mutual aid frameworks. Practically, that meant a lot of college students taking advantage of living at the fire station to offset their costs while deepening ties to the community. A pretty ideal set up for a tight knit rural community. We get talent and they get skills and housing during their college years.

But calling them volunteers makes it sound less professionally run than the reality. I was impressed with not only the depth of knowledge of the entire department but also just how well maintained all of the equipment clearly was. Sure they probably cleaned stuff before letting their neighbors come in for a visit but everything was so shiny and new. I came away feeling a lot more secure about making a 911 call.

Now maybe that’s just function of meeting the fire chief and chatting with EMTS. And that’s probably exactly why they host these pancake breakfasts. But after two hours of touring equipment, and talking to everyone from the Medivac helicopter pilot to the youngest college kid on the squad, I felt like this was a team that has its shit together.

Now I’m actually excited to vote for a bond issue to get another fire truck or two! But in the meantime we dropped a few twenties into the boot on the table.

Pancakes and a fire boot for donations to the county fire department.

Categories
Politics Travel

Day 631 and Reunion

I normally spend a lot of time my husband. During the pandemic we got very accustomed to being around each other twenty four seven. We quite enjoy each other’s company so it’s been a life upgrade.

But occasionally we take longer chunks of time apart. It started as a deliberate effort, but now as the post pandemic world works itself out travel is starting to happen naturally again. We haven’t seen each other for two weeks. And completely organically.

And we couldn’t have had more diverse life experiences and seen more varied cross sections of America if we’d planned it. Alex was at an investment firm’s CEO summit in Santa Barbara while I was in Billings Montana taking wilderness medical incident first responder training. He was hobnobing with bankers while I was doing “stop the bleed” with wildfire fighters and EMTS.

When we reunited this evening after being apart, and for such disparate types of experiences, it was so much fun to compare notes. The types of concerns and the expectations for the good life couldn’t be more divergent for the two poles of people. And I am modestly afraid that as America polarizes and different industries code for different versions of America that it will be rare for different classes to intersect.

And that’s a real problem if bankers are so far removed from paramedics as to have entirely different interests and ideals for their shared country of America. It’s clearly possible to encounter all types of Americans across all classes but I’m not sure I’m optimistic about enough people making the effort to bring us all together.

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Aesthetics Community Preparedness

Day 628 and Intensity

If my brain is a sponge I think I’ve been sopping up more than I am designed to handle. But I am holding on and facing a lot of new information and acting on it quickly.

I’m at a wilderness medical first responder class. And I’m the odd duck out on the class. Everyone else is living with much harder realities than I do. They are the ones that fight our wars. Provide our security. Fight our fires. They keep up with where our most vulnerable live. It’s an on the margin make your best call world.

My body can feel that this reality is very different from what I live with and on different class and wealth bands. People that are more buffered from harsh realities often don’t want to face the costs of our lifestyles. But we are not in a morally neutral systems. And a lot of violence still happens on the margins.

I feel somewhat invigorated by the immediacy of decision making in these chaotic environments. If you are in a natural disaster like a wildfire your capacity to react calmly under extreme conditions is a given. So naturally we arm these people with more agency and skills as it’s a set of problems with a lot of nuance and grey areas too.

I am frankly exhausted even though I didn’t do anything that intense. I did some traumatic brain injury drills. And I worked on how to properly stint and secure broken bones if you are in the back country and need to hobble back in to society. I learned a lot about agency and context and the need for high emotional intelligence as you cope with those who are in need or duress.

I suppose with that in mind, it’s no surprise that I’d like to enjoy a good long night of sleep and a big breakfast in the morning. One has got to enjoy living when you have the chance.

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Preparedness

Day 626 and Learning

I’ve been slowly making my way through a Korean show on Netflix called Extraordinary Attorney Woo. It’s about a young woman with autism who has a gift for the law. It’s warm hearted and charming and a bit of a relief to watch if you have autism or are on the spectrum. I highly recommend it.

The show really pulls on my heartstrings. The episode I am currently watching features the struggles of 10 and 11 year old kids who are at after school academic centers. I won’t ruin the plot but a young man sets out to “liberate” the kids by letting them play. I found myself tearing up the show went about discussing the need for healthy playtime.

I hated going to school even though I love learning. I found so much of the pressures of school upsetting. Being inside, being around lots of people and loud noises, and just generally being obligated to things like homework and deadlines to be exhausting and anxiety inducing. I found myself tearing up watching these Korean kids in similar situations.

I was quite lucky to have a mother who sent me to Waldorf schools and even the occasional home school year. When I could pace myself I’d would rapidly out run the curriculum. I just needed breaks and playtime and my own opportunities to self direct. I hated discipline from the outside but had plenty of my own if given the chance to be self directed.

I’m still an autodidactic type as an adult. This week I am taking a wilderness medical incident certification course. I’ve got some strong sense that this is meant to wrap around some wider learning experience about the practicalities of living in a more chaotic world. It’s a bit of learning by doing. Some perspectives have to be unraveled first hand.

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Culture

Day 622 and Uneven Bars

I’m not very temperamentally even. I run hot and excited and passionate and I’ve got a mean streak a mile wide. I can only assume the reason I’m so popular with some men is they love a bitch. Everyone does.

It’s not the most appreciated trait in popular culture but it does seem to be the dominate preference of a lot of very intelligent people. At least these days plenty of people both conservative and progressive appreciate the necessity of a ball buster. It’s a status object too. We don’t trust men with weak wives. It makes them look weak.

But I’m not sure anyone thinks it’s a particular good thing for the majority of women to act forcefully. If you hold your ground it can bring out howls of ostentatious victimhood. Which if you point out, they quickly gender the tactic a dark feminine trait of less less powerful that they learned from you.

It’s a really stupid party trick that somehow works well past the age of reason. After about 21 you should have really learned men tell you are weak because they know you are powerful over them. But honestly I still get caught flat footed by it. It’s a fickle power to be wielded without assurance or trust. But it is still a power and it’s insulting women women don’t claim it.

Women deciding to dismiss the uneven hold of their power makes balancing power for everyone a bit of a mess. The default switches from human manufacturing got reset.

Gender essentialism is pretty deep. It’s very jarring for the literal minded mainstream of society in particular. And unfortunately for everyone the world is run by the mainstream and they are prone to revanchist sentiment. Just look at everyone simpering for monarchy. Even if you are above that sort of thing no you are not. And so the uneven bars of progress continue. If you aren’t a realist about it you might get screwed.

Categories
Politics

Day 617 and Overnight

I plowed through a bunch of choring yesterday. Which apparently tuckered me out. I took maybe an hour nap before dinner. I had a little extra CBD beforehand and found myself drowsy as hell. I passed out sometime around 8:30pm.

Alas the napping and the early bedtime, if you can call just utterly losing consciousness “bedtime,” had consequences. I came to around 1am and found myself wide awake. Oops.

At first I wasn’t quite sure how to approach this unexpected moment of being lucid and energetic in the middle of the night. I toddled over to the bathroom to pee. I crawled back into bed. I debated if I should try to force the issue with an Ambien. But I didn’t have anything in the morning so I thought maybe I should take those sleep hygiene folks seriously and just do something till I get tired.

Of course, the thing I decided to do was read on my phone. I cleared a few back logged essays from my collections on my favorite reader app Matter. I logged into Bloomberg to check pre-market sentiment. I opened up the New York Times and read Queen Elizabeth’s obituary.

Around 2am it seemed clear I wasn’t sleepy at all. Whether from the back lighting of my phone or the five hours of sleep I’d logged earlier. So I said fuck it and opened Twitter. I dig deep into the feuding discourses of “God Save the Queen” versus the survivors of British empire. Monarchists loved their kindly grandmother and the Irish did their best to be polite about the genocide of it all.

If the sun never sets on the British Empire the doom scrolling through the celebration of the end of the longest reigning monarch seemed like the way to go out. But unsurprisingly there was a lot of darkness to be found in the pre-dawn sentiment. I tweeted a reminder to myself to explore how enclosure movements and anti-colonial “fuck the federales this is our land” historical context plays into the American political moment.

Eventually I got drowsy. I feel asleep around 5am just as the rest of the country was waking up. I slept till 9am or so.

Categories
Internet Culture

Day 615 and Look Back

I recommend having habits from which one doesn’t deviate. I’ve come to appreciate how much the daily exercise of writing has come to provide a kind of scaffolding on which I hang the rest of my day.

But it can be easy to get lost in a habit too. I had originally started the act of daily writing as the habit. But I sometimes forget that there is more I can do on top of the foundation I have laid over these past eighteen months. I could integrate more of my past writing into the daily writing. I could do more to make it visible. I could do more to make it accessible. I could do more to make it durable. Perhaps now that writing every day is a firm habit I can expand on it.

In that spirit I am doing a little link round up on what might warrant a look back. A few posts that I thought were particularly good. A few posts that reflect some of the zeitgeist that I am digesting. And a throwback that some of my internet friends reminded were worth while.

The Thursday Styles Problem is probably one of my favorite essays. It’s about who knows what when and how that power flows.

I did a few write ups about masculinity and the internet. Two are about groypers. One is about cucking in the imagination of the American conservative. Or be careful as you can absolutely get brain worms from the internet.

I also had an essay on doing errands and the reality of living your daily life in a time of collapse. It pairs well with this bit about shrinkflation and consumer packaged goods.

Categories
Internet Culture

Day 614 and Cuckservative

At the risk of scandalizing any of my relatives, I learned about a sexual kink today called cuckholding. I was not, sadly, enjoying kink SubReddits. I learned about this term from a bunch of Trump acolytes. Apparently cuckholding means watching another man have sex with your partner (usually wife). So now you know.

For those that are not terminally online, the context is that in a lot of right coded spaces terms like cucking, beta cucking, and cuckservative get used to describe humiliation but also insufficient purity to the cause. The cause usually being some Platonic ideal of conservatism right up until it becomes indistinguishable from authoritarianism.

Now I’d not given a lot of thought to the term and it’s apparent intense fascination to conservatism men. But it keeps showing up in even ancillary spaces like gun culture and even Wall Street Bets. Every humiliation is cucking. Every instance of not holding perfectly pure in-group signifiers and adherence is cucking. The beta cuck is in a an internal battle with the alpha Chad. And frankly it got so prevalent I finally had a “lady doth protest too much” moment and asked wtf is the obsession with cucking.

Can anyone explain to me why the right is so obsessed with cucking?

I honestly didn’t expect to learn as much as I did about the anxieties of our age, the particular traumas of living with ego preservation needs from our childhood, and the sheer raging reaction formation that is American masculinity. Honestly I’m starting to spend a little more time there than feel safe.

I quite feel don’t feel up for analyzing the whole mess of reactions but it largely seems to boil down to a Slate or Salon article said this was the hot liberal fetish. This got percolated through forums culture and whipped into a frenzy by Trump meme magic. But because the internet gives you brain worms this turned into an actual thing people got sexually turned onto and now it’s maybe impossible to untangle what is fetish and what is meme. But there is definitely some wild sexual politics around power and property in America and who counts as a full person with agency. I’m including some screen shots for posterity as it might be helpful for later research as I fear this will end up being useful as some internet ethnography.

Categories
Politics

Day 609 and Dark Brandon Rising

I really don’t know why I’m commenting at all on it except that capturing some of immediate sentiment of the moment has some value. But I watched Joe Biden’s Soul of America speech.

I wasn’t planning to but the siren call of the Twitter feed sucked me in. Like the rest of America, I feel the call of the discourse. And I have to say I’m surprised yet again at how divergent it feels.

I saw Dark Brandon Rising memes come to life. Our usually stumbling gaff prone president was on fire. Literally as the background was red. I want to know what they pumped him up with. And I don’t think it was a playlist. But he seemed passionate and he made as decent a play for the values of democratic norms as I’ve ever heard. But he also did it on a red lit stage with marines and the imagery of the presidency and norms means pearl clutching from all sides.

I don’t think it’s bad to call out that Trumpism involves election denialism. January 6th has a clear message even if it lacked finesse. It’s not like we are seeing Americans at their best after two years of pandemic. I suppose I recognize that it’s insulting and maybe insidious to say that some people are worse than others. But differences of opinions become a bit less valid when one wants representative democracy and one acts like brute power is fine if it serves their interests.

I felt like it came across decently and relatively unifying and I’m sad that this is a position that is contrarian or in dispute. I’m no fan of the man but I also don’t want to become Argentina or Albania. America is supposed to be better.

Categories
Internet Culture

Day 599 and The Lamentations of Their Women

A bunch of people asked me about what happened to me on Twitter over the weekend. I’d been hitting a bunch of different niche communities like startup Twitter, finance Twitter, doomer Twitter, and discourse Twitter with a thread that has a bunch of extremely extra and occasionally outright hostile weirdos saying reactionary shit.

I think it all started when my friend Ashley wrote a post about the commodification of women’s bodies. She was responding to another piece of discourse and found herself getting dog piled by one of the most irritating but unavoidable portions of the the internet; reactionary angry young men.

I didn’t like that Ashley was getting ripped for functionally agreeing with right coded, socially conservative men. I thought “damn, you can’t win with them”.

Entering the Fray

I decided to jump in and tease some of these boys. My inner child loves to shitpost as she finds humor and playfulness protective. I promptly got blocked. I went about my business. Now that I live on our homestead in Montana, I’ve got a lot of chores.

But I couldn’t leave well enough alone. I kept discussing the damn discourse. I expressed my concern that we’ve got such an intense population of reactionary young men who act as if they are perpetually victimized. I expressed empathy for how men are getting screwed and mostly got told it is women’s fault. It did some numbers but it wasn’t going into a context collapse situation just yet. Basically another day on Twitter.

The thread started out with all of the empathy and good faith I’ve come to expect from niche Twitter. We avoided purity politics. Tucker graciously discussed his own journey and how he let go of anger and began taking responsibility for himself and his family. Jack made some jokes. A number of internet friends discussed the varied ways they handled the systemic discrimination that some masculine virtues experience in modernity. Much wisdom was shared about how different they had grown up to be men.

Later that night I wrote a throwaway post about how we’ve got a crisis of masculinity and maybe only other men can get through to angry young boys? I suggested that perhaps right coded men who discuss modern masculinity would have an easier time reaching them. I tagged Tucker Max and Jack Murphy as men who seem to have done a good job taking responsibility for their own lives.

I basically went to bed with a sense that people had been good to each other. And I didn’t really notice being quote tweeted by a niche main character in groyper Twitter or what it would mean for my tomorrow.

It Escalates

His thread contained the following:

  • A very intense discussion of the ethics of doing butt stuff and posting about your experience with polyamory and cuckcolding.
  • The ethics of charging for coaching and clubs and whether one can have masculine virtue if your wife sleeps with other men.
  • A surprising amount of hysterics about what constitutes hypocrisy if one claims to be masculine.

Basically a bunch of people who haven’t figured out their own shadow lives told me exactly how uncomfortable they were with other people’s sex lives.

But honestly it was just so much fucking butt stuff.

Unfortunately that visibility of discourse meant I suddenly got flooded with harassment. A coordinated re-tweeting campaign began. People started digging into back posts and old news headlines. My direct messages got flooded with threats against me and my husband. It was definitely enough that we started thinking about security around the homestead.

I can only assume someone’s group chat or some message board was like “look at the phenotype on this bitch”. And to be fair, some people came with good jokes about venture capitalists moving to Montana. But then there was the graphically racist, as in, “oh we still have Nazis” plot twist. I realized I might need to actually start blocking people. I felt modestly disappointed as I hadn’t been dogpiled in a long time. But protecting myself was more important.

Why

Now you can ask why am I even stepping into these spaces if they contain this kind of abuse? What can I say there is a part of me who enjoys a frisson of danger. The feminine urge to protect our menfolk often runs head long into the reality that they can be dangerous. Walking into male spaces has inherent risks if you take up space in public life.

I have to be honest honest with myself that there is a breed of men who considers all public spaces to be male. I am an offense to them even if I am in the process of lamentation for our men. The space I take up by existing with different preferences is proof enough I am an enemy to be subjugated.

So I guess I owe anyone I teased about blocking on Twitter an apology. There are some people in too much pain out there. And I am not in anyway responsible for their emotional health. Only they can choose to let go of the pain.