philosofunk

what if the worlds/were a series of steps/what if the steps/joined back at the margin


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The Creative Limits to Sadism

The analogous relationship that is apparent between the “enhanced interrogation techniques” or “EITs”, a phrase any normal person would reject for the simple word of “torture”, used by Americans in Guantanamo Bay and the techniques used by Nazi officers against political dissents, politically persecuted persons, prisoners of war, and the general human population at large if one was unlucky enough to find one’s self in a Nazi interrogation room during that time, is totally and completely immune to Godwin’s Law.

Godwin’s Law, for those unfamiliar with the term, is a social observation put forth by Mike Godwin that on the internet at some point in an argument, a person will compare their opponents to the Nazi’s. The reason the analogous relationship between what the Americans did in Guantanamo and what the Nazis did in their prisons and concentration camps is exempt to Godwin’s Law is because there are only so many ways to torture a human being.

With this analogous relationship being apparent to anyone with reasonable logical deduction skills and ability to read and understand the historical record, one must not compare the Americans to the Nazis. This is unwarranted because it is disrespectful, primarily, to the victims of the Nazi regime. But the fact that American officials, under oath of the Constitution, one of the most powerful legal documents in the history of mankind, engaged in the same sadism as Nazi personnel who were acting out heinous hatred and absolute depravity against the human soul, should be devastating to any patriotic American.

What must be looked at, given the CIA torture report, is how America brought itself to it’s own delusion that it’s violence was an excusable reason for the preservation of a society in a sadistic way without realizing that was unnecessary. Qualified intelligence persons, interrogation elites, and psychologists have criticized the actions of the CIA as counterproductive to protecting the United States of America and it’s citizens. This intelligence, many qualified individuals, assert could have been gathered by alternative means. What must be stared at, is that the world’s largest capitalist oligarchy that masquerades as a democracy has turned to embracing a type of behavior that not only is psychopathic, but will cause psychopathic behavior in the very areas that are already murderous toward the United States. The actions of these depraved officials will have consequences for their grandchildren, my grandchildren, and potentially my grandchildren’s grandchildren. This is a circle of degradation, violence, and horror that cannot yield anything but absolute destruction.

Perhaps Germany as a nation somewhat escaped it’s fate from it’s brutal regime, as it was eventually rebuild and has not had any Jewish led terror attacks occur. But what the Germans did to the Jewish people is now carried out in Palestine, which is carried out in Syria, which is carried out in Guantanamo, which circles back to right here where I sit on American soil. But what the Germans did to all those millions of victims still hasn’t stopped happening. If any official in the American government thought that what was allowed to occur in the dungeons of hell of Guantanamo would change anything for America’s future for the positive, they were severely wrong.

The world is ugly and certain ugly persons must be dealt with in ugly ways. Physical and verbal abuse is reasonable to a degree in interrogations where mass murderers with top secret information pertaining to the mass destruction of a society because these are hardened individuals. I do not know personally a lot about intelligence and interrogation techniques, but from what I have read from qualified individuals, what happened in Guantanamo no more yielded any more valuable information than would could have otherwise been obtained. Given power to the depraved will yield the same result every time.

There are only so many ways to torture a human being.


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Disappeared

Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock or in the mountains without an internet connection, you know all about the hot fuss (rightly) made about the young girls stolen from their schools in Nigeria by the terrorist group Boko Haram.

The #bringourgirlsback hashtag (I know writing out hashtag is redundant, but bear with me for a moment) is a really noble effort to raise awareness about an absolutely grave human rights atrocity by people with limited ability to right a horrible wrong. We should all be horrified that there are men out there who feel  that stealing girls who are in the midst of puberty, or younger, and making them child-brides and find that act disgusting. Absolutely, Boko Harem should be placed on international terrorist watch lists (thanks for coming late to that game, Hilary) and lets all hope the Nigerian government properly allocates the foreign aid it is receiving to fighting Boko Harem.

But those girls aren’t coming back.

Apparently I’m really excited about examining cyber realities, with the last post about how shameful Facebook should find itself over allowing a marine’s suicide photos to stay up, and how birthdays are impacted by social media. This cyber reality, using hashtags on Twitter, Facebook statuses, and other forms of social media to raise awareness about a very serious political issue is an ongoing one with real implications for the real world. On one end of the spectrum, the world witnessed massive social organization with the Arab Spring revolutionary movements aided by the use of cyber networking. On the opposite end of the spectrum is something called “Slactivism” , of which #bringourgirlsback qualifies when used by people like Michelle Obama and Hilary Clinton. Usually, Slactivism is something which ordinary people are accused of engaging in. However, I feel Hilary and Michelle’s actions qualify as slactivism in this case.

Did it make you feel warm and fuzzy when Michelle Obama tweeted this photo? MichelleObamaBringBackOurGirls I mean look at her face! She is so super sad about this, that pout and those tragic eyes. Did it move you when Hilary Clinton tweeted untitled
Gee whiz, Hil, really makin’ a statement there.

I’m rolling my eyes while I hold in a silent scream.

How about stop trying to make it look like you care about these girls? How about stop trying to co-opt on the pain of mothers and grandmothers and aunts whose loved young girls are being raped right now by crazy religious nuts? How about you admit that the United States doesn’t really care about certain nations, certain people, and that the only reason you are appearing to care is because you would look like really insensitive jerks if you didn’t (which may be a more accurate reality)? How about you don’t do what Facebookers do by posting a link and feeling like you’ve had a political impact on the world? You both actually have power but it isn’t being used to help these girls. Your power is being used to make it appear as though you care.

Sure, America is giving the Nigerian foreign aid due to this issue. Maybe Boko Harem’s power will lessen and some of them will be imprisoned, and maybe I will be proven wrong and some of these girls will be “brought back”. I’d really like to be wrong on this issue.

It isn’t necessarily “bad” that Slactivism exists, or that Michelle tweeted that photo, or that Hilary commented on a human right’s atrocity via a social media network. But we should recognize the construction of a cyber reality versus the actual attention paid to an issue before it becomes a phenomenon. These politicians with political power issuing by a statement on a social media network are jumping on a popular bandwagon to avoid looking like insensitive jerks. My favorite political scientist, E.E. Schattschneider, essentially proved this point with is publication The Semi-Soverign People. Politicians are suspect and their motivations are rarely pure. In all honesty, I think the average people who commented #bringourbirlsback collectively in the cyber world had more significant political actions than Hilary and Michelle’s questionably sincere tweets. #Bringourgirlsback was started in a desperate effort to get people like Hilary and Michelle to act before it was too late. Those people were sincere, and had very little power. But it probably was too late by the time the United States acted. Instead of trying to save face on social media, maybe be a little more sincere about why Nigeria isn’t a nation that concerns the United States too often.


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Community Standards on Violence

On Wednesday I wrote about the veils of cyber reality and the impact it has on real life interactions through the platform of the popular social media site Facebook. Continuing in that sphere of thought, I’d like to comment on something very disturbing that happened on Facebook earlier this week.

According to Gawker.com , despite numerous requests from friends and family of a suicide victim, images of the victim taken by the victim himself were not removed from his page because they did not violate Facebook’s community standards.

Uh, what?

This man was a marine and the suicide statistics on veterans are extremely disturbing. The fallout from war, readjustment to normal civilian life, lack of understanding from society at large about the experience of war, and overall machismo military culture that historically has not been extremely friendly to the idea of mental health care are contributors that I am guessing cause veterans to fall into the dark hole of suicidal thought. It is extremely sad to see so many men and women who voluntarily committed their bodies and minds to the patriotic mission of the American military not be properly cared for when re-entering American society after completing their missions abroad.

Facebook is a hegemonic force within social media. Like hegemonic powers, the power it exerts over its users is often irrational and unyielding. Specifically, one of the more disturbing phenomenons is the discrepancy of its community standards with regards to sexuality versus violence. Sexuality is a big no-no in Facebook land. Nudity is point blank forbidden and enough of it can get a user kicked off the site. Even non-sexualized nudity is forbidden; I had a friend who posted photos of herself that featured body paint on her abdomen and exposed breasts, and within hours was required to delete the photos despite their beautiful artistic quality. The photos were not sexual, it was simply her body with paint on it. Indeed, if it had been a male abdomen the photos would have been allowed to stay up because everyone knows male chests are not sexy (tongue-in-cheek remark, folks) and only the female body can be sexualized (again, sarcasm). It does not seem that Facebook will ever reverse this stance on nudity.

However, violence, BRING IT ON. But wait, no, just kidding. Well, maybe, we’re not sure. The flippity floppity dippity doppity dance Facebook engaged in with regards to violence was a stark juxtaposition to it’s stance on nudity, declaring beheading videos were okay, then well maybe not, then “‘When we review content that is reported to us, we will take a more holistic look at the context surrounding a violent image or video,” Facebook said in a statement. ‘Second, we will consider whether the person posting the content is sharing it responsibly, such as accompanying the video or image with a warning and sharing it with an age-appropriate audience,” Facebook said.”

Good fucking god.

Age appropriate audience? Your standards for sharing violence are age appropriate audience? As far as I know, my friend was not sharing photos of her naked torso with anyone underage, and the audience for those photos was all adults, most of whom I’m going to assume have seen at least one topless lady in their lives. Why can’t that apply to nudity?

I have a theory about why our society allows the gratuitous show of violence more than it allows the gratuitous show of sexuality/nudity. When done in a consensual context, sex is the ultimate bonding act between persons. Heterosexual sex results in children, and children are impressionable beings who can be imprinted in whatever way their caregivers so choose. Homosexuality, while not resulting in the begetting of children, is a sexual discourse that has historically been taboo, but in our modern society we are finally coming to terms with gay love and the legitimacy of that, and the idea that gay people can too raise healthy children. Love brings people together in ways that cross man-made social constructions concerning who it is proper for an individual to associate with based on a plethora of identity characteristics. In None of Your Business I explored why it was socially significant that I as a White woman have chosen to date outside my race. If I have mixed race babies, those babies (hopefully) will love me and their father. If there are enough of those babies who grow up to love both of their parents who are of different races, the white privilege system is in jeopardy. To prevent a dominance system from falling, there are codes of conduct that are implemented in everyday life to prevent this. Restricting sexuality is a big code of conduct that is massively policed.

Violence, however, destroys. It destroys people, it destroys relationships between people, and it destroys the spirits and wills of people. The threat of violence, though, builds. It builds power, co-opted by some for benefit which results in the loss of power for others. It builds its power by coercing people into confusion and fear to create and maintain hierarchical systems where some lives are viewed as more valuable. The paradoxical effect of love destroying violence results in ways of life that stand in stark contrast to those previously prevailing dominance and power systems. Systems of dominance remain due to both the experience of and threat of violence. Facebook, as a hegemonic force in our culture, is not going to challenge these systems of power. It is clearly dedicated to perpetrating them.

I do not know what Daniel Ray Wolfe, the marine who posted his suicide on Facebook, experienced in terms of violence, a different kind of violence than the type I wrote about in above paragraphs. Military violence results from the participation of individual soldiers carrying out orders and, as I noted when starting this post, I do not disrespect these men and women for their participation in the military because it is a necessity for our nation. In fact, I do not oppose the use of violence in all instances and I am not a pacifist. But I do know that we as a society do not explore the intrinsic nature of violence enough and we most definitely do not explore how it effects our identities. It does seem apparent that Daniel Ray Wolfe’s experience with military violence it had a disturbing effect on his psyche. His mind was clearly occupying a dark space and engaging in suicide is the ultimate expression of self-hate. One of his final posts read “Im serious I want a viking funneral (sic) push me out on a wooden raft soaked in gasand (sic) oil in a pond or lake once I’m a good distance out shoot a flaming arrow and torch my raft…”. I think these words speak for themselves about the despair this man felt.

Facebook did a violence against this man, his family, and his friends by not removing these posts at the request of the people who knew this man personally. Facebook’s “community standards” do not reflect the standards of any kind of functional community that is committed to the health of it’s people. Indeed, by allowing these disturbing posts Facebook is diminishing this man’s intrinsic value as a human and instead letting the darkest moments of his life prevail over the kind words family and friends are likely to share on his post-mortem page. Facebook pages of the dead are often used as a cyber memorial to remember the value of that person amongst the living. What Facebook is doing by not taking these posts of a mind in true and utter despair is disrespectful and shameful.

Facebook, I really wish you could make love and not war.


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Cyber Reality

Today is my birthday, and like most millennials, the highlight of having a birthday is seeing how many Facebook posts you get wishing you well and from whom. Before, in the old days I’m going to assume that people called you for your birthday, but now we display publicly how popular we are via social media.

My Facebook page hasn’t depicted my life in pictures in recent years for a number of reasons. I’d like to hope that a lot of that reason has been due to my being more mature, but some of it is due to lifestyle (a vague statement I know but I’m not willing the expand on it). Some of my friends, both actual people I maintain friendships with in real life (IRL) and pure cyber acquaintances, have actively taken up documenting their life through Facebook. I did this in college, when the most exciting thing aside from partying was the hungover morning after the party where we got to see the (and remember) the crazy shit we did and if we looked good while doing it. A bonding experience for the millennial tribe.

By all accounts, this is perhaps the most attractive photo of me ever taken from a night of partying, 334_553539899522_3408_n

Obviously I was being facetious, because my god what drugs was I on to make that face?! (Just alcohol, kids!) This is what I actually looked like that night
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There have been a few studies, such as this one about the impact social media can have on us. This study focused on teens, people who will grow up not knowing what it is like to be constantly connected via the internet (unless they are part of an off-the grid family), but I know that sometimes gazing at Facebook when I’m feeling less than stellar about the state of my life has made me feel more sad. It creates a veil of sorts, the appearance of a life lived versus the private reality of the individual who lives that life. Sometime you have that friend who shares posts about their depression or goes on rants about their bad day, to which they are a few. But like the contrast between those two pictures, what the essentialist quality of something (my face) and what something appears through distortion (my face on alcohol and silliness) are two separate realities. Cyber reality fuses the essentialist quality and the distortion effect to create cyborg personalities. My personality on Facebook, this blog, and my two Tumblrs (one about graffiti and one about pornography) are cyborg personalities that I have crafted (sometimes consciously, sometimes absent reflection) that are personas, mirrors of my IRL (in real life) personality. Am I the person I am on the web? Yes and no. Are both those pictures of my face? Yes and no.

I wonder what kind of impact growing up in the internet age is going to have on young people. I do not have children, but I do wonder how I would constructively deal with omnipresent technology and what the best limits would be for children. I wonder if this will change how humans interact with each other on a longer term scale when the people who were not raised in cyber technology die out.

May I be so blessed to have more birthdays to find out.