Yes, I’m Still Pissed At Robin Thicke

In case you’ve forgotten…the rapey-ist song ever is still at the top of the charts. Oh, and the douche that sings it was recently pictured putting his hand so far up a girl’s dress, while being photographed with her, that it looked like a proctology exam–I don’t think he asked before he did that.

But Mr. Thicke can get away with anything. He can get away with demeaning women and tweeting about it. He can say this song is a “feminist movement in itself” (yeah he said that), he can man handle women, he can blow smoke in their faces, he can parade them around naked and no one says “boo” because women are objects. Women are to be treated as toys. Women are to be demeaned. Women are to be tortured. Women are made to be taken advantage of. Right? Because that is what we are saying when we turn up “Blurred Lines” and allow Robin Thicke to make millions by turning what rapist tell their victims into “catchy lyrics”.

On the left side of this photo are the lyrics to “Blurred Lines” on the right are photos of rape victims holding up the words their rapists said to them as they violated them. Nice work Mr. Thicke…great job people of America for putting this at #1 with a bullet.

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What Happened To Dexter (And Other Shopping Horrors)

I’m uncertain as to how to properly trigger warn the story to which I refer in this post. Aggressive anti-gay sentiment and action on the part of a burly stranger against a toddler, and it could be so much worse but there is a hint of violence. I’m glad that I read it but I am seething and also going to take a clonazepam and fantasize about justified homicide for a bit. Sorry—I don’t like chocolate, so that’s how I make myself feel better.

I read this story, by Katie Vyktoriah. It is well-written, and describes her wonderful son, Dexter, and a frightening and haunting outing that they took just a few days ago.

I’m not going to go through the story itself because it is a good idea if you read it. There are wretched people in this world.

This story could be a lot worse. Most upsetting stores-and-children anecdotes involve a parent abusing a child or a situation in which the parent is clearly abusive. Those are the stories that reinforce the suspicions that plague me at all times. Those are the stories that keep me up at night because that child, and millions like him or her, are trapped in homes like that, in legal systems too restrained by the democratic process and sickening cowardice to do anything about it—or allow anyone to do anything about it.

I’ll be honest, one of the many reasons for which I hate going to stores such as grocery stores during the daylight is that there are children there. I don’t dislike children—I’m good with kids and I’ve worked with children. But I always suspect parents of being bad parents—and, specifically, abusive—until proven otherwise. Every time that I see a child with a parent, I’m (usually subconsciously) looking for sharp looks or frightened expressions that might be clues that domestic violence is a part of their life. It’s not like on television, where victims of domestic abuse have inexplicably broken arms and black eyes and have fathers who look like drill sergeants. For every scenario like that, there are countless more situations of domestic abuse in which marks are rarely, if ever, left on the victim. Monsters who rule their homes through terror and violence.

And I am never surprised by them. Ever.

Do you watch Game Of Thrones? During the tense moments when Sansa is at Joffrey’s mercy, do you find yourself tensing up, holding your breath, waiting for what cruel thing he will say or what capricious act of violence he will order?

I do, too. But I feel like that many, many other times.

That level of apprehension is how I feel when a parent whom I do not yet trust is interacting with a child. Always. I become incredibly anxious, to the point where I’ll avoid watching a television show. And to the point where that is one of the reasons for which I am more comfortable doing my grocery shopping as close to midnight as I can manage (though there are endless benefits to this).

When I have friends whose parents I know were never violent, that’s great. It’s a relief.

And then I have friends who had violent parents. And I know that there are millions more out there, as confirmed by surveys and common sense. In many of these cases, the abuse goes unnoticed or unreported. In so many others, people are uncertain if it was even a crime.

Most articles about child-abuse will get someone or another defending the abuser or the abuse itself, excuses ranging from “well she’d had a long day” or “that child needed discipline.” There are people out there who are willing to give a voice to defend this horrifying evil that has been a reality for billions of humans—likely for as long as humans have existed.

I know that not every child whom I see experiences some form of violence at home. There’s a chance that as many of half do not. I am well-aware that both my natural tendency to consider various possibilities and my PTSD are tremendous factors in how I experience the world. That does not make child-abuse any less evil, or any less a nightmarishly widespread part of reality.

I can honestly say that that story really struck a chord with me, because I am so accustomed to suspecting wrongdoing on the part of the parents (and so often that suspicion is reinforced by confirmation), one usually thinks of strangers as a threat for child-abduction.

I am pleased that Dexter has a mother who (from what I gather) is a good mother. She certainly acted appropriately in the situation that she describes in the article. Calling the police is something that I strongly recommend—if he could be identified from the security tapes at the store, he could at the very least have his life turned upside down for a while. He could be identified by the press. Most importantly, if that wretched creature has children of his own, charges of assault on a random toddler in a store should most certainly trigger an investigation.

Tragically, current US law will not allow for this man to be fed to sharks (even though Shark Week is only a few days away). But the toddler in question, Dexter, is not trapped at home with this man. Dexter’s story is distressing, but will not haunt my thoughts like so many other stories do.

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Don’t Hit Women. Thanks, Grey’s Anatomy.

I feel as if all of my posts have supremely obvious titles. Don’t Hit Women. Abercrombie Sucks. PornPornPorn. Sometimes, the world needs to be the point blank, black and white, throw it in your face kind of obvious.

Thursday, May 9th hosted the newest Grey’s Anatomy episode. Tonight will be the season finale. Last Thursday’s episode Readiness is All was emotional, dramatic, and fantastic. All are to be expected from a hit tv show that has stood up over nine seasons and has always been in the top 5 dramas currently on television.

Grey’s Anatomy has touched on many heart-wrenching and controversial issues over the years. It also plays host to a myriad of brilliant and admirable female character’s, including the woman that the show is named for, Dr. Meredith Grey. These women save lives and kick ass. They have fantastic, formidable careers and love passionately. They also sometimes make minor mistakes, make mistakes that can’t be condoned such as affairs, and deal with very real emotional issues.

They may be dramatic television characters that deal with horrific problems, but sometimes I wish that I was a Cardiothoracic surgeon surrounded by equally admirable, brilliant, studly men.

As the women of Grey’s would say, that sounds McDreamy. McSomething, I suppose.

Last week’s episode focused on a domestic violence situation between one doctor (Jo) and her doctor boyfriend (Jason). They had hit each other. She left the incident with facial bruising, and he left with brain trauma that nearly killed him. When he awoke, another doctor (Alex) blackmails Jason into not pressing charges. Alex tells Jason that is never acceptable to hit a girl. Jason protests, saying that Jo hit him as well. Alex responds with “don’t hit a girl; take it or walk away.”

I don’t agree. This type of situation isn’t to be excused. Take it? He should just take the violence? No, he should have walked away. I don’t think we should just excuse domestic violence when it is at the hands of a woman. Neither of them should be acting upon violent thoughts.

Instead of saying “don’t hit a girl,” we should be saying “don’t hit.” If we want equal treatment, we need to give it back to the men as well. I know that this common phrase, “don’t hit a woman,” is part gentlemanly ideals, part encouraging self restraint in men. This implys that men have lessened control over their violent thoughts; that they should restrain their self when these thoughts are towards women, but perhaps it is more ok for a man to hit a man. Men being manly, right? No. Just stop.

Men, don’t hit men. Women, don’t hit men. Men, don’t hit women. Women, don’t hit women! Don’t hurt each other! Walk away!

Don’t take it, and don’t give it back unless you really do have to defend yourself. If you really think that you will get hurt if you don’t fight back, and there is no way to leave the situation, then by any means possible, defend yourself. Defend yourself until you are able to leave the situation.

I worked at a suicide hotline for a notable duration, and I was amazed by what terrible situations people’s lives truly could be in. These calls were not from third world nations or slums, but from my backyard.

People face violence everywhere. Violence happens in every pay scale. Don’t be a part of it. Stand up for yourself without breaking someone’s face.

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Scientology Nightmare

The above image would be the Scientology Cross, the eight points of which represent the eight dynamics of existence. I used this screencap that I took from an episode of South Park instead because the extremely litigious Church of Scientology owns the Scientology Cross. This is the horrifying organization that intimidated and blackmailed the IRS into granting them tax-exempt status.

The Wikipedia article on Scientology is probably as good a place as any to start if you want to learn about it.

When the topic of Scientology is brought up, a lot of people talk about Lord Xenu and thetans and the strange alternate language that Scientologists use. They talk about how the Church of Scientology keeps rigid control over its members, how the Church includes a number of celebrities, how it cheats its members out of a great deal of money, and how it is creepily aggressive in taking down anything that might cast it in a negative life. People may also mention that the Church of Scientology is strongly opposed to psychiatry.

And those are good things to mention. But, let’s just talk about a few of these things.

Any religion is going to have some of its own vocabulary. The further removed from the religion that you are, the weirder that it will sound. Scientology takes this to a new level, with new terminology for everyday conversations. This is, well, deliberate—it helps to drive a wedge between Scientologists and outsiders.

Scientology has some wacky beliefs. By which I mean that Scientology’s beliefs are “out there” even in comparison to literal interpretations of creation narratives from the Abrahamic faiths or the aborigines of Australia or the Epic of Gilgamesh. But this should never be the real focus of criticism of Scientology. It is a subjective argument (again, just about every religion has some wacky beliefs held by at least some of the adherents, if not all). But the beliefs held by Scientologists are the least troubling thing about the Church of Scientology.

Yes, the Church of Scientology exercises a great deal of control over its members. This is not uncommon for organized religions that have a central hierarchy (or for small, fundamentalist groups). The Church of Scientology receiving money from its members in order to continue to be a part of the organization goes beyond tithing and really calls into question the merits of the organization’s tax-exempt status.

Yes, Scientologists are strongly opposed to psychiatry. They believe that it harms the mind and is another “trick” (like religions other than Scientology) that keeps people away from Scientology, which has the answers. And that is more than troubling, because psychiatry helps millions of people and saves lives. But not unique to Scientology—have you ever heard of someone with depression being told by a religious conservative that he or she “needs more Jesus” in his or her life? I have. That’s not the recommendation of mainstream Christians, but it happens.

But before we talk about the things that are easy to bring up—the things that make us laugh—let’s remember that just dismissively saying: “Oh, that’s a cult,” is meaningless (these days, a lot of people use “cult” for any organization that they do not like—and sometimes for things that are not even organizations).

The real problem with Scientology arises when it harms people. My absolute least favorite thing on Earth is the abuse of children (rape being an extremely close second). Scientology does that. I’m not a big fan of anti-gay sentiments, particularly when they come from people and organizations with influence. Scientology does that. No one should be controlled, isolated, or be a victim of violence or brainwashing. Scientology certainly does that.

If you are discussing Scientology, remember that it’s not its newness or its origins that make it a cause for concern. There is more to be said about the Church of Scientology than that Tom Cruise is a crazy, crazy man who says crazy things.

Remember the bad things that the Church of Scientology does that actually matter.

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