Category Archives: social commentary

Dress For Success – Or Whatever

Morning comes. Or perhaps afternoon. The searing New Mexico sun announces that it’s time to drag my ass out of bed/off the couch/up from the bathroom floor, walk/stumble over to my closet/suitcase/laundry pile, and find something to where to class that will in some way distinguish me from all the other bums out on Central Avenue.

If I was lucky enough to fall asleep in my jeans, half the problem is solved outright (yay! denim karmas.) I have a fairly nice collection of t-shirts, most of which are reasonably inoffensive without labeling me as a square; the trick now is to match the size and tightness of the shirt with the jeans in question. Anything with a deodorant stain is tossed back, until time or scrubbing remove the marring whiteness. If I have a particular shirt in mind, such as my favorite Turisas concert tee, I may spare the energy to distinguish it from the aggregate mass of black, inside-out fabric, but my perpetual chillness may preclude such toil. A ponytail, one of four bandannas for a splash of color (or auxiliary blackness, contingently,) and a smile-inducing bout of coffee and Finnish metal where time allows, and I’m off on the commute to UNM.

The caffeine should be hitting by the time I enter class, and I’m starting to groove out on Kant or Heidegger (much more likely the latter – I have little stomach for realist apologetics.) The prof is probably fairly decently dressed, buttons or a collar, nothing too elaborate. Jesse’s looking clean-cut – that bastard always gets the ladies’ attention. The department greets me with a wealth of aesthetics: short hair and earrings, dreads and bandannas, ink and ponytails, nice jeans and a button shirt.

Occasionally, it dawns on me that I should make some effort to be “more professional” – no, that’s not it, there are at least three other dudes in here dressed straight outta hippie quarterly. I’ve shit-canned the wearing of jeans with holes in them in a classroom context; that should help. I guess I find myself coming off as – aggro? Grungy? Neo-cynicist – yes.

I don’t, as a rule, believe in extraneous social controls qua fashion. Still, I’m here on a fucking mission: I’ve got my warhammer, I’m doing my drills, I’m honing my philosophy for battle in the harsh academic jungle. Do I want to be the guy that comes in and whispers “yo dude…embrace the chill,” or do I want to turn some heads and drop some jaws? Is it possible to salvage this aesthetic with a layer of grey/black button shirts? Will the addition of a necklace successfully fool people into thinking I put effort into this ragtag ensemble?

Damn…I usually don’t put this much thought into these things; I’m starting to feel out of character. Image is power, illusion is power; so is centeredness, authenticity. I have come to join the UNM Lobos in prowling the forests of the academe. To run with the wolves – must I dress like a sheep?

Redpillneo is a contributing author for Project Group Think. Follow us on Twitter – we’re PGTblog.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under philosophy, social commentary

MMA: A Forgotten Legacy

Five years ago, while enjoying my regularly-scheduled weight training, I came upon a poster that would change my life. “OU Mixed Martial Arts,” it read, probably with some low-key graphic and the psoted “Tues/Thurs 9-11 PM” that would become etched upon my undergraduate schedule for the next four years.

At this point in history, the UFC was still a fledgling corporation struggling for “cult” status with Pride Fighting and K-1. Nowadays, I can barely turn a corner without seeing “Tap-Out” splayed across a shirt or bumper sticker. The point is that in 2004, the letters “MMA” had little to nothing to do with the letters “UFC,” they were simply used by a group of people to express that they were more interested in following a diversified training curriculum than pursuing a single art. Where the term still held connotations of cage-fighting, the two were nowhere near so synonymous as they are in the modern day.

Years later, having left the fabled fields of far-off Athens, I found myself perusing flyers at the UNM rec center in search of training opportunities. “MMA Jujutsu,” one read, leaving me perplexed – the formula “Mixed Martial Arts (Insert Singular Art Here)” seems self-contradictory at best. Settling on Ninjutsu and Capoeira, I spoke with a fellow student about the offered “Turbo Kickboxing,” whose description caught my eye with a reference to Muay Thai. She objected that the course involved very little striking or combinations; at which point I grew appalled – I do not know that her allegations are factual; but I DO know that if you can go an hour without launching an elbow, knee, or round-kick, you have no business invoking the name of Muay Thai’s ancient, respected, and notoriously lethal art; no matter how vogue doing so may seem.

“Vogue” is the critical word here – it has become the “hot trend” to talk about MMA, Muay Thai, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It has become “in” and “stylish” to walk around with BJ Penn on a t-shirt, whether or not you’ve seen the man fight or even know who he is. It has become “hip” for Brock Lesnar, who admittedly could break me in twain with but a modicum of effort, to run his mouth like a chump on national television, bringing WWE-grade antics into the more esteemed realm of martial arts combat.

It was, at one point, more esteemed. I see the letters MMA on the streets of ‘Burque, whoring out for anyone with twenty bucks and a hard-on for Dana White. I see school-yard level shit-talking from grown men in an effort to make venerable traditions marketable on cable television. In short, I see the martial arts becoming poisoned by the filth of Hollywood consumerism.

On a more practical level, the problem becomes one of steroidal meatheads learning how to fight without the requisite spiritual training, essentially turning machismo-ridden frat boys into walking weapons while the rich historical and cultural traditions of the arts find themselves beyond forgotten; overlooked by thugs and hipsters for a flashier, brand-specific way of combat.

Californication: one. Ancient spiritual traditions: zilch.

Redpillneo is a contributing writer for Project Group Think. Follow us on Twitter – we’re PGTblog.

3 Comments

Filed under social commentary

Please Die Already

Rage.

Rage.

There has been quite a hullabaloo recently about the healthcare reform bill, incited mainly by this man and this woman. Why are they ranting and raving about Democrats creating “death panels” that will decide whether or not the elderly† or mentally disabled‡ continue to receive medical treatment? Can’t they see that America is chock full of people ripe for Death’s annual picking?

The Democrats want people to have access to “end of life counseling.” That is a nice way of them saying “we want to encourage you to die without eating up millions of millions of dollars in care.” And the elderly and infirm DO eat up millions of dollars; 80% of the money you spend on healthcare will be spent during the last three months of your life. Is it really worth it? To spend hour after hour, barely breathing, barely thinking, hooked up to life support with a feeding tube in your gut?

Americans have become highly sensitive to the issue of death. I thought that the whole reason behind this mushy Christianity stuff was to make people comfortable with the idea of dying. “Oh, don’t worry, there’s always the afterlife! Feel free to pass away as you wish.” Nope. Christian evangelicals and conservative Catholics are amongst the most adamant individuals who support your right to clutch on to your existence by any means; even if your body and mind have rotted away to nothing.

Actually, they’re not even supporting your right to life; they’d keep you alive regardless of how you feel.

"Sir, we have found you to be too goddman crochety old for the State to continue financing your life."

"Sir, we have found you to be too goddamn crotchety old for the State to continue financing your life."

What about my right to death? Listen to me: people need to die. People have been dying for millions and millions of years. Its natural. It happens all the time. The problem is that no one has instructed us on how to cope with and move past these tragic events.

Wait. Tragic? It shouldn’t be tragic; it should be joyful. The joyful passing of your loved one. We are so far removed from our natural state of being that we no longer value death… excluding the deaths of our enemies; that has always been joyous.

Lion King

Even Disney supports death panels.

Human bodies were not designed (intelligent or not) to last forever. Our cells stop regenerating as well, our joints become rigid and sore, our systems fail to save over and over again until it gets to a point that your body just dies. All of this extensive healthcare is in denial of the natural ‘Circle of Life‘. Certainly the deaths’ of those who did not live up to the prime peaks of life are tragic; they died too soon. But that only covers people up to about age 40; if you live past that point, I will be joyfully celebrating your passing with explicit glee.

So lighten up. Embrace death (the insurance companies have been running death panels for years now). Maybe even buy a t-shirt. It’ll balance the budget for Christ’s-sakes.

You don’t want to be alive for the zombie apocalypse anyway…

†‡Not that either of these groups really qualify as  being ‘that alive’ in the first place.

jakefunc is a contributing writer and editor of projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

5 Comments

Filed under philosophy, Politics, science, social commentary

Moving And Scott Hamilton

This past Friday I moved to Bowling Green to start my Master’s program study of Public Administration. It is, to say the least, a big change. I don’t know anyone, I don’t really know where anything is at, and I feel awkward on a daily basis. This change of faces and scenery is also an opportunity, however, to further my progress as a human being towards that inevitable point B.

Some of my friends remarked that my move was “a chance to reinvent” myself; I have to disagree with them. Not because they’re wrong—you can certainly reinvent yourself somewhere where you’re about as notorious as a circus flea—but because I don’t want to reinvent myself. I like who I am. I like who I know. Reinvention speaks to me of some kind of abandonment of my identity, my personality, whoever it is that I am that so dearly clings to this existence.

The problem of my past is the potential for success; there wasn’t any chance of me achieving that potential in Freedom Township USA. I’ve got great ideas for this world and I need a bully pulpit to project them from. I need eyes and more importantly ears waiting in anticipation to receive me. I need welcoming curiosity, not the hard dick and bad attitude of borderline-inbred numbskulls.

The university is one of the last places in this nation where intellectuals can express ideas freely. Yes, there are still constraints, but nowhere else can you find such a level of brainpower matched with open minds for progress. I may very well make my home at a university sometime in the future, assuming that a cat doesn’t catch my tongue at my upcoming first lecture (gulp).

Bowling Green was not my top choice; I was a top pick for them. I was one of hundreds who applied for a spot in their Political Science department as a Graduate Assistant. Credit was finally paid where it was always due. I’ve never been awarded a scholarship (or even a Student of the Month in high school, geeze).

Anyway, I live on 2nd St. South of 2nd is 5th. Yeah, 5th. And North of 2nd is Scott Hamilton. You read me right—Scott Hamilton. I had no idea who that was, but he most sure be something special.

175px-Scott-Hamilton-Golf

Scott Scovell Motherfuckin' Hamilton. Golfing while skating. Sick.

I had to go do some registration stuff today, and I ended up speaking with some rather aged ladies about the peculiarly named street. Apparently Scott Hamiltion was raised in Bowling Green, fought off some crazy disease, and then went on to win 4 U.S. Championships and a Gold medal in the 1984 Winter Olympics. Now he does commentary on skating for ABC or some crap.

Believe me, my jaw was loose, my mouth a gaping hole of wonderment at the amazing feats of Scott Hamilton, and in that moment I realized that if I really, truly put my mind to it, I could accomplish anything. And have a street named after me. Maybe even in Bowling Green. I don’t even have to combat a freaky virus while I’m being ambitious. I only hope that you’re there, watching, waiting for the triumph of my ascension.

jakefunc is a contributing writer and editor of projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

5 Comments

Filed under social commentary

Hypochondriacs Anonymous.

Yesterday a friend suggested something very probable to me. I may just be a hypochondriac. Like always, I researched this possibility. It affects 6% of the population, but I also don’t know how old that statistic is. It seems very low, but I could consider myself as being one.

When I was in 9th grade, after learning about STDs, I thought that I had an STD. I thought that I had genital warts. I began checking myself constantly for signs of STDs. I also thought that I was pregnant, and that running excessive miles in cross-country would make the baby go away. People, I was a virgin.

I had nothing wrong with me, except that I was advised by my doctor to get more Iron in my blood because I was close to having blood-deficiency.

Years passed in high school. When I began having sex, the worries began once again. I learned that I really, really loved sex. So I did it often. I used protection, minus 1 or 2 times. When I first came to college, I got tested for everything, including HIV/AIDS. Most people I know have A) Never had a blood test or B) Have them once a year, if not, less. Others do not go to the doctor when they “think” they have something, and others have unprotected sex when they know they have something, such as HPV.

Why do people do this? I don’t know and I can’t imagine their reasoning. Me, on the other hand, will wake up the next day after engaging in protected sexual activity, and think that I have somehow contracted HIV, warts, chlamydia, and gotten pregnant. These worries sometimes consume me to the point where my body begins creating fake symptoms. I have actually begun shaking, thoughts spinning in my head, keeping me up at night. I have put myself in cold sweats, and then gone on to think that it’s a sign of a disease. I have had body aches, and made myself believe it was a sign of HIV.

When these worries happen, I then begin to bother my past sexual partners– texting, calling– to ask them if they have had STDs. At the time of sexual encounter, this question was already asked. However, I have trouble actually believing the person.

Condoms are 97% effective against the transmission of STDs and HIV/AIDS if used correctly. This is true, right? This means that 97% of the time, I am safe from contracting a disease. Yet, months after my last sexual partner, I will still imagine that he has given me something, even if I have NO symptoms at all.

I have gotten yearly pap smears since I was 18. 2-3 of those years, I had returned to the doctor for more pap smears. This is excessive, but so are two blood tests a year. I have wasted hours in the waiting room and hours worrying at home. The final answer from my doctor has always been this: Your pap smear came back normal. Your blood test came back negative.

Since my last pap smear, I have had 8 sexual partners, due to my excessive drinking and black outs. 2 of these were unprotected, yet contributing to no symptoms of anything. The rest of these partners used condoms. Sex is something I love, and I do not really regret my decisions because of that. But I do regret that I waste so much time worrying. Currently, I believe that I have contracted herpes from an ex-hook up partner/boyfriend/guy I dated. I make myself believe that people have it out for me, and that they have plans to give me diseases. Currently, I also believe that I could be pregnant, even though my period came on time last month, I’ve gained no weight, and have no symptoms. Whenever I have PMS (breasts become tender, moods become irritable), I attribute it to pregnancy and head to the computer where I research all the symptoms, putting myself into a shaking nervous anxiety attack. Then my period will come on time.

I always misdiagnose ingrown hairs for genital warts or herpes. I check myself everytime I get out of the shower, unless I forget.

I don’t know why I have unprotected sex with some people, but that is completely my fault. If I should go to the doctor again for tests, it would be the third doctor visit in less than 6 months. It would also be my second blood test in one year.

Perhaps I should stop seeing the doctor, and instead, see a psychologist. As far as I know, I have HIV, herpes, gonorrhea, and HPV in the back of my throat. My neck currently aches, probably from all the worry and staring at an online medical database. I woke up with aching shoulders, probably from sleeping in angst.

You may be thinking, “Well, stop having sex.” or “Go get tested.”

My fears have become so irrational that I am trying, for once, to resist going to the doctor unless or until major symptoms should arise. I have always been careful, this is a fact, for at least 98% of the time. Each time I go to the doctor, I am told that I am fine. Also, I have been to the doctor so many times this year that I have reached my family insurance cap. I went a couple more times because I got a yeast infection and I had poison ivy, however I thought that the poison ivy was scabies. I knew I had a yeast infection, but I didn’t believe myself, and figured it was clamydia. I am always a nervous wreck. Now, I am trying to deal with the problems myself instead of getting in my car, running out for plan B, pregnancy tests, researching every STD known to humankind (including pictures of infected people, and comparing them to my perfectly healthy-looking private parts). I am trying, for once in my life, to be rational and put  my worries into other forms. Now, I’m trying to move on with my life and leave my worries behind. Having numerous body ailments = unrealistic. Cleaning my room = realistic.

I hope that I do not need therapy for this, but it may be a good idea. Whenever I see a therapist, I just sit in the chair and don’t really say anything. I think I’m a hypochondriac, but I also may just be faking the symptoms, even though my heart has been pounding and I’m feeling nervous as I’ve typed this entire thing.

I hope that you, the reader, can provide me with some helpful insights, aside from the old adage, “Get tested,” as I know my body very well and the rational part of my brain is beginning to say, “Do not worry unless you have a reason to.” Thank you for reading.

JadeAmethystt is a contributing writer for projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

3 Comments

Filed under social commentary, Uncategorized

Healthcare Reform: The Big Comedown

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; these are the principles on which America was founded. All men (and now women) are entitled to these rights, and it is the duty of the U.S. government to not infringe upon but to maintain our ability to live, live freely and live happily. Otherwise, the government would be worthless, and perhaps it would have been better for us to remain within the British Empire.

Of course, there are limitations to these ‘rights’, but the threshold of limitation is set by us, the common society, and it is our collective say that sets the standard. In recent months (years if you count the campaigns for the presidential nominees) it has become apparent that healthcare is a ‘right’ Americans believe they are entitled to; it is your right to have affordable health insurance coverage, or to at least be able to see a doctor and seek treatment without indebting yourself up to your eyelids.

I know the pains of healthcare personally, even at the ripe young age of 24. I have not been insured for 2 years now and it has made me hesitate to go to dentist. I finally became covered by my employer after working for 6 months, and I promptly scheduled an appointment. The results of my examination were fairly good; only two cavities on my archaic wisdom teeth. The state of my gums, however, had deteriorated into full-blown periodontal disease. If I don’t receive a ‘deep cleaning’ (eek!) I would risk the possibility of slowly but surely losing my teeth as my gums continued to recede (double eek).

How much would the procedure cost? $1077.00. That’s a pretty penny there. Not quite a triple coronary bypass, but I don’t have money for that either. How much would my insurance pay? $588.00. That leaves me paying about $500 in the end, which my broke ass can handle, most likely from some kind of deferred payment plan. For other people, with no insurance and dependents and a number of other financial commitments, paying for this procedure may very well fall to the wayside, letting their health fail as opposed to taking on the cost of treatment.

Preventative healthcare is cheap. What advice would my dentist have given me 2 years ago? The same advice he gave me this year. “You need to floss and use a water pik daily, as well as continue to brush your teeth and use mouthwash.” This might be common sense, but we as human beings need a little prodding here and there, and the dentist or whatever practitioner for whatever ailment just so happens to be the person to whip your lazy conscious into shape. Water pik: $20.00. Stock of floss for 2 years: ~$20.00. Savings incurred from not getting expensive dental procedure: ~$1037.00.

Why don’t people take advantage of preventative healthcare? Because they don’t have the money or they don’t have the know-how. If everyone had health insurance (or if all healthcare was single-payer like the federally mandated Medicare program we’ve had for the past century) they would be able to get problems treated before they get worse and even more expensive. Are you sick? Go see a doctor. Take your medication now instead of saving it for later because you can’t afford to buy more.

The biggest obstacle to everyone having healthcare is: 1. Insurance companies (HMOs), 2. Pharmaceutical companies, and 3. Hospitals and doctors. Everyone of them stands to make much, much less money with mandated healthcare; they’d much rather buy off our politicians than reform the system at hand. With everyone receiving preventative healthcare, you don’t need to go see the doctor as often. You don’t need to have complicated procedures, and all the tests and X-rays and MRIs that go along with it. You don’t need to be overloaded with a drug-cocktail every day.

Right now, Congress is in the process of writing a bill reforming the healthcare systems in America, and they have mistakenly included the nefarious legions of greedy money-grubbers listed above into the equation and excluded the idea of having a ‘public option’ (a government insurance program that would be affordable and available to all). I don’t know what we are supposed to do. Write your congressperson I guess; just be sure to put a $10,000 check made out to his/her re-election campaign account in the envelope too. Needy complaints get lonely without a little cash.

Does it really matter who’s lording over us, a tyrant or an aristocracy, if they could care less about our well being?

jakefunc is a contributing writer and editor of projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

7 Comments

Filed under Politics, social commentary