Tag Archives: culture

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.

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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.

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You Too Can Be President

As the days pass from President Barack Obama’s inauguration we find ourselves looking to 2012, the next presidential election; the future is always at hand (the leading cable news networks’ talking heads confirm this daily). And no one could find themselves more shit-out-of-luck than the good ole’ boys, the Republican Party. Earlier I thought that the party would split into two, smaller, more pitiful parties; maybe I was wrong. Oh well. Granted, even if Obama doesn’t manage to fix the U.S., or hell, screws it up more, there is a very small chance that he’ll be unseated; but I’m still left wondering who is going to be the new face of the G.O.P.

It could very well be you.

That’s right. You. The assuming, unaware, run-of-the-mill American. Do you remember your teachers in grade school telling you that “you could grow up to be President of the United States”? It’s true. Or almost true. You can at least run a campaign and be shot down by the mass public.

Mmmm... Sarah Palin, you are one dumb, sexy bitch.

Mmmm... Sarah Palin, you are one dumb, sexy bitch.

Just look at the potential nominees. Sarah Palin? That’s a real life American Dream come true; housewife turned mayor, turned governor, turned vice-presidential nominee. I think the requirements to be President have been trimmed down to U.S. citizenship and being able to read a teleprompter. Did you see the Republican Party’s reply to Obama’s inaugural address? Bobby Jindall is a fucking robot.

The rest of the field is just as bad. Mark Sanford is an adulterer (along with John McCain and Rudy Giuliani), Mitt Romney is a Mormon, Mike Huckabee loves Jesus, etc. etc. They’re all also totally out of touch with what the average American needs. This is where you come in: you’re that American. Who would know how to woo the votes of the average American better than the average American? Write down whatever it is you think and voila! Campaign platform!

What’s holding you back from the White House? Political ambition. You simply don’t have the networking power of any big name politician; which is why I’m telling you this now. You have 3 years to ascend to power and rob Obama of his high and mighty throne. It’s going to take hard work, blood, sweat and tears, and the brown-nosing of every Republican asshole you can find, but all you need is a belief in yourself (Yes I Can!) and the nomination will very well be yours.

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

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Filed under Politics, social commentary

Hold Your Tongue: A Call For Prudence

More often than not, on a regular, daily basis, I will find myself talking shit about someone I know. Golly, I cannot resist the chance to gossip, expounding upon every detail entrusted to me by an unsuspecting other. It’s a time honored tradition, especially amongst women. I’ve always wondered why I am friends with a sizable group of the same sex (30+ men), yet so very few females maintain large friend groups of the same sex (Maybe 5?).

Why can’t women stand each other? Because they talk shit about each other so often. Borderline non-stop. And what they don’t realize (or maybe they do actually), is that with a greater integration of individuals, whatever it is they said about person ‘B’ is going to be heard by person ‘B’.

Men must spend more time doing things than saying things. Its in our socialization. As youth we go out and compete amongst one another to flaunt our athleticism and determine who is best, while the girls talked. Or something like that. Men dealt with things honestly, directly; “Wow Jake, you really suck, don’t play with us anymore.” Women deal with things respectfully, indirectly, avoiding conflict until they can get behind closed doors; “See you tomorrow Sally!” [aside] “What a bitch.”

Is it dependency on others? Women are less physically capable to succeed than men, so they depend on the pooling of resources and labor that comes with a collective. I could see that, but then why would females so readily burn bridges by shit talking? Is this just a phenomenon among modern independent women? I have no idea. I should hedge my bets on the idea that they don’t realize that the gossip is going to come back at them. That’s a point duly taken; I probably dug a deep hole myself already.

I’ve had my fill with gossip; everyone is susceptible to its appeal. Truly a great bit of fun, but I can only imagine the bearing of bad fruit in the future.

I don’t think that I will ever know all that is said, and frankly, I really don’t care for it. There is a lesson to be learned though; gossiping about person ‘B’ is not going to make person ‘B’ think very highly of you for very long. Therefore, in order to maintain my valuable standing with my current friends, I vow to be critical of them to their faces, as opposed to gossiping about them later in supposed distant safety.

And yes, my adherence to that ideal will begin after this very period.•

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

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I Can Make You Longer And Stronger

A 30% addition to the human base average. Its cheap, easy, healthy, maybe even fun—definitely a strong ‘maybe’ there. Regardless, this is going to revolutionize the human experience. Just think: my old, crotchety ass raging into the future, much to the dismay of latter generations. Tee hee.

What I am recommending is intermittent fasting; instead of eating everyday, you eat every other day.

Questions?

1. Is this healthy?
Probably healthier than whatever it is you’re doing now. Most human beings Americans consume more than enough nutrients and calories in a single day to feed three individuals; you can certainly get by with a lot less. For every day that you eat your body is storing plenty of carbs, fats and proteins to be used during your following ‘no eating’ day. If you’re still concerned, consult your doctor; what you hear may surprise you (“Don’t believe what you read on the Internet. Idiot”).

2. Will I lose weight?
Not really. Your body goes into starvation mode on your ‘no eating’ day, essentially cutting your nutrient intake for unnecessary functions. What you will see is a steady weight plateau of no gains or losses. You’re achieving homeostasis in a way, so work out and diet (or don’t, fatty) until you look the way you want, then begin intermittent fasting.

3. How is this going to make ‘me’  longer?
Your body is made up of cells that have to regenerate themselves—sometimes daily. During these regenerations (think cell creation, mitosis) your DNA becomes synthesized over and over and over again, becoming less and less like the original data it originated from. Eventually your cells will function poorly and be more susceptible to disease or cancer.

Intermittent fasting will cut down (50%) on cell loss and regeneration in some key areas: namely your digestive and circulation systems. Whenever you eat millions of cells are being lost and regenerated, all the way from your mouth to your anus. From your large intestine the nutrients (and other things, like excess bad cholesterol) are shipped around your body through your bloodstream, with millions more cells being affected.

By regenerating less, your cells will be eating through their 9 lives much slower. Therefore, you shall last longer. And be healthier, so stronger as well.

Ugh, do I really want to live that old in the first place...

Ugh, do I really want to live to be that old in the first place...

See? You can defy death and look into the future without circling the earth at high speeds or by creating any other sort of asinine time-traveling machine. Now if only I could forsake eating food altogether…

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

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Filed under science

Heritage Or Hate: A discussion of cultural and ethnic pride and the ever- present irritant of racism

Cultural diversity fascinates me, and I’ve always eagerly sought out cultural experiences, since before the time I cajoled my high school friends into accompanying me to a Hare Krishna dinner and chant circle.  Today, I eagerly look forward to any exhibition of a culture’s traditional art, cuisine, or music, from our city’s Greek Fest to the kimono landscapes of Itchiku Kubota recently featured at our art museum.  College was a special time for me, for the influx of students from an astonishing array of cultures meant that there was so much to learn and experience.  I looked forward to annual events such as KASA’s Africa Night, ISA’s Diwali celebration, and the Thai Ensemble’s always memorable performance.  All my life, I have been drawn toward interesting people from other parts of the world, and have many friends who grew up (and/ or are still living) in other countries.

That being said, I have developed a new interest in recent years, an interest in my own cultural heritage.  I’m a Caucasian of mixed ancestry, primarily Slavic, Anglo Saxon, and German.  Of these major components, I have found myself developing a strong interest in my Germanic roots.  Specifically, I am fascinated by Germanic mythology and folklore.  Some time ago, I began following these ancient tales up through Scandinavia, and developed a strong interest in exploring that mythos and the culturally relevant insights it contains.  In particular, the shamanic figure of Odin, the wandering mystic god, holds a special appeal.  This isn’t an unusual turn of events for me, as I’ve been fascinated by mythology and ancient cultures for my entire life, whether Hindu, Native American, or Egyptian.  But for me, the experience of exploring my own cultural mythos felt almost revolutionary.

The widespread implication in our society today seems to be that it’s dangerous for a white person to take too much pride in her ancestry.  A white person’s pride in her cultural heritage somehow suggests her feelings of superiority over, and loathing for, members of other ethnic groups.  For me, nothing could be further from the truth.  I’m horrified by the opinions of such people as the white nationalist group Stormfront.  These people staunchly believe that all non- whites should be removed from our country, and that we should not even permit an exchange of trade between our then- “purified” nation and the nations comprised of non- whites.  I think that the resulting loss to our society would be incredible.  In a very real sense, it would destroy the very foundations our country was built upon.  We were strengthened by immigration, and this has enriched us in countless ways.  Where would we be without the inventions, literature, rich traditions, music, and (as a vegetarian, I must add the following) cuisines which evolved in far corners of the world, and were then, joyously, brought here with each wave of immigration?

I am, however, deeply troubled by a phenomenon which is occurring in popular culture.  It has become commonplace for people of other ethnicities to make scathing jokes and stereotypical generalizations of whites, and these comments are often repeated by white people themselves, in a tone of voice that suggests that being white is shameful, embarrassing, and just plain uncool.  I came across many examples of this right here on WordPress, which is what prompted the writing of this article.  These blogs were written by white people who worked or studied with members of another race, and they listed the full range of stereotypical and degrading comments their colleagues made on a regular basis.  Were they offended by this?  No, they seemed to be more ashamed than anything, and didn’t even bother to refute the claims, in their blogs or presumably in life.  I’ve known several people who wistfully fantasized about somehow escaping from the bland, “uncool” trappings of being white.  I admit that, in my college years, I too was like a ball of putty in my professors’ hands, and readily accepted the notion that white Europeans were a malicious bunch bent on world dominion and suppression of the entire southern hemisphere since before the days of colonialism and slavery.  I bowed my blond head and was embarrassed to be white, born into a legacy of vicious exploitation (which I now see as a tendency that has plagued all of humanity since we crawled out of the caves).  This misplaced feeling of shame over my heritage persisted for many years, and I suspect that I am not alone in experiencing these sentiments.  For instance, I also knew a girl with a German surname who had dyed her hair black because she was afraid of looking too Aryan.

Of course, there are several ethnic groups within the umbrella heading of “Caucasian” who openly and publicly declare their ethnic and cultural pride.  The Italians and the Irish are the first that spring to mind.  My boyfriend and I often express our envy of such people, who are able to promote their cultures and their unique history so actively.  They even hold parades!  We all know what would likely result if there was ever a German Pride Parade.  In fact, it was so humorous that we both laughed while discussing the possibility.  Either a public outcry would result (spurred on by paranoids who have blacklisted the entire country and culture of Germany due to the atrocities of World War II), or the event would be usurped by real, bona- fide neo Nazis who would spoil it for everyone!

The fact is that white racists do still exist in this world, as surely as there are racists of all other ethnicities (who are able to express their views much more openly, to cheers rather than jeers).  Everyone knows why racist expression by a white person is violently suppressed, whereas racist expression by a minority individual is considered lighthearted and amusing.  I don’t need to delve into the past for an explanation of why some people may be more sensitive to these concerns than others.  The continuance of racism is like a thorn in my side, and I found that it complicated my own exploration of my German roots on several levels.  Firstly, the general public seems a bit suspicious of any person who talks overmuch about her Germanic heritage and the interests it has spurred.  When I talk about German and Nordic mythology, mysticism, music, and culture, I tend to receive wary looks, followed by inquiries on my feelings toward other races.  This would not be the case, of course, if I was a young Korean woman pursuing my interest in ancient Korean folklore and tradition.  On the contrary, people would find it intriguing or charming, rather than potentially suspicious.  

Secondly, I must also admit that expressing an interest in ancient Germanic culture and mythos has drawn neo Nazi types to me on numerous occasions!  After having placed several mentions of Nordic/ Germanic mythology on my page at My Space, I began receiving messages from interested people.  After checking out their own pages, I was startled to discover a running list of quotes from the mouth of David Duke (white nationalist and former head of the KKK).  Furthermore, I found my interest in Asatru waning due to the fact that many of its proponents in my local area displayed pictures of themselves lifting drinking horns in front of a large Confederate flag.  By way of definition, Asatru is the modern day revival of Germanic Paganism.  It is, in fact, a wonderful and quite authentic re- creation of ancient Germanic belief.  I must state quite clearly that there is nothing about Asatru which is inherently racist.  It is a valid re-creation of a historic spiritual path which is, to me, quite fascinating.  Most Asatruar are likely not at all racist.  In fact, not all of them are even white.  I’ve met practitioners of Asatru who belong to other ethnicities altogether.  However, the Asatruar I’d spoken with in my state of Ohio tended to be of a racist variety.  Most never said so.  Their Confederate flags and quotes from David Duke spoke for themselves.

I think it’s unfortunate that such individuals’ appreciation of their cultural heritage seems hinged on a disdainful presumption of superiority over other races.  It is truly ironic if the best thing a person can say about his cultural or ethnic heritage is “at least I’m not a __.”  Hatred is not a cultural identity, nor is ridiculing other cultures an insightful way of appreciating one’s own.   While I sit reading the Eddas (the primary source of Norse mythology, written down and preserved in medieval Iceland), I find myself actually enjoying them, rather than sneering at their “superiority” over other examples of cultural literature, such as the Upanishads or the Bible.  I strongly wish that all cultural traditions, whether from Tibet or Scandinavia, could be readily appreciated by all people, without the tainting influence of racism.  I also long for the day when my love of Germanic history and its rich, ancient culture would no longer make me a target for neo- Nazis or those who suspect me of being one.

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

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