Reality Check

According to a recent Globe and Mail editorial, this is reality:

Yes, Mr. Suzuki can be strident. He wants the oil sands to be “shut down.” His views on economics are crude. We do not agree with his extreme approach to curbing climate change.

Now, I’m not one for reality. Fiction is the best thing ever created. The only good thing about being human, most days, is fiction. Let’s hear it for dreaming.

However, even I have to acknowledge certain realities. Sadly.

One reality is that digging deep into the Earth, bringing up chthonic substances and letting them run over the top of the Earth is–and always has been–a bad idea.

Another reality is that economics is a human-made thing, as fictional as it comes. (Hesiod was a freaking poet, people.) If, at any point, the economy sucks, we can just change it, or stop it, or do anything we want to it.

Trust me. I rewrite fiction all the time.

By Holger Motzkau 2010

Chicken Soul Soup: God Cares

In which the real problems within organised religion are exposed.

Wee Student: Priests are leaders? One time, I walked into this priest’s office, and he was just sitting there eating potato chips and drinking Coke.

Me: Maybe he was hungry.

Wee Student: He shouldn’t be doing that!

Me: I don’t think there’s anything in their vows about junk food.

Wee Student: There should be. They shouldn’t be allowed to eat that in church. God needs them to be healthy if they’re going to take care of us.

The Prevention Project

There is a new(ish) podcast series about non-offending, anti-contact minor attraction. Interviewees include non-offending, anti-contact MAPs and professionals who have worked with/studied them. The podcasts come out every other Monday. Check them out here:

The Prevention Project podcasts

For those of us who find listening to something difficult, TNF 13 has started doing transcripts and posting them here on Medium.

Nigel Lackland has translated some of the transcripts into French and posted them on his Medium page.

The Power of Positive Thinking

Activity Being Avoided: math. Self-employed people should have fairy godmothers who get off on bookkeeping.
Music In My Head: Our House — Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. I sing it to the cats. They like it, but Esther tells me we lack fireplaces.
Tea Being Drunk: water *sigh*
Books Being Read: Green Grass, Running Water–Thomas King, A Gentle Madness–Nicholas A. Basbanes

A while ago, a student tried to do an essay on the power of positive thinking. It was their first choice of topic.

Positive thinking is very important; positive thinking, they said, is good because it helps you be more positive.

We talked about circular logic.

Positive thinking, they said, is good because it can help you achieve a goal.

We talked about weak arguments.

Positive thinking, they said…

Wait, I said. Lemme get you a book.

The library is stuffed with books on positive thinking. The library is cutting down their print resources by half, but it still requires more than two shelves to hold all the positive-thinking books. The student was unimpressed when I arrived at the table with an armload of what would translate to several hours of research.

The student changed their topic.

Very few cultures or societies appreciate extremes. We cluck our tongues at people who are too thin or too fat, who spend inordinate amounts of time playing video games or reading novels, who spout dogma about a particular deity, who wear clothing too formal or too informal. If someone were to spend all their time thinking negatively, we’d have them committed.

We prefer mediocrity to excess.

Somehow, positive thinking has become a religion, rather fundamentalist in its doctrine. If you have a negative thought, you are weak, have lost control and, therefore, have sinned.

Yeah, no.

Good and evil are intrinsic to this life. We’ve personified both (God and Devil, Batman and The Joker), symbolised both (light and dark, dove and snake). Some of the first words infants learn are bad and no.  We can’t get rid of the negative, no matter how hard we try.

That’s okay, people. Really.

Darkness makes the light such a relief, but there’s also an intrigue to darkness. Like the universe, darkness is infinite and so carries an infinite mystery. We know from experience that light always ends… somewhere, some time.

There’s an irony to the pious positive thinkers wanting to dissuade others from negative thinking–enabling anger, sadness, jealousy, loneliness–as if it might invoke the Evil Eye.

Me, I’d rather receive an evil eye than a rolling one. Perhaps I’m just used to it: the evil eye has nothing on my mother’s thou-hast-done-wrong look. No amount of positive thinking could ward that off….

I find it interesting that we’ll stroke black cats, sweep up the pieces of a shattered mirror, stroll beneath ladders, but not allow ourselves a negative thought.

What then, you ask, is the power of positive thinking? The power is money: self-help writers get to take a lot of Caribbean cruises.

You have a book to fill up your library shelves.

Chicken Soul Soup: The Musical Development of Othello

In which a student demonstrates the adroitness of multilingualism.

Me: How would you summarise Othello’s character development throughout the play?

Student: Chopin→Rachmaninoff→Beethoven→Schoenberg.

Dear Fellow White People II

Yet another Canadian white person has been found “not guilty” of murdering a member of Canada’s First Nations.

Let’s stop pretending.

When it becomes fairly clear that an Indigenous person has been murdered by a white person, why don’t we just take the money we’d spend on kangaroo court and give it to the grieving family?

“I’m sorry, but it looks like your child was murdered by someone we don’t like to convict. Here’s the money it would cost for the rest of the investigation and a three-week murder trial.”

As this would happen in approximately 68% of cases, it would clear our court systems and give the family some money to spend on something useful—say, clean drinking water.

Dear Fellow White People

Forty-eight hours before writing this, I read that a man had been declared not-guilty in a point-blank handgun shooting. The victim, shot in the back of the head, died at the scene.

I live in Canada. I don’t see how this verdict is possible. According to our laws, the minimum verdict could only have been manslaughter.

Sitting here, on land which is part of a treaty that is being upheld by only one party, what can I do?

I can learn. I can read books and social media, watch films and TV programmes. I don’t have to continue living the way I’m told to live, just because of my skin colour. I don’t have to remain ignorant, subscribe to prejudice or have blind faith in my justice system.

Though family, friends and neighbours might shun me, I can follow my conscience. Though my ancestors may have contributed to colonisation and prejudice, I don’t have to remain submissive to utter bullshit.