2.27.2020

Shame by ContraPoints Thoughts

ContraPoints is a YouTuber philosopher who, as a transgender person, has introduced me to gender issues.  I didn’t even know some of these things existed.

Her latest video on Shame really describes her sexual identity journey from transhetero to transhomo.    Shame about her sexual identity really skewed her romantic choices.  Wow.  So powerful.

Even though I am just plain heterosexual, her description of her relationship with her last boyfriend and her best friend mirrors mine with my husband.

Justin and I had a very intense friendship.  We just couldn’t stay away from one another.  We dated a few months in 1992, and after that we were either inseparable or fighting.  People thought we were divorced.

Justin was always a factor in every romantic relationship after I met him.  Every boyfriend knew about him because I talked about, and worried about, him all the time.  Some of them hated him.  Others dismissed him.  But he was always there.

He set up my dating profile on Match.com for me, and when I went to meet a guy he went with me, lurking in the background to make sure I was safe.

I started to realize I was in love with him while being dragged into one of his rescue missions to clean out one of his friend’s apartments of clutter to prevent eviction.  Oh God, you would not believe the level of clutter.  It took eight hours to clear a path from the back porch door to the dining room.  We actually smelled old air.  You wouldn’t think there was such a thing, but there is.  We saw detergent boxes from the 1980s.  We found a color tv and a full, formal place setting under the trash on the dining table.

It was emotionally draining work.  I realized that I would rather be doing this with Justin, than spending time with my actual boyfriend, who was sweet to me.  Then I realized this was always the case.  I would always rather be with Justin than doing anything with somebody else.  He always made me feel better.  He really hurt my feelings sometimes, and when he did, it devastated me.  I also hurt him a lot out of selfishness and thoughtlessness.  But somehow we were tied to each other as ostensible friends for ten years.

When I got sick, he came over to make me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and keep me company. You know, I really want to be with a guy that takes care of me when I am sick, I told a friend.  I need to marry someone like Justin, I said.  When I moved because I sold my condo but the deal to buy another one fell through and I had nowhere to live, Justin helped me pack my things and gave me a place to stay for a while.

For some reason, when it was time to go to my sister’s wedding, I just had to go with Justin, not my boyfriend.  Justin didn’t really understand it, but I insisted.  It was there that I realized Justin was the love of my life.  We got engaged a few weeks later, and married later on that year.  It was the best thing I have ever done in my life.

2.10.2020

Lying Dog Face Pony Soldier

So said Democratic candidate for President Joe Biden this week.  It is a slip up that disqualifies him for public office.  Any public office.  Would you want a mayor or school board member so out of control they can't even insult people right? Or a register of wills?

Calling a young woman names on the campaign trail is always ill-advised, just as a general rule.  Making up your own insults can show cleverness.  But insults that come out of nowhere and make no sense show something else: cognitive problems.  

The entire media should be screaming about Joe Biden's weird comment to a polite and rational question.  But they are not.  This and many other reasons explain why mainstream media outlets do not have the credibility of yore.


2.09.2020

Agenda-Free TV

Facebook is down.
Massive power outage in parts of the country.
Virginia gun rights rally.
Hurricane Dorian.
Live breaking news without an agenda.

Steve Lookner has gained a cult following in the livestream world. His YouTube channel, Agenda-Free TV, covers breaking news happening in the United States and outside of it.  Increasingly, it is news being missed by larger media outlets that focus on Russiagate or impeachment obsessively. 

When Facebook and WhatsApp went down for half of the United States, Agenda-Free TV was the only outlet covering it.  At the beginning of the China Virus outbreak, Steve saw its importance and began daily coverage - a week before other news outlets.

His value to the information marketplace is critical thinking and a wide net.  When Steve Lookner covers a topic in the news, he gathers information from vetted sources and frequently rejects information if the claims can’t be substantiated elsewhere.  When viewers bring new information to his attention, he puts it through analysis as to whether it fits with other information, whether it is from a verified source, whether the source has first-hand knowledge or an expertise in the area or if it just doesn’t make sense.

An excellent example is how he covers the China Virus.  He cites official Chinese statistics while noting the comments from epidemiologists in other countries who suspect the number of sick are much higher.  What he doesn't do is create a sensational headline with panic-inducing infection rates.  It would be so easy to do.  Very reputable scientists and doctors have given estimates that the China Virus infected ten times the official Chinese count.  But Steve won't do it.  It gives him credibility.

As a host, Steve Lookner is like a homeroom teacher for restless seniors about to graduate. He's always setting boundaries and reminding us why we are there when we veer too far off course.  Yet he is likable.  So much so,  he gets viewers who just want to see what he is up to.  That's when he gets complaints about the news he chooses to cover.  "What is Steve upset about now?" asks my husband only half sarcastically.  

And they do complain. Exasperated, Steve tells everyone they are not obliged to watch.  They can just turn it off if they don't like what he is covering, he reminds them.  It speaks to his appeal to his audience that they would watch him despite his topic.

He has strict rules for his audience:  no trolling, no conspiracies, manners at all times.  If you violate one of these rules too much, you are put on time-out.  Yes, that’s right.  Which is how this senior citizen was put on a time-out for hurricane jokes.  If you continue to act up, you can be banned for the day or permanently.  He doesn’t put up with racism or fake news or conspiracies.

Interestingly, Agenda-Free TV has not covered the impeachment trial.  Frankly, that is a relief.  Every news outlet in the country is pointed in the same direction at the same time.  After two years of Russiagate ending with a doddering Special Prosecutor's testimony of nothing, basically; a fresh angle on current events is needed and refreshing.