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The tools used to easily consume content do not contribute cultural value. Touch pads are designed to consume content, not produce it. IPods make it easy to store and consume vast quantities of production music. Digitized images can be churned out and copied with almost no effort.
Our culture, meaning the arts, are increasingly intended to be easily distributed rather than offer a deeper insight into the human condition. There is no money in content production, but there is a boatload of cash to be made in distributing content that is easily consumed. The more easily it is consumed, the more the consumers will want to replace it. Thus we have production music designed to be earworms with hook lines, lol cats, blogs that are written to go viral, and McRibs.
If you want to actually get something out of an image, go to an art gallery or a museum. If you want to appreciate music, attend a live performance. If you want to read a book, go to a book store and invest in a book that has content you want to keep.
But truly, the best way to appreciate and enjoy culture is to produce it yourself. The producers of cultural content do so because they want to explore, but they are not special, magical shamans who have some insight into the human condition any more than anybody else. They have just given up the luxury of having others answer those questions for them. Anybody can do it. The human voice was designed to be able to sing. Human eyes are designed to make sense of the world around us. Our ears can hear just the right note. All it takes is practice and sacrifice.
Posted by rrneck | Fri Dec 28, 2012, 01:40 PM (0 replies)
The BATF can walk into his store at any time and demand to see his bound book, and god help him if his inventory doesn't match up with his records. That's how businesses get regulated.
Bob and Alice have been married for twenty glorious years. Bob wants to take up target shooting so Alice decides to give him a gun for his birthday. Alice goes to the store with the make and model of the gun he wants, fills out the paperwork pays for the gun and leaves. She gives him his present over dinner that evening.
Bob and Alice have been living together for five years. The neighborhood is going downhill and they can't afford to move, so they decide to get a gun. Since Bob is a truck driver and is often away from home, he tells Alice what to buy and she makes the purchase.
Bob and Alice hooked up at a rave and fell madly in love. Bob thinks guns are cool so Alice goes to the store and buys him one.
Bob and Alice broke up because Alice found out about Cathy. She kicked Bob's cheating ass out but kept the gun. Alice meets John and falls madly in love with him and gives him the gun as a gift.
I could write scenarios like that all night. There is no way the guy selling the gun to Alice will know what kind of relationship she has with Bob or anybody else. There is almost no way to distinguish a legitimate relationship between two people and a straw purchase at the point of sale.
Now, if you want to require background checks on firearms transfers between private parties, you have to record chain of custody. Which is to say, you have to turn every firearm owner into a firearms dealer with all the rights and responsibilities thereof. Even if you make access to the NICS system available to private citizens, anybody who wants to circumvent the system will do so unless you attach some means of verification and penalties for non compliance. Otherwise when the cops come knocking people will just say "I gave it away/there was a tragic boating accident/it was stolen/I dunno what happened to it" or whatever other lie they can think up and nobody will be able to prove otherwise or prosecute them for selling the gun to the wrong person.
Remember the bound book? If you turn every firearm owner into an FFL you will have to allow the BATF to have access to their private residence at any time. The government can walk into your home at any time and demand to see your records. That idea will go over in this country like a turd in a punchbowl. Any political party responsible for that law will get a one way bus ticket to the political wilderness.
Corrections and amplifications of how the firearms distribution systems works are warmly solicited.
Posted by rrneck | Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:23 PM (1 replies)
It matters what the court thinks. As I recall, you have to be adjudicated mentally incompetent to lose your right to own a gun. But that could vary from state to state. In California they could "5150" you.
The concept of mental health is fungible. That makes it difficult to adjudicate. It also creates an opportunity for political oppression.
Psychiatry possesses an inherent capacity for abuse that is greater than in other areas of medicine.:65 The diagnosis of mental disease can give the state license to detain persons against their will and insist upon therapy both in the interest of the detainee and in the broader interests of society.:65 In addition, receiving a psychiatric diagnosis can in itself be regarded as oppressive. In a monolithic state, psychiatry can be used to bypass standard legal procedures for establishing guilt or innocence and allow political incarceration without the ordinary odium attaching to such political trials.
Now, that was the Soviet Union, one of the most repressive dictatorships in one of the most barbaric eras in human history, so the concept of political oppression through psychiatry is absurd, right? Thomas Eagleton ran into some difficulty because of allegations regarding his mental health. Running against a guy named Richard Nixon. Remember Daniel Ellsburg?
In August 1971, Krogh and Young met with G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt in a basement office in the Old Executive Office Building. Hunt and Liddy recommended a "covert operation" to get a "mother lode" of information about Ellsberg's mental state in order to discredit him. Krogh and Young sent a memo to Ehrlichman seeking his approval for a "covert operation be undertaken to examine all of the medical files still held by Ellsbergís psychiatrist." Ehrlichman approved under the condition that it be "done under your assurance that it is not traceable."
Given the realities of the George W. Bush administration and the even more disquieting reality that the Republican Party ran an outright fascist for president in the last election, the importance of properly adjudicating the rights of people in a court of law that depends on proper representation and the presentation of evidence to a judge should be obvious.
So, to answer your question whether or not you should be able to own a gun I would say I don't have a clue. Nor should I. It's none of my business. I think a court of law should make it my business. If you're having trouble, I would that you had a proper support network including friends, family, a functioning health care system and a culture that values something more than how much money it can make off you.
Posted by rrneck | Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:59 AM (0 replies)
We're all human. I think sometimes we forget that. I think we have a tendency to defend ideology over humanity. We think we know how to make the world a better place and we become so attached to our plan we think it will do anything. And we would be wrong. But in an effort to apply a solution where it doesn't belong we treat others unjustly. There are very few truly evil people in the world, but there are plenty of misguided consumers.
I guess I've heard the entire spectrum of gun control ideas here in the last four years. I haven't heard a single one that would work. Not one. And most every proposal was presented with the fervor of a tent revival with hosannas all around. Unfortunately, the praise was not for the efficacy of the proposal, but for it's expression of liberal ideology.
The left has been the inspiration for every sociocultural advancement in this country since it's founding. It will continue to do so, and the need for change is increasing every day. The basic social contract of nurturing, compassion, and equitable contribution to the group are liberal ideals and the way a successful society is run. But it isn't perfect, nothing made by human hands is. And when the fight starts, liberal ideology as it is currently understood does not apply.
If you are ever unlucky enough to be confronted by someone who intends to do you harm, the social safety net will have failed. There won't be any help. You won't nurture your way out of an assault. Most people who live in dodgy neighborhoods, work in crappy jobs with no rights, who are stuck in abusive relationships with no way out, or just generally deal with what they call the real world know this. That's because every act of violence is a societal failure. And when society fails, uncivilized behavior is the rule of the day.
There is an inherent classicism in the way portions of liberal ideology are expressed and applied. Gun control legislation is one example. The solutions offered for "gun violence" often as not sound as if they come from someone in a gated community sipping Merlot and sniffing at the crude heathens that can't solve their differences in a more genteel manner. It costs us elections. Here are some examples if you care to have a look.
Posted by rrneck | Sun Dec 16, 2012, 12:52 PM (1 replies)
people were buying a little over a million guns a month in this country, adding to a total of just over three hundred million guns. And they aren't all being bought by teabaggers. In fact, the last I heard the fastest growing segment of gun buyers by political affiliation was Democrats. There are certainly a whole bunch of moderates and centrists who are gun owners. The political realities simply won't allow banning guns, banning semi automatic guns, assault weapons or anything of the sort. It ain't gonna happen. And any political party that proposes such will be handed a one way bus ticket to the political wilderness. Here's why:
If you put a thousand people in a room and told them that three of them would be assaulted, raped, robbed or murdered in a week, five hundred of them would go out and buy a gun tomorrow. A gun has tremendous symbolic power. It is a last line of defense against any threat, real or imagined. People take their personal safety and the safety of those close to them more seriously than anything, and concerns about close threats (like assault) however unlikely, loom much larger than remote threats (global warming/banking crisis) that are more likely to occur. That's just how people think.
Add to that the symbolic power of guns in politics. Guns symbolize everything that is bad to Democrats and good to Republicans. Liberalism is a nurturing ideology. It is defined by the support of others in cooperation to make society work. Conservative ideology is authoritarian in nature and depends on the concept of self reliance. Now 99.9% of the time, nurturing and cooperation are the best way to organize a society. But if you get assaulted, try nurturing your way out of that. It will be just you and him, and self reliance is the name of the game. That's where the other ideology works best. And that's why Republicans idolize guns the way they do. It is a totem to their ideology. It's also why Democrats hate them so much, because guns are an anti totem.
That's why every time a Democrat cooks up an unworkable firearm regulation, it's just giving strength to conservative ideology and pushing those in the center to the right. Whatever law gets passed has to make sense in the real world, and workable firearms laws have been few and far between lately. That's because firearms laws are about as good as we can make them. We can only support people so much, but sometimes they will be left to their own devices no matter what we do. No matter how well or tightly you build a support net, there will always be a few lunatics who will step right through it and hurt somebody. And when they do, there won't be anybody to help you but you.
Posted by rrneck | Fri Dec 14, 2012, 08:25 PM (0 replies)
the inclusion of those terms would not be out of place.
But what would including them actually do? The TOS forbids porn as well. The debate about recognizing porn has raged on and off for decades, and it all depends on whether or not those who would eliminate it are able to accurately judge the emotional responses of others to certain images.
Yes, we know what what the words misogyny and sexism mean. Do we know it when we see it? If we want to recognize misogyny in the speech of others, we have to evaluate their intent. If we decide someone is using misogynistic language, we are evaluating how they feel about women. We are telling other people how they feel. Sometimes their feelings are easy to discern, other times it is not. And on an anonymous internet message board when two hundred words is a Russian novel, fine emotional distinctions are especially problematic.
The only way you can really understand someone is to actually interact with them. Creating increasingly specific restrictions on what may or may not be said is merely outsourcing the evaluative process to others. That's not fighting for yourself, it's demanding others winnow down who you interact with to avoid differences of opinion. Remember, the more you allow others to define the feelings of others for you, the more you allow them to define your own feelings.
Posted by rrneck | Thu Dec 6, 2012, 10:10 AM (1 replies)
And I can say with some authority that forcing cultural change by telling people how they are supposed to feel won't work. Cultural revolutions never end well. Anyone who tells you different is flattering you to get your money.
You know what works? This right here. Two people talking to each other. People actually working with people. When we see others through the lens of an ideology we dehumanize them. And we have to dehumanize people to brutalize them.
That's why a college course to teach people about "rape culture" merely enriches those who profit from the culture wars. But a course that teaches people about other people builds a culture worth having.
Fortunately, there are already any number of courses in college curricula that could fill the bill. We need to teach kids about the rights of women concerning their bodies and their role in procreation. That's biology. We need to teach kids about justice and human rights. That's ethics. We need to teach kids how to give life, and culture, meaning beyond mere subsistence and consumption. That's the arts.
And none of those courses has to depend on the canonization or victimization of a particular race, gender, faith or nationality to function. It's about people. That's our common ground, and that's what counts.
Posted by rrneck | Fri Nov 30, 2012, 03:14 PM (0 replies)
"many" and "some" are employed as rhetorical cover, the disdain for those who own guns is manifestly clear. DU is a tough room for gun owners because liberal conventional wisdom dictates that guns symbolize all that is bad about conservative ideology. That attitude has some merit. You can't argue that the members of the left stand in opposition to conservative ideology and its attendant totem and deny the disdain shown here for the owners of that totem. But it is unfair to judge others on their associations, especially if those associations are merely inanimate objects. That isn't even quality bigotry.
Thank you. I try to be reasonable and respectful. I don't always manage it. Sometimes I don't even try. I was a Scots-Irish Jack Daniels drinking gun owning farm boy tractor jockey sumbitch long before I got an MFA. And I still am. If I think somebody needs cussing, they'll get cussed. But rational discussion works best.
Posted by rrneck | Thu Nov 22, 2012, 09:53 PM (1 replies)
civil war reenactors rated somewhere below trekkies on the nerd index. That being said, the south still suffers from the effects of the Civil War and racism but not the way most people seem to think. The wounds of war take a long time to heal, especially when you're on the losing side both militarily and ideologically.
I lived most of my life in the south, but nowhere near there now. I live near (can't afford to live in it) an affluent, very liberal community surrounded by a more conservative region. While there is no real difference in the level of racism in the region, it's overshadowed by the classism of my "liberal" community.
The south is the poorest, most backward region in this country. But nobody living there deserves that fate any more than anybody living in any other region. Racism is not wrecking the south or the country in general. The real problem is the unrepentant classism on both sides of the political aisle. I expect such snobbery from conservatives and their deluded constituents clinging to the illusion of upper middle class status. But people claiming to be progressives should know better. And people who claim to understand politics would do well to not ignore a voting bloc whose ancestors, as I understand it, comprised the bulk of both the Continental army and the Confederacy.
The "redneck southern mindset" has less to do with racism than with an extreme distrust of aristocracy and elitism. They (we) are dirty, drunken, combative critters who don't give two dry shits in a bucket about what you say or what you own. The only thing that matters is what you do.
The south is about to find out how badly they have been betrayed by the Republican party. If Democrats are smart, they will put their money where their mouth is and do something to deserve the loyalty of a people who have been stirring up shit from the Mason Dixon line to Hadrian's Wall for the last two thousand years. One way or another, you will have to deal with them (us). Put up or shut up.
Posted by rrneck | Tue Nov 20, 2012, 01:08 PM (0 replies)
Properly insulting someone is a lot more complicated than simply flinging expletives at them. Like most human interactions, itís ridiculously complicated and arbitrary. There is really no right way or wrong way to hurt someoneís feelings, but there may be a few guidelines we might follow on the path to an ass whipping.
First of all, the recipient of the insult has to actually receive it. It wonít matter if you cuss the moron in front of you signaling a right turn for fifty miles if you do it in your car with the windows rolled up. He will never be properly chagrined for his stupidity unless you pull him over and make yourself heard. And even that might not work if he sticks his fingers in his ears and sings lalalalala with his car windows rolled up.
Better phone this one in.
Make sure you insult a specific person. If you try to insult a group of people, not only will they not know exactly who you are insulting, they will be in a herd and your invective will be dispersed among them, lost in their mutual solidarity. Remember, for most of human history a verbal assault preceded a physical assault, otherwise known as fighting words, and if you talk shit to a bunch of people they will instinctively know you are full of shit because they can stomp the shit out of you.
Who you calling a cow?
Next, the idiot you want to insult needs to understand the insult. Donít use some regional dialect, inside joke or esoteric reference that they may not comprehend. If the recipient is a stranger, you will be forced to use a fairly generic insult to be sure to get the message across. That means certain terms or gestures commonly understood to be insulting to human beings in general. Even then, whatever insult you choose will not be particularly hurtful because since you donít know them they have no reason to believe you are not some raving asshole with poor social skills. Of course if youíre insulting random strangers itís probably pretty likely youíre exactly that.
French is only dirty if itís done right.
Insults only become really effective if you at least share certain cultural commonalities with the insultee. If you know something about someoneís cultural background, you will know what they donít like to be called, with whom they donít like to associate and generally how they have been treated by the surrounding culture. Armed with that information, you can bring to bear not only your own animosity toward them, but the hate of possibly millions of others and the hate the recipient may have for them as well. Cultural animosity is very powerful and will give you a big leg up, and maybe even a foot broken off in your ass.
There has to be a better way.
The most effective insults are those designed around specific characteristics, hopes, fears, dreams, and regrets of someone you know well enough to be privy to that information. Thatís why those closest to us can hurt us the most Ė they know us well enough to know what will hurt us the worst.
You know how sensitive I am about size.
How to avoid insulting someone:
Reverse the above process. If you feel the need to fling invective about, try to make it as non specific as possible to those whose feelings you donít want to hurt. This requires some skill and understanding of the relationships people have to a given culture. If you want to insult a member of some other tribe, itís best if you donít use characteristics shared by members of your own tribe since they will obviously be insulted as well. Some members of your tribe will have suffered real hurt at the hands of the surrounding culture and they deserve to be spared a reminder of that hurt by someone who is supposed to be on their side. They donít want to listen to that shit, and they shouldnít have to. Some terms are like a hand grenade in a shithouse and itís best to not use them at all unless the members of your tribe deeply and clearly understand you and believe your frustration is directed exclusively at your mutual adversaries. Even then it wonít keep the shit off them, but at least maybe they wonít fling you into the crater left by the explosion.
A bad teapot for a tempest.
How to avoid being insulted:
The community we share exists in a bunch of boxes somewhere. It is almost completely divorced from reality. We are ersatz personalities, and our interactions are clouded by anonymity, brevity, bad grammar and auto complete software. Nobody really knows anybody. A single mouse click can send any malefactor into oblivion never to hurt you again. The most malicious epithet that can be offered is little more than background noise in a cacophony of stampeding hooves. If you want to stake out a chunk of turf that defines your hurt feelings, try to remember youíre doing so in the middle of a stampede. The larger the plot of umbrage, the more likely it will get trampled. We are like, five degrees of separation from actually knowing each other therefore any insult, since proximity and specificity are what make insults hurt, simply cannot be that bad.
And Kevin Bacon thinks youíre full of shit.
The truth is the insults we direct at others here at DU are really for our own entertainment. Ann Coulter will never know, or care, what we call her. We are all in the same car together yelling at her to turn off her goddamn right turn signal or get off the fucking highway.
It seems to me civil conversation, as a part of civilized behavior, doesnít depend on specific rules, customs, traditions or authorities. I think it depends on generosity. Just as we contribute part of our time, wealth, and energy to the common good, we contribute a measure of our patience and understanding to foster unity. Sometimes that contribution will go to those who we dislike or even to those who do not deserve it. But nevertheless, without generosity nothing can be accomplished and no progress made.
***And a big tip of the lynch lid to Cracked.com who
Posted by rrneck | Wed Oct 31, 2012, 06:09 PM (67 replies)