February 27, 2012

Chill Out

I do not usually involve myself with politics and bureaucracies, but they have a way of creeping into every facet of human experience in an almost parasitic manner. Even in my own profession of software engineering I have to deal with pointless language wars, followed by people being pissed off that I called them pointless. Well then, let me be perfectly clear here: Language wars are pointless. You know what else is pointless? Racism is pointless, sexism is pointless, rape culture is pointless, homophobia is pointless, religious dogma is pointless, and pretty much every single topic in modern politics is pointless, either by virtue of simply being ridiculous or by completely missing the point.

What bothers me about homophobia is twofold. One, obviously, is that it involves a religious person telling two people they can't fall in love with each other because whatever god they happen to worship says so, as if they actually have the authority to tell two adults what to do. If those two adults choose to go to hell, your own goddamn bible says you're supposed to be nice to them anyway. But what's really disturbing is the fact that anyone even gives a shit about any of this. A dude wants to marry a dude, and this supposedly destroys the sanctity of marriage. I think you people are a tad bit sheltered, because there are teenage girls being sold into slavery, in a sex-trafficking ring, in America. I think, just maybe, you need to chill out, because being sold into slavery seems a lot worse than two guys kissing.

Then we have people who don't believe in woman's rights, or are still opposed to inter-racial marriage, as accounted by Kevin Roose in his book "The Unlikely Disciple". These people actually care about trying to restrict woman from working or stopping inter-racial marriage. We have people campaigning against contraception and abortions at the same time without thinking about the difference between being right and being pragmatic. What about kids dying of thirst in Africa? What about the tyrannical despots still in control of various middle-eastern nations? What about China's one-child policy? What about malaria epidemics in South America?

What happened to all the hard problems?

Why would anyone even care about burning a book? And why would some people proceed to laugh at the Taliban for doing that and then get pissed off about gay marriage? Do they simply not understand what being a hypocrite means? Why is it that the word "sheeple", once used only by conspiracy theorist lunatics, now seems to describe Americans with disturbing accuracy? Has Facebook so changed our lives that we are now too incensed about a bunch of completely irrelevant topics that we forget about doing anything that actually has meaning? Have we ever actually cared about things that really matter?

In the late 1960s, America had a purpose (so did Russia). It is sad that we apparently require a war that threatens our livelihood to get us to think logically for 5 seconds, and even then this was in the middle of the civil rights movement - so even in our one moment of glory, we were still being assholes. Now America is so powerful it faces no existential threat, and has predictably devolved into a bunch of bickering toddlers (who are still assholes).

The future has not turned into 1984, nor does it involve flying cars. Instead, it is a strange amalgamation of realities, fused into a giant mess we call modern life. Facebook is still dependent on a 40 year old internet backbone. 95% of all modern software is crap and inherently dependent on code written several decades ago. We haven't solved world hunger, or moved to electronic credits, or colonized the moon, or hell even gotten back to the moon at all. We're too busy arguing about celebrities and gay marriage and religious books and a whole bunch of meaningless crap. We have failed to give our kids any sort of perspective, or priority. People do not understand the importance of compromise and instead criticize our president for trying to get things done. We seriously complain about our president doing exactly what politicians are supposed to do - compromise! We argue about teaching evolution in school, we argue about being forced to give girls Plan B!


If a little girl was dying of thirst, would you ask her if she was a lesbian before giving her a drink?

One would hope that, in a distant future, while humanity will inevitably still bicker about silly things, we would at least know that ensuring reasonable quality of life for fellow sentient beings and trying to make our world (or solar system, at that point) a better place trumps silly arguments like why people are still using C++, or whose god has a bigger dick.

I'm not very optimistic.

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