Monday, September 17, 2012

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority...'s time to pause and reflect.

Ah, Mark of my favorite notable quotables. I could go into a long list of awesome things he's said, but you can do that yourself on Google. There, I've made that even easier for you.

This is one of the quotes, I always smile at, but quickly worry about. I've always been an outsider and it's gotten to the point where I am comfortable being one. It's something I've always taken pride in. However, lately, I find myself with the opposite problem: I can't seem to feel comfortable in ANY group.

It has become second nature to me to always look at the opposite side of any given argument because after being shoveled bullshit for most of my life, that is how I find the truth. I often end up choosing the opposite side of what's popular, not because I get a kick out of being contrary, but because I do genuinely believe what is opposite of popular most of the time. I do sometimes play devil's advocate, or act contrary on purpose just to get people thinking or talking, but I am usually very candid about it. I'll preface with, "Just to play devil's advocate," or, "Just for fun, think of it this way," or, "What would you say to people who say the opposite?"

In other words, I'm rarely ever just trying to get someone's goat. I think only really stupid, immature people do that.....that is to say, there are lots of stupid immature people out there. If you don't believe me, go  on reddit some time.

...or Facebook.
...or twitter.
...or youtube.
...or anywhere else on the web where people can interact semi-anonymously.

Still, although I do argue candidly "for fun" at times, I find myself uncomfortable when I actually agree with a decent amount of people. This makes it difficult to maintain friendships, to continue social groups, to even start new social interactions, to vote, to make decisions, to commit to anything. It seems like whenever I just start to feel like, "Hey, these people are on the same page as me," I have to find some flaw in it.

When I was in Catholic school, I couldn't go along with Catholicism. When I was in high school, surrounded by Baptists who insisted Catholics were pagans, I found myself going along with Catholicism. When all the Baptist bullies finally left me alone about being Catholic, I decided that being pagan was what I "really" believed (I'm sure at the time I believed it, but whatever any teenager believes, even if it is deep within their core at the time, they're still teenagers and can only be taken so seriously). Then, when I got to college and met other pagans, I though, "Well, this is pretty gay," and went around as a general agnostic, one that didn't know there were groups for agnostics and atheists out there. Then, once I met a bunch of agnostics, I felt like they were just wankers who pretended to be intellectually superior but were actually just refusing to pick a side as an insurance policy (I still feel that way, btw). I am now pretty well committed to being an atheist...if one can commit to being nothing.

I've been reasonably active within the atheist community. I attend a monthly atheist meeting and organize a monthly atheist social. I've attended a few major atheist events including lectures, gatherings, convention tracks, and Reason Rally. I've met some really kind, intelligent, loving people with diverse interests that seem to accept me. 

...and there it goes again. I'm starting to feel uncomfortable. I'm starting to find the flaws. The main flaw I seem to keep noticing is that atheists are kind of a bunch of socially awkward cockmasters. They think they're superior to everyone, they think they're better educated than everyone, they think if they whip out terms they heard in debate class this one time, that they're smarter than everyone, they think they get to determine when a discussion or thought process is over, they think that everyone who isn't like them is a retard, worse, they use science in the same obnoxious way religious people use religion: as an excuse to be cunts.

"Herp, me man, you woman, science say me number one, me sleep with 500 women, but you no sleep with other men, you be mom, you like be mom, you do laundry now. Derp."

These things wouldn't be so bad if not for the socially awkward part. It would be one thing to disagree, but all terms of civility have been wiped out of discussion it seems. It's like people don't know how to talk to each other anymore. I don't believe this is a specifically atheist problem, but it seems to be magnified within the atheist community. I also don't want to give extra credit where it is undue. This could be a vocal minority of dingleberries. Most of the atheists I meet in person are nice to me (except for one particular local group that SEVERAL people I know quit because it was full of cockmasters).

There's probably some serious psychological shit going on with me, because it really is MY problem and not everybody else's, and yet I know it's not just me. I am not the only one to feel this way, to write about it, or to publicly discuss it. It's actually been quite the buzz within the atheist community over the past couple years, most notably with the statement, "Don't be a dick."

Sadly, the idea doesn't seem to stick....oh look, I'm a poet and I don't.......wanna be. 

I understand theists and general hippies that believe anything as long as it doesn't involve science-but-it-worked-for-these-three-guys-this-one-time-and-there-are-tons-of-books-about-it can be very annoying people. It's particularly annoying when they take these ignorant ideas to places like Congress or doctors' offices....but then there's everybody else. A very small percentage of Americans are medical professionals or lawmakers. Hell, a very small percentage of Americans are even voters. The number of religious/woowoo people and general retards directly affecting your personal life and freedom is quite small (not that the small amount of them shouldn't be smacked into shape immediately and constantly). On a personal level, mono e mono, there is no reason to treat people like they are less than you.

We all came to "reason" different ways. Some of us were raised in extremely religious households. Some of us thought we were psychic. Some of us had parents that raised us with reason. Some of us still cling to our religious lives even though we know it's an act. We're all at different places and it really hurts my heart to see people being so hateful to each other about it, particularly toward people that are on the same team! I get more hate mail from other atheists than from theists...and I've publicly said bad things about Islam.

People that aren't on your team still deserve respect and kindness. Just because some people are devoutly religious doesn't mean they will stay that way forever. Even if some people do, that doesn't mean they're uneducated assholes that are out to get you, to force you to believe what they believe, to force you to spend money on their beliefs, to change your textbooks, to come into your house and examine what positions you're having sex in, and to throw your condoms and birth control pills in the microwave while they're at it. 

So many atheists are fans of calling themselves "humanists," but seem to pick and choose who they treat as human. It's shameful, offensive, and not helpful to anybody!

Or maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm really wrong that people know how to treat each other well. Maybe I'm trying to shoehorn humanity into the image of goodness. Maybe people really are just a fat load of stupid pricks that are only out to serve themselves. Maybe that's why, every time I think I've found a group of folks that isn't, I am quickly disenchanted. Maybe it's time to pause and reflect.    

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Almost inspired to pray

I was ALMOST inspired to pray today. As I've mentioned before, I am a HUGE animal lover. I volunteer for the local Humane Society, I always advocate rescue when I can, I do my best to inform people I know about things like puppy mills and poor pet nutrition and I spend an inordinate time looking at, "Awwww," pictures on the web.

I was on my way home from a late night out with friends. I exited the interstate and turned on to my street. It's one of the busiest streets in my county, even late at night, but it's not very well lit. hen I saw a medium sized, black and tan dog standing LITERALLY IN THE MIDDLE of the road with traffic whizzing all around him, my heart nearly stopped. All I could do was honk my horn, flash  my brights hope with all my heart and mind that he would get out of the road. I could do little more than keep my fingers crossed that the vision of the driver in the lane next to mine worked well in the dark.

The dog had no collar and presumably no tag. I feel guilty for not picking him up, but there seemed to be no way for me to do so. Plus, I have no food for a dog and no way to take care of it until I am able to find the owner. Without tags, I'd inevitably have to take it to Animal Control, where he'd likely get put to sleep anyway. Apparently, Georgia law prohibits taking found animals to rescue groups without contacting Animal Control first. I didn't know what to do. I continue to hope of all hopes that other drivers are as observant and gracious as I am. I know most of them aren't and fear for this poor little creature is still haunting me.

I think any atheist that was brought up with any kind of religion has moments like these. Moments where hope isn't enough, moments of vulnerability that inspire a romantic memory of belief in prayer. Personally, I experience them often, even with things that might seem frivolous to the next person, such as hoping there will be no dog blood in the street. I do find myself missing that idea of, "God will take care of it," and, "If I pray really hard, the situation will come out for the best."

Unfortunately, even in those moments of vulnerability, when I wish I could believe, reality sets in. Supposing I did believe in God and his will and his plan, how would I know that the dog getting killed wouldn't just be "for the best?" Even those that "know" the power of prayer are doomed to admit that shit is going to happen. The only solace they have is that it's "for a reason.," which, admittedly, is a nicer thought than, "Because the universe is a cunt sometimes." 

For this, even while rolling my eyes, feeling my skin crawl ever so slightly, and wishing they had something more intelligent and insightful to say, and even knowing they probably won't even really do it, I can't be too harsh on anyone that tells me they're praying for me.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Ranting Redhead Radio, Episode I

Thank you everybody for making my first installment of Ranting Redhead Radio on Aug 7 a success. Of course, if you missed it, it's available here, but more specifically, here.

Unfortunately, due to a miscommunication, the next show will not air until September. The first issue was a sneak peek to be tested out for marketability. Well, guess what, it was pretty awesome. :D So, new episodes will be airing biweekly starting in September.

If anyone has any questions, comments, things they'd like discussed on the air, please don't hesitate to contact me. You can always leave a comment below, like my Facebook page, follow me and tag me on twitter, or, you can use good ol' fashioned email.

Anything you say can and will be used against you on the air, so fair warning. >:D

The next installment will include the following topics:

Chick Fil A

10 Things Pissing Me Off

Tolerance vs Acceptance

History Lesson:
Marie Curie

Charity Spotlight:
Drop Dead Gorgeous, a charity that uses the entertainment industry to raise awareness about childhood sex trafficking.

I will give everybody an updated show date when we are nearer to the time. There are station scheduling factors to consider, but it will be in early September.

One last memo: We are seeking sponsors! If atheism, feminism, rant-ism, redhead-ism, etc., are your things and you want to keep this cute redhead ranting, consider sponsoring!

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Chick-Fil-A Hate

I am pro-LGBT. I am pro-freedom. I am pro-do-whatever-you-want-without-physically-harming-others-because-it's-your-body-and-your-life....and that's why I'm a little really effin sick of the idea that everyone who's ever dared eat a Chick-fil-a sandwich is an evil fuckoff that should be ashamed of themselves.

It's not that I particularly like Chick-Fil-A. It's also not that I support the anti-LGBT, anti-feminist agenda, pro-Christian agenda they have. It's also not that I think that people should keep patronizing that place if they have a problem with Chick-Fil-A's "values." It's about being honest. Let's all be REALLY honest with ourselves here. 

Where are most of your clothes made? 
Who provides all the gas you buy? 
Where do you buy most of your food? 
Do you buy produce? 

Yet, you won't hear me accusing anyone of "supporting" child labor, genocide, or slavery and trying to make them feel guilty or ashamed. So, let's not act like anyone who's given money to a place that has bad morals is also an immoral person....because if that's the case, then every last one of us is a blood-soaked predator and have no right to point to the teeth of others. Don't eat at CFA if you don't like it. Don't judge others that do.

Besides, where your money is most likely going is into the pocket of some hard working American who busts their ass off to provide for themselves or their families. Payroll usually comes out of the corporate budget before the Smear-the-Queer money does. Just sayin.....

I don't know if *I* will ever eat there again because of their agenda, but I'm certainly not going to be completely butthurt if others do. 

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

More death

As I deal with the remnants of my uncle's recent death, I can't help but worry my father might not be far behind. He's

My dad had double bypass surgery last year. At first, he improved his attitude about life and eating and exercise, but like with any supposed revelation, the effects were purely transitory. He quickly went back to his old habits of eating and drinking as much as he wanted, as often as he wanted.

If I believed in signs from God, I would say when he contracted an extremely rare, extremely potent form of food poisoning in the summer of that same year that landed him in the hospital numerous times over the course of five months, often because he couldn't even keep water down, that it was a sign from God. A sign that said, "Hey, stupid, quit eatin' so goddamn much! I already saved your ass once this year and if you're not going to start losing weight, exercising, and taking care of yourself, then fine, I'll help you this one last time, but you're not going to like it."

Naturally, since he could barely eat anything for months, he lost tons of weight but, for the first time in at least two decades, he was at a healthy weight. Once the bacteria and its effects finally worked their way out, it was the new year, a clean slate. Of course, rather than keeping the slate clean, he filthied it with grease and alcohol.

My uncle first ended up in the hospital in January. For months, the prospects were still hopeful. In March, my parents went to Detroit to visit and to try to look after some of his business. They stayed with Margaret, my mom's childhood best friend. A few short months later, my uncle passed away. 

In June, when we prepared the memorial, the family again stayed with Margaret. My mother and I stayed a while longer than my dad and my sister. One evening while my mom, Margaret and I were chit chatting, my mom brought up my dad's awful health. She mentioned how he can't stop eating and drinking and in fact, those are the only two activities he seems to enjoy.

Margaret, who has a heart of gold and would never intentionally say anything harmful, remarked, "Yeah, he looked pretty chubby when he was here. He looked pretty good last time but he's put on a ton of weight since then."

It turns out, in three months' time, he had gained between 30 and 40 lbs.

Although raised as a true Catholic, when the majority of the damage was done, my father is not particularly religious. Yet, he clings to the faith that there is some governing force out there, that there is justice in the universe, that if he suffers enough by "doing the right thing," in the end, he will be somehow rewarded. As always with the victims of religion, he refuses to see when he's doing the wrong thing, and has no problem idly waiting to be rescued. 

In one way, I believe this attachment to religion has preserved him because he knows that, by the laws of the church, if he were to commit suicide, he would surely end up in hell. Instead, the attachment to religion is killing him slowly and painfully. While almost all religions have a principle that suicide is the highest of sins, one so offensive that it sends the spirit instantly to Hell without passing GO to collect his $200, there is no specific clause about reckless endangerment. It seems he has a plan of eating and drinking whatever he wants, overworking himself, over stressing himself, failing to relax for even a moment, and never bothering to move his body other than say, from his bed to the shower, from the shower to the toilet, from the toilet to the closet, from the closet to the car, from the car to the desk, from the desk to the car, from the car to the couch, from the couch to the bed. In other words, no exercise whatsoever.

Not surprisingly, this pseudo-hedonistic lifestyle has landed him at the doctor's office numerous times, each time with a set of numerous medications, each medication with a set of numerous side effects. Naturally, as the faithful are apt to do, he doesn't blame his lifestyle on this new set of side effects. It's, "the medication making me sick." Of course, he remains blind to the warning labels of the medication, most specifically, the warning labels about alcohol consumption, then lashes out with derision against the family doctor and how he's, "trying to kill me."

I understand his pain. He has had a painfully disappointing life. Nothing in his life has worked out the way he had struggled and planned, scrimped and saved for. I also can't help but wonder if all of his self inflicted suffering is a subconscious and constant punishment for making the "wrong" decision at a vital time in his career. He worked in the IT department at Ford Motor Company and when Ford dissolved the department, he could choose a path in the auto industry or a path in the IT industry. He opted for autos and we all know how that story goes.

In any case, I can't shake the hope that if he would let go of God or karma or any attachment to "spirituality" and afterlife, that he would commit himself to a better life. I would hope he would realize that he only has a short time left and when it's gone, it's gone. I would hope he would cherish his last, remaining, autumn years and would go the extra mile to get a few extra laps around the track. I would hope that he'd understand his family's love may be all that's there for him, but that it's a precious gift worth savoring every moment of.

Instead, as stubbornness runs high in the family genes, he will insist that his falsely hedonistic, yet incredibly masochistic lifestyle is The Way to go. Thanks, Catholicism, for fucking up my life, yet again.

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Why atheists will never unite

In a sentence, we're too busy getting high off sniffing our own farts. Atheists think we have a monopoly on intellect. We think that we are superior to folks who can't or won't or haven't yet let go of irrational thoughts. We think that anyone who isn't like us is obviously just a moron and not worthy of respect, and may be worthy of hatred and ridicule. We think people's experiences and perspectives are only worth something if they concur with something that happened in a laboratory.

What a bunch of pricks we are.

Of course, we soothe ourselves to sleep as we swallow a philosophical placebo of "freedom." We tell ourselves, only people that agree with us can be truly free because people who have faith in irrational things are slaves. Since slavery is abominable, we fancy ourselves as freedom fighters, crusaders for rational thought and intellect. We tell ourselves that the end justifies the means, so even if we acted like pricks high on our own farts, it's all for the greater good of the world. In this way, we absolve ourselves of our sins yet we don't realize that we've enslaved ourselves in that mindset.

The mindset of, "I am right, you are wrong and I get to judge and mock you for it. We will never be friends and I will never respect you because you're obviously too stupid to be worthy of my friendship and respect," might as well be concrete walls and metal bars. We're removing ourselves from the majority of society, forming our own little gangs, and making shivs out of scraps of what we think is wisdom.

Then, just like herpes, our overinflated sense of superiority spread to other areas. What started with non-faith has migrated to politics. Because we're used to thinking alike when it comes to non-faith, we're shocked to learn that not every atheist thinks alike. Not every atheist supports the same cause. Not every atheist is a liberal. Not every atheist supports abortion. Not every atheist supports healthcare. Not every atheist is against circumcision. 

It angers and confuses us, so we fight each other, because we've all convinced ourselves we're right and infallible, and anyone who dares question that is worthy of a hearty stabbing or two. So, the liberal atheist gang attacks the libertarian atheist gang. The libertarian atheist gang attacks the communist atheist gang. The communist atheist gang attacks the socialist atheist gang. Meanwhile, the one, lone republican atheist cowers in the back corner of his cell, fearing he will be outed as a right winger and that all of the gangs will unite and slaughter him unmercifully....and he's probably right.

Yet, somehow, even with all this internal conflict, we seem to think we can go to battle as a small herd of wounded cats and claim victory over 80% of the global population. Then we wonder why we make no headway and why religious folks think we're all angry, crazy, hateful, and dangerous, but not so dangerous that we have too much of an effect on things. Sure, one or two of us might bitch about a prayer banner hanging in a public school or make a controversial billboard, but, eh....who cares? We're all going to rot in hell anyway.

While Christians hypnotize themselves into believing think they have a monopoly on compassion, forgiveness, and cute little quote books, atheists should be perfectly capable of espousing those ideas. Yet, so often we don't. We quote their book and say, "Judge not, lest ye be judged," to them, just highlight their hypocrisy, but then we quickly turn around and abandon the principle when it comes to ourselves. Worse, we do it to each other.

There aren't a lot of us in the world, at least not that are "out of the closet," yet, we don't stick together. As much as we want to stroke ourselves saying it's okay to be different, we afford the right to be different only to ourselves, which breaks us up into smaller and smaller gangs and causes more and more dispersion. We scattered ourselves about the earth, and because of our self-proclaimed "enlightenment," there we shall remain, with closed minds and closed hearts.

But, hey, look on the bright side. At least we know we're always right.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Germany outlaws circumcision. Is this a victory?

According to this story, German courts have banned infant circumcision because the, "fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighed the fundamental rights of the parents." The procedure has not been completely banned in the country. Boys may decide for themselves later in life if they want to have the procedure done. It also can still be performed if deemed medically necessary.

While, to most atheists, and anyone with a heart and mind of their own, this should seem like a victory over religious barbarism. Unfortunately, we all know just how deeply religion has its diseased talons buried into people and just how infections that disease is as it courses through their veins. There is a sad amount of evidence from other situations that many people are willing to go beyond the law to preserve the cruelty of their faith.

Consider female genital mutilation, which is illegal in the United Kingdom. However, every year hundreds of British girls are genitally mutilated. How do they get around it? Travel or duck. During long school holidays, parents are known to send their girls off to places where the procedure is legal.

What's that, sweety? You want a pony for your birthday? Ok, but he'll have to be made of cotton!

What's to stop parents from doing the same to boys? Worse, since male circumcision can still be performed when a boy has "decided on his own" that he "wants" it done, what's to stop families and communities from pressuring boys into it? There are hundreds of ways to brainwash people into doing crazy things with a few simple tricks. Just like with female genital mutilation, advocates will manipulate scientific data to claim circumcised people are healthier, more sane, do better in school, are more sexually appealing, have MORE sexual arousal, are cleaner, etc., etc. until they have you believing you'd be cruel to deny a child all of these advantages in life.

By the way, at what point is a boy legally and developmentally old enough to decide he wants his cock chopped up?

There is no way that passing a simple law will protect victims from this act barbarism. It will just go into the back alleys and become even more dangerous and damaging. While it is still important to fight against this unnecessary act of cruelty, it must be done by information and not by force. Just like with anything else in life, if you want to influence someone, you have to make them think your idea was theirs all along. Beating them over the head with it usually makes them resist twice as hard. While, as a controversial and provocative topic, it's hard for many of us not to resort to head bashing when we discuss our thoughts on genital mutilation with others, as Maya Angelou said, "People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

On the bright side, since circumcision will still be legal for medical reasons, in order to keep cutting, people will be lining up to admit that religion is a mental illness. Pin It