Tag Archives: community

The Masses

7 Oct

I was going to post something else today, something more personally relevant about recent events in my life. However, this thought process seemed more communally relevant.

If any of you are huge internet nerds like myself you may be aware of the sexual abuse cacophony happening on YouTube. That community is up in arms around the actions of a handful of it’s members, and rightly so. There are some wonderful discussions around consent and a person’s right to not be put in a situation where their voice is not taken into account. It is a much needed discussion and I hope that it remains uplifting and useful.

What haunts my brain space today is the power of the communal mentality and how easy it is to be pulled into that righteous anger and act out without taking the time to make sure the people you are acting out against have truly committed the crimes we are hanging them for. Especially around such a not black-and-white issue, despite what many of us want to believe.

I am not saying consent is not every person’s right. What I am saying is that it is not always easily communicated. In a perfect world a discussion would be had by both parties, soberly, before engaging in any physical acts. How many of us have ever been in a situation that has not happened? I would venture all of us (who have engaged in those behaviors). I have probably been on both sides of the consent coin. The drunk girl at the party who sincerely regretted having slept with that person I only sort of wanted to touch me in the ways I let them, and that sexually audacious person who tried talking someone into bed with me (disclaimer: no I am not a predator).

While I could go on forever about that, again not what I want to address here. My focus is more around how we as a community react to injustice, or the perception of injustice. An event happens, it is legitimated, we get angry on the behalf of the victims and rise up to overthrow the perpetrator and stand against their actions. As the situation progresses, it is discovered the injustice was not committed by one individual, but several. Stories come of the woodwork, some true, some not, and the community’s rage grows and they begin lashing out at every name that is brought before them. It is called the mob mentality where we become part of something and continue to perpetuate the actions of the group without really analyzing if what we are supporting is truth or propaganda. It is in our nature, it is who we are as humans for many reasons.

My challenge is that if we are going to condemn someone, we do it with thoughtful intent and substantiation.

I only recently started to really look into where this YouTube uprising was coming from. I am not in a position to support or condemn any individual, but I will say there are some cases that are pretty clear and evidence based, where there are others that are less obvious. Specifically, and again I am not putting my feet on one side of the line or the other, I was watching this morning the most recent videos from Alex Day who I had for a long time been an avid admirer. He made a video in an effort to explain himself and formally say he, despite his many mistakes, did not see himself as the monster the community has made him into. I browsed the comments briefly and saw a lot of people saying he should never make videos again, remove himself from this medium that he had been such a participant in and basically disappear.

They want to take away his voice. To me, this seems, regardless of whether he is guilty or not, a harsh and unjust reaction. In my mind, everyone has a right to speak, to defend themselves, to be heard. Perhaps others may not want to listen, and that is their right as well, but they can shut their ears. It is not an individual’s right to take the voice of someone else simply because they don’t like what that person is saying.

I don’t know where my allegiances will fall when is all is said and done, but regardless of who I support and who I don’t, I will always look to my personal belief in basic human rights. I will look at others with the compassion and patience that I strive to have at the core of my own humanity. I will listen and observe and move forward based on my own understanding, not the passionate outrage of the masses.

I can only hope others can find it in themselves to do the same.

Surviving the Storm

9 Feb

If you live in the North East corner of the states, you are probably still huddled in your house, hopefully with power, eating the remnants of your emergency snacks. We had a good old fashion blizzard last night and there is over two feet of snow covering the ground outside. When I get over being bitter I have been stranded in a stranger’s house for almost 24 hours, I can at least be thankful I am warm, cuddled under blankets to watch a “Game of Thrones” marathon, and able to look out the window and see the beauty in the mess.

I don’t remember the last time I saw this much snow on the ground. It makes me thankful I’m moving to the desert even more than before. It also makes me long for the days when this made me excited instead of cranky. When a fresh layer of snow meant sledding and snowmen, instead of shovels and scraping off my car. I don’t even remember the last time I owned snow pants. There is something to be said about the hardiness of NElanders though. We know how to survive and we have a sense of community based on a shared misery.

I finally escaped shortly after starting this post and made it home to my own apartment. I think the thing that impresses me the most is the resilience of the human race. Not just because of the snow, but because of who we are as a whole. We conquer the nastiness of the world on a daily basis and still manage to find a smile even when the tempest is raging at our doors. We can face the storm (literal and figurative), survive, and find a way to enjoy it when we put our minds to it and I love that more than anything. That is where my positivity comes from. That is the reason I have faith in the world around me. It’s exhilarating and affirming, and makes it impossible for me to give up on the human race.

I feel like there was a lot more I wanted to say but I’d rather go make another blanket fort and spend the night watching movies with my bottle of wine.

Ideally he will love football

9 Aug

Tonight is the first game of the Patriots 2012 season. Granted it is still preseason and the games don’t really count, but this is better than drugs. The hype, the sense of community, the adrenaline, all culminating in a few hours of pure ecstasy. I LOVE football season!!

LP and I share this passion and tonight mid-game, we were discussing how much the men in our lives tend just not to get it. Do you find this as surprising as I do, because really, I always assumed it would be the other way around. Alas, when I tell a guy I’m interested in just how into this sport I am, he always brushes it off and then mid-season complains about how anal I become about my weekly ritual.

“Why do you have to watch EVERY week?” “Why are you upset, we’re only 15 minutes late?” “I seriously can’t talk to you until the commercial?” “Really??”

Theory: So many girls have feigned enthusiasm to impress men that the rest of us are now less believable.

On the list of characteristics a future mate must have officially includes one who loves fucking football as much if not more than I do. I’m talking battling teams in a fantasy league, religiously watching every single game beer in hand, and debating who will be Brady’s chosen receiver that week. No wishy washy, take it or leave it attitudes.

That is all.