Monday, November 25, 2013

Christmas Wars

     There used to be a tacit agreement that people didn't turn on their outdoor Christmas lights until at least the day after Thanksgiving.  And Black Friday used to start on a Friday.  Not so anymore. 

     Ever since "The War On Christmas" was declared, I began to wonder if there really was such an assault going on in the Untied States [spelling error on purpose].  My personal conclusion is that any wars on Christmas don't exist here.

     If someone wishes me a "Bless-ed Christmas" or says "God bless you" to me after a healthy sneeze, my personhood is not diminished.  If a store clerk or associate is directed to say "Merry Christmas" to me, I do not feel personally assaulted. 

     There is no war on Christmas here.  There are heated disagreements over the part that religion should play in the public forum and in public schools.  Those who don't like what is happening in our public schools should lobby to change the Lemon Test.  Or better yet, homeschool their children or send their children to a non-public school of their choice.

radical sapphoq says: Disagreement over these things should not be an attack on others or differing beliefs and opinions.  If we cannot hold a rational discourse over the stuff that separates us, how are we ever going to find what unites us? 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Even the Landscape has Changed

     I am aging.  No doubt about that.  I have lived long enough to have gained a whole new vocabulary.  Here is a partial and highly incomplete list of words which at one time were rare or unknown (or their meanings have been added to and altered):

fuck you, N.S.A.
Open Source or G.T.F.O.
spell check
cypherpunk, nerd, geek, techie 
troll, sock, sock puppet
fluffy bunny, witch wars, big meanie poo-poo heads
blue screen (of death)
famefags, egofags, leaderfags

     I was hunting through one of my collections of links and I started to reflect on these things.  The Interwebz has caused a profound alteration in the landscape of daily living.  From the rabid shopper who can "charge it" via the computer screen to the heart patient with arrhythmia whose cardiac specialist can now check on "what's happening" via a modem link and telephone wire to the copyright monopolists who have virtually killed fair use through the prodigious use of lawsuits and court orders, there is no innocence left.

     The innocence that I used to have the privilege of dwelling in fled in terror as I became more and more proficient in the use of my computer.  Suddenly, I was plugged in.  With a click of the mouse, I navigated my way across news sites and tech articles.  I could read fanfic, check out art exhibits, find a meet-up.  I found to my horror that genocide is a modern occurrence.  I discovered people who were like me with similar interests. 

     Having the computer and skating the Net soon wasn't enough.  I learned some digital art skills [which translated into an ability to edit professional photographs and many other things], traveled about and met some of my blogging buddies, picked up bits of coding, started defining the causes I wanted to fight for. 

     A strange thing occurred.  The causes that I started taking action on began to define me.  The stories and the struggles of others left their mark.  My anger became directed.  I was angry [and am angry] at the politicians who do not get what "transparency in government" means, the politicians who want to dictate laws governing human behavior based on their personally held religious convictions, the politicians who lied about things.  I was angry [and am angry] at the organizations that wish to collect our data, interfere in our lives, and offer false reassurances that we must sacrifice some measure of privacy in order to obtain some measure of safety as they define it.  The rallying cry of "All for one and one for all!" does not imply that we must blend in and conform like chocolate chip cookie dough facing a hot oven.  I know that.  But the people and places that are on my shit list do not appear to know that.

     So has the radical grown up?  No.  I think it's more that the radical has awakened from a deep and treacherous sleep.  The train has derailed and sprouted wings.   

radical sapphoq says:  Freeware has replaced free love.   

a few links just because