A Darker Figure #70: Sociopolitical Corner and 13 Reasons Why
Welcome to A Darker Figure #70. It's going to be hot as fuck this weekend folks. I am not looking forward to it, but maybe that will give me a chance to plow through the rest of Cosey's book Art Sex Music (which continues to be very good.)
I am in the early stages of Operation Get Good and limiting my food portions, jogging at least twice a week (should be three times, but it has been a long and weird week,) and skipping most deserts. It is not great, but definitely required. I am deathly afraid of sleep apnea and have been showing some signs. But! According to Sophie I am snoring a whole lot less and I am starting to feel a big more rested when I sleep - which is kind of too early to tell, but a good sign.
Some things coming up:
- There is a new episode of Talking to Ghosts up with the Washington, D.C. band Technophobia that was super fun
- We have a The Blood of Others open practice this Monday at The Lovecraft Bar from 8-10pm
- The Blood of Others in Seattle 7/7/717 at The Highline Bar
- Pharmakon is coming to town next month and I am super excited for it!
My friend Wes said something recently in a political discussion about atheism that really stuck with me:
"I want to convince them that allowing a power structure to shit on the marginalized doesn't serve their idea of a post-religious world."
There are a lot of hot takes out there when it comes to politics and religion. There was a scene in the final episode of the first season of The Handmaid's Tale that, unsurprisingly, was a good example of what I fear happens in a closed off room full of men, deciding fate. A member of their political party was adulterous and went beyond the normal government approved version of rape with his handmaid, so he had to stand up in front of a group of peers and tell his version of the story, admitting to god that he was a sinner. They decided that his sins were different from their sins and couldn't let him go unpunished. But the whole thing reeked of religious language and bias-blindness. It made me wonder how many times in the recent months, when discussing something extremely important to people's livelihood (like abortion, or planned parenthood funding), the discussion centered around a religious point of view. Religion is a frustrating part of people's doctrines and moral codes that I think should be left out of a political discussion as much as possible because it tends to ignore the real life impacts of the people in marginalized classes. I think that Wes hit it exactly in his quote above because a lot of atheists fall into a similar, scary trap. Putting anti-religion above the heart of the issues. Basically doing things just to be opposed to religion and not taking into account that they are completely othering people.
It is a little heartening to see that people are taking action against this healthcare vote. Oregon's senators are pretty solid and have said that they will do everything they can to delay and oppose the vote, which is great, but it has honestly made me a little complacent - which I know is bad and I hate it too. Jeff Merkley's office sent out an online form that allowed you to share your healthcare story and have it included like a phone call in the stats, which I thought was a really good idea. I have only called a government office twice - both this year - and I find is stressful. I also feel that everyone around is like "yeah dude, we think that too," about most of the things that I care about politically. I think that is the problem though, everyone thinks that and they are only half right. Not everyone knows about some of the issues, or how it will really impact those around them. It is super easy to say: well, I have a decent job and decent healthcare, and might be able to afford it even if the system is fucked up and I have to get private healthcare outside of the government system. But it's not about you (or me) right now. It's about those who can't afford it and will be extremely impacted. Scary stuff.
13 Reasons Why hot take corner:
I thought the show was great! I understand the controversy surrounding the plot, but I think that a lot of those people didn't finish the show and watch the Beyond The Reason episode after the show ended season 1. It was an extremely sad show that had a lot of good points in it. I was talking with my friend Esme about it and we went down a lot of weird personal stories about high school and bullying. In the Beyond The Reason episode child psychologist Rhonda Hu made a good point about cyber bullying that I liked. Parents now have a hard time understanding cyber bullying because it is so different from when they were bullied in school. Before social media became a staple of everyday living, bullying would stay where it happened (at school, or at the bus stop, or in the local part, etc) and then you would go home and have a haven to protect you from it and you would be able to escape it. But cyber bullying, because social media is so prevalent and such a big part of modern communication, bullying follows you everywhere. At school, at home, in the bathroom. The internet is instant and forever.
People are super worried that their kids will kill themselves now "because of the show," but I think the opposite is true. I think that kids were always going to kill themselves and now you just know about it. Pay attention to your kids, if you have them. Get them help whether they want it or not. I went to mandatory therapy in high school (after some writing about suicide and death was found by a teacher) and it was the best. I had a really good therapist. Really good. She eventually left and I stopped going to therapy because the two therapists afterwards were terrible at their jobs. But that first year or so of therapy was deeply impactful in the way that I see the world now. It was mandatory and I didn't always want to be there, but it did help at the time.
I am pretty anti-modern-therapy because I think people depend too heavily on it and I don't trust that people have the right intentions when assigning medication, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it wasn't impactful in my life. So if you need therapy and have been putting it off, I would suggest seeing a psychologist not a psychiatrist. But definitely see someone. There are also independent companies in Portland like Wise Counsel and Comfort that will work with you on a sliding payment scale, and have a lot of good resources on their website for self help.
Personally, I suggest getting super into Sociology and Philosophy instead. Be wary of course, especially of dated philosophies, but make them your own instead! Or go see the band Pleasure Curses play live. If that doesn't make you bounce around and happy, then you definitely need some help. Those dudes are fun as hell to watch perform.