Unpopular Opinions: “Spanking” Your Kids

When you lay your hands a child, you are a child abuser. This includes your own child, and your own child’s ass. A closed fist in the face and an open palm on the bare ass are both abuse. I honestly cannot see why people make a distinction between the two. If a stranger came up to you, pulled your underwear down, and hit you repeatedly on the ass, you would feel that you were just assaulted (and probably molested). So… why is it okay to do it to a child? Your OWN child, no less? I just can’t make sense of it. I remember being spanked as a kid, and all I can really recall of it was the incredible fear and the incredible pain. Some people say “Well it works, and my parents did it to me and I turned out fine,” and what have you, but has anyone considered that we live in a culture of extreme violence, in which people abuse and kill one another on a daily basis? Where did they learn that violence? Television? Video games? Or maybe it was their own parents, who are supposed to love and protect them, whipping their pants off, exposing them and beating them on their ass.

Why do people draw a distinction between “spanking” and “beating”? Your kid is emotionally wounded and scarred by either. And if you grew up getting spanked like I did and you think it didn’t harm you at all, consider your own insecurities, your own fears, and evaluate if you think being beaten as a child because you did normal childish things has anything to do with it. I can’t believe that we live in a world now where a person can go out in public and grab a stranger’s child and beat them on their butt with their belt, and that’s considered a crime that they can be punished for, but they do it at home to their own “beloved” child and even boast about it to other people, and it’s considered “good parenting.”

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Why Fire Emblem: Awakening’s Hetero-Only Marriage System Isn’t As Homophobic As You Think (But It Kind Of Is)

Hubba

I finally got a hold of Fire Emblem: Awakening and it’s been great fun so far. One of the coolest newer features is the upgraded Support system, in which units that are positioned next to one another in battle grow closer and build friendships/relationships. In Awakening, you can also marry characters who have reached the highest level compatibility rating. This doesn’t, however, include people of the same gender.

On first glance this seems like the typical exclusion of gay people from video games that we’re all used to. However, there is a feature in this game called the “Hubba Tester” that basically rates how compatible any two units are, and it includes (and frankly seems to mostly favor) units of the same gender. For instance, if you want to see how the player character Robin and the hero Chrom are getting along, it might have little green friendly arrows pointing from one to the other with a brief feeling attached to each like “Relaxed Around” and “Best Friend,” or it may be two pink arrows covered in hearts with descriptions like “First Love” or even “Loins Afire,” and this happens just as often for gay pairings as it does for straight pairings. Old Hubba even adds a comment after every reading and openly condones the homosexual behavior, pointing out how it’s getting hot in here if two girls are in love, or saying “Whatever floats yer boat” or “I’m not here to judge” for two guys. And this isn’t just pre-programmed dialogue that works for any two couples, there are specific things he says for male-male couples and female-female couples, and the game DOES exclude certain relationships, like those between brother and sister.

It’s not perfect. And yes, I would really, really like the ability to marry some of the characters to other characters of the same gender. But without giving away too much of the story, suffice it to say that for storyline purposes, married couples need to be able to breed and produce a kid who inherits their stats and abilities, and even I think it would get a bit complicated if you had to find a third-person Fire Emblem surrogate. I’m not saying that it isn’t unfair that gay pairings can’t get married in this game, I’m just saying that this aspect of the game seems to be getting bad press from certain bloggers, with one even suggesting that because the game only allows coupled that can breed to marry, it implies that relationships exist only for procreation in the view of the Fire Emblem creators. I highly doubt that. Now, I think it would have been a great and fair thing to allow anyone to marry anyone, but only those that can breed to have children, but I haven’t even reached the point in the game that involves children, so I don’t know how it’s supposed to work entirely.

At any rate, the fact that the programmers of Fire Emblem: Awakening specifically programmed the love-tester to measure romance between people of any gender, and programmed them with support conversations that are actually somewhat homoerotic but still left up to interpretation (try Miriel and Sully and see what happens) shows that they weren’t entirely ignoring the gay community or the idea that their characters might be gay. While nothing explicitly homosexual ever happens in the game, and gay couples can’t marry even in a fantasy world, I have to admit it’s still fun to see which boys are into each other.

Loins Afire

Animal Love

I found this video on YouTube of this 8th grade kid talking about his day at school and how he admires this gay couple at his school and about how hard it is to be gay when you’re in middle school. Well, some (presumable) adult was fucking picking on him and telling him that they raised their kids better and that he’s a queer and a dissapointment to his parents, and oh my god I flipped my shit. I’m so disgusted and appalled and sickened that a fucking grown-up would come on the internet and harass an eighth grade kid. It’s fucking disgusting, and it really makes me hate this fucking world we live in so much, and feel so sorry for the people who are brave enough to be themselves and even if they’re KIDS, they’re treated like shit for it.

THIS is why I can’t stand our culture. THIS is why I HATE Christianity. This is what’s fucking wrong with everything, these disgusting narrow-minded, backwards attitudes from people who are so insecure and small and weak that they have to pick on children and thrust beliefs that they don’t truly believe on to other people so that they can feel like they have some worth as a person, because they’re too afraid, due to their families, due to religion, and due to society, to look themselves in the mirror, and love themselves, and accept who they are.

~~

You know, I just want to say, it’s sad that Whitney Houston died. But I wish that every teenager and young adult who commuted suicide because they were hated and treated like shit for who they are received the same media attention. Because Whitney Houston caused her own death. She CHOSE to do drugs until it killed her. It’s sad, sure, but as important as Whitney Houston was to so many people, those gay kids who killed themselves were precious young human beings who didn’t even have the time to discover their talents and make a life for themselves, and they took their own lives because they were treated with anger and hatred over something that they HAD no choice in. Take stock: which death means what? No death is greater or less than another, nothing at all is greater or less than anything else with true things like this, like death. There are the deaths of these kids, children and young adults who never got to know who they are, and the death of a person who chose continually to do drugs until it killed them. A hundred deaths are equal to one death in the eyes of love, and these people have moved forward into their next state of existence, but Whitney lived a life full of love and acceptance and privilege and chose to do the drugs that killed her; these kids suffered as children, before they ever had a chance to experience their lives, and they left in a state of love so bruised and hurt that it drowned in the pressures and hatred of a society of pressures and hatred. They were kids who loved. They were the ones who had it right. And now they’re gone. The world is filled with less love now that they’re gone. May they be treated with dignity, respect, and love in their next existence.

~~

Animals love. They only know love, and they only know how to love 100%, they are incapable of anything but true love that has no ideas and situations surrounding it. And that’s what makes animal cruelty so terrible, because they don’t stop loving when their beaten, they fear but they still love 100%. It’s just like with small children who are beaten and who are abused; and as we grow older we forget that perfect love with which we began and cling to these concepts of “God” and “Heaven” as a means to try and get it back. Well it hasn’t gone anywhere, it’s still inside of us. And if we could just achieve the peace of mind and heart that an animal feels, we could be perfect again. We wouldn’t need to worry about a “Heaven,” and people wouldn’t spend their entire fucking LIVES WAITING for something to happen after it, they wouldn’t need to do that because if we would use the beautiful and powerful evolutionary gifts of intelligence to connect the mind and the heart, we could achieve animal peace, and we could achieve 100% love for ourselves and one another, and we could live in happiness. And I mean ACTUAL happiness. True emotion, and true living, without concepts, without things, without gods, without ideas, just love.

This idea people have of Heaven, well that’s what it is. Being connected eternally with the perfect love that is already inside of us. And the thing is, it’s SO possible for humanity to reach that state. It genuinely is, and people think that this sounds like a silly hippy dream but it’s NOT, it’s very real, and if we would drop concepts and start looking within ourselves and undoing the damage that has been done by this thing called civilization, and go back to the animal love and the state of peace we were designed in this planet to be, we would fit, we would make sense, and we would have love, and all meaning in this world would be gained, and we wouldn’t have to think about gods and heavens. We HAVE these things inside of us, and so many people choose to believe that it’s all on the “other side,” well it’s NOT on the other side, it’s here, love is here, and perfection is here, and it can be acheived, and EVERYONE WANTS THIS! That’s the thing, everyone wants it, and no one is willing to accept it, and to accept the gift of love that is already within ourselves. We may not get it perfectly right, and the next generation may not get it perfectly right, and 40 generations may not get it perfectly right, but one day we can and I hope that we will erase the damage that concepts and that religion and that ideas have done to this planet and this race of beautiful animals called humans.

Because this way of living is going to end at some point. Either with us using these powerful, beautiful minds to come together and to become one with the earth and with one another and with this environment that is truly ours, and to forget about the concepts of what lies up in the stars in “Heaven,” but connect with what we fear, “hell,” that truth which lies deep within the earth, we can find love and peace again. And if we choose not to do this, then we’re all going to kill each other with weapons and violence and reduce this race to nearly nothingness, and it’s all going to start over again, and the millions of years we’ve been evolving will not have taught us anything and we will not have reached the animal loving state, and the next humans will go through all that we’ve gone through and it will take them a long time to find that path to love, and we shouldn’t waste what we have now.

~~

Love is essentially the life force. It’s the word we’ve come to use for it. It should not be confused with affection, love is the life force. We feel the life force, and we have called the feelings that fill us love, but no, love is the life force. We are still connected to it as we have always been. Love can make us free. Love can bring us truly forth, love can summon us from hiding, love can live in us, and all can be true, and real, and worthy, and true.

We can be, as we have always had the choice and the ability and the love inside of us to be, alive.

It’s sad that we’re born in love and we spend the many years we have becoming more stressed, falling further away from that love, desperately crying for it, but never loving ourselves, never reaching inside and finding that pure, original love, and leaving this world the way we came in: love. We are love. We are born in love. We must move on in love. It is the life force. We must come closer to it, reach it and be love, because we are love.

Family

My Tori Amos collection has grown by two CDs: one album, Under the Pink, and the Hey Jupiter EP.

Under the Pink is Tori’s second album, the followup to 1992’s Little Earthquakes. Funny story: before I ever really knew who Tori was, I actually found two mint condition copies of Under the Pink, as well as the Crucify EP (and since it didn’t include Smells Like Teen Spirit, it has to have been an international version), and I bought none of them. That’s right, I left them all there, assuming that Tori would turn out to be another Annie Lennox: I’d get excited, decide to buy all  of her albums, and then decide she wasn’t quite my style, and I’d have another CD I didn’t want. I probably would have enjoyed Under the Pink had I bought it then, I’ve heard a few people say that this is the best of Amos’ albums to start with. It walks a fine line between the somewhat radio-friendly sounds of Little Earthquakes and the off-kilter obscurity of Boys For Pele. It also has Cornflake Girl, one of my favorites which includes an awesome piano breakdown in the bridge.

In preparation for the arrival of Under the Pink (I bought it on eBay), I downloaded the music video for the album’s first track, Pretty Good Year. Later on, in the Boys For Pele era, Tori would release a music video for the remix of Professional Widow, featuring clips from all of her videos up to that point. I couldn’t help but notice that some of the clips were of Tori in a white dress doing choreography, and choreography seems quite out of the norm for her. I, of course, love choreography, and constantly make music videos in my head that include it. Anyway, the choreography clip was from Pretty Good Year, during this awesome moment in the bridge where the song transforms from a soft ballad to a screaming, rocking anthem, and then back again.

The second new addition is the Hey Jupiter EP, the title track of which isn’t the album version, but a remix called the Dakota Version. This is also the version used in the music video, the version featured on her retrospective collection A Piano, and generally seems to be the one listened to the most. It seems to me almost every single from Boys For Pele was remixed when it became a single; that doesn’t surprise me since much of Pele is very out in left field as far as radio goes. The remixes aren’t always a bad thing though, I’ve heard the original version of Talula and I think it’s terrible compare to the Tornado Mix.

The rest of the EP is live performances. Sugar and Honey are both B-sides from Under the Pink, the former about a cafe boy who couldn’t remember how many sugars Tori liked in her tea after serving her for nine months, and the latter Tori says is her favorite song from Under the Pink, but it was cut during mastering. The next track is a live performance of the Merry Widow version of Professional Widow. This is a very different take on Professional Widow, slow, brooding, and emotional, with Tori literally screaming through the bridge, and the entire song is backed by a harmonium. She jokingly mentions before beginning the song that the last time she tried singing it she “gave myself a brain annurism.” The final track is my favorite, a cover of Over the Rainbow. Having been a fan of Evanescence, I’m too used to seeing the word “haunting” attached to songs, and I wouldn’t say that it is haunting in my opinion, I just find it to be very emotional. This rarely happens, but I actually can’t seem to hear the song without tearing up, and that’s special because not every song effects me like that. It’s very soft, very quiet, very vulnerable, scared, and wishing.

As for the Tori Amos material I already have, I’ve basically given up on listening to A Piano: The Collection, because I want to hear the originals before I hear their remastered versions. Even though many of the songs stay true to their originals, I would still prefer to hear them on their respective albums first, and then if I ever get the collection, I’ll enjoy it a lot more.

I’ve revisited Tales of a Librarian, and found that after some time away from it I’ve found that it’s grown on me. I still think it’s not the best of Tori Amos’ albums to start with, the feeling is too country for my tastes. The album isn’t without it’s own original material though: Angels and Snow Cherries From France are new tracks, while earlier B-Sides Sweet Dreams and Mary were completely redone for this collection. Tales of a Librarian also features the radio edit of Armand Van Helden’s Star Trunk Funkin’ remix of Professional Widow, which was included on the second re-release of Boys For Pele and the Professional Widow single.

American Doll Posse is finally beginning to grow on me, the album is radically different from Tori’s earlier works, particularly Boys For Pele, which is almost entirely instruments and vocals, with little to no studio work really done. Every now and then a bass guitar shows up, but for the most part, Boys For Pele is piano, harpsichord, and vocals. American Doll Posse comes off as being over-produced upon the first listen, but after some time the songs do begin to grow on you. Tori did say that A Piano was the end of an era, and that American Doll Posse was a step in a new direction. Her tenth album, Abnormally Attracted to Sin, seems to be just as studio-focused as it’s predecessor, and while it is kind of a shame that Tori probably won’t be making another Under the Pink any time soon, it is good to know that she refuses to become a fading memory in the mind of the music world, and that she’s trying to stay current and explore new composition styles.

In personal news, I had a brief chat with the owner of my local bookstore, he saw me wandering and asked if there was anything he could help me find. I fecetiously replied, “A job,” and he told me to fill out an application and call him. Now, that’s something that managers usually say, but he also went as far as to ask if I had a problem working in the cafe. I don’t think he would have been so thorough about it if they didn’t need new help. This is actually the job I’ve always wanted, but as it would happen I’ve had a really fucked up past week.

Emotionally, that is. I have problems with panic/anxiety/stress/etc. and they usually rear their ugly head when I’m out in public. Now they’re starting to take over my whole life. I’m having small panic attacks all the time, regardless of where I am, even in my room which is usually my sanctuary. I’ve had a hard time this week trying to stop thinking about it, and I feel a little better now that I’ve gotten away from my house, but still, it’s becoming a serious problem that I can’t handle on my own anymore. I need medication. I know that sounds like a quick fix, but it isn’t. I want a psychologist, I want someone I can really talk to about all this and get all of this off of my chest, and if need be, I want medication. I want to be able to get in a car or walk into the grocery store without feeling like I’m going to pass out, without my vision blurring, and without my heart beating out of my chest. It’s not fair, I’ve dealt with this for 3 years now and I need it to stop. I just want to be able to feel normal, like I did before I ever passed out in the middle of my classroom in 11th grade, when my life was forever changed, and I would spend every day until this very moment fearing for my health.

And that’s really what it comes down to: fear. If I’m not afraid, I don’t have any significant problems. If I am afraid, the terror follows me around, looming over me and casting a shadow on everything I do. I can’t be brave by myself all the time anymore, I need help. I need someone who knows what I’m going through and knows how to combat it to give me the tools to stop it. I don’t expect it to go away by magic, but I have to have the help I need to be able to get a job and live my own life. If not, my relationship is going to fall apart, and I’m going to become just like the rest of my family: an overgrown child. I already am.

I hate to say those things about myself, if for no other reason than because I know my mother would agree with them. Have I ever mentioned my mother? I hate her. Sometimes I can get along with her, sometimes I even find her pleasant, but when it comes down to it, I hate her in a way so deeply that I can’t stop myself from hating her. And it’s her fault. I know it’s unhealthy to blame your problems on other people, but the majority of my problems are her fault. She’s exactly the opposite of everything I think a parent should be. She has, for half of my life now, disrespected, humiliated and deeply hurt me in ways that I think I’m probably going to spend a lot of time getting over. She is the reason I have stress problems, both because I inherited them from her and because she taught me to fear life, and most importantly to fear her. I honestly have many times wished that she were dead. Because my life would be a lot brighter if she were. Not physically, because I wouldn’t have anyone supporting me, and yes, she does support me, and no, I am not happy about that. The problem is, she never taught me how to be an adult, because I don’t think she really knows how to be one herself. She didn’t raise me, she just kept me fed and clothed, and because she’s become crazier with age, she’s ruined my sister, who now is an entitled brat because her mother has always given her anything she wants. If myself and my brother are any indication, my sister might realize what kind of a person my mother is one day and try to fix all the problems she’s already created for her, but I have a feeling that in the end I’m going to be living somewhere far away from my family with no contact with them at all, and my sister along with the rest of my family will be conditioned to hate me.

Family. I don’t know what that really means. But one day, I’d like to create my own. I’d like to raise a child and teach them about truth, I’d like to try and bring a person into the world who has the ability to question, someone who isn’t fooled by society, someone who yearns to bring love and peace to the human race as much as I do. And maybe he wouldn’t hate society, or humans as a whole, the way I do. Maybe he’d be better than me, because I would give him a chance to flourish. I am a brilliant flower blooming amongst a family of weeds, and I hate them for being who they are.