Free to love (freely)

About oh .. 51 days ago, my best friend and love of my life asked me to marry him. (In classic Gallo weirdness, I said “si!” instead of yes.) It was the best of contexts – at the top of a mountain after a glorious hike. His proposal was the perfect mix of silliness and deep sincerity, and it was the easiest answer C Gallo has ever given.

Actual pic of the event. I was so amazed when a little cartoon heart popped out of the ring box!!

The type of happiness that filled me was a unique sort. The other most significant event in my life where I felt incredibly happy was right after my dissertation defense, but that was the happiness that comes from a heavy, ever-present burden being suddenly lifted. Being engaged might be a tiny bit about the removal of the “burden” of singleness (although I actually enjoyed being single for most of my life), but it’s much more about the addition of something awesome and literally life changing. Sure, we dated for 2+ years, so you might think that a “long-term” dating relationship is similar to being engaged. It is absolutely not.

Pretty much all my other dating relationships that lasted any length of time required vigilance to suppress my exuberant heart and wild expectations. I always had this stern voice in the back of my head telling me to pull back, curb my expectations, and keep enough mental and emotional distance so that I wouldn’t be completely distraught when the inevitable end came. Even if that inevitable end was initiated by me, it still sucked.

A stoic I am not.

But being engaged! It is no longer weird or creepy to think about the future. It isn’t even weird and creepy to talk about the future with the very man I want in it! It’s even.. recommended?! I don’t have to worry that I love him too much or want to be around him too much. For the first time, the depth of my feelings and inner commitment are not an inverse measure of how miserable I will be down the road, but a measure of how happy I will be down the road. Craziness!

Granted, at some point while dating my fiance I said to myself “Girl, if this ends you are going to be a total mess for a loooong time. But whatevs. He — and this zany, amazing, heart lifting relationship we have built — is truly worth it.” So even though* I was pretty terrible at tempering the wild romantic within me as I dated my forever Galloboo, there is still a difference that now there’s nothing remotely foolish about it. And that is incredibly joyful.

This may seem a rather awkward transition, but I can’t help but connect this whole experience to my faith. Being engaged hasn’t made me forget other men I dated or even how I felt about them at the time. Now, the sadness or angst I felt during/after those relationships is no longer tragic but kind of .. humorous? I look back at myself sobbing over some idiot and I want to tenderly pat my shoulder and say “girl, you have no idea. Keep it moving.” I wonder if this is what is meant by “there will be no tears in heaven.” That statement has been speculated to mean we won’t have memories of anything that happened on earth, because there’s no way we could remember all the sadness and angst of our lives and not cry. I disagree. I modestly propose that perhaps we actually will remember – everything. But, in the face of our one, complete true Love the contrast with our former sadsies and angsties will not subtract, but add to our joy.

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

*or because of? Hmmm…!

Eye hope this helps

Dear readers and internet bots,

I have been writing a post for the past month that I kept on writing, deleting, and re-writing. It was going to be about racism, marxism, Christianity, freedom, all that stuff. Then I realized that there are many people out there with (relatively) huge platforms that are already expressing my opinions on the matter, and with much more eloquence and prudence than I can muster right now.

The news has made me a hot little potato. I feel like I wake up angry and go to bed anxious most nights, and very rarely from personal life matters. It just seems like everything sucks, but no one can agree on why it sucks and how to change it. In fact, ways i can think of to make it suck less would be used as evidence for many other people on how it’s sucking more.

Eeks.

What to write during such a time as this?

I have only one tiny positive thing to say or recommend during times like these.

Look people in the eyes

This is probably what I look like these days.

That’s right. The only bright spots I’ve had recently in the public domain have been when I’ve made eye contact with some stranger and shared a laugh about something. I had an appointment the other day and the attendant woman cracked me up with a raunchy story, and then I bonded with the front desk lady over how long higher-education degrees take and was able to give her a word of encouragement. These little brief flashes of positive human interaction bolstered my spirits and helped me have a little less deep disgust and dislike for the general population. ( keepin it real!)

I’m sure this will come across very naive and over-simplistic to many, but if it impacts one person then that’s good enough for me. If you are currently depressed/anxious/angry/all the bad things right now, I highly recommend limiting yourself to consuming any and all news (including “news” from social media friends) to 1-2x a week, and try to stop seeing all people as disgusting potential carriers of disease and look them straight in the retina. And I don’t know, maybe try to be kind or something.

We are all being squeezed right now. The harder you’re squeezed, the more of what’s deep inside you comes out in your words and action. That’s why we’re seeing a lot of fear, violence, hostility – it’s not new, it was there all along. Just hidden. But let’s try to be optimistic and assume that there’s some admirable, great qualities deep inside people, too. Especially if you carry the spirit of Jesus within you, may the light and hope that’s inside you come out!

Social media in 2020: A lifeless saltine cracker

I used to be somewhat obsessive-compulsive about social media. I checked my facebook approximately 62 times per day.* I posted at least once a day, sometimes 2-3 times. I would post silly stuff about my day, serious thoughts on current events, all my newest and cutest pictures, etc. I would vigorously debate strangers about theology or politics on comment threads whose obnoxious length were only rivaled by CVS receipts. I made long instastories rambling about my ineffective dry shampoo and other deep matters. Even on Twitter – which I always have and always will despise for it’s lack of depth and proclivity for promoting unbridled hostility – I would sometimes scroll and get incensed about whatever was incensing that day.

I began dating a social media dud** a few years ago. For over 18 months, I soldiered on with my social media OCD. When COVID19 started ramping up in the U.S., both my twitter and facebook became so saturated with zany posts I could feel the stress rise in my body every time I logged in, but I was having a super hard time not logging in since I was also effectively (albiet temporarily) laid off with pay. So I gave my boyfriend the password to my facebook and twitter accounts (yes I had 2) and asked him to be my meanie-pants social media gate keeper. He has performed this role with a disturbing but effective gusto. I have probably logged in — 6-8 times in the last two months. When I do, 95% of the 30-40 notifications I have*** are completely boring and not even related to me (e.g. “Joe-Joe added to his story” or “Your mother commented on your brother’s post”).

I am struck with how I have missed almost nothing, and gained the self respect that comes from restraint. Dignity! LIFE!

What used to be a delightful tiramisu has turned into a lifeless saltine cracker.

Okay maybe I’m being slightly dramatic. But it has been nice and I feel kind of amazed that I found it so rewarding not that long ago. But now, even Instagram, the one social media platform I kept because it tended to be light and fluffy and happy, has started edging into facebook/twitter taking-itself-too-seriously territory. The pictures are mostly okay, actually, but the stories are so full of virtue signaling and pedantic lectures on polarizing topics that I can go through an entire day’s worth of stories and realize the best story was an ad for sulfate free shampoo. (Quick disclaimer: I love deep convos and I’m not afraid of discussing controversial topics with people who actually care about my opinion, but I think social media is the absolutely worst place to express them. )

Should I ax the gram, or keep at least one connection to my interweb friends? What an important decision! I will flee to the woods for thoughtful meditation. But one thing I won’t do is create a post on facebook asking everyone what I should do. Success? !

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

*Estimated by the Gallonoggin

**This is the only things he’s a dud about, trust me. Yowza!

***What can I say.. #popular

The death of a dream

WARNING: If you can’t tell by the title, I’m in a melodramatic mood.

I’ve come to the realization that I’m an absolute nutto about my career. I’ve known for many years that I don’t want to be a professor, but now the reality of cutting the uni apron strings is really setting in. Tying to map out my “next steps” has not been a delight. It has been more of a drudgery. It has brought out all sorts of feels – anxiety, sorrow, guilt. Eeks.

The anxiety I understand. I expected some anxiety about changing careers, especially since I spent 10 of my 30 zesty years in the same field. The sorrow and guilt, though.. they have taken me by surprise. Where did this devilish duo come from?

Well, one factor is a somewhat absurd but persistent idea of mine that I’m letting down little Gallo du ancienne- the spunky optimist who set her sights on curing Alzheimer’s disease when she was a delicate 16 years. I can imagine her being disgusted with Gallo du présent for quitting her dream. “You’re there! Why stop now?” she would demand. Similarly, I also feel like I’m letting my Grandpa and Grandma down. Grandpa had Alzheimer’s disease, and a prevention or treatment would have changed his and my grandma’s life. They would have been so excited to know that my research was in Alzheimer’s disease, and maybe a bit disappointed that I’m choosing to leave it.

On top of that, there is the jadedness (jadosity? Jadociousness?!) of academic research. Yes, I’ve completed experiments. Yes, I’ve analyzed data and wrote up manuscripts that were published in peer-reviewed academic journals. Do I think my research has significantly advanced the field of Alzheimer’s disease? Not particularly. My entire academic career was way less impactful and dynamic than I hoped it would be.

That is my summary of gloom, my friends.  I bring all of this up because I think it’s worth noting that there is actually a degree of real grief involved in burying a dream. Especially when that dream was tied to specific people that you love(d). And – it’s difficult to create a new dream (or goal, for you less romantic types) when you don’t have the advantage of boundless optimism, time,  and naive willingness to be poor for several years as you work your way from the ground up that you have when you were a youth.

Nevertheless, she perspired. Wait, that’s not right. She.. resisted.. the man! No, she insisted on having her own way!! She desisted.. the pity party?! There you go. Okay leave encouraging comments! Thanks! ❤

 

Are you guilty of righteousplaining?

There is a trend in the Christian community that drives me bonkers. It can be applied to an infinite number of ways, but it has the same logic structure.

  1.  I am a Christian.
  2.  I have thoughts.
  3.  Therefore, my thoughts are Christian Thoughts.

Note that the implicit extension of point 3 is that if you don’t agree with said thoughts, you’re not Christian. Or, at the least, you’re not thinking Christian thoughts. We’ve seen this time and time again with all sorts of issues. Whether it be the issue of suffering, immigration policies, war, poverty, Kanye West – just wait a day or two, and you will see a flood of articles written by pastors, music artists, and devo debbies who proclaim that they have searched the scriptures and come away unequivocally with what the correct Christian Response should be. This would all be well and good, if there weren’t an equal number of articles from different camps of Christians claiming they have the real insight into how the entire kingdom of God should respond to a particular issue. They all are, in effect, righteousplaining.

righteousplain_def

This is where the chaos and confusion lies. People from all sorts of different nations, cultures, political ideologies, family structures, moral upbringings, intellectual strengths, and personalities are drawn to the character of Jesus. They make a decision to follow him, and usually get involved in a local church of like-minded people. They talk about their faith with those people, and how it influences how they see the world. Then, they begin to see these opinions and views as representative of Christianity. Then they feel bold and brave enough to righteousplain the Christian Response. Then Christians from other backgrounds get offended and outraged, because their faith is being represented and applied in a way that is foreign and offensive to them.

It’s a tricky thing, because our faith has very bold, well-defined tenets (e.g. love your neighbor) that demand action. But, different people have very different ideas about what those tenets look like IRL. For example, one camp might say “I love my children, so I would never strike them because that is a violent, aggressive act.” A different camp may say “I love my children, and if I see them tottering towards something dangerous I will smack the crap out of them to keep them from harm.” Both of these groups have heard and received the concept of love, but they have different ways of applying it.

So, in light of this, I advise against public proclamations that your response to the societal problem du jour is The Christian Response. Obviously, you are free to explain how your Christian faith motivated your current position, but I urge you against concluding that opponents are workers of the devil. In some issues, they just might be, but in some issues your opponents may simply be the tricep to your bicep in the body of Christ.

Let’s leave righteousplaining to Jesus! Woo!

 

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

My sister wrote a post that was similar in nature – check it out! WWJD: Who Would Jesus Diss

 

John Crist should not be canceled forever

This couldn’t be a complete farewell tour for Galloblog without a John Crist post, amiright? My thoughts about Crist have oscillated over the past year or so. I held back on posting anything about him for a while because posting during the peak of the cancellation storm seemed exploitative and icky.

But, here we are. Let’s recap, for those of you who do not stalk this blog –

November 2017 – I post an extremely silly post about how I broke off my engagement to John Crist. This post was written largely to poke fun at the desperado of single Christian women in the church (e.g. taking every friendly gesture from Christian men wayyyy to seriously).

Spring 2018- the engagement post starts getting *tons* of views. I realize some people are actually taking this seriously.  I feel a combo of “lol” and “yay! Blog traffic!”

February 2019 – I notice I’m getting a lot of hits from Twitter, which is very unusual for my blog. I investigate 🧐 and discover someone is accusing John Crist of being abusive to women and is citing my satirical engagement post as proof. I think “lol” and “oh dear.” So I private message John Crist on Twitter and explain the situation and offer to take it down if he would like me to. He actually replied (!!!) and said to keep it up because it was funny.  Then he also said to let him know if I wanted free tickets to his next show in my area. So of course I was like “Hellz yeah!”

April 2019 – he gives me 2 amazing tickets to his show. He tells me to come say hey after the show. We have this ironic jokey text exchange –

Screenshot_20190414-194118_Textra

Screenshot_20190414-201852_Textra

So my boyfriend, friend + hubs, and I all went to the back to see him. It was a very quick conversation , but it something along the lines of “yeah, people are so mean online. Let me know if anyone ever gives you any trouble!” And that was pretty much it. I even have photographic evidence (I cropped out my boyfriend’s face for privacy – but my bf is the true babu of my heart!).

20200312_234649

So anyway, fast-forward to November 2019- Charisma News published a bombshell article John Crist Cancels 2019 Tour Dates After Reports of Sexting, Harassment, Manipulation that detailed the sexual misconduct allegations from five women. “According to multiple sources, Crist has exploited his Christian reputation and platform to harass, manipulate and exploit young women over the last seven years. The allegations include, but are not limited to, individually sexting multiple women during the same time period, initiating sexual relationships with married women and women in committed relationships, offering show tickets in exchange for sexual favors and repeatedly calling these women late at night while drunk.”

A day or two later, John Crist issued a written response-

“My behavior has been destructive and sinful. I’ve sinned against God, against women and the people who I love the most. I have violated my own Christian beliefs, convictions and values, and have hurt many people in the process,” Crist said. “I am sorry for the hurt and pain I have caused these women and will continue to seek their forgiveness. I have also hurt the name of Jesus and have sought His forgiveness.”

I shared the entire saga because I find it bizarre. Our entire exchange was very innocent. Did he have creepy plans, and then change his mind when I mentioned a boyfriend? Unlikely, given married women weren’t an obstacle. Did he change his mind when he saw me in person? Unlikely, given that I am exquisite. 😉 Could it be that it was because he was dating Lauren Alaina at the time? Maybe he offers free tickets to many people, and only occasionally got a little creepy-creeps?

I have no idea. I don’t think I will ever know, unless I asked him directly. But I am not going to abuse having his digits. Not to mention the dude has probably changed his number at this point. All I know for sure is that he treated me 100% appropriately.

Now, a graceless segue into the main point of this post – should John Crist be canceled forever? I’ve thought a little bit about this, and I think John Crist needs to come back. Forever cancellation would be way too harsh. Why?

  1. His behavior was creepy, yes, but incredibly mild compared to “secular” comedians. Honestly if he wasn’t being labeled as an “evangelical Christian” –  which I’m not even sure he would identify as – I don’t think anyone would even bat an eyelash. I mean good Lort, *opens can of worms* our President who is certainly not being shunned by the majority of Christian conservatives has unapologetically said and done much worse. And I’d like to float the idea that the personal failures of the U.S. President are more important than the personal failures of a comedian.
  2.  Yes, his comedy was centered around Christians and church culture, but he never claimed to be a spiritual leader or offered anything remotely spiritual during his comedy acts. So I don’t think he should be held to the standard of a pastor or some other spiritual leaders.
  3.  I hate this culture of wanting people to forever be buried because they had a moral failure. (Note – I mean John Crist level moral failure, not Harvey Weinstein.) Good grief – if you broadcasted everything I did – or dug up stuff I did when I was 19 – you would cancel me, too! The only saving grace for me is that I’m not important or famous enough for anyone to care. And what’s the long-term outcome for him – be forever banned from the career he’s been building for 10-15 years? Should we do this for all people who don’t hold up to our moral standards- like should I refuse to do business with a plumber if I know he cheated on his wife? Where does it all end? Should people who are canceled be put on government assistance for life? Imprisoned?? Euthanized??? I’m being dramatic, but seriously – I’m against shutting people out and sabotaging their future forever because they said and did some inappropriate things (NOTE AGAIN: of this scale).
  4.  On a very selfish note, I miss his comedy. I think we need it right now. Trey Kennedy is a weak echo of John Crist and it’s not enough!

In toto…

My personal interactions with John Crist made me think he was the bee’s knees. What he admitted to doing is bad, and in no way am I trying to minimize the badness of it. But the punishment is disproportionate to the crime. Come back please!

 

 

We have a moral obligation to not cancel student debt

Hey-o. ‘Tis official – I will be shutting tol’ Galloblog down in a few months (I’m not renewing my plan or my domain this year). What shall I use this blog for in the meantime? To share my unpopular opinions, of course. I’m not the first one to speak on this subject and soytenly not the most eloquent, but.. some of this stuff needs to be said by a young educated female instead of grumpy Bill O’Reilly types. Or maybe not. The 6 people who still read my posts can decide.

So – student debt. It’s out of control. Should we cancel it?

I say no. My main reason for saying this is that it’s simply not fair.

  1. No one is forced to go to a 4 year college
    •  Ever since.. oh let’s say the 80s or 90s, it was kind of assumed that everyone who wasn’t in extreme poverty or had an inkling of intelligence would and should go to college. High schools do try to prepare their students for college and push them to apply. But at the end of the day, no one put a gun to your head and told you that you had to go to college. It’s not as if a government mandate got students in their current position.
  2.  Going to a 4 year college is not necessary for success
    •  On top of that, there are many trades that are very lucrative and in high demand – electrician, welding, plumbing, etc. They may not be glamorous or cushy but they are good options for young people to consider. Dignified options. They may require a tad of debt but it’s much more likely you will get a lucrative job and actually be able to pay it off in a few years, instead of having a lifetime payment that is equivalent to a second mortgage.
  3.  Going to a 4 year expensive college is definitely not necessary for success
    •  I knew from the time I was 16 that I was going to get my PhD. So a trade school wasn’t a good option. Did that mean I needed to go an Ivy League or private school? Nope. I went to a good ol’ state college. I worked ~30 hours for a small business while I was a full-time student. I took advantage of the HOPE scholarship (thank you, Zell Miller!) and kept my grades pristine so that I would stand out to grad schools. I graduated with $0 in debt and I got my PhD at Emory University. While not quite as prestigious as Harvard or MIT, it is very respectable and many PhDs in my program have gone on to get jobs at Stanford, Harvard, etc. I could have gone into debt to pay for a $25k/year college, but it was 100% unnecessary.
  4.  What about people who made sacrifices to pay off their debt already?
    •  Believe it or not, there are people out there who actually lived below their means for a long time to make great strides toward paying off their debt. My sister and boyfriend, for example. 10s of thousands of dollars paid. What about their peers who haven’t made as much progress? Does it make sense for them to suddenly get a write-off? That is completely not fair, unless you’re going to retroactively reimburse everyone who was prudent enough to pay off their debt, which would become absurd. It’s morally repugnant to punish people for being responsible.

 

So what’s the alternative? I’m not sure… but I like the idea of student loan forgiveness programs like the United States military is doing. Maybe the government could offer incentive for businesses to institute similar programs. Or perhaps we could convince businesses to stop insisting that every single job they post require a minimum bachelor’s degree education for jobs that are 95-100% learned on-the-job, anyway. Better yet, maybe we could make the legally required public education actually teach the youts anything useful so that the first two years of college “core” classes in which they cover things like basic writing skills and the 3 branches of government could be done away with, and only the two years of actually major-relevant courses would be required. That would slash loans in half! There are many options, but canceling student debt like Academic Santa Clause is the least moral.

 

Rat god

I spend a lot of time alone in a basement, surrounded by rats. Because of my sacharin nature, I have not been able to keep my foolish heart from becoming attached to my furry little experimental subjects. Some experiments that I conduct require me to sit in silence for long periods of time as I watch my rats explore, freeze, groom, poop, or otherwise ruin my experiment. Naturally, my brilliant mind wanders. Often, it wanders straight into crazy town (see below).

I hate how afraid my rats are of me. Every time I open up their cages to deftly pick them up at the base of their tails and gently place them in whatever experimental apparatus I pre-ordained for them that day, they flail their little feet as if I was doing something horribly torturous. Usually the task my rats are being drama queens about is something fairly benign from my point of view, like placing them into a large round container for 5 minutes while absolutely nothing bad happens to them – I’m just there to observe how much time they spend hugging the edges of the circle versus strutting confidently in the middle (this is a measure of anxiety). Then right back they go to the comfort of their own little homes.

I wish I could explain to them that I come in peace, that I mean them no harm. I wish I could explain to them that the bizarre little rituals I’m putting them through are for a reason. A grand reason that no street rat – whose miserable little existence comprises of  slinking around city dumpsters to forage for food before it gets eaten by a hawk or poisoned by pest control – would ever dream of. These lab rats of mine will never have such a gritty existence because these are no ordinary rats. They have special genetic mutations that cause them to over produce the “bad” form of a protein so that they begin to resemble humans with Alzheimer’s disease as they age. Almost everything about them – how anxious they are, how long it takes them to fall asleep, how well they learn a new task, how quickly they will give up in a challenging task, where and how much pathology is in their brains – could be an important key to helping millions of humans with Alzheimer’s disease. Think about how many humans aren’t even blessed with that sort of distinct purpose.

Another scientist in another lab created this rat strain for such a time as this. We didn’t kidnap their ancestors off the streets to fulfill our evil scientific schemes – these rats would not even exist if not for scientists. And then they came to me. I decide what happens in their lives. Some I randomly assign to be breeders. As such they get to have lots of great sex and raise little families. #toblessedtobestressed But most rats I assign for my experiments. They could be designated to a very short experiment, and the last thing they ever experience will be mild confusion in a weird new box before they join the Big Rat in the Sky. Or, they could be involved in a very long, complicated experiment in which they will be subject to all sort of weird environments, some even mildly aversive or painful, and have a lot of interaction with a large scary mammal who smells like coffee and tacos. Sometimes this large scary mammal seems sinister – most of them remember her taking them into a new, stinky room, losing consciousness, and then waking up with their head screaming in pain. But sometimes this large scary mammal seems compassionate – they also remember her visiting them at home when they had headaches, and giving them yummy food that eased the ache in their heads. This large scary mammal also frequently put them in stressful situations, but never seemed to let anything actually bad happen to them. Until, well… They don’t like to think about why all those cousins never came back that one time.

I am, essentially, Rat god.

I’m much more advanced, capable, powerful than these critters -why do I want to explain myself to them? Why do I care what they think about me? Why do I want to make myself known to them?

Because they’re cute.

ratcute

And this has led me to have a thought that’s probably wildly irreverent. One part of the Christian story that never made tons of sense to me was why God would ever choose to reveal himself to us. Why not just let us go about our dumb petty lives and then die, never the wiser? But my stint as Rat god has made me wonder.. What if God decided to work humankind into his plan and reveal himself to us because, well… he thinks we’re cute?

ratgod

 

Just think it over before you immediately dismiss it, that’s all I ask!

 

— Editorial Notes —

Obviously the God-as-kind-scientist metaphor can only go so far, but that’s ok. I’m not trying to design a new religion, so everyone spit out that grapefruit-flavored Topo Chico you just drank!

Girlfriend of 18 months “honored” that she finally shares equal status with boyfriend’s dog

-ATLANTA

Sydney Glascow and boyfriend Allen Platano recently celebrated their 18 month anniversary. Sydney knew the celebration was going to be special, but she never would have let herself hope for what unfolded. At a dazzling dinner in the city, Allen cleared his throat shared something so deep and special that tears sprang to Sydney’s eyes.

“Babe, you know I’m not a sappy man but I have to tell you – I think.. I’m beginning to care about you as much as I care about Buddy.”

Sydney could barely believe her ears. She knew what a special connection they shared, and her heart nearly exploded to think that her connection with Allen was equally as special.

“Does this mean I can sit with both of you on the sofa now?” She asked breathily. Allen paused. “I never thought about the implications but.. maybe. Wait, hold on…” he mused for a tormenting 15 seconds. “Yes!”

Sydney sprang up from her seat and began to dance energetically, just like Allen liked. “Dreams really do come true!”

couplewithdog

Icky feelings in your tum-tum do not dictate what’s right

A few weeks ago a young feller was recalling an interweb exchange he had, in which he floored someone with a story that was meant to provide an airtight case for moral ambiguity. I don’t really remember the details of the story, but it was something to do with a man with cancer (or who had a kid with cancer?) deciding to rob a bank because he would either 1) get the money or 2) be killed and his kid would get his life insurance money. Something like that. The young feller told me, victory shining in his eyes, “So who’s wrong- the man, or the police officers who shot him?”

I can’t stand stories like this. They’re meant to guilt you out of condemning the bad action. “Wow,” we’re supposed to exclaim, “I never considered that people who do bad things may have a personal history that made them think they had no choice in the matter! Or that they could do bad for good reasons!” The Joaquin Phoenix Joker movie taps into this too. The movie gives you the context to the Joker’s background, which is so disturbing and sad that you almost cheer for him as he *SPOILER* murders all those meanies who bullied him.

But the thing is – you can understand the reasons behind someone’s evil actions.. or feel sorry for them… or see how the people they are murdering or stealing from or otherwise victimizing are also evil themselves… but that still doesn’t make their actions good or right.* Violence is violence, evil is evil, bad is bad. Other violence, other evil, and other bad doesn’t necessarily cancel it out. Even if you feel sympathetic towards them.

In the same vein – I wrote a blog post a while back begging women to not post public pictures of their bosoms while breastfeeding. I provided multiple excellent examples to demonstrate my point. Some of those examples were a little crude. They weren’t crude for crude’s sake- I used them to demonstrate points like “privacy doesn’t equal shame.” A few of my readers expressed dismay and disgust that I made those comparisons, saying things like, “Making that comparison is just.. ew.” Like a disgust reaction from them was enough to negate my entire argument. Poppycock! I’m not trying to be a jerk, seriously. But just because a comparison is upsetting, gross, weird, or triggering doesn’t mean the comparison doesn’t hold true.

tummyache
This cannot be your moral guidepost!

The point is, my fellas** and fellos, that sometimes what is right and true is upsetting, and sometimes what is wrong won’t be upsetting. I don’t like many truths, like Kesha removing the ‘$’ from her name. I’m not super bothered by other wrongs, like when a woman murders her cheating husband. Our degree of tum tum hurt, upsettedness, or anger is not an argument against.. anything. Our tummies are not our Truthometer. Just because some jerk blogger is using intentionally provocative examples to drive their point home does not mean they’re wrong.

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

*I’m talking on the level of personal morality not a nation or political system. I think the United States taking out Osama Bin Laden was justifiable and right.

**I just realized what a feminine sounding word “fellas” is, even though it traditionally refers to menfolk. From now on, I demand that men be “fellos” and women be “fellas” for the sake of continuity and parallelism in the English language!