Saturday, December 22, 2018

Hegel And I Win Topix! AGAIN!!!!!

Yesterday brought news from an unindicted co-conspirator that Topix shut down it's threads for good. It was done unceremoniously, in the middle of the day, I gather. My first thought was how funny it would be if Sublime had been thwarted mid-masturbatory post! Last I knew he was still feeling the need to share his wonderfulness with whatever was left of the Offbeat/Weird crowd.

I had left two years ago November, I believe, and Hegel had left before me. Her departure was as quiet as mine. We just didn't make a big to-do about it. It simply wasn't worth it to do so. Topix could have turned off the lights several years ago. The place had gone steadily downhill since the Tribune left in '09. It was actually quite a bit of fun then, especially the Chicago Forum where I first posted. The original dregs on the 'Regulars' thread were pretty much fun. Longtime dedicated non-readers know what happened there! I think a week or two ago I looked in there and at the Offbeat/Weird Forum. The dregs hadn't been touched since summer and had only suffered occasional visits by Sub and other trolls in the past year.

Offbeat was far more popular but, that's not saying much. In my opinion it had been a troll-fest for years but, the last year looks to have been almost exclusively trolls fighting with each other and themselves (of course). My name was still getting mentioned though I hadn't posted in two years. Eh, I'm a brand. There were no other charming bottomspankers. Certain people felt like they were actually somebody by trolling me. A five/ten minute perusal of the site showed the usual suspects were still running amok. I'd say that was sad but, I would say that, wouldn't I?

I gotta say it was probably just deserts for the trolls that were left. They know who they are. Whatever good folks left (like Luke/Deer Whisperer) probably weren't too upset if they were even more than mildly surprised. They know who they are too. I'm guessing it was a surprise too and that all the troll mods who could spill the beans were let go before the axe fell.

When Hegel and I discussed this, we were both surprised at how many names we had forgotten. Well, not so much names as the alleged people behind them. That's to be expected after a couple of years removed from anything. We had caught so many people forgetting to look up that even in real time some people forgot who they were at times!

I'm sure it was a financial decision. They couldn't have been making much money the last several years and, at some point, I don't imagine yo can write off the losses anymore. I don't think it was lawsuits or anything like that but, I don't know. I don't think kids today were at all interested in Topix so, like Fox, they had to accept an elderly, dying audience to draw from. I'd venture that the average Topix age was 50 or so. They're still making old people, of course, but those folks might be more into Facebook or Twitter. Topix was once upon a time "a news aggregate" but they quit kidding about that post-Tribune days.

So, like the Ferrerman said: Forget it,'s Topixtown. Topixtown no more. I guess that clears that up.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Don't Man-up, Ladies!

Watched a clip about Dana Loesch (NRA spokesperson) where her husband described her as being a better man than most men he knows. Is that damning with faint praise or, is it a left-handed compliment?

If you've seen her videos, she's pretty angry for a woman with such a spankable bottom. I know it's the 21st century and women are asserting themselves, and I think that is a very good thing but, women asserting themselves as men is not a good thing. Manhood, as all too often thought of in the John Wayne-wrapped-in-a-corporate raider skin is nothing to aspire too. Acting like a dick, whether you have one or not, is never an admirable trait. I get that people think it is but, do they really feel it is?

Sure, some do. We're supposed to respect and fear alpha males so it follows that one day we should do the same for alpha females. It's a stupid but, predictable route to success. It's worked for so many men in so many levels in the public eye for all of time, whether they be warrior kings or high school jocks. I get that. It does work. I just don't get why women do it. I've been led to believe that they are better than that.

Now, I might have been misinformed. There was probably some womansplaining involved. You know that old drill about "Why is it that when a man is aggressive he's a *stud* and a *leader* but, when a woman is aggressive, she's a *bitch* or a *cunt*?" Well, I'll tell you with another question: "Who's saying that the guy isn't a bitch or cunt too?"

It's great to have a dick but, why be one? Dana Loesch, Tomi Lahren and other (mostly conservative women) act like they've got dicks. They might. If you've ever poked around on Tumbler, you'll come across some very female-looking people that have dicks. Yikes. I'm not casting aspersions on their gender bonafides  but, again- Yikes!

Who is the better man: The late Fred Rogers or the current Alex Jones? I can't say I'm a fan of either really but, Mr. Rogers presented himself as the gentle, man that he was. Mr. Jones presents himself as the crazed banshee he wants you to believe he is. One was himself and the other is a persona. Be yourself, not the self you think you should be. If you're going to educate people, teach them values, not vitriol and fear. Simple enough. If you're a woman, you don't have to be Mrs. Rogers but neither do you have to be Mrs. Jones. Frankly, somewhere in the middle, a bit north of Rogers but way south of Jones is better regardless of gender.

Dana or Tomi being vitriolic and tough is not a good look for a woman, nothing to aspire to. If they were men, they might not even get noticed in the sea of *conservative*, equally obnoxious men. Admittedly, they do standout so, that's probably why they went the tough guy route despite street-fighting not actually being in their background. Kinda Trumpy. Just like Trump wants you to think he's Donny from the block in Queens, these ladies want you to think they will fuck you up, though I doubt any of these three ever actually did fuck anybody up. Over maybe but, that's not the same.

Do better ladies. Be strong women rather than weak men. But, if you have to be a man, be a good man. Look around and you'll see fine examples of strong women and men to emulate. Don't settle for the obvious. Too many of us fellas already do that.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Armed With Semantics

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Well, shit, if you put it that way...

I'm in the camp with many historians (and good-looking handsome people) who believe that the Second Amendment was nothing more than an assurance from the new found government of the United States that, in time of war, the southern slave states would be allowed to hold back militia to put down slave rebellions and to hunt runaway slaves and bring them back to injustice. Slavery was a bigly business before, during and after the founding of this country. In many southern states, slaves out-numbered white folks. If you are white and have ever been surrounded by Negroes, you can understand the paranoia, especially if you are enslaving them. These people were snatched up from their homes and forced to work for free in another country. Despite what the folks on Fox & Friends have said, they were not happy about it, were not well cared for and were not better off than they had been back home on the African continent. As you go on in life, always ask yourself if you would like to be treated the way someone else is being treated. I mean in the bad ways, not the "Queen For A Day" ways or today's Kardashians. If you think slavery was "OK", volunteer yourself or sell your kids into slavery. Walk the talk. You'll be fine.

These days everyone who owns a gun is an expert on the 2A. Facebook and Twitter are overrun with experts on guns- and semantics. Untold numbers of people swear, for example, that the 2A expressly gives them the right to revolt against the government "if it gets too big for its britches". Well, no. That's not mentioned at all. In fact, where in the history of the world have the winners in any revolution ever said, "If you don't like the way we're running things- kill us!"? That's never the way it works. Even now, with Trump as president and republican majorities in both houses of congress, you still have people working off of that old, Obama-era script. This may be sheer laziness but it may also be due to the knowledge that Trump may not be long for the presidency. This could create ironic second amendment remedies of folks defending an oppressive government from another (seemingly) oppressive government inside that oppressive government that doesn't want the current oppressive government to oppress anyone, anymore. If you're going to choose a hill to die on, Capitol Hill run by the current grifters is a very odd choice. So, no, revolution is not an option in the 2A and neither the Bill Of Rights or the Constitution is supposed to be interpreted as if it were the Bible.

Now, am I interpreting the 2A as if it were the Bible? Am I relying on Constitutional scholars? Yep. I'll always go with the scholars rather than the drunk at the end of the bar whether it's religion or revolution. You should too but, yeah, you don't have to. Ain't nobody putting a gun at your head- even if they think the 2A gives them that right. 

Nor will I count on the drunk at the end of the bar to teach me semantics as it relates to guns. Sorry but, someone calling a magazine a "clip" does not end an argument and make you the winner. Same with someone thinking that the AR in AR15 means "assault rifle". Most people probably do not think it does but most every script available on the 'net for gun trolls probably says: "You win the argument when you post that AR DOES NOT mean Assault Rifle!" I see these two assertions all day, every day. The ambiguously worded 2A makes NO distinctions regarding the exact verbiage of the nomenclature of weaponry. You can look it up. Or refer to the exact words that begin this post. 

That's the whole fucking thing right there. There's no mention of slave rebellions either. That's probably with good reason though. Many of the founders owned slaves but, being smart guys, they probably knew that slavery was wrong and that leaving a paper trail about it on a historical document was not a good idea. I think the founders knew what they meant about militias and slave patrols and left it ambiguous for obvious reasons, the primary reason being that they didn't think it was ambiguous at all. These guys didn't know the difference between a clip and a magazine! They were simply assuring the slave states that, yeah, they could hold back some fellas in time of war to keep the slaves from rising up and killing the white folks. Duh.

Really now, was their any question at the time whether settlers could have guns when hunting was THE way of putting meat on the family table? There was no question of allowing the people to have guns for hunting or for defense. Ninety percent of what would become the US was hostile frontier crawling with Indians, many of which did not adhere to the white people's manifest destiny of killing all the Indians to take their land. Thus, settlers having firearms was not up for debate. Ours was perhaps the only revolution ever where the revolutionaries were not disarmed when the hostilities were over. And that wasn't because the winners felt like the people would need those arms to kill them if they got too big for their britches or elected a Black president. (The founders clearly never saw that coming). 

I seriously doubt they ever saw a Second Amendment debate coming either any more than they saw 100 round clips (or magazines, if you must) or atomic bombs or planes to drop them. No less a republican that the late Chief Justice, Warren Burger, called the 2A the "greatest fraud ever perpetrated upon the American public". He was talking about the NRA's interpretation of it rather than the amendment itself. It was not intended to give all Americans the right to bear arms. Just militia/slave patrols at the time of it's inception. It wasn't until 2008 when no less a republican than Antonin Scalia decided in DC v. Heller that citizens did have a right to bear arms but that that right was not "unlimited". What part of "...shall not be infringed" did that guy not understand?

Well, maybe it is time to repeal the 2A? The Civil War, Emancipation Proclamation and the 14th Amendment wiped out slavery so, in effect, overrode the 2A in the process. Even DC v. Heller actually only determined that a retired DC cop (Heller) could keep a gun in his house for home defense. I'm no expert but, it said nothing explicit about assault rifles, RPG's, tanks or other weapons of war being allowable. Remember: even Scalia said gun ownership was not unlimited. That sounds to me like it can be limited. Lets stop interpreting the 2a by either interpreting it for the 21st century or smooth dumping it. Lets have a national gun debate. And, lets do it without gun play because, you know, YOU don't have THAT right just because you think you do. It's long past time we got that shit straight. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

I will follow you...until you piss me off...

Chris Hayes has a show on MSNBC, 7pm Chicago time. (Full disclosure: I barely, rarely watch his show) He has 1.56 million Twitter followers and, until yesterday, I was one of them. He also follows 1,118 people there. I'm not one of them. I guess the reality of it all is that I could probably never be one, the way Hayes handles his Twitter.

He revealed yesterday that he has his settings adjusted to where he only sees replies from people he follows. I imagine many celebs and journos do the same and I kinda sorta get that. But, I also kinda sorta don't get that. What's the point of being on a very public venue of social media if you don't actually engage with the public? You don't even give them a chance. These people might as well email.

Fuller disclosure: I really only followed Hayes because he's a Cubs fan. On a promo for MSNBC, it showed Michael Moore pointing out that, on the screen on set, Hayes was interviewing Moore AND watching the Cubs playoff game! I decided then, I like this fucking guy! That's a fan! So, I gave him a follow on Twitter. No big effort on my part.

Last Fall, he tweeted a lot about the Cubs. I tweeted back a lot about the Cubs. I noticed I never got a single like from him about those Cubs tweets. I don't expect a lot of feedback from *famous people* but it struck me as odd that several supportive Cubs tweets would not get even one like. Well, now I know why. I wasn't one of the 1,118 people he calls "inners" so, he wasn't even seeing my tweets at all. It was like posting into a void. I wasn't blocked, mind you, as others could see my tweets, just not Chris. He couldn't be bothered because other peoples tweets bothered him. He's not interested in them no matter what they have to say or what team they love. To put it into perspective, if all 1.54 million of his followers tweeted him at once, only 1,118 of those tweets would be viewed by Chris. Quite a disparity.

Quite arrogant too. A few weeks ago I began following Rex Huppke, a clever columnist who writes for the Chicago Tribune. I bounced him when he posted a similar sentiment to the Hayes' one where he pointed out that he constantly blocked people who displeased him. I doubt I was one of those people but, maybe I never even got the chance? I never got a like from him no matter how clever I was and that leads me to believe his settings might have been like Chris Hayes'. I bounced him- even though I still think he's clever and funny- because I also think he's a dick for being so obnoxious about blocking people.

I've gotten at least one like from almost every other famous person I follow and there are a few I follow who do not follow me that are regularly appreciative of my tweets with likes and comments. I respect the hell out of that. They take the time to actually read some of the comments made to them! Imagine that! These people get the real purpose of social media- the social part. Hayes has both beat by more than a million followers each but, in my book (blog) he can't touch them.

So, am I a hypocrite? Eh... I block people who annoy me. The key is, I give them a chance to annoy me in the first fucking place.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Troll Farming

Nice piece in the Washington Post about a Russian, former employee of a *troll factory* in St. Petersburg, Russia. The guy was an unemployed teacher who had taken the gig to make himself enough rubles to tide himself over until he got a teaching job. He speaks English but, not well enough to pass himself off as an American so, he worked the floor that concentrated on trolling local Russian sites. To make more money and work the American sites, one had to be better versed in American life than he was. You had to be able to speak American as an American would and be familiar with all things American to make the big money, influencing American elections.

It seems the Russians work sorta similar to how Topix trolls work. They worked the Russians in threes at least. One person would take a contrary stance and the other two would work to convince him of how wrong he was. After a number of posts, he'd be convinced of how wrong he was. A Moscow Miracle!

Topix trolls, though they do work in teams, were more streamlined and frugal than the Russians. On Topix it's usually one troll playing several roles. Yeah, basically one person talking to his or her selves, hoping someone else bites. They used to have teams- the original Chicago Regulars were an example of that- but, if that wasn't too expensive(?) it was a lot of trouble. I was invited to join the Yahoo group where they gathered to get their marching orders each day about what would be the topic of conversation but, I declined. I wasn't exactly sure what was going on then but, I knew I didn't want to be a part of any organization that would have a very thinly drawn out *therapist* as the head of it. I've got some writing talent and it's nice that folks notice that. I wasn't exactly honored to be nominated but, I definitely wasn't going to serve. Of course, someone wasn't happy about that.

I didn't know what they were trying to accomplish. With the Russians they were at least obviously trying to reinforce political harmony at home and sow discord in the US. Though Topix gets political and nearly every troll there is a misfit republican, there never seemed to be a political goal at all. Nothing clear. Even in it's heyday back up until '09, Topix never had that much of a following as to influence a good number of people. I can still only surmise that, in the case of the Chicago Regulars, the agenda was only to masturbate the *therapist*. Maybe help pad the post count for Topix itself. Not a very ambitious or even nefarious agenda. It's kinda like some of the celebrities who recently were caught buying Twitter followers. If you gotta cheat...

I haven't posted on Topix in like 14 months. I look at it from time to time though. It can move at the glacial pace of a soap opera. The same people are still fighting about the same stupid things they been fighting, some for more than ten years. As I mentioned previously, some are arguing with the voices in their head just as they always did. Mental illness is what keeps the lights on in that troll factory as the bulk of the very few posters there are decidedly mentally ill. I don't actually mean that malevolently like these people are school-shooters or anything like that. I just mean that they are idiots is all.

Topix was just not a good model for the Russians to follow. We can't even TROLL as good as our adversaries! Not even useful idiots...