This is another video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. This video is a brief video essay, as well as a reflection of sorts, on the Satanic Panic of the 1980s. It’s an issue that has suddenly become more relevant in recent years and for all the wrong reasons. But the circumstances (and absurdities) of what happened in the 1980s were unique. And they’re worth learning from, especially if those with agendas are intent on starting a whole new panic.
Category Archives: politics
Remembering And Learning From The Satanic Panic
Filed under Current Events, Jack's World, politics, psychology, YouTube
Why We Should Embrace A Four-Day Work Week
If you’ve ever worked a full-time job, chances are that job had set hours during certain days of the week. It may vary from job to job, but in most developed countries there’s this concept of a standard work week. And it goes like this.
You work five days a week, often Monday through Friday.
You work eight hours a day, usually around 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
You typically don’t work major holiday or overtime. But if you do, you get paid overtime.
That’s seen as a “normal” work week these days. I put “normal” in quotes because what constitutes a normal workday has changed a great deal over the years. But I prefer not to focus on the history of the work week. I just want to ask a simple question about the work week as we currently accept it.
Is the five eight-hour workday schedule really the most effective approach to work?
It’s an honest question and one I think the COVID-19 pandemic has made more relevant. Beyond revealing how much work we can be done remotely and from the comfort of our homes, it also revealed that our concept of a normal work schedule is somewhat skewed. And it might be a good time to re-evaluate our understanding.
Some are already doing that. A number of companies in various parts of the world are starting to experiment with a four-day work week. It doesn’t always entail less work. In some cases, people opt to work four ten-hour days instead of five eight-hour days. The duration of the shifts don’t change. It’s just the structure.
And according to the conclusions of multiple studies, the results have been a massive success for everyone involved.
Overall productivity remained unchanged or actually improved.
Worker satisfaction increased, as did overall work/life balance.
The same amount of work got done, even when fewer hours overall were worked.
There were practically no real downsides. People got an extra day off, but were just as productive. They were also happier, overall. Even if you’re a ruthless business tycoon with no sympathy for others whatsoever, these results are encouraging. After all, happier and more fulfilled workers means less turnover and less conflicts overall. Unless your company runs on the tears and suffering of others, that’s generally good for business.
Even in the absence of these studies, I can personally attest to the appeal and the merits of a four-day work week. While I wasn’t lucky enough to have that schedule with any of the full-time jobs I worked, I do know it was a popular option in one particular company.
Since I don’t know if my former employer visits my site, I won’t say their name or their industry. I’ll just say that this company utilized a lot of shift-work. There were some typical nine-to-five shifts, but most varied considerably in order to ensure 24/7 coverage of our operations. I typically worked five days a week, usually 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
However, there was an option for those with kids to work four ten-hour days. The day of the week they got off varied. My supervisor actually encouraged those who used this option to coordinate and decide amongst themselves which day of the week they would take off. Some preferred having Monday off. Some preferred having Friday off. One even preferred having Tuesdays off.
It was probably the most popular shift, but one that wasn’t widely adopted. It was always framed as a shift reserved for those with young children who needed an extra day to take care of doctor’s appointments, personal matters, and what not.
Personally, I would’ve definitely preferred working four ten-hour days. Even if it meant those four days were longer, I would’ve gladly worked that time in exchange for a longer weekend. It would’ve made a lot of things easier, especially when I was young and just out of college. Even today, it would make a lot of things easier. An extra day would give me more time to rest, run errands, work out, and work on my personal life.
I suspect many feel the same way. Just think about how excited/relieved you are every time you have a long weekend to look forward to. But honestly, is a three-day weekend really that long? It’s still less than half of the week. And can you honestly say you get less done on a shorter work week?
Now, I understand that not all work is the same. There are certain jobs for which a four-day work week just isn’t practical. By the same token, there are also types of work for which a five-day work week isn’t practical, either. We just still use that schedule because it’s considered standard and “normal.” We’re so used to it that we don’t even question it.
But we should. The results of the studies I mentioned imply that there are better ways to get just as much work done with less time in a manner that is just as productive, if not more so. So why not embrace that?
I suspect a part of it has to do with how the five-day, 40-hour work week is engrained in a lot of labor laws. That is not a trivial detail that we can just overlook. But laws can be changed. And in this case, there’s a better and more efficient option available.
In a world with so many diverse people and so many diverse forms of work, it makes sense to be flexible. If a shorter work week means equal or greater amounts of efficiency, then the only thing stopping us is outdated assumptions about what constitutes “full-time work.”
I sincerely hope that changes in the coming years, especially as people continue to realize the value of a good work/life balance. Just because we’ve been structuring our jobs a certain way for decades doesn’t mean we should keep doing it that way. If a four-day work week is better by every measure, then we’re only making our jobs more miserable by clinging to outdated practices.
Filed under Current Events, health, politics, psychology
My (Genuine) Worries About Election Day 2022
It’s almost here, my fellow Americans.
Election Day is almost upon us.
As per the constitution, Election Day occurs on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November. That means November 8, 2022, is a day every American should have marked on their calendar. Whatever you’re doing that day, please plan on voting, if you haven’t already. Make whatever accommodations you need, be it time off work or finding transportation. It’s not just an important responsibility, as an American. It may very well be necessary for the continued survival for this country, as we know it.
I know that sounds a little dire and hyperbolic. I also doubt I’m the first one you’ve seen make such a claim. Doom and gloom tends to come with every election. Every year, it seems, the election is framed as the most important election of our collective lifetime. I think I’ve heard that message in some form or another since I became old enough to vote. As a result, it’s hard to take seriously.
That being said, this year is different.
Yes, I know every year is different, by definition. But 2022 brings us a unique set of circumstances the likes of which this country has not encountered before.
This year, we’re not just voting for new candidates to represent us at multiple levels of government. We’re voting on the continued existence of real democracy, itself.
This time, it’s not hyperbole or a marketing gimmick. This a real, tangible issue that we can’t avoid.
That’s because this year, a sizable chunk of the American electorate will have to vote on a ballot in which at least one candidate still denies the validity of the 2020 election. That is not a trivial issue to overlook.
We’re not talking about radically different opinions on tax policy, budget allocations, or welfare programs.
We’re talking about people who believe an election is not valid if their side loses. That’s not a simple difference in opinion or political ideology. That’s an unequivocal denial of both democracy itself, as well as reality.
Now, I don’t want to get too heavy into the objectively absurd claims that a bunch of right-wing whiners have been making about the 2020 election. There’s are plenty of legitimate news outlets that counter those claims and provide clear evidence that the results of the 2020 election reflected the will of the American people. If you are someone who refuses to accept that for whatever reason, then I’m sorry. You’re no better than a creationist and a flat-Earther at this point.
But regardless of how provably wrong such claims are, plenty of candidates, mostly within the republican party, cling to this absurdity. What makes it even worse is that a non-insignificant part of the electorate believes it too. And they will vote for candidates who share those beliefs, no matter how wrong they are or how stupid, corrupt, or cruel the candidate is as an individual.
I’m convinced these people would vote for Satan, Lex Luthor, and the corpse of Ted Bundy if it simply told them they would vote in line with their regressive Christian Nationalist platform. And make no mistake, that platform is completely un-American with respect to democracy, human rights, freedom, liberty, and overall decency to your fellow human being.
These individuals, as well as the people who vote for them, may sincerely believe they’re right. They may truly believe that anyone less conservative than Pat Robertson eats babies, worships the devil, and wants to utterly destroy America. But those individuals cannot and should not be taken seriously in any society that seeks a healthy democracy. These people are in a dangerous death cult.
The cult leaders are exploiting them for money, power, and exploitation.
The cult followers are enabling them by actually voting for these sociopaths.
Now, here in 2022, they’ve so weakened democracy and so polarized the country that they’re within a handful of votes from holding real positions of power. And once sociopaths have power, they never give it up willingly. If enough of them do get elected, they won’t just further the agendas of election deniers and Christian Nationalists. They will make it so that it’s much harder to vote them out of office and it’s much easier for them to hold onto power, even when the vast majority of the American people don’t share their positions.
It’s already been happening due to voter suppression and gerrymandering. It’s no longer enough for the will of the people to be against them. The people actually have to vote in overwhelming numbers to at least hinder or slow these sociopath’s pursuit of power. But if that doesn’t happen this year, then expect it to get much worse in the years to come.
Power seeks more power.
The powerful will always pursue greater power.
It has played out in history many times within many societies. America is not immune to it. All it takes for democracy as we know it to end is for people to willingly elect those who undermine it. At that point, your vote truly doesn’t matter. And America, as we know it, changes into whatever these sociopaths desire, be it a Christian theocracy or a corporate-owned oligarchy.
I don’t want that for the country I love.
Most Americans don’t want that.
But the only way to stop it is to vote in such overwhelming numbers that these right-wing sociopaths never gain the power they seek. That’s not to say those on the other side of the spectrum are angels. They’re not. I’m not too fond of the democratic party in America, but at least the candidates on that side actually believe in empowering people to vote, rather than subverting it. And for America to continue, as a functioning free society, we need to retain that, as well as improvement. We certainly can’t expect those who deny the 2020 election and objective reality to do the same.
So please, my fellow Americans, do what you can to vote this year.
Do whatever it takes.
Because this year, it’s not just a choice between a republican or a democrat.
It’s a choice between someone who believes in democracy and someone who seeks to destroy it for their own selfish benefit.
If you need resources, please use the following link:
Filed under Current Events, politics
How Dental Surgery Changed My View Of Drugs (And The Drug War)
Drugs are bad. You shouldn’t do drugs.
That was the mantra I heard every other day in school as a kid. Others my age heard it too. There were entire assemblies about drugs at least twice a year. There were regular PSA’s after some of my favorite kids shows. Every health and PE class, it seemed, took time out of their schedule to talk about the dangers of drugs.
For the most part, I listened to these message and took them seriously to some extent. However, I could never truly buy in. I’ve mentioned before how certain anti-drug programs I went through in school sent mixed messages. These days, I’ve come to see those programs and most of those anti-drug efforts to be either a waste of time, misguided, or outright deceitful.
I’ll go so far as to say that the drug war is a complete and utter failure and should be ended right now.
I’m not trying to make a political statement. I’m just trying to put my attitude towards drugs and the drug war in context. A lot factors went into this current overview. However, there was one particular experience that really re-shaped how I saw this issue. It wasn’t something I experienced in school or some life-changing PSA. It was actually a result of dental surgery.
That, in and of itself, is saying a lot because, as I’ve noted before, I despise going to the dentist.
A big part of that aversion to going has to do with some of my less-than-stellar dental health over the years. I’m not just talking about having a cavity or two. Most people deal with that. I’ve actually had a number of major dental procedures over the years. I’ve had fillings in my molars, gum grafts for my lower lip, and a whitening procedure that made my teeth hurt for days on end.
In short, I haven’t had many pleasant experiences at the dentist. In fact, most of my major medical procedures thus far have been of the oral health variety.
However, it was when I had my wisdom teeth removed that really changed my outlook on drugs. It also happened to be the most significant medical procedure I had done at that point. It marked the first procedure that required general anesthesia and recovery process. Naturally, I was nervous, but it had to be done.
For a lot of people, getting wisdom teeth removed is entirely necessary. I was among those who had to get it done as early as possible. The longer I waited, the more it would damage my teeth, my mouth, and my overall well-being. Those were my dentist’s exact words.
The experience, itself, was fairly standard. Even if I was nervous, I knew it had to be done. My mother even took time off work to take me because she knew I would be out of it for a while. However, I don’t think she knew just how much the drugs used in the procedure would effect me.
Again, this was my first major surgery and my first encounter with the powerful drugs used in said surgery. I had little experience and no tolerance, whatsoever. Naturally, I was going to react. I just didn’t know how colorful my reaction would be.
It went like this.
I sat down in a dental chair, the nurse put something over my nose, and then told me she was delivering some nitrous oxide.
I distinctly remember her putting this tiny rubber mask over my nose. I don’t remember anything three seconds after that.
The next thing I knew, it was over. I woke up, my mouth was full of gauze, and the dentist said we were done. He might have said something more, but I honestly don’t remember because I was laughing so had.
This is when I learned why nitrous oxide was also known as laughing gas. I definitely got the laughing part down.
However, I wasn’t juts laughing. I was light-headed, loopy, and just giggling like the happiest guy in the world. I don’t remember a whole lot about what I did or said, but I felt so good, despite my mouth being bloodied and sore. I’m also pretty sure I told the nurse I loved her and I might have even proposed to her. I don’t know. I’m genuinely worried that I made that nurse uncomfortable.
Also, remember that my mother is there. She has never seen me this doped up before. She had hard time not laughing. If she’s reading this right now, she might start laughing at the memory because I really was that out of it. I was so drugged up that my mother actually got my dad on the phone so he could hear me. I don’t remember what I said, but I’m pretty sure he laughed too.
Eventually, the effects did wear off. When they did, my mouth hurt. It het a lot. It was at that point when drugs stopped being funny and I realized something important.
Sometimes, you really do need drugs in order to get through something.
For me, it was serious dental surgery.
For others, it might be something else and it doesn’t always have to with medical procedures.
On top of that, these drugs work. Seriously, I do not know how I could’ve possibly endured getting my wisdom teeth removed without anesthesia. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have laughed nearly as much or flirted with the nurse.
Beyond the actual procedure, I was also prescribed some prescription strength pain killers to help with the pain afterwards. I won’t say what type of pills the were. I’ll just confirm that they were a form of opioids. Yes, they were those kinds of opioids.
I’ll also confirm that those pills worked. They were very effective at making my jaw hurt less as I recovered from the procedure. Sometimes, they worked a little too well. That was why I was generally very reluctant to take them. However, they did get the job done. Were it not for those pills, my recovery from that surgery would’ve been a lot more painful.
That’s really what it all came back to, pain and comfort. These drugs were necessary for me. They also made me feel really good while I was enduring something very distressing. That put a very different context around drugs, the drug war, and why people do drugs. Suddenly, all those anti-drug messages I got from school seemed woefully shallow.
Yes, drugs can be very dangerous and harmful. The number of people who die from overdoses is proof enough of that. However, people don’t just take drugs to overdose from them. There’s generally another reason behind it and that reason doesn’t always revolve around getting high.
While that does happen, it’s not nearly as damaging as many of those anti-drug messages claim. My experience with dental surgery gave me a taste of how pleasant it could be. I wouldn’t blame anyone at all for wanting to pursue that feeling, even if doing so came with serious risks.
More than anything else, my dental surgery experience complicated the whole issue of drugs, drug abuse, and why we wage war on drugs. The feelings I experienced, especially with the benefit of hindsight, convinced me that waging a war on drugs just isn’t winnable. These drugs work too well and people generally like to feel good. Like it or not, that’s exactly what these drugs do.
As time goes on, I’m also convinced that the drug war and the overly simplistic “drugs are bad” message is a gross oversimplification, as well as a misguided crusade. Why people do drugs varies, but let’s not avoid the truth. These drugs have potent effects and so long as people desire these effects, there will be those who seek drugs and abuse them.
To those who have only a limited understanding of drugs and drug abuse, I hope this experience helps change your perspective a bit.
Also, to that nurse who was there after I had my dental surgery, I sincerely apologize if I said anything inappropriate. It turns out nitrous oxide just has that effect on me.
Filed under health, human nature, politics, psychology, real stories
Why You Should Register To Vote NOW
I understand that following politics in any capacity these days is likely to result in multiple gut punches your faith in humanity.
Believe me. I get it.
I used to exercise what I believed to be a healthy faith in humanity’s overall goodness. I still followed the news and came across plenty of awful stories in trends. But in general, I still maintained that faith.
After these past two years, I just can’t maintain it as much as I used to. I won’t say it’s completely gone. I’ll just say my faith in humanity has become severely limited. Between the COVID-19 pandemic and recent political trends, I just couldn’t justify that faith anymore.
But as bad as things have gotten, I have not completely abandoned all semblance of hope. I still wake up every day and attempt to do the best I can, whether it’s helping my friends and loved ones or working to make myself a better person. As an individual, I understand I can only do so much. But as a whole, we can collectively do more.
The problem is there aren’t too many basic, tangible things we can all do collectively that will change our current course. However, one such opportunity is coming along for my fellow Americans on November 8, 2022.
That’s Election Day. It’s on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November. And while this year is not a Presidential Election year, which typically motivates more people to turn out, it’s still incredibly important to get out there and vote. It doesn’t matter if it’s for a senator, a governor, or a local school board member. Voting is one of the few things that you can do that will incur some level of measurable change.
Yes, the impact of voting is often deluded by incredibly shady, dishonest tactics funded by unscrupulous billionaires. But being diluted isn’t the same as being muted. It just means people have to be more motivated than the assholes who find public opinion and the public good inconvenient.
It’s a pain, indeed.
It’s also frustrating in that ordinary people have to work extra hard, just to keep the rich and well-connected in check. But it’s still worth doing.
This year, there’s more than just candidates on the ballot. In this era of deep polarization, there are people running for political office who have no interest in maintaining a healthy democracy. Their idea of democracy has less to do with the will of the people and more to do with the will of their particular political tribe. Anything that deviates cannot be permitted, tolerated, or allowed.
That is a dangerous precedent.
History has shown, time and again, that if you give undemocratic people power, then they’re not going to be inclined to surrender that power. We’ve already seen what can happen when this goes too far. Regardless of how you feel about the other side of the political spectrum, nobody wins in the long run if the principles of democracy are abandoned in favor of holding onto power.
That’s not democracy, freedom, or a robust republic.
That’s just a foundation for tyranny and the many cycles that fuel it.
If it gets to a certain point, then voting won’t just be ineffective. It’ll be completely gone and done a way with, as we know it. If you live in a functioning democracy at the moment, you cannot allow it to get that far. Because once it does, it becomes much harder to resolve.
So please, take voting more serious than usual this time around. If you only ever vote in Presidential Elections, make an exception this year. For the good of democracy and the fight against encroaching authoritarianism, put in the effort.
If you haven’t already, learn how you can register to vote. Use this site from USAGov as a guide.
Also, use this site to check deadlines and learn procedures for your particular jurisdiction.
Check Voter Registration Deadlines and Laws in Your State | Vote.gov
It doesn’t cost you anything. And the potential benefits for you, your family, and future generations are vast.
America is not yet past the point of no return in which our democracy can’t recover, but we’re disturbingly close. We can’t undo all our mistakes and missteps all at once. But at the very least, we can make a concerted effort.
And the best way to contribute to that effort is to vote.
Don’t put it off.
Be as proactive as you can possibly be. Democracy needs us every bit as much as we need it.
Filed under Current Events, politics
More Young Men Are (Unsurprisingly) Getting Vasectomies (And Why I’m Considering It Too)
Every now and then, you come across news that’s so unsurprising that it should hardly qualify as news. To report it is asking to reporting that the sun rose the other day. You don’t need reporters, scientists, witnesses, or researchers of any kind to affirm you. Anyone with semi-average intelligence could’ve inferred the same events.
So when the United States Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade and effectively ended the constitutional right to abortion access, most competent people could infer there would be consequences. You don’t strip half the population of a critical right that they’ve held for over 40 years without incurring some sort of reaction. While that reaction has played out in many ways since the ruling, I want to highlight one in particular. And it’s a story that I doubt will surprise anyone.
It has to do with men getting vasectomies. Because shortly after this ruling came down, there was a major uptick in men seeking vasectomies.
Many of these men were also quite young, some still being in their early 20s. Many didn’t even have any kids and were basically undergoing a procedure that would make it nearly impossible for them to do so.
Now, as a man and as someone who has a functioning news feed, I get it. This ruling was dramatic and far-reaching in so many ways. It’s enough to make anyone of any gender think twice about having kids. It has certainly given me pause. But I also think it’s worth putting this trend into perspective.
Yes, it will definitely impact women in a far greater way.
Yes, women will suffer much more as a result of this ruling.
That is beyond dispute. There’s nothing political about that statement. There have already been documented cases of just how much women are suffering because they cannot get an abortion. But for men, the concerns are still personal, albeit in a less direct way.
Now, depending on which state you live in, there’s a much greater cost to getting a woman pregnant, be it your girlfriend, your wife, or your mistress. Some of that can be measured in terms of dollars. If women are forced to carry that child to term, you’re paying for it one way or another. It might be in the form of child care, pre-natal care, or child support. Even without the emotional cost, you’ll still pay a high price.
Even if you’re happily married and actually want kids, you may still have to pay in other ways. If your wife can’t get an abortion and has a complicated pregnancy, then not only is she more likely to suffer greater, her life could very well be at risk. In the worst case scenario, she might end up dead because the state won’t allow her to terminate a pregnancy that’s doing irreparable damage to her body.
By nearly every measure, it’s a bad situation for everyone involved. A world where the state can force people to have kids they don’t want or deny them certain care that would alleviate their suffering is not a tenable situation.
For that reason, I don’t blame any man for seeking a vasectomy. Whether they just don’t want kids, they don’t want to put their partner in danger, or they just hate wearing condoms, it’s understandable. And there’s a high probability that this situation will get worse before it gets better. It may even never get better.
That’s because more than one conservative mouth piece has said that they’re going to go after contraception now that they’ve won the abortion battle. These reactionaries aren’t being subtle anymore.
They’ve made it clear that they want to turn the clock back.
They want to undo the sexual revolution.
They want to undo feminism.
They want to regress society back to a state where women were just breeding mares and men were just drones who only existed to work and sire more drones/mares.
While we can and should fight back against these right-wing fascists, I no longer have hope that we can win that fight. These people don’t play by the rules. They’ve proven time and again that they will lie, cheat, and bully their way to impose their agenda, even when it’s unpopular. And since too much of the population is stupid, gullible, and ignorant, they’ll go along with it in the name of trolling people they don’t like.
That is not a promising future, nor is it one I’m looking forward to. I do hope I’m wrong. But based on what I’ve seen these past few months, I am starting to accept that we’ve already crossed a point of no return.
I’m still relatively young. I currently am not married and I have no kids. Just a few years ago, I was fairly confident in what I wanted for my future. I wanted to find the love of my life. And I wanted to have kids of my own one day. But in wake of recent events, that sentiment has changed.
It’s not that I don’t want kids or oppose anyone else having them. I just feel like if I did have kids at this point, I would be bringing them into a world that’s going to get progressively worse for them. If I have a daughter, she’ll grow up in a world where the state will gladly make her suffer in the name of conservative values. And if I have a son, he’ll grow up in a world where many of the fun, freedoms, and joys that I had will have been taken away from him.
Again, I really hope I’m wrong. I really hope the current trends change in a major way. But I’m old enough to have noticed a recurring pattern in the global political landscape. Things will get worse because there are too many incentives for those who have or are seeking power.
For that reason, and a few others I prefer not to share, I’m seriously considering getting a vasectomy. I know it’s a big decision and one that would have a significant impact on my personal life, especially if and when I do meet that special someone. But given the current state of the world, it feels like the right decision for me and for whatever children might have been born in this increasingly distressing world.
That’s not to say I’m ready to make my appointment with my doctor. This is just something I’m seriously considering at the moment. And when I do ultimately make my decision, I want to be certain it’s the right one.
I also understand that I may have to make this decision sooner rather than later. Because if the courts are capable of banning abortion, then they’re just as capable of banning vasectomies.
Filed under Current Events, extremism, politics, sex in society, sexuality
I Paid Off My Entire Student Debt Years Ago, But I Gladly Support Student Debt Forgiveness
When I was in grade school, I got beaten up by a bully. It was painful, humiliating, and left lasting scars that I would not want anyone to experience.
When I was still in college, I tried to put together my first website that I hoped would help me make a few extra bucks on the side. I even paid for this service that was supposed to help get my site listed on major search engines at the time. That turned out to be a scam and I lost $150 at a time when I couldn’t afford to loes that kind of money. I don’t want anyone to experience that, either.
We all have experiences in our lives that we don’t wish for others to experience. It’s a big reason why parents strive to create better lives for their children, especially if they themselves had a difficult upbringing. I’ve known people who had horribly abusive parents, but they made it a point to ensure their children got the love and kindness that she never got.
This is an objectively good and moral thing. It’s something most are inclined to celebrate and support. So, with all that in mind, why should forgiving student loan debt be any different?
It had been talked about and entertained a great deal during the 2020 Presidential Election. Some candidates even made it a central part of their platform. But earlier this week, it became official. President Biden announced that a sizable chunk of student loan debt for millions of Americans would be forgiven.
USA Today: ‘Debt and no degree’: Biden cancels as much as $20K in student loan debt: Recap
Now, I understand there are a lot of political machinations behind moves like this, none of which I’m smart enough to make sense of, let alone articulate. I also understand there are some real, logistical reasons as to why forgiving student loan debt is difficult and will likely incur a greater cost in the near and far future. I’m sure I’ll notice that cost personally at some point.
All that being said, I still strongly support this. I would even support more student loan debt forgiveness, especially for those who were hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn it triggered. And I say that as someone who paid off every penny of his debt back in 2011.
I know that makes me a bit of an anomaly, especially when compared to my peers in my graduating class. I knew some people who had taken out as much as $100,000 in loans in order to go to college. It wasn’t because they were reckless or stupid. They just came from families who could not afford to save money for college without starving. They also didn’t qualify for grants or scholarships.
And for the record, many of these peers were not majoring in “useless degrees.” I didn’t know a single person majoring in gender studies, philosophy, or underwater basket weaving. Most majored in things like engineering, medicine, and computer science. They were smart people who had the skills to get quality jobs as soon as they graduated. But not all of them were able to find jobs and even those that did still had what amounted to a mortgage payment cutting into their salary every month.
This is not a tenable system.
It’s also not how other industrialized countries do higher education.
In general, sending young people to college is an investment in people. We, the tax paying public, understand that there’s social and economic value in educating people at a high level. It’s a critical component for a functioning, prosperous society. And we don’t do that society any favors by shackling them with a massive amount of debt that they can’t get rid of, even in bankruptcy.
Looking back on it, I probably could’ve moved forward in my life much faster if I didn’t graduate with the debt I had. Granted, my debt was considerably smaller than most, but it still ensured I had to live at home a number of years and couldn’t afford any major investments, be it retirement or a car. I can only imagine how much further it held back peers with far bigger debts.
On top of that, the cost of college has gotten considerably more expensive since I graduated. I even went back and checked the tuition from my old school. Even with in-state benefits, I would’ve paid more than twice the amount I paid for the same degree. And the job market after I graduated would be nowhere near what it was years ago.
Despite these circumstances, as well as the undeniable burdens that come with being shackled with so much debt, I still here a common complaint from those who oppose student loan debt forgiveness. It has similar themes, but it usually boils down to comments like this.
“You took out a big loan? Too bad! Get a job and pay it back, you lazy moochers!”
“I paid back all my debt years ago. Why should you get to avoid paying yours?”
“It’s not fair! I didn’t even get to go to college because I was too poor. Why should I pay for your degree?”
Now, first off, if you’ve ever said something like this out loud to another human being who is currently struggling to keep up with loan payments in a terrible job market still recovering from a pandemic, I have one thing to say to you.
Seriously, fuck all the way off.
Second, if your opposition boils down to all these young people getting an advantage you never got when you were that age, know that that’s a total bullshit reason. Even if you paid all your debts off by hard work and sacrifice, who are you to force millions of young people to do the same? Their situation is different. Times have changed a great deal since you were in college. They’ve changed a great deal in the past five years alone.
These aren’t all the self-entitled brats you hear Bill Maher and Tucker Carlson whining about every week. Those people do exist, but they’re an extreme minority who just happen to whine the loudest. Most of the millions of students who will benefit from this program are genuine, hard-working young people trying to build better lives. They just can’t do that when they’re shackled with this kind of debt.
To ignore their plight because you think it’s unfair to those who paid off their debts isn’t just a dick move. It makes no sense. Think back to those incidents I mentioned earlier about enduring a hardship that I wouldn’t wish on others. Dealing with student loans is a serious hardship. And even if you got out of it, why condemn others to suffer?
That’s akin to opposing polio vaccines, antibiotics, and lead free paint because you had to deal with the world before all these terrible things. So you want others to deal with it too. That’s not fair. That’s not just. That’s just you being a cruel, sadistic prick to millions of your fellow Americans.
Again, fuck you.
I don’t care that I paid off all my loans already. I don’t care that many young people will get to skip the hardships I endured when I was younger. If anything, I will gladly cheer on those who benefit from this act. You have an opportunity I never enjoyed. I sincerely hope to make the most of it.
Filed under Current Events, political correctness, politics
Why I Don’t Feel Bad For Enjoying Alex Jones’ (Growing) Misfortune
In general, it’s not good, healthy, or ethical to take pleasure in someone else’s misfortune. Even if you despise someone for what they do, what they say, or what they believe, it’s usually not good for someone mentally or emotionally to take excess joy in someone else’s suffering. I won’t say it’s entirely wrong to feel a slight twinge of happiness when someone you don’t like endures loss or misfortune. It’s just one of those things you should not overdo.
I certainly don’t deny that I’ve had those feelings in the past. There have been a number of occasions in which I felt genuinely happy to hear that someone hurt themselves or in some way faced meaningful consequences for some egregious misdeed. I’m not proud of it. I generally try not to feel that way when it happens and when it does, I try to remind myself that this isn’t good for me as a person.
All that being said, I will gladly make an exception for someone like Alex Jones.
Now, if you’ve never heard of Alex Jones, consider yourself very lucky. Hell, I envy anyone who has lived much of their life having never seen or heard of this unhinged, eccentric blowhard. I won’t provide a detailed breakdown of why he’s a relevant figure, how he came to become a mini-celebrity of sorts, or recount his lengthy history of gross misdeeds.
I don’t even want to link to the man’s Wikipedia page. I flat out refuse to burden anyone with excess knowledge of who this man is.
All you really need to know about Alex Jones is that he is the most extreme of extreme right-wing media grifters. He is also one of the loudest/most obnoxious proponents of the most insane and extreme conspiracy theories to ever be conjured by unthinking minds. This isn’t just a guy who believes there’s a shadowy cabal of elites who secretly control and guide the course of world events. This is a guy who thinks aliens, shape-shifting lizards, and Jewish bankers conspire to turn frogs gay.
Seriously, I wish I were making that last one up, but that’s disturbingly real. It became a meme for a while and is supposed to be funny. But make no mistake, there’s nothing funny about the extremism that Alex Jones promotes or the suffering it causes.
You need look no further than the suffering he’s caused the families of the children who died tragically at the Sandy Hook shooting. It’s bad enough that these parents suffered the loss of their child, a pain no parent should ever have to endure. But because of Alex Jones and the people who take him seriously, those grieving parents were subjected to endless harassment by those who claimed they were crisis actors and that their child never even existed.
Seriously, that’s what Jones actively promoted. He believed the whole Sandy Hook shooting (and most other mass shootings, for that matter) was a plot orchestrated by the government to enact stricter gun control laws so that the general populous could be disarmed. It’s as crazy, callous, and downright ghastly.
Just take a moment to appreciate what these parents have been through. First, they had to bury their own child. Then, some asshole on the internet claims they’re just actors pretending to be sad and they’re actually plotting with shape-shifting lizard people in the government. And because there are too many sadistic assholes with internet connections, they start harassing you and your family, claiming the child you loved and had to bury never existed.
There’s being a dick, there’s being cruel, and then there’s that. I honestly don’t have a word for just how awful that is on so many levels. Nobody should have to endure that, let alone the parents of grieving children.
That’s why when the parents of the Sandy Hook victims sued Alex Jones for defamation, I eagerly cheered them on. I never expect Jones or anyone like him to go to jail or anything. They’re too good at hiring competent lawyers and pushing the limits of free speech to ever suffer a fate that deserving. At the very least, I hoped they would hit Jones in his wallet in a way that really hurt.
A part of me even hoped that this lawsuit would render Jones penniless, homeless, and no longer able to maintain his bullshit conspiracy show. I know that was hoping for too much. However, it seems as though his egregious behavior is finally catching up to him. Thanks to his own ineptitude, and a huge mistake by his own lawyer, Alex Jones has lost this defamation case.
AP News: Alex Jones ordered to pay Sandy Hook parents more than $4M
It’s no longer a matter of if Jones will have to pay the parents of the Sandy Hook victims money for his bullshit. It’s just a matter of how much he’ll have to pay. That $4 million is just for compensatory damages. The amount for punitive damages is potentially much higher. Given the amount of suffering this man has caused to parents grieving the deaths of their children, I honestly don’t know if there’s an amount high enough for him to pay.
I don’t care that Jones claims his company is bankrupt, which is bullshit. Even if he were, he deserves to pay a high price for what he’s done.
This isn’t about free speech, as he loves to claim.
It’s not about silencing him, as he also loves to claim while playing the victim.
This is about what he has done and the consequences of those deeds. Because of the crap he spewed on his show, the parents of these dead children have suffered horrendous abuse. On top of that, Alex Jones knew about this. The trial presented ample evidence that he knew and he did not do anything to stop it, let alone rectify it.
Like it or not, he is responsible for the continued suffering of these people.
He should pay a price.
He’s gone many years saying egregiously wrong things, spreading misinformation and conspiracy theories. In the process, real people have suffered real harm that they never would’ve endured, had it not been for Jones.
Yes, he still has a right to say what he said. He can’t be punished for that.
But that sacred right of free speech is not a shield from consequences.
For too long, he has evaded any semblance of consequence for what he’s said and done on his joke of a show. On top of that, he uses that same show to peddle bullshit supplements and products like the worst kind of snake oil salesman. As a result, he’s made millions from his viewers and his used his platform to elevate the voices of some truly despicable people who have done too much to foster hate, mistrust, and ignorance.
Now, Jones is finally poised to suffer real, tangible loss for his misdeeds. And since his misdeeds go beyond even harassing the parents of slain children, it sets a precedent for others to follow. Personally, I hope more follow the lead of the Sandy Hook parents. I hope more opt to sue Jones for every last penny he has and then some.
It’s bound to hurt him financially, as well as personally. But whatever he suffers, I don’t feel a shred of sympathy for him. I’ll even let myself take some enjoyment in his failure to evade repercussions. Because sadly, it’s exceedingly rare for assholes with money to face any real consequences for their actions. I don’t expect this trail with Alex Jones to change that on a large scale, but a little karmic justice goes a long way these days.
It’s still not clear how much the results of this trial will hurt Jones in the long run. Whatever it does, it’s still far less than he deserves. And in case there’s still any lingering ambiguity about how I feel on this issue or this arrogant blow-hard, allow me to end this with one simple message.
Fuck you, Alex Jones!
Fuck off, you lying, selfish, ignorant, grifting, loud-mouthed, snake-oil selling, pitiful excuse for a slob of a man!