State of the Me

I find I’m reticent to write a lot of the things I’m thinking lately; partly because a lot of it strike me as ephemeral crap I don’t really want to think about, and partly because I’ve grown weary of debate and discussion on certain topics. And not enough happens in the writing part of my life right now, so I’m not doing anything there. Meh.

I have thoughts, but I’m just increasingly unlikely to share them for fear of… I’m not sure what, exactly. Here’s a random sampling:

I’m tired of being dismissed with tired lines about “privilege” if I disagree with the idea that white people have no place in discussions about racism, or if I think the term “cisgendered” is unnecessary. (There is nothing wrong with “gender normative.” The word “normal” exists for a reason, and it isn’t a value judgment to say someone isn’t normal in some way. I’m a bisexual man–that isn’t “normal,” in that the vast majority of men are straight. It doesn’t lessen me to say my sexuality isn’t normal. It doesn’t, in my opinion, lessen a transgender person to say that I am gender-normative. But because I’m not transgender, apparently I don’t get to say anything.

The increasing tribalization of American society worries me. It’s not a good thing that so many people identify themselves by whomever they voted for in the last election.

I would emigrate to the UK in a second, for a lot of reasons. Lack of funds to do so is one reason I don’t. I wish there was a “citizenship swap” mechanism. That’d be pretty cool, actually. I think it’s absurd that in the modern world, with more ability to travel than ever before, our nationalities are determined by where we happened to be born. I regret, as I get older, that I didn’t go when I was much younger and probably could have done it legally. It’s only gotten more difficult since then, and the UK’s new system counts my age against me. (And yes, I know the UK isn’t perfect, either. As I said, many reasons.)

I don’t think Edward Snowden is a whistleblower. He just doesn’t fit the definition. I’m not sure whether or not I think he’s a hero, but I think it’s good that the information he leaked is out, and I suppose I’m glad he made that happen. He’s a guy who made a choice, and now he has to deal with the consequences of those choices. I suspect history will remember him more fondly than that.

I think I’m having a midlife crisis. Fortunately it’s more “quiet desperation” than “buying a sports car.” It’s not that my life sucks, but that I’m rebelling internally against some of the strictures I have to live by.

Theodore Beale is a cautionary tale showing that knowing facts doesn’t mean you’ll come to a reasonable conclusion regarding those facts.

Identity Theory makes me insane.

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About Michael Johnston

Father of a fifth grader, high school English teacher, writer. Forty-six years old and feeling almost every bit of it on some days, and not a bit of it on others. Based in Sacramento, California, USA
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One Response to State of the Me

  1. I am often reminded of the quote “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” It is from Winston Churchill in a speech tot he House of Commons Nov. 11, 1947. It is a hard thing to let everyone at the table have a voice because what we end up with is a table full of people who think that their seat at said table makes them correct. The whole point of open discussion is to let reasonable people present their reasons. The hope being that each person’s reasoning then is tested by the rest of us and only those that seem to be true survive the thrashing of everyone else at the table.

    It’s hard for people who have been marginalized for a long time to walk to the table in that spirit. They feel somehow that their suffering has bought them some form of additional credibility or epistemic privilege because their suffering is unique. This is of course bull****. We all have hardships and while many of us are in the “normal” setting that doesn’t make us wrong it simply makes us who we are. But somehow the current model of discourse says that we need to compensate the previously disadvantaged in order to somehow rhetorically redress old harms. This simply does not work, and I mean that to say the system of rebalancing sets the table out of balance again, just in a new way.

    The harder part of this for me is that I can’t fix it. I am glad more people have a seat at the table, but I also see the imbalance while many at the table seek to skew it more because from their point of view it is still not level. I fear the cure may in time be worse than the original problem.

    As for the UK thing, if I thought I could get a professorship over there I’d take the groundskeeper’s cottage at your place in a heartbeat. I’d emigrate for the ability to watch BBC4 alone. I miss Mock the Week and Grand Designs something fierce, plus UK girls are kinda foxy, and I mean really foxy.

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