“Walter Williams: The State Against Blacks” (full documentary)

Pausing 16:15 in…His argument about minimum wage laws makes sense to me, despite my “bleeding heart” side wanting to protest a human being working for $2/hr. Back when this documentary was filmed in the 1980s the minimum wage was $3.00+, now it’s what? $7.00-something? Last I checked that’s what it was in this state. But I get where Dr. Williams is coming from here in terms youths gaining valuable experience with the working world at a time when they’re typically least capable of being productive due to lacking those very job skills they’re needing to acquire through becoming employed. Remove low wage “practice” positions and you undermine youth’s education in adjusting to the ways of our capitalist economy. It is what it is, and socialistic policies haven’t improved the reality after decades of chances to demonstrate they might. We’re being forced to take in the facts of the situation, folks. My argument relating to minimum wage laws usually revolves around how the middle-class winds up squeezed financially the most since their wages are already higher than any set minimum wage and aren’t raised in accordance with it; plus, whatever benefits the poorest hope to receive wind up reduced when companies raise the costs of their products and services in relation to the wage hike so as not to lose profit.

While I remain bitterly critical of the corporatist setup that’s come to dominate what was intended to be a free market capitalist society, I no more wish to aid and abet the socialist idealists out in the society who are fighting to swing the pendulum to another, arguably more totalitarian outcome either. Both of those options suck so far as I can tell.

Dr. Williams’ next point about licensing and regulations barring people entry to various professions is something I’ve long been concerned about as well. Incredibly high cost (and only increasingly) professional licenses and other restrictions reduce our ability as citizens to compete in this corporate-dominated climate. Absolutely. Hurts us as individuals and all across the board as a people to be denied entry in fields where we might flourish despite taking a different approach than those dictating how the profession must be guarded and rendered exclusive. While I can understand why professions would want this since they stand to benefit most from such an arrangement, it’s entirely unnecessary and anti-capitalistic in many cases. Rating organizations can be employed to discern who’s who and how well they’ve performed in their services provided — government regulation isn’t needed there, by-and-large. Some regulations I can understand, particularly that which allows the market to remain free enough so that the majority of people might be capable of effectively competing within it. But there’s a line to be drawn and it comes before professionalizing nearly everything field under the sun, as has been actively occurring.

On a slight side-note, he brought up a good point about hair-dressers and how the hoop-jumping test-taking there eliminates people who actually know how to do hair but lack the education necessary to test well on paper. It’s doing hair, not solving philosophical conundrums, folks. Never understood why that field was set up as it is now, especially considering how many pathetic hair-dressers somehow still mange to graduate and become licensed. Too many people go into that line of work who have no real business there, yet their hair academies aren’t screening them out. Hence why I learned to dye, bleach, and trim my own hair. Good riddance. Gotta try out numerous hair stylists to find one worth returning to, especially if you move around as much as I have. Wish I had heard more through word of mouth so I could’ve avoided those regretted encounters. And the best hair stylist I ever wound up finding, back in Omaha, cost nearly $125 per session and wound up quitting once her pregnancy advanced. So dang. That’s a lot to pay but apparently was necessary if I wanted my hair to look like how that one woman could manipulate it. Pretty much every other stylist either didn’t take as much pride in their work or weren’t sufficiently familiar with working with my hair type or just altogether jacked my shit up. So I learned to handle it myself. Their licensing requirement doesn’t impress me much.

As for cab drivers, now that Uber is on the scene we see how a private company can still conduct screening of potential drivers while side-stepping cab licensing requirements, which is how proving to seriously undermine the status quo of that service industry. Kinda funny, if you ask me. And totally welcome. Customer reviews help reward the good drivers within their ranks and aid in removing the more questionable ones, at least in terms of being affiliated with that company specifically.

Anyway, moving on…  Pausing at 21:00, this man is right that people are confusing the road to economic success as necessarily involving first pursuing political power. That’s not it tends to shake out in the real world, past or present (as we’re bound to find out once again). Yes, on the free market we get to vote with our individual dollars rather than simply being overruled by a majority influenced by whatever ideology.

Interesting panel discussion there at the end.

“You See Me Laughin’: the last of the hill country bluesmen (Mississippi Blues documentary – 2002)”

Huge fan of the music of R.L. Burnside in particular, though I also fairly regularly listen to some songs acquired by T-Model Ford, Junior Kimbrough, Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcolm, and Asie Payton. Interesting to learn more about their backgrounds as well as to find out about a few singers I’d never heard of before (like Cedell Davis and Johnny Farmer). Plus to learn how their music became popularized outside of the Deep South.

An insightful film.

“My Dinner with André” (film)

This is a film I watched a few years back and still like to re-view from time to time, this week it having come back across my radar once again.

Very interesting and thought-provoking conversation they had there. Provides a lot for one to ponder on.

“AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL 3 – Selling Sex To Children” (plus my thoughts)

Tonight I’m watching an interview with Darryl Roberts on his latest documentary “America the Beautiful 3”:

Having just watched up to the 18:47 mark, now pausing…  Let me say this. After having viewed Darryl Roberts’ first “America the Beautiful” film approximately 3 times (though haven’t watched the last two yet) and then numerous interviews of him since, I have to say that I respect the guy. Don’t agree with him or those he chose to interview on all points, as to be expected, but he does come across as honestly working to campaign on behalf of young girls by sharing their experiences and calling into question cultural influences and trends. He started off small-scale and worked his way up, advocating for youths he’s most concerned about.

Now, I can already see where “manospherians” are going to take issue. First, the documentary references the Mary Koss statistics on 1 in 4 or 1 in 5 women being raped in their lifetimes. In Darryl’s and the other people involved’s defense, those statistics were broadcast on the CDC website and literature. CDC= Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is “one of the major operating components of the [U.S.] Department of Health and Human Services.” People tend to trust government-issued statistics. This is the CDC’s error, first and foremost, in accepting statistics without scrutinizing the methodology used. That’s why they’re trusted: we expect our government to operate with due diligence. Otherwise it’s just spreading propaganda and/or misinformation. So if people want to get mad over statistics, cooked by a feminist gender ideologue in order to bolster her own political leanings, being adopted and then broadcast online by the CDC, then great. I’m with you on that. But credible challenges to those statistics are just beginning to break into the mainstream, meaning that most who’ve heard the Koss stats repeated for years came to believe them. As did I once upon a time. Took time to “wake people up” the first go-round, so expect it to take time to awaken people once again. Darryl’s going on what he assumes to be reputable, government-endorsed data. As to be expected by most. And that’s a problem all unto itself.

Then Darryl mentioned Gail Dines, whom I know most “manospherians” just adorelove  I know. But it doesn’t appear the crux of his claims and speculations there rely much, if barely any, on her input. He’s, once again, taking issue with the commercialization of sex and aesthetic appeal. That’s his running theme in exploring how little girls are nowadays coming up being sold on a bunch of lies and bad information intended to make them self-conscious so that they’ll buy crap they don’t really need to transform themselves in radical ways. And I do see where he’s coming from in a lot of that, because I lived through it too, as a kid of the ’80s and a teen of the ’90s. And I probably got a bigger dose than some in terms of early sexualization and where that all led.

I too worry about the youth of this country and culture, both males and females, though I also started off mostly concerned with girls since I was one trying to figure out how to navigate in this modern maze. Now that life’s been chilling out a bunch in recent years and I’m in my 30s and taken myself out of that hook-up culture rat race, it’s provided time for greater reflection, one rumination being on witnessing how many males my age and younger behaved over the years. Fairly early on I came to prefer the company of older men over that of my peer group, and that’s never changed to this day. Because my age group is, generally speaking, a bunch of hooligans (myself included to whatever extent). Why? Well, look at how we came up and what all we’ve been exposed to. Think that’s had no discernible impact on our choices and behaviors and even modes of thinking? Well, think again.

My own story would fill a book. Taught me a lot. Cost me a good bit in the process though, as all risk-taking can. Came out realizing that practically everything I thought I knew was wrong, because we’re fed horseshit like it’s going out of style. And the younger a person is who’s saturated with all those messages, the more deeply ingrained they appear to become. Just my observation.

Back to watching the video now…

He could support young girls without taking on such a feminist position. Wish he’d be a bit more critical of feminist influences that have been confusing to girls and young women (not to mention males) as well.

And when they talk about the dehumanization of girls and women, what I really think is happening here is the dehumanization of sex itself. Both partners, whether male or female, are becoming props in a bizarre real-time experiment where youths come up feeling pressured to imitate “art.” (I use the term art very loosely there, mind you.) I saw it happening long before coming across what Darryl had to say on the matter. Been ramping up ever since I hit puberty, and was probably going on before then even. But then the internet brought issues revolving around sexuality and youth to a fever pitch, most definitely.

Haven’t read or watched “50 Shades of Grey” and hope not to. Not my style. Heard enough about it from others to suit me, and what’s been described I’d refer to as “gonzo porn” as well. That’s an apt term for the extremes porn has headed in (though porn has been crazy since at least the ’70s, the popularity of the internet having taken it too to unprecedented heights and weirder extremes). I don’t care for most porn anymore, and when I do look at it still occasionally my aim is to find amateur videos (though most marketed under that heading turn out to be anything but).

Before anyone FREAKS OUT, that doesn’t mean I’m advocating to ban pornography. Being critical of it and choosing to back away from it and preferring the company of others who do the same is an expression of individual choice. I realize others will lose themselves in that sort of thing, similar to how I did back when younger, and all I can do is communicate with people from my perspective on the matter. That’s all I’m ever aiming to do. New laws won’t change a thing if people persist in creating demand for raunchy crud.

AND not all porn is created equal. That deserves to be stated. Though most that I’ve come across hasn’t included much, if any, displays of intimacy and affection, which bugs me since I’ve viewed A LOT of porn over time. The novelty of viewing dehumanized sex began wearing off on me a few years back, and good riddance.

ALL INPUT winds up having an impact, whether we’re conscious of this impact or not. I’m grateful to finally come to realize how much that shit in particular was poisoning my soul. Others didn’t have to tell me — I felt it. At least when it comes to the craziest, most degrading stuff I’ve watched over time.

Darryl’s attitude expressed about porn comes across a bit more narrow and judgmental than my own, to be honest. Some female porn stars indeed got wrecked through acting in porn (Chris Hedges discusses that in a chapter of his book Empire of Illusion, by the way), but so did many males as well. Porn producing can be, and often enough is, damaging to all actors who remain involved in it. I’ve watched documentary segments where male porn actors talked about shooting up some sort of chemical directly into their penises in order to achieve a sustained erection, which then after doing that so many times over however many years it wound up creating nearly permanent erectile dysfunction. And think about gay porns and the males who participate in the bottom position. Slamming either males or females with huge dicks over countless hours is likely to do damage and to be painful, and then you add in scat and water sports and tolerating men ejaculating in your mouth and/or on your face — plus add in the cultural double-standards and stigma that these porn actors have to deal with. Think that doesn’t leave a mark on their psyches? How can it not? They are not robots, they’re human beings.

And this is a prime example of how chasing money can wind a person up with an impoverished spirit. Classic example, in fact.

I’m critical although I also realize adults have a right to navigate our own lives as we see fit. Just sucks that there’s so much demand that we degrade ourselves in whatever which ways. I’d actually argue that nearly everything is being devalued in modern life, so sex is just one aspect among many, sad as it all is.

Personally, I love sex and the exploration of my sexuality was a lot of fun on many (if not most) occasions. Not hostile toward sex so much as the nihilistic attitudes distorting sex along with so much else. Just breaks my heart since I respect sexual expression and intimate bonds and pleasurable exploration so much — hate to see it morph into something ugly where people harm and alienate one another. That’s not what this is supposed to be about. Why would we allow this? Why would we support this and pay for this and submit to being altered by such illusions?

Because I do appreciate the company of men old enough to have not come up with much porn beyond the occasional dirty magazine, I feel thankfully separated off from the youth culture of today and its wiliness. But I also feel bothered that they’re having to go through all of this and are picking up bad habits that destroy their chances for real intimacy. It’s a scary thought, to be honest. And I don’t know what to do about the situation. When I’ve tried talking to youths about this, they nearly always immediately shut me down. They defend porn vehemently, even some of the extreme material, arguing that it’s mere fantasy. I want to ask them if that would’ve truly been their fantasy had porn not helped put it in their minds? Because a lot of the fetish stuff wouldn’t likely dawn on most of us if left to our own devices, I’m willing to bet. Anal sex among heteros likely wouldn’t be all the rage if not for it being popularized in practically every hard-core porn produced over the last decade or two. Same goes for oral and most especially facial ejaculation. And so many young males wouldn’t be wandering around worried about how they measure up to male porn actors in terms of penis size, physique, and performance. And would the concept of bukkake even exist otherwise??

Very strange and twisted situation being created here. And now there are free porn sites where no proof of age is required. You think those haven’t become favorites among teens? Naive if you do. I’ve been to those sites and was shocked that kids, anyone, could just waltz in there with no sign-up required at all.

It’s like that shit is intentionally being funneled to us all nowadays, especially since the advent of iphones and whatnot. How Orwellian. Seriously. And Huxleyan too.

And, for the record, I have no love for beauty pageants, most especially those involving little kids. Disturbing trend, definitely.

Time for a blast from the past: reaction to “An American Crime”

Keep saying I’m going to drag content over from my old blog to this one, yet rarely do so. Perused over there tonight and picked out a little oddity: my thoughts written in early 2011 on the film “An American Crime” and the true back-story it’s meant to depict. The piece follows (re-edited and shortened).

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The disturbing film “An American Crime” was based on the real-life events that led to the murder of a teen entrusted to the home of a single mother of a litter of kids back in the 1960s.  The film itself wasn’t terrific, IMO, in terms of exerting power over viewers and creating empathy with the characters, but I appreciate it for introducing me to a significant criminal case that otherwise might have remained obscured from my knowledge.

Two teenage sisters, Jenny and Sylvia Likens, were handed over by their parents to stay with Gertrude Baniszewski as they traveled with the carnival.  Gertrude suggested the arrangement at the cost of $20/week — money she and her kids desperately needed.  But what the Likens parents didn’t realize when relinquishing their daughters to Gertrude’s household, only really knowing beforehand that the woman attended their church, was that Gertrude and her kids were severely disturbed.  Namely Gertrude, as her kids likely became jacked up as a result of having her for a parent.  She became disturbed due to having so many kids and proving unable to rely on her chosen men to stay and help raise them.  Never underestimate the crazy-making potential of lacking a support network.

It’s all rather grizzly.  In a nutshell, Gertrude made Sylvia the household whipping pony.  Abuse was heaped onto 16-year-old Sylvia, who became confined in the basement, in a vain attempt to evidently protect Gertrude’s own kids by venting frustration onto Sylvia.  Going so far as to carve the words “I am a prostitute and proud of it” on Sylvia’s torso.  What’s particularly unsettling is that Gertrude’s children joined in on abusing Sylvia, as did neighborhood children.  They tied her up, beat her, put cigarettes out on her, threw her down stairs, until eventually Sylvia died from her injuries.  She and her sister Jenny had been staying at the Baniszewski residence for only 3 months.

People ask why I subject myself to such atrocious stories and films, and I wonder myself sometimes.  After viewing this one though, the answer seems clearer: because these awful stories serve as microcosms for the greater evils that concern me.  People ask how could Nazis do what they did, and others answer that it was their duty, plain and simple.  But that is not a sufficient answer.  People ask why entire nations of people throughout history have been misled and corrupted by terrifyingly psychotic leaders.  The reply is too often a shrug, as though these were isolated cases, pockets of strangeness throughout history and nothing more.  But that is a lie.  And a convenient lie at that, one we tell ourselves so as not to be forced to shine light on the dark corners of our own psyches.

In this case, children took the stand and repeatedly stated that they didn’t know why they joined in in victimizing an innocent teenage girl.  Some claimed to be afraid of repercussions to their own persons.  But we know better than leave it at that.  We know that people can be excited and exhilarated by violence and especially being freed up to release it on others.  We know that people act very strangely when taking part in activities as a group; and we know that some people for some reason haven’t any real, authentic individuality to begin with.  This is why democracy is so dangerous, as is trusting opinion polls or anything else that supposedly reflects the attitudes of the so-called majority.  Because several people agree on something doesn’t make it right.  In fact, I’d go so far as to assume anymore that the more people who jump on a bandwagon, the less trustworthy the situation may be.

This film made me think about how people so easily succumb to threats and desire to avoid being singled out.  And it’s this very social dynamic that is responsible for so many cruel and pointless tragedies.  People remain mum while watching a girl get beaten by several peers just as they do when faced with powerful ruling parties in government.  Gotta join a team, right? Can’t be the deviant unless deviance is considered cool among a peer group.  If deviance means being left standing alone crying, humiliated and afraid, most will avoid enduring it.  Who wouldn’t prefer to be on the side with the whip rather than belong among the whipped minority?

I am deeply sickened on this night.  This film did upset me, as plenty have and will.  I watch and read and think long and hard because I demand answers that are sufficient.  As a nonconformist with deep sensitivities who’s familiar with the underdog status, I pray to maintain the strength needed to look the weak in the face and carry on regardless.  But what makes the weak so weak?  And by contrast, this does not imply that I am strong.  I feel weak often enough.  But I also have an ingrained identity and sense of what I expect from myself and others, and past a certain extent it becomes non-negotiable.  They will curse you, call you names, call you a whore, slander your family as trash, accuse you of being a man in a woman’s body for having an assertive nature.  People will step on the most sacred and deeply damaged parts of your heart and psyche in an attempt to…to what?  To make you feel small so as to make themselves feel bigger by comparison?  Bullies…the world is full of them.

What I do know also is that I have some of it in me too.  The sadist, the masochist, the bitter, the bitch, the tyrant — I admit to possessing this potential and have been working hard for many years to clip it back, not through suppression but through understanding what it is and where it comes from, along with seeking avenues for expression that I can live with.  Regularly my mind wanders back to the intoxication of however mild or sharp sadomasochistic pleasures, but as time has worn on I’ve changed.  What once titillated now only does so vaguely in an abstract sense, but in actuality I am made physically ill when consciously stepping onto well-worn destructive paths.  It is a blessing — hallelujah — but I am not yet “cured.”  No such thing probably exists, as I’m figuring out, perhaps for any of us.  People wish for certainty that all is changed and the past will be kept in its place, but I am here to tell you that the past will resurface and no magical illusions will suffice forever.  Effort is ongoing.  Life is not intended to be easy.  This is what it means to be human — to make conscious decisions to shape one’s outcome everyday by choices made.

When a person tosses their own free will aside, or harnesses it to the power of a collective mindset, that person ceases being an individual and becomes no better than a slave.  Just as animals are slaves to their instincts.  But humans, through our evolution, have received the extraordinary responsibility for our own selves to direct our lives.  Our instincts are no longer strong enough to guide us everywhere we’re capable of going, and like other primates we need one another to survive and thrive, most especially when young.  What separates humans from the animal kingdom isn’t simply our opposable thumbs, tool-making ingenuity, or higher intellects — we are separate because we each are capable of making conscious, self-aware choices.  Rational or irrational.  Life-affirming or destructively “evil.”  And in choosing not to make hard choices ourselves so as to blend in with “the majority,” we are indeed by default making the choice to be inhuman.  I would say this compares to being an animal, but it’s a pity to look down on the animal kingdom where no such choices exist.  There is a special brand of what we like to call “evil” in our deliberate decisions to escape from the freedom we innately possess, to choose comfort over conscience, and to obey in fear rather than live in love.

The Baniszewski case is but one example of people choosing the inhuman route.  Do note that examples are everywhere, past and present, from the seemingly trivial to the colossal in scope and impact.

“Four Horsemen” film

Today’s documentary offering, “Four Horsemen”:

I do have several quibbles with the content of this film, but I listened to it and offer it up as food for thought for others. Plenty of parts I appreciated, but we each have to approach this kind of information critically. Often I find myself in agreement with the portrayal of problems but take issue with the proposed solutions (same held true with the last “Zeitgeist” film).

Divorce Corp.

Was talking to a man tonight who goes by the screenname Imdefender on AVFM who asked if I’d seen the documentary “Divorce Corp.” I haven’t and never even heard of it before, so I went on youtube to watch the trailer:

Looks interesting.

I’m gonna have to check to see if Netflix carries this yet.