Monday, February 27, 2017

I'm Pretty Sure I'm Garbage


My name is Benjamin. I'm a 27-year-old single white male.

I was born into a life of privilege. I don't think I've wasted it, but I'm still pretty sure I'm a garbage person.

I am terrible at keeping in touch. Friends and colleagues send me things. They send me letters, postcards, and presents. I send nothing in return. I've had people in my life beg me to keep in touch, and I've not followed through. To be fair, some of those people could be doing more on their end, but we're not here to talk about them.

And that's another reason I'm garbage. We're not here to talk about anyone else. We're not even here to talk. I'm writing to you. You're reading what I'm writing. You're thinking of a response. You're not responding because you either want to see where this goes or you don't think it's worth it.

Most people, when they disagree with me, don't immediately vocalize it. That would be the healthy thing to do. Friends, coworkers, roommates, etc. have consistently repressed their opposition to me. It almost always eventually comes to a boil.

Again, it's my fault. I surround myself with people who are too kind or cautious to immediately express their disagreement with me.

Or a majority of you are cowards.

But who am I to even suggest such a thing?

At this point I'm probably coming across as sarcastic. I swear, I'm being sincere. If I weren't such utter garbage, you'd take seriously my pleas for sincerity.

I get frustrated by texts and phone calls. Okay, at least (as far as the latter is concerned) I'm not usually receiving a phone call from a friend, but most likely from an employer or someone who wants money from me. No one looks forward to such conversations. But my aversion to texts and Facebook messages is inexplicable.

I'd go on, but I have to go to work.

I'm putting off writing to go get paid to do something that isn't writing. And that's yet another reason I'm pure filth. Setting aside my passion for profit is something I swore I'd never do, but my stomach demands it. Pure id, this stomach of mine.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Tiny Bubbles (The Yelling)

I think this is my third post with "bubble" in the title. We've gone from art bubbles, to bubble butts, and now socio-political bubbles.

If that's all it takes for you to immediately close your browser window on this post, I don't blame you.

But I digress. I acknowledge readily that I do live in a kind of bubble. This was made most apparent to me by the election. No, not the general election. I'm talking about the primaries, and how Hillary Clinton did extraordinarily well in Florida. All projections, polls, objective analysis, history, and everything I already knew from having lived there for six years pointed to a Clinton victory. But I still know a lot of people who live in Florida, and I'd have been hard pressed to use more than one hand to count the amount openly supporting Clinton in the primary.

Sanders' loss in Florida was not surprising, but the margins were. Ergo, I live in a Bernie-crat bubble. I live in a Bernie bubble geographically, of course. But also socially.

However, this does not preclude my ability to see beyond my bubble. The suggestion that I cannot see beyond my big-ass bubble is becoming insulting. I was born and raised in Berks County, Pennsylvania. I've lived within spitting distance of the Amish and Mennonites (we didn't have as many as Lancaster, Lebanon, or York, but they weren't far away either). I grew up wrestling, and playing football and baseball. My existence was purely suburban. It was not as blue collar as that of the coal crackers, whose signature wrestling maneuver was the "cement mixer" (I think mid-westerners call it a "steam roller"). But I sure as hell was not some kind of coastal elite (or at least not yet? It depends on who you're asking).

Before the start of my senior year of high school, my football team went to training camp at the University of Pennsylvania. Its Ivy League campus is located in Philadelphia. When the camp coaches were giving us a tour of the campus, they explained to us how traffic lights and walk buttons worked, and reminded us that things were "different" in the big city.

Well, yes and no.

My point is that the last two states I've lived in went red in the election. I was not surprised by this. Disappointed? Yes. Especially in Pennsylvania. I've lived in Portland for a little over a year. I haven't magically forgotten what life is like elsewhere. I haven't suddenly stopped hearing conservative voices. The angry voices are everywhere. They are loud, after all.

I advocate for intersectional progressivism. Race, gender, sexuality, ability, and class are all intertwined. Yeah, Democrats need to do more to reach out to working class Americans. But working class Americans need to stop shitting themselves every time an opportunistic blowhard writes off something beneficial as "socialism."