An eFriend of mine pointed out how many people in a group chat don’t often write something productive. Instead, they often talked in circles, shared few facts or insights, and more often seemed just liked reading their own words.
So for the record, productive conversations mean accepting there are smarter people worth taking advice from. Even if (perhaps especially if) you’re a man and the smarter people are women.
There’s countless examples of someone saying something horrible and offensive, being called out on it, and the person dismissing the anger as “people unable to take a joke.”
If it’s a joke, people need to laugh. Angry is optional, laughter is mandatory. If a majority of people are angry instead of laughing, it’s not a joke. At least not a worthwhile one. You’re either a lame bullshit artist or a lame bullshit comedian. Or if you care about your “comedy” that much more than the feelings and lived experiences of other people, a bullshit human being.
No matter what, don’t think “comedy” should mean the same as “immune from consequences.” And get some new material.
When you’re trying to accomplish something, don’t play television in the background. Ever.
It can’t be completely tuned out. It divides our attention and pushes unneeded info into our minds. It’s like breathing in polluted air - you can’t directly feel the damage, but it builds up overtime and can be devastating.
Your attention and focus are your best weapons against any problem. Give those away, and you’re letting others exert more power over you. These are people who only see you as a pair of eyeballs with a wallet.
Play music if you must. But never television.
When people call out microaggressions, a common dismissal I read or hear is “if they’re so small why are you treating them like some huge deal?”
Think of microaggressions like termites. One termite won’t destroy a house. Thousands of termites eating away at the foundation, bit by bit, ultimately make it collapse.
Seeing one microaggression in isolation makes complaining about them petty. Knowing the context of how they damage people makes calling them out important. Knowing this context and still using the “it’s just one small thing” dismissal makes you an asshole.
If you’re not convinced, see this comic illustrating how the damage is done.
The recent Alabama abortion ban got me thinking about other policy positions that match with “holding all forms of life sacred” and all that. When someone tells me they’re pro-life, I’d expect them to also hold the following views:
- Universal, or at least affordable, and inclusive healthcare. So no one dies of preventable illnesses due to inflated costs.
- Affordable childcare and preschool education. Also universal education access, since it’s one of the best ways to improve one’s quality of life long-term.
- No death penalty or capital punishment, assuming there’s no exceptions to “all life is sacred” that were conveniently left out.
- Global poverty aid to stop more prevantable deaths worldwide. This includes accepting migrants fleeing violence so they’re not senselessly killed.
- Sex education and birth control to reduce the number of abortions. I’d assume someone who hates abortion would support strong measures that removes the need for many of them.
The less someone “pro-life” supports policies like this, the more I see them as simply “pro-birth.” That’s the much less pleasant position of “make women have babies if they can’t keep their legs closed, and the rest is not my problem.” Which is exactly as cruel and damaging as it sounds.
Trying to be a better person is good, but trying too hard can backfire.
Take this purely hypothetical example: someone wants to be more independent and less burdensome to others. Up to a point, this makes them less intrusive and more respectful. Taken too far, this makes them dismissive and isolated. They could miss out on great relationships by thinking “I’d just be a burden to them” when that’s not the case at all.
Again, purely hypothetical.
Sometimes trying harder to be someone better is worse than trying harder to be yourself.
The best advice I’ve gotten for handling unwanted thoughts and emotions is simple. It doesn’t involve pushing them away or drowning them in affirmations. That only makes them stronger.
I let myself feel them without judgement. They’re there, then they go away, and they’ll likely pop up again. It’s pointless to pile thoughts on top of them - those thoughts do the real damage.
We can’t all be the person making and leading events that help the community. We can at least be a person who helps in little ways where they can.
Even if that “little way” is playing rock music as you all works. So everyone goes a little faster and enjoys it a touch more.
Nice and good aren’t the same thing.
Someone can smile and politely greet you while doing evil things like:
- Refusing service to black people
- Turning down an insurance claim so someone is bankrupted by simply not dying
- Firing someone for being a woman
- Wearing clown makeup
- Making you watch The Notebook
- Standing back and letting one group shoot another down
Don’t let reasons like “keeping the peace” and “being a nice person” on their own convince you someone is good.
Keeping the peace doesn't make you peaceful.https://t.co/FvkKnprSyD— Max Antonucci (@Maxwell_Dev) April 23, 2019
Good people regarded as heroes today were often scolded as rulebreakers before. Similar history could be playing out with them now.
I love writing, but I also hate when I base too much self-value on others’ reactions. Too much focus on my own, or even others’ writing, can sadly cause this.
So taking a step away from writing, like blogging or Twitter (mostly Twitter) helps at times. Until I inevitably get too bored and start writing something else. The cycle continues!
Most people know that, as children, we may have repressed memories into our unconscious mind. This seems obvious enough today, but thinking about it now, I find it unsettling. Someone’s immature brain basically said “this kid can’t handle this memory, better hide it from them and maybe reveal it later.”
Someone brain made a decision separate from whoever owned the brain itself, with maturity the owner lacked. Honestly, how different is this from a random adult reaching into our brains and making the change for us?
The worst part is, this could be happening all the time and we’d never be consciously aware of it. We could wake up one day, all our unconscious memories flooding to the surface, and realize our entire lives were a lie.
Happy Spring, everyone!
On one of my favorite episodes of “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me,” guest Nora Roberts dropped this wisdom:
There are 88 keys on the piano, but do you run out of music?
For a creative pursuit like writing (and programming), a lot of my creativity combines what I know and what I find. For example, what about combining programming and camels? It’ll be the start of a new generation of coders who can work remote in a desert without a beer keg!
Correction: creativity is about new and good idea combinations. Take one idea, research a new one, and see how well they fit. Rinse and repeat until famous.
Judging people on how constantly productive they are is idiotic. They’re either doing low-quality work, burning themselves out, or are secretly robots, lizard people, or robot lizards. None of these are good, and all are real problems today.
Judging people by how their spend their non-productive time is another matter. Do they watch television series or read books? Do they play video games or go for a walk? Do they scour social media or pursue a hobby?
I’m not saying you should judge people, I leave negative things like that to the robot lizards. But if you must, how someone spends their relaxation time is, at least, a more accurate approach.
With all the React Week tweet drama, there were lots of people trying to explain it. One aspect I had a really hard time explaining was:
Is it really so tough to say “I’m sorry for what was written, I was unaware how it was offensive, so we have removed it and put in place measures (like a CoC) to prevent it from happening again?— Max Antonucci (@Maxwell_Dev) March 26, 2019
Or are some male egos too fragile to admit fault when women criticize them?
I personally don’t find it hard accepting lots of women are smarter than me. I grew up with two such women, read blog posts of such women, and have been rejected by even more of such women.
I have an unfair advantage with accepting this however, since most people are smarter than me regardless of gender.