Alright, lightening it up

Sorry about my babbling and over-enthusiastic people-scolding these past few days, it’s been unpleasant but the truth is I know a lot of excellent people and they should be celebrated and encouraged in their brilliance.

Pints, then. Soon. And I’ll save my misanthropy for my books.

We had an all-day training session yesterday, and we’ve got another one today. It’s a bit boring since I’m already reasonably familiar with the tool and additional training is unlikely to help with the bizarre bits, but at the same time it gives me a chance to vegetate a bit, as well as randomly getting some e-mails and various work done in between.

Toop was being an absolute tiny arsehole yesterday, although I admit I didn’t make it better by laughing. But this was the conversation that happened.

Toop: I wanna watch Winx. I wanna watch Winx. I wanna watch Winx. I wanna watch Winx. Mama, I wanna watch Winx. Mama, I wanna watch Winx.

Mrs. Hatboy: No.

Toop: I wanna watch Winx. I wanna watch Winx. I wanna watch Winx. I wanna watch Winx. I wanna watch Winx. I wanna watch Winx. I wanna watch Winx. I wanna watch Winx. I wanna watch Winx.

Mrs. Hatboy: No. Stop asking now.

Toop (starting to cry): But mama I wanna watch Winx. I wanna watch Winx. I wanna watch Winx. I wanna watch Winx. Mama I wanna watch Winx. Mama I wanna watch Winx. Mama I wanna watch Winx.

Me: No Winx. Come over here and we can play on my phone together.

Toop (crying): I wanna watch Winx. I wanna watch Winx. I wanna watch Winx.

(we play on the phone for a bit, but she starts screaming so into the bathroom for chill-out she goes)

Toop (coming out of the bathroom some minutes later): I wanna watch Winx. I wanna watch Winx. Mama I wanna watch Winx. Mama I wanna watch Winx. Mama I wanna watch Winx. Mama I wanna watch Winx.

Mrs. Hatboy: Listen, it’s time for dinner. There’s no Winx now and if you keep going on about it there won’t be any more Winx and you can go back to chill out a bit more, okay?

Toop (sniffling): Okay.

(sniffles some more, hiccoughs, recovers)

Toop: Mama…?

Mrs. Hatboy: Yes?

Toop: I wanna watch Winx.

This was the point at which I lost it, and we all laughed. This didn’t stop her from asking to watch Winx – she’s quite relentless – but at least we were then able to shovel some food into her and then distract her with other things. And then give her a bath. And then put her in bed.

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No. Wait a minute. No.

Over the weekend I had a dream, and it set off a small and fairly light exchange between myself and my esteemed associate and good friend Mr. dreameling. I didn’t think there was anything else to say there, although I was inordinately angered by one comment he made.

Having given myself a good night’s sleep to calm down, and to reflect on what this blog means to me, I’ve decided a couple of things.

First, I absolutely respect dreameling’s opinions and have no wish to judge his reactions or analyse his motives. He’s a decent man and one of the best humans I have had the good fortune to encounter. If this is his viewpoint, then it should be considered and he should not be branded “Nazi blind-eye-turner” and safely discounted (let alone attacked!). Shit’s not that simple, yo.

Second, this blog is a little window into my mind so I am definitely going to use it to tell you what I think about things, and that includes speaking up when I think someone is wrong.

It’s not about obeying the rules. It’s about respecting people’s right to their opinions in a free society.

This, this is wrong. People have a right to their opinions and beliefs, but if they are ignorant-arse backwards wrong beliefs, they do not outweigh educated opinions. They don’t even equally balance them. And I definitely don’t have to fucking respect them.

And usually, this doesn’t matter – because it doesn’t affect my life in any way.

If a white supremacist wants to hide in his mum’s basement and dress in an SS uniform and masturbate to pictures of Adolf Hitler, meh. I could not give less of a fuck. No respect, no consideration, but I’m not going to bother about it.

If a religious person believes their particular set of practices and beliefs will make God happy, and earn them an eternity in paradise, that’s awesome for them. If they also believe everyone else is destined for Hell, I still don’t really care. It’s a belief. In fact, if their faith makes them perform acts of charity and be a decent and loyal and loving person in this life, I go beyond not giving a shit, and actively approve of their faith. As long as (according to age-old theist/antitheist posturing) they keep it out of my face, it’s fine. I get that they might be even happier if they got to save me from Hell, and I appreciate that. But no. I’m good thanks.

See, that’s where the problem happens.

I don’t really respect the above opinions, but I acknowledge that they are personal ones and the opinion-holder has a right to them. That’s all well and good. I even go so far as to respect and admire them, if they’re changing the world for the better.

If someone breaks into that neo-Nazi’s mum’s basement and shoots him dead in his SS uniform, I’d be … less unhappy about it than I would be about the death of a person more in line with my own worldview, but I’d admit that the home invader was in the wrong. That was murder.

If someone goes to the soup kitchen where that religious person is handing out soup to the homeless and telling them it’s actually Jeebus giving them soup, and beats him to death with his own soup ladle, I’d be pretty deeply saddened about it even if the religious person was low-key spreading a worldview I don’t necessarily agree with. That was murder.

But that is not what we’re dealing with here.

When the Nazis form a mob and take to the streets, chanting their chants like they fucking own the place. When the Perssut get into government and start threatening people and empowering their piss-filled-end-of-the-gene-pool bigoted-extremist followers. When the religious extremist pulls out a knife and starts stabbing.

Fuck their opinions. Fuck their rights. Fuck them.

And I know that dreameling agrees with this and it was not his intention to argue otherwise. I hope that he was defending the doesn’t-affect-our-lives-in-any-way wrong opinions, and had no intention of defending the rest. Even though I have a definite problem with defending ignorant-arse incorrect opinions.

Discussions on the Internet can be utterly without nuance and unforgiving.

That freedom of speech is also a rule of law is incidental

True. And I’m glad we agree on this. I linked this to the Finnish psychology of following rules against all logic and making up rules when there are no rules … and that was poor form on my part. I find this an endearing, sometimes-frustrating part of Finnish culture but I should not level it as a criticism or use it as a basis for any sort of critical analysis of a dissenting opinion. I apologise.

And we’re already back to the Punching Nazis discussion, and I don’t want to repeat any more of what’s already been said.

And this is just too damn bad, because it’s my blog.

I will, however, concede that yes, this is much the same basic discussion as we had before, and I disagreed with dreameling’s approach then and I disagree with it now, but it’s perfectly workable as a worldview – for the time being.

Let’s just hope it doesn’t go any further. Because I do not respect the PerusSuomalaiset’s right to an opinion when it comes to enacting policies that will affect the lives of others, and I set myself ideologically against anyone who does.

Suffice it to say, I’m starting to get almost as worried about the aggressively passionate (and apparently also violent in some cases) response of the liberal left to the alt-right, than I am of the rise of the alt-right itself.

This was where I got unreasonably angry, so I’m going to try to look at this calmly.

I’ve heard of cases of “antifa” gangs attacking people who did not go far enough in criticising white supremacists. There was one case where an otherwise ordinary guy talked about a friend of his who was at the Nazi rally in Charlottesville, and mentioned his freedom of speech, freedom of expression, mentioned that no laws had specifically been broken by this guy. This wasn’t the murderous piece of human garbage who drove his car into the crowd. Just one of the tiki-torch mob losers.

And this is an uninvolved person, just speaking up and refusing to denounce the Nazi. Just to be clear. We’re not at the sympathiser / collaborator stage yet.

Now, apparently, this guy was attacked by a gang armed with box cutters. Injured, but not killed, for his even-handed treatment of a fiery topic. It remains unproven, but even so. This is the fear that infinite information can give us.

And yes, this is a huge issue and since dreameling is in a similar “let’s respect each other’s opinions and continue equivocating while we wait to see whether actual genocides are going to start” position, I can completely understand his concern. Not that I think he’s likely to be beaten up by the Soldiers of LOLdin or anything, but still.

I think it’s massively unbalanced to say you’re “almost as worried”, but that might be a function of social standing. Especially in Finland, a white male full-blooded Finn has nothing to fear whatsoever from the PerusSuomalaiset, and that means anyone violently opposed to them – and violently opposed to anyone even somewhat defending them – might well be a bigger threat. I myself have little to fear from the Perssut, even though I am an immigrant and am married to a Swedish Finn. I’m sure they’ll get around to me, but in the meantime I am a white male and I speak Finnish. They’ll probably give me an “okay foreigner” pass – probably indefinitely.

And yes, at the moment, as always, it’s still only the violent extremist lunatics of all these sides we need to worry about. The religious fundamentalists, the white supremacist murderers, the antifa thugs. They’re balanced by a huge majority of “reasonable” people who just happen to share the umbrella.

All we can do is wait and see what happens next. As usual.

Humans are morons.

On this, we are in complete agreement.

I think it’s still a huge fallacy to equate, or even compare, a group of people doing violence in aid of an isolationist or racial-purity worldview and a group of people doing violence in opposition to that worldview. But, violence begets violence and humans are morons, so sooner or later we’re going to see cases where “attacking this skinhead wrapped in a swastika was okay, so attacking this random guy who said ‘steady on now’ is also okay.” And we may already be seeing them.

This is why I can’t write nice things about humans.

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Last Night’s Dream

Last night, I was suffering very mild flu-like symptoms, I was tired as Hell and I had an unfortunate gas problem that meant I had to get up every couple of hours to go to the bathroom.

Sometime around 03:00am, I had a bizarre dream.

It was the near future and I was part of the now-militant “ordinary decent people” league. What the white supremacist shitbags call “antifascists” with absolutely no self-awareness or shame whatsoever.

All very commendable, but here’s where it got interesting.

I had a uniform, body armour, and some sort of assault rifle. We were lining the streets, government buildings, of someplace in the US. We’d won, or so it seemed. The bigots and Nazis and general bad people were lined up and ready to be gunned down.

And they were all ordinary people.

They were diverse, they were holding hands, they were waiting to see what would happen. I’m sure, somewhere, there were a few hundred swastika-waving dickbiscuits ready to improve the world by dying, but the ones I had my gun trained on just looked like ordinary folks. I was the one in the black uniform. The one with the gun.

I’m not going to even dignify the idea that the antifascists are as bad as, let alone worse than the actual fascists. But I guess violence begets violence and it’s very easy to lose sight of how small a minority these enemies of ours actually are. It’s true of the murderous jihadis, and it’s true of the genocidal Nazis.

Anyway, that’s when the fighting started, and there were plenty of armed skinheads to have running gun battles with through the dystopian cityscape after that. I wound up joining forces with the ordinary folks, or at least the teams kept changing … it got pretty weird as the morning crawled on.

Still, made me think. Not rightly sure what my subconscious is telling me.

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Sad news from Turku

Yesterday, what currently looks like a lone murderous shitbag went on a knife spree and stabbed a bunch of people in the city of Turku. At least two people were killed although information is still coming in.

Nobody I knew was harmed and they’re not treating it as a terrorist attack, although it does look like the stab-happy piece of crap was a Muslim.

But then, so was this guy (sorry, it’s in Finnish but worth a read).

Hasan Alazawii, a friend of a friend of mine (Finland is a small country), was in the market buying flowers in preparation for the opening of a new business when he saw the attack, and put himself between the lunatic and the woman he was stabbing. He could not, a relative said, stand and watch while a woman was being stabbed.

Hasan was stabbed multiple times and is now in hospital. He’s making a full recovery and may even be out today.

I can’t overstate my disgust at the subhuman who perpetrated this, or my admiration for the many, many people who stepped up to end it. That includes the police who responded within three minutes and shot to incapacitate rather than kill, robbing this piece of shit of martyrdom. I also read something about some teens going after the attacker with a hockey goal net, but that may have been a wild rumour.

And amazing humans like Hasan, who just said “no.”

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Never Stop

Another busy yet uneventful day with nothing much to report, and the weekend looks fairly quiet too which makes a change.

I dropped a review onto Goodreads (which I have been severely neglecting), to celebrate Never Stop, a very cool anthology of Finnish speculative fiction that Edpool had the pleasure of helping out with.

Well worth a look, if you can get hold of it.

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Speaking of the future

Immediately after joining the Heinlein Society and checking out their forums, I found an independent author who has written a book about exponential technology and the utopia or dystopia / extermination it could lead to.

I checked out the first few pages on Amazon and really rather enjoyed them (and you can read more here), but my reading list and bank account are in such inverse-proportionate states of disaster right now, I will be holding off on getting it until next month.

This is not, therefore, a review or a plug. It’s … well okay, I guess it is a plug, because i had nothing much else to write about today and it really does look interesting. If any of you are keen, and have the time and cash to check it out before September, let me know what you think.

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Not a lot to report today.

Everyone’s talking about the utterly unsurprising next step the USian Nazis have taken, and “punching them: yes or no?” is back on the table as a discussion item.

I’d personally be more worried about the political mess with regards to how the US is under Russia’s thumb, and the actual nuclear sabre rattling the US and North Korea are doing.

Not because I think the US will actually literally become ruled by Putin, or because I think North Korea has its shit together … but just because even an unforeseen slightly-less-than-worst-case-scenario series of events on those fronts could cause massive damage to the human species.

Oh, and speaking of damage to the human species, while everyone was getting indignant about a couple of hundred “goosche-schtepping moronsch” with their heads up their arses, climate change was swept back under the rug. But then, attention span has always been one of the things I hate most about the human race.

Oh well. I may have to adjust my latest series in an even more scornful-of-humans direction, but it’s really only making it easier for me.

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