Last Day to Donate to Reason Riders Blanket Drive

Reason RidersMonday until 5 p.m. is your last chance to donate to Reason Riders Blanket Drive for Homeless Veterans.

Reason Riders is the one-and-only exclusively atheist motorcycle riding club. First established in Arizona, the group is in the process of welcoming several new chapters elsewhere in the U.S.

If you’re not in Arizona but want to help, you can donate here via the PayPal button at the lower left. A $10.00 donation will purchase one blanket for a homeless veteran in Arizona, and each donor will receive a 3-inch leather Reason Riders support patch.

Reason Riders has a Facebook page, a MeetUp group (with 92 members taking part in rides and events in Arizona!) and an Instagram site with a lot of photos of group events new and old, showing the patches, the members, the bikes, and the shenanigans.

More about the Reason Riders here: Get Your Motor Runnin’: Reason Riders Going National.

Beta Culture: Updating a Previous Post

Beta-Culture-JPGI posted a 4-part piece on Beta Culture back at the end of July. Conceived as a submission for a book coming out early next year, it serves as a pretty good description of Beta, the why and the how of it.

The first version was less tight than I’d wish. Rather than post ANOTHER 4-parter, I went back and wrote over the old with a new and better version.

It starts here:

Beta Culture: New Intro — Part 1

Trump’s Latest and The Mob Response

Trump3I’m interested in this latest development in the Trump saga. Some part of me appears convinced this is the end for Trump, because I’m actually feeling a little bit sorry for him.

I mean, what’s happening is well-deserved and all, but … there’s something of the hapless, coddled child in him. I don’t think he’s bright enough to have known that one of the possible outcomes of all this — saying and doing the things he’s saying and doing, out in the blowtorch of public view — was his utter destruction. Meaning: Not just the loss of this political race, but the loss of his fortune and, potentially, even the loss of his freedom via a prison sentence. Not to mention the complete evaporation of respect for him, such that he becomes a living joke, so nobody will ever again do large-scale business with him. I have to doubt even Fox News would hire him after this; his brand is that damaged.

There’s another element I find slightly disturbing, though, and it’s the same thing Hillary’s faced for so many years — The Mob. In this case I don’t refer to any criminal organization, but to a mass of people acting in unison while consumed by blindingly powerful emotions — spitting visceral hate in both these cases — which overturn reason and produce instead an undiluted rage when the hated person prospers and a sort of furious glee when anything bad happens to him/her.

The Mob scares me. Not only do I never want to be part of it, it disturbs me when I see OTHERS caught up in it.

I’ve watched The Mob hate and lie about President Obama these past 7 years or so. I’ve watched it attack and attack and attack Hillary Clinton.

I got to see it up close and personal when I got sideways with a bunch of feminist bloggers a year or so back. I was completely flummoxed at watching people I knew personally — women and men I had formerly considered extremely rational — turn on each other with a viciousness I’d never witnessed. They would come after you in a screaming mass for using a single WORD they considered inappropriate. Thanks to them, I will never call myself a feminist — despite being completely in agreement on the subjects of women’s rights, equality, safety, health and choice.

Now I’m watching The Mob savage Donald Trump.

Don’t get me wrong — Trump is a nut who would pose an immense danger in the White House, and he has to be stopped.

But I don’t like that THIS is one of the prime tools by which it is being accomplished.

It makes me feel like I’m watching some very dangerous children at work, blindly wrecking things. Today they’re wrecking something I might want wrecked, but they will still be here tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, their need to wreck something perpetually unsatisfied, always looking for some new target.

Yew Cain’t Trust Yore Lyin’ Eyes

Watch this video:

I’ve been seeing optical illusions like this for something like 60 years, and the never-fail tagline is always “You can’t trust your eyes!” The thing is always presented as a profound scientific lesson in human perception.

But it’s SLANTED science, science with a somewhat false editorial built into it, the whole aimed at achieving a little funhouse-type prank on the viewer. When I figured this out 30 or so years back, when I understood the REAL lesson, I stopped being impressed by optical illusions.

The real lesson is: Yes, your eyes can be fooled … on rare occasions. Note how much work has to go into these contrived examples. Someone has to work very hard, probably going through dozens of trials, before hitting on the final form of the “illusion.”

Note also that the illusion works only from a single, sharply limited viewpoint. Move a few inches to the side and the illusion breaks down completely. Rather than the eyes being fooled, they verify our sense of the real — even in the face of a significant effort to deceive.

Finally, we aren’t really talking about eyes, are we? We’re really talking about eyes hooked to a human brain, which is VERY GOOD at seeing the real world around us — better than just about anything alive. Presented with an optical illusion, natural or contrived, we naturally experiment with changing viewpoints, observation over time, other senses, the observational assistance of other people, and a certain amount of careful thought, until we see through the illusion.

The truth is, it’s actually very hard to fool a human’s eyes for very long. This is something we unconsciously know — so well that when we DO meet up with an optical illusion, we enjoy it immensely, playing and laughing at it, walking around it, studying it, until it loses its luster and becomes just another part of our sensory knowledge.

Contrived examples like this are useful, but the sole conclusion should never be “You can’t trust your senses.” It should be “Look out for these rare occasions when you can be briefly fooled but, other than that, you can trust your senses as THE prime tool for observing and understanding the world. Never let anyone tell you not to trust your own perceptions.”

This is one of an array of quasi-mystical declarations that tell us not to trust ourselves, either implying or outright saying we should instead trust some god, or some “authority” who speaks for that god.

Nobody’s saying human vision doesn’t have its limitations. But the real world is the real world, we evolved to live and prosper in it, and every one of us is qualified to witness and appreciate our surroundings.

Reason Riders Benefit for Homeless Veterans

Reason RidersReason Riders, the exclusively atheist motorcycle riding club, is holding a blanket drive for homeless vets. With winter coming on, this is a critical moment. The group will complete the drive on October 15 and hand out the blankets a few days later. The attached poster has the details.

If you’re not in Arizona but want to help, you can donate here via the PayPal button at the lower left. A $10.00 donation will purchase one blanket for a homeless veteran in Arizona, and each donor will receive a 3-inch leather Reason Riders support patch.

I had the idea for Reason Riders a couple of years back, and some really cool people took the idea and ran with it.

Reason Riders has a Facebook page, a MeetUp group (with 92 members taking part in rides and events in Arizona!) and an Instagram site with a lot of photos of group events new and old, showing the patches, the members, the bikes, and the shenanigans.

Chapter One president and founder Brian Christian — “Bishop” — tells me there are several Reason Riders chapters elsewhere in the U.S. readying for official launch. If you want in, contact him directly at rrprezaz@gmail.com.

More about the Reason Riders here: Get Your Motor Runnin’: Reason Riders Going National.

(Click the poster to enlarge it.)

Reason Riders Blanket Drive

15 Years After

15 YearsI live only a 2.5-hour drive from New York City. When 9/11 happened, I was working for the local newspaper, and we stayed up half the night putting together the 9/12 newspaper, covering all the known details of the event. I still have a copy of that next day’s newspaper as one of my prized personal mementos.

There was a surge of locals rushing to New York immediately after the event. To assist with the rescue work. To make sure friends and relatives were okay. To just go and look at the site.

But I stayed away. One, there was nothing useful I could do, and Two, you just DON’T go playing disaster-tourist in cases like this, getting in the way of all the different kinds of professionals trying to deal with the thing.

There was another reason, though, and this is yet another element of my lasting anger over the whole thing. I knew for a fact that the air was poisonously bad. You don’t just smash and burn a couple of jet airplanes, with all their fuel and passengers, and two huge skyscrapers full of construction materials and plastics and paints and chemicals and PEOPLE, and then have good safe air to breathe. I stayed away because the air was sure to be toxic as hell. That fact had to be obvious to anybody who thought about it for two seconds.

The smoldering site “acted as a chemical factory,” atmospheric scientist Thomas Cahill told the American Chemical Society in 2003. And the mix of chemicals and building materials — including asbestos, glass and steel — have been linked to diseases and conditions such as cancer and a “World Trade Center cough.”

Yet Christine Todd Whitman, former Republican governor of New Jersey and Bush-appointed head of the Environmental Protection Agency at the time, lied her ass off just days later (with the full knowledge of, and probably on orders from, the Bush White House), telling New Yorkers:

I am glad to reassure the people of New York … that their air is safe to breathe and their water is safe to drink.

You want to be angry at Government? Be angry at someone like that, who took a situation where people should have been warned, and did nothing, dooming thousands of children, rescue workers and ordinary New Yorkers to early deaths from cancer, emphysema, COPD, or to a lifetime of suffering, for no good reason. No, she didn’t cause 9/11, but she sure failed to protect Americans after it. (People, Hillary’s emails and Benghazi and all the other crap being dreamed up about her, don’t even come CLOSE to all that happened during 9/11.)

But here’s Hillary Clinton — you know, that evil witch we all love to hate? — who was a New York Senator at the time, reacting with real anger over that lie:

Maybe in the immediate aftermath, the first couple of days, nobody could know. But a week later? Two weeks later? Two months later? Six months later? Give me a break! They knew and they didn’t tell us the truth.

Click to see pics of Clinton at the disaster site and hear the video of her reacting to the lie: 9/11 audio tapes reveal livid Hillary Clinton

One more thing:

I will always remember 9-11 as the failure of George W. Bush to keep America safe. The loss of the Twin Towers, an iconic American landmark, and the lives of almost 3,000 people, the worst attack on American soil in history, greater even than Pearl Harbor, is on HIM.

That this little weasel (forgive me, weasels) will live out his life rich and safe and free from censure or responsibility is just one more part of the tragedy.

Beta Culture: Transcendence

I was thinking about the concept of transcendence today as I worked on my roof. To give you some idea what I think about it, I have to tell you a couple of stories.

The Heifer Who Almost Killed Me

Calf TyingI grew up with rodeo cowboys, as I’ve said here more than once. There are cowboys who ride and cowboys who rope (this is drastically oversimplified), and my people were that second type. The riders ride either bulls or broncs or both, and are widely known to be right on the edge of crazy. Ropers are saner and more down to earth.

Nothing prevents riders from roping, but the gear for the basic skill is considerably different — if you ride, you only need to carry your rigging from rodeo to rodeo, but if you rope, you have to bring along your horse — so the crossover is less than you’d expect.

Each skill takes a LOT of practice. Tie-down roping involves casting a loop over a running calf, stopping your horse and leaping off, running down the rope to the calf, throwing it onto its side, scooping up three of its legs and tying them securely together with a little rope called a “pigging string.”

And before you comment, no, it’s not kind and gentle. But this was Texas, it was the early 1970s, and it was (is) a subculture steeped in the lore of meat production, where all cattle are categorized as Things.

On one particular day, I rolled up at the house of my cowboy friend Roger, catching him practicing tie-down skills out in his corral. Roger always kept a half-dozen calves on hand for practice, and he had a new heifer he was working with. The main rope was tied to a post, the heifer was out at the end of it, and Roger and another cowboy, Leslie, were resting between goes.

“You wanna try this calf?” Roger asked. “Sure!” He gave me his pigging string, I grasped the rope while Leslie pulled the heifer’s tail to hold her in place, and Roger said “Go!” I ran down the rope toward the heifer, Leslie let go of her tail just as I got there, and … she exploded. I swear she leaped six feet in the air, twisting and kicking and bawling.

There’s a bit of cowboy Jiu Jitsu you do on tie-down calves. I won’t describe it, but it’s a move that usually gets them on the ground with relative ease, even if they weigh as much as you do. That move, which I knew and had used many times, simply didn’t work on this calf. She hovered several feet off the ground and exploded repeatedly — bang! bang! bang! — and there was only one thing I could do to keep from getting royally kicked and pummeled. Which was: Give up. Step away. Stop trying.

I looked back at Roger in incredulity, and he was grinning broadly. I went back to it, trying over and over to get the thing done. In the half-minute or so in which all this took place, there were three separate instants when I just gave up. But each time I dove back in, not wanting to be beaten in front of my friends.

I have a permanent reminder of the battle — a crooked finger — but I got that b*tch down and tied. Roger and Leslie — who were both big boys compared to little 125-pound me — both nearly died laughing.

The Event Program That Almost Killed Me

While I was working for a resort-town magazine in California, my boss took on production of the program for a Winter Special Olympics event in Lake Tahoe. The programs were being printed in Los Angeles on Friday, and the last step was for someone to pick them up and take them to Lake Tahoe, roughly an 8 hour drive, in time for the opening of the event on Saturday.

That someone was me. I was test-driving 4WD vehicles at the time, and I had a good-sized Chevy pickup that week. The plan was I would drive down early Friday, pick up the 20,000 or so event programs, then drive them to Lake Tahoe that night. Everything went fine until I got there — late because of traffic — and discovered …

Challenge 1:  The place was closed. Oh, crap, oh crap, oh CRAP. I walked around the huge building trying doors and pounding with my fist. Finally I found one that was unlocked and went inside, to find ONE person still there. He agreed to load the programs with a forklift. But then …

Challenge 2: The programs weighed close to a ton. WAY over the carrying capacity of the truck. I’d have to rent a trailer. The problem was …

Challenge 3: My boss had given me no money for this trip, and had GONE ON VACATION. I had no way to reach him. So okay, I’d use my own credit card. Then …

Challenge 4: It was already late, like I said, and the U-Hauls were closed. Fortunately, I found a nearby U-Haul which still had one guy there willing to answer the phone. He agreed to rent me a trailer. Also fortunately, the truck bumper had a hole for a trailer hitch ball. But as the guy was screwing on the big nut while attaching the trailer hitch ball, he cross-threaded the nut and damaged the whole thing. And …

Challenge 5: It was the last trailer hitch ball he had in that size. Argh. He was able to call another U-Haul and locate another hitch ball. I called the printer and begged the guy to stay until I got there, then drove over to get the ball. The guy installed it flawlessly this time, attached the trailer, and I got to the printer for loading the programs. Whew. Already damned tired, I started driving. But six hours into the trip, I was well up into the mountains, and …

Challenge 6: It started snowing. Bloody hell! I’ve driven trailers before, but not trailers carrying a ton of cargo, and damned sure not on windy mountain roads IN THE SNOW. But the event started first thing in the morning. I had a co-driver with me, another guy who worked for the magazine, but …

Challenge 7: It was already after midnight and he wasn’t willing to drive in the snow at night, preferring to be dropped off in our hometown, which was along the way. “Just tell the boss we weren’t able to do it. He can’t expect you to drive through snow all night.” But he could expect it, I knew. Considering these programs carried advertising, which dozens of Tahoe merchants had committed to pay for, and which they would NOT pay for if the programs didn’t arrive in time, and considering this was the Winter Special Olympics, which a LOT of kids and parents had traveled great distances to be in … Well, hell, I had to try.  I started driving. I drove through the snow, sometimes creeping along in near white-out conditions, for EIGHT HOURS.

I got to Lake Tahoe just before 9 a.m. Volunteers unloaded the programs, I returned the trailer to a local U-Haul, and then, practically hallucinating from exhaustion, looked for a motel room. But …

Challenge 8: There were no motel rooms to be had near where I was. I had to drive all the way around the lake to find one. But I did finally find one, and I slept for more than 10 hours.

Fake Transcendence

The word transcendence means something like “surpassing ordinary limits.” But it carries almost inseparable religious and/or spiritual implications of moving beyond reality or physicality.

It has that same old conceptual mistake built into it, the idea that we’re ghostly beings who reside — temporarily — in physical bodies. The thing is, we’re not. We’re not selves that live in bodies, WE ARE THE BODIES.

Every philosophical or religious or spiritual formulation that has someone “going out,” leaving behind their body, is an absolutely empty set. It’s false at its base. If you are your body, you simply can’t leave it. There’s nothing in you that can leave, and there’s no thing that can be left. In my view this “going out” idea CANNOT lead to any useful thought or practice within the human experience.

Real Transcendence

There’s this other possible type of transcendence that has nothing at all to do with minds and bodies diverging. But as usual, the religious/mystical field’s wrong answers mask this much more useful one.

The transcendence I’m talking about here is the kind where you go beyond your own psychological limits. The sort I described above, where I did two things that were well beyond what I normally think I’m capable of. I transcended. Not my body, but my own imagined limit. I was able, in each of those moments, to get closer to my REAL limits and do things that were, for me, amazing.

Military training, as I understand it, is in some part about just that. Teaching young men and women to experience the pain, the exhaustion, the hunger and thirst, and yet continue to stay on mission. To face immensely difficult situations and keep going no matter what. There are situations in non-military life that can teach that same thing — farm and ranch work, for instance, or parenting a 2-year-0ld — but it’s probably something everyone should know.

The type of incidents related above, where I transcended my own imagined limits, have actually been pretty rare in my life. I might be able to dredge up half a dozen, possibly as many as 10. For the rest, I’ve stayed well inside a line of comfort, avoiding fear and difficulty and challenge way too much of the time. I suspect most people are like me in this way.

I doubt transcendence is something that can be taught with words. You have to DO it, experience it for real by actually pressing on in real life past fear and exhaustion and pessimism. But the lesson of “You can do more than you think you can” should be in the forefront of our minds, every one of us, for all of our lives.

Something worth teaching, I’d say.

 

The Horrible French vs. One Poor, Delicate Muslim Beachgoer

burkha eyes copyA constant for those of us on the left is our “rage against the machine” vibe. When it comes to the power of government or the rights of the individual, we’re totally tuned in to those individual rights.

When a story floats across our attention about a kid sent home from school for wearing “inappropriate clothing” — a provocative blouse, for instance, or a t-shirt with a comically dirty picture on it — we’re right there swinging, often screaming that the teacher should be fired, or the principal should be fired, for assaulting the fragile psyche of each of these embattled children.

Yet it’s rare for me to leap to spitting hate at teachers and school administrators when I hear these stories. For one thing, I feel strongly that the purpose of school is education, and everything else should come second. The deal is: You come to school and pay attention and we’ll hand you the keys to life.  But the deal is also: You’re required to act in such a way that you don’t distract the other kids trying to absorb those keys, and don’t make it harder for the teachers — who already have a damned difficult job — trying to impart them.

You have a RIGHT to education. But you have a DUTY to not interfere with others’ enjoyment of that right.

Too often, it seems to me, in our avid clamor for our rights in society, we miss the point that we also have these attached duties. We on the left forget that waaaay too often. We scream and leap rather than take a moment to think, deeply and thoroughly, about each issue as it arises.

One of the hazards of that sort of reaction is that we’re easily manipulated. On issue after issue, our knee-jerk scream reaction makes us easy marks for clever opponents. I watched this happen when I was a political activist: Developers in my small town would present this plan for a vast, elaborate development with all sorts of environment-destroying bells and whistles. We would predictably scream and leap, writing letters to the paper, speaking up angrily in city council meetings, drawing up petitions for people to sign. And the developer would back down! But he would back down to his real, original plan, which was to build condos in a delicate meadow and major viewshed area of the town.

If he’d proposed that real plan in the beginning, we would have worked against that, and maybe blocked the development entirely. But because he tossed out the equivalent of radar-foiling chaff, we saw only the chaff and missed the bombers coming through. At the end, we sighed with pride at our efforts. Sure the condos got built in that delicate meadow but, by god, we stopped him from building the touristy blacksmith shop along that one delicate creek.

I saw it time after time, enough to finally realize that the developers KNEW US. They knew what we’d do. We’d go for the red cape — EVERY TIME — and miss the fact that there was a bullfighter behind it with a killing sword.

I came to understand there was something like a bull session where the developer would get his whole crew in and say “Okay, kids, here’s the plan. Now let’s add on some bait for the idiots, stuff we know they’ll hate, so they can fight that while we get the main project approved. Come on, what can we put in here? Let’s have some ideas, the goofier the better!”

We won and won and won the small battles, but lost and lost and lost the big ones.

We on the left are suckers for an obvious pitch. Time after time, we’ll leap for the shiny lure and miss the fact that there’s a fisherman on the other end of the line.

So: France.

They’ve been catching holy hell for the recent ban on burkinis on some French beaches, which was even more recently overturned. The online community practically burned up the Internet with outrage at that hideous transgression onto individual liberty and the misogynistic assault on women. FRENCH POLICE FORCE WOMAN TO REMOVE BURKINI!!!

Meanwhile, over in that bastion of women’s rights (and Islam), Saudi Arabia, women are forbidden to drive cars, or try on clothing in stores. Forbidden to wear body-defining clothing or makeup that “enhances beauty.” Forbidden to open a bank account without their husband’s permission. Forbidden to go for a swim, compete in sports, or interact with men while out and about. FORBIDDEN TO APPEAR IN PUBLIC WITHOUT A MALE ESCORT.

Hell, I saw stories saying women in Saudi Arabia were forbidden to buy Barbie dolls, or visit cemeteries!

So you’d expect an equal or greater amount of outrage over all that, right? I mean, considering the horrified reaction with France? Because, hey, talk about assaults on individual liberty and pure-dee misogyny!

I mean, dayyum — Saudi women LIVE UNDER HOUSE ARREST for their entire lives. Just because they’re women.

Our reaction? … Crickets.

To be fair, I’ve seen plenty of stories in the atheist community about Islam-the-religion. We oppose it as avidly as we oppose Christianity. But when it comes to Islamic culture, which contains Islam-the-religion as an inseparable foundational element, we seem fairly blind to it. Too many of us have even adopted the word “Islamophobia” — which seems to be defined as “blind hatred for poor, innocent Muslims” — and used it to flail at everyone in sight, passionately defending both Muslims and Islam with the same cannonade.

Something we’re almost not permitted to say on the Left is that some cultures are superior to others. Considering its treatment and subjugation of women, I consider Islam — as practiced in predominantly Islamic countries — to be an inferior culture. Anyplace that forces women to walk around in burkhas, to cover themselves head to foot, aside from anything else, that’s UGLY. Any country or culture that confines women (hell, anybody!) to their homes — with the right to leave dependent on having a MAN, and only a close relative at that — is a culture that should not qualify as even minimally acceptable to the modern world.

Yes, I’m sure there are plenty of women there who are happy with their burkhas (cough*StockholmSyndrome*cough), who would defend to the death the wearing of the burkha. But in my view, some things are an offense against freedom and equality themselves, against womanhood itself. The burkha is one of those things.

In France, it’s currently estimated that 5 to 10 percent of French residents are now Muslims, with a full 25 percent of French teens being Islamic. The Muslim population is growing, and most French citizens can clearly see the coming radical demographic and cultural shift.

If you focus only on the rights of poor, embattled women to wear burkinis on the beach, you’d have to conclude the French are horrible and hateful and even racist. The idea! Sending armed thugs to force a poor little woman to remove her burkini! My god, what is the world coming to?

But if you see the bigger picture of an invasive — and inferior — culture using such controversies as manipulative bait to win more and more of the cultural ground, things look a bit different.

In that bigger picture, France is trying to preserve French culture.

Do they have that right? I mean, if it means this poor, poor woman has to face public humiliation?

I have to say they do. Hell, I think they have the DUTY to push back with everything they’ve got.

Not because they want to hurt this one innocent woman, but because they want to protect the rights of ALL French women, the freedom of ALL women to move confidently and freely through the cities and towns of France, indefinitely into the future, against a real trend toward Islamic majority that would — will! — diminish those rights and freedoms.

The lure to gain our knee-jerk reaction of sympathy and support is the picture of this one poor woman. Thanks to us, Islam wins another public relations battle.

But meanwhile, something hidden, something bigger, goes on.

 

—————————————-

Postscript 1: Oh, that brutal murder of the Charlie Hebdo staff by an Islamist? No, no, that was one lone individual. A total aberration. Islam is the Religion of Peace™.

Postscript 2: Aside from individual rights, the Koran is pretty clear that alcohol is satanic. What happens to the French wine industry — third largest in the world — when Islam becomes the dominant culture? Hey, probably they’ll just switch over to Prophet Muhammad Wine, right? Riiiight.

 

 

The Book of Good Living: Left Lane Driving

BGL copyThe Book of Good Living, if you’re new here, is my concept for a broad, basic guide to living well and living with others. It’s all the stuff we SHOULD know about living life among other humans and on Planet Earth.

Rather than some silly Ten Commandments focused on duties to a mythical god, this would be a searchable online multimedia encyclopedia something like Wikipedia, constantly updated by users and powerfully cross-referenced, covering every area of life, everything from basic morality to practical everyday health and safety. A how-to guide, completely voluntary in use, but packed with crowd-sourced wisdom about every little thing.

Elsewhere I recently wrote:

I imagine a Book of Good Living collected online with non-religious guidance for daily life, for anyone who chose to read and consider it. With tidbits such as “Take pictures of your parents, lots of them, something to keep you company in the long years alone,” or perhaps “Live your life in such a way that nobody has to pick up after you.” Or maybe even “Never leave your dog in a hot car.” But definitely, “Hey, dummy, if you’re on the freeway and people are passing you on the right, get the hell out of the left lane.”

Regarding that last, I came across this video last night, and it’s practically perfect for The Book.

The Shocking Truth About Hillary Clinton

HitleryI came across this incredible article about Hillary Clinton: #HillaryCoverageIsCrap.

It is >>shocking<< because it’s not only true, but glaringly obvious. And yet nobody  talks about it.

Media coverage of Hillary Clinton — Hillary the candidate, even Hillary the person — is so blatantly vicious, so casually demeaning, so gleefully mean-spirited, it’s … disgusting. Horrifying. SICK.

I’d like to select out a pithy quote from it, but the whole damned article is so good, so obviously true, it’s hard to decide on the best excerpt. So here’s a big chunk of it, with some of my own bolding to emphasize more shocking parts:

Somehow, enragingly, it is acceptable for panelists of talking heads to discuss her voice, her laugh, whether she smiles enough. To admonish her for “shouting.” To talk about her hair, her clothes, her accessories. To sneer at her jokes and disdainfully disqualify any personal tidbit she shares as “pandering” and “cynical” and a desperate, pathetic attempt to connect to voters.

To openly laugh at anything she does that reveals her humanity.

This is not news coverage. This is harassment. This is rank dehumanization. This is abuse.

How have we gotten to a point where we tolerate this deeply sexist, deeply personal sustained attack on one of the most admired women in the world?

How have we allowed ourselves to become so inured to a public, ritualistic humiliation of one of our nation’s most admired public servants?

Why do we expect that this overpoweringly unhealthy dynamic should be the cost of her public service, when no man in her position – including her disgusting opponent – is subjected to anything like this level of harassment and dehumanization?

Could any other human being survive this level of aggressive, ceaseless auditing, judgment, scrutiny, and personal criticism?

Why are the media doing this to her? And why are we allowing it to happen?

Hillary is the only person in public service at this level for whom unbridled contempt is not merely acceptable, but encouraged.

There is an elite Beltway media club, dominated by conservative-leaning white men, and every reporter on the political beat wants to belong to the club – a club whose gatekeepers have set as a requirement for entry the willingness to abandon all pretense of objectivity toward Hillary.

More:

The theme that runs throughout her career in public service that she is dishonest, corrupt, compromised is accompanied by a parallel theme of exoneration. She is investigated; she is found to have done nothing wrong. She is accused; the accusations are found to be without merit. She is battered by insinuations that are, upon objective scrutiny, found to be unjustifiable.

But they are endlessly repeated nonetheless, in order to create enough smoke that some voters reflexively assume there must be a fire.

But there is no fire. There is only a smoke machine.

And still more:

I refuse to abide in silence this toxic dynamic of a culture that treats as normal the ritualistic shaming and abuse of the woman who could be our first woman president.

A-fuckin’-men.