Today’s SCOTUS Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage

American HumanistThe Supreme Court of the United States made a pretty big decision on marriage equality today, in a 5-4 vote supporting same-sex marriage.

Naturally, I have a few attendant thoughts on this, which I’ve posted on my private Facebook page, but which I will copy here nevertheless just in case my thoughts weren’t already more eloquently and better served in the above image from American Humanist Association quoting the majority opinion from today’s ruling. So, here’s my take on things.

  • “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
    -Declaration of Independence. July 4, 1776.

    Nice to see that 239 years later, we are getting closer and closer, one step at a time, to making these words all the more honest and applicable to all.

  • Bonus points on yesterday and today’s SCOTUS rulings: the 2016 GOP candidates continue to dig themselves further and deeper into the realm of irrelevancy, spouting nonsense that puts them farther afield of the fringe contingent, the conspiracy-minded goofs who call themselves Truthers with nary a trace of irony, and the insane asylum inmates that periodically gather for their silly Tea Parties.

    The more they bitch, moan, whine, and complain, the more clearer that progress is, in fact, being made, and maybe, just maybe, one day we’ll actually achieve the ideal of American Exceptionalism that they so often wistfully refer to with misty eyes averted toward a halycon, bygone day, even while they try to work harder and harder, and in ever smaller numbers, to destroy, tamper, and bury it outright.

Today’s SCOTUS Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage

Social Justice Warrior Pride And Why We Fight

SJWForgive me, but the following post may be a bit on the rambling side as I unpack some of the cognitive perturbation that kicked off my weekend.

Friday evening, just as we were closing shop, I got into a conversation with a fellow co-worker, who ended up dragging in a third-party with a penchant for the…well, let’s just say obscene for now. What followed was about twenty minutes of after-hours conversation, and some of the most ignorant, depraved, and bigoted nonsense I’d ever directly heard in my life. I’m usually lucky enough to have this kind of toxic hate speech kept at arms length and encountered only by news purveyors recounting the latest indignities of Fox & Friends or Glenn Beck types. What third-party guy had to say, though, might put even those folks to shame with the kind of stuff that makes you wonder what happened to this person to make them so freaking scarred and awful. The kind of conversation that makes you glad that, at least even on your worst, most cynical day, you’re still not that bad.

I cannot transcribe the full conversation, nor how we even got onto the subject, but somehow the third-party guy made it all about his slash-and-burn rhetoric against “the gays” and their “agenda.” This followed on the foot heels of Thursday’s news that, here in Michigan, our Republican governor signed the RFRA For Adoption bill, which allows adoptions agencies to discriminate against would-be parents on the basis of religious beliefs and to deny same-sex couples trying to adopt. To say that this third-party was in favor of this action would be putting it mildly.

He hates that gay people can parade around openly in society and that he has to watch them kiss or hold hands. He argues that gays should absolutely not be allowed to adopt, because they’ll brainwash children into being gay or molest them, and that homosexuality is a choice, despite pretty much all research on genetic and epigenetic factors that influence sexuality. I made the mistake of asking him why this is different than allowing African-Americans to adopt, another segment of our society that is often marginalized and discriminated against.

More often that not, when this question is posed you get a lot of side-stepping and equivocating and protestations that “it’s just not the same!” Even though it totally is the same because bigotry is bigotry, plain and simple. So, I was a bit taken aback when the third-party’s hatred of blacks let spew, and how abolishing slavery was a mistake, how he wishes his ancestors had been wealthy enough to have slaves, and how “they all” are nothing but savages. Blacks and Africa led to AIDs, he said, which then led to the homosexual community deliberately poisoning the blood supplies in the US with AIDs so that straight people would get infected and, thus, forced to give a shit about this disease. His argument was not only revolting, but amazingly complex in terms of sheer lunacy and fringe conspiracy, as if there’s some kind of gay Illuminati plotting a hostile world-takeover. He argued, though, that the only time he’d be compelled to give a shit about gay people is if there were a bounty on their heads so he could hunt them down.

I’ve been in a bit of a daze following all of this. As I said before, I’ve never come face to face with somebody so noxious and poisoned that they should probably have “hazardous waste” tattooed around their mouth. I knew he had some outlandish ideas and odd political stances (he’s an evolution-denier and a 9/11 Truther, but thankfully neither topics come up this time around), but to inadvertently get lost in such a swamp of toxicity was overwhelming.

I needed to try and reclaim some measure of sanity, and this third-party was a solid reminder of why social justice and education is so damn important. So, I’m chipping in to Jennifer Foehner Wells (@Jenthulhu on Twitter) campaign to raise money to benefit Books For Africa. After this third-party guy ranted on and on about how atrocious the birthplace of humanity was and is, Jennifer’s campaign seems like as good a way as any to mentally recover and do something good for those less fortunate than me.

If you’re willing and able to join the cause, you can order your SJW Pride tee right over here. All proceeds raised are going directly to Books For Africa.

front-bigAs Jennifer writes on her blog, this t-shirt, designed by Sandra G. (@peppermintesse on Twitter),

really conveys the sentiment that people who care about equal representation in fiction for all:

genders/gender identities/races/ethnicities/shapes/sizes

–human or alien–

are not villains but superheroes!

I spent hours researching charities that benefit children and emphasize books and literacy. The one I chose not only perfectly ticks off every box, but serves at the highest level. You can rest assured that Charity Navigator, the top vetting site for charities, gives this organization 5-stars on all levels, including financial transparency. 99.1% of this charity’s total expenses are spent on the programs and services it delivers.

The words “social justice” are used, in some circles, rather disparagingly, particularly in terms of media that strives to be inclusive and representative of the world we live in. In fact, social justice is something that we should not only strive for, but demand. Social justice is what ended slavery, it’s what gave women the right to vote and to have autonomy over their own bodies and medical decisions. As with any progressive movement, there are vocal, and oftentimes nasty, detractors. People like this third-party guy was a rude reminder of exactly why social justice is necessary, particularly in terms of combating and winning against sheer ignorance.

Here’s the thing – I’m a firm believer that education is the best way to destroy ignorance. Books are key to this. Knowledge is power, not fear-mongering and blind hate, and we cannot give in to those toxic, sad, rabid members of our society who would seek to destroy and usurp progress all in the name of petty bigotry.

I try every day to be a good person, to my family, to my society, to this one-and-only world that we live in. I hope that whatever I leave behind on Earth when my days are done, that it is at least a little bit more positive than when I came into it. If I can help an animal in need, if I can help, somehow, for children in our pathetic and overly-swamped adoption agencies make their way into a loving family — regardless of gender or orientation — or to simply raise my soon-to-arrive child well and instill her or him with values and moral fortitude to carry on improving things, then at least I can die well.

Books are how we progress and communicate and disseminate information. It’s not the only way, but it is still instrumental. This is where we record our history, and it’s a part of the human legacy. They should speak about us, and the human condition — all humans, not just a few, and not only the minorities among us, but all of us. They are vital, and they must spread. They must make their way into the hands of those less fortunate. Books are one of the first places that education begins, and educating the world — not just America, but the entire global society — is of supreme importance, particularly in those impoverished nations. Third-party guy may not give a shit about them, but we ignore them at our own detriment.

Remember this old aphorism: A rising tide lifts all boats.

And since I can hear some of you bemoaning about giving money to a project that supports books for Africa when we have problems here at home, problems like the RFRA acts and discrimination against LGBTQ communities at the hands of our very own government, I’ll also be giving money to Freedom From Religion Foundation in an effort to help combat the incursion of religion into American politics, which I see as the epicenter to many of these problems and uphold the constitutional separation of church and state.

It should be noted, too, that American-branded, religiously-fueled hate isn’t merely an issue confined to the borders of the US, but has also become a large export into Africa by figures such as Scott Lively, who helped engineer Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill, so all the more reason to send books to those desiring education and agency of their own. In light of the growing anti-gay legislation in Africa, the Ugandan Academy of Science was a part of a panel formed by the Academy of Science South Africa to study the research compiled on same-sex orientation, resulting in the release of a report on the heritable nature of sexual orientation. More on this at IFLS, and well worth the read.

Hopefully I’ve helped somebody today. And hopefully you can, too. Charity is good for you. But it can also be a hell of a lot better for others.

Social Justice Warrior Pride And Why We Fight

Hell’s Bells, People…

Yesterday, this little nugget of news came across my radar:

This is one of the dumbest things I’ve heard of lately, aside from Rick Santorum running for president again, and my gut reaction is that pretty much anything fundamentalist Christian conservative lobby groups such as this and the American Family Association that oversees the no-doubt inflated figure of One Million Moms are against, I’m for. Like, you know, human equality, or, I dunno, cakes for anyone willing to buy them from people who make cakes for a living, but whatever…

As Comic Book Resources reports:

The petition describes the show as “a new series which will glorify Satan as a caring, likable person in human flesh.”

“The series will focus on Lucifer portrayed as a good guy, ‘who is bored and unhappy as the Lord of Hell,'” it continues. “He resigns his throne, abandons his kingdom and retires to Los Angeles, where he gets his kicks helping the LAPD punish criminals.”

Well, Heaven forbid… Conversely, can you imagine the outrage of these twelve angry moms if their biblical god were ever depicted accurately on screen? I can’t help but note that The History Channel’s adaptation of The Bible, by all accounts, seemed oddly free of genocide, rape, slavery, bigamy, incest, and anything even remotely challenging or provocative. But, I suppose it made Joel Osteen smile and likely bought him another mansion for all of his consultancy work.

By the way, if you’re interested in some solid figures and a fun look at who’s the bigger dickbag in the Bible, might I recommend Steve Well’s Drunk With Blood – God’s Killings In The Bible for some light reading?

Needless to say, as I did with the release of the nonsensical Clean Reader app, I have some thoughts on this ill-conceived and derisive attempt at religiously-motivated censorship pandering. As Newsarama notes, this same group has a history of trying to bend entertainment media across their knee, and in 2012 lobbied against both Marvel and DC Comics for their inclusiveness of gay characters in their comic books.

So, as I’m wont to do in times such as these, I had a brief twitter rant, shown below.

Now, from what I can understand, the Fox TV adaptation of Lucifer strays a good deal far away from the comic book source material. And perhaps much to the shock of the pitchfork, fire, and brimstone crowd, this is a fictional television drama based on a fictional comic book. But, even if it weren’t, that wouldn’t change the fact that at the core of it all is a fictional character that exists only in literature and other entertainment and media-based venues.

Lucifer is not real. Demons are not real. Supernatural is not a documentary, and, sad to say, End of Days was not just another day in the life and times of Arnold Schwarzenegger. In point of fact, the TV series Lucifer is every bit as valid an interpretation of the iconic, and public domain, character of Lucifer as the Bible, Dante’s Inferno, or Milton’s Paradise Lost.

In fact, as near as I can tell, this petition is not really about Lucifer at all. It’s more about the difficulties of being a parent and opting to shrug off any bit of responsibility for raising sensible children in favor of demanding society bow to your will instead.

Apparently, diligently attempting to court controversy is much simpler than, oh, say, changing the god damn channel on your TV and monitoring the viewing habits of your own child. Then again, I’ve never understood this mentality of “I don’t like it, so the whole world needs to change for me” that is at the core of this pathetic drama. And also, I just really hate it when Bible-thumpers think they can tell me, or anyone else, what I can or cannot do based on their beliefs instead of what I find suitable for myself. It’s like they never heard of free will or something…

People are free to watch or not, but the fate of this series, along with any other creative endeavor, should be determined by the audience and the work’s own merits, rather than a group of bigmouths casting blind aspersions because they prefer to be fear-mongers instead of informed adults and active, engaged parents.

Hell’s Bells, People…

Reblog: Tee Contest – Jennifer Foehner Wells

Tee Contest – Jennifer Foehner Wells.

Apparently, this is a very good day for author-spurred contests!

I know there’s at least one person who follows this blog and has some artistic talent, and who thinks, like I do, that the term Social Justice Warrior is a badge of honor instead of an insulting pejorative.

Fellow author Jennifer Foehner Wells has started this awesome t-shirt contest, and you can show off your talents! Your design could make it onto a tee-shirt and you walk away with $100 and insane bragging rights.

If you maybe need some inspiration to kick the creative gears turning, check out this post by Joseph Scrimshaw.

Check out the details at her contest page, and good luck!

Reblog: Tee Contest – Jennifer Foehner Wells

Reblog: Wallpaper Contest: Time To Vote! « terribleminds: chuck wendig

Wallpaper Contest: Time To Vote! « terribleminds: chuck wendig.

Chuck Wendig is running a cool little contest to pick a winner for some terribleminds-inspired wallpaper graphics.

This one is Chuck’s personal favorite, and mine too, incidentally. It’s designed by Rebekeh Turner and is just absolutely terrific. I love it badly and I totally plan on saving and sharing this far and wide (with proper credit given and due, of course!), and you can view the full-size version here.

For the full list of contenders, hit up Wendig’s blog and cast your vote over there.

If your curious, I voted for #3, but #5 really caught my eye, too. It’s a tough decision, but I really like the simplistic minimalism of #3. But, #5 has a cup of coffee and some sage advice. This was a very difficult ballot to cast…

The gallery of artist’s submissions is on Flickr.

Reblog: Wallpaper Contest: Time To Vote! « terribleminds: chuck wendig

Slow Week

Things are going to be a little slow on the site here for the next few days. Here’s what’s happening:

  • Wrapping up Emergence, first and foremost. This sequel to Convergence is with the art designer and formatter, so expect more news on this soon, and stay tuned for the big cover reveal!
  • Writing a story for next year’s anthology. This could also be the start of a new series, one that’s quite a bit different from either of the two DRMR novels and drops me into a whole ‘nother genre entirely.
  • Once that story is finished, I’ll be giving another short story my first-pass of edits since that one is actually for this August’s anthology. It’s all written, but needs some work, some minor tinkering, and hopefully a few new pairs of eyes.
  • Then, I need to figure out what the heck I’m doing with the rest of this year…

Currently reading: Brother, Frankenstein by Michael Bunker. Just started reading this one earlier today, and it’s lots of fun so far. No idea when it’ll be releasing, though…

Slow Week