Cruel Justice and Equality

James Barnett’s Captain George Vancouver in Alaska and the North Pacific is notable not for the writing, but for the use of primary sources.

The book documents the 18th Century exploits of George Vancouver’s quest for the Northwest Passage, a shortcut between Europe and Asia, so that everyone could buy and sell more efficiently. This era of exploration and imperialism was much celebrated in the 18th-20th centuries as a time of map-making and discovery, but is now coming to be understood as a toxic, devastating period in modern history.

As Barnett writes, Vancouver’s British crew took possession of the Alaskan shores “by displaying the flag, turning the turf, burying a bottle with some coins and papers, and drinking port to the health of the king.” Barnett adds, “About a dozen natives were present and behaved very friendly but had no idea what we were doing.”

Another ceremony, taking possession of Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest, mentions that “all hands were served a good dinner as well as a double allowance of grog to drink to the King’s health”. More cruelly and to the point, George Vancouver had three native men apprehended when he was in Hawaii and, with little evidence in relation to a murder of a crew member, had them “promptly executed”.

These superficial and cruel moments in history are by no means unique. Consider America’s systematic slaughter of the American Native population, as conveyed in Dee Brown’s devastating Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee or the ongoing news of systemic violence against black people of this nation.

It is stories such as these that are guiding us to understand that justice and equality damn Western Civilization. As much as we have celebrated these ideas throughout our history, they don’t actually exist in this society beyond the childish understanding of playing an awful game by our rules.

The Ubermensch of Self-Reflection

Self-reflection is impossible. No one can self-reflect. No one. Not you. Not me. You might think that you can self-reflect. I am sure that you do. You’re told to do it every day by someone – your brother, your sparing partner, a billboard or newscaster – and you think that you really do. I used to think that it was possible for some people to self-reflect. But it isn’t Not for anyone!

Honestly, consider yourself right now, reading this, thinking, “Well, I self-reflect. I’m doing it right now. I am self-reflecting on my self-reflecting! Obviously I am. It’s stupid to say that I don’t because I do. I’m doing it right now! It’s as clear as anything ever was!”

Yeah, but, no, you’re not. You only think you are because you’re trapped in that head of yours. It isn’t self-reflection at all. It is just you tricking yourself that you’re self-reflecting. As much as you might think you are self-reflecting, especially if you use words like mindful and empathetic, you’re not. You’re the opposite. You’re only doing that because you think it’s good and right. It’s like smoking. You stopped doing that because you were told it is bad and wrong, when it isn’t. That’s because you’re all ego and super ego. You’re all you. That’s all there is to you. Nothing else. Certainly not someone who can self-reflect.

I am the same as you. All I can do is reflect on how I don’t self-reflect. I mean, I can also reflect on you reading this. But that’s not me. That’s you. And I can even reflect on how insightful I am for realizing that no one can self-reflect. It is all so very clear. Or it’s not. But it is. I came to realize that the more I self-reflect. Which goes back to the main point. You can’t self-reflect.

To paraphrase Nietzsche, one can only self-reflect if you,1) become yourself, 2) avoid self-hatred and 3) overcome yourself. Seriously, you have to be on a lot of Oxy if you think you can really do any of that. And if you do – think that you can do that, that is – then you can’t – self-reflect that is – because you can’t.

In others words, like Joseph Heller wrote in Catch-22, the more you think you can self-reflect, the more you can’t. It’s as simple as that.

Blackhawks Fans: This Is What Racism Looks Like

Chicago Blackhawks fans chanted “Basketball, basketball!” at Washington Capitals player, Smith-Pelly. He rose to challenge them, and they didn’t let up.Blackhawks Fans: This Is What Racism Looks LikeThis type of ugliness remains rampant across the country, especially at sports events and bars and especially by white men. The question remains: what are we actually going to do about it?

The Dehanced DMV

I went to get that new enhanced driver’s license today – something which requires two proofs of address, passport, green card and social insurance card, to say nothing of the undisclosed number of unmarked bills, blood and Stem cell samples. This was my third attempt. A guy stood wavering at the entrance and then puked on the sidewalk. It didn’t seem like a big deal to him, more like he was spitting. The woman at the front door was very nice and upbeat and steered me to Counter 30. I thought that I might actually get my enhanced license, and the counterperson made me even more confident. She accepted my unopened utility bill and asked for my Social Insurance Card. I had forgotten that. I would return. That’s what I told myself as I sat down at my desk and realized I had forgot my glasses on the counter.

Stubhub Help Center: In Existential Crisis

McPhedran: We have not received our tickets.
StubHub: Oh no! I’m really sorry to hear that. Quick question. Did you make the purchase with Stubhub or Ticketbis?
McPhedran: Stubhub redirected us to Ticketbis.
StubHub: Ticketbis is in the process of transiting in the Stubhub platform. Until that is completed, you need to contact them directly.
McPhedran: Give us the number we should call.
StubHub: They do not have a direct line.
McPhedran: How do we contact them?
StubHub: I will mark my message as urgent.
McPhedran: Do you understand that we need to leave for this event in 75 minutes?
StubHub: Thanks for that. But this is a Ticketbis order
McPhedran: Stubhub redirected us to this site.
StubHub: The only other option is to send an email.
McPhedran: Do you understand that we need to go in an hour?
StubHub: Can I have your best contact number?
McPhedran: I already sent it to you.
StubHub: Is there anything else I can help you with?
McPhedran: This is a help center, correct? You need to help us with this problem.
StubHub: Seeing that I have done all I can and there is not anything else I can help you with today, have a great day.
McPhedran: “Have a great day”? Is that a joke?
StubHub.: The thing is, McPhedran, I am not able to get the tickets from my end.
McPhedran: The thing is, StubHub, we already paid you for the tickets.
StubHub: I do wish I could do more and get these tickets over to you.
McPhedran: After all that is your business.

Ice Friday: Michel Foucault’s “The Use of Pleasure”

What one must aim for in the struggle to control the desires was the condition of “ethical virility” according to the model of “social virility”. In the use of male pleasures, one had to be virile with regard to oneself, just as one was masculine in one’s social role. In the full meaning of the world, moderation was a man’s virtue. Ice Friday: Michel Foucault's "The Use of Pleasure"To be immoderate was to be in a state of nonresistance with regard to the force of pleasures, and in a position of weakness and submission. In this sense, the man of pleasures and desires, the man of non-mastery (akrasia) or self-indulgence (akolasia) was a man who could be called feminine.*

*Taken with a grain or two of salt.

Websites To Hate And Yet…

What Tiger Woods’ Ex-Wife Looks Like Now Left Us With No Words.
Tiger Woods’ Private Jet Is Far From What You’d Expect
Tiger Woods’ Biggest Endorsement Deal Is Unbelievable 
Alicia Keys’ Home Will Take Your Breath Away
Jeff Bridges’ Magnificent Home Is Beyond Stunning
Tyra Banks Finally Reveals Her Outrageous Home
Gorgeous In The 80’s, You Will Not Recognize Her Today
Why Is This Never Mentioned About These Conjoined Twins? 
These Are The 25 Most Evil People To Ever Live! 
Only 1 in 49 People Can Name These 1970’s Sitcom Stars
15+ Perfectly Timed Photographs Captured Online
24 Rare Historical Photos That Will Leave You Speechless
They Watched Their Dog Drag Their Little Girl, But Then They Saw Him…Websites To Hate And Yet
Stephen Hawking’s Latest Prediction Will Shock You (The end of these websites?)

This Thing Called Race: Adichie’s “Americanah”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah is a long and winding love story, unavoidably about race:

“I mean ‘nigger is a word that exists. People use it. It is part of America. It has caused a lot of pain to people and I think it is insulting to bleep it out. (168) This Thing Called Race: Adichie's "Americanah"Ifemelu wanted, suddenly and desperately, to be from the country of people who gave and not those who received, to be one of those who had and could therefore bask in the grace of having given, to be among those who could afford copious pity and empathy. (209)

One of Adichie’s devices, which works to varying effect, is the citation of Ifemelu’s blog: Dear Non-American Black, when you make the choice to come to America, you become black. Stop arguing. Stop saying I’m Jamaican or I’m Ghanian. America doesn’t care. (273) This Thing Called Race: Adichie's "Americanah"Later, on the train to Essex, he noticed that all the people around him were Nigerians, loud conversations in Yoruba and Pidgin filled the carriage, and for a moment he saw the unfettered non-white foreignness of this scene through the suspicious eye of the white women on the tube. (320)

The Problem with Political Donations

Make one contribution of a mere $25…and then they never leave you be. The Problem with Political DonationsEvery day – and through the night – even if you unsubscribe, the emails never stop. The Problem with Political DonationsLeading you to question whether to bother backing a horse again.

Update: Apparently I’m in trouble from Quist campaign again:The Problem with Political Donations