Tilting At Windmills: How To Turn Just About Anything Into A Civil Rights Issue

 

defiance-386x500In my opinion, and especially with Donald Trump in the Oval Office, we all just don’t do enough public protesting, and I suspect it’s because we tend to think that we are just too busy working to pay our bills and to keep food on the table. But this is too bad because the two goals need not conflict, and can in fact be pursued simultaneously and with little extra effort, simply by making a conscious decision to re-purpose into spontaneous mini-protests all our mistakes, bad habits, shortcomings, etc. — basically, all of the ways we might frustrate, annoy, or cause discomfort to another person in some way — and this simply as we go about the ordinary humdrum business of our daily lives.

A few examples will make the general point. Imagine you or others saying any of the following under suitable conditions:

“Defend free speech by farting — often, loudly, odorously!”

“I’m chronically tardy in protest of the Trump Administration!”

“Their armpits stink in defiance of the way animals are systematically abused.”

“What do you mean you forgot to invite me to the party as a gesture of good will toward all sentient beings????”

“Your willingness to just accept that I’m a terrible kisser in the name of Nuclear Arms Reduction is a noble sacrifice for a worthy cause.”

“I have not shaved yet today because I’m hoping it will help raise awareness for diabetes.”

“Let’s all show our disapproval for Trump’s sexist behavior by talking too loudly on our cell phones in public!”

Now, you may find this technique a bit odd, but that’s probably just because it’s such a great idea. Great ideas always seem a bit odd at first, until they catch on and then everybody’s like “wow, that’s a great idea!”

Or maybe you think it’s comical? I agree! Which is partly why I think it can be so effective too. Nothing starts a conversation like a good joke — especially a good fart joke! Jokes always set everyone at ease — especially fart jokes! — and make it easier to keep the conversation on a friendly, collaborative track, rather than letting it veer off into mayhem, murder, or negative attitudes.

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The link between a symbol (green light) and it’s meaning (go/move forward) can be completely arbitrary. Image Credit: Pixabay

One thing to notice with all this is that the link between a given act of protest and the thing being protested can be completely arbitrary. It can be based on nothing more than the occasional need for a good excuse for some random gaffe or foible that might otherwise make you look ignorant, incompetent, or insensitive.

Looking through the examples above, although farting may plausibly be a form of free speech (especially for anyone who talks out of his ass — badump bump!), what’s really the link between animal abuse and stinky armpits? Or between beard stubble and diabetes? None, really, but that’s OK, because the protest is a symbolic gesture, and symbols are often quite arbitrarily linked to what they symbolize.

Consider, for example, that a green traffic light symbolizes that it’s time to move forward through an intersection, but it does so purely by convention and not for any obvious connection between green and forward movement.

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Why does this circle with lines in it symbolize peace? Image Credit: Pixabay

Or notice that only rarely do words have any clear connection to the meaning they symbolize. For example, the word snow itself isn’t cold or white or fluffy, but we have no problem using this word in English sentences as a linguistic symbol for the actual cold, white, fluffy stuff. And consider that the famous peace symbol is just a circle with some lines in it (flowery lines in the one shown here). What does that have to do with peace? Again, the connection between the symbol and its meaning is arbitrary and conventional. So why not take advantage of that basic semiotic principle in order to be more politically active?

In summary, political activism need not be limited to voting or riding 15 hours on a bus to attend a rally in Washington, DC. Virtually anything that someone else finds unpleasant in some way can be re-purposed and politicized into a Civil Rights issue of your choosing.

One caveat: the people that you annoy, frustrate, etc. in this way are probably not going to like that you’re doing it and will likely try to fight back and do their own counter protesting. They may try to trivialize your protest or characterize it as “silly” or “childish” or both. They may try to convince you that you are “insane”, or being “utterly ridiculous” or “infantile” or “irrelevant” or “acting like a complete fool” or making “mountains from mole hills”, a “tempest in a tea cup”, or “tilting at windmills”.

But don’t listen to them. Of course they will say these kinds of things. When they do so it likely means that you’re protesting effectively. Especially if they play the “tilting at windmills” card — that’s when you know you’re doing it right!

What about you? Can you think of any more examples to add to those shown above? If so, please let me know in a comment!

 

 

 

 

Turn Me In To The FBI Today And Win This Attractive Bag Of Lawn Clippings!!!

Dear Reader,

Are you worried that I may have “crossed a line” by committing a felony in protest of the Trump Administration (not to mention everything else that a sane person might protest, especially the fact that since Trump became President I’ve been fired illegally twice for being autistic)?

Does it seem like I’ve gone “too damn far” by stealing a laptop loaded with protected customer information from the most recent company to fire me for having autism (a company which shall remain nameless, for now, and for reasons that are seeming less reasonable by the hour)?

Would you like to receive the attractive brown paper bag full of lawn clippings shown in the photo above as a Thank You gift?[1]

If so, then today’s your lucky day! Because with just a simple phone call to the FBI you can get that bag of lawn clippings as my Thank You gift simply for “dropping a dime on me” to the FBI regarding the above concerns in particular or in fact really any concerns at all you may have and which follow from my recent public confession that I have committed a felony cyber-crime just to protest, for example, the Trump Administration along with the fact that I’ve been fired illegally twice (for being autistic) since Trump became President, and in fact pretty much everything else that a sane person might protest these days, including but not limited to all the items discussed in yesterday’s open letter to President Trump’s acting Chair of the EEOC, Ms. Victoria A. Lipnic.

By the way, in case a bag of grass clippings isn’t already enough incentive, you should probably also recognize that the truly enormous size of my latest ex-employer’s customer database implies an excellent chance that I may in fact now be in possession of your own name, birthday, and Social Security Number.

Yikes!

So don’t delay. Address your concerns, whatever they are. Drop a dime on me to the FBI today!

Turn me in, please! Do it now, I’m begging you! Don’t over think it. Just follow this link to the FBI Contact Us webpage or do an Internet search on “report a crime to the FBI” and follow the easy instructions you will find.

And yes, I am being totally serious about everything except the bag of grass clippings. That part is really just a joke that I’m hoping will set you at ease long enough to get you to read this post. To be clear: I am not seriously offering anybody a bag of grass clippings as a Thank You for turning me into the FBI. But for the most part I’ve been posting on this topic with a straight face for several days now, and I really do not understand why I am not already in a jail cell.

I’m a friggin’ outlaw, for crying out loud! Somebody, please, do something!

I thank you sincerely in advance for you help,

Daniel L. Scholten, a.k.a. “The Walrus”


[1] In case it isn’t perfectly obvious: I’m really just kidding about the bag of lawn clippings. But I am definitely not kidding about asking you to turn me into the FBI. That part is quite serious. It’s been several days since I publicly confessed to stealing the laptop in question along with the protected customer data it contains, and so far I’m still a free man. I find this weird and disturbing, to say the least. I thought for sure I’d at least get a knock on the door from the police, but so far nothing — which is to say nada, nichts, rien, nyet, etc.

Is this a race thing I’m witnessing? Am I being protected by my so-called “white privilege”? Seems like these days black people can get arrested for forgetting to cover their mouths when coughing. I’ve stolen a friggin lap top and so far nobody seems to care!

Seal of the EEOC

I Confess! — Another Open Letter To Victoria A. Lipnic, President Trump’s Fox-in-Hen-House Acting Chair Of The EEOC

Trigger Warning: I don’t do trigger warnings (yet).

Hello Ms. Lipnic,

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Image Credit: EEOC webpage

While you are pondering yesterday’s only-seemingly-bizarre question, (“What would you do if President Trump grabbed your ‘pussy’?“) I would like to take this opportunity to confess to you publicly that I have recently committed a (non-violent) felony cyber crime in peaceful protest of, well, pretty much everything a sane person would protest nowadays, but especially the following somewhat exhausting but certainly not exhaustive list:

  1. That a bumbling, deceitful, childish, impulsive, pathologically ignorant misogynist like Donald Trump is my President, and thereby armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons and the world’s most powerful armed forces.
  2. That President Trump promoted you in January 2017 from your 2010-Obama-appointed bipartisan role as one of several EEOC Commissioners to your current fox-in-hen-house position as Acting Chair (boss) of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In case you seriously don’t realize it, you are a fox in the EEOC hen house because you used to work for Seyfarth Shaw, LLP, one of the top anti-Labor law firms in the world, and you are in fact still so chummy with your former Seyfarth Shaw colleagues that they actually call you “Vicki”. Also, by your own admission you have long believed and stated that you see your organization as the “underscore employment opportunity Commission”, suggesting that the notion of Equality will be thrown under the bus if necessary to further Trump’s agenda of creating jobs for the Country’s white men so that they can feed their livestock, servants, children, and wives.
  3. That you gave a private pep rally[1] to your former Seyfarth Shaw colleagues on Feb. 9, 2017 to assure them all that thanks to your new and powerful role at the EEOC it was going to become much easier for them to defend an employer’s freedom to exploit, abuse, and illegally fire their underprivileged but otherwise qualified employees.
  4. That one of your former Seyfarth Shaw colleagues — Frederick “Fritz” T. Smith — appears to have been so emboldened by your Feb. 9th pep rally, that in retaliation for the two EEOC charges I filed in 2017 against his client and my former employer MetLife, Mr. Smith subsequently felt entitled to plan and inflict upon me and my family an ordeal that was so psychologically grueling that now I feel subsequently entitled, in the first place, to describe it as a form of gang rape, and second, to commit the aforementioned non-violent yet highly illegal felony cyber crime to protest this gang rape, along with everything else I’m protesting, including…
  5. That because Donald Trump is now our Man-Child-in-Chief, and because he promoted you to your fox-in-hen-house role as Acting Chair of the EEOC, I have been fired illegally twice this past year for being autistic, and without any legal and effective means of redress.
  6. That the first time I got fired in the past year for being autistic, the company (MetLife) had the nerve to allege to the EEOC that I had been fired for “inappropriate behavior” — a lie which Donald Trump’s “Grab’em by the Pussy” Administration has rendered completely obsolete and utterly impossible to tell anymore with a straight face [ironically, the Trump Administration’s total abolition of the archaic, arbitrary, and ethnocentric notion of “appropriate behavior” is really the only good thing that Trump has done for the USA].
  7. That the second time I got fired for being autistic this year, the company[2] had the nerve to allege in writing that they were firing me because they were going “…in a different direction with the role going forward” — another completely obsolete lie that no employer should ever use again (especially if they really do need to go in a different direction with a given role, so as not to aide and abet illegal firings by providing cover for them).
  8. That because I have no legal and effective means of redress for all of these items (not to mention everything else I’m protesting and which is not listed here), I am forced now by my conscience to risk the possibility of imprisonment and a criminal record in order to protest these items.

With respect to that last item (8): In other words, I’m committing this civilly disobedient felony in part to protest the fact that I must actually resort to committing a civilly disobedient felony in order to protest that I must actually resort to committing a civilly disobedient felony in order to protest…etc., etc., ad infinitum. Yes, yes, I know, right? That infinite regress certainly does seem bizarre, doesn’t it? But it is not really bizarre when you think it through, and for the same reasons that the Trump Administration has made it perfectly not bizarre for me to ask the President’s Acting Chair of the EEOC what she would do if the President of the United States of America grabbed her pussy.


[1] In the following bone-chilling video, watch how often her former Seyfarth Shaw colleagues refer chummily to Ms. Lipnic as “Vicki”. Also, at about minute 9, Ms. Lipnic explains her nightmarish vision of her organization as the “underscore employment opportunity” Commission, strongly suggesting that going forward the whole Equality thing was more a decoration than anything truly functional. This meeting was nothing less than a pep rally she gave her former Seyfarth Shaw colleagues to assure them that it was going to become much easier for them going forward to defend an employer’s freedom to exploit, abuse, and illegally fire their underprivileged but otherwise qualified employees.

[2] I have not yet revealed the name of my most recent ex-employer, but for reasons that are becoming untenable by the day.

The Diversity Acceptance Project

diversity_hands_707x500Well, it’s now official. I’ve gone and set up a blog for The Diversity Acceptance Project. I’ve mentioned else where that I see this as an “open source” effort, by which I mean anybody can contribute, provided that he or she doesn’t prevent anybody else from contributing. It must remain open source and its materials will be free to use as anybody wishes. That’s the general gist at this point. This is the first time I’ve tried to do something like this, so I’m sure I have a lot of mistakes in my future.

At the moment I am the only one actually working on this project, but if you’d like to participate, please shoot me an email from the contact page of this or that blog. I will add you as a user and you can do your own posting, etc. The only requirement at this point I think is that whatever you post will have to have some clear relevance to the topic of diversity awareness, understanding, and acceptance.

Please stop by the blog to like it, comment on it, follow it, and all that good stuff!

🙂

 

Towards a Manifesto for a Minimally Intolerant Civilization: Part 2

For context, please see Towards a Manifesto for a Minimally Intolerant Civilization: Part 1.

Note: the notion of diversity (i.e. weirdness in layperson language) is fundamentally subjective. One person’s weirdness is just what another person considers normal. Because of this, one must be careful with phrases like “my diversity” or “your diversity”. When I say “my diversity”, I could be referring either to what I judge to be weird about myself, but I might also be referring to what you judge to be weird about me. Similar remarks apply to phrases like “your diversity” or “her diversity”, etc. Because both interpretations are valid, I will take care in what follows to qualify which interpretation I’m using, unless either it doesn’t matter or is perhaps clear from the context.

Some Basic Principles Of Diversity Acceptance

For now at least, and until I encounter the sort of evidence that might change my mind, I hold at least these principles to be reasonable:

  1. Genuine diversity acceptance can only begin with genuine self acceptance of one’s own diversity. The better I can genuinely accept what I judge to be weird about myself, the better I can genuinely accept what I judge to be weird about you. I assume that you could affirm likewise, but please let me know if you think I’m wrong to assume that.
  2. Therefore, if I would like you to accept my diversity (what you judge to be weird about me), I should encourage you to accept your own (what you judge to be weird about yourself).
  3. Some forms of intolerance are necessary and good (e.g. intolerance of murder, rape, theft, pedophilia, etc.)
  4. The very best form of intolerance would be that which minimizes the need for any sort of intolerance overall.
  5. Intolerance is always on trial, and should never be given the benefit of the doubt. Intolerance is always presumed wrong unless proven right.
  6. One should always remain vigilant to the possibility that what was once a good form of intolerance has somehow turned bad.

I would love to know what you think about the above, especially if any of it rings false to you in some way.

Note: I’m not sure yet if there will be a part 3, but in the event I will post a link to it here.


Image Credit: Pixabay

Towards a Manifesto for a Minimally Intolerant Civilization: Part 1

I Hereby Protest!

What do I protest? Well, most things I think.

Do I really need to clarify that I’m not protesting the alleged “oppression” of White Men?If I do, then I protest the fact that I actually need to clarify that. Of course I’m not protesting that!!! And if there is anything else that you’re seriously worried that I might actually be protesting even though no sane person would protest it (e.g. the alleged oppression of pedophiles? Cannibals?), then let’s just assume that I’m not protesting that either, but that I am protesting the fact that I might actually have to clarify that.

But aside from the stuff that no sane person would protest anyway, I am definitely protesting everything that all sane people do or should protest. A few examples to make the general point:

I protest the persistent, cross-cultural delusion that women and children are somehow not quite real human beings; I protest the stark, raving folly that skin color or texture has moral significance; I protest the criminal notion that in many parts of the world homosexuality is still criminalized, and the shameful fact that most everywhere else it is still viewed as somehow shameful; I protest the embarrassing belief that ignorance is embarrassing; that a lack of education is something to feel embarrassed about; that a score on an IQ test can be viewed as embarrassingly low; and I protest the profoundly stupid belief that some questions actually are stupid, despite all of the fragile but otherwise true and admirable claims to the contrary.

I could go on, but I hope that gives you an idea of the breadth and depth of my protest. In short, I protest the generally dehumanizing stance taken toward pretty much every human being who is considered somehow “not normal” in some way that always works out to be irrational and arbitrary — ranging from the color of one’s teeth to the decision to wear a condom. I protest all of that nonsense — we might call it the sanctification of the norm,  or the demonization of the weird, or simply the excessive rejection of human diversity.

Whatever you want to call it, I hereby protest it.

To summarize:

I hereby protest the excessive rejection of human diversity.

[When part 2 is published, I’ll post a link to it here.]


Image Credit: Pixabay