24 Comments
May 14Liked by Mike Solana, River Page

This one got me fired up. Retarded is the one that hits me the hardest. You can’t understand that someone has a series of biological limitations that will prevent them from doing certain things in life because it would be rude, but you can encourage a woman and tell her she’s brave for aborting a child with Down Syndrome so she can have more time to make spreadsheets for a corporation. I even read an article once about how Iceland has been so “successful” at “genetic screening” they have the lowest rate of Down Syndrome in the world. In a world where everything is called Hitler that is Hitler level shit. You even see people with blue hair cheering that stuff on twitter.

And the houseless thing gets me too. It’s like saying “if you put five thousand dollars on this guy’s chest he wouldn’t have schizophrenia anymore.” Motherfucker, do I look dumb? And it’s always people like AOC who want to have power but not be responsible for it pushing this garbage. Who is at fault for not setting aside a place for the homeless if not our society’s leaders? Instead she gives herself a pat on the back for her policy of letting a group of actually disabled people die in public because forcing them to get care would inconvenience her. You’re not supposed to just care about people theoretically. You’re supposed to see a guy dying in the middle of the street, figure out why it’s really happening, and if it’s not just purely a resource problem, go put him in an institution so he can have food and a warm place to live and set up audits and all kinds of other things to make sure the staff runs it correctly. That’s how this is supposed to work.

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May 14Liked by River Page

“Houseless” zings me every time I hear it.

I met with the unofficial mayor of skid row. He told me the non-profits were not delivering the money - and that the campaign to make the homeless sound like regular joes “down on their luck” was a complete fabrication. “These people are born on the streets,” he said. Generational poverty and mental health issues that no one is actually helping with. Least of all the state.

“Houseless” is so obviously a marketing campaign, attempting to highlight that all you need to do is throw $$ at the situation. Let me rephrase: all you need to do is throw money at the politicians who will manage the situation.

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May 14Liked by Mike Solana, River Page

George Orwell got this right. But didn’t he get most things right?

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May 14Liked by River Page

I wonder if this sort of language policing has gotten worse as more and more of the economy has become abstract, low stakes, bullshit service jobs?

The sort of linguistic quibbling we see today feels less like Orwellian, Soviet-style revisionism and more like larping (your AAPI example perfectly captures that). Atleast part of this behavior reads to me as people who are deeply alienated from reality desperately pretending that what they do is important. They won't get their hands dirty and try to improve homelessness, but they will pat themselves on the back after doing the hard day's work of replacing "homeless" with "houseless" in a memo.

In my experience, nurses, soldiers, tradesman, cooks, mechanical engineers--anyone who has to grapple with actual reality and not just the cultural perception of reality-- are far less inclined to engage with these petty language games. But these sort of folks seem to be far less culturally relevant nowadays than they used to be.... I don't know if there are proportionally fewer of them or if they simply have less prestige (probably both?).

The intellectual class has always been prone to onanistic solipsism-- but we've previously had stronger counterweights to curb those excesses. We live in a time when more kids dream of being influencers than astronauts.

I really do hope we can shake off this decadence. Fingers crossed for that vibe shift.

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May 14Liked by River Page

Amen to both the article and the comment. Oops...may I say “amen”?

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May 14·edited May 14Liked by River Page

For less than a dollar a day, you can give this houseless non-binary retard the care they need.

What’s that? My private jet needs gas?

For less than five dollars...

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Such a fan of the writing River! Definitely a river.

I'm not a writer- but I picture words as building blocks. When you have so much ambiguity on the foundation, you stop building- because of fear, unknowns, worries or finger pointing.

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May 14Liked by River Page

First off, I absolutely adore your writing. And it's wonderful to have the thought provoking discourse that you regularly provide. The thought police, woke sensibilities, and cancel culture are certainly daunting today. Is it possible we can do this with less judgment and more empathy?

Times change...

Humankind has evolved. Fifteen years ago, I would have written, "mankind has evolved." Isn't it progress that we can today recognize how sexist a word like mankind is?

As a child, my favorite time of year was when the Ringling Bros. Barnam & Baily Circus Circus cam to my hometown with the spectacular elephants and the lion tamer. Even as a young adult, my favorite theme park was Seaworld, with all of their animal shows. As society has evolved toward what I believe is enlightenment, many of us have come to understand the cruelty and abuse that is integral to animal displays and racing, and no longer find it palatable. (Side note: When I was 20 on my first trip to Colombia, the family hosting me invited me to a bull fight arena. I was so excited to see it firsthand, enamored with the pomp, spectacle, and the dashing matadors - only to become horrified to see that they abused and they killed the bulls. I never knew!)

I've watched first with amusement, then irritation as the language morphed from homosexual to gay, to LGB, then to LGBTQ and sometimes Y and W. Here's the thing: I came out as Bi when I was 16, been in mostly gay relationships, worked briefly as a sex worker (which of course used to be prostitute, then escort) and recently dated several transpeople. And even I am completely flummoxed with what questions are considered offensive, and been ticketed by the Pronoun Police. Instead of resentment and judgment, I strive for humility, curiosity, and empathy.

Particularly here in the U.S., we love to arrogantly impose our culture on the rest of the world: "You say your name is Jose, I'll just call you Joe." A member of my family legally changed her name about 15 years ago. Recently she confided in me how much it hurts her that most of the family still calls her by her old name. Is it really so hard for us to consider and be accommodating to other people sensibilities?

One of the blessings in my life was volunteering for an organization that provides meals to, get ready for it..."people in transition." Is that term too woke, too politically correct, too confusing? Maybe. But why not err on the side of trying to be kind and empathetic. Whether we're discussing homeless, trans, refugee, or many other groups or people, the one inalienable right we should grant all of them is dignity. If that requires changing some beliefs, going through a little confusion, or evolving our language, let's be up for the task. We have enough "otherism," judging, and hot takes in the discussion today. How about we change the default setting back to kindness? - RG

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