Gen Z is awesome and generational fighting is bad, but I do sometimes talk to Gen Z folks and I’m like… oh… you cannot comprehend before the internet.

Like activists have been screaming variations on “educate yourself!” for as long as I’ve been alive and probably longer, but like… actually doing so? Used to be harder?

And anger at previous generations for not being good enough is nothing new. I remember being a kid and being horrified to learn how recent desegregation had been and that my parents and grandparents had been alive for it. Asking if they protested or anything and my mom being like “I was a child” and my grandma being like “well, no, I wasn’t into politics” but I was a child when I asked so that didn’t feel like much of an excuse from my mother at the time and my grandmother’s excuse certainly didn’t hold water and I remember vowing not to be like that.

So kids today looking at adults and our constant past failures and being like “How could you not have known better? Why didn’t you DO better?” are part of a long tradition of kids being horrified by their history, nothing new, and also completely justified and correct. That moral outrage is good.

But I was talking to a kid recently about the military and he was talking about how he’d never be so stupid to join that imperialist oppressive terrorist organization and I was like, “Wait, do you think everyone who has ever joined the military was stupid or evil?” and he was like, well maybe not in World War 2, but otherwise? Yeah.

And I was like, what about a lack of education? A lack of money? The exploitation of the lower classes? And he was like, well, yeah, but that’s not an excuse, because you can always educate yourself before making those choices.

And I was like, how? Are you supposed to educate yourself?

And he was like, well, duh, research? Look it up!

And I was like, and how do you do that?

And he was like, start with google! It’s not that hard!

And I was like, my friend. My kid. Google wasn’t around when my father joined the military.

Then go to the library! The library in the small rural military town my father grew up in? Yeah, uh, it wasn’t exactly going to be overflowing with anti-military resources.

Well then he should have searched harder!

How? How was he supposed to know to do that? Even if he, entirely independently figured out he should do that, how was he supposed to find that information?

He was a kid. He was poor. He was the first person in his family to aspire to college. And then by the time he knew what he signed up for it was literally a criminal offense for him to try to leave. Because that’s the contract you sign.

(Now, listen, my father is also not my favorite person and we agree on very little, so this example may be a bit tarnished by those facts, but the material reality of the exploitative nature of military recruitment remains the same.)

And this is one of a few examples I’ve come across recently of members of Gen Z just not understanding how hard it was to learn new ideas before the internet. I’m not blaming anyone or even claiming it’s disproportionate or bad. But the same kids that ten years ago I was marveling at on vacation because they didn’t understand the TV in the hotel room couldn’t just play more Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on demand – because they’d never encountered linear prescheduled TV, are growing into kids who cannot comprehend the difficulty of forming a new worldview or making life choices when you cannot google it. When you have maybe one secondhand source or you have to guess based on lived experience and what you’ve heard. Information, media, they have always been instant.

Society should’ve been better, people should’ve known better, it shouldn’t have taken so long, and we should be better now. That’s all true.

But controlling information is vital to controlling people, and information used to be a lot more controlled. By physical law and necessity! No conspiracy required! There’s limited space on a newspaper page! There’s limited room in a library! If you tried to print Wikipedia it would take 2920 bound volumes. That’s just Wikipedia. You could not keep the internet’s equivalent of resources in any small town in any physical form. It wasn’t there. We did not have it. When we had a question? We could not just look it up.

Kids today are fortunate to have dozens of firsthand accounts of virtually everything important happening at all times. In their pockets.

(They are also cursed by this, as we all are, because it’s overwhelming and can be incredibly bleak.)

If anything, today the opposite problem occurs – too much information and not enough time or context to organize it in a way that makes sense. Learning to filter out the garbage without filtering so much you insulate yourself from diverse ideas, figuring out who’s reliable, that’s where the real problem is now.

But I do think it has created, through no fault of anyone, this incapacity among the young to truly understand a life when you cannot access the relevant information. At all. Where you just have to guess and hope and do your best. Where educating yourself was not an option.

Where the first time you heard the word lesbian, it was from another third grader, and she learned it from a church pastor, and it wasn’t in the school library’s dictionary so you just had to trust her on what it meant.

I am not joking, I did not know the actual definition of the word “fuck” until I was in high school. Not for lack of trying! I was a word nerd, and I loved research! It literally was not in our dictionaries, and I knew I’d get in trouble if I asked. All I knew was it was a “bad word”, but what it meant or why it was bad? No clue.

If history felt incomprehensibly cruel and stupid while I was a kid who knew full well the feeling of not being able to get the whole story, I cannot imagine how cartoonishly evil it must look from the perspective of someone who’s always been able to get a solid answer to any question in seconds for as long as they’ve been alive. To Gen Z, we must all look like monsters.

I’m glad they know the things we did not. I hope one day they are able to realize how it was possible for us not to know. How it would not have been possible for them to know either, if they had lived in those times. I do not need their forgiveness. But I hope they at least understand. Information is so powerful. Understanding that is so important to building the future. Underestimating that is dangerous.

We were peasants in a world before the printing press. We didn’t know. I’m so sorry. For so many of us we couldn’t have known. I cannot offer any other solace other than this – my sixty year old mother is reading books on anti-racism and posting about them to Facebook, where she’s sharing what’s she’s learning with her friends. Ignorance doesn’t have to last forever.



This just applies to so many things in life. If you don’t know that you don’t know something, how can you ASK about it?

Also research is a skill, not an innate ability in all humans. Research is actually a variety of skills and they’re not always exactly the same when you’re talking about when and where you’re researching.

Knowing the best way to google something isn’t the same as knowing how to find something in a reference book isn’t the same as knowing how a card catalog works and how to navigate research when you have limited access to physical materials.

Sometimes even when people want to educate themselves, they’re lost and confused.

And then when they ask… They get beaten down for daring to ask instead of “educating themselves” because people forget that asking questions from sources you trust is part of trying to educate yourself.


#(I don’t actually endorse a lot of the OP‚ I’m too hobbity‚ but:) #FTR I was 12 when I learned what ”fuck” meant #(so this would’ve been…December 2005‚ I think) #my mom got a copy of The Time Traveller’s Wife for Hanukkah that year and I read it while she wasn’t looking #that is also how I learned what oral sex was #I’d heard the *term* before (mentioned in news articles)‚ but I’d figured it was‚ like‚ phone sex #but no it is *so* much less sanitary than that #(meanwhile I hadn’t realised beforehand that ”fuck” would *have* a meaning) #(I’d assumed it was pure expletive‚ kind of like an interjection) #also‚ part of the trouble with tech changing so fast is that it can be hard to distinguish lack-of-autonomy-because-you-were-a-child with #lack-of-autonomy-because-your-society-was-incapable-of-giving-people-as-much-autonomy-as-it-can-now #do Kids These Days still have book series where #they’ve only read books 1 and 5 because they haven’t yet had an opportunity to get their hands on 2 – 4? #I can really see that going either way #God knows an adult in the early 00’s who wanted a copy of The Reptile Room could have driven to Barnes and Noble and bought one #if–and here we come back to one of OP’s points–it had *occurred* to them to do so #I was *used* to operating under very limited resources as a child #and if my standards and knowledge had been higher I *could* have done more with what I had #(I checked *new-to-me* series out of the library all the time) #(yet somehow it never occurred to me to check out the missing books of series I owned part of) #(even when the library totally would have had them) #(I still haven’t read half the Chronicles of Narnia) #tag rambles #politics cw #discourse cw? #our roads may be golden or broken or lost #my childhood





although I guess it would be funny to take the flesh-eating bacteria thing as an excuse to start slut-shaming gardeners for wearing short sleeves, the hussies.

if they just stopped living their deviant lifestyle maybe they wouldn’t keep coming down with disgusting incurable diseases, there’s nothing natural about sticking your hands in the mud


(Image: Senator Armstrong from Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, saying “Am I finally getting through?”)

This is part of why it’s bad that religious modesty types tend to dominate the discourse on not wearing revealing, tight-fitting clothes*. Or worse, covering your face, which distracts from the REAL reason why you should cover your face in public, which is to wear protection from the contagion risk of promiscuously inhaling every gas, particle, and droplet that happens to waft under your air-slut nose. Alas, that still includes me, so I can’t get too mad about it.


*Mosquitoes can bite thru many forms of tight clothing, including jeans.

Posted: 2019-05-01

This aged well.


#illness tw #101 Uses for Infrastructureless Computers #now that I have adopted a policy of reblogging posts that stick with me I will be tagging them #that one post with the thing #(I *would* say ”why are we calling people ‘maskholes’ when we could be calling them ‘air-sluts”’‚ but I know why) #our roads may be golden or broken or lost

{{next post in sequence}}



So I’ve been reading about someone who was ideologically abused within Catholicism and it’s bringing up a lot of feelings, but one thing it’s really crystallizing in my mind is an important thing that people fail to understand about ideological abuse.

The (relatively mild) ideological abuse I have experienced was used to convince me of some bad and harmful shit. But I’m worried that the things I’ve said about it make it seem like the abuse was bad because it convinced me of untruths. That’s a very very small part of the problem.

It is possible to commit ideological abuse in the name of ideas that are 100% true. People think that ideological abuse is only done in the name of darkly comic nonsense (Xenu only makes sense to someone who’s been abused so badly they forget how to think clearly) or ideologies based on cruelty and subjugation. It’s true that abuse is more common in ideologies that cannot possibly defend themselves with actual arguments, but it’s completely possible to abuse people in the name of things which make sense.

If you’re dealing with someone who thinks two plus two is five, you can show them they are wrong with counters or numberlines or whatever. This will teach them basic arithmetic and also respect their personhood. This is what any decent person would do.

Or you can control them with fear. You can make it sure that they know that if they ever say two plus two is five, they will be physically harmed or threatened with physical harm. You can lie and belittle and mistreat them in dozens of ways and any time they complain you can tell them that they deserve it for believing that two plus two is five. You can say that they’re not allowed to make even the smallest decisions for themselves (what to eat, how to dress, who to be friends with, what to read) because a person who believes two plus two is five shouldn’t be allowed to decide anything. You can isolate them from anyone you haven’t vetted (which means no friendships with anyone who is wrong about math, but also no friendships with anyone who says “obviously two plus two is four but there’s no need to hit people over it.”) The fact you are right about math doesn’t make it not abuse. You’ve abused them into believing something, and the fact that it is true doesn’t make the abuse ethical.

You’ve also severely damaged their ability to learn math. If they have a basket with two apples and they add two pears, they won’t be able to take an honest look about how many total fruits they have. They are only going to be able to think “I must have four fruits because I don’t want to get hurt again” or “I must have five fruits because there is no way on earth that despicable piece of shit can be right about anything after what they did to me.” You’ve done lasting and possibly permanent epistemic damage to this person. For a long time, maybe for the rest of their life, they will not be able to approach arithmetic with logic; they are going to come to a calculator with so much emotional baggage that they can’t be rational. They may genuinely need to espouse wrong beliefs about numbers because the only psychologically feasible alternative is espousing the (also wrong and more dangerous) belief that they deserve to be abused.

Almost everyone who commits ideological abuse thinks they are convincing their victims of the truth, and they think that this justifies the abuse. They are usually wrong about their ideas being true, but they are always wrong about their tactics being justified. I want anyone reading this to know that if you are seriously hurting someone to get them to believe you, it doesn’t matter that you are right. You have to find another way to do that. What you are doing does horrific damage and doesn’t even succeed in making people actually believe you, just in parroting you so that you will stop hurting them. You have to treat people who are wrong like people. Abusing someone into believing the truth doesn’t become okay because it’s the truth.

More importantly, I want you to know that if someone is using violence, the threat of violence or manipulation to control your beliefs, that is abuse. You do not deserve to be treated this way. You do not have to figure out right now whether what they are trying to make you believe is actually correct. You can leave (if it’s safe) or practice harm-reduction (if leaving isn’t safe yet) before you figure out whether or not they are telling the truth. It is not okay for them to do this to you, even if they are right.

You deserve to be safe. You deserve sovereignty over your own thoughts. Good luck. I love you.

someone reblogged this tonight saying she was not sure if she was “entitled” to this and i just want you to know that anyone is entitled to this


#I’ve been thinking about this post a lot lately #abuse cw #our roads may be golden or broken or lost





i need feminism because when jesus does a magic trick it’s a goddamn miracle but when a woman does a magic trick she gets burned at the stake


i mean they did also kill jesus. that was a pretty significant thing that happened. like i understand where you’re coming from here but they very much did kill jesus.

#in honour of they very much did kill jesus day


#Easter #Christianity #death tw #Tumblr traditions #our roads may be golden or broken or lost


Things that hurt people are bad, even if they’re not on the list of Officially Recognized Bad Things That We Know to Not Like


#yes this #in related news (at least they tend to go together a lot in *my* experience)‚ things that hurt people are bad even if #they have enough good aspects to still be worth doing on net #I would much rather that someone openly admit ”we’re sacrificing you for the greater good” than pretend I’m not relevant to the decision #(I may or may not still fight back‚ depending on the tradeoff‚ but either way I can *respect* it) #our roads may be golden or broken or lost


HPMOR, now with a writer actually less cringy than the original harry potter!


#Harry Potter #Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality #anything that makes me laugh this much deserves a reblog #((this amusement not to be taken as expressing an opinion regarding the statement itself)) #high context jokes #our roads may be golden or broken or lost



A particular distinction I often wish got made in discussions of privilege (and those who have it, and those who don’t) is the difference between privileges which, in a fair and just world, everybody ought to have, vs the privileges that nobody ought to have.

Many things in the world qualify as privilege.  Being able to marry the person you love is a privilege.  Feeling safe in your own neighborhood is a privilege.  Having the space and security to put down a task, a fight, a social justice issue, and walk away for a while and rest, is a privilege.

And also: being able to hurt somebody else and get away with it is a privilege.  Knowing that others are likely to take your side in an argument, whether you’re actually right or not, is a privilege.  The ability to horde or destroy common resources like water and rainforests is a privilege.

Exercising an everybody-ought-to privilege isn’t wrong.  Using it in such a way that it interferes with another person or people having access to everybody-ought-to privileges is.

Having access to nobody-ought-to privilege is a flaw of the system, not the individual who has access to those privileges.  Using a nobody-ought-to privilege is a fault of the person.

Refusing to use your everybody-ought-to privileges “until everybody has them”, or demonizing their existence, so rarely helps anybody.  Straight people refusing to get married didn’t contribute too terribly much to gay marriage; you don’t make somebody else’s neighborhood safer by deliberately making your own more dangerous.  Insisting on never putting down or walking away from a social justice fight because other people can’t isn’t a recipe for progress, it’s a recipe for burnout.

There’s a difference between helping yourself and hurting other people.  We should talk more about finding ways to do one and not the other.

This is an excellent point.


#yes this #our roads may be golden or broken or lost #discourse cw?

Anonymous asked: Hypnosis fetishists say Trance Rights

{{OP by sigmaleph; note OP’s commentary tag “#look i don’t have anything clever to say but i couldn’t *not* post this one”}}


#anything that makes me laugh this much deserves a reblog #(I think it helped that I first saw it in the background of a reblog interface) #(which cuts it off at exactly the right point (”tran-”)) #(and so it was only after a couple of minutes that I went and saw the punchline) #((which probably I *should* have seen coming but I did not)) #our roads may be golden or broken or lost #the humour of my people #gender #sexuality and lack thereof #puns