“Remember, being offended provides no objective indication of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. It’s nothing more than a barometer of your own emotional control.”

Ricky Gervais (via thatlitsite)


I’m sorry but

fucking barf

An offensive work is not bad because it hurt people’s feelings

A bad work is offensive because it is a fucking morally bereft travesty

Offensiveness is a symptom, an indication of the wrongness. It is not why the work is wrong. The content of the work itself (and its implications) is the problem.

And having an emotional response to a moral outrage is a sign of humanity and empathy. That should never be shamed.

Look, I hope never to be confused with a supporter or fan of, God forbid, Ricky Gervais. But this is the classic example of how defenders of “offendedness” (society’s high crime du jour) miss the point completely.

The operative word in the above quotation is “objective.” While being offensive is an indication of something’s rightness or wrongness to you, it is a subjective indication of such. You might be wrong about it being wrong. And here’s how.

Let us be reminded that:

  • … the same men who wrote “all men are created equal” would have been terrifically offended to hear that “men” could possibly be interpreted to include Africans or women.
  • … Saudi Arabia, to pick a country at random, is by majority a country full of people who are offended to discover that denying women the vote and the right to choose their own clothing and lives is considered backward here or morally reprehensible.
  • … it has been considered offensive to commingle the blood of Christian and Jew; miscegenate; desegregate; grant suffrage; feel sympathy for those led to genocide and slaughter; insult the king (lèse-majesté); be a homosexual, an apostate, a heretic, a schismatic, a nonconformist.

The examples could go on, but let’s drive the point home one last time: your offense proves nothing except that the subject in question does not accord with your morality. But your morality is not necessarily right or good or correct. You may, in fact, be a damn fool, and your emotional response may be inhumane and savage, the sort of horrific overreaction that inspired pogroms and Jim Crow. The only person who can completely trust their barometer, their indication of offensiveness, is a person whose morality is perfectly right and exactly correct.

There are people out there who really do believe that their moralities and their idea of what everyone should do and be is exactly correct. Tolerance is not their watchword, nor forbearance. They are remembered in the history books for a long time. But not kindly.

(via erikadprice)

“There are some things which cannot be learned quickly, and time, which is all we have, must be paid heavily for their acquiring. They are the very simplest things and because it takes a man’s life to know them the little new that each man gets from life is very costly and the only heritage he has to leave.”
— Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon.

Tho’ truths in manhood darkly join,
Deep-seated in our mystic frame,
We yield all blessing to the name
Of Him that made them current coin;

For Wisdom dealt with mortal powers,
Where truth in closest words shall fail,
When truth embodied in a tale
Shall enter in at lowly doors.

And so the Word had breath, and wrought
With human hands the creed of creeds
In loveliness of perfect deeds,
More strong than all poetic thought;

Which he may read that binds the sheaf,
Or builds the house, or digs the grave,
And those wild eyes that watch the wave
In roarings round the coral reef.

— Alfred, Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam A.H.H.

A happy lover who has come
To look on her that loves him well,
Who ‘lights and rings the gateway bell,
And learns her gone and far from home;

He saddens, all the magic light
Dies off at once from bower and hall,
And all the place is dark, and all
The chambers emptied of delight:

So find I every pleasant spot
In which we two were wont to meet,
The field, the chamber, and the street,
For all is dark where thou art not.

— Alfred, Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam A.H.H.
“We don’t learn to love each other well in the easy moments. Anyone is good company at a cocktail party. But love is born when we misunderstand one another and make it right, when we cry in the kitchen, when we show up uninvited with magazines and granola bars, in an effort to say, I love you.”
Shauna Niequist, Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table, with Recipes  (via thatkindofwoman)

(via nogreatillusion)

“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.”
— Shakespeare, in Macbeth.

"Death to Everyone," Bonnie "Prince" Billy, from I See a Darkness.

Every terrible thing
is a relief
Even months on end
buried in grief
are easy, light times
which have to end
with the coming
of your death friend

Death to everyone
is gonna come
and it makes hosing
much more fun

My signature move is to proceed at a glacial pace from optimism and hubris to a growing awareness of my inability to control anything outside the confines of my mind and spirit, eventually passing into intimate knowledge of my own mortality and insignificance and a distant mourner’s grief at the transitory nature of all things. What’s yours?

I had a patient in the clinic who really did not want an abortion but who had no resources to cover the costs of prenatal care or childbirth. She was single and without insurance coverage but made just enough money to be ineligible for state assistance. She already had outstanding bills at the hospital and with the local ob-gyn practice. No doctor would see her without payment up front.

We were willing to do the abortion for a reduced rate or for free if necessary. But she really didn’t want an abortion. Once I understood her situation, I went to the phone and called the local ‘crisis pregnancy center.’

‘Hello, this is Dr. Wicklund.’

Dead silence. I might as well have said I was Satan.

‘Hello?’ I said again. ‘This is Dr. Wicklund.’

‘Hello,’ very tentatively, followed by another long silence.

‘I need help with a patient,’ I said. ‘She came to me for an abortion, but really doesn’t want one. What she really needs is someone to do her prenatal care and birth for free.’

‘What do you expect us to do?’

I let that hang for a minute.

This Common Secret, Susan Wicklund.

Crisis Pregnancy Centers often disguise themselves as medical facilities, with advertisements offering “help” with an unplanned pregnancy. Their main goal is to keep the pregnant person from having an abortion at all costs. Usually, all they’ll give you is a free pregnancy test, some baby clothes, and maybe a box of diapers.

The patient referred to in the quote was given free prenatal care and did not have to pay the financial cost of childbirth by a local anti-choice doctor. She would often stop by Dr. Wicklund’s office to let her know how she was doing:

"He (the doctor) always moans and groans about being tricked into [doing this]," she says. "Then he goes off on these tirades against abortion."

(via provoice)

"This Common Secret" is such a phenomenal book. And yeah, crisis pregnancy centers are generally evil, so there’s that.

(via thebicker)

And there you have it.

(via foulmouthedliberty)

I mean. I try not to talk about these things. Because I’m not a woman and because the narrative here is crisis pregnancy centers = trying to keep women down and abortion centers = “we’re here to look out for women.” (Incidentally—This Common Secret is not a bad book.) But that narrative… well. I’m not saying that in individual circumstances, that might not be the case. The point is, I don’t know about you. I know my story.

Two things: the first is that, back in the 80s, a woman I know was brought over to the United States from the Philippines in order to be a house servant for a wealthy immigrant. She and the other servants—really, little more than slaves—had their immigration visas and papers stolen by her employer, in order to prevent them from leaving or acquiring other work. They slept on the ground or in pool chairs when this wealthy immigrant would leave the country for weeks at a time, without providing them money (hah!) or food. This woman became pregnant by one of her fellow “servants.” Eventually the other two “servants,” including the father of her child, were captured in an INS sweep and permanently deported due to lack of documentation. She was left behind, on the streets of South Florida. Not the kindest place for a teenage Filipina who spoke little to no English, had never driven a car, had no papers, and was pregnant, homeless, and penniless.

I think you can guess the place she ended up. It was one of these evil centers. And there, they paid and provided her prenatal care; they helped her learn basic English; and since there was nowhere for her to go back to in the Philippines, and little prospect that her son would have a good life there, in conjunction with some volunteer donors, the center hired and paid a lawyer to make sure she was put on a path to citizenship and not deported back to abuse and exploitation in her home country.

Her son was born when I was three, in the home of those volunteer donors, where she got a home and a job. I held the boy minutes after he was born, still covered in blood but wonderfully alive. He’s the closest thing I have to a biological brother; we grew up together. I figure you can guess those volunteers were my parents. But why did my parents volunteer? Why were they so involved in these centers? I assure you, my parents are not generally evil. So why?

I exist—am alive, have been alive for 29 years—because my mother (whatever her name was, whoever she was, because I don’t know that part of my story) was a woman like this, who was unmarried and alone and abandoned by the father of her child. And she walked into one of these crisis pregnancy centers, and they gave her that care, and they talked to people who talked to people who found a man and a woman who would adopt her son. My parents, who wanted a child so badly, and couldn’t have one. My biological mother couldn’t get that at an abortion clinic. They were in another business, and that’s okay, but I’m glad that’s not how it worked out for me.

So: my brother’s alive and a graduate of the University of Oregon. His mother attained her citizenship, became a hairdresser, married a wonderful man and had other children. And I’m alive. And I wouldn’t be adopted and I wouldn’t be alive if that center hadn’t been there and doing exactly what they had been doing. So that’s my story. Other people have other stories, of course. But I want to caution anyone who might read this: other people do have other stories. The world is not divided between the generally evil and the generally good. We are all just walking around in the dark and sometimes we blunder into each other and sometimes we find and help each other stand back up. You don’t learn this by turning people with different opinions into monsters. You learn it by asking people, in the simple but weirdly memorable words of David Foster Wallace, that close the beginning of his titanic work of human sympathy, Infinite Jest: "So yo then man what’s your story?" Anyhow—that’s mine.

(via bellsforlilith)

Days of fireworks, wine, camaraderie. Days unwritten in digital water. Days not recalled by the cool electricity or stale photons of computers and cameras. These are things you’ll summon in ancient memory when your air grows thin, your hair grows grey, you tire early. Days that unfold from tight-knit image to fill the heart. Time, blossoming.