Pissed Off Pontification: Lazy B!tch Syndrome

I’m tired of it.  There is a mentality that’s growing among us all and it threatens to ruin the fabric of everything good about human life.  Much like a rotten apple, those purveyors of the…condition infect others with its allure of a better life for others.  Nobody is immune to its charms, much like the devil convincing a poor soul to do his bidding.  Truly, this condition is like a plague – if it is allowed to continue to spread, we will be overrun by these wasteful fools and life as we know it will end.

What could cause all of this calamity, you ask?  Why, it’s simple…

LAZY BITCH SYNDROME.

Yes, Lazy Bitch Syndrome, or LBS for short, is everywhere and spreading.  People of all shapes, sizes, colors and creeds are becoming lazy bitches.  What exactly is a lazy bitch, you ask?  Someone who refuses to work themselves into independence and prefers to rely mooch off of another person or persons.  Here’s an illustrative example: Continue reading

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Ask Mr. Philosopher – Dating in the Technological Era

Welcome to a new addition to the blog – “Ask Mr. Philosopher,” where your favorite philosopher answers your questions about ethical situations that we all find ourselves in.  I know, philosophers don’t actually have much use in this scientific and techie society, but science won’t inform you about what you ought to do.  Technology can help you find answers to questions but it won’t help you develop your moral values.  What technology can do is get you into trouble if your partner doesn’t share the same moral values, also known as “what’s right and wrong.”  So here’s a commonplace situation:

Your significant other left their phone on the bed and left the room.

How many of you would pick up that phone and start “playing” with it?  You know, looking around to make sure you have nothing to worry about?

The answer, I think, is a ton of people would do just that if presented with that situation.  They don’t find anything and they don’t get caught doing it, so the moment passes.  We all know, however, that if the same situation popped up and you DID find something, all hell would break loose and you’d feel justified in addressing your significant other about what could be foul play.

For many people, this is the reality of dating life in the technological era.  Privacy continues to be eschewed in favor of catching criminals in the act, prior to the act, or finally, after the act on the assumption something illegal MIGHT be happening.  In the tech age, everyone’s guilty of doing something they shouldn’t have been doing even before they do it.

With stuff like this, whoever is doing the searching really is acting like the police – looking for evidence to nail your ass to the wall with.  Unfortunately, everybody’s watched Law & Order so they think if I find evidence, then you’re guilty.  Even in the case of phone searches, there’s still a right to an illegal search because, and I quote, “It’s not your damn phone.”  Even if you do find something that may be wrong, the searcher is also in the wrong because you went snooping and invaded the searchee’s privacy.

So the question is: Are you ever justified in going through someone’s phone?  The answer is rarely, but we will find a way to justify any action so long as we stand to benefit from it.  The justification just won’t be strong, and here’s why:

The searcher’s argument looks something like this;

1) If my significant other is doing something s/he shouldn’t (according to me), I have a right to know,

2) My significant other is likely to do something s/he shouldn’t do (according to me),

3) My significant other is likely not to tell me if s/he did something s/he shouldn’t have done (according to me),

HENCE, I’m justified in looking through my significant other’s phone (on a regular basis).

This is the most basic argument for why it’s ok for me to look at the phone, through Premise 1 could have a 1a that explains why you have a right to know.  Even though it’s predicated on being in a healthy, successful relationship, that doesn’t necessitate that you have to know A) everything your partner is doing, or B) that something your partner shouldn’t do, according to you, is a wrong action.

In fact, I should say that I’m not sure you can make a good case of having a healthy, successful relationship if you make this argument because it’s clear that searching a phone displays a lack of trust.  That’s effectively what Premises 2 and 3 are for – my significant other is going to do something wrong and not tell me.  Granted, there may be a moment that could give one legitimate pause as to if foul play is occurring that could shake your trust in your partner.  A swaying branch in the wind is far different than a broken tree limb on the ground because the branch still has life.  The moment phone checking becomes a norm, without a shred of evidence of foul play, you’ve become like a wiretapper following the PATRIOT Act, invading privacy in service of your own greater interests, including correcting your partner’s behavior!  Incredibly, there are people out here treating their significant others like children, figuring that if my partner knows I go through their phone, my partner won’t do things I won’t like because my partner knows I’ll find out about it.  As though that model works wonders with adults, who are much more resourceful than children, on average, and give many fewer fucks than children, on average.

If the trust is so broken that you feel the need to search through someone’s phone, then the relationship wasn’t doing well to begin with.  There’s a paranoia that must set in when somebody goes past the point of no return with their phone search, because you don’t read a phone like you read the news – you’re looking for something.  Anything that will validate and justify what you’re doing because flat out, you wouldn’t want it done to you.  And that’s why the justification struggles; it’s looking for evidence to convict without evidence of a crime.

There are three main reasons, aside from the “it’s not your damn phone” argument, that phone searching should be considered tech taboo –

1) What’s next?  My email password, my Facebook password, my blog password to check my comments and make sure I’m not flirting there?  This is a slippery slope for the relationship – the searcher will always assert, “if you have nothing to hide, you should give me the password.”  Even if there’s nothing to hide, there’s still something to preserve – my privacy!  You don’t need to see the email my Dad sent me about his time at Freaknik, that’s not for your eyes!  He sent it to me, not you!  Similarly, any text messages, Facebook messages, Twitter DMs, and emails were all sent to me, not you, so why are you trying to see what is literally not meant for your eyes?  Privacy means trust, and generally trust implies both giving it and receiving it – this is not a one way street.

2) You wouldn’t want it done to you because of the slippery slope from #1 and the invasion of privacy.  We all have things we don’t want our partners to see, with good reason (at times).  You go into my email, I don’t want you to see that my boss kicked my ass on a project I didn’t do well on!  That’s not a conversation I want to have with you, otherwise I’d have it with you.  You, the person searching, have those same emails and texts that you would rather your partner didn’t see, even if they present no threat to the relationship.  You can say, “I don’t have anything to hide” but it’s bullshit and we both know it.  It might not be an affair, but we all have things we’d like to keep to ourselves and you would feel just as violated as your partner does, checking your phone on a regular basis.  And quite frankly, it’s disrespectful and can feel like a slap in the face.

3) Even if you find something that’s potentially problematic, how you found it won’t help matters – your “rightness,” because you found the evidence of wrongdoing was done via a wrong act yourself, invading your partner’s privacy (whether or not it’s done regularly doesn’t diminish that it shouldn’t be done).  As #1 and #2 explain, by revealing that you found the forbidden fruit, you also reveal that you went through the phone.  Even if you find potential evidence of an affair, your partner will have a claim that what you found doesn’t matter, it’s how you found it.  You hurt your partner before you found out your partner might have hurt you…and thanks to misunderstandings (see below), potential problems get blown out of proportion as false evidence of wrongdoing.  Ultimately, the chances of productive conversations for your relationship arising out of you searching your partner’s phone are slim to none.

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SIDEBAR: All of this is so far based on a committed relationship between two people.  If no exclusivity commitment has been made, all of this is moot.  There isn’t any justification other than “he told me he was making death threats” or something like public or personal safety.  Trust is still being built at that stage – if you’re concerned that the person you’re dating has somebody else, think about making the commitment rather than going on a witch hunt.  Witch hunters don’t yield good partners; they’re always looking for another witch to burn.

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The greatest fear I have is that these events are predicated on people assuming their partner is keeping something from me, as though it’s a bad thing.  Right to privacy is important for a reason politically as well as romantically.  This is part of the problem of dating in the technological era, which is that boundaries are being disintegrated.  Thanks in part to the boundless (literally and figuratively) Internet, privacy is not what it was just 15 years ago.  The concept of privacy was rocked when Facebook became the go-to social networking site and we collectively placed our lives on the boundless Internet for everybody to view, comment, and poke.  Not to say that these technological advances were bad – rather, they’ve been incredibly useful (especially for people who like to snoop around without being caught).  People feel less restricted in invading your privacy – “you put your business out there,” they’ll say.  “Facebook stalking” exists as a term for a reason; it’s an accepted behavior that we chalk up to the amount of content you put out there.  Still, with the amount of misunderstandings (“She’s not your friend, don’t lie to me!”  “He’s not your coworker, don’t give me that!”) that are easily possible by reading conversations that don’t pertain to you, and with such a huge downside of getting caught in the act, this particular action just doesn’t seem to be the best way to alleviate your concerns about foul play.

I get it though, you don’t want to be played like a fool in case your partner is doing something wrong.  Trust need not be blind, you say.  That’s true, but it also doesn’t need to have one eye open.  While unfortunate, there are people out here who will abuse your trust and it behooves all of us to be on the lookout for those people.  If something does indeed seem out of place, ask about it.  But know this – whether you follow your partner to make sure s/he is where s/he said s/he would be, go through their Facebook posts, look at their Twitter mentions or go through their phone, you have opened up a can of worms of distrust on your end that can’t be easily closed.  Distrust in a relationship leads to poor decision making and regrettable events daily.  Snooping starts you down a path that doesn’t end well.  I’m not saying be naive about your partner, but I am saying that snooping should be considered an equivalent of arming a nuclear weapon in your relationship.  It’s not a button I would push unless the circumstances are dire, and even then nobody enjoys the nuclear fallout.

IGNANT Friday – You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

Welcome to the “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” edition of IGNANT Friday.  In the past couple of weeks, more than enough #ignantshit has happened, from the Grammy Awards to the Harlem Shake.  In fact, I’ll start with those…

I’ve never been a gigantic Jay-Z fan, but I respect his talent both in the boardroom and in the booth.  I don’t need to sing his praises – he’s gotten all the accolades and turned himself into a true mogul.  And he just clowned with the award winning speech of the night at the Grammy Awards:

I learned about this through Twitter as it happened and I was rolling!  It’s a new day when they bring the Dozens to the Grammys.  Easily the most IGNANT award speech in Grammy history.

Keeping with a New York theme, these Harlem Shake incidents are getting out of hand.  I saw a bunch of these pop up and kept thinking, “Nope, I’ve seen that dance – I don’t need to see it again.”  Until one day I found this gem and discovered things were not what I thought they were.

The guy in the sleeping bag had me in tears, but what kind of army has the time to do a Harlem Shake video?  Go save somebody!

The people of Harlem, however, aren’t sold about the merits of this new version of the Harlem Shake.

On a completely different note, the FBI has some problems with agents using their phones for improper reasons.  You just cannot make this stuff up, (which includes an agent sleeping with a drug dealer and lying about it under oath!  That means they straight up asked you, “Did you sleep with this drug dealer?”  They don’t ask questions they already know in court, and then to top it off you get caught by your cell phone?  Why didn’t they check it earlier?!  All this Federal ignance just makes me smile.) but the Feds continue to show that their unscrupulousness knows no bounds.

Bloomberg Businessweek might have pulled out its most ignant cover in history, with caricatures of people of color in some stereotypical manners.  Everybody tweeted that it had to be a joke, but this is the new cover, folks.  That’s a pretty inflammatorily ignant cover.

Finally, Black History Month will be over shortly and over the past few years, it’s seemed like it’s been glossed over publicly – something you’re mandated to mention and recognize, but the weight of it seems to have dwindled a bit.  But don’t tell that to the good people in Mississippi, who made Black history earlier this month by abolishing slavery.  You read that right – on February 21, 2013, slavery was formally abolished in Mississippi.  In fact, without the movie, Lincoln, this “clerical oversight” would likely have continued to go unnoticed.  This was probably their plan to improve public relations with African-Americans in the state – abolishing slavery for a new generation.

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Like normal, email me at mrphilosopher3@gmail.com or tweet me @mrphilosopher3 with Ignant material from the web, or any good stories, and the best stuff gets posted on IGNANT Friday.  Have a great weekend, all.

Aww Skeet Skeet (Shooting) – On Hate, Obama, and why Good Guys Always Win

There’s an old Chappelle’s Show skit about the Player Haters Ball – a group of pimp-like men who excel at talking trash in the most hilarious of ways.  The ball was actually an awards banquet, and instead of applauding for award nominations (such as Player Hater of the year), people would chant, “Hate!  Hate!  Hate!  Hate!”  Hating on people was awarded in this forum, as well it should have been – the “I’ve got to go put some water in  Bucknasty’s mother’s dish” line still cracks me up.  But unfortunately, the real world has dipped into when player hating goes too far.

This morning, I was doing my YouTube news updates (because the news in Memphis either bores me to death or tells me about too many deaths) and I ran across a Rachel Maddow segment from earlier this week and another segment featuring former Gov. of Vermont Howard Dean on the Last Word from the past couple of months.  I’d also seen a column on CNN.com by LZ Granderson about this particular issue, but hearing it and seeing it helped to solidify it.

People root hard for the good guy, but they root even harder against the bad guy.

It’s the reason the Miami Heat were hated/loved/vilified/praised/held to an impossible standard/fairly judged by that standard two seasons ago.  It’s the reason the Darth Vader-esque Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots are hated by everybody that’s not in New England.  It’s the reason that many fan-based sports narratives exist and continue to – as much as I wanted the Ravens to win the Super Bowl because I’m a fan of Ray Lewis (sidebar below on the appreciation of Ray-Ray), I also HAD to root against the 49ers as a division foe of my St. Louis Rams.  As hard as I was pulling for the Ravens, I was pulling harder for a 49ers loss than a Ravens win.  Likewise with how I (and most St. Louis sports fans following the ’01 NFL season and the ’04 MLB season) root hard against the Patriots and Boston sports teams in general.  It’s just preferable to see them lose, and reasons for that will vary, but if I’m subjected to a Jim Nantz/Phil Simms snoozefest of commentary sandwiched between a lovefest for Tom Brady against the hapless Miami Dolphins, then eventually I just want to see the Dolphins beat the shit out of the Patriots for the good of all involved (Nantz/Simms have to do actual commentary on the game, not just the Patriots, for example).  I hate on the Patriots, and it’s admitted.  It’s still irrational, (it’s been 12 years since the Super Bowl and the Cardinals have two World Titles since that loss) but it’s still just part of my normal modus operandi.  It’s not with much vitriol, mostly in jest, but I can’t help but enjoy when the bad guy in my world loses.

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SIDEBAR: Ray Lewis was involved in a double murder situation 13 years ago during the Super Bowl in Atlanta.  Terrible as that situation was, Lewis pled down to obstruction of justice and turned his entire image around to the point that nobody talked about his double murder situation except for one mention by Terrell Owens in the mid-2000’s trying to paint the picture that he (T.O.) had been unfairly portrayed as a bad person by the media.  Nevertheless, another football player, Leonard Little from the St. Louis Rams, did kill someone while driving under the influence (BAC of .19) and didn’t serve a day (convicted of manslaughter with 4 years probation and 1,000 hours of community service) in 1998.  Little quietly retired 2 years ago and nobody brought it up.  Donte Stallworth killed a man on camera driving under the influence a few years back (and came back to play with the Patriots later after serving 30 days for DUI Manslaughter) and Josh Brent killed Jerry Brown drunk driving this season.  We don’t even know if Ray actually killed anybody.  More importantly, he did what Michael Vick and T.I. have been after since their first major stints in trouble – a successful turnaround in his public persona from wild-eyed bad boy from the U to the Godfather of the NFL.  Big ups to #52 getting to go out like John Elway and Jerome Bettis.

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Skeet. Skeet. Skeet.

So what does this have to do with President Obama?  Well, the White House released a picture of the President skeet shooting.  First of all, if you didn’t crack a smile when seeing that headline somewhere about the President skeet shooting, then we either have a generational gap or you just don’t have even a sliver of a sense of humor.  More importantly though, Obama has made an appeal to the mass, minority group of Americans that simply hate Obama for not being more like them, in some manner or another.  Granderson’s piece makes this point, and I think rightly so – when he was challenged on his birthplace, which obviously had to be in America otherwise he isn’t qualified to be President, he deferred on the topic until he actually produced his birth certificate…while already President.  So of course, it could be a fake birth certificate, created after the election to hide his real birthplace (presumably somewhere in Africa, but because this mass minority group of haters doesn’t want to appear racist, they just say “not in America”).  Now it’s the gun control issue – even though he’s being charged with taking away the 2nd Amendment, which is as American as apple pie and racism, he still reaches out to show people that he’s not anti-guns, he’s a skeet shooter for fun like everybody else.  And of course, since it’s after the fact, the picture has been called a fake.  He just can’t win because he’s not American enough, and that’s to be expected, unfortunately.  Barack Hussein Obama, on name alone, will get more side-eyes and raised eyebrows than George Herbert Walker Bush, because one sounds and looks distinctively foreign and the other looks more like what’s down the street.  He doesn’t look American: what with all of that brown person swag he has, he looks like he’s from somewhere else and isn’t supposed to run this country.  Mind you, this is after he gave McCain/Palin a historic election night ass whooping and after he delivered a Rock Bottom to Romney/Ryan (back-to-back popular vote wins).  Obama continually tries to prove that he’s the People’s President to a group of people that aren’t willing to give him that claim, and they more than likely never will.  He’s the bad guy in their story – it wasn’t always so much that they loved Romney, it was that they hated Obama.  They hate what he stands for, his policies, and they think he changes everything they hold dear about America.  Anybody who’s NOT doing those things or is willing to stand up to their bad guy is a good guy.  Good guys and bad guys might be simplistic terms, but they reflect the general feeling you get from people when you hear about President Obama.  The reactions aren’t always measured like you see on TV, but just gut, visceral reactions ranging from, “Extremely glad to have him as President” (regardless of policy record) to the social media hate seen on Election Night that had many Black voters even more encouraged to vote.  Why?  Because this was how they could support their good guy in this particular instance, and more importantly stick it to their bad guy and shut his fans up (“their” here refers to the group of African-Americans who voted for Obama, roughly 93% of Black votes).  In a very unique way, hate on Obama (which should just be a hashtag to any inflammatory remarks made about the POTUS, #hateonObama) reminds me of how good guys and bad guys can change in the world of wrestling.  It has to be the only hope Obama has as to how to get the haters to cheer you.

Shawn Michaels was the bad guy of the WWF in the mid-90’s.  Not only was he one of, if not, the best performers the business had, he was also an incredible antagonist.  He was the guy you loved to hate – knew he was good, could back it up, and would rub your face in it.  He was booed, especially through 9798 as he became the top bad guy in the company.  But he was so good, he would still win, even as a bad guy.  Getting his comeuppance didn’t happen until a rocket called Stone Cold Steve Austin launched.  (One could adjust this story for the ’10-’11 Miami Heat.)

Shawn Michaels took a 4 year hiatus and came back as the best good guy in the 2000’s.  From 2002 until he retired in 2010, Michaels was not the just a good guy but THE good guy in terms of wrestling.  He played the role of the Wily Vet, not afraid of using some tricks to stay ahead but still plenty talented to get the job done.  Nobody booed Michaels for nearly a decade in his Hall of Fame career.  (Heat get through their booed period to become dominant on path to title.)

President Obama, if he’s really trying to appeal to the mass minority of haters, has to be doing so with the hope that how the public receives him changes like it did for Shawn.  Because facts don’t persuade this minority – he’s the bad guy, so of course these aren’t reputable, trustworthy facts.  Not like it wouldn’t be because the U.S. Government has a history of being effective at giving untrustworthy information.  Why Shawn was the bad guy was for a number of reasons – jealous of wanting to be like him, his brash arrogance, his cockiness, and his lack of humility come to mind as a few.  Why Obama’s the bad guy ranges in reasons from he’s not an American, to he’s not a Christian, to he’s trying to repeal the Constitution, to he’s Black.  So anything that the bad guy says won’t be trusted and he’s already the bad guy for reasons that aren’t all necessarily under his control.  So you can’t actually out-logic these people; they already assume you’ve made a fallacy.

To the people that hate President Obama, the rest of the country is cheering on a bad guy like he’s a good guy and it’s confusing to their sense of good and bad (in the sense of “good and bad guy”).  More than that, you can’t rationalize with hate – you can’t shake me of hating the Patriots (however tongue-in-cheek or real the hating is), just like you can’t convince a guy in Montreal in November 1997 that Shawn isn’t a terrible bastard, just like you can’t get the mass minority of Obama haters (the MMOH) to GET that Obama’s not the bad guy.  Unfortunately for President Obama, Shawn Michaels broke his back in the line of duty and came back (albeit, 4 years later) for him to get the nod as a good guy by the public.  So perhaps the POTUS will be a good guy to the MMOH after he’s President and somebody else gets all the vitriol.

Good guys win in wrestling eventually.  Bad guys win in wrestling at some point.  But ultimately, the good guy always wins.  That’s the way the story is told.  So the MMOH is just stuck in a period where their bad guy is champion.  The good news for them is that in 4 years, Obama won’t be their bad guy anymore and their good guy will get a chance to take the title.  The good news for the rest of the us who don’t throw unnecessary shade the President’s way?  We’re guaranteed another 3 years with a good guy at the helm.