Clean Your Room

Every thought is muddled,

My house is a mess,

Writing is muddled,

I don’t know what to address.

 

Get up and put your things away,

Let a thought begin to take form,

Dust your possessions and put them in array,

Like a ship emerging from a storm.

 

Bring order out of chaos in my life,

Start by what’s behind my front door,

Let clear thought combat my strife,

Finish by sweeping the floor.

 

In my own little pocket of ordered space,

I can sit down and really think,

My problems and prospects to truly face,

To climb their heights or to their depths sink.

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First and most importantly, I’ve come up with a name for the exclusive club that is people that have actually noticed me, henceforth you shall be known as Refielders!  With that hugely important and necessary diversion out of the way, buckle up and prepare your cognitive faculties Refielders, we’re going in deep again!  But, you don’t come here for fluffy feel-good foolish bits of English you can later fling out your food-holes, do you?  No, you’re better than that.  Probably.  So here’s the thing, you should clean your room.  Those who know me (hi Ma) will no doubt be snickering at that sentence or possibly its source.  I realize that my position to prescribe regular room cleaning is about as firm as Hillary Clinton lecturing us on cybersecurity, but just try to hold the tongue lashing in for a second please.  This prescription is just as much for me as everybody else floating in the despondent sea of myopic near misery and listlessness racked by indecision and a lack of anything to commit to.  Here’s the thing: most of that myopic lack of emotion is really a lack of order in your life.  Unsurprisingly, if you live in an environment that’s filled with garbage and cobwebs, it’s going to be just a little bit less difficult to order your thoughts than it would be to find evidence of Russian involvement in the 2016 election.  As it turns out, ordering where you live actually has a profound effect on your psychological state, and as a life-long procrastinator, that particular red pill has been a little difficult to swallow.  Having finally accepted it, I feel like it was forcibly inserted into my rectum by a sadistic psychologist, but at least it’s a metaphorical pill rather than a literal one.  The really profound thing I’ve found, is that nothing raises my spirits quite like the completion of any task.  It is physical manifestation of my efficacy in the world, and I advise you to make an attempt at it as well.  Especially if you’re  a chronic procrastinator like me.

 

As always, feel free to discuss below, we’re still a small blog, but you could change that by sharing it with friends you think would like to join in the discussion.  Every comment gets approved as soon as I can get to it, and nobody gets deleted or banned.

 

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Censorship Three

Towers of glass and steel,

Cloisters of wealth and splendor,

Walled off from what’s real,

React to contradictions with fervor.

 

They rule not by vote or sword,

Nor in truth do they at all,

Yet still freedom they cannot afford,

Or their own false perceptions may fall.

 

Profit for them is not enough,

The must also reshape the world,

Control of our story despite any rebuff,

They wish us to carry only their banner unfurled.

 

In a way their plight makes sense,

They thought the world over would only agree,

But once online the divergence was immense,

So now they wish the web to bend the knee.

 

They’ll hide away those who dare disagree,

While claiming to love freedom of speech,

Hoping to shape perception and thus reality,

Relying on political allies to defend them in screech.

 

Private company suddenly has a meaning,

Because when their tribe does it it’s not wrong,

Ignorantly blithering free market while its explainers deriding,

While actively dismissing customer feedback by the throng.

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Welcome back friendos and frienderessas to the thrilling conclusion of a three part poetry series on censorship.  You guys and gals just love to walk on the wild side, huh?  Yesterday we talked more about rhetoric, but today, we’re going to talk about ethics.  Leave it to your friendly internet poet to spin a few amusing rhymes and take immediate liberty to drag you along into a discussion of abstract concepts that you probably haven’t thought of since they were mentioned in passing in your ninth grade civics course, unless of course you’re one of my regulars.  In which case you’ve likely been wondering what’s been taking me so long in getting to stuff that my poetry and stories have hinted at or hidden in themes for years.  To you guys I say, “Shut up, I got to it didn’t I?”  Alright readers, assume the position and clench because we’re about to dive in.

For those of you who haven’t cracked a book in a few solar revolutions, ethics is a set or system of moral principles that people can use to guide their actions in life.  Ethical behavior adheres to a generally accepted standard of ethics, while unethical behavior deviates from that standard to a lesser or greater degree.  Unsurprisingly, even the most loose systems of ethics fail spectacularly at perfect adherence, mostly because human beings while intrinsically understand the utility of fair play, are apt to cheat.  You may be sitting there in your well indented extra wide desk chair scratching that weird lump on your elbow wondering what in the golly gosh this has to do with censorship, but slow down there Skippy, I’m getting there.  You see, in every system of ethics I know of, it is not acceptable to tell your customers one thing, and do another.  That’s right, I am saying that it is an unethical business practice to tell your users that the service you provide is for free speech, and then fall down on any opinion to the right of Marx like the population numbers of the Kulaks under Stalin.  Liberal use of the ban hammer as well as more subtle bludgeons like suspension, limited features, throttling, and the now threatened ghettoization of “offensive” speech are all the opposite of what a business interested in the unfettered promulgation of ideas and their merciless debate would do.  Obviously.  The claims about needing to tackle harassment or community toxicity are laughable at best, but since I didn’t get a chance to sit down to write this until the evening, I’m not going to Google-fu the links for you in the interest of going to sleep at a decent hour.

I will provide a link to a platform that actually does care about free speech though.

As always, feel free to discuss below, we’re still a small blog, but you could change that by sharing it with friends you think would like to join in the discussion.  Every comment gets approved as soon as I can get to it, and nobody gets deleted or banned.

 

Censorship Two

With professorial ordain,

You think yourself judge on high,

And you think you can force others to refrain,

From letting certain opinions past their teeth fly,

You thought naught could surmount your disdain,

But those pesky dissidents refused to lie,

If judgement won’t stop their speech,

There are other tools in your reach.

 

All must work for their bread,

So you try to make them impossible to employ,

You write their bosses with cruel fantasy in your head,

Taking glee in your attempts to destroy,

Hoping to fill all others with dread,

In all who would dare your fellows annoy,

If you can’t starve them with lies,

There are other ways to deal with those you despise.

 

Despite the names called and lies told,

Those dirty plebs refuse to be cowed,

They’ve even left the Internet for Reality just to be bold,

So you’ve got to shout over them with screeching loud,

And if they dare laugh at your scold,

Cover you face with black shroud,

Beat them with bats and bricks,

Remind them of their place as dirty hicks.

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Good [insert timezone appropriate greeting here] you deplorable MAGA-wearing, nose-thumbing, joke-making so-called right-wing fascists.  Four hyphenated descriptors in a row, good for you.  To you folks, I’m sure you’re already familiar with social censorship, so you can stop reading here if you like. To the rest of you: time to get uncomfortable.  Yesterday, we talked about rhetoric and sophistry, and state power.  Today, we’re going to talk a bit more about sophistry, since rhetoric is important in culture as well as in politics.  Sophistry, for those of you few denizens of the internet who are somehow not armchair intellectuals with your very own list of the names of logical fallacies to be used in the place of arguments, is the use of deliberately fallacious arguments, usually through various emotional appeals, to further whatever agenda can be achieved through rhetoric.  If your synapses are struggling to fire in the direction of making a connection between sophistry and the subject of today’s poem, that’s okay it’s a bit of a lateral move.  Hint: calling names is a tactic to evoke emotion.  Yes, telling lies, calling names, and public shaming are all forms of sophistry, and as a free speech fundamentalist, these tactics are allowed.  However, they are highly unethical, and I would under no circumstances employ them even to the slightest degree, ever.  Can you lefties say the same?  No, you cannot.  That’s the first two verses taken care of, but why did I jump from criticizing sophistry to criticizing violence?  Because self-righteous ninnyhammers so deep in cognitive dissidence that if it were water they’d never be without scuba gear, resort to it when sophistry no longer has an effect.  They do this, ironically, because they are themselves the victims of sophistry.  Propagandized to genuinely believe that ideas are violent if they can be conceived to maybe possibly lead to real violence under the exactly wrong circumstances removed from actual reality by about six parallel universes then it’s really just preemptive self-defense while also disregarding the fact that every time their ideas have been implemented ever, there has been immediately following a purge of political and cultural dissidents.  In short, lying to the mob leads to feral violence in the streets.  Shocker.  This is why you should not do it.  Final post tomorrow, unless something interesting happens in the comments.

 

As always, feel free to discuss below, we’re still a small blog, but you could change that by sharing it with friends you think would like to join in the discussion.  Every comment gets approved as soon as I can get to it, and nobody gets deleted or banned.

Censorship One

You said a true thing,

But it offends the aristocracy,

You have arguments to bring,

And there’s no shortage of hypocrisy,

They silence you,

Or you don’t speak what’s true.

 

You spoke the truth,

But it offends academe,

You tell it with ruth,

But insults they’ll scream,

They silence you,

Or you don’t speak what’s true.

 

You let the truth out,

But it offends the technocrats,

You calmly tell what you’re about,

But they attack like rabid rats,

They silence you,

Or you don’t say what’s true.

 

The truth may not always be pleasant to hear,

But it’s the only way for peace to draw near,

Don’t let those on high control your mouth and ear,

They call you names out of fear,

Because their power rests in your cowering at their jeer,

Which is why they hate the sound of good cheer,

So let’s strike out against them in the wild web frontier!

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Censorship.  It’s not a good thing.  Pretty much ever.  No, no, sit down and hear me out before you prove yourself to be one of the useful idiots laboring with unceasing fervor to ironically centralize the power to decide what is acceptable to say with the same people who have all of the nukes.  Maybe censorship isn’t sounding so attractive now?  Of course it’s not, because you’re not a complete moron.  See, the argument against allowing the government to criminalize certain kinds of speech is, your guy won’t always be in power if you live in a democracy or a republic.  If you live in a dictatorship, he’s not going anywhere, and in all likelihood he’s already turned out to be not as great a guy as you thought before he seized power at gunpoint, but that bit’s a whole separate wing of political science and philosophy.  So, let’s stick with Western republics and democracies for the moment.  See, in a republic, or a democracy, who holds power is left up to this little thing called election, in which the erudite elates and the unwashed masses alike each get to cast one ballot, and whoever gets the most ballots gets to have whatever seat was up for election.  This is obviously the oversimplified explanation in case a six year old happens to be really into poetry.  (If that’s the case: Hi Jimmy/Sally!  You’re just swell!)  In such a system, the candidate who gets the most ballots is usually the one capable of motivating the greatest number of their base, the voters who would vote for that candidate anyway, and sway enough of the rest to choose that candidate over the other through rhetoric.  Rhetoric has a bad rap at the moment because it’s being used as a rhetorical buzzword to stand in for sophistry, which it can sometimes be, but is not always.  All sophistry is rhetoric, but not all rhetoric is sophistry.  All squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares.  I’m sure you get it.  Probably.  Rhetoric is simply the art of convincing people to change their minds through language, so most times, elections come down to who has the most effective rhetoric.  This isn’t a bad thing.  Really, it’s not.  What is the alternative to rhetoric?  Hint: it’s not rainbows and warm-fuzzy feel-good cuddles.  It’s force.  That’s right sunshine, if you’re not using rhetoric to change people’s minds, you’re using force to change their behavior.  What does this have to do with censorship?  Censorship is forcing people not to say certain things.  It doesn’t change minds, it just stops people from talking a certain way.  And if you’re censoring your political opponents, in a republic or democracy, they could win just by promising to censor you for a change.  More tomorrow.

 

As always, feel free to discuss below, we’re still a small blog, but you could change that by sharing it with friends you think would like to join in the discussion.  Every comment gets approved as soon as I can get to it, and nobody gets deleted or banned.

Representation

You must tell my story,

What I am demands the screen,

But don’t dare paint something derogatory,

What I am must be seen,

Skin like mine shown in glory,

My sexuality more prominent than it’s ever been,

The country I left’s greatness is obligatory,

My religion displayed in reverent scene,

I am not satisfied with telling my own story.

 

I cannot tell the story I have not been told,

My pen paints personality,

And I will suffer your scold,

My characters are mine in finality,

I’m concerned with whether they’re timid or bold,

I care if you believe the villain’s brutality,

I want you to wonder why the hero is cold,

I want you to feel for an unnoticed war casualty,

Only the author chooses what story is told.

 

But the world needs to know what I have to say,

You’ve no right to keep it from light of day!

 

Then let forth your voice into the light,

Tell the truth with all your might!

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I’d like to use colorful language to describe my dive deep into the despondent dreamland that is representation in media, but my mother reads this blog.  Love you Ma.  The level of intellectual and emotional retardation required to identify with little more than a readily identifiable external trait in a character in fiction plumbs such depths that you’d need a new unit of measurement that is the league by a factor of twelve just to get a vague idea of it, or at least it does in my estimation.  What boggles the mind of a well-rounded human being with a firm sense of self and a healthy respect for others is the concept that you’d need to see in entertainment a character that is like you in enough facets in order to identify with that character instead of something slightly more universal such as, oh I don’t know, the shared struggles of all mankind?  I defy anybody to read that sentence aloud in a single breath.  Video or it didn’t happen.  Back to representation in media; good, interesting, flawed characters are what I want to write, and what they look like is of secondary concern.  In fact, I often leave many details up to the reader so that they can have room to interoperate the character in unique ways.

Moments

Hands gain callous,

Strength from muscles,

Work is done.

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A new cloud drifts by a familiar hill,

A small lizard scurries over your boot,

Stop a moment and breathe your fill,

Let your center take its root.


Working, acting to further your goals, is important.  Vastly important. However, it is also important to take the small, transient moments in which you remember who you are and why your goals matter, and savor them.  Drink in every last detail.  Memorize the what you see, touch what’s before you if you can, name every scent, and taste the words that would describe this moment before you say them, or let them fall silent in your mind.  When the moment passes, it’s gone forever.

Myself

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Gone by has another day,

The sun sets and I’ve naught to say,

The moon rises and coyotes bay,

Silently in bed do I lay,

While troubles on my heart weigh,

But the words for them I can’t array,

My beloved craft to me says nay,

For inspiration’s whisper do I pray,

But she tells me things and I dismay,

At the world’s folly play,

Why speak if there is no listener to see?

 

What can I say the any would want to hear from me,

Am I even close to who I ought to be,

Should I stand tall or bend the knee,

Who can tell me how to live free,

What do my poems chase and whence do they flee,

For what should I strive and for what should I plea,

Should I be troubled if we disagree,

Am I a worker ant or a mere flea,

Am I a good sturdy ship upon the sea,

What fruit is born by this tree,

Shall I be cut down and be cast in the fire?

 

My place in the world is dire,

I constantly draw my own ire,

Looking inward is a trudge in mire,

I put myself on the wire,

And when I dare to self-inquire,

I think myself no closer to what I aspire,

Though I claw myself inch by inch higher,

Or maybe even that’s conceit’s sweet lyre,

Thinking my own power is enough to inspire,

Action that conviction does require,

Myself is not enough to be.


I have several problems.  Character flaws.  Weaknesses.  I would call them downright sinful and vices in fact, if I did not fear that my own intense self-criticism would prove a stumbling block to my fellows.  One of them is laziness.  Some who know me well will immediately accuse me of lacking charity in the use of that word, others wall accuse me of the opposite.  The ease with which I often choose to give in to a lack of motivation instead of choosing to knuckle down and do the work anyway, is quite frankly revolting whenever I examine it in myself no matter how easy it is to excuse in others.  As a matter of fact, as it is my own heart that I am examining, I know that I do not have any mitigating factors that would change an indulgence of my lazy nature to something more benign like forgetfulness or incompetence.  Bearing this in mind, my long absence from my works of poetry and fiction have been the result of nothing more than my own laziness, and though there are emotional reasons for indulging that vice, it is quite inexcusable for a man to be ruled by his emotions rather than the other way around.  Though in the poem I articulate the agony of listlessness, it would have abated immediately if I had actually decided on what to say, no matter if it was of what I might call low quality, and I would have instead felt productive, as I do now late in the day, writing my return.

Good Day

Sawdust, the peculiar scent,

Chickens clucking in the distance,

The cat seeps on a canvas tarp,

And I’m pleased with how the day went.


Sometimes I simply don’t have a whole lot to say, so it’s better to say little and let the rest be said by the silence.

Neutrality

Adam Smith laid out how wealth is made,

Bastiat proved the basis for law,

Hyac uncovered the road to serfdom with ink spade,

Socrates died so truth by questions we could draw,

Mises discovered what how choices are weighed,

Marcus Aralias taught how to bear the last straw,

Yet you lecture me on something you did not read.

 

The oldest laws that have stood the test of time,

Do not take what does not belong to you,

Violating an exclusive claim is the basis of crime,

Across all situations this is true,

Advancement is really just application to those who upwards climb,

And to things excepted without their due,

Yet you lecture me on something you did not read.

 

The profit motive is to ensure gain,

Win-win can be found in lands of liberty,

The one with the power to say no shall truly reign,

Only with force can anybody violate morality,

To accuse those who’ve done naught of evil shall only bring pain,

Robbing by aid of government is evil’s victory,

And you lecture me on something you did not read.

 

If wealth was created by honest means,

If through saving or windfall or inheritance it’s got,

Then you have no right to the wealth or the machines,

You have no right to thieve what someone else has wrought,

To use the state is to confess you’re short on beans,

And is a betrayal of the values for which our ancestors died and fought,

And you lecture me on something you did not read.

 

When the incentive to throttle is not there,

When agile competitors are allowed to nip at those cooperate heels,

You’ll find that those big businesses will raise a scare,

And you’ll find that they argue based on how it feels,

Look beyond the surface and be aware,

And they’ll make their emotional appeals,

And you lecture me on something you did not read.


Net Neutrality is currently necessary.  I don’t think that it’s in the interests of ISPs to throttle certain websites, but industry insiders are certainly apprehensive about it.  However, in a system of liberty, the only profitable situation is win-win.  Isn’t that fantastic?  One of the most dangerous vices facing Mankind harnessed in the service of the good, as defined by all parties engaging in a voluntary transaction.  But what about M-m-m-monopolies?!  The only way for a monopoly to survive is to be enforced by the state (which itself is a monopoly on the initiation of force) and those that exist in an open market are quickly out-competed by smaller, more nimble firms.  Even the era of Robber Barons in the US was incredibly cutthroat, and marked by overnight millionaires and innovators driving old money to the poor house.  Looking back on the Industrial Revolution, some measure of oversight would have been a good thing, seeing as some of these Robber Barons did in fact earn their name, mostly by robbing people of their land when they thought they could get away with it.  I support Net Neutrality only so long as it is necessary, and I do not expect it to be necessary for very long, considering that the market is a harsh and unforgiving place.  ISPs would hang themselves if they lost their big clients, the Googles and Netflixs of the net, considering that their paying customers would flock to competitors in droves just to get their Netflix.   So: Net Neutrality is currently good, and you ought to contact the FCC to let them know it’s not the time to scrap it.  Or at least come up with a better system first.  On the other hand, if they scrap it anyway, it probably won’t be the end of the Internet.  How can I tell?  People raising an alarm about the end of anything are almost always spectacularly wrong.

Work

The sun beats down,

The fan just drones on,

I refuse to frown,

Today is for brawn,

Let sweat wet my crown.

 

There’s work to be done,

So ignore that pain,

I’m the only one,

To strive for the gain,

Day’s gone ‘ere begun.

 

Smiling with a sigh,

Wipe salt from my brow,

Good work in my eye,

So off to bed now,

Wake again to try.


Unfortunately, I didn’t write anything yesterday, so have a short one.  I find hard work rewarding, even when it hurts.  It often hurts.  The feeling of tools in my calloused hands, the well-worn boots on my feet, the sweat dripping from my brow, the dull ache in my muscles, it’s all very pleasant in a strange way.  I’m happy to know your thoughts on the subject below.  I’ll write something good tonight and you’ll have it tomorrow.