• Member Since 11th Jul, 2011
  • offline last seen 8 minutes ago

Aquaman


The campiest of happers.

More Blog Posts151

  • 12 weeks
    Regarding Less-Than-Positive Interpretations of Pride

    Let's get a quick disclaimer out of the way before we really get going: I don't like foalcon. By "foalcon" here, I refer specifically to M-rated stories that depict characters who are very clearly meant to be minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct with other minors and/or adults. Not a fan of it! I find it gross on a personal level, I think it's morally reprehensible that a site of this

    Read More

    37 comments · 1,196 views
  • 21 weeks
    The Life That Was Given to Us (Or: The Unbearable Betrayal of Sincerity)

    Got a comment on my last blog a little bit ago that went something like this:

    "Why not get a life instead of taking Internet horse drama so seriously?"

    I'd like to talk about this comment a bit. Not the lazy insult itself, but rather the perspective it represents, and how I both sympathize with and can no longer accept that point of view.

    Read More

    33 comments · 1,061 views
  • 22 weeks
    Not Being Vague Anymore

    (4/21/21 10:15 AM EST: Slightly edited so as to play slightly nicer with others.)

    (4/21/21 IDK when: more edits from site mods; there used to be screenshots of the original post and a particular comment that prompted mine.)

    Read More

    151 comments · 3,087 views
  • 40 weeks
    Look What I Did Instead of Anything of Substance Today!

    Posh did this, and then Present Perfect and Jake the Army Guy did it too, so now I'm giving in to completely imagined peer pressure to

    Read More

    9 comments · 418 views
  • 57 weeks
    *noises of a horse vagueposting*

    Boy, you have some gullible fuckin' followers, fam.

    Read More

    27 comments · 747 views
Jun
4th
2020

Complicity and Complacency (Or: What to Do When Your Neighbor's House Is On Fire) · 11:09pm Jun 4th, 2020

Imagine, for a moment, that your house is on fire.

What do you do when your house is on fire? You call the fire department, right? Right. Except here’s the thing: in a Bradbury-esque ironic twist, a fireman was the person who lit your house on fire in the first place. They claimed they didn’t mean to, of course--they were responding to another fire nearby, and they did successfully put that one out. But that other fire was a smoldering garbage can, and you really doubt it was necessary for the firemen to use flamethrowers to melt it down until it wasn’t burning anymore. Especially since, y’know, they set your house on fire in the process.

It’s not like this is the first time this has happened. In fact, it’s actually oddly commonplace in your neighborhood for firemen to go around setting fires instead of putting them out. But as people in other neighborhoods so often point out, firemen do successfully put out fires most of the time, in your neighborhood and in others. Some of the firemen in your town’s fire department are even from your neighborhood--not a lot of them, mind you, but some of them. And a few years ago, it used to be none of them were from your neighborhood, so you should be grateful that you're represented so much better now--not that that’s really done anything to stop houses on your street from getting set on fire.

Besides, it’s not like any fireman means to light things on fire. Fighting fire is dangerous, and unless you burn all its fuel really quickly, it’s just going to get bigger and make even more of a mess. That’s just common sense, you’ve been told before, and if a little collateral damage results, that’s still less harm than the original fire would’ve done if left unchecked. And you might have even believed that argument, if it didn’t happen so dang often--and if it didn’t disproportionately affect houses in your neighborhood, while the bigger neighborhoods that most of the firemen are from have way fewer house fires per capita.

Anyway, the problem remains: your house is on fire, and a fireman is the one who set it ablaze. So what do you do? Well, you can’t stop the fire yourself--that’s against the law. The only people allowed to stop fires are firemen, even though they start a ton of fires themselves. And even if someone else had tried to stop the one who lit your house on fire, the firemen would’ve lit that person’s house on fire as punishment. So really, you don't have any options at all--your home is burning, and the people who are supposed to stop it are the ones who caused it, and you’re supposed to just stand there and let it happen.

Well, the hell with that. This isn’t fair at all! And you’re not just going to stand there and let it happen--you’re going to make sure everyone knows what’s happening to you and your neighbors. Your house matters just as much as anyone else’s house, and firemen shouldn’t be allowed to set yours on fire just for the sake of maybe putting out another blaze. So that’s exactly what you write on a sign that you plant out in your front yard: “My house matters.”

Suddenly, your street is packed with people, and weirdly, a lot of them are from other neighborhoods--the ones most of the firemen are from. And those people are really mad at you, because how dare you say that their houses don’t matter? All houses matter, and it’s totally unfair for you to think their house shouldn’t be put out if it catches on fire because yours is just soooo important, and frankly if you didn’t want your house to catch on fire you shouldn’t have scattered all those dry branches around it and your neighbors shouldn’t have antagonized the firemen so much.

Okay… what? You didn’t say any of that. Of course all houses matter, but yours is the one on fire right now! That’s kind of the pressing issue here. And what was that about dry branches? You didn’t put those there--actually, you’re pretty sure the firemen did, although the person who first made that claim unfortunately committed suicide by setting himself on fire twice, so it’s impossible to say for sure. And even if you did, how is someone being mean to a fireman an excuse for that fireman to do the literal opposite of their job?

Whatever, it’s just a few--okay, a couple hundred--okay, a giant mob of people who know absolutely nothing about your neighborhood but really, really want to explain to you what life is like inside it. And while they’re at it, they’re really disappointed in how disrespectful you’re being right now to the brave firemen in your community, who work so hard to protect everyone from fires--and who, again, demonstrably set your house on fire. But no matter how many times you explain it, this fact falls on deaf ears. You must be mistaken. That’s not what it’s like in their neighborhood. If the firemen set your house on fire, you must’ve done something to deserve it.

You didn’t. You know you didn’t. You get totally different treatment from firemen just because of the neighborhood and the house you were born in, and it seems like nobody from other neighborhoods believes you. And after years and years of trying to explain what’s actually going on to people who don’t want to listen, you and your neighbors are frankly sick and tired of being treated this way.

So finally, when a video comes out of four firemen using a flamethrower to put out a lit cigarette, and the video shows them aiming the flamethrower directly at your friend’s house and holding the trigger down for almost nine minutes--three minutes of which came after the house had already burned to the ground--you’ve officially had enough. Together, you and your neighbors are going to make damn sure that everyone in every neighborhood understands the crap you’ve had to deal with for decades, and you're going to do it so publicly that no one could possibly ignore it.

But… oh Christ, the “All Houses Matter” folks are back. Now they’re complaining about how you’re disrupting traffic, and how some people who claim to be with your protest are breaking windows and stealing things from stores, and how if all of you can’t be peaceful then they don’t see why they should have to listen to whatever it is you’re complaining about.

Except here’s the thing: you’ve tried being peaceful. You’ve tried complaining how you were told to complain and doing what you were told to do to minimize the risk of fire. You’ve even tried organizing at the community level to fix the problems that apparently justified the firemen being so hard on you--and your houses still kept getting burned down. Even when children were hurt, even when firemen were irresponsible and reckless and sometimes even downright attacked you, there was no justice. Being peaceful didn’t accomplish a goddamn thing, and now your neighbor is homeless just like so many others in your neighborhood. 

And these self-centered jerks--who’ve never met you and never tried to understand the problems you struggle with--want to judge your whole movement based on the actions of a few people within it? Some of whom, by the way, aren’t even from your neighborhood and are specifically trying to make you look bad, and others of whom are so desperate from being homeless--y’know, because their houses were burned down, and on top of that they didn’t get any help during the giant storm that just rolled through--that breaking into those stores is the only way they can get food and medicine or any kind of comfort. 

Right, yeah, that’s totally fair. These people from other neighborhoods totally know what’s really going on this time. But of course, you can’t judge the firemen based on the actions of a “few” of them. They’re the good guys. They’re just doing their jobs. They’re trying to protect you, even as they respond to your protests by pelting you with coals and spraying kerosene all over you.

Somehow, some way, this must still be your fault.

And all the while, your house is still on fucking fire.

===

Everything that’s happened in the last week and a half is not an anomaly--it was an inevitability. It is a response to decades--centuries--of systemic oppression and police brutality faced by Black Americans and Black people the world over, and it is a rebuke of every concern-trolling, white-supremacy-enabling, milquetoast moderate chucklehead who thought that protests were supposed to be like Victorian children: neither seen, nor heard, nor spoken of at all.

Can you see them now? Can you hear what Black voices have been screaming at you for longer than your great-grandparents were ever alive? Will you join your voice with theirs, acknowledge your role in condoning our broken system, and pledge to do whatever you can to change our collective future?

I will. Because my neighbor’s house is on fire, and it needs to be put out.

Black Lives Matter.

Report Aquaman · 1,188 views ·
Comments ( 66 )

Black Lives Matter.

Black Lives Matter!

If you don't like that phrase, maybe consider a jog through acid rain, I hear it really gets the juices flowing.

Thanks for speaking up!

Black Lives Matter.

https://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/comments/3du1qm/comment/ct8pei1?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x

Personally? This is my favorite argument that I show in terms of why the term "All Lives Matter" as a response to Black Lives Matters is bullshit.

Black Lives Matter.

5276507
Given your profile picture, I'm assuming your trans. While I am cisgendered, I have hundreds of trans friends and am dating a trans man. And you know what really grinds my gears? Trans people who can recognize their own oppression, but spit on the oppression of others. Don't let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya.

R5h
R5h #8 · Jun 4th, 2020 · · 1 ·

All lives won't matter until black lives matter!

Extremely good post and well-made metaphor, Aqua. Thank you for the time, money, and effort you've put into helping.

What a beautiful and comprehensibly poignant way to put it.

Black Lives Matter.

RBDash47
Site Blogger

Well fucking said.

5276527
I've been getting a lot of mileage out of this:

i.imgur.com/G8udzIC.jpg

5276613
I'll save that one right now to use myself, thanks.

5276527
Thank you for posting this...it made me stop and consider exactly what this is truly all about. Black Lives Matter.

Black Lives Matter.

I can't believe it has to be spelled out to people over and over again.

Thank you for posting this. Like, a lot.

... I'm just going to leave this here without comment.

(Black Lives Matter.)

iisaw #16 · Jun 5th, 2020 · · 1 ·

5276513
:heart::rainbowlaugh::heart:

Black Lives Matter!

Perfect analogy. Thank you for posting.

Black Lives Matter.

Georg #18 · Jun 5th, 2020 · · 5 ·

I only wish the metaphorical firefighters' process had not generated so much literal arson, and prevented the real firefighters from putting out black-owned businesses, and the real police keeping the real looters out of them as well. I support the protesters. I want the looters, arsonists, and rioters locked up, and the ones who murder police officers trying to protect us put away for life.

5276690
Lives matter period.

Aquaman #20 · Jun 5th, 2020 · · 3 ·

5276773
Who are the "real" police, though? I presume you mean the ones dedicated to preserving the safety and security of the people in their communities without resorting to unjust excessive force, which seems on the surface like a reasonable exception to bring up.

Except there are two fundamental problems with that framing. First, it's well-documented that a majority of police officers in major metropolitan areas don't actually live in the areas they police. This is part of what contributes to a culture that condones--if not actively glorifies--violent suppression of criminals: these officers have no personal connection to the places they patrol, so they're prone to acting as an occupying force meant to maintain "order" rather than protecting a community they consider themselves part of.

Second, while an individual police officer may choose not to act with excessive force, there have been scant few examples of them ensuring their fellow officers follow the law in the same way, and those who do actually take that kind of action often end up losing their jobs soon after. In other words, whether it's cultural or institutional or a combination of the two, it's virtually unheard for police officers to self-police.

So what is a "real" police officer? Is it someone who protects their community? That rules out a majority of all police officers from being "real" police, which invalidates the entire concept of having police in the first place. Is it someone who is dedicated to justice above all? How can they be, if they don't--or more often, institutionally can't--stop the "bad apples" around them from engaging in unwarranted brutality? Is it just dispassionately enforcing the laws as they exist? Second verse, same as the first--if other police officers are exempt from the laws, then the social contract around which societies are built is broken, and we effectively have no laws at all.

The truth is tough to swallow but impossible to avoid: there are no "real" police. Between the lack of localized diversity in hiring practices, the access they have to full-blown military hardware and the fact they have more lax rules of engagement than the actual military does, the "warrior" culture that's particularly endemic to American police officers, and their systemic and nationwide failure to self-regulate their own transgressions, it's simply not possible for there to be any no matter how dedicated an individual officer is to the ideals they allegedly espouse.

In short, there are many good people who hold the occupation of "cop," but there are no good cops. And that's exactly why this movement is so important, and why the fundamental reconstruction--if not outright abolishing--of the police state as we know it in America today is so essential to our future.

5276812

Did you actually read the blog?

5276583
Oh no. I'll be sure to inform my majority black neighbors, co workers, and friends that I (a minority) am a white supremacist.

Also kak why would I speak to the "oppression" of people rioting for the right to commit crimes without repercussions when their culture invites them to visit violence upon me.

Aquaman #24 · Jun 5th, 2020 · · 2 ·

5276864

Oh no. I'll be sure to inform my majority black neighbors, co workers, and friends that I (a minority) am a white supremacist.

Also kak why would I speak to the "oppression" of people rioting for the right to commit crimes without repercussions when their culture invites them to visit violence upon me.

their culture

Hmm.

5276867
Do you believe we don't need people to enforce the laws fairly? Because I do. That's exactly the point--cops, as they exist today, fundamentally don't do that. Ipso facto, they need to be completely reconstructed or replaced altogether.

(Also, I thought you said you were leaving?)

5276870
Or we could push to not encourage people to commit crimes and violence and label it "culture".
As someone who has been incarcerated and actually met a black person your whole position is nonsense and what you're pushing for is that black people and only black people should be allowed to break the law freely.

Aquaman #26 · Jun 5th, 2020 · · 2 ·

5276885
You have a very strange idea of Black people for someone who's met one IRL.

(Geez, how does this work now? Is this like when you're leaving a party and say bye to everyone, but then you get caught up in a conversation by the door, and then somebody walks by and says, "I thought you were leaving!" and you have to sheepishly insist you were, and... oof. What a nightmare.)

5276856
Yes I did and I'm saying that we shouldn't think any less of another's life, black or white it doesn't matter, neither should be put above the other.




Edit: I'm not saying that black lives don't matter (which they do) I'm saying this as a word of caution against getting to concentrated on one that the others get ignored.

I've been meaning to donate significantly to an organization at some point soon, I'm just not sure which one. The LDF is obviously a good choice, but there are others. For example, if what we want is policy change, do I donate to the democratic party directly? If the pandemic flares back up, the American Red Cross, or some other medical foundation, might need the resources more to straight-up keep all these fine folks alive. Or I could even throw money at diversity in education, so the next generation hopefully grows up with enough perspective to be less bigoted than their parents. Eh, maybe I'll just give a smaller amount to all of these, unless you guys have suggestions.

5276989

When you donate to the LDF, there's a drop-down list of what you want your donation to go towards: "Police Reform and Death Penalty," "Voting Rights," "Thurgood Marshall Institute," "Education," "Economic Equity," "Affirmative Action," etc. or "Where it's needed most" if you're fine with letting them use your donation at their discretion. It might not be exactly what you're looking for, but hopefully that gives an impression of what your donations would get used for (and where you want to send them, if you want to send them somewhere specific) and what sort of things could use the funding right now.

Amazing job with this post!

5276893
:heart::rainbowlaugh::heart: The Long Goodbye!

No, this time for realsies!

5276885
Jesus wept. You're turning out to be a perfect example of how being the victim of one sort of bigotry does nothing to make you immune to other, equally pernicious, sorts of bigotry.

Thanks OP.

5276583
People who suck up to and preach for their oppressors, in hopes of gaining favor or escaping brutality or even just achieving self-acceptance, come in all stripes. It's not great.

My god, how have I not followed you yet? This blog post was an enlightening illustration of the sheer frustration people feel and have felt about this chronic injustice, right down to the gut and the heart. I've rarely felt so vicariously outraged as this. No wonder people are angry. I'd be pretty damn livid too.

I cannot think of a follow more worthy than this one, for a user who has provided the gift of emotional insight with but a few words.

5277018
Oh, neat, I was unaware they did so much. I'll probably just split some money between them and the red cross, then. Thanks!

Knux #36 · Jun 5th, 2020 · · 2 ·

that breaking into those stores is the only way they can get food and medicine or any kind of comfort.

...No. I'm sorry, no. I am with you on most everything else, but not this. Just because their house is on fire, they can burn other houses? I have an uncle whose bodega was vandalized and broken into in Brooklyn. They stole snacks and cigarettes.

Or the electronic stores, being robbed of TVs, phones, etc. Yeah, they really need those.

5277350
I did read it, what I mean to say is that it's a word of caution not get too concentrated on black lives that others get ignored as there are other groups that are mistreated.

Fuck yeah, black lives matter.

5277648
The solution begins with "a" and ends with "narchism."

5276893
I think what he was trying to say is about the rioters and looters

5277350
5277018
Okay, so I just made decently large donations to the LDF and the American Red Cross, and when I told my father shortly thereafter over the phone, he informed me that his company does donation matching. Now I feel slightly less satisfied with my contribution, knowing it could have been doubled had I the foresight to go through that channel. Whoops. :twilightblush:

RBDash47
Site Blogger

5276989
I was in the same boat; my wife and I went to donate to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, to bail out arrested protesters, but their donations pages was like "so... we've actually received over $20 million and of course we would be honored to accept your donation as well but you could look for other causes too if you wanted?"

After a little more poking around, we ended up donating equal smaller amounts to the NAACP, National Urban League, and Colors for Change. In particular, the former two are over a hundred years old so I trusted them to have a better idea of what needs to be done than I do. We also liked the idea of offering more generalized, systemic support than drilling down to find very specific issues and needs, but to be honest I don't know which approach is "right" or "better".

There's a list going around of more possibilities that you could look through to see if any of them strike a chord with the specific things you wanted to support.

5277685
Ahhh, that's a bit unfortunate. The thought really does count, though, and it's definitely better than if you hadn't contributed at all. 🙂

5277648
I know it's about racism I'm saying that we shouldn't just concentrate on one group but make sure that others get attention.

What happens when you're neighbor burns down your house for the greater good?

5277590
Those people also needed more than a single $1200 check (that some of them didn't even get) to get through a crisis that's already resulted in more than 40 million lost jobs and has no firm end date. Target can rebuild and restock. People who are starved and beaten to death can't come back to life.

I'm fortunate to be financially stable enough that I'm not saddled with the ethical burden of deciding whether to respect a system that fundamentally doesn't respect me as a human being. It sounds like you are too. Aren't we lucky?

5277992
I presume that the fire would rise, and Bane would take control of Gotham City, and other things that are neither germane to the central metaphor here nor appreciably occur in real life would happen.

5278015
No, I mean, they're houses are getting burnt down right? What happens when some of them get mad and burn down other people's houses? Should they be punished?

Aquaman #49 · Jun 5th, 2020 · · 2 ·

5278020
If you're trying to do the thing some people do where they try to distract from Black Lives Matter by pretending they care about the impacts of black-on-black crime... don't. Just, for your own sake, don't. Those people look extremely silly and insincere when they deliberately miss the point that badly, just so they can be contrarian and convince themselves that everyone else is the problem and not them.

Although, if you're talking about violence during protests, I've already addressed that in the original posts and the comments here, so... check those out, if you haven't.

5278020
In that situation, we should 1. have safety nets in place to ensure that people can get their lives back together with reasonable speed after their house burns down, instead of being treated like its somehow their own fault for being the victim, and 2. work on fixing the root causes of why anyone's house is being burned down in the first place.

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