Compassion in Content

In a previous post, I spoke about my frustrations with the concept of how we get along with spoilers on the internet and while I am still in my feelings there, I also had a number of other things I saw within the last week where someone said, “You’ve had enough time to watch this, so if you haven’t done it, get off the net until you do…”

What gets to me about this is the lack of compassion. I draw my examples from the rush of Game of Thrones, but I have a larger question of why it never occurs to us to pause mid-sentence and just go, “Am I really about to ask someone to stop existing for my comfort?”

Because as I said before, that’s what we’re doing.

These are just strangers on the internet. OK, but also, it’s a space everyone shares and we post on the regular about the disparities people experience in all manner of ways on economic, societal, and other levels. How do you push and advocate for that, but then fail to notice the thread of that pattern in things like this spoiler debate.

It causes me pain because I have had to unfollow people I like due to the amount of “I don’t care” posts I see on this. In a world where someone asks for something so small as to not have a story ruined for them – in a world that is literally and figuratively on-fire – would this one exercise of thinking and caring about others really dampen your experience of the show?

I don’t think it would, however, next Sunday, I will likely see this same wave again of people going, “here’s me posting without a care in spite of people asking for weeks on end not to do this. In spite of the fact that I’ve ended whole relationships with people over being spoiled on a story or major plot point on things I want to enjoy. I’m going to just… do it to someone else.”

Maybe this isn’t new at all in any way shape or form, but for all of that lack of novelty, the wound sure doesn’t seem to be any less painful.

Drowning in the Dead Sea

So as those following my account may be aware, I’m a fan of Tré Melvin. He is funny and insightful and sharp all at once. For example, see how he goes from funny to punch-in-the-gut serious here.

He announced his release of this song to the world and so I had myself a listen. I got the immediate Jhené Aiko vibe circa a freestyle from the Souled Out album. In sum: very relaxed. You feel the numbness settling in here as he keeps the same tone throughout the song.

What got me in this song was the imagery. Here we have Tré drowning in the Dead Sea and the person he’s relating to – likely in a romantic scenario – paddling through his Red Sea.

Here in this relationship we have the contrast between drowning in a sea known for being so salty it removes moisture from anything that it touches versus the Red Sea that the Hebrews in the Bible passed through into what would be their freedom.

Moreover, this person is paddling. Not diving. Not swimming. Not even trying to get the freedom that the Red Sea promises.

I expect there will be more to look forward to from him in the future, music or otherwise, and I’ll enjoy writing about that when it happens, too.

Cancel Culture & Failure-Prone Faves

I have always been of two minds regarding “cancel culture” wherein the moment someone makes a transgression, they are automatically made example of in rather dramatic fashion.

On the one hand, we are human. We learn that the fire is hot by touching it ourselves more often than not and there is something to be said about someone realizing that what they did or thought at one moment in time is incorrect, then evolving.

The “then evolving” part is key here, but the issue is that we give no one time to evolve. In an era when mistakes are often public and immediately known on a wide scale without any context of the person being dragged across the social media landscape, we can often lock a person in time when time itself is still working on them.

In spite of what we strive to be, we are people still becoming and we have to recognize that other people, no matter how popular or famous or “put-together” they are are still becoming as well. If you genuinely mess up and make true, consistent, maintained effort to be a decent human – not perfect, but decent

On the other hand, I am a man of standards. If I decide to cancel you, on a personal level, I’m not going to make a big deal about that exit. I never have. With that in mind, I will also not support people who are unrepentant in their racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, and general ignorance.

All of this stuff where you could learn to be better, but you don’t? Cancelled. I do not have the time or energy for educating beyond the single time I am going to bring the issue to your attention and even that requires a pretty solid relationship in the first place.

All of this stuff where I am finding people to have long histories of abusing others in any way? Cancelled. It is not my place to forgive you for what you’ve done to other and I cannot support you while those you’ve abused lie wounded and, in most cases, voiceless. I can, however, stand with the abused and offer comfort and solidarity, so I will. Every time.

I don’t think we as netizens should be unduly judgmental, but I think we must also avoid being unduly forgiving. If you care about your faves, then give them the gift of accountability for their words and actions.

Jokes

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This wasn’t what I had in mind to write, but then I was on a twitch stream today and someone mentioned that they were glad that the particular host – who I enjoyed – was understanding of the fact that this person was a troll and shouldn’t be taken to heart. It was a locker room atmosphere and they felt like they could just be bruhs and laugh.

Mind, the streamer was super tactful and graceful and firm in his response

What is wrong with us?

Seriously, what is our problem?

I get that we grew up on the tasty forbidden fruit of things like Andrew Dice Clay, Sam Kinison, and so many others that we laughed at because they were irreverent. Disrespectful. Nothing was sacred.

Humor, right? We should all just be OK with things because we need to just understand that things in the world can, and should, be laughed at. Every single thing in the world.

Then we reached 2014. 2016. 2017. Like, at one point, we used to laugh at things like racist stereotypes, but I spend five minutes on twitter and that laughter cuts like glass. We used to laugh at crazy dictators. Now we practically have one. We used to do so many things, but then empathy.

But then compassion.

But then, I had to stop laughing long enough to understand other people’s tears for a time. I can still laugh. I can still make someone laugh. Somehow, all of this, while being mindful of what the cost of that joke is.

Some days, I get a discount from life and the laugh costs me nothing. These days, however, that same laugh at the wrong time can cost us lifelong friends. Is that worth our freedom to laugh at whomever and whatever we want? Do we try to imagine an in-between? Do we make a change to an acquired taste for shock value?

Maybe we should.

A Relatable Character

What does “taking a knee” and fidget spinners have in common? They are both a trend. They do not solve the problem they were designed for. They both are ending up in places/situations they do not belong. Everybody wants one or to be apart of a trend. They both are childish, I’ve seen kids whining for a new fidget spinner, and I’m seeing grown adults whining by taking a knee. Doing something in the wrong place is simply disrespectful. Fidget spinners don’t belong in classrooms, and taking a knee during the National Anthem is inappropriate as well. The reason the National Anthem is played at a game is to first show respect to those who fought and gave their life for that flag to fly high. Secondly, it’s a reminder at these sporting events that it’s a privilege of freedom, provided by your military and leaders of this Great Nation. America Please 🙏 stop dividing, stop crying, and stop feeling privileged. Remember that you are entitled to nothing, you must earn the privileges in this life. Be thankful that this country earned you the privileges you take for granted, and by all means show respect when it is deserved. Remember this country was built as one (united) Nation on the foundation of God. Pray and act like the Word of God tells you to. It’s pertinent to a thriving life and a thriving nation.

That was my FB this week. Below, here is Magneto.

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He is a character from the Marvel comic universe and in case you are not in the know, you can read about him here.

This guy was, in the main universe, captured as a kid and lived through some serious hardship as German Jew. He dealt with a number of Nazis. As he grows up, his family being murdered, he looks to his tribe: mutants.

He grows to resent humans and their constant fear and hatred for all things different. His best and closest friend is another mutant, Charles Xavier. If Magneto is analogous to Malcolm X, Charles is Martin Luther King, Jr.

While Magneto is presented as a villain, you start to connect with his plight. In spite of Charles’ optimism and hope for building a peaceful future with humans, Magneto ends up being right – and often in the worst ways – about the dark side of human nature and fear of what they don’t understand.

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While we condemn Magneto’s more extreme actions, we do one thing for him: we try to understand his plight and relate. He does “bad” things, but he’s not a bad guy. In fact, as we take a look into his context, we wonder if he’s even wrong in his observations.

I wonder what it would take for people to give myself and other people of color the same level of compassion, thought, and sympathy that Marvel has somehow gotten for this comic book character. How do we have, as a collective, more compassion for colored paper than for blood and bone?

I wish I knew.