Friday, 27 April 2018

The Devil's Advocate

So. I had this big long post saved that I've been picking away at, but I have had a stressful day and it would be just like today to see someone get offended and start coming at me for posting it. Not today.

Today I'm going to talk briefly about the term devil's advocate, and how most assholes online are doing it wrong.

Okay. So a devil's advocate (DA), in layman's terms, is someone who takes the position in a "debate" that they do not necessarily agree with, but they argue it's merits for the sake of debate and discussion. It used be the title of the dude that had to come up with all the shitty reasons why someone shouldn't be canonized into sainthood, poke holes in all their claims, and basically find an excuse not to celebrate someone for their miracles. Or whatever. Both of those definitions don't exist anymore.

In modern parlance, the person claiming devil's advocate status is the person who is simply looking to stir the pot. Most often they are not arguing a term they do not agree with - they see it as simply presenting another point that they see valid in a discussion to weigh all sides.

Sounds okay right?

Yeah, so you'd be wrong.

Most of the time, the DA claims to be arguing the point of the oppressed, or the point least represented. In fact, the vast majority of the time, you see it being used to reinforce flawed cultural norms and to create fear, confusion, and to disarm their opponent. For example, you're debating the benefits of gender neutral washrooms so that all gender identities feel comfortable. The DA sneers 'but have you considered/what if/what about if the trans people invade the bathrooms and rape the women?!'

That is a viewpoint shared by a number of very ignorant people. It's not right, but they are playing on that fear and confusion.

Devil's Advocacy is a tool used frequently by members of the far right to express their vile opinions under the guise of 'free speech' (which, motherfuckers, is not a thing in Canada and in the US only protects you from retaliation for criticizing the government) and actively try to either engage in some kind of bullshit posturing or outright attack.

Look, I understand the concept of reviewing other's viewpoints, especially those you don't agree with. I think it's important to do, both to try and understand the machinations of that side of humanity and to self audit our own beliefs. I don't, however, require someone to attempt to convert me or bait me. It won't work. I don't need to subscribe to or agree with those views to understand them, same as I don't need to put my hand in a bonfire to see if it's hot. I can see it just fine, thanks. Jumping into the fire won't show me anything different.

It is pointless to argue on these matters. Most of the time it won't make a lick of difference. Generally if someone breaks out the 'I'm just playing 'devil's advocate' statement I tune them out because if they actually and truly wanted to argue a point they don't agree with for the sake of discussion, they'd be arguing mine.

Basically, my post is simple: devil's advocacy does not exist. It's just arguing, plain and simple. Let's just call it as it is and be honest.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Love is a verb, Love is a doing word.

It's hard to believe this is my first post for 2018, but here we are.

I mentioned on my Facebook page that there was some big news coming up, and it was going to be life changing. As usual, the universe works in mysterious ways and nothing has been finalized. I am hesitant to say anything until we have confirmation, so I will save that for when I have actual news. As a definitive, I can say I am not having a baby, so let's not even approach that one.

This winter has been quiet and introspective, as I had hoped it would be. I have had a lot of quiet time to work with my craft. I have been reading a lot, working with my tarot decks more, and generally being more productive. Now that I am working towards a goal, it's easier to motivate myself.

On top of all of that, I have been very busy. Writing, working, and spending time with the important people in my life.

One thing I have been thinking about recently is the amount of chaotic energy there is right now - in the world, in our lives, and in our communities. I am finding that energy is feeding a trend I am sadly seeing more and more. The dreaded Witch Wars (tm).

I'm not talking about the people calling out abusers or charlatans in our community. I'm not talking about victims discussing their abuses or anything of the sort. I'm not talking about the people who are trying to rid the community of racists and neo-nazi scum. That? Justified AF.

I'm talking about the honest-to-goodness, shade throwing extravaganza that I have been witness to for the last few years.

Honestly, from the outside, it's exhausting. Someone is having beef with this other person and so they write a blog post or a scathing Facebook post or whatever to tear down this other person, who has minions who comment and defend the person attacked and attack the person who made the post, whose minions then attack the other minions and it devolves into this dick-measuring shouting contest with no actual relevance. And so the attacked person posts a Facebook post defending themselves and slamming the other person, so the minions attack one another again and so we have the circle of crapulence that is arguing on the internet.... well, kinda like this classic video:

I guess my first question is this: WHERE DO YOU GET THE TIME TO BE ASSHOLES TO ONE ANOTHER? It's exhausting watching, so I admire the energy you devote to essentially attacking some stranger on the internet. It's like an endless battery of hatred.

Enough. Getting the last word doesn't make you better or more correct.

How about this: how about we all focus on our own paths and less on the people around us. How about we stop picking fights with other members of our community for fun.  Instead of seeking to tear each other down for a seemingly meaningless argument, let's focus on the fact that our time here is not infinite, and it is far too short to focus on that bullshit.

Again, I'm not referring to calling people out for their racism or bad behaviour - simply the never ending streams of vague booking, shady Facebook posts, attack blogs, etc. I am far from perfect, and the list of people I dislike or would like to verbally tear a new one or tear down is regretfully long - but I ain't got time for that shit! I'm too busy living life - and honestly, you should be too.

Instead, I'm focusing on what I can actually change. Working toward acceptance, working through fear and doubt. Working to be a better ally for those who need it. Working on being a person who chooses love over hatred. The last point is hard for me, because I have had many hurts that have left deep scars, but I am getting there.

A very wise man said "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world."

So let us choose to be supportive rather than oppressive, hopeful rather than fearful, and let us choose love above hate. There is far too much hatred and oppression in the world. Witches are wielders of change - let's use that change for good. Let's be badasses together and lift each other up.