Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Hillbilly Elegy: Blaming the Poor in America

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis.


I recently read Hillbilly Elegy. I hated this book. Imagine a country where a thin swathe of out of touch types, ignore the growing lack of middle class and above jobs, the crumbling infrastructure and where a book that blames the poor, especially white poor people for their own lot, becomes a best seller. Yes, that's America.  It is the land of denial, and delusions. The people who love this book are probably mostly older evangelicals who all support Trump. Their lives probably still include out of state vacations and garden furniture. They call the millennials and Gen X folks who didn't obtain their same socio-economic level "losers" and "snowflakes". They are disgusted with us. We supposedly failed and it's our fault supposedly.

The media and ultra rich will tell us the economy is booming, even as we drive around our home-towns and see the emptied out stores, cracking parking lots, pot-holes, broken windows, unpainted houses and decaying bridges that look like they are ready to fall into our rivers. Sure the economy is doing fine for them but not for most of us.

One thing they are doing too, is playing the usual narcissist/sociopath games of telling people their economic failures are all their fault. As they tie people's hands and knock them about, they will tell them, "You did it to yourself". There's plenty of sold-out types to stand up and repeat the chorus. The elites who profit off suffering in this country don't want much honesty to break out about poverty or what is happening. Even when I and my husband visit some churches, for food pantries and  food co-ops, the lecturing about moral lifestyles and living healthy, where we were told to 'exercise" at the last food co-op, never ends. Very little of reality is dealt with. There's no open discussion of real survival, it's all pretense.

 I suppose many conservative evangelicals aren't much into reality in general. It's constant patronizing and lectures. I told my husband at the last food co-op meeting, "Why are we getting all these health 101 lectures, you can tell where the assumption is, that "WE ALL LIVE WRONG".  It is a relief when we have had a better month, and don't have to be converted or talked down to for bags of food or hot dinners. At least the Lutherans are easier going but the constant pressure to join people's churches for charity does get tiring. How would a public and out atheist around here get any help? Don't forget most of these churches get money via government faith initiatives for the charity programs. Ignored is that with money comes more options.

J.D Vance loves his family, and his hard-working grandparents, even his supposedly rough uncles earn some of his respect but like others who have "made good" and won the job Lotto, he looks back at the younger members of his family as all "losers" who just decided to "drug" and "bum" their way through life.  His success has brought him a giant dose of self-righteousness. This is nothing new to me. His mother has drug addiction problems and this is growing in our society but to hear J.D. Vance tell his story it's like every poor white person is starting each day with an injection of heroin instead of a bowl of cereal.

My mother came from poor farmers and could be called a "hillybilly" though more technically her family was Ohioan dirt farmers. She made it out to the upper middle class. She hated poor people and openly called them "losers" including me. I grew up with my better off parents, telling me "Only losers end up poor!" I certainly was not given life skills or knowledge regarding how the world really worked. J.D. Vance reminds me of one of my narcissistic uncles who went into business instead of law, but had nothing but disdain for those who did not get rewarded by his same efforts. That's my Tea Party uncle who is racist to the hilt and considers every poor person a bum. He too like J.D. Vance loved the older people of his family, he had affection for my hard working grandmother-- his mother and father who were farmers, and a lot less appreciation for anyone in the family who didn't escape the farm or the country or obtain the middle class.  Older people became idealized in these cheery accolades to the past while younger people were "lazy entitled snowflakes". Reading this book was like reading a screed by my uncle if he had been literate enough to come up with one.

I grew up rather uncultured. In fact a lot of my own knowledge and culture came from meeting that ex-millionaire friend in college, and while the friendship went kaput 30 years later. I was basically introduced to the more's that JD Vance and Charles Murray keep waxing on about.

While at home it was meat and potatoes and processed cinnamon rolls with orange icing out of a can, and a few National Geographic magazines, at my millionaire friend's house it was the NY Times, health food stores, caviar, and other class-based things I had no inkling of. My ex millionaire friend introduced me to more upper crust pursuits. We would attend museums, nature centers, musicals and lectures.  My interests switched to away from low brow TV and heavy metal music to PBS and British imports at the record store. It's ironic I probably was considered as being "too big for my britches" especially for a scapegoat became a snob to my family, while later, the real snobs, would kick me to the curb for being "too poor". Some here may point out but your family was upper middle class itself, but this came about from my father's STEM talents, the household culture still remained that of my mother's upbringing. These books seems even more ignorant to me because while they extol the virtues of education, proper "breeding" and "proper" living, most of these things cost money. 

My mother read Harlequin novels and cookbooks. She was very low-brow. She had the cunningness to "make it" but she was a very non-intellectual woman. She was not someone I could talk to about art shows or documentaries. What is odder for me is that my father came from bluebloods, they were immigrants but once owned a multi-million dollar  horse racing track. His father was disinherited though, and ended up working at a munitions plant that made chemical weapons. I was told it was a steel factory but found out some interesting things on my geneaology pursuits.

J. D. Vance's book was odd to me, I often wonder how no one who has gone the opposite way on the ladder is ever allowed a voice, it reminded me of Horatio Alger Stories, when books were published about immigrants who came to America and became millionaires. His book follows that formula too.  So much of our society now is just like the 1890s gilded age as the divide between rich and poor becomes wider and wider. I suppose the formula of an impoverished boy making it to middle class and upper middle class stability is being revised. There too, the impoverished masses would be told they would be rich too with enough pluck and morality.

Ironically while my money nose-dived and I became a member of the lowest classes, my knowledge of the upper middle class world increased. Perhaps this led to more discomfort on my part. I had the odd mixture of being my mother's family's first college graduate ever but then entering a level of poverty where I became the "embarrassment". J.D. Vances fortunes were just the opposite of my own.

Most people won't see through J.D Vance's book, but I did. Here's the problem, it's really the re-telling of another book. I read Charles Murray's book,  Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010 a few years ago. Remember the racist who co-wrote the Bell Curve? Yes, it's the same guy. These books converged in an odd way for me. J.D Vance actually does praise Charles Murray in this book.  Why wouldn't he? They follow the same theme. The two have joined together in giving a lecture. While Murray's book Coming Apart, was an academic screed, and J.D. Vance's book a memoir the same message is the exact same. Here is that message stripped down to the core:

The American poor [now with the focus on whites instead of other races] are poor because they are immoral failures. They cannot blame society and have only themselves to blame for their failures. 

 Now Republican eugenics types have turned their jaundiced eyes not only above the "unwashed masses of other races" to debase but now they have turned those same eyes towards poor white people.  While black people were told for decades, they were "too violent"and "not smart" enough by conservatives and deserved their ill-economic futures as the elite dismantled manufacturing after the northern migrations, the same spiel is now being used on poor whites. 
This book is basically a memoir to back up these themes. People in America are not poor because of the jobs being sent overseas or automation or the 1 percent cleaning out the tills, or a sociopathic and narcissistic society, they are poor, because they are "immoral", because they "do too many drugs", or "are lazy".

“The wealthy and the powerful aren't just wealthy and powerful; they follow a different set of norms and mores.” 

― J.D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and a Culture in Crisis


Charles Murray followed those same themes, claiming that even for poor whites, low IQ means lower income, and higher IQ means higher income. Education is not really something that costs money but is obtained via higher effort and morality. Charles Murray is an apologist for the our neo-conservative/neo-liberal uber-capitalist oligarchs and so is J.D. Vance. Trump fooled the masses claiming his billionaire pals would bring in more wealth to average people and these authors carry the same message.

In Charles Murray's book, he prescribed the Protestant work ethic, morality, working harder, patriotism and other Calvinist prescripts as the answer to poverty. People weren't poor because they got laid off or the factories closed in America, they were poor due to their own "bad behavior" and other shortcomings. To be frank this entire country is being gaslighted by many elites and conservative academics, as the infrastructure and economy go into the trash. Charles Murray and J.D. Vance are definitely among their number.

"Murray goes on to provide evidence that religiosity, work ethic, industriousness, family, etc., have either remained strong or have weakened minimally in the New Upper Class, whereas these same attributes have either weakened substantially or have become almost nonexistent in the New Lower Class. Much of his argument is centered on a notion of self-selective sorting that began in the 1960s and 1970s, when he argues that cognitive ability became the essential predictor of professional and financial success, and people overwhelmingly began marrying others in the same cognitive stratum and living in areas surrounded largely by others in that same stratum, leading to not only an exacerbation of existing economic divides, but an unprecedented sociocultural divide that had not existed before in America."

Remember Murray followed this same formula on blacks and other races, where the Bell Curve claimed that some races all had "lower IQs" and now has turned his attention to poor whites. According to Murray, the rich are richer because they are "better people". He waxes on about the higher IQs of the wealthy as if intelligence is a guarantee for the money to pour into one's personal coffers. It's so bad, its nauseating, it's cemented and institutionalized classism.

I don't agree with either of these authors attitudes about intelligence, or better morality among the rich.
For those of us who have studied narcissism and sociopathy, we know this society is rewarding the amoral more then ever. Here we have neo-Victorianism shoved down our throats where to have money supposedly meant "better breeding" when the trappings that money could buy displayed that breeding to begin with. In today's more profitable STEM careers, there is a degree of elitism happening in some circles and those who focus on certain modes of thoughts as being more acceptable. Linear thinking as opposed to global thinking. Lack of empathy sadly seems to be one growing blight among the technocrats. Maybe this is why we are sending up with such obtuse social science such as from the likes of Charles Murray. 

Even basic analytical thinking can call these two to task, what did the money bring first? What came first? The poor do not have the same access to ballets, museums, the same science educations--an impoverished school will not have an lavish lab. As they give judgment for the drug abuse, would be violence and perceived brutishness among the poor, they hide the bigger picture. They won't admit that the despair is leading to the drug use, or that poverty in itself breaks down civil order out of the desperation. They expect poor people to live like rich ones, ignoring the basic fact the money isn't there.

The conservative eugenics lens that once was focused on other races aka the Bell Curve to advance racism pertaining to African Americans and Latinos, has now been turned on poor whites. Sadly most in this country won't wake up. They will buy this feel-good story, with it's blame and disdain towards the poor and internalize it. Same as they bought the racism, they will buy the classism. They voted in Trump after all.

Hipcrime Vocab explained this quite well on reddit, and in various articles in his blog by the same name:

"Since African Americans did not own the land they farmed, and had few, if any, assets, they had no other choice than to become deracinated migrants and headed to Northern industrial cities in one of the largest internal migrations in world history, from 1940-1970 (the "Great Migration"). This was to places like the Atlantic seaboard, the Ohio Valley, Great lakes industrial cities, and Western cities which had significant manufacturing jobs (New York, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Oakland, etc.). America was the only major industrialized power to emerge unscathed from the war, and dominated the global manufacturing economy. Work was abundant. Blacks who had been primarily associated with the rural south became "urban" overnight.

These plentiful factory jobs allowed African Americans to develop burgeoning lower-middle-class urban communities. That all came to a halt starting in the mid-1960's, as a combination of automation and suburbanization decreased the number of jobs and moved them away from urban areas. Low-skilled occupations were the first to go, and African-Americans soon found themselves without jobs before they were able to build up significant wealth or assets. Inner-cities and downtowns became the empty, hollowed-out ghettos we simply take for granted today, as "white flight" promoted by the newly-constructed freeways allowed whites to follow the jobs to the distant fringe suburbs, purchase houses with Federally subsidized home loans, and build wealth to pass on to future generations. These opportunities were denied to African-Americans due to the cost of transportation, redlining, aggressive policing, etc. We all know that "job creation" is mainly suburban nowadays, from "office parks" to strip malls.

And what happened to African-Americans when their work disappeared? Their communities came apart. The only jobs left were government jobs which could not be suburbanized, and low-wage service work which did not pay enough to support a family (Popeye's, hair salons, etc.). Families broke down, drug abuse became epidemic, and many African-Americans rationally chose a shorter, riskier life of higher wages and self-respect in the black-market drug trade to the subservience and low pay of fast-food work. Were it not for government jobs (thanks to laws passed to favor the hiring of unemployed blacks), the inner-city unemployment rates and lack of good jobs would be even more acute. With no more use for their labor, blacks became virtual wards of the state, and a welfare-industrial complex allowed blacks to administer the conditions of their own dependence.

Entire cities became no-go zones for significant numbers of Americans, and creeping normalcy conditioned us to accept this situation as "just the way things are." We justified it by claiming that blacks are subhuman, have no self-control, have lower IQs, have poor family structures (which were destroyed by the legacy of slavery), were lazy, and so forth. Talk to any inner-city activist and what will they tell you is the root of the problem? "No jobs" (or perhaps poor schools, which is related).

Some escaped, but not all could. A small portion moved into the professional class and did well; a tiny handful became superstar millionaires in our winner-take-all culture (in entertainment, music, athletics, etc.), but by and large, African-American communities suffered a level of deprivation and destitution that most societies would consider literally inhuman. The success of the few escapees was used as a continued justification for the grinding poverty and ghettoization of the vast majority of the African-American community.

Meanwhile, suburban whites just avoided the inner cities their parents had grown up in and derided blacks as "lazy." The specter of "Cadillac-driving welfare queens" drove the now-suburban white working class into the arms of the Republican party, even in traditional Democratic strongholds in the formerly unionized North.

The mass incarceration of unemployed black males was the response to the unrest that automating and offshoring work had created. A "law and order" policy started under Nixon and accelerated under Reagan and his successors. The drug war was ramped up, and "three strikes" laws were passed. Blacks were portrayed as "superpredators," and we promised to "end welfare as we know it" (both under the Clintons). The end result: there are more African Americans in the legal/justice system today than there were slaves in 1860. One in four of the world's prisoners is in U.S. jails.

None of this was blamed on lack of jobs or automation/offshoring, rather it was "poor family structures," single parents, a lack of desire to get married, insufficient educational attainment, and so forth. Job training was touted as the solution, despite the fact that schools are funded by local taxes (and hence of poor quality in urban areas), and the fact that the jobs don't exist. Ghettos contributed to a self-reinforcing cycle of poverty. Many generations since the 1960's have never known steady work, and this is attributed to "work-resistant personalities" rather than automation, suburbanization and offshoring.

Now we're seeing the exact same arguments applied to lower-class whites. They just have poor work skills (which they never had before), it's just "bad behavior, "they have low IQs, they get married too soon, they talk, look and act wrong, they deserve their plight, blah, blah, on and on. Just like blacks, females are more able to secure jobs in the new "service/caring" economy because they are more amenable to low-pay/service work, while the men engage in self-destructive behavior because they can no longer afford a family. They are told, just as the blacks after sharecropping, to just get in the U-Haul and move to where the jobs are. Sound familiar?

We're now dehumanizing poor whites in the media the exact same way we did to blacks, because the media is owned by the same very corporations benefiting from offshoring/automation. The sneering derision of upper-class whites parallels the dehumanization of blacks when the jobs disappeared in the late 1960s and 1970's. You want to know why Trump? That's why Trump. Of course, keeping blacks and whites (and now, Hispanics) at each others' throats has been a fundamental tactic of the ruling classes since day one in America, which is why Trump supporters tend to despise Black Lives Matter, Mexicans, and Bernie Sanders supporters, despite the fact their core interests are aligned (higher wages, better jobs and working conditions, and getting the money out of politics). Whites' life expectancies are shrinking, family formation is down, single parenthood is common due to the lack of family-supporting wages (laughably blamed by conservatives as a cause, not as a result, of decreasing job opportunities), educational attainment is falling, social dysfunction such as child abuse is rampant, and drug use is reaching epidemic proportions (in this case, painkillers and opiates, predominantly). In other words, all the same pathololgies we attributed to the African-American community just being "different." Turns out, whites aren't so different after all.

The lesson of how African-Americans have been treated is an ill omen for the future, I'm afraid. Drive through any Rust belt inner-city today; that's the future, except now the faces will now be of every race instead of predominately African-American. Libertarian economists such as Tyler Cowen already predict massive favelas and giant ghettos housing 80+ percent of the American population in the years ahead thanks to outsourcing and automation.

Look at Detroit. That will be every major city in America in 20 years' time. A tiny sliver of prosperity behind walls and armed guards, surrounded by third-world poverty. That's what history tells us will be our future under mass automation, based on the African-American experience.

tl;dr: Automation decimated the African-American community and we turned a blind eye. The exact same dynamic is now unfolding for 80+ percent of White America. The outlook is not good.

I agree with this post.

Hipcrime Vocab has warned sociopathy in America is growing. I have discussions with my husband about how much I hate the culture of America, and how it has become racist too and "winner take all" and far more oppressive to people it has deemed "throwaways". We see now authors who defend the "winner take all" ethos. They defend the lack of empathy of this society. Their response to all these poor people is not real help or any future but just blame, and "work harder" and put your nose to the grind stone as the jobs go away. I noticed long ago in the evangelical world, no one wanted to talk about what was really happening. The prosperity gospel ruled even in the non-Word of Faith churches. They had the Charles Murray and J.D. Vance outlook on the poor, the whole "I got mine, tough for you" attitudes.

J.D. Vance in his book gives the same prescriptions to "stop being poor", work hard, be religious--he goes on about how church attendance is higher among better heeled people, and how the military whipped him into shape into being a man who followed rules and learned not helplessness but willfulness. If you think about this, isn't this the message that serves the powerful? Obey, Obey, Obey and don't question the system. I wonder what kind of lawyer he will be? Will the realities of our court and political system wake him up?

JD Vance follows the same themes as Charles Murray though using his own life as an example His own classism makes itself more then apparent.

“In the past few years, I’ve vacationed in Panama and England. I’ve bought my groceries at Whole Foods. I’ve watched orchestral concerts. I’ve tried to break my addiction to “refined processed sugars” (a term that includes at least one too many words). I’ve worried about racial prejudice in my own family and friends. None of these things is bad on its own. In fact, most of them are good—visiting England was a childhood dream; eating less sugar improves health. At the same time, they’ve shown me that social mobility isn’t just about money and economics, it’s about a lifestyle change. The wealthy and the powerful aren’t just wealthy and powerful; they follow a different set of norms and mores. When you go from working-class to professional-class, almost everything about your old life becomes unfashionable at best or unhealthy at worst.” 
― J.D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

Isn't lifestyle mandated by the money available? That reality is ignored by both Charles Murray and JD Vance. You can afford better food, you can afford more educational opportunities. They of course forget that the egg [the money] had to come before the chicken [the better and healthier lifestyle]!

In Charles Murray's world and JD Vance's world, the poor are simply lazy. Somehow they missed the memo on all the unemployed college educated people.

"“People talk about hard work all the time in places like Middletown. You can walk through a town where 30 percent of the young men work fewer than twenty hours a week and find not a single person aware of his own laziness.” 
― J.D. Vance Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

He forgets here, that many jobs now only offer part-time hours and one new thing, is to require that one have open scheduling hours even for those few hours.

Of course in J.D. Vance's world, people like my husband do not exist, who put in 12-14 hour shifts and who did work hard, and got laid off.  He would not imagine that a woman like me once worked 4 and 5 part-time jobs at once to keep a roof over her head. Supposedly all the poor are bums who lost their jobs due to malfeasance.

“We’ll get fired for tardiness, or for stealing merchandise and selling it on eBay, or for having a customer complain about the smell of alcohol on our breath, or for taking five thirty-minute restroom breaks per shift. We talk about the value of hard work but tell ourselves that the reason we’re not working is some perceived unfairness: Obama shut down the coal mines, or all the jobs went to the Chinese. These are the lies we tell ourselves to solve the cognitive dissonance—the broken connection between the world we see and the values we preach. ” 
― J.D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

One thing I noticed about this book, is he kept repeating the phrase American Dream without exactly defining it. You mean the dream, that George Carlin used to say you have to be asleep to believe it? Here you get the usual lectures about "hard work", but even here I would say to have "hard work" work, you need the opportunities in the first place. I certainly heard a gutsful myself about the "fucking losers" who didn't make it.

“Mamaw and Papaw believed that hard work mattered more. They knew that life was a struggle, and though the odds were a bit longer for people like them, that fact didn’t excuse failure. “Never be like these fucking losers who think the deck is stacked against them,” my grandma often told me. “You can do anything you want to.” 
― J.D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

You know, America's a funny place, all this preaching about self sufficiency and independence. Maybe in agricultural and trapping and hunting days one could make their own way dependent on their own person. It's like a mythos has replaced reality in America, the self made man taking over, but I noticed J.D. got a string of lucky breaks. Did any of you know, that one of his professors was the lady who wrote the Tiger Mom book, and got him this book deal to begin with?

With attending Yale, he definitely learned a new lingo, and culture. When I read the below, what part of the money bought those good things that he does not get? One thing I learned as someone who fell down the ladder, twice now, out of the upper middle class the first time and out of the working class the second, that the one's who most often had the least empathy sometimes could be better off adults who were poor as children. They left behind their poor relatives, and looked back with a mixture of distaste and self-loathing. I suppose this describes some of the problems I had with my own mother. She complained of having no shoes and having to eat pop corn for dinner, and her built in loathing for her childhood poverty gave her no empathy for my adulthood fall into it.

“As a cultural emigrant from one group to the other, I am acutely aware of their differences. Sometimes I view members of the elite with an almost primal scorn—recently, an acquaintance used the word “confabulate” in a sentence, and I just wanted to scream. But I have to give it to them: Their children are happier and healthier, their divorce rates lower, their church attendance higher, their lives longer. These people are beating us at our own damned game. ” 
― J.D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

He sees the forest and not the trees, and with his religious blind spots, money buys that stability, money buys that happiness after a certain point. One researched pegged around $75,000 being that cut off point around 10 years ago. One of his major blind spots I notice is that his own grandparents escaped "hillybilly" destitution by moving to Middletown Ohio, where his grandfather held a good middle class providing factory job at Armco. His book, has an extreme disconnect in not tying the destruction of American manufacturing to the destruction of economic lives. Someone who worked hard and could provide properly for his family gave him the foundation to build his life upon. His lack of empathy for the very fact these opportunities have been removed from American people is sickening.

One could say I come out of a hillybilly past though these were Ohio dirt farmers on one side, they just happened to be "more north". For those who made good, there was a loathing for those who failed, it's one puzzle piece to my own story in why my family threw me away beyond the narcissism. I grew up being told to be poor, was to be a failure and money counted for everything. My mother's own family was divided with a crack between those who had "made it" and those who didn't. J.D. Vances' attitudes are not that foreign to me. I was the first to earn a college degree in my mother's entire family. Yes, I was the first. I remember the odd jealousy at the time, almost like I didn't deserve it. My mother did not go to college and got her good job via my father remember.

I lived in an area considered a "white trash"/"hillbilly"/"poor rural whites" area for over 10 years. The jobs disappearing affected that place. It went from a stable small town to having multiple abandoned houses, a problem with heroin, and home invasions. I knew the jobs disappearing destroyed family lives, and unlike J.D. who saw the drugs as the cause of the poverty, I saw drugs as a symptom of the despair that came to settle on my old small town and the future young people were losing out on. Sadly J.D Vance and those who support him see the drugs as the cause and not the result.  They also ignore the fact that unlike his grandparents, the same jobs like they had at Armco are no longer there.

Older people with empathy would tell me they feared for young people and told me their lives were much harder. They realized the rug had been pulled from underneath people in being able to make livings or support families. Republican types like J.D. Vance of course blame people for failing in a system when the moorings have been removed. I would even try to tell people do what you can, to survive and succeed, but you wonder about those who serve as apologists for the system, and defend the status quo, in claiming poverty is a result of one's own laziness and immorality. I suppose that's the only answer for the right in America. After all it's easier to steal this place blind and refuse decency, while blaming the victims and gaslighting them about the true causes of their economic misery. 

Gen X: The Scapegoat Generation is Dying Young

Not The Same Person

During later no contact, you may start confusing people. You start changing so much. People don't know what to make of you. I am confusing people lately.

The deconversion is just one layer, there's other layers too. I don't act the same, the people pleasing vaporized. I got a bigger mouth on me. I feel less afraid of everything. Life still has problems don't get me wrong--I have been sick for two months straight. Whatever flu is spreading nation wide, it lasts a lot longer. It's scary to be sick all of December and then all of January after recovering from the first illness. Religious me would have seen God as punishing me, scientific me, figures when they are warning of nation-wide flus maybe I should start wearing a mask when I go out. The second go around has given me extreme exhaustion. Grief over lost friends is affecting me too especially with those who have died.

Overall, it's strange. I feel like I am backtracking to the old me, when I had my first no contact and rebelled. I think then I was crawling out of the cage, but then due to trauma, got locked back in it part way. I was trying to become the person I wanted to become and then went back to trying to become what would be "accepted". I had gone metaphorically back to sleep under the pressures of low contact. I still wanted to earn their love, their respect. I hoped my life would "turn out" and I lived for the fantasy of a day where I would have a family who loved me.  The book Women Who Runs With Wolves may have said I became like the Little Match Girl with all the power inside suppressed.  This probably took me into extreme religion, all those years of trying to become "acceptable" and digging myself into a hole of repression and like a cage.

With my husband--things are fine, he always got the "real me". The "real me" is who I am returning to find.

God as Bart Simpson


The deconversion road has continued. I've been able to return to the Unitarian Universalist church.  I was able to talk to them about how I was UU for most of my young adult hood and how I left and came back and get understanding. That helps a lot. I have noticed they treat my husband with a lot more respect then as the lost "hell-bound" soul. They are nice people. Class issues may still be rough ones in the UU, but I have noticed since I left, there was discussion about classism and more education along those lines in the churches. I can't believe in the God who throws most people in hell, that's long over with. We have been happier being back, the UU fellowship we attend is very interactive and friendly.

I spent 16 years of my life thinking there was a God that would care. I didn't believe in the prosperity gospel and didn't expect him to bring me suitcases of 50s and 100 dollar bills or even total healing, but I expected that instead of being ground down by stupid things of no meaning and years of poverty, there would be some meaning, focus and comfort to life. Maybe compared to my human narcissistic parents, I wanted a loving God the father. Well the treatment wasn't much different. Lots of silence and withholding. I noticed those characters were all merging together in mind. I had my own cognitive dissonance in that area. Any solace I did find or happiness was based in "breaking the rules":  activist causes frowned upon by the religious right, art, music, and nature.

 There's a lot of people I know calling out to God for hope, help and comfort. I feel for them. I am still technically theistic instead of total atheist and I hope "beyond the veil" so to speak there is a God or higher power that cares and can't or doesn't intervene for reasons we don't understand, but the idea of a God who demands blood sacrifices to have sin appeased, that's totally gone for me now and the evangelical lines of dividing humanity into lost and saved with the greatest percent going to hell. There's no God finding a parking space for you or sending down magic fairy dust to fix any of our lives.

I had one aunt my sociopathic family destroyed, and I prayed for help to change things for her. NOPE. Some who have read my blog long enough know that the seeds of the deconversion were spread long ago. The evil just grew more evil and got richer, while Mr. Yahweh sat back on his lounge chair and said "I am too busy." I think of others who have died, all good people I who cared about and had conscience and empathy who the evangelicals and fundamentalists would consign to hell based on their rules because they were not "born again" like my war protester friend who was not Christian and died 7 years ago. It is a relief to no longer live in the world of "hell" and end-times Doom.

My husband made a joke about God is was based on a cartoon I did during my youthful deconversion atheist days where I draw God with a Bart Simpson head, saying "Eat my shorts!" while watching struggling people. We still joke about this every time something bad happens like our car breaking down or other mishaps. One of us will joke "EAT MY SHORTS" which is code for God giving us the middle finger and laugh.  Hey you have enough dark stuff happen, sometimes you have to learn to laugh. We both have been sick most of this winter. He goes out in public to run errands, and gets the latest flu or cold and then I get it. I'm in bed with another one, and all of December was spent being sick too.

I was going into the pharmacy a few days ago to get 60 bucks co-pays worth of medication, had to go in since they screwed up an order, and husband had stomped back to the car and sent me in on my walker, and I walked in and saw all these signs they are selling in there. The pharmacists had ignored our called in order three days before.  I call this the "Middle Class and above Smug Christian Woman decor", those signs they slap on their living room walls always painted usually on barn wood that say things like...

"Thankful, Grateful, Truly Blessed"

"Truly Blessed"

"In All Things Give Thanks"

Well you get the drift. If I see someone with signs like that on their living room walls, I will know not to pursue a friendship not too heavily. What kind of people put things up like that on their walls? Do they feel really blessed or is it to brag about being blessed?  They fill living rooms of all my old church members, and some people around here. If I get in any pain I can't hide or can't wear the mask, they would dump me like a hot rock. That's someone to keep in politeness land and weather talk.
Hmm you mean like God? Think about a relationship where you are promised this figure will help you, and he simply chooses not to. Or refuses over and over to help people you care about. One reason I deconverted was so many friends died without "being saved", I figured heaven was going to be empty anyway, if there was one.

I can't wear the mask. And yeah the preachers will preach, "Oh God loves you" but all I know is when the pedal hit the metal, and when it was time for a God to step up. He didn't. Many people who deconvert, and I have seen this on all the deconversion boards, because I know we prayed and asked this God for help, and we also saw many loved ones and others suffering then we start to question.
One thing I think about, humans would probably help each other a hell of a lot more, if they didn't think there as a magic genie in the sky that was going to fix everything. I also believe a Cruel God makes for Cruel Men, and this is why the religious right has become so hypocritical and cruel too. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Farewell to my blogger friend "Q"

Mulderfan posted 


It's with great sadness that I share the news that Q has passed away.

Might seem strange but, even though I never actually met Q, heard his voice or saw his picture, he was in many ways the greatest friend I've ever had. More like a brother than a friend, his daily emails, inappropriate memes, and constant stream of funny YouTube videos kept me going in my darkest hours, including a lengthy and near fatal illness.

Those who followed Q's blog will know that he was haunted by many demons but never lost his sharp wit or crazy sense of humour. I console myself with the knowledge that he is finally and peace and free of pain.

Sigh, I am so very sad to have learned this. I will grieve Q too, he was a great internet friend and fellow blogger and fellow ACON supporter. I have been worried as I had been writing him and not heard back. He would share videos and jokes with me and we traded emails a few times a week for years.  Because of his background he seemed to understand things I never could explain to others. He was funny, and one of the strongest people I have ever met considering what he had gone through. He was a great friend to me too, and always supportive, and we shared a lot of jokes, I will miss him dearly.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

13 Siblings Held Captive By Abusive Parents

13 Siblings Held Captive By Abusive Parents

"A couple accused of imprisoning their 13 children in dark and filthy conditions in their Perris, California, home believed it was by God’s will that they had a large family, according to reports. The parents of David Turpin told ABC News their son and his wife Louise had so many children because “God called on them.” The couple is accused of using chains and padlocks to shackle several of their children to their beds, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department."

Some of the religious narcissists and sociopathic parents are going overboard in the abuse. Authoritarian religion has paved the way for breeding as many children as possible as their parents produce them for the Army of God and turn them into trophies.

It's great one 17 year old daughter was brave enough to break away and report what was happening to her and her siblings. She told the police she feared her parents would kill her. In these Quiverful families like the Duggar family, the children are made into literal objects, you will notice they all have the same exact dresses and hair styles. What are the chances that all the girls would have the same exact hair color? They all wear that in the same style straight and parted in the middle and the boys are expected to match their father in the same horrible 1970s Prince Valiant hair style.

Narcissists often treat their own children like objects and trophies. One can tell easily even seeing the photos, that they were seen as part of the display, they were not treated as people in their own right. These parents were very religious and home-schooled the children setting up their own private school via California law. This was a fundie family that loved Disney and Elvis.

I don't support homeschooling and think it should be abolished or have very strong and strict state over-sight. There's too many abuses. Go to the website Homeschoolers Anonymous, and you can read the horror tales there, of isolation and young people with diminished futures from lacking education. A few educated parents do homeschool right with self-studies, co-opts and caring about their children but the door is far too open for abuse. The neighbors in all the news stories claim the children weren't allowed to talk to them and came out at night only like vampires. Some didn't even know of their existence.

What scared me about this story the most besides the extreme malnutrition and control, is that some of these children were adults, and they were well into their 20s. One was 29 years old! We see this like with the Duggars where their adult children like Jana and John David Duggar are 27 years old and never have lived on their own or in their own apartment and have their lives directed as much as when they were 12 years old. So some of the chained up "kids" were adults that weren't allowed to grow up or get mature adult lives. I saw the theory online that they did not allow these children to grow up and I believe it, the older adult-children look like they are severely limited and the starving has kept them away from attaining puberty.

Some tried to claim the abuse came later, and that the family "looked happy" at Disney and other tourist spots but I found that nonsense, it did not escape my attention they were all dressed the same, and in those circles "keeping sweet" is part of the formula, where the children are trained to hide all emotions and keep smiling. They look creepy like pod children and you can tell the control from their two parental sociopaths is already happening. Keeping up appearances is very important in fundamentalist Christian circles. This is why many would look at this family and ignore the skeletal limbs and awkwardness like the Elvis impersonator and think "What a happy family!".

The mother being "perplexed" when the cops arrived, she probably is one of those abusers who thought this level of parental control was needed and that she was not an abuser.  We know narcissists aren't very good at self examination or reality checks on their behavior. I would bet money of "To Train up a Child" was probably somewhere in that house.

If you google Turpin and wedding renewal on youtube, you can see videos of their wedding renewals. There we see the narcissism with the endless wedding renewals between this couple and desiring all that attention. I hope the adult children are able to get services, transitional housing and training to get jobs and lives and the other children are kept away from the relatives as well.

The aunt with her googly eyes, acting like it was normal to have all the kids hidden away from her all those years, I don't think much of her either. I hope the grandparents don't get them either:

"James and Betty Turpin said "God called on them" to have as many children as they did (referring to David and Louise). They also said the children were given "very strict home-schooling," and that the children had to memorise long passages of the Bible. Some of the children were aiming to learn it in its entirety, they said."

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Don't Worry He Won't Get Far on Foot

They have made a movie about John Callahan, he was a cartoonist who was disabled and then drew cartoons, which were controversial but funny years ago. This is definitely a must-see!

John Callahan

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Armageddon Days: Goodbye Bible Prophecy

 Bible Prophecy messed me up. I wish I never had seen those Left Behind books, and that my years of being scared of a nuclear war, living in a giant metro city that was at the top of the list for the nuking and other PTSD events didn't comingle into a nasty stew that helped me fall for Last Days theologies. There's a toxic element to any religion that thinks the end of the world is inevitable and desires to find glory in it.

As a fundamentalist Christian, that world was all about bible prophecy. I fell for it and warned people about the coming "one world religion" which of course as a fundamentalist we were taught every other religion means you go to hell, and the "one world government" and "whore of Babylon". We were taught in fundamentalist and even mainstream evangelical church to read the Bible like it was a blue-print map for the future.

There's tons of Christian writers I read who wrote on the doom that awaited. I read books from church libraries, like ones by David Hunt and Cathy Burns. All this study did was take me more and more into a skewed world-view that changed reality. Digging one's self out of something like that takes some time.

 Some may see these things as just "fringe" philosophies with very few believing them but don't kid yourself, in the evangelical world now and not just extreme fundie land, bible prophecy and the end of the world is the normal belief. These are the folks who voted for Trump. A cynical part of me wonders how much of it is multi-layer trauma programming as the doom-porn quadruples? After all a frightened population is an obedient one. If they think God is coming back soon, they aren't going to call national strikes.

Remember Jim Bakker? He was a disgraced 1980s televangelist with a heated dog house and golden faucets. He is making money hand over first selling buckets of food to people for prepping and to avoid the would be famines to come. He uses a lot of fear to do it too. In my independent fundamentalist baptist churches especially after the emotional laden 9-11 era, they told us America would collapse, and war would come and on online Christian conspiracy websites, one was told that FEMA camps would round up Christians and kill them and even more horrible fates.

Websites like David Bay's Cutting Edge, Rapture Ready, Jesus is Savior as examples among many all served as feeders for a ton of information on the horrible fates to come for humanity that ranged from Yellowstone exploding  and covering two thirds of the country in volcano ash to the Nephilim returning to wreck havoc. With time, I got the feeling there sure seemed to be an agenda to make sure Christians were as scared as possible. Fear and control keep people compliant.

Hell already served that purpose for a lot of afraid people, but what does all the trauma programming and focus on scary events do to human beings when they are told the world will end all the time? What does it do to people's minds when they are told their fate will be dying in a nuclear holocaust or rounded up and killed by a dystopian government or have their eyeballs all bleed out from Ebola or die from some world wide flu? Sure there's tons of troubles in the world that can happen but why go looking for it? America is one very afraid and traumatized place.

The "get out" clause is the Pre-Trib Rapture, you float up to heaven with all the other holy people, and Christians were supposed to be spared the worse as the mushroom clouds and sirens went off.

I was more post-trib technically and thought the pre-Trib Rapture was easy escapism but I still believed time on this earth was short. Figuring out the scientists were right about millions of years of epochs and about human's truly small blip on the eternal time map, told me how absurd some of this stuff was. I also studied things like the Millerites and their great disappointment and little cracks started to form in my beliefs.

One thing that should scare all of us, is there are many conservative politicians, who believe we are in the last days and are blase' about this world ending, after all God will make a new one. Who cares if the environment collapses, God will save us! This is why Trump had no problem shutting down the EPA. Dominionism which I never accepted has only grown. The religious right wants to control everyone's lives and to expand the police state while preaching "small government". A worldwide nuclear holocaust has entered the place of acceptability as our Cheeto in Chief antagonizes multiple nations large and small.

There's probably an influx coming out of the churches, or I'd like to hope so because the evangelical/fundamentalist world has been revealed as the snake pit it really is with Trump, his minions and the prosperity preachers that support him. One entire party is now owned by them and this society is paying the price. Instead of Star Trek as our future, these people are taking us down the road to Idiocracy and the Republic of Gilead. 

The book of Revelation bothered me more and more, so earth gets blown up too, and we are brought locusts and more suffering on humans like life isn't hard enough. I believe that humanity sought truth and there are some true moral and philosophical teachings in the Bible but it is limited by humanity striving to figure things out. Revelation by the way is a book, that most Christians don't agree on either. Evangelical or not. It's like an 8 ball everyone shakes, to try to figure out a code and yeah plenty of people wrote books on Bible codes too years ago.

Do enough online apologetics as a new gung-ho Christian and it's a circle that seems to lead nowhere. I studied the book of Revelation intently and even wrote and discussed on multiple Christian websites about multiple bible prophecies and later conspiracies. RFID chips still disturb me and are "real" but I would never take one for freedom purposes. Bible Prophecy can also be an avenue into conspiracy theory, and I was there too, reading books like "The Shadows of Power" and various books written by Dennis Cuddy, and others. I guess conspiracy theory sells in a lot of places now.

I know my environment and life took me to some crazy places. I moved to a very small and remote rural town in 1999 and would live there for almost 10 years. It is actually known for being very conservative. There I was surrounded by preppers, libertarians, and others who believed bible prophecy. What later became the alt-right was being molded. There was a guy who even bragged about being in a miltia. Let's just say this while the community was behind the times and that brought some positives, I look back on it now as a very extreme and unusual echo chamber.

 It is hard to explain to you the world I lived in then. I met people who had renounced social security numbers and were homeless living in RV campers because they were anti-government and believed social security numbers were the mark of the beast. They would visit my one IFB church sometimes and that's how I met them. I talked them into taking a caretaker job so they wouldn't have to live so primitive, and they did, and lost contact with them around 2010 after I had moved here. They lived in an RV camper for years behind this guy's farm. I never went over there. The majority of people I knew in town not only in my own IFB church but most of the others homeschooled their children. I visited one lady's extreme church where they believed in bible prophecy and analyzed their dreams. I knew people who had sold everything and other preppers there and those who grew and store food on farms.

Outside of church, when politics came up, the main thought was despair, with the idea that only God could save us now, because the town was dying around us. The American Dream had died long ago. We had escaped Chicago to find peace, and safety, and while we found a small quiet town, there were problems there too. As I wrote in the science article, Carl Sagan was spot on in his prediction that people in their despair, would turn to extreme religion and superstition.

I know my PTSD, trauma and other issues took me into extreme religion. I had been spiritually abused and told I was going to hell when young over and over for questioning my family's religion. I remember when I was young and I have a journal from 1989 still where in it, I write quotes by Ingersoll, lyrics by the band The The [see the song above it was one of my favorites] and Unitarian Universalist quotes about freedom and not believing in hell. It is kind of ironic I have come full circle now with fuller understanding going back to my UU roots but as my husband said recently to me, "You had gone through so much, and I knew you were trying to find answers, thinking you would find them in this form of Christianity".

 People are turning to drugs and religion to fix their pain. The religion part applied to me. Extreme religions and cults always have been more attractive to the vulnerable, abused and people with challenges. Many Christian pastors know the siren call to broken people of "Jesus or I can fix you and your life" will bring some in the door. I am guilty of the religion thing obviously. My own economic duress took me in too, once my career imploded, I saw the shiny happy middle class and above world as a very far off nation where smart phones and careers existed, so I ended up going into a religious version of fantasy and superstition. Science was for rich people. They lived in a STEM technocratic universe, I viewed with suspicion more and more as the socio-economic barriers grew wider and wider. This is probably something if the Democratic party hopes to survive or to really effect any change, they need to pay attention to.

 The deliverance minister believed in bible prophecy too and warned of the new world order online. When I first met her she lived in another state but told me that God had directly told her to ride out the Tribulation in another backwater Southern state. This was 12 years ago. It does disturb me that something this extreme became normal to me, but by then I had read dozens of online fundamentalist Christians saying the very same thing. I was told everyday at church, God would direct my own life and give me answers. 

 Some people have confessed to me that when young they felt freaked out being told the world would end soon. They feared they would never be able to have families or marry or a future. I worried too about my own time being cut short but my own health loomed as a bigger threat. Sometimes now I am disturbed how evangelical Christian websites pound on about constant wars, threats from other groups of people and more. It has helped in some of the circles to advance xeno-phobia and very dark views of the world. While some liberal Christians may preach that God will make the world better, for evangelicals and in fundamentalist circles, it was all about the world falling apart. Some non-believers would wonder about the death cult edge to this all. I do not believe the alt-right would even exist without bible prophecy and conspiracy theories fueling it.

Have you ever wondered how much of this doom-porn in Christianity is related to people just having no more economic hope anymore and socially disconnected lives in America. You see other Western European nations still with a bit of hope in the future. These nations by far are far more secular or religiously liberal and are far happier places. Ever wonder about that?

I am wondering myself how near death, horrible disabilities that deafened and deformed me, and isolated me, messed me up to be receptive to all this junk. If you think about it, if a great swathe of American are THIS AFRAID, this country is screwed, and religion and bad Dominionist politics have stirred together into a stinking stew. That's not where any hope, happiness or joy in the future, is going to come. We got the austere, the miserable and the nothing to look forward to. Some of these extreme Christians are dystopians who desire a shitty future for us all.

 I know being told everyone was going to die and we would all be nuked or persecuted all the time upset me. It was a Machivellian Divide and Conquer especially as the uber wealthy have people fighting over a smaller share of crumbs. The religious right are screwed up in the head because a lot of the churches shove constant doom down their throat, false righteous anger with everyone as the enemy who isn't just like them and endless warnings that the Muslims and the gays are coming to destroy them all. Some groups have vestiges of racism scapegoating other races like Trump.

 Bible Prophecy is not a good influence on mental health in many ways. Neither are extreme conspiracy theories. How did I wake up? Everything just grew more irrational to me. The faith was crumbling from reality hitting home as I have attested to on several articles already but there were other nibbling details. Further study took me to different places, and the insanity of the deliverance minister was a huge nudge. It's hard to explain but I realized more and more of the conspiracies were bullshit, when I saw this stuff about the Mandela Effect online and saw Christians and others believing this stuff, I was disturbed. People have faulty memories and some believing that reality had been altered was very scary to me. I knew then things have gotten crazy. Don't get me wrong, I still believe there's a lot of bad stuff going on and what's theory about conspiracy when people plot and plan to do evil all the time? Refer to George Carlin here. He got a lot of their antics accurate. However there's a lot of scripted and delusional stuff and among the most religious circles it's the worse.

Think about it this way, the wars in the middle east were sold via bible prophecy. Trump is adapting policy to the deceptions of the religious right, such as in ending anything to do with climate change. Trump moving Israel's capital to Jerusalem has the religious right getting excited, and a lot of bible prophecy runs that show too. I realized how conspiracy people were all herded into voting for Trump via Alex Jones [Remember even Hillary complained about Alex Jones and I realized a lot of it was just another con.

I remember the days when Alex Jones told everyone both parties were evil and with the "Illuminati". This was just one facet among all the other nuttiness growing with fake news, and so much propaganda. Now the Illuminati is just another mainstreamed "meme", and has been recently featured in a Taco Bell commercial. This weirded me out as I told some people on a Christian website some time ago they would be "mainstreaming" all the conspiracy theories. After all if Alex Jones Infowars was almost like Trump's election headquarters who knew what else would happen?

 Religion was getting crazier, and to me became a source of fear, pain and guilt instead of any comfort or solace, and I know this is one reason my deconversion began along with my intellectual changes. I did not feel like I belonged and I never belonged. I had cognitive dissonance and unhappiness for years as I described on the other religion articles. That push and pull between my real liberal values and this religion that was messing me up inside. It was time for a change.

 Things could have been worse for me if I was not married to an agnostic husband, he told me some of these bible prophecy people and the deliverance ministers were getting crazy, and her curses were like Skipper and the Tiki, and would tell me these extreme people were wrong. [He loved me and hung in there with me and I didn't force religion down his throat.] Anyhow I had an individual foot in both worlds doing war protesting and art/music co-op and environmental volunteer work so I had that push and pull going too. I still went to music concerts so I had some contact with reality.

Now I can be more comfortable and back in intellectual honesty instead of the constraints of extreme religion. I had been in the UU, which I am back in now, I had studied art. So there was always that push and pull. Bible prophecy sends some completely over the bend. People have done things like sell everything or make life decisions dependent on false prophets and religious crying wolf. I think it's impacting our culture in some insidious ways and I know it did me.

I Hate the Religious Right

Recovering From Bad Religion

Fundamentalist Religion and the Rejection of Science in America

More Religious Thoughts

Leaving Fundamentalism Related to ACON Recovery?

"This is My Life: I Will Do What I Want!"

I was watching an Ollie video: this one, and noticed the lady in it, who had some very narcissistic psychotic in-laws to contend with and a weak emasculated husband to deal with, had her therapist write on a post it note, "This is My Life: I Will Do What I Want" to take home and remind herself. I found this interesting since, in last couple years, I have that as a thought in my head, and it came with increased self-care and boundaries. I tell myself "This is My Life: I will Do What I Want". In society we are bound by the law of course, but this is a freeing statement when you apply it to your life and know you don't have to be under any narcissist's control.

The Beaten Generation

The The was a band I was really into when I was young. It's extraordinary how their lyrics 30 years later apply to today and totally relevant for these times.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Five Hundred Pound Peep Comic Zine #3: Peep Escapes Various Cages

Five Hundred Pound Peep Comic Zine #3 is now on sale!

Peep Escapes Various Cages

This is the third comic zine in a three-part series: based on the blog, Five Hundred Pound Peep: The Life & Times Of A 500-Pound Woman, on which she recounted the story of her life in comic form. Peep's comics serve as the snapshot of her life, times and struggles as a super-sized woman in America today.

Part Three: Peep Escapes Various Cages, takes us through Peep's adult years. You'll see her later struggles with a dysfunctional family, size discrimination, living in the big city, escaping to the country and finally figuring stuff out.   This issue is 37 pp., and comes to you on 8.5" x 11" Xeroxed paper, with a white color card stock cover, straight from the author's drawing table -- and into your hands! What more could you ask?

As always email me, and I will direct you to the ebay link.

I am still interested too in zines for trade as well. Thank you. :)

Frozen Land


Hope everyone made it through the freeze-a-thon okay!

I was housebound for many weeks. I have noticed a disturbing theme with Decembers. I am sick for the whole month and have been three years in a row. I got bronchitis, and had to go on antibiotics, and early in the month had a leg infection and a sinus infection all at once. This was Ground Hog Day time, as I have a calendar of last year of various activities between the crossed out housebound weeks, and December of 2016 was spent the same exact way. I told husband next year, we will wear face masks and latex gloves with any contact with the public and look like would be criminals to avoid germs. Getting sick when you don't see any other humans for weeks, is weird but he has to go out into the world for food, and work related stuff.

My doctor does not think those two infections were related. The latter cold I caught from my husband, well it was a strange cold/flu hybrid, and instead of lasting about a week, it lasted for weeks and weeks, and ran for my lungs.

 I still feel strange at how long that illness lasted and just quit coughing a few days ago. So I was sick from Dec 3 to sometime last week. On top of that Arctic blasts from the gates of hell, turning where I live into a winter wasteland, temperatures bottomed out in the teens for weeks. I do not live in Minnesota either. Some people probably wanted to throw bricks through their TV watching the Weather Channel go on about "Frozen America".

 I finally get some warm days and now I want to go outside and UPS missed me, for my expensive lung medicine, and did not take it to the apartment office and tomorrow the office is closed, so I hope they don't miss me for the short time I may venture outside tomorrow, or the next day. I already stayed home on purpose today giving up a non-housebound day for it to be delivered, and it didn't show up, even with the slip with the promise on it. Well that is my kind of luck. Today, they claimed the weather is too bad which makes no sense.  I saw the UPS truck driving here to deliver packages and holiday gifts to my shopaholic neighbors as I took walks in the front hall, in the worse of many snow storms.

That's the kind of crap that sends Aspies into crying melt-downs because they have been housebound for an entire month and want to be outside for their few days of relief. My fate has not been one of those blessed people who were classmates of mine in high school now bragging about their endless cruises and vacations to warm areas. Well it's not too bad, I managed to escape outside yesterday.

A friend bought me this cold face mask, I think it will buy me a few temperatures where I can go outside in 31 degrees and keep all the wheezing away. So that was very nice. I have a giant scarf made for giant people, one lady at a protest I went to in 32 degrees, before winter really grabbed us around the throat, said it looked like a blanket. In my case, I've done things like wear blankets outside not to freeze over coats. If I wear both together I will have a chance, as it hits the lowest 30s, but really bad cold is to be avoided.

I have become a Trekkie, I suppose now I can enter full nerd-dom, now that I don't have IFB preachers telling me that science fiction is evil and filling my head with Humanism and the United Federation of Planets represents the evil one world government United Nations.I have enjoyed watching every episode of Star Trek Voyager. I keep having weird thoughts about how the USA seems to be choosing Idiocracy and the Republic of Gilead as a future, instead of Star Trek. I plan to write soon about the effects Bible Prophecy had on me and the effects on politics as a up and coming article.

Hopefully the rest of the winter will be more mild.

Upcoming Blog Related Projects

                                    a past journal cartoon....grey-rocking has it's doormat limitations

 I have decided to produce two zines from this blog. I am going to take the best narcissist/personal ACON articles and put them together into a paper copy, revamp them a bit, add some writing, and add some Peep illustrations.

 If you want to tell me what your favorite ACON or narcissist articles are, go ahead I would appreciate it.

Another zine will be a fat articles zine, which I will put old writings about weight gain, NAAFA, weight loss, Lipedema and add illustrations as well. 

If you want to nominate a fat article to be included tell me here. Thanks. 

Oprah for President? Just What We Need, Another Billionaire Narcissist.

Sometimes it's embarrassing to be an American anymore. Some jingoists would shout, "Love it or leave it!" I'd probably sneer at them at this point. This place is growing into a laughing stock via the Orange Cheeto. One thing I am noting in the Democratic party via various Facebook boards, is that Corp Democrats sure hate the Bernie Democrats. I'm more a Bernie one, and I can see the Corp Dems shouting "We need to go where the money is!". I went to a "Revolution" Bernie meeting a few months ago that had an eager smart young man leading that cause and some local area Democrats were there. One seemed outraged when I told him Hillary lost for abandoning labor and the working class but I think I may have gotten a few points across. Anyhow I hope I did.

Can't they find a female politician [of any race] who actually has experience?  Do we need another narcissist that has to be in the public eye no matter what and never will retire even to a ripe old age. Oprah may not be senile, and actually is a more socially astute narcissist, ie: a higher functioning one. Low functioning narcissists piss everyone off like Trump. Trump's money buys obedience but he doesn't know how to direct the charm or has become too senile to pull it off now.

Do we want to be lectured on our weight? One can imagine weight loss focused Oprah, bringing more oppression for fat people. I guess she can tell all the poor they think the wrong thoughts, and are keeping prosperity away from not being positive enough. Oprah has done a lot of damage to American culture via her philosophies. Just what we need for 2020, another celebrity narcissist! The Idiocracy has arrived!

Family By the Ton

TLC has a new show out called "Family by the Ton". Sadly it promotes weight loss surgery too. I wish they had a show about fat people that didn't have weight loss surgery attached to it. Sadly they will present the severely obese people as all severe over-eaters and leave out health conditions and other issues. Obviously this family definitely has some kind of genetic issue going on too.