Quick Memes, Part 4

It’s time to clear out the Stupid Bad Memes hopper once again: here are a few more memes that are irritating, but not irritating enough to write an entire post about.  If you missed them, check out parts 1, 2, and 3 of this “series”.


bones-and-meat

First, a grammar quibble:  do not use an apostrophe when making words plural.

Second: Women aren’t meat.  Unless you are a vegan/vegetarian, meat is something you consume, at the expense of another creature.  To equate a woman’s body with meat is to say that she is something to be used, to be devoured.  A man who thinks of a woman as meat believes that she exists solely for his enjoyment.  If you’re interested in reading more about the connection between sexism and meat consumption from a feminist-vegetarian perspective, you should read The Sexual Politics of Meat, by Carol J. Adams.

Third: body shaming works both ways.  I understand and respect the push-back against shaming curvy people, but I don’t think the appropriate response is to shame skinny people (which I assume was the purpose of the hideous statement “Bones are for dog’s” [sic]).  Everybody needs love and acceptance, regardless of body type.  Furthermore, the male of the species should not be separated into dogs and men based on their sexual proclivities.  Some men like skinny women, some men like curvy women, some men like other men, some men like everybody, some men like nobody.  Let’s not band men (or women) into false dichotomies for the purpose of a stupid meme.

And while we’re on the topic of attraction…


i-need-feminism

No.  Just no.

Nowhere in feminist theory does it say that a man cannot be attracted to a woman based on her looks, nor that a man who doesn’t find a particular woman attractive is shallow.  The only thing feminists would request is that regardless of whether you find a woman attractive or not, you treat her with the same basic respect and dignity you would show to men.

Anti-feminists like to pretend that the feminist agenda is to subjugate men by placing them in no-win situations, but we know that’s not true.  Feminism has never been about subjugating anybody, but in achieving equality across the board.  Why does a movement interested in equality call itself the feminist movement, then?  Because historically, women have been victimized, subjugated, and de-humanized to a far greater extent than men.  In a society where men rule, women are often second-class citizens.  Feminism aims to correct this imbalance, not to turn the tables on men.


how-many-planets

On the lighter side, we have this bit of fluff.

Those of us who have the privilege of education know that privilege is spelled with two I‘s.

We assume there is one Universe (for lack of direct evidence to the contrary).  Also, as per the decision of the International Astronomical Union in 2006, our solar system contains only eight planets.  Sorry Plutophiles!  But if we’re considering the entire Universe, then there seem to be uncountable zillions of planets.  Nevertheless, the abundance of planets in the Universe has little to do with you meeting your true love.  Every human in the Universe lives right here on Earth.  If you haven’t met your soulmate yet, take heart; he or she is definitely within 13,000 kilometers of you.  On the scale of the Universe, that’s less than a stone’s throw.

The number of coutries, islands, and seas really depends on how you define each term.  For example, as of 2016 there are 195 officially recognized countries, but I suppose that’s a matter of politics.  Also, there are well over 809 islands in the world, especially if you include river and lake islands, but a great many of them are uninhabited and therefore unlikely to be the site where you meet your life partner.  And that whole 7 seas business has to go; we’re not ancient mariners here.

So it’s fine to create a romantically-inspired meme, but please…do your homework.


immigrants-and-homeowners

Did you know you can write sentences without capitalizing the first letter of every word and we’ll still be able to read them (no matter how much we wish we couldn’t)?

An immigrant is a person who goes to live permanently in a foreign country, regardless of whether they followed legal channels or not.  Somebody who swims across a river in pursuit of a better life is just as much an immigrant as somebody who files paperwork.

This is a poor analogy, and the author’s high school English teacher must be very disappointed.  For the most part, immigrants are not coming to the United States to take something you worked hard for.  On the contrary, studies show that undocumented immigrant workers actually improve the financial situations of documented and native workers.  Unlike the common thief who breaks into your home and steals your jewelry, immigrants provide valuable services as well as ethnic and cultural diversity.  That’s why I think that instead of trying to tighten immigration laws, we ought to consider fast-tracking the naturalization process.  Even the most hardened anti-immigrant bigots ought to appreciate the value of having more hard-working, tax-paying citizens in our communities, right?


luck-or-god

Those are not mutually exclusive things.  Suppose a bank robber manages to escape with the loot mere seconds before the police arrive.  Would you say that he got lucky, or would you contend that God helped him out?

On the other side of that coin, suppose a pious man is walking to church when he is struck and killed by a car.  Is this bad luck, or does God have it in for him?

If you believe in God, that’s fine.  It’s your choice, after all.  But it seems silly to me to assume that the existence of God precludes the existence of luck.  Sometimes good (and bad) things happen without the agency of a higher power.  If you claim that all instances of so-called luck are really the mysterious and unseen movements of a loving, divine being, then you must be prepared to explain the fact that (A) sometimes bad people have good luck, and (B) sometimes good people have bad luck.


seatbelts

*sigh*

We’ll discuss the overt sexism in this meme soon enough, but first I have a few quibbles with the grammar and with the illustration.

I’m pretty sure the meme should read “45% fewer car accidents”.  Generally, you use fewer when you are talking about things that can be enumerated, and less when you’re talking about things that cannot.  For example, I’d like to see fewer stupid sexist memes, and I would be happy if this particular meme contained less stupidity.

Also…there appears to be some kind of steel wall between the front and back seats of this car.  There is clearly a mirror, but it is rendered useless by the lack of rear visibility.  Surely this poor car design will contribute more to accidents than any other factor.

Now then…the message behind this idiotic meme is that men could drive more safely if their female passengers would just, you know, shut up.  Apparently, female chatter accounts for a whopping forty-five percent of all traffic accidents, which makes me wonder why they never warned us about riding with women when I took driver’s ed.  Apparently the feminist agenda machine got to my school before they could tell us the truth.

Now it is true that the leading cause of car accidents is distracted drivers, and the chatter of passengers is a source of distraction; however, many drivers are also distracted by talking on the phone, texting, eating, grooming, and reading, and none of those distractions are depicted here.  I find it interesting that the author of this meme thought that the only way to silence passengers – and in particular female passengers – is to physically gag them.  How typical.  How disgusting.


sherbert

Sherbet.  Sherbet.  Sherbet.  There is only one R in sherbet.


That’s all for now.  Good night everybody!

Woke Enough

wtc-plane-imact

In the fifteen years since terrorists allegedly hijacked passenger planes and crashed them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania, there has been no shortage of self-appointed scientists stating emphatically that the events of 9/11 could not have transpired according to the official account.  And thank goodness for these stalwart champions of truth; they have let nothing – not logic, not contradictory evidence, not even good taste – waylay their march to expose the lies behind the events of September 11, 2001.  These truthsayers, whose unique perspective allows them to get it while the rest of the world is mired in ignorance, continue to illuminate the events of that tragic day in the form of memes.  And as we all know, memes are the most reliable source of information available on the Internet.

What would we do without the 9/11 “Truth” movement and its truth-spewing memes?  Without “Truthers”, who would remind us that jet fuel doesn’t burn hot enough to melt steel beams?  And when structural engineers, who mistakenly believe themselves to be experts because of their years of education and practical experience, tell us that the steel beams in the WTC didn’t need to melt in order to bring the towers crashing down, who but a “Truther” has the temerity to stand up to those so-called experts’ superior knowledge and call them out?  God bless “Truthers” for their unwavering ability to ignore evidence that doesn’t suit their preferred narrative.

The “Truthers” – no doubt inspired by a bevy of conspiracy-fueled websites such as The Free Thought Project, AboveTopSecret, and Infowars – shed light where officials would prefer darkness.  For example, these tireless terriers of truth uncovered the shocking reality that the World Trade Center towers were designed to withstand an airplane impact even more severe than the ones that actually brought them down (according to our reptilian overlords).  And how do the dastardly government apologists explain that damning fact?

One sycophant – the maintainer of 911Myths.com – claims that there is quite a bit of discrepancy in reports about how much of an impact the towers were designed to withstand.  Leslie Robertson, the lead structural engineer of the WTC (and probably also a spineless sheep who accepts the government’s account of 9/11 without question!) says that he performed a calculation during the 1960’s showing that the towers could withstand a direct impact by a Boeing 707 moving at about 180 miles per hour.  The assumption was that the airplane would be lost in thick fog and would accidentally strike one of the buildings while approaching JFK or Newark for landing.  The extended damage caused by a large jet fuel fire was not taken into account because (A) the effects of that kind of fire on a skyscraper’s internal structure were not well-understood at the time, and (B) a landing airplane would probably be low on fuel anyway.  Robertson never actually claimed that the towers would hold up under a 9/11-type attack.

Ha!  Nice try, Leslie, but your qualified calculations won’t throw real “Truthers” off the track.  They’ve picked up the scent of another report, filed by the Port Authority around the same time, indicating that the towers were perfectly capable of withstanding a direct hit from an airplane traveling at 600 mph.  That’s even faster than the alleged airplanes that allegedly hit the towers traveling at 470 to 590 alleged miles per hour.  What do you say about that?

According to non-“Truthers” (i.e. sheeple), the Port Authority trumped up the results of Robertson’s study in order to silence critics of the WTC project.  You see, in 1945 and 1946, airplanes accidentally crashed into the Empire State Building and 40 Wall Street, respectively, resulting in 22 deaths.  In both cases, fog was blamed (although to be honest, the New World Order probably created the fog that blinded the pilots.)  Critics were fearful that the WTC towers, being taller and broader, would present an even greater risk for low-visibility plane crashes.  Apparently, the Port Authority, anxious to see the already over-budget project completed, felt that Robertson’s numbers were not soothing enough, and decided to go for gold by falsely reporting that the towers were more than safe enough to withstand any kind of impact speed that could possibly be produced by a passenger plane.

An un-woke sheeple might think that 9/11 “Truthers” are ignoring the results of Robertson’s calculation and focusing on the Port Authority’s faulty report because, you know, it’s more convenient for their conspiracy theory.  But of course, that’s all poppycock.  The Port Authority was right, structural engineer Robertson was wrong, and Bush did 9/11!  I don’t even want to imagine a world in which 9/11 “Truthers” were not around to remind us of this, repeatedly, on the anniversary of that horrific tragedy.

 

Stupidity Is NOT A Social Construct

Hillary's Selling Point

As we rush headlong into the 2016 election season, it should come as no surprise that armchair pundits are cranking out politically-themed memes at an increasing pace.  It probably also comes as no surprise that Stupid Bad Memes has a decidedly leftist slant, which means that I am far more likely to write about memes sneezed out by right-wingers than I am to cover memes created by liberal-minded folks like myself.  Still, I try to be fair.  If I were to discover a left-leaning meme that misconstrued the opposition’s beliefs or political motivations as badly as this meme does, I like to think I would be fair-minded enough to write about it.  It’s just that…well…I haven’t seen such a meme.  I’m not saying that it doesn’t exist, I just haven’t come across it in my Internet travels.  Until I do, we’re stuck talking about this heap of garbage.

Like a Creationist riding an elevator, this meme is wrong on several levels.  Let’s start with the meme’s opening premise: leftists believe gender is just a social construct.  That’s not necessarily true.  For one, the term leftist could be applied to a broad set of political and social philosophies, not all of which are receptive to the idea that gender roles are socially defined.  Furthermore, the idea that gender is a social construct is not exclusively leftist property.  Let’s parse these ideas a bit and see what, if any, overlap exists between them.

A leftist, or left-winger, is a person who generally advocates for social equality.  He or she believes that social hierarchies create a system of advantage vs disadvantage, and that these structures should be reduced or eliminated as much as possible.  Radical leftists favor no less than the complete overhaul of the social and political systems that maintain the status quo.

What does it mean to say that gender is a social construct?  It means that gender roles are influenced as much by social expectations as they are by differences between the biological sexes – if not more so.  Our idea about what is and isn’t appropriate behavior for each gender evolves from our socialization.  This concept is espoused by many modern sociologists and psychologists, regardless of their political leanings.

Do not misunderstand me: I am not saying that all gender differences are socially constructed (although many conservatives falsely present this as the liberal viewpoint), just that the expectations of genders are socially constructed.  Society determines what is appropriate behavior for boys and girls from an early age.  Early gender socialization informs our expectations going forward.  These expectations have no doubt led to the sociopolitical furor surrounding trans men and women, who don’t fit into a rigid gender dichotomy.  Their rising visibility has forced society to deal with that – in many cases painfully.  But that is a conversation for another meme.

Now let’s leap to the meme’s thrilling conclusion: that Hillary Clinton’s only selling point is her gender.  This is an unabashedly sexist viewpoint to take, but it’s hardly unexpected from the kind of person who would intentionally misrepresent gender socialization as an exclusively leftist philosophy.  Now I don’t intend to spend the remainder of this post extolling the virtues of Hillary Clinton, but I think it is short-sighted and mean-spirited to say that her only claim to legitimacy as a Presidential candidate is the fact that she is a cis-woman.  Many pundits, including republicans, have admitted in no uncertain terms that Clinton is at least qualified for the job of POTUS, and some have offered their support.  Those hardly seem like the actions of people who think that Hillary Clinton’s only selling point is her gender.

I can only assume that when the author wrote SAVAGE AF at the bottom of the meme, he was using the historical definition of savage: primitive and uncivilized.  That’s the only appropriate way to describe this meme.

Realism Exposed

Rude Friends

The author of this meme says that your jerkwad friend is a realist.  I’m pretty sure this is a hilarious typo, but let’s examine the implications of the author’s bold assertion nonetheless.

Ted: “You know, Bob, your friend Tony is quite rude!”

Bob: “I know, but he assesses situations realistically and makes rational and appropriate decisions based on his assessments.”

See, that doesn’t quite work.  Maybe the author had a different meaning of realist in mind.

Ted: “You know, Bob, your friend Tony is quite rude!”

Bob: “I know, but he’s a painter who portrays his subject matter realistically.”

No, that doesn’t seem to work either.  I’m going to wager that the author meant to use the word realest, as in most real.  What does it mean to be real?  From a philosophical standpoint, it means that your feelings of existence are justified.  So, your realest friend is the one least likely to be a hallucination…I guess.  According to this meme, your realest friend is also a giant asshole.

Ted: “You know, Bob, your friend Tony is quite rude!”

Bob: “I know.  That’s how I know he exists, you figment of my imagination.”

Ted: “What? I’m not a figment of your imagination, you idiot!”

Bob: “Okay, now you’re real.”

Ted: “Thank you, Bob.  It’s quite nice of you to say that.”

Bob: “Oh no!  I’m not real!”  *poofs out of existence*

All silliness aside, I know exactly what the author is trying to say.  He’s saying that if your friend is terminally tactless, it’s just because he is being honest with himself and with others.  Personally, I don’t buy that.  I do not accept that humanity’s default setting is asshole, and that civility and politeness are merely masks to disguise our true selves.  Being genuine and being polite are not mutually exclusive.

In my opinion, this meme might be shared by a person who, instead of working on his social skills and becoming more of a people person, would rather write off his rudeness as a side effect of his Earth-shattering realness.  I’ll tell you what’s real: if you are rude all the time, even to those you call friends, that is a character deficit.  The grown-up approach would be to improve your personality, not try to disguise yourself as honest.

 

Gun Lies

Hillary v Washington

If you believe this meme, Hillary Clinton is a threat to Americans’ Second Amendment rights.  Thing is, you definitely shouldn’t believe this meme.  Every part of it is a lie.

Let’s start with the alleged statement made by Presidential candidate Clinton.  I deployed my considerable resources in a comprehensive fact-gathering mission to determine the veracity of this quote…I’m just kidding; I Googled it.  And do you know what I found?  If you’re the person who put together this meme, I’m going to guess the answer is no.

I found that the Clinton quote is completely fabricated, according to the urban legend debunking website Snopes.com, who rated this claim false:

…the link included with the above-displayed meme didn’t lead to a page containing Clinton’s purported quote. Additionally, a search of the Des Moines Register‘s archives yielded no results for the phrase in question. In fact, this utterance was absent from all major news publications.

We looked into a handful of memes posted by the “Shocking Hillary Clinton Quotes …” Tumblr page and found that the provided source links never matched up with the purported quotes.

And let’s not just take Snopes’s word for it.  The fact-checking website Politifact.com called this fabricated quote “Pants on Fire”, saying:

Clinton campaigned heavily in Iowa throughout the summer and fall of 2015, and Register reporters and the paper’s editorial board interviewed her several times. But she was not in Iowa on Aug. 8, when she allegedly made the statement. Clinton’s first visit to Iowa in the month of August occurred on Aug. 14, followed by public events on Aug. 15 and Aug. 26.

A review of the Register’s archives show Clinton was neither interviewed nor quoted directly on Aug. 8 or in the days immediately following.

It is well known that Hillary Clinton does support stronger gun control laws, including broader background checks, especially at gun shows.  She also proposes restricting gun sales to domestic abusers and the mentally ill.  At no point, however, has she publicly called for banning all handguns or dismantling the NRA.

Now let’s talk about George Washington, the man who, according to myth, could not tell a lie.  Too bad the author of this meme didn’t follow his example.

Politifact weighs in on this quote as well.  Spoiler alert: it’s made up.  According to Politifact, Edward Lengel, editor-in-chief of the Papers of George Washington project at the University of Virginia, says “there is no evidence that Washington ever wrote or said these words, or any like them.”  Lengel then says that while it’s impossible to prove a negative, he’s quite certain that the quote did not originate from George Washington.

What was Washington’s stance on gun ownership, while we’re on the topic?  In George Washington’s own words (his real words, taken from his first State of the Union address in 1790):

A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies. (emphasis mine)

Washington experts agree that the first President was referring to a trained militia for defending the new nation, and for national self-sufficiency in creating military supplies.  Lengel explains:

The idea of resistance to tyranny being dependent on a nation of gun-wielding individuals acting at their own behest or even on local initiative would have been anathema to Washington.  Indeed, during the (Revolutionary) war he very frequently lamented the crimes carried out by armed civilians or undisciplined militia against their unarmed neighbors. The solution to these crimes, as he understood it, was to increase the power of the government and the army to prevent and punish them — not to put more guns in the hands of civilians.

If you are in favor of looser gun control laws, it seems that George Washington might not be your primary source for inspirational quotes.

I’m not telling you this to sway your vote, by the way.  To paraphrase a meme from long ago, I don’t care if you don’t like Hillary Clinton – or any political candidate – but I do care if the reason why is a lie.  In fact, I mind it very much if any of your political opinions are based on lies.  Do some research, and make sure you know exactly whom and what you are voting for – as much as it is possible to know – when you step into the booth.  You owe your fellow Americans that much.

 

Partly Paradoxes, Part 4

Ahh, here we are at last!  We have arrived at the final five memes in our Partly Paradoxes miniseries.  Perhaps you’d like to check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 before proceeding.

As before, we’re still working our way through the Cracked.com article called 20 Paradoxes Most Human Minds Can’t Wrap Themselves Around.  It’s not that the meme-based article is particularly bad; it’s just that the person who compiled the memes doesn’t seem to fully understand what a paradox is.  I’ll admit, it can be difficult to determine whether a proposition is truly paradoxical or not, but that’s why I’m doing this.  I thought it would be an educational and challenging mental exercise to examine each of the article’s memes and determine whether they depict paradoxes or something else.  And you know what?  It has been!  I feel that I’ve learned a lot over the past week, and if you’ve been following along, I hope you did too.  So without further ado, let’s finish this!

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Partly Paradoxes, Part 3

Let’s continue our whirlwind tour of Cracked’s roundup of 20 Paradoxes Most Human Minds Can’t Wrap Themselves Around.  If you haven’t already read them, you might want to check out Part 1 and Part 2.

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