Ain’t no such thing as ‘Judeo-Christianity’. Theo-idiocy? Yeah, THAT’s a thing.

Seems like all I’m doing lately is calling out the IMPOTUS for inherent ignorance and institutionally-supported nonsense. It’s a holiday down south and that guy gave another scripted (yet poorly read) speech, part of which claimed that the US is ‘proud of the fact that the country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles.’

Given my current job, it’s sometimes easy for me to forget that I spent a fair bit of time completing a Ph.D in something wholly and completely outside of the wheelhouse in which I now toil. At times the memory comes back in a rush that can knock me back quite significantly as I rage at the popular usage of terms that have zero basis in substantive reality.

‘Judeo-Christianity’ is one of those terms. It’s an illegitimate and dismissively conflated descriptor of nothing.

But, like many illegitimate descriptors, it has a history – sourced in US politics and the development of the concept of an American civil religion that deifies things like the specific interpretations of the Constitution and the Stars and Stripes – to the exclusion of things like human rights and racial equality.

So no. Let’s not use this term at all. I do not accept – let alone embrace – the misplaced nationalism that has led to the divisive rhetoric that has exploded under the current ‘administration’.

Judaism does not exist solely as an antecedent of Christianity. I cannot say this loudly enough.  Which people would know, if they ever bothered to read the books. ALL the books. ALL of ALL of the books.

Like other artificial constructs – race is a biggie – the concept of Judeo-Christianity is a conceit that has long passed its time and putative usefulness. It is not helpful to describe any human activities in (created) terms that conflate anachronistic ideologies in service of societal statuses quo.

Yeah. Apparently that’s not a realistic expectation. My bad thinking that humanity has grown out of the need to support crimes and criminals based in archaic worldviews that illustrate de-evolution of rational thought and evidential insight.

A while back, in the aftermath of yet another mass shooting in the US, the rhetoric – driven, largely, by that terrorist organization that controls Congress (I’m talking about you NRA), gun ‘hobbyists’, and demagogues who will use whatever language (‘holy’ or otherwise) that serves the furtherance of their continued power-mongering – reached a new low in one particular ‘opinion’ piece I read. I was led to the link through the Twitter feed of Mikel Jollett (again, I know. But the guy is really on top on most of what is going wrong with things down south of our border. With the proliferation of nonsense out there these days, I’m grateful for the filter he provides. He’s more than an incredible singer-songwriter).

I hesitate to link the article and its reprehensible idiocy. But context is vital, so, if you wish, you can find it here: http://thefederalist.com/2017/11/06/saints-first-baptist-church-murdered-god-answering-prayers/

To summarize (TA:DR = Too abhorrent, didn’t read): the author, a Lutheran pastor, seems to think that those who were murdered at that Sunday gathering had their prayers answered when they were gunned down by a person who should never had had access to weapons of mass-destruction. Not in any society that makes claims about its progressiveness and supposed-leadership, anyway.

The publisher of the ‘news’letter responded to Mikel’s understandable disgust with a snarky comment, suggesting that a googling of ‘theodicy’ – and an understanding of Dostoevsky – was required for a real appreciation of the offensive idiocy that the pastor was spouting.

If I’m honest, I’m not a fan of (depressing) Russian writers (been there, read that, moved on), especially when they are co-opted to support some twisted Ayn Randian libertarian agenda. So I’ll leave that bit of it alone.

But you want to talk theodicy? Them’s fighting words. Bring. It.

Seriously.

I dare you.

The ways in which people have attempted to justify the unjustifiable while still positing the existence of a beneficent deity has been a significant focus of my adult life. I’m exhausted with repeated readings of the bodies of literature that seek to understand the ‘minds’ of made-up beings who claim to have governance and judgement over our lives and deaths.

This enraged me:

“When those saints of First Baptist Church were murdered, God wasn’t ignoring their prayers. He was answering them.” 

Even copying and pasting that bit of ugliness made me retch. After decades of immersion in the texts and histories and experiential accounts that support views like this one, I cannot get beyond the repugnancy and abrogation of responsibility that is represented in the cognitive dissonance that permits such beliefs to persist, still, anywhere in this world.

Even more enraging? That people who publish platforms that permit the dissemination of such excuses for human wrong-doing do so in an age of social media saturation that permits the spreading of credulous inanity without recourse or rebuttal – at least none that is presented in more than 140 characters.

The irrevocable damage that this causes is evident in the comments section of the original article. I despair.

The narrative that is being spun in the States (and elsewhere – it’s just too in-our-collective-faces to avoid concentrating on what’s happening as that dotard is allowed, somehow, to continue his reign of ignorance) is one of a contrived and dangerous story that promulgates the spread of ideas that seek to forgive the unforgivable in the name of a unsupportable theodicy and idiocracy, both. The combination of those two things is leading us in a direction that might have no turn-off.

The events of the past months – and the on-going reality of the pandemic – have demonstrated that we CAN change the narrative. Confederate statues are coming down (don’t get me started on said statues being ‘history’. Really. Just don’t). Black Lives Matter protests and articles and brave voices are having positive, visible effects. First Nations, Inuit and Metis people in Canada are speaking out – and demanding that engagement and action (as promised by the federal government – remember the TRC, PM Trudeau? A few years have passed since 2015) actually happens. Racists are running scared and their reactions are telling on them more-and-more (be they Karens, Kyles or otherwise).

Which isn’t to say the work is anywhere near being complete.

Max Weber saw theodicy – the justification for a ‘good’ god permitting bad things – as a social problem – a struggle with meaning. In these times – which are a-changing, regardless of those delusions held by the racist and Evangelical dinosaurs – that struggle is very much an attempt to order chaos – hence all the apocalyptic visions and promises. Right-wing religious types have no choice but to cling to their various theodicies (the prosperity gospels are one facet of the straws at which they grasp). Without them, their concept of a god of goodness vanishes – along with their perceived inherent privilege.

Although the struggle is found throughout (hello Prophets) the Hebrew Scriptures’ most obvious attempt at god-vindication is found in the Book of Job. Millennia of exegetes have discussed the theodicy of Job – and the suffering the righteous man was made to endure (as the result of challenge between god and his right-hand dude, the satan). Cole’s Coles’ Notes version? God does what he does because he does it – and us tiny humans don’t have the capacity to understand the workings of the universe or those things that are required to keep it all in order. Order, again. As far as question-and-answer literature goes, the response is a little thin IMHO (not unlike the edited version of that book by Qoheleth). “Because I said so” tends to be something resorted to when real justification can’t be sourced or explained. Regardless, the sufferings of Job – despite his goodness and obedience – are echoed in the trials of the Jews in their persecutions, exiles and disaspora. They well knew that their god was a jealous, demanding god.

Christian interpretations of  Job tend to over-emphasize his patience and obedience – skipping over the obvious frustration and anger he demonstrates in the conversations he had with his persecutor. It took a whole lot of reading of Christian exegesis for me to get a handle on how anyone could be said to have ‘the patience of Job.’ The guy didn’t strike me as particularly uncomplaining (nor should he have been). Later theologies – again, emphasizing a complete and total subjugation to the will of god – suggest Job as an OT parallel to Jesus.  The NT Epistle of James suggests that Christians should emulate the quiet perserverance of  Job as all he values is stripped from him – lands, belongings, children.

One doesn’t have to look far to hear contemporary Evangelicals echoing the emptiness of this perspective. The willfully-blind followers Cult 45 seem to have fully embraced this interpretation. Not one among them would dare to question the leader/god in his proclamations – never thinking to rage against the imposition of suffering and loss.

Admittedly, this reading of Job is a surface summary of the many papers I’ve written on the problem of evil in biblical traditions. I know my posts tend to be wordy, but even I need to draw the line somewhere. Suffice it to say that theodicy – the emphasis on the goodness of god in a world that holds evil – appears very differently in Jewish traditions than it does in Christian readings of the same Scriptures. Judeo-Christian is NOT. A. THING.

Suffice it to say, also, that Evangelical Cult 45 (‘literal’) readings of the biblical writings are used to support and suborn the actions of the current US leadership and those with vested interests in maintaining the state of affairs that continues to benefit a minority of the population.

As we change the narrative – re/learning history as it happened – we need also check our nomenclature. Theodicy has been used to justify the unjustifiable for far too long. Privilege – and the texts and traditions that support an inequitable status quo – needs examining. As do the imperatives behind the constant cries of ‘LAW AND ORDER’ by a wanna-be king who sees himself as untouchable – because he says he is – and all those who maintain the inherent justice and ‘rightness’ of his role.

#WearAMask

Virology

Something sort of weird happened yesterday. I responded to a tweet – on @Mikel_Jollett’s twitter feed. Reflecting on the the rally about to happen in Tulsa, he commented that it smacked of cultic activity – and he cited his own history having been raised in, and then escaping from an actual cult – Synanon – a story he tells in his recently-released novel Hollywood Park (check it out if you want a heart-rending read – and add to the experience by reading the book while listening to the accompanying album of the same name by The Airborne Toxic Event).

He said:

I’ve spent a lot of my life studying cults. I was born in one, we escaped when I was very young. We witnessed mass denial, magical thinking, abuse, violence. And I just want to say for the record there is a cult gathering happening in Tulsa today.

This is a screenshot of my reply and his response:

Screen Shot 2020-06-21 at 12.44.36 PM

In addition to being a remarkable writer – of songs and articles and, now, his first memoir – Mikel shares his strong voice with his many followers on twitter. My comment –  referencing my days in academia, has now been seen by closing in on 100 000 people – and liked more than 2300 times.

I know that those numbers aren’t particularly high in the relative scheme of the social media world/s, but in my little corner of twitter, with my 300-some followers it’s a pretty significant jump in the number of interactions I usually get.

But this isn’t about my 15-minutes of (relative) fame in the twitterverse. A couple of things have come out of some reflection on the response to an observatory tweet drawn from my experience and research in that former academic life.

I touched on the subject of cults and charismatic leaders a couple of posts ago. Cults come from the same place that births apocalyptic thinking.

Historically and sociologically, apocalyptic thinking develops as a response to the perceived disparity between expectations and societal realities. When we are unhappy in our current situations, we project a better scenario to come at some future date – if things are fulfilled as prescribed.

In historical literary and religious traditions, the better scenario generally comes after a cataclysmic and status changing event of some kind that trashes the social or cultural system that is causing the disconnect between expectations and reality. The new reality is posited to be one of justice – as perceived by the person who is unhappy with the current status quo. Religious apocalypses promise salvation as the aftermath of the period of trial and unhappiness.

Cults gather followings out of this same feeling of social anomie – and the same promises made that are found in historical apocalypses. A charismatic leader plays upon the discontent and disconnect of people and promises better things as long as they follow and obey.

The demands of the leaders don’t start off as extreme. Most humans do not seek out opportunities to do harm and violence. Soon though, the blind allegiance that is demanded escalates until abuse (of self and others) and violence become ‘reasonable’ if such things will permit the restoration of rightful place in a society that has rejected them.

Many of Trump’s followers feel threatened by a progressive move away from the guarantee of their privilege based in the colour of their skin. He is a figurehead who promises a return to the days in which they held their ‘rightful place.’

Some who cling to the idea of the feasibility of the current GOP are simply protecting their own interests – ensuring that their wealth remains untaxed, and their investments in health care for-profit, private education for-profit and fossil fuels (obvs for-profit), to name a few examples, are unthreatened. (And also that their places of worship don’t have to pay taxes – and can exert as much influence over politicians-for-sale as possible, despite what Jefferson had to say about ‘separation between Church and State’ and mis/interpretations of that First Amendment thing – which is taking a beating these days. But that’s a rant for another day).

But many of the followers of Trump’s messaging and movement are just trying to fit somewhere in a world which is leaving them behind. This messaging and movement are destined to fail – they just aren’t tenable. As we’ve seen in recent weeks, too many bells have been rung to permit any real unringing. It doesn’t mean the struggle isn’t over – and it certainly doesn’t mean that the path to social change will be easy in the days, weeks, months and years to come, but I’m really starting to believe that this backslide movement is running on fumes.

Trump’s Tulsa rally, which, as we know today, was incredibly poorly attended – despite early reports of 100s of thousands of tickets having been purchased (bravo all you young folk who bought tickets with no intention of attending) – smacks of the last gasps of desperate people. After 3 1/2 years his followers aren’t, actually, seeing a reversion back to their perceived golden age when they lived high off the hog. Or were, at least, ‘better’ than those Black folks over on the other side of town.

Despite the Jones-esque attempt to lead thousands to death-by-COVID-infection, the fact that the turnout to what was supposed to be the reopening of the campaign to continue the cult was so sad and pathetic makes me feel that even the cultists are starting to get it. That guy is all about that guy. Not the little guy. No matter what the propaganda says.

The other thing that offers a bit of hope in these exhausting times is that for all the views and likes on my viral-ish comment of yesterday, there were only a handful that were violent and hateful in nature. And those few that were got handled quickly and comprehensively by others in the threads – I did not have to feed many trolls at all. I muted a few – and reported a couple of obvious bots, but for the most part the discussions were polite and, seemingly, legitimately interested.

There were also some positive interactions – and sincere questions – that are making me think that people out there are doing more than just reacting. I had a brief discussion with a woman whose bio says she is a former Senator – a former GOP Senator – who wanted to know how to ‘deprogram’ these followers once a new government is installed after next November. She was gracious and respectful in her questions and responses.

Unfortunately ‘deprogramming’ isn’t a thing. And there will be no quick fix. This is going to require generational change, based in equitable access to education that teaches actual history – not the narrative that most were raised to believe. Willful, selfish ignorance has been the norm for too long.

The narrative that has been shared in public school curricula has significant gaps in information that is required for people to think independently and critically. They can’t do so with a redacted history. We need to ensure that those who set the curricula don’t get to leave out the bits that make them personally uncomfortable – things like genocide, and systemic anti-Black racism. We need to emphasize the reality that both race and religion are human-created constructs – and, as such, can and should be deconstructed.

The Wikipedia says ‘virology’ is the study of viruses – particularly their “structure, classification and evolution, their ways to infect and exploit host cells for reproduction, their interaction with host organism physiology and immunity, the diseases they cause, the techniques to isolate and culture them, and their use in research and therapy.”

Cults and viruses share a lot of characteristics – which makes right now a particularly appropriate time to examine the structures, classifications, evolution, exploitation and interactions of both. Doing so will help us see through to the other side of both this pandemic and the cultic subversion of humanistic values that promote progress and equity.

Rooting out and overcoming disease takes time and investment – and listening to those who are experts at isolating the causes of infection and using the findings to produce the therapies needed to overcome the virus. I’m optimistic – cautiously, but optimistic nonetheless – that we are beginning to have the conversations and take in the in-and output of those who are expert and experienced in the ways to affect significant and positive change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virology

Something sort of weird happened yesterday. I responded to a tweet – on @Mikel_Jollett’s twitter feed. Reflecting on the the rally about to happen in Tulsa, he commented that it smacked of cultic activity – and he cited his own history having been raised in, and then escaping from an actual cult – Synanon – a story he tells in his recently-released novel Hollywood Park (check it out if you want a heart-rending read – and add to the experience by reading the book while listening to the accompanying album of the same name by The Airborne Toxic Event).

He said:

I’ve spent a lot of my life studying cults. I was born in one, we escaped when I was very young. We witnessed mass denial, magical thinking, abuse, violence. And I just want to say for the record there is a cult gathering happening in Tulsa today.

This is a screenshot of my reply and his response:

Screen Shot 2020-06-21 at 12.44.36 PM

In addition to being a remarkable writer – of songs and articles and, now, his first memoir – Mikel shares his strong voice with his many followers on twitter. My comment –  referencing my days in academia, has now been seen by closing in on 100 000 people – and liked more than 2300 times.

I know that those numbers aren’t particularly high in the relative scheme of the social media world/s, but in my little corner of twitter, with my 300-some followers it’s a pretty significant jump in the number of interactions I usually get.

But this isn’t about my 15-minutes of (relative) fame in the twitterverse. A couple of things have come out of some reflection on the response to an observatory tweet drawn from my experience and research in that former academic life.

I touched on the subject of cults and charismatic leaders a couple of posts ago. Cults come from the same place that births apocalyptic thinking.

Historically and sociologically, apocalyptic thinking develops as a response to the perceived disparity between expectations and societal realities. When we are unhappy in our current situations, we project a better scenario to come at some future date – if things are fulfilled as prescribed.

In historical literary and religious traditions, the better scenario generally comes after a cataclysmic and status changing event of some kind that trashes the social or cultural system that is causing the disconnect between expectations and reality. The new reality is posited to be one of justice – as perceived by the person who is unhappy with the current status quo. Religious apocalypses promise salvation as the aftermath of the period of trial and unhappiness.

Cults gather followings out of this same feeling of social anomie – and the same promises made that are found in historical apocalypses. A charismatic leader plays upon the discontent and disconnect of people and promises better things as long as they follow and obey.

The demands of the leaders don’t start off as extreme. Most humans do not seek out opportunities to do harm and violence. Soon though, the blind allegiance that is demanded escalates until abuse (of self and others) and violence become ‘reasonable’ if such things will permit the restoration of rightful place in a society that has rejected them.

Many of Trump’s followers feel threatened by a progressive move away from the guarantee of their privilege based in the colour of their skin. He is a figurehead who promises a return to the days in which they held their ‘rightful place.’

Some who cling to the idea of the feasibility of the current GOP are simply protecting their own interests – ensuring that their wealth remains untaxed, and their investments in health care for-profit, private education for-profit and fossil fuels (obvs for-profit), to name a few examples, are unthreatened. (And also that their places of worship don’t have to pay taxes – and can exert as much influence over politicians-for-sale as possible, despite what Jefferson had to say about ‘separation between Church and State’ and mis/interpretations of that First Amendment thing – which is taking a beating these days. But that’s a rant for another day).

But many of the followers of Trump’s messaging and movement are just trying to fit somewhere in a world which is leaving them behind. This messaging and movement are destined to fail – they just aren’t tenable. As we’ve seen in recent weeks, too many bells have been rung to permit any real unringing. It doesn’t mean the struggle isn’t over – and it certainly doesn’t mean that the path to social change will be easy in the days, weeks, months and years to come, but I’m really starting to believe that this backslide movement is running on fumes.

Trump’s Tulsa rally, which, as we know today, was incredibly poorly attended – despite early reports of 100s of thousands of tickets having been purchased (bravo all you young folk who bought tickets with no intention of attending) – smacks of the last gasps of desperate people. After 3 1/2 years his followers aren’t, actually, seeing a reversion back to their perceived golden age when they lived high off the hog. Or were, at least, ‘better’ than those Black folks over on the other side of town.

Despite the Jones-esque attempt to lead thousands to death-by-COVID-infection, the fact that the turnout to what was supposed to be the reopening of the campaign to continue the cult was so sad and pathetic makes me feel that even the cultists are starting to get it. That guy is all about that guy. Not the little guy. No matter what the propaganda says.

The other thing that offers a bit of hope in these exhausting times is that for all the views and likes on my viral-ish comment of yesterday, there were only a handful that were violent and hateful in nature. And those few that were got handled quickly and comprehensively by others in the threads – I did not have to feed many trolls at all. I muted a few – and reported a couple of obvious bots, but for the most part the discussions were polite and, seemingly, legitimately interested.

There were also some positive interactions – and sincere questions – that are making me think that people out there are doing more than just reacting. I had a brief discussion with a woman whose bio says she is a former Senator – a former GOP Senator – who wanted to know how to ‘deprogram’ these followers once a new government is installed after next November. She was gracious and respectful in her questions and responses.

Unfortunately ‘deprogramming’ isn’t a thing. And there will be no quick fix. This is going to require generational change, based in equitable access to education that teaches actual history – not the narrative that most were raised to believe. Willful, selfish ignorance has been the norm for too long.

The narrative that has been shared in public school curricula has significant gaps in information that is required for people to think independently and critically. They can’t do so with a redacted history. We need to ensure that those who set the curricula don’t get to leave out the bits that make them personally uncomfortable – things like genocide, and systemic anti-Black racism. We need to emphasize the reality that both race and religion are human-created constructs – and, as such, can and should be deconstructed.

The Wikipedia says ‘virology’ is the study of viruses – particularly their “structure, classification and evolution, their ways to infect and exploit host cells for reproduction, their interaction with host organism physiology and immunity, the diseases they cause, the techniques to isolate and culture them, and their use in research and therapy.”

Cults and viruses share a lot of characteristics – which makes right now a particularly appropriate time to examine the structures, classifications, evolution, exploitation and interactions of both. Doing so will help us see through to the other side of both this pandemic and the cultic subversion of humanistic values that promote progress and equity.

Rooting out and overcoming disease takes time and investment – and listening to those who are experts at isolating the causes of infection and using the findings to produce the therapies needed to overcome the virus. I’m optimistic – cautiously, but optimistic nonetheless – that we are beginning to have the conversations and take in the in-and output of those who are expert and experienced in the ways to affect significant and positive change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rehumanizing

Image result for dehumanize

Pay my respects to grace and virtue
Send my condolences to good
Give my regards to soul and romance
They always did the best they could

And so long to devotion
You taught me everything I know
Wave goodbye, wish me well
You’ve gotta let me go

-The Killers

As one of my favourite troubadors/political commentators tweeted today (check him out on Twitter if you want some keen reflections on WTF is happening in the Bizarro World @Mikel_Jollett), “the idea that your political rivals are inhuman is the core idea of Nazism.” Responding to a criticism of that assertion, he also noted that “fascism is a PROCESS. Dehumanization of rivals is a step in that process. By the way, ignoring the SIGNS of fascism is also part of (the) process.”

Mikel Jollett (I’ve talked about him before. He wrote the single best song about regret ever. In all of history. You think I’m exaggerating, but listen to it and try to tell me otherwise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYPoMjR6-Ao) was referencing the situation that is unfolding south of the border – specifically, on this occasion, the ignorant rantings of the son of the IMPOTUS, who suggested that those who stand in critical opposition to his father ‘aren’t even people’.

Yeah no.

So it seems that, once again, I must call attention to the myriad dystopia-creating patterns underlying the election of that guy to the highest office in the land (and to the former leadership of the Free World – I say ‘former’ since it was made clear-as-crystal, after his recent European holiday, that no one outside the US regards him as fit to lead anything at all), epitomized in that insidious little ‘Again’ that follows ‘Make America Great’.

That one word advocates for a return to something that those of us who know anything about history know wasn’t, in fact, the best of times – as such things can be determined by any sort of measure. I’ve written about the fallacy of the ‘good ol’ days’ before. Yet the perpetuation of such idiocy is being taken to the nth degree by the nutbar now sitting in the IMPOTUS’ office.

Leaders like Trump (and Hitler) are allowed to rise to power because they legitimize ideologies that are ugly – and promotional of a group psychology that encourages complicity to ever-larger atrocity – by beginning with a mandate that reactionary simpletons can get behind. Trump’s uneducated (or self-serving) masses want to hear that someone is willing to return them to a gilded time when they held some level of ascendancy over some ‘other’ types of people.

Essentially, the social identities of those who voted for him have been shaken by progressive movements advocating crazy things like social justice, equality and equity.

Othering is nothing new. I talk about it a lot (seriously. There are a lot of posts here in the wide world of colemining that deal with Us vs. Them, scapegoating, the personification of Inhuman Evil … I think I’m stuck on a theme). It is the basis of all institutionalized Western religions (and some that aren’t so institutionalized). It is the justification for the enslavement of those who are not identified – in a specific temporal or geographic context – as ‘one of us’. It is the manifestation of a pattern of dichotomy and polarization that permits the rise of fear-mongers and seekers of illicit power.

It is representative of a continuing trajectory of the legitimation of hatred.

I’m an historian. I know too much about that level of complacent culpability and othering, and the acceptance and/or dismissal of the banal wrongness that comes along with it.

Entire communities of people are still being told that they are less than – because of the colour of their skin, the place they left in search of a safer/better life, their gender, their sexual identity or orientation, or the fairy tale deity in which they choose to believe (in a country that, supposedly, trumpets the separation of Church and State).

A significant part of the failure of education that has led us, as humans sharing a planet, to this place in time is the mis-remembrance of history. The ‘Again’ word, as part of the IMPOTUS’ sloganeering, permits the continuation of an illegitimate portrait of world events as they really happened. It helped to create the false narrative that he presented throughout his campaign and persists in dictating now that he is in office.

Coincident to the mess that is unfolding in the US, I’m dealing, currently, with a situation that represents that whole inter-connectedness thing that I go on-and-on about. It’s kind of Platonic – ‘as above, so below’ – or representative of a demonstration of the whole micro-macro paradigm.  People in my little workaday world are being taken for granted and stretched to ever-increasing limits by unreasonable expectations driven by something that the higher-ups keep calling ‘resourcing issues’.

I hate what is happening for many reasons; there is a lot going wrong. But the key thing that is sticking in my craw today is the use of the term ‘resource’ to describe actual human beings. Commoditizing people is wrong on manymany levels (see above, especially that whole bit about enslavement). But, at its worst – in this context, anyway – it reduces inherent value and person-ness in support of fiscal/economic expediency/excuse-making.

Yet, for some reason that continues to escape me, this is common parlance in the world of so-called ‘human resourcing’. Humans, while resourceful, are not resources. They are people.

As of today, I am refusing its use and testing more acceptable alternatives. At the moment I’m going with ‘under-peopling’, as in, ‘a decline in the quality of the stakeholder engagement is a direct result of a continuing trend toward under-peopling.” We’ll see how that goes over.

The process of dehuminzation remains a surreptitious go-to that permits the villainization/dismissal/subjugation/murder of other people. We accept it, unthinkingly, in certain contexts – like the one at my day job. We have a human tendency to call people names that serve to keep separate those we perceive to be different from us, or to express displeasure at the thoughts/words/deeds of someone else.

I have a tendency to call the IMPOTUS by anything other than his name (since he loves that name so much, I take perverse pleasure in not contributing to any further development of his brand) but I do not deny his humanity when I do so. In fact, I frequently point to him as an exemplar of humanity. An exemplar of the worst of humanity, but still people.

Tomorrow should see the beginning of the end of this most recent failed experiment in regression and anachronism. Whatever comes out of the US Senate hearings (let’s hear it for impending impeachment!), we have to acknowledge that words matter. Engendered violence has no place in evolved society, and history has demonstrated, too many times to count, that dehumanization is, by definition, discriminatory, and the first step on the path to institutionalized injustice and genocide.

Time to start watching our language. And the ideologies that drive it.

 P.S. If you’re in need of some music therapy after Comey’s testimony, have a listen to The Airborne Toxic Event’s album ‘Songs of God and Whiskey. It’s wonderful.