Anybody else remember the heady days of dial-up IRC? It was an absolute lifeline for teenage Gordon to realise there were other weirdos out there. Welcoming weirdos, for the most part. (Too welcoming in one guy’s case.)
I shudder to think what teenage Gordon would find in today’s digital climate. When did we all become such massive dicks? The instant we find something that isn’t a 100% confirmation of our existing worldview, we all take to facestalk and fizz with impotent consternation.
Here’s a disclosure.
I disagree with probably most of what I read in the magical internet. Why do you think I read it in the first place? Isn't that what we all do? Isn’t that the point? If you have enough time to only consume stuff you agree with and then even more time to overreact to anything that slightly deviates from it then, humbly, you need to look at how you are spending your incarnation.
At the moment it's all so toxic. Even apparently non-hostile topics like money or cursing are presented in such a shouty way, like it’s already halfway through an argument: THIS IS WHAT I BELIEVE AND YOU CAN ALL GET FUCKED. And not only is that toxicity painful for the people involved in it, it also stifles some of the quieter voices... And they are often my favourite. (Quiet ones: email me, I miss you.)
I appreciate that things are pretty fucked right now. As mentioned in the Archonology series (on hiatus lest I go insane), on a psychic level we are experiencing what I can only characterise as ‘cooking the frog’. Magical folk must, by definition, feel this more than most. America seems to have achieved the dubious paradox of ascending to full police state while simultaneously having its most vulnerable members of society gunned down in mass shootings. (Surely the one good thing about a police state is that this doesn’t happen?)
As for Europe… well, what elections were you watching?
But no, let’s take to facestalk and shriek about trigger warnings and dark fluff because someone out there does not share our opinion. (On. The. Internet.) . Check this out. I get a frisson of discomfort from the characterisation of 'trans activists' as some kind of homogeneous group and possibly a slightly creepy use of speech marks. Do you think I should impotently fizz about it, or mention it and ask your opinion? Because I find Savage's perspective hugely valuable.
Popular sex columnist Dan Savage finally gave a response to critics who had attacked him for using the word tranny in the context of a discussion about whether tranny was a hateful word.
During a moderated discussion at the University of Chicago's Institute of Politics (IOP) last month, Savage had explained why he stopped using the word tranny, which he viewed as offensive to some in the LGBT community. He had to actually say the word to make his point, however, and that triggered a transgender person in the audience—a person named Hex who identifies as an "it." Hex interrupted the discussion and demanded that Savage stop saying tranny, a word that made it feel unsafe.
Numerous free speech enthusiasts and civil libertarians defended Savage. He has now given a defense of his own. He began by summarizing what happened, from his perspective:
I asked the student who objected if it was okay for me to use the words "dyke" and "sissy." After a moment's thought the student said I could use those words—permission granted—and that struck me a funny because I am not a lesbian nor am I particularly effeminate. (And, really, this is college now? Professors, fellows, and guest lecturers need to clear their vocabulary with first-year students?) By the not-your-word-to-use standard, I shouldn't be able to use dyke or sissy either—or breeder, for that matter, as that's a hate term for straight people. (Or maybe it's an acknowledgment of their utility? Anyway...)
This student became so incensed by our refusal to say "How high?" when this student said "Jump!" that this student stormed out of the seminar. In tears. As one does when one doesn't get one's way. In college.
Savage saluted IOP for refusing to play speech police and censor future speakers—something trans activists demanded after the kerfuffle. He also demanded an apology from Hex and its friends, who have accused Savage of hate speech against trans people.
Something has gone awry when Dan Frikking Savage is accused of using hate speech in a speech about how he doesn’t use hate speech. We can disagree but we must be civil. Or at least I must be civil. That is a directive from my savage gods.
Let me be clear.
If you practice magic then I am your ally. I will pray and enchant for your happiness. It's likely we will disagree about everything after that first step of practising magic and I love that even more. Because if you have taken the sovereign decision to explore your consciousness and the non physical then we are kin. End of.
And I don't treat kin the way we are currently treating each other. So I'm probably taking a break for a bit.
Here, have a mantra:
Aham prema - I am divine love
I use this every morning at the top of my crumbling tower in the middle of the Hellmouth.
- Silently vibrate it until you ‘catch the signal’.
- Chant out loud, ramp that signal up until you glow with rose-gold-inflected white light.
- Emanate that light in all directions, while continuing to chant.
- Advanced option: try and direct that light into facestalk and see what happens. Which medium offers more resistance? The actual world or facestalk.
When you stop confusing comfort with happiness you will find at least one of them. I genuinely love you weirdos. Play a bit nicer, maybe.