Tyler Perry, and “Refusing To Hate” The Police

Last night during the Oscars, Tyler Perry was awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. During his speech he said, “I refuse to hate someone because they are Mexican or because they are Black or white or LBGTQ. I refuse to hate someone because they are a police officer. I refuse to hate someone because they are Asian.” And the inclusion of “a police officer” in his list of identities left more than a few people scratching their head… And it left me with this song going through mine:

One of these things does not belong…

Including a chosen profession within a list of of ethnicities, nationalities, and races seems like a curious choice… Like if I said, “It’s time we stop discriminating against people on the basis of their race, their gender, their sexual orientation, or their decision earn a living by enforcing racial hierarchies and disproportionately harassing & oppressing People of Color.” And it seems an especially weird choice after a week where — in the wake of the guilty verdict against Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd — you couldn’t go 12 hours without new news and body cam footage of YET ANOTHER unarmed Black person getting gunned down by a police officer.

On one side there is anger at injustice & oppression… On the other side there is white supremacy. Calls for “meeting in the middle” are just more injustice & oppression.

Last summer after the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, I participated in a few different protests here in Nashville. It was my first time seeing the tag “ACAB” spray painted on the wall of some of the downtown buildings. I didn’t want to ask someone what it stood for and out myself as the noob protestor, so I looked it up on my phone: “All Cops Are Bastards.” My initial thought was, “Well that doesn’t seem fair. I am good friends with a couple cops, and I don’t think THEY are bastards. How about MOST Cops Are Bastards… MCAB?” It reminded me of the first time I felt the defensiveness inside me, and felt like saying “Not All Men” or “Not All White People” when hearing criticisms of those groups as a whole.

When people are critical of a problem that is endemically shared by a group of people, it is not particularly helpful to point out that “NOT ALL” of the people within that group share the problem. If statistics show that Black people’s health is more severely affected by COVID-19, it doesn’t really matter that you know a Black person who barely got sick… or that your uncle is white, and COVID ended up putting him on a ventilator. In the same way, when people show evidence that racism & police brutality are a significant problem within law enforcement, it’s not really significant that know a police officer and you think he’s a good person. The truth is that this country has a giant problem with racism in policing. So when Tyler Perry — who I have little doubt is probably about as nice a guy as billionaires get — includes someone’s chosen profession in the same categorical list as a person’s heritage or their orientation in his “reject hate” speech, it smacks of the garbage that is “Blue Lives Matter.” There are Black lives. There are LGBTQIA+ lives. There are Mexican & white & Asian lives… But there are no such thing as “blue lives.” Those other categories do not involve choice. If someone gets a job working for ICE and earns money by separating immigrant families from each other, I think it’s alright to hate that… In the same way it’s alright to hate injustice. And systemic racism. And xenophobia.

I don’t “hate” people because they are police officers. But I do make some assumptions. Just like I make some assumptions when I see someone wearing a MAGA hat: After talking to you, I might find that you are a perfectly kind, reasonable human being… But it’s going to be a BIG surprise. And I’m going to be honest with you about what that hat (and that uniform) has come to represent to me and many of the oppressed people I care about.

So of course “I refuse to hate someone because they are a police officer.” Just like I am not going to hate someone just because they are a white evangelical. But you better believe that I hate the force for evil in the world that is “White Evangelicalism.” Just like I hate the force for state-sanctioned violence and systemic racism that policing has become. By and large, I agree with most everything Tyler Perry said in his speech. I think there is too much hate in the world today… But trying to get people to stop hating injustice because “hate is wrong” is the same kind of nonsense that tries to convince people they need to be “tolerant” of the intolerance of white supremacy. And him slipping “police officer” in with his “reject hate” speech is like when people try to equate calling cops “pigs” with using racial or homophobic slurs… It’s just not the same. We can be angry about choices that people make. We can hate those choices… Like the choice to work enforcing state-sanctioned violence & oppression against People of Color. Or like the choice to fire a gun and put four bullets into a Black child named Ma’Khia Bryant. Or the choice to fire seven shots at another unarmed Black man (Isaiah Brown) who called 911 while he held a phone to his ear, still on the call with 911. Or the choice to stay silent when you know that an officer you work with is saying racist things and acting inappropriately. If we’re not hating those things, then we’re doing a terrible job of “rejecting hate.”

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4 Things White People Can Learn From Rachel Hollis

You know what? This title might be a little misleading. It’s probably more what we can learn from the BACKLASH against Rachel Hollis. Initially I was going to have the title be “Rachel Hollis and the Myth of Meritocracy,” but then I thought people were going to be like, “What is meritocracy?” And probably a fairly large amount of, “Who the hell is Rachel Hollis?!?” This way, at least people recognize ONE part of the title: White People.

For those who don’t know, Rachel Hollis is a writer, blogger, and “influencer.” She’s the author of a three self-helpy books (“Girl, Wash Your Face,” “Girl, Stop Apologizing,” and “Didn’t See That Coming“) that are filled with Bible verses and motivational tips and quotes. “Girl, Wash Your Face” was the second most popular book on Amazon for 2018. It was part empowerment, part pep-talk for people to “Pull themselves up by their bootstraps,” but since that saying sounds more than a little bit racist now, she used the language & ideology of “Hustle Culture” — Where people reduce success in life to simply trying/working harder than the next guy. Or gal. And many of those gals ate it up… Specifically white women. She’s the sort of person who’s invited to speak at MLM conferences. She peddles toxic positivity, she’s criticized medication, and she’s made some fat-phobic statements. She flirts with Prosperity Gospel BS. I’d describe her as an Instagram mommy blogger meets Dave Ramsey (who, if you don’t already know, is an awful person). Later there were accounts of her plagiarizing things on her Instagram and in her books.

Hustle Culture is very closely related to the Myth of Meritocracy, which is basically the idea that people with more have more for a REASON… and that social mobility is equally available to everyone equally, if they are willing to work hard and make sacrifices. You can imagine why this ideology is so popular among the people who are at the top of the social & financial hierarchies. People LOVE to believe that they EARNED everything that they have through their own hard work (Even when they were born on third base and thought they hit a triple)… Which is why the concept of white privilege is so very disconcerting to so many of us white folks. We’re afraid that if white privilege is real, then that means we didn’t EARN our higher social/financial status.

But when success is as simple as working harder/hustling more than the people around you, this funny thing happens (actually, it’s not that funny). When people reject the idea of privilege and reduce success to “the reason I have more is because I WORK harder, and because I’m SMART,” the insinuation is that those who are not experiencing the same success are in that position because they are lazier and dumber. This happens much in the same way that when people reject the reality of systemic racism, they are actually saying that the social & financial disparities between Blacks & whites in America is due to the group in the lower caste being there because of lack of ability or drive or intelligence (AKA racism). If it’s a level playing field and one group keeps winning, it’s because they are just “better” (which is the reason that the loudest insistence that the playing field is level is most often coming from the people who keep winning).

For whatever reason, the part of Rachel’s video that grossed me out the most was when she said “Sis.”

Anyway, Rachel Hollis… Here’s what happened: She posted a video where she talked about having a woman who cleans her toilets twice a week… Someone called her “privileged AF” and “unrelatable”… And then she made a TicTok where she basically said, “Yeah, I’m privileged… But I also work harder than you. And I’m not interested in being ‘relatable,’ because all the great women weren’t relatable either.” And then she posted the names of a bunch of great women — most of them Women of Color — and wrote “all Unrelatable AF.” You can watch the video (which she has since deleted) below…

After many corners of the internet exploded with reactions to a woman who married a Disney executive bragging about how her wealth comes from “working her ass off” and “waking up at 4am” — a white woman who steals quotes from other people and passes them off as her own while selling books about “doing the work” — many influential people commented on her post, trying to help her understand why what she said was so harmful. The response was to remove any comments that were critical. Many wise Black women took the time to teach her, and rather than learn, the comments were deleted. A few days later, Rachel issued a (sort of) apology, but one where she threw her “team” under the bus. The response to her half apology was enthusiastically negative. Shortly after, the video was deleted, along with the apology.

Which brings me to four (of the many) things we can learn from this…

  1. ACCEPT THAT YOU ARE PRIVILEGED. You are. Accept it. For the love of God, no one is saying you haven’t ever worked hard. No one is saying you haven’t ever struggled. But one of those struggles has NOT been whiteness. If you are the sort of person who hears someone call you out on your white privilege and you rear up in defense, demanding the world acknowledge how you did it with HARD WORK and SMARTS and intangibles like “grit” or “stick-to-itiveness,” you are the wrong sort of person. If you look around America at the HUGE racial disparities, and you are one of the ones insisting that the playing field is level, I’ve got some bad news for you: That’s racism.
  2. STOP TAKING WORDS FROM BLACK CULTURE. When Rachel said “Sis” in the video, it just grated against everything in me. That word was created and popularized by Black women. If you are white, and you find out a term you love has been appropriated from Black Culture, try to stop using it. We’ve taken enough from Black people. We don’t need to take their words (or their heroes either). I used to love the word “woke” before it became a favorite derogatory term of the far-right (meaning awareness that is purely performative). It started off meaning that a person was aware of what was going on… She was “woke.” A lot of people are living like they are asleep, so I loved the term. But as I followed more Black voices, they taught me about the harm of white folks stealing Black language, so I stopped using it. Which brings me to the third point…
  3. FOLLOW MORE BLACK VOICES. There are a lot of crappy things about the internet and social media, but one of the AMAZING things about it is that we white folks have the opportunity to listen to the words and soak in the wisdom of people from all kinds of groups that we aren’t used to being around. Twitter gives us a chance to learn from Black voices and LGBTQIA+ voices and AAPI voices and the voices of People of Color. We need to take advantage of that opportunity. Find people who are different than you, and follow them. Learn.
  4. IF A BLACK PERSON TAKES THE TIME TO TEACH YOU, LISTEN! There are a TON of ignorant, racist white people in this country. Many of them are never going to “get it” in this lifetime. On top of that, there are way more white people than there are black people… If every Black person took the endless amounts of time to try to get us to understand how things work, they would never get anything done. And they, like you, have shit to do. So if — like many Black women did on Rachel Hollis’ video — you are lucky enough to have a Black voice take the time to explain something to you, here’s what you do: You shut up and listen. Maybe ask some questions. Check your defensiveness. And — sweet Jesus — NEVER simply delete your problematic post (and with it, the comments they spent time writing) out of anger or embarrassment (unless the post is doing continued harm, of course, and those same voices ask you to take it down… And if that’s the case, give people a head’s up about when it will be taken down). Think of all the wisdom Rachel Hollis deprived other people of when she deleted those comments. The conversations on social media are not just for the two people talking. Others are following along and trying to learn as well. If you make a mistake — and we all do — Take responsibility for your actions. Apologize. Ask how you can make amends. And then don’t do it again. And please, don’t be this person…

Thank you so much for reading. Thank you for the folks who left tips with my last post about Giving Satan A Lap Dance… I paid your generosity forward to BIPOC content creators whose work helped me understand things better than I used to. If you value this blog, please consider BECOMING A PATRON. It’s super easy, and it really helps. If you’d like to, you can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL or Venmo me at “chris-boeskool”. Please also follow along on Facebook and on Twitter. Love y’all.

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Some Thoughts On Giving Satan A Lap Dance

I went to a small town Christian school when I was growing up. In middle school (it was the late 80s), we had a two or three week course in music class about “back-masking” and the dangers of devil worship in music. Do people even know about “back-masking” anymore? It was this idea that artists were trying to sneak satanic backwards messages into music that would sneakily turn our young minds into fertile soil for demonic possession — Or worse: Little Metal Heads. I didn’t really understand how education worked back then, but looking back, I’m pretty sure our school purchased the curriculum. It had parts of songs on tape that followed the worksheets… I can still remember them playing a song backwards that clearly said NOTHING but gibberish, but a woman saying, “DID YOU HEAR THAT?!? It said, ‘My Satan,'” when it sounded way more like “My ass Nathan.” They told us to fear the Beatles because George Harrison changed “Hallelujah” to “Hare Krishna” in “My Sweet Lord” (with the woman’s voice saying, “And now we see who his REAL Lord is”). And it explained that The Eagles “Hotel California” was all about being caught up in devil worship… Which freaked me right out, because I’d known every damn word of that song since I was about 6 years old.

Somehow, we all knew it was all nonsense, but it was also effective at the same time. A lot of that stuff stuck with me. Music was a secret pathway Satan would use to GET you. For a very long time, I wouldn’t sing the part of Alice In Chains “Man In The Box” where it said, “Jesus Christ, deny your maker,” even though that song was SO rad (later I justified singing it because the next line says, “He who tries will be wasted”). When my uncle lent me his Audi to drive for my prom date, he put some disks in the 6-Disk Changer — probably stuff he thought I would think was cool — and because I heard Eric Clapton sing about cocaine and later heard The Grateful Dead sing about Casey Jones “driving that train, high on cocaine,” I was like, “Welp that settles it… My uncle is clearly doing cocaine.” Early in college I refused to listen to The Dead because I was convinced they were trying to get me to smoke pot. Which… I mean, who knows? That one might have been real. Either way, I had bought into the whole thing. I read “This Present Darkness” and a bunch of other Frank E. Peretti books. I was officially worried about Satan. And the thing is, if the devil can get you with backwards gibberish that you can’t even perceive, how much more can FORWARD words be used by Satan?!? It made singing The Grateful Dead’s “Friend of the Devil” a very risky prospect…

So when Christians found out that Lil Nas X’s gay black ass slid down a pole into hell to give Satan a lap dance (before killing him, it deserves to be noted) in his new music video, I can tell you that much of their fear is very real. It’s not all just performative. I can clearly remember the time in my life where such a thing would have made me clutch my pearls and cry out in Helen Lovejoy-esque fashion: “WON’T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!”

If you are more upset by this than you are by the image of Derek Chauvin murdering George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for 9 minutes, you have officially missed the point.

If you don’t already know, Lil Nas X — creator of what is arguably the biggest song of all time “Old Town Road,” which stayed at #1 for a record-breaking 19 consecutive weeks — released a video for his song “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” which featured (among other things) him pole dancing down into hell and giving Satan a lap dance. In addition, he sold 666 pairs of refurbished Nikes with red ink (and supposedly a drop of blood) in the air pockets. Conservative christians were NOT impressed, and very quickly a whole bunch of conservatives forgot how much they hated “Cancel Culture.”

These sorts of controversies are nothing new. When I was in 8th or 9th grade, releasing videos for songs was a way bigger deal, and that year Pepsi partnered with Madonna to release the video for “Like A Prayer” during prime time. The video had her dancing in front of burning crosses with her cleavage showing, had her hands bleeding & experiencing the stigmata, and had her making out with a Black man who was a religious statue come to life (I thought it was Black Jesus, but it turns out it was a representation of a Black Saint). The words “When you call my name, it’s like a little prayer. I’m down on my knees. I want to take you there” mixed religious and sexual imagery… Which — again — is nothing new. Poets have been doing this for centuries. But the Pope got mad, called for a boycott of Madonna (and Pepsi by association), and Pepsi parted ways with Madonna… While letting her keep the money and all the press that came from the controversy.

This is just more crap like Cardi B and the whole WAP controversy. It’s wringing hands about art while ignoring actual injustice. That Eric Clapton “Cocaine” song that convinced me my uncle was on cocaine? That song was from 1977. Every classic rock channel plays it. Just like they play “Whole Lot Of Love” by Led Zeppelin, which says, “Gonna give you every inch of my love” and “Lord, shake for me girl. I want to be your backdoor man.” Have you ever listened to the lyrics of “Squeeze Box” by The Who? “Pearl Necklace” by ZZ Top? But when BLACK artists sing about sex — especially Black women, and now Gay Black artists — white conservative christians act like 1) this is something new in music, and 2) it’s somehow more dangerous to our poor, pure children who should never learn anything about sex until their junior year of college, like God intended. When Cardi B sings about her pussy, the world is going to hell in a hand basket… But when Britney Spears sings about “Hit Me Baby, One More Time” or “I’m A Slave 4 U,” those same guys are making jokes about her “finally turning 18.”

People of Color will PLEAD to be believed about the fact that racism is a very real problem in America, and white folks will act like they are making things up to “play the victim”… But if Fox”News” tells them they need to be upset about a Lil Nas X video, they take it as gospel truth. When Morgan Wallen gets caught on video using the N-word, people excuse it by saying, “Well, he was drunk” (and it should be noted that the folks who think that alcohol somehow excuses people using the N-word are outing themselves as people ALSO drop the N-word after a few drinks. I’ve been drunk many times. The truth comes out when people start drinking. You know what I DON’T start doing when I’ve had a few too many? I don’t start dropping racial slurs. 100% of people who start using the N-word when they drink are people who also use the N-word when they are sober… If they feel “safe” enough). Eric Clapton is a great guitar player, but he is RACIST AS HELL. And it doesn’t get a whole lot of press. He once stood on stage and railed to his audience about “keeping Britain white.” Here are his words:

“Do we have any foreigners in the audience tonight? If so, please put up your hands. So where are you? Well, wherever you are, I think you should all just leave. Not just leave the hall, leave our country. I don’t want you here, in the room or in my country… Listen to me, man! I think we should send them all back… Stop Britain from becoming a black colony. Get the foreigners out. Get the wogs out. Get the coons out. Keep Britain white.”

That’s Eric Clapton — One of the most venerated, celebrated artists in music… A man who considers himself a Blues musician, and a white man who has made millions playing music created by black American artists.

A lot of people who call themselves christians are afraid of Satan. We were RAISED to be afraid of him… But we are a lot less afraid when we’re educated. And like with so many things, this christian fascination and focus on Satan is the result of bad theology. When you actually study the history of the Christian beliefs about Satan, you see how different cultures have influenced this idea of a personification of an opposition to God. You learn about the influences of Zoroastrianism (and its idea of Angra Mainyu) on Jewish thought… You learn about how often the word “satan” (which means “accuser”) was used in the Hebrew scriptures without actually referring to an idea of “the devil”… You learn about non-canonical representations and stories about Satan… You learn about how a primitive mind would credit every disability or disease to “demonic” influence and possession… You are forced to struggle with stories like Job, where God bargains with the Devil and lets him kill all of Job’s family, just to prove a point… Sometimes I think the real Satan is a lack of the ability by Christians to understand metaphors. It is all very fascinating, but mostly it’s just frustrating.

Key & Peele made a skit about two Black church women talking about what they’re going to do to Satan (with their prayers) if he doesn’t leave their family members alone. It is hilarious to me now, but the me from 20 years ago would’ve been threatened by it. It would have felt sacrilegious because it didn’t take Satan seriously. Anyway, I want you to see it… It is ridiculous and offensive and wonderful.

Please focus your concern. There actually are things to worry about right now. Imagine worrying about a gay, Black artist (a young man who has been told for years that he’s hell-bound, and abused by the Church’s toxic, hateful position toward our LGBTQIA+ brothers and sisters) twerking on Satan in a music video, while not being bothered by a police officer kneeling on George Floyd’s neck and slow-motion murdering him while he is hand-cuffed on the ground. What an exercise in missing the forest for the trees. It’s like seeing someone murder a bunch of kids in a school, and getting upset about what his T-shirt says. If you’re looking for Satan, here’s where to find him: We have republican state legislatures all around the country working to strip rights from people who are LGBTQIA+… We have a pandemic that has killed over half a million Americans, while morons like Marjorie Taylor Greene act like lifting heavy things will keep people from catching COVID… We have concerted efforts by states to make it harder for People of Color to vote… I live in a state that is trying (AGAIN) to make the Bible the “official state book,” while it is also trying to criminalize homelessness… We just had our third mass shooting in two weeks… We are poisoning our oceans and polluting & warming our planet to the point life on earth is in danger… Meanwhile, you’d think the real threat to Christians is a Lil Nas X video. But there is nothing more “Satanic” in America than hatred, bigotry, racism, ignorance, & indifference in Jesus’ name. And that includes a music video where a gay man gives Satan a lap dance.

Thank you for reading. I was away for a couple of weeks as I recovered from COVID kicking my ass. If you love this blog and you want to support it, the best way to do that is to BECOME A PATRON. You probably won’t even notice a couple bucks a month, but it makes such a huge difference to me and my family. If you’d like to leave a tip, you can DO THAT ON PAYPAL or Venmo your generosity to “chris-boeskool.” Otherwise, please follow along for more fun ON FACEBOOK and ON TWITTER.

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Calvin University, and The Christian Necessity For REAL LGBTQIA+ Inclusion

I graduated from Calvin College — A small, Christian liberal arts school in Grand Rapids, MI. They have since changed their name to Calvin University, but I still have a hard time calling it that. Calvin is named after John Calvin, the Dutch theologian who is the namesake of “Calvinism.” It is the flagship university of the Christian Reformed Church (CRC), which is the denomination I grew up in. My grandfather on my father’s side was a Christian Reformed minister, and my grandfather on my mother’s side was an elder in the church. It is a relatively small denomination made up of people who mostly have Dutch-sounding last names, and it is centered in West Michigan, but includes pockets in Iowa, Washington state, Ontario, and peppered around the Great Lakes area. It was the only college I applied to (or “to WHICH I applied,” since I graduated with a degree in Secondary Education / English). It was where most of my friends were going, and I never really gave it a second thought… I was always going to go to Calvin.

I was a little different than many of the students there, because by college, I no longer considered myself part of the CRC. After my mom’s divorce, the Church no longer seemed very welcoming… But I definitely still considered myself a Christian. I walked into that institution about as sheltered as people get… I walked out with the seeds planted of a lifelong questioner and learner. I loved my English Profs. I loved my Education profs. I loved all the Theology and Philosophy and Music courses I took. The teachers were loving and wise and challenging… And they changed my life. I don’t know much at all about the seminary, but my experience of Calvin was of an institution that was way more interested in exploration than any sort of indoctrination. I loved my time there, I love the lifelong friends I made there, and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.

I mean, are my old folders that say “Calvin College” worth more now? Can I sell them to help raise money to send my own kids to college?

My spiritual journey post-college has been meandering. I attended Mars Hill from its earliest days with Rob Bell as a pastor. I moved to Nashville and started going to churches where people raised their hands (which was strange to me, because in those days, people in the CRC didn’t raise their hands even if they had a question). I briefly went to a church that was all about “courtship,” where the leadership would “approve” relationships. Super weird. I briefly attended a very multicultural church that ended up putting my wife and my memberships “on hold” because we didn’t speak in tongues. Super weird. We ended up at a very Holy-Spirity church for a while, but right around the time the U.S. elected a black man as president, we figured out that they were more committed to republicanism than they were committed to following Jesus. We ended up at a fantastic church that we LOVED — a safe place for people who were deconstructing or who had gone through deconstruction — but life happened, things split, and now I consider myself “Post-Church.”

There’s probably more to talk about with the term “deconstruction” as it applies to church and religion and spirituality (I suppose you’ll have to buy the book for that deep dive). Nevertheless, one of the things that got “deconstructed” was my ideas about heaven & hell, about salvation, and about the “sinfulness” of LGBTQIA+ people and relationships. I started out very certain of their hell-bound-ness… But I had to go through something close to the horse shit that is “Hate the sin; love the sinner,” and “tolerance,” and “acceptance,” before I finally landed at a place of FULLY AFFIRMING (Which reminds me, Beth Moore recently announced she is leaving the Southern Baptist Church. She spoke out against Trump and the SBC’s treatment of women, and caught hell for it… And although she isn’t affirming of LGBTQIA+ people yet, we can still celebrate when someone heads in the right direction. Trajectory is what it’s about, and it feels like she’s headed in the right direction).

Anyway, Calvin. The CRC’s official position (summarized) is one where BEING a homosexual is not something that will necessarily get you sent to hell, but ACTING on that homosexuality (same-sex relationships, romantic actions, intercourse, etc…) will. Within the members of the denomination, there is far from anything which could be considered uniform thought on the theology behind the inherent sinfulness of LGBTQIA+ relationships. Many are so very disappointed and heartbroken over the continued discrimination by the CRC (and therefore, as an arm of the CRC, Calvin University), and they despair over the VERY REAL HARM it is doing to our friends and family members who are LGBTQIA+… As well as the many LGBTQIA+ students who attend Calvin university. In effect, the policy is “We ‘love’ you, but your orientation is an abomination, and if you act on your love of another human being, it is a sin for which you need to repent, you need to be ‘made whole,’ and if you don’t you’re going to hell.”

Recently, some students from a Bible study at Calvin set up a table that said (in Steven Crowder-esque fashion — a YouTuber well known for his hate speech and homophobia), “LGBTQ IS as sin. THE BIBLE SAYS. Change my mind.” Here is a picture it taking place…

Because of social media response, Calvin sent out an email to students that said (among other things),

“The church teaches that orientation is not a sin and that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people – like all people – are created in God’s image and, as valued members of the human family, should be treated with respect, grace, understanding, and love.The church also teaches and Calvin affirms, that sexual intimacy is a gift from God to be celebrated in marriage between a man and a woman.”

I don’t know… What am I trying to say here? I’ve written about this issue many other times (HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE, to name a few) over the years. I watched with sadness as the United Methodist Church struggled through the issue of LGBTQIA+ inclusion. I feel like I’ve said it all. But watching Calvin struggle with this reminds me of a time not so long ago when my OWN position was “It’s not necessarily a sin to BE gay… It’s just a sin to ACT on it.” And I have learned — painfully — how truly damaging this position is to people who are Queer. It is the furthest thing from love. And it’s all because of a few verses from the Old Testament about “abominations” — verses written right next to many other abominations we no longer pay any attention to — and a couple of New Testament verses where Paul is writing to people 2000 years ago who were abusing children and going to freaky sex cult temples. Paul was never addressing committed, consensual, loving same sex relations.

And even if Paul WOULD have been against homosexuality (a word that didn’t appear in the Bible until 1946), that is NO reason for anyone in modern times to be so dogmatically rigid that we impose a theology with is actively killing LGBTQIA+ people in the church… ESPECIALLY within a denomination which –despite Paul’s writings seemingly to the contrary — has figured out a way for women to have leadership roles in churches. One of the last things Jesus was recorded as saying was, “I have so much more to tell you, but you can’t bear it yet.” Imagine the way people’s heads would have exploded if Jesus had tried to explain that women were every bit as worthy of leading as men. The consciousness of that day wouldn’t have allowed it. But as our consciousness expands and progresses, so does our understanding of the radical inclusion that is illuminated by the words and life of Jesus.

As I write that, it feels weird. I can barely bring myself use the word “Christian” when referring to myself anymore.The baggage associated with that word is nearly unbearable. I’m certainly not anything close to a “Calvinist.” There are so many tenets of the Christian faith which I have abandoned because they turn God into a monster. Why do I care what happens at a Christian College in Michigan? The answer is because I have hope for change — for reformation — within the church of my youth… And I believe it involves Calvin College. When George W. Bush was coming to Calvin to give the commencement address, over 800 staff, students, and alumni signed a letter protesting his invitation, siting that “as Christians, we are called to be peacemakers,” and they were opposed to the war in Iraq. And right now, many Calvin staff are working hard to let the LGBTQIA+ students they teach know that they are loved. I’m hopeful because of anti-racist posts like this one from Joseph Kuilema. I’m encouraged by posts like this one from James K.A. Smith (who also wrote this very interesting article)…

But it has to go further than just saying “You are loved.” “You are loved” is all well and good, but that is the same message that prison ministries bring to rapists and murderers. How can anyone — with a straight face (no pun intended) — tell someone that they are “loved” while also telling them that if they express their love to others, God is going to send them to hell? “You are loved” without affirming the person’s sexuality as GOOD is just more “Love the sinner; hate the sin.” And the fruit of that policy is death and despair for our LGBTQIA+ neighbors and siblings and children. We are all broken in some ways… We all miss the mark… We all fall short… But hear this right now: Expressing your love to another human being — regardless of sex or gender — is NEVER a “sin” to be hated or condemned. The only folks Jesus ever had really harsh words for were the religious people who SHOULD have known better, but they were missing the HEART of what it meant for us to love our neighbor. Whenever the Jesus of the Bible was presented with a question of Law versus Love, he ALWAYS sided with love. If any of us claim to be followers of Jesus, we must do the same.

This video is still the best single Biblical case for inclusion within the church. You should watch it… I’m TOTALLY serious. It’s long, but watch the whole thing. It’s excellent.

Last thing: I am still friends with many Calvin alums and folks who have sent their kids to Calvin University. PLEASE make your voice heard. Make it heard, not just so that the higher ups change their harmful, hateful policy… But make your voice heard so that the LGBTQIA+ people in your life HEAR that their worth goes beyond the garbage that is “Love the sinner; hate the sin.” Let them know there are so many of us who believe that the expression of their love is GOOD, and that even though we are all broken in some ways, their orientation is NOT one of the things about them that needs to be “fixed.” Amen.

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Pepé Le Pew, and People Who Are More Upset About “Cancel Culture” Than They Are About Rape Culture

I’m emerging from my long nap of depression — like some sad groundhog, seeing its shadow predicting six more weeks of pandemic — to comment on what is apparently the new great enemy of those sad souls whose news intake consists wholly of conservative media: Cancel Culture. The same folks who were very upset about confederate monuments being taken down are now very upset about Hasbro deciding to drop the “Mr.” from their Potato Head toy… They’re very upset that the Seuss estate decided to stop publishing six problematic books that almost no one had ever hear of until very recently… And now they’re very upset about the news that Pepé Le Pew is being dropped from the reboot of Space Jam with LeBron James. And they’re blaming it all on one insidious enemy… The dreaded Cancel Culture.

These are the same folks who rushed to iTunes to buy music from country singer Morgan Wallen after he was filmed using the N-word. These are the same folks who suddenly became big Harry Potter fans when JK Rowling caught flack for anti-Trans statements. And amazingly (read: hypocritically), the Venn diagram of people angry about “Cancel Culture” and the people who cheered when donald trump demanded “Get that son of a bitch off the field!” (in response to NFL players using kneeling during the anthem to protest racism & police brutality) is a perfect circle.

Republicans have zero problems with cancelling people… Republicans & conservative christians have been cancelling people for centuries. What they have a problem with is when THEY are the ones being cancelled.

Here’s the thing: Pepé Le Pew was ALWAYS a rapist. I might not have realized it growing up, but it was always right there. I remember watching those cartoons as a kid… That black cat that accidentally painted a stripe on her back by going under a freshly painted white fence was trying like HELL to get away from him. He was kissing her as she struggled to get away. He would block the freaking door and lock the locks as she tried to run from his aggressive affection, creepily bouncing on all fours after a terrified female who spurned his advances. And that crap was part of my childhood, being pumped into my brain every Saturday morning. I mean, Jesus… If any man acted that way toward a woman, he clearly needs to be removed from society until he is rehabilitated. And if you’re listening to republican voices, you’d think a great injustice has been committed by Pepé Le Pew’s scene being cut from Space Jam 2.

And the REALLY F-ed up thing is that the story always ended up with his sexual assault “working” on the girl, and she’d eventually return his rapey advances…

The question is: Why would conservatives be in an uproar over a cartoon — one whose entire character was centered around sexual assault — not being included in a movie for kids? Why get angry about a non-gendered toy potato? Why cling to 80 year old racist caricatures like Speedy Gonzales?

The answer is simple. Fear. Conservatives want to “conserve” the past, and they’re afraid of change. They’re afraid of their eroding privilege. They’re afraid of progress and evolving social norms. They’re afraid of a growing feeling of being “outnumbered” by people who have a more evolved understanding of human decency. And that fear turns to anger… Anger at feeling “bullied” and “shamed” into conforming to these new norms… Anger at being held accountable for their words and actions.

But even more than that, it’s anger at feeling targeted. And this is important: The feeling of being targeted comes from who they are aligning themselves with. Do you align yourself with the people being harmed, or do you align yourself with the ones DOING the harm? If folks are aligning themselves with the ones being told “You don’t get to say the N-word anymore,” they feel targeted… Bullied… Shamed. If they are aligning themselves with the ones who are being harmed and harassed by the use of the N-word, then the N-word being “canceled” feels like standing against injustice. The real tragedy is that most people who align themselves with groups in positions of power don’t KNOW or have conversations with people who are the targets of oppression.

So a lot of people who align themselves with groups in power might think, “What’s the big deal? So Speedy Gonzales was Mexican? It doesn’t mean you have to take him out of the movie.” But until you speak to a hispanic kid who was fast growing up and inevitably got called “Speedy Gonzales,” you might not identify with the group that is the target of oppression. And maybe you didn’t even notice (because you weren’t the group being caricatured) that every other Mexican mouse OTHER than “Speedy” was portrayed as being fat and lazy.

And then comes the inevitable cries of “Don’t be so sensitive.” “Quit being such a snowflake.” This is wildly hilarious coming from people who are outraged over a plastic potato.

Listen… I watched Sixteen Candles when I was a kid. I watched it over and over. I loved that movie. My friends and I quoted it all the time. Like a lot of dumb white kids, we thought the character of Long Duk Dong was funny, and we found many opportunities to say “What’s happenin’ hot stuff” and “Oh sexy girlfriend” with Asian-sounding accents. Every time he entered the scene, a freaking gong went off. I’m sure the one Asian kid at our school probably didn’t think it was quite as funny… But we weren’t identifying with HIM. And “The Donger” wasn’t even the worst part of that movie. Jake Ryan straight up offers his super drunk girlfriend to the “The Geek” for him to have sex with, and says, “Have fun.” She is barely conscious, and entirely too drunk to give anything resembling consent. When the obviously drunk Caroline whispers “I love you,” Anthony Michael Hall breaks the fourth wall and says, “This is getting good,” right before he totally has sex with an unconscious girl, we suppose… And the “hilarity” of date rape ensues. The next morning, when the Geek asks her if she enjoyed herself, Caroline says, “You know, I have this weird feeling I did.” And as Molly Ringwald wrote in The New Yorker, “She had to have a feeling about it, rather than a thought, because thoughts are things we have when we are conscious, and she wasn’t.”

Now, does this mean we have to burn the originals and “cancel” every movie that John Hughes ever made? I don’t think so (and no one is trying to do that, just like no one is trying to remove all the copies of Green Eggs & Ham from elementary school bookshelves… You morons). We can learn about the messed up rape culture of the 80s & 90s, and talk about how it still persists today (and led to trash like Brett Kavanaugh being appointed to the Supreme Court). But it ALSO doesn’t mean we should be playing Sixteen Candles for middle school movie day, just because it’s rated PG and some people have a nostalgic feeling about it.

Think about how much societal norms have changed just since 1984 when Sixteen Candles came out… Now think about the kind of crap that was acceptable in 1945 when Pepé Le Pew debuted and Warner Brothers thought that a cartoon of a rapist male skunk not taking NO for an answer from a female cat sounded like a good idea for a kid’s show.

Republicans talk a lot about the “Invisible Hand of the Market” — this idea that markets are driven by unseen forces, and we should let those forces play out — but now that the markets are reflecting a growing distaste for rape culture and white supremacy and using someone’s culture as the butt of jokes, all of a sudden they want to mess with the Invisible Hand. Norms are changing, and people are calling for a fairer representation on their entertainment. So when we see loving, same-sex couples on a commercial, it’s not “the media” trying to “shove things down our throats.” It’s a reflexion of changing norms. Humanity is progressing. Some things that USED to be acceptable are no longer acceptable. And societies (and markets) work to enforce those new norms. There are consequences for saying things that people in 1945 felt perfectly comfortable saying…

If we figure out that the heroes of our youth were rapists, we don’t defend & diminish the consequences of rape culture… We find new heroes. If we figure out that a beloved cartoon from our youth was actually a racist caricature or a rapist skunk, we don’t demand their inclusion in movies being made today… We move on. People need to ask themselves if the things they are trying to “conserve” are actually worth keeping. Norms change for a reason. The people upset at the “cancelling” of Speedy Gonzales are the same dimwits who are pissed off about female Jedis in the new Star Wars movies. Do you really want to be the person who is angry about making a female rabbit’s boobs smaller so as not to sexualize her? Just because there are some good episodes of Fat Albert, doesn’t mean Bill Cosby gets a cameo in the reboot. You might still have a nostalgic crush on Jake Ryan, but by today’s standards, he’s a total sleaze ball. Guess who else was a rapist… James Bond, that’s who. And just because you have fond memories of a rapist skunk from your youth, it doesn’t mean you are being attacked because popular opinion has him being excluded from a movie made today.

“Cancel Culture” is what conservatives call it when their bigotry & cruelty are recognized for what they are. If you’re more angry that a radio station stopped playing an artist who got caught calling people the N-word than you are about the harm done by that artist’s words, you might not think of yourself as a “racist,” but I guarantee I can tell you who you voted for in the last presidential election. If you are the sort of person who is more upset about “cancel culture” than you are about rape culture, you are not a good person. And if that makes you feel “attacked,” I don’t know what to tell you. Deal with it, snowflake. Start identifying with the victims & survivors of rape, rather than the rapists. Norms change. And as they change, there are consequences for breaking those norms. Just because you fondly remember a time when executives used to be able to slap their secretaries on the fanny, it doesn’t mean that you are the “victim of cancel culture” when your old, sexist ass gets fired for doing it today. Sweet Lord, this is not that hard, people…

What is depression, if not a giant sense of “screw it” persevering? I’m so very thankful to those of you who have continued to support me through this very difficult time in my life. I know I’ve not been writing as often as I usually do. There have been so many times I have thought about writing, and then just been overwhelmed by a deep feeling of “What’s the fuckin’ point?” I don’t know if anything I do makes a difference, but… just in case, you know? This post is especially for my friends who check up on me when I’m hiding from reality. I sure love you all. If you are also in a hard, dark place lately, please reach out… And if you’d like to support my writing, you can DO THAT ON PATREON, or you can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL or on Venmo at “chris-boeskool.” Otherwise, please follow along on Facebook and on Twitter.

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A Valentine’s Day Misadventure

I awoke this morning to the sounds of sirens and reports of freezing rain. I guess I haven’t been paying close enough attention to the weather forecast… For some reason I didn’t think the bad weather was coming until tomorrow, so I figured I’d have some time today to run to the grocery store and wrestle through the people around me who are frantically doing their best to leave all the areas that contain milk, eggs, and bread looking like the toilet paper aisles last March. After years of living in the South and making fun of southerners for apocalypse-prepping at the mere mention of snow, I looked in my kitchen and saw that I had five eggs, half an inch of milk, and NO BREAD.

I really had no desire to go out in the cold, and neighborhood Facebook pages told tales of icy roads. But I figured the next few days were only going to get worse, so I decided to brave it (I grew up in Michigan, thinking that people in the South were morons when it came to driving on snowy roads, but I LEARNED VERY QUICKLY that snow and ice in Tennessee were not to be taken lightly). It’s 25 degrees out, and there was a misty rain outside — perfect freezing rain conditions. The fact that my feet were sliding around on my driveway and my car was frozen shut were not good signs, but I figured I’d just test out the neighborhood roads, and if it was too bad, I could decide not to go.

After chiseling my way into the car, starting it, and letting it idle for about 15 minutes to melt the thin layer of ice coating the windows, I traction-control-warninged my way up the hill out of my neighborhood. I was sliding around a little bit, but I thought I could make it. I decided to drive to Walmart. I know, I know… But I needed some new razors, and I’m not paying Kroger prices for razors. I’m not made of money. As I drove up and looked for a parking spot that wasn’t a country mile away from the store, there was a man walking his cart to his car while carrying a giant bouquet of about 20 helium-filled Valentine’s Day balloons. It was embarrassingly big. I wondered to myself who would want that to receive that many balloons as a Valentine… Scoffing at the weird gesture. I don’t know. Maybe he was going to resell them? Anyway, as he loaded his groceries into his SUV, he let go of the balloons, and within moments they were a distant red mylar romantic gesture in the hazy, icy sky. A part of me — the part that is even more frustratedly aware of pandemic loneliness at this time of year — giggled just a bit as he watched them disappear. I felt a little bad for him, so I was going to offer for him to video me telling his Valentine how nice the balloons were before they floated away… But then he didn’t return his cart to the corral that was ten yards away, so I figured he had it coming.

He had enough balloons that a smaller man would have been lifted off the ground…

I ice skated across the parking lot and into the store, where the few staples I was going to buy turned into a half-full cart. As I walked to the checkout, I realized I left home without my wallet. So, SO dumb. Somewhere, the Balloon guy was snickering. I tried to figure out if there was some way to have them ring the stuff up, and then I could call them with my credit card info? That wasn’t going to work. I figured I would leave the cart near the greeter… But should I take the ice cream all the way back to the frozen food section? My tired legs said no. I’d just hustle home, come right back, and pay. I slid back to my car and went home for my wallet. There was a car that was just abandoned in the middle of the road, so other people didn’t know if they were going to be able to make it up the hill (Nashville is way hillier than people think). I pulled around a skeptical Jeep. I didn’t care… My ice cream was MELTING. I made it back to the parking lot, parked a country mile away, grabbed my half-full cart, and made my way to the checkout. There were about three aisles open, and each of them had at least half a dozen milk, egg, & bread-filled carts lined up… So I made the decision to go through the self-scan. I know, I know… But my ice cream was MELTING, PEOPLE!

I scanned the bag of grapes, and it told me I needed assistance. The lady came over and commenced pushing button after unnecessary button, until it was literally asking for my I.D. in order to purchase cigarettes (I was definitely not buying cigarettes). The lady looked me up and down, and she pushed the button that said I was over 18. Some other screen came up with something that looked like launch codes… It was a circus. It felt like the scene when Mr. Bean took forever gift wrapping the necklace in Love Actually. Then she had to unlock the high security casing for my razors, and apparently the key was somewhere in the frozen food section. This lady did NOT care about my melting ice cream.

I finally got through, and I shuffled my way back to my car, using the cart as a steadying walker of sorts. And as I packed the groceries into my trunk, I heard a crash. The giant jar of pickles I just bought broke through the earth-killing bag I had put it in. I felt a wave of pickle juice wash over my green shoes. I was soaked. Pickles and glass were everywhere. I looked behind me, expecting to see the balloon guy standing there, smiling… middle fingers extended.

I trudged back into the store for a THIRD time this morning. At least this time my glassy, brine-soaked feet seemed to get a better grip on what was, by that point, black ice. I walked to the pickle aisle, past people who were looking around trying to figure out where that pickle smell was coming from. I grabbed a replacement jar of pickles, and I headed to customer service to tell them that the parking lot was covered in pickles and glass. I thought to myself that “Pickles & Glass” sounds like name of a Vaudeville duo. Turns out that the customer service area is closed on Valentine’s Day, I guess? I found an employee, told her about the Pickles & Glass duo idea, and told her I’m taking the replacement jar. She looked at my face and saw the eyes of a broken, pickle juice-covered man. It was about as non-romantic as holidays get…

If you can figure out what the moral of this story is, please write it in the comments… Because I can’t figure it out. Also, if you’d love the stuff I write and you’d like to become a Patron, you can DO THAT HERE. If you’d like to leave a tip, you can DO THAT ON PAYPAL, or you can Venmo your generosity to “chris-boeskool”. Please follow me ON TWITTER and ON FACEBOOK for more romantic stories. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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The Case For Impeaching Him Again

I’m not trying to preach to the choir here… I’m really not. By a large margin, most Americans understand that trump is a horrible, broken, evil person, and the nation will be better off without him. But I’ve seen people who are worried that impeaching him again would be too “divisive,” and we need to “come together.” There are calls for “unity.” But I’m not really concerned with those folks… If you can’t understand that “unity” with the people who supported an armed insurrection, who set up gallows outside of the Capitol and chanted “Hang Mike Pence,” who smeared their poop on the wall of the Capitol, who brought in pipe bombs, zip ties, & killed a Capitol Police officer by beating his head with a fire extinguisher is not what this country needs right now, chances are good there is nothing anyone is going to say to change your mind. You can’t reason someone out of not being reasonable. Besides, most of the people talking about “coming together” for the sake of the country are the same folks who lied about election results and supported objecting to the certification of President Elect Joe Biden’s victory… And there are few things less unifying to a country than spreading baseless claims about “election fraud.”

As Deontée Gordon said, “Well played, December 37th, 2020. Well played.”

I’m writing more to those who might be leaning towards the “What’s the point — He’s leaving in 10 days” side of things. There are many good reasons to impeach him again. I’m only going to write about a few…

Four days ago, donald trump stood behind bullet proof glass and stoked the anger of a giant crowd of his supporters. He restated the false claim that the election was “stolen from you and from me,” and he directed the crowd to march to the Capitol… Even though far-right corners of the internet had been calling for and planning a storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6 to “Stop the Steal” for over a month. Rudy Giuliani spoke at the rally and called for a “trial by combat.His voice was one of MANY republican voices who incited violence, and then got all “This is not who we are” when people took him seriously…

We see this all over the GOP. Like North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn, who sounded like William Wallace giving a speech to the troops before battle, just to change his tune after the coup was unsuccessful…

“Yes, I’ve been pouring gasoline all over this church and handing people matches… But now that it’s on fire, I need want to go on record as CONDEMNING setting churches on fire. THIS IS NOT WHO WE ARE!”

But trump’s actions were much, MUCH worse. He repeated called for the crowd to “fight,” told them our country is “under siege,” and that they’ll “never take back the country with weakness.” He said, “You must stop the steal. You better do it before we have no country left,” calling Joe Biden an “illegitimate president.” And then he watched the violence on a TV screen. Watch this amazing, disturbing video…

As violence erupted, he was pressured by republicans to say something to call off his CoupKluxKlan members… So what he did was post a video — again lying about the election being stolen — and asked his MAGA Militia to go home, telling them “We love you. You’re very special,” (giving the red-hatted terrorists more affirmation than he’s ever given his actual children).

By itself, this is more than enough to remove a president. But what happened next shows just how much this scared, angry little man wanted this terrorist attack on the Capitol to be successful. The next THREE people in line for the presidency were all in that building that was being attacked. Trump knew that Mike Pence was going to fulfill his constitutional obligation to certify Biden’s election that day, but he WAITED until AFTER the terrorists were inside the building to send a tweet attacking Mike Pence for going against him. Republican Senator Ben Sasse said, “Today, the United States Capitol — the world’s greatest symbol of self-government — was ransacked while the leader of the free world cowered behind his keyboard — tweeting against his Vice President for fulfilling the duties of his oath to the Constitution.

News about the attack on the Capitol spread quickly, and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan — A REPUBLICAN — mobilized 200 state troopers to help, and he directed the General in charge of Maryland’s National Guard to get his troops ready. He said that “House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called Hogan… and were ‘pleading’ with him for assistance from his state and national forces.” He tried repeatedly to get the National Guard deployed to help, but to do this, they needed authorization from the Department of Defense, and he was “REPEATEDLY DENIED.” Trump inexplicably RESISTED sending the National Guard, despite watching the violence surge. Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller said he spoke with Pence about sending in the Guard… Not mentioning Trump. Gov. Hogan said that he got a call about AN HOUR AND A HALF LATER asking for help, and he was like, “Yeah, we’ve been waiting. We’re ready.”

Governor Hogan — again, a republican — called for trump’s removal after the fiasco, and was quoted as saying, “I think there’s no question that America would be better off if the president would resign or be removed from office.”

So, to recap: He lied to a crowd. He incited them to violence, and directed them to the Capitol. He waited to tweet an attack against his Vice President until the terrorists were in the building he was in (where they chanted “Hang Mike Pence,” while having gallows set up outside). And then, when help was offered to quell the riot, he repeatedly resisted, forcing Congressional leadership to take other channels.

He needs to be removed, he needs to be convicted of his crimes. and he needs to go to prison. There has GOT to be a precedent set so that people know that this sort of thing has SEVERE consequences. We can NOT gloss over this in the name of “coming together” or any such nonsense. Do you want to know why? This is why:

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The NY Post Publicly Shamed A Paramedic For Her Sex Work. Here’s How You Can Help Her…

It looks like I’m at the stage of my messed up pandemic sleep schedule where I wake up every day at 4am, WIDE AWAKE, with no hope of ever sleeping again. And like I do when I’m wide awake in the middle of the night, I opened Twitter to see what is happening in the world. Today, I took a deep dive into an article posted in the New York Post by Dean Balsamini and Susan B. Edelman (if you click on their names, it will bring you to their Twitter profiles so you can tell them how much you appreciate their lack of journalistic ethics) about a woman named Lauren Kwei who has been working as a paramedic, but who got the side gig of posting sexy pictures on a Fans Only site.

A couple years ago, Lauren started working as an EMT for a private senior care, and was making about $15 an hour. She took a break, paid for training as a paramedic to make more money, worked as a hostess in a restaurant… And then last year, to help pay the bills, she started a Fans Only site, where people could pay her $12 a month to see sexy pictures of her. And I guess there aren’t enough news stories right now, because the Post approached her about her and informed her they were doing an article on her.

This is Lauren… She is brave and intelligent and self-reliant. Leave her. The hell. Alone.

Afraid that she might lose her job, she pleaded with them to keep her identity secret. They refused. And they posted THIS ARTICLE (please only click on it if you absolutely have to, because it would be a shame to give them even more ad revenue), where they repeatedly shamed her for her decision to make extra money with her body. Twitter came to her defense… I became aware of the story when AOC posted this:

When AOC comes for you, you know you are screwed.

She doesn’t know yet whether she will lose her job as a paramedic. Lauren is taking care of her father, who is very sick. Ugh… This whole thing is just so gross. The New York Post is such utter trash. Imagine deciding to mess with a 23 year old woman who is taking care of her sick father while literally risking her life working as a paramedic during COVID, and posting an article shaming her for posting sexy pictures of herself… So that she doesn’t have to work overtime. I’m so disgusted. It makes me want to spit.

Just a few days ago, I was at work — thinking about how much my feet hurt, and day dreaming about putting some lotion on them when I got home — and I jokingly said to some coworkers, “I wonder if I could start a Fans Only site where I just rubbed lotion on my feet for like 10 minutes at a time… Nothing *SUPER* sexual. Just sexy enough, you know?” They said it probably depends on what my feet look like. I told them the story about letting a camper paint my toenails orange one summer when I was working at camp, and discovering that my feet were F*CKING GORGEOUS, and describing how my vanity — in Grinch-esque fashion — grew three sizes that day. We all laughed, but I thought to myself, I’d TOTALLY let a couple dozen creepy people watch me rub my sore feet for $12 a month. In a heartbeat. But I digress…

So — as is often the custom — someone has started a GoFundMe for her. It’s RIGHT HERE. Yesterday Lauren responded to the generous people who have contributed so far. Here is what she wrote:

“I want to start off by thanking you all so much for standing up for me and fighting. I have read all your comments and messages and I’m feeling very overwhelmed with love and gratitude. Let me also say that I truly believe I do not HAVE to explain myself, but I want to. I know in my heart that I did nothing wrong, but it really helps to be reminded that I do not deserve to be treated like this or spoken about this way. All my life, I have been sexualized and treated as a sex object, no matter what I do or say. I sold pictures of myself on the internet for extra money because it’s easy. I didn’t pick up extra shifts because I cannot work 40+ hour weeks and maintain my mental health. I did not ask my parents for help because I’m adult and wanted to make my own money. I never once spoke of my pictures at work or used my job as a paramedic to solicit subscribers. I know I did nothing wrong and I have nothing to be ashamed of. Most of the quotes in that article are me defending myself to this reporter. He did not include that I begged him to remain anonymous (which was never agreed to) and that I told him my safety and job were going to be at risk if he posted this article. He truly did not care. He went on to call my employer and my mother. As some of you may know, I’ve been home with my family in WV following my father going into cardiac arrest last week. I have not been able to speak with my employer because of this and I still do not know what they are going to do. As of right now, I do still have a job but I will probably find out tomorrow if I don’t.

I reached out to a Facebook group called First Responderinos (a sub group of fans of a podcast called My Favorite Murder) and I had SO many people asking if they could donate money. A very kind soul put together a GoFundMe for me and my family. Under normal circumstances, I would never accept money from strangers, however my dad is the sole supporter of my family and will be out of work for at least 2 months. Any money donated to this GFM will be used for me and my family. I don’t think I deserve all the kindness you all have shown to me, but I cannot thank you all enough.

I’m a strong woman because I have strong women all around me. I did nothing wrong and I will not take this lying down. I will continue to fight for my name and reputation. I will speak out against this and tell my story in time and when I am ready. Thank you all so much. I love love love you all. Please forgive me if I haven’t responded to your messages.”

Please consider this line: “All my life, I have been sexualized and treated as a sex object, no matter what I do or say.We relentlessly sexualize our young women, and then we shame them when they decide to use their overly sexualized bodies to earn a living. It really needs to stop.

Anyway, I don’t have a lot of money right now… But I do have a bunch (ish) of people who follow this blog, and I wanted to do something to help her. If you have some extra money right now, please consider sending some of it her way. Here is her GoFundMe again. And if you feel like helping support me & this blog, you can learn how to do that HERE. Love y’all… And let’s stop shaming sex workers.

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Anti-Maskers, and The Right To Poop In Other People’s Food

In solidarity with the “My body, my choice” anti-maskers & COVID-deniers, I have decided I’m going to get a job at Smoothie King, and I’m going to blend a dollop of my own poop into the smoothies I make.

It’s a bit nutty… But it is protein-rich, it is gluten free, and it is certified organic.

And I’m not the only one. There is a nationwide “movement,” if you will, of people committed to shitting in other people’s food. I know there are people ALL OVER AMERICA who are committed to defecating in the things that other people are going to put in their mouths. We are everywhere! From fast food to fancy restaurants. So get ready…

Listen: If you don’t want to get sick, just stay home. But me? I’m not going to “live in fear” anymore. I’m going to get out there and LIVE MY LIFE. Like Braveheart said, “Everyone dies… Not everyone truly lives in a way that enables morons to drastically increase the risk of other people dying from E.coli.”

According to the OAN and Fox”News” programming that I watch on a daily basis, a VERY low percentage of E. coli cases end up with people dying. Sure, a lot of people MIGHT get sick… But the risk of DEATH is low. 98% of people who eat other people’s crap don’t even die from it! Most will recover. A lot of people who eat my poo smoothies end up asymptomatic. Anyway, E. coli is basically like the flu.

I’m sick and tired of BIG GOVERNMENT trying to tell me what I “can” and “can’t” do with my own feces. BIG PHARMA is in cahoots with all those “scientists” and liberal elitists trying to say that there should be regulations restricting our right to get other people sick. It’s a giant conspiracy, funded by George Soros. And if you rearrange the letters of George Soros’ name, you get the words FECAL SLAVERY… Which is their ultimate goal. The only ones who don’t agree with that have been bought and paid for by BIG SPELLING and BIG RATIONAL THOUGHT.

2020 has broken my non-violence.

I, for one, have had enough of “The Swamp” telling me what to do with my own body and my own poop. I’ve seen enough YouTube videos to know that NOT eating other people’s poo can be just as dangerous as eating other people’s poo. Besides, what’s next?!? Are they going to make it illegal for people to poop in their own homes?? This is a slippery slope if I’ve ever seen one… A slippery slope of poop.

Sure, call me “selfish.” It’s not my fault that all you liberals get all “triggered.” I’m not doing this just to “Own the Libs.” I’m doing this because it’s my God-given right as an American. I believe in three things: My right to shoot & kill anyone who makes me feel threatened in any way, my right to drop a deuce in other people’s food, and my right to tell a woman what to do with her body if she gets pregnant.

There are worse things than eating other people’s poo… Like the TYRANNY of being told you can’t take a dump in other people’s food. All of these so-called “mandates” are examples of government overreach… THIS IS ABOUT LIBERTY, PEOPLE! “First they came for my right to poop in other people’s food, and I said nothing…” You know what I’m saying?

It’s my right as an American! Show me where, in the Constitution, it says that people can’t #2 in someone else’s food. You can’t, can you.? I’m going to put my stool in other people’s food, as the Founding Fathers envisioned. Shitting in other people’s food is as American as baseball or apple pie with a bit of my poop in it. Stay strong, Patriots!!

I realize that 2020 has nearly killed satire, butt this blog has been missing some bathroom humor for a while. If you value this blog and you want to help support it, you can BECOME A PATRON (I initially wrote “become a Parton, which would also be rad). Leah did last week, and she requested a poem titled “Super Leah.” Here it is:

“Super Leah”

When she flies over Fort Wayne
Or Kim Jong Un, in North Korea, 
She drives the villains all insane,
Because you can’t kill an idea.
Her name’s a buzz. A hiss. A brain.
A splashy onomatopoeia…
Is it a bird? Is it a plane?
Holy shit, that’s Super Leah!

If becoming a patron is not for you, but you’d like to leave a tip (or contribute to the “Help pay for Chris’ kids’ Christmas present” fund), you can DO THAT ON PAYPAL or Venmo me at “chris-boeskool.” No matter what, you should be following me ON FACEBOOK and ON TWITTER. Stay safe. Look for places to laugh, and reasons to smile. Take care of each other.

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COVID-19, and Why We’re Totally Screwed

Here is a recap of a conversation I had tonight at the restaurant with a man who was wearing a camouflage American flag hat:

I was going to wear my camouflage American flag hat, but I couldn’t find it… #RimShot

Him: “How late are y’all open tonight?”
Me: “Eleven o’clock.”
Him: “What? I used to hang out here until 3am!”
Me: “Yeah… Because of the virus, restaurants in Nashville get in trouble if they have people here after 11pm.”
Him: “That is so dumb. In Williamson county — just one county over — they have like NO restrictions. I was just there the other day… The restaurant was PACKED.”
Me: “Oh yeah? Stuff like that might be why the U.S. had 183k new cases just yesterday.”
Him: “That’s only because we’re testing so much.”
Me: “We had more new cases yesterday alone than most countries in the world have had TOTAL cases since the pandemic started… You think that’s just due to testing?”
Him: “Anyway, it’s not the CASES that count. It’s how many people die.”
Me: “Unfortunately, we lead the world in that category as well. We have 4% of the world’s population, and 20% of the world’s COVID deaths.”
Him: “That’s only because hospitals are calling things COVID that aren’t COVID to get more money. They get like $10,000 extra to treat COVID cases.”
Me: “So you think doctors are all lying about it to get extra money? I have friends who are doctors and nurses, and I’ve talked to them about it… They are not lying.”
Him: “You think if you ask people if they are embezzling money, they’re just going to say Yes?”
Me: “So ALL of them are just lying for extra money?”
Him: “It’s mostly the hospital administrators. THEY’RE the ones pressuring people to say everything is COVID.”
Me: “And you don’t think — if the doctors & nurses were being pressured to LIE about COVID diagnoses — that anyone would come forward and tell about it? That’s a pretty big conspiracy theory, right there…”
Him: “I have a buddy from the military… Committed suicide. Put a shotgun in his mouth, and killed himself. They marked down his death as being due to COVID-19.”
Me [thinks to myself: “That didn’t happen.”]: “Hmmm. Yeah, well… I have a feeling we’re going to have to shut down again soon…. We missed our chance to take this seriously when we shut everything down in March through May.”
Him: “Europe took it seriously, and now their cases are spiking again just like ours.”
Me: “They’re cases are spiking again in some places where they stopped taking it seriously. Germany has 80 million people, but they only have like 15,000 deaths (the actual number is 12,619 deaths).”
Him: “The only reason the European Union is doing better than us is because they’ve got less people than us.”
Me [considers saying “Fewer,” but decides to say]: “Dude, the E.U. has about 120 million more people than we do.”
Him: “Nope. I just looked it up the other day. We’ve got way more people.”
Me [pulls phone out]: “Hey Siri, how many people are there in the European Union?”

I show him the screen that says “447.7 million,” he says, “I don’t think that’s right,” and I kiss my tip goodbye.

And, scene…

___________________________________________________________________________________________

In the middle of March, I was furloughed from my job working as a server. I know a lot of people look down at that job, but I don’t mind that much. I’m very good at it, and it has provided for my family for a long time. Like many other people, not having an income was a scary time for me. During the time I was out of work, I couldn’t have survived financially without the extra money the CARES Act added to unemployment benefits. I mostly stayed home. Going to the store to buy necessities felt like a panic attack… But at least I could afford to pay my bills and buy food for my family. But for people who lost their jobs in March & April, unemployment benefits have run out….

This past week, as the restaurant was doing enough business to bring me back on, I started back at work. It has felt really good to work hard and be able to earn money again. We are doing everything we can to keep people safe, but the numbers don’t lie. Unfortunately, while our nation has tried to weather this pandemic, we have been under the leadership of an incompetent narcissist, and now we are heading towards another shut down. We have 70 million people in this country who think that doctors & scientists are lying to us, but they believe the word of an ex reality show host & failed steak salesman… The sort of people who see a computer tell you how many people live in the European Union, and when they see the answer, they say, “I don’t think that’s right.”

In late March, when most states issued stay-at-home orders, there were about 26,000 TOTAL cases in the entire country, and around 1,000 total deaths. That was enough for the majority of the states in the country to issue stay-at-home orders. Then, before the election, as 1000 people a day were dying from this virus, a fragile, broken man was holding multiple super spreader event rallies every day, leaving his followers stranded in the cold (because he doesn’t pay his bills), and was jealous of the media coverage the virus was getting… Saying, “It’s covid, covid, covid. You can’t watch anything else.” Now, so far this WEEK, there have been just shy of 925,000 new cases of coronavirus in this country. Over the same six day period in the United States, 6,734 people have taken their last labored breath because of COVID-19… And for another 66 days, we are stuck with a monster who doesn’t care one bit. Trump & the republican party has completely surrendered to this virus.

The plan for how to deal with a pandemic is fairly straightforward. You listen to the experts, and you take their advice. Leadership provides clear messaging. Stay at home unless it’s absolutely necessary. Wear a mask. Social distance. Enforce mandates. Quarantine the sick. Access to testing. Provide detailed contact tracing.

Instead, what we got was a liar who didn’t want to spook the markets. We got a conman who pushed the debunked miracle cure hydroxycloroquine. We got a moronic child, who would rather file lawsuits about an election he lost than do ANYTHING to help people who are hurting. And we got a charlatan, who caters to the fear and bigotry of masses of people like my camouflage hat-wearing friend… Relentlessly deceiving them until they don’t have a clue what the truth is anymore. And when we finally have competent, compassionate, honest leadership for this nation, they will try to blame to pain of the new shutdown on the new administration. But make no mistake: The reason we will have to do it again is because we lacked the leadership to do it right the first time.

Thanks for reading. I love you all so much. Thank you for all the kind words of love and encouragement I received after the previous post. Honestly, from the bottom of my heart: Thank you. If you’d like to become a Patron and help support this blog, you can DO THAT HERE. If you’d like to leave a tip, you can DO THAT ON PAYPAL or Venmo me at “chris-boeskool.” There’s also a lot of fun happening on my FACEBOOK PAGE and also ON TWITTER.

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