Monday, March 11, 2019

Social Muddier (Calm Your Twits)


"Weakness is what brings ignorance, cheapness, racism, homophobia, desperation, cruelty, brutality, all these things that will keep a society chained to the ground, one foot nailed to the floor." 
- Henry Rollins

Hello Blogiteers!

Twas a sad past week for yours truly, as I spent all of it in Jail. Not the exemplary don't-pick-up-the-soap kind of jail we've all seen on Netflix, nor the one I was weakly threatened to be thrown into by the Arizona Attorney General's office by it's unethical cabal of cubicle monkeys- no, I found myself imprisoned in the most petty of all penitentiaries, that being the horrid horcrux of hypocrisy that calls itself Twitter. You know what it is, the place where conservatives are always complaining about being shadow-banned, and having their free speech violated, but seemingly ignore the fact that Lahren, Trump, Hannity, Owens, and Ingrahm post violations of the terms 24/7 and have yet to be placed on time out?

How did I get there, for those of you unfamiliar with my penchant for holding the moronic to task? Well, it seems that while bots and fake accounts can freely and openly post missives of racism, misogyny, unhinged death threats, (of which I've had several) as well as willful ignorance, conspiracy theories, xenophobia, and the like, you're generally shadow-banned or "jailed" if you respond with intellectual and gleeful savagery to said abusive statements, which I so obviously did.

Given the gift of a prognosticators hindsight, perhaps my accurately calling out a cravenly misogynistic and wholly racist neo-Nazi incel was perhaps not the best course of action for a mature adult to undertake, but I still stand behind my doing so 100%. Sadly, Twitter apparently doesn't mind one iota if their platform is manipulated to disseminate alt-right philosophy and uninformed acidity, as proven by the fact that they have no issue with our wholly owned by Russia, serial lying, and wretched Embarrassment-in-Chief miserably posting multiple violations of their conduct policy, but I digress.

See, I happen to take great pride in using my gift of snarkiness towards the vanquishing of the most pitifully pathetic of truly ignorant evil, if only for the greater good, but I also understand there's bound to be some severe consequences that stem directly from my POV. I also don't care if there is, which some people find somewhat odd, considering how many times I've been doxxed and threatened. Simple analysis: I don't like bullies of any sort, and I have nothing in my personal whine cellar for these Neanderthals past serving up a coldly savage sense of acidic scorn where their individual idiocy is concerned. And I sure as Hell am not going to be intimidated by any mouth-breathers who idolize a man who doesn't even know how to correctly close an umbrella.

As I've said before, both publically and online, I don't care if you think differently, as long as you're actually thinking to begin with, which is where that whole crowbar separation of civilized debate comes into play. If at any point that you find yourself online, you can without much exploration, find levels of focused stupidity so mind-bogglingly dense, you'd almost think that you were dealing with barely sentient slabs of osmium*, sporting a confederate flag tattoo, along with one of those China-made MAGA hats.
[This metallic element BTW, packs 22 grams into 1 cubic centimeter, or more than 100 grams into a teaspoonful. Definitely the workout to lift a sugar spoon of this stuff, let me tell you.]

And to be fair, both sides of the political coin are guilty of this, myself included, albeit to a severely limited degree. After all, it is seemingly quite impossible to engage in civilized debate when your opponent consistently leaves the realms of both logic and reality in order to avoid facing the truth that their so-called argument is based on no more than ether and lies.

To quote English-born American political activist Thomas Paine: "To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture.'

In my opinion, your average alt-righter, stereotypically armed only with a slimy miasma of homophobic, xenophobic, racist, misogynistic, and utterly paranoid incel fantasies, is the biggest danger that the United States currently faces. No need to worry about who's outside the house when the serial killer is not only inside, but has decided to bring all the members of his Klan, the spelling of which is most decidedly accurate in relation to this analogy. Sadly, due to both my business, creative and social justice interests, I find myself spending way too much time online, and this has regrettably lead to my fomenting a rather cynical world-view of my fellow primates at times.

Keep in mind that I'm a true adherent whereas the positives of the Web are concerned, but I'm also not going to ignore the depravity that comes cloaked within it's darkest recesses, either. Underpinning the infrastructure of the pixilated juggernaut otherwise known as social media, is the joyless truth that all the interconnectivity it offers comes with one hell of a door cover- that being all the people who used to scream on street corners and brood at your local dive bar, now have access to finding others of their ilk, who are as equally dredged from the same hate-mutated genetic cesspool they spawned from.

I've had my life seriously threatened, been doxxed repeatedly, have had no less than three separate and disturbingly focused cyber stalkers, along with one ultimately cravenly, yet
in-my-face antagonist, all because I tend to use these things called "facts" when I am forced to engage with these, the lowest of the muttonheads. However, as I stated earlier, it's really almost damn near laughable for anyone to think they can intimidate me on any level, thanks to the verity of my waking up every morning with a monster inside me who is throwing out every trick it can to aid in hastening my eventual demise. So when you get right down to brass tacks, I don't really sweat the trivial to be quite frank, especially when the so-called "threat" to my safety hails from a fatuous group of people who believe that not only is Pizzagate a real thing, but that our Mango Mussolini is a real president.

That's the beauty of Diabetes- it really does help set the bar for personal standards in regards to one's bravery, if I do say so myself.

Speaking of individual bravery, that also seems to be a quality that most Americans seem to be lacking as of late, especially in regards to stepping up as it were, in order to maintain and protect what used to be in sentiment at least, a civil society. It would be awfully hypocritical of me to try and defend how I've stereotypically approached those I have found to be appalling in both their word and deed, as the level of fiery acidity I've been known to allot is sometimes akin to Smaug* after suffering the indignity of having a scrabble of thoughtless Shire-rats leave footprints all over his hoard of just-polished gold.
*[Smaug is a dragon in J. R. R. Tolkien's 1937 novel The Hobbit. He is a powerful and fearsome dragon, according to his publicist, but we all know how those people are paid to embellish, so take that with a grain and a half of salt. In addition, I'm also pretty sure he's a lot older than it says on his headshot, just sayin'.]

Now some people might claim that the current attitude that is ostensibly steering our society towards the abyss is nothing more than a symptom of what is feebly passing for moral leadership in this country, and that is a valid point, if not a truly worrying concern for our future, in regards to our standing and legacy. Granted, while the utopian vision of a unified America once depicted by Norman Rockwell has never been even remotely correct, I honestly still cannot recall any time in my life where so much unbridled and biased venom was disseminated in such a swath of vast measure, and I say this as someone who was once described as having a switchblade for a tongue.

Even on my best day with all of my Ninja ferrets lined up, the label of acidic curmudgeon would not only be appropriate, it might even be considered an act of selfless, if not downright charitable diplomacy, depending on how much access one has within my circle of influence. As a rule of thumb, I'm not a fan of people, but I do dig Humanity as a general construct- it's a cool idea overall, even given the inanity of turning the running of the universe over to a bunch of squabbling monkeys who despite having all of the worlds information at their phalanges, still refer to a bronze-age collection of orally transcribed fairytales to guide their arrogantly self-righteous decisions regarding science and morality.

The writer Voltaire once quipped that “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him”, and I do believe that he may have been on to something with that thought of sheer wit, as the residents of the human zoo prove time and time again that they will fight tooth and nail to believe that data regarding global warming, institutionalized privilege, and the ongoing cancer of rampant misogyny is counterfeit, but concurrently, have willingly accepted a mishmash of angels, magical thinking, FOX propaganda, and the Deep State as a pinnacle of rectitude.

The woeful refrain of "this is not the country I grew up in" has been bandied about quite a bit recently, but sadly, it's notably imprecise, even when one factors in the influence of the intellectually negated red hat cult that currently slithers among us. Our contemporary miasma of racism, misplaced jingoism, misogyny, and outright xenophobia targeted specifically at certain minority groups and non Christ-based religions are not symptoms of an unforeseen disease- they're simply the most recent metamorphosis of a far older and equally virulent strain fermented by those who derive power and/or profit from the manipulation of willful ignorance and the fueling of a 24/7 cycle of stoked irrational fears borne by a biased and algorithm-driven dissemination media system.

In the plainest form of the Queens English that I can present, we're getting played, and the saddest part is we plainly did it to ourselves- I'll explain. We got way too comfortable having a president who not only could speak in full sentences, but who was also aware of what the responsibility of the office is, unlike the Mango Mussolini who's larded ass is now taking up space in the highest seat of power within our land. We viewed his ignorant mass with trivial disdain and mockery, and we are all now paying for the combined decisions of his ill-bred base, and our dismissal of what they could do as a unified front.

In spades, no less.

The narrative we follow has been crassly tailored by agenda-driven media overlords to reflect our views, and our views alone, no matter what evidence or data is introduced into the equation. To be clear, I'm not referring to crackpot theories, or unfounded conspiracy tales- I'm noting the crowbar separation between actual debate versus talking at someone for no other motivation than to hear your own "voice".

Over the last decade or so, I've built quite the reputation as a savagely focused snark, and to be quite honest, I enjoy the fuck out of it. If one were to glance at my Instagram feed*, they would note that not only are there multiple postings about my art and literary endeavors, I'm also quite unabashedly open about my concept of social justice- this in the form of screenshots that I've pulled from my interactions on Twitter** with the nescient hordes of Trumplethinskins that roam it's wastelands, vainly searching for an America that never existed, and never will.
*[https://www.instagram.com/wayne_michael_reich_art/]
**[https://twitter.com/DarkreichAZ?lang=en]

And to be fair, making a Trumpflake look ridiculous is parallel to shooting fish in a barrel with an M1 Abrams tank. It's so easy that anyone who's ever read a book could do it, and without even breaking a sweat, I might add. Heck... I know three year olds who can structure a better counter-argument than most of these slack-jawed, knuckle-dragging, intellectually deceitful troglodytes, even if you remove the factor that overall, they tend to be far more mature than the majority of this corpulent ilk.

I once received a very nice e-mail from a "fan" based in Sweden, (and who went on at some length) to let me know that while he liked my artistic deeds overall, he pretty much followed my page solely for the sheer ruthlessness that I set free upon those who possess the arrogance to tell me what a true American supposedly is- you know, the crowd that talks glowingly about their right to free speech, but then screeches at you to leave the country if you dare use the same in opposition? These are also the same idiots who as minimum-wage monkeys, think that rich people create jobs, that money trickles down to the masses, and that financially raping the poor for war is ok, but supporting truly vital infrastructure and healthcare is somehow the worst kind of socialism- a word that the majority of them repeat, yet fail to grasp it's meaning, no matter how many times it's explained to them using hand puppets.

But wait, you utter- isn't my complaining about the lack of civility while using the most discourteous terms to describe a sectioned sampling of my fellow Americans somewhat hypocritical? Well... yes from a certain POV, but I'm oddly ok wearing that hair shirt at the moment, and I'll explain why. If I happen to be engaged with someone who's rational and armed to the teeth with a counter defense based solely on facts, I tend to be gregarious as heck. But the odds are generally two-to-one that won't be the case when I happen to be debating online. In person, people tend to be exceedingly more measured with their ad hominem attacks versus when they're given free rein within a forum where remaining anonymous and being protected by the shadows of the Internet is key to their over-inflated sense of faux bravado.

In other words, like most (if not all) bullies, the feeble posturing of these pitifully alt-right Trumpflakes reminds us consistently that no matter the context of what they say, most of their ideological spine still hails from their bogus contention that their opinions are in reality, the purest of American values which are to be lauded, versus being despised for what they justly represent- that being the distillation of the most vile of human character flaws. Anyone who willingly empowers or gives support to the concepts of systematic racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and rabidly unfounded jingoism all at the expense of facts and their inherent humanity, should not be afforded the same basic courtesies one would typically extend to a human being with a functioning aptitude in regards to their ability for critical thinking, just saying.

One of the major cornerstones in maintaining a civil and polite society is the concept of holding others to their personal responsibility for actions both positive and negative- a theory that predates the socialization of tribes into postmodern cities. To be fair, it's a nice thought, but it's also one that's been pretty much tossed out the window since the Internet originated. Today's modern lack of awareness can debatably be chalked up to an equal amalgamation of willful ignorance and intellectual laziness, capped with an overinflated sense of self-righteousness that without the proper protocols in place, can take what is normally as benign as milk and mutate it into pure toxicity. And when one takes into account the deceitful agenda of troll farms and their free-roaming bots, attempting to clear up the murkiness that hinders the clarity of communication only gets that much harder to achieve.

So what's the solution? Well, while we cannot (and should not) regulate free speech, we can (and should) draw some definitive lines in the metaphorical sand to both lessen the acidic vileness of our electronic discourse, and to reign in the faceless poltroons that skulk it's outlands. And as usual, I may have an idea or two as to what those might be. Not to worry, you don't have to thank me- your fawning admiration and inconsistent sexting is payment enough. First, if there's one consistent annoyance I've always had in regards to the world wide web, it's the glaringly obvious fact that the anonymity of social media has made it far too easy to be disrespectful and threatening to strangers, while avoiding the sorely needed consequence of getting punched in the face for it.

I'm half-joking of course, since violence is never THE answer, but it's still on the list of solutions, nonetheless. As famed artist Jack Kirby (the creator of Captain America) once stated in an interview*: "The only real politics I knew was that if a guy liked Hitler, I’d beat the stuffing out of him and that would be it." Speaking from my POV, I have zero issues with anyone who for a myriad of valid reasons, may decide to punch out an avowed Nazi devotee, no matter how morally grey it might be to those who prefer a more peaceful path, but I think as far as ethical transgressions go, it ranks very low on my scale of personal no-no's. Besides, we need to make these alt-right jackasses pay for their ruination of khakis and tiki-torches, and beating them flat is as good a place as any to start.
*[http://www.tcj.com/jack-kirby-interview/5/]

And to clarify, I won't belittle anyone due to their possibly having a differing opinion than mine, I only engage in focused disparagement when that opinion is based on nothing more than willful ignorance and paranoid fear-mongering. To wit, your average inbred Trumpflake. As noted earlier, I don't care if you think differently, I care if you're thinking in the first place, and the art of critical overview is clearly out of the average Trumpeters reach. To illustrate my point, a difference of opinion is "I prefer tea over coffee", versus "the Jews will not replace us", by way of example. Glad I could clear that up. So the first step I see that should be undertaken to form a more sedate internet experience is to get rid of the shadowy shelter that being anonymous affords.

I've always advocated that if you truly believe in something, you should stand behind it publicly, and if you can't, the odds are probably that you already know that what you're failing to guard is either indefensible or wholly abominable to the greater majority of your fellow humans.
[See: "Trump's character", "Trump's policies", "Trump's statements", etc.]

I have never used or hidden behind, a fake name or a fake account, and I for one, don't give a rat's ass if you like what I say or not. But then again, I'm not pushing a rabidly loathsome agenda, either. That does make things significantly easier in the long run, and being called a liberal when I already self-identify as such is hardly the exposure I fear. In my opinion, "calling" someone out for something they already take unwarranted pride in can bite you in the keister sometimes. But there is a silver lining to this overview, that being the fact that to a person, your average Trumpflake cannot handle being mocked, not even a little bit. You can point out the numerous flaws in their self-styled "thinking", and even straight out state that they're much more comfortable inside their sister than they are in their flag-print lounge pants, but if you so much as dare to laugh at them, the resulting implosion is like watching a lard bomb go off at a NASCAR fried food on a stick stand. And they definitely don't appreciate being labeled as racist.

Call them misogynistic? No problem. Uneducated? They'll happily agree. Flat out note that they allegedly have
raw-dog BDSM sex with underage ducklings? Not only will they willingly admit to it, they'll proudly show you the glossy full color 8 x10's and accompanying HD video of them engaged in the act.

These people live for the moments where they can be horrible, much in the manner of how a five year old looks forward to Christmas morning. But as grunge icons NIRVANA once proclaimed: "Laugh hard at the absurdly evil", because once you do, you strip all of it's power away, and that's key in how one needs to deal with these people. Mel Brooks was once asked why he put Nazi's in almost every one of his movies and he responded by noting that Nazi's were, and I'm paraphrasing here, "funny"- his point being that you can't be hurt by those you find beneath contempt, especially when you're too busy laughing in their face.

By far, the best way to neuter these deplorables is to no longer allow them the undeserved privilege of being able to hide within a fetid cave of cowardice using the cloak of virtual anonymity as a loathsome dermis. If they truly believe in the vitriolic acidity they spew, than they should be equally ok with everyone they know seeing it presented under their real name. If I can do it, so can they, but they don't and won't. And we all know why, don't we? It's because they know their purported beliefs are either reprehensible, asinine, or corrupt to the point of being utterly incompatible with the values and valid concerns of the majority, to which they do not belong, and never will.

It never ceases to amaze me how fast these steely warriors of the keyboard turn into spineless pools of flan once they're brought out kicking and screaming into the light of public scrutiny. When it comes right down to the tanned orange worshiping hacks, these hurlers of the snowflake slur are the biggest candy-asses of all. I've taken a great amount of guff from these cravens, but I've also given as well as I've gotten, and it hasn't been boring yet, if I do say myself, and I do. In any average week, I manage to get scores of fake profiles and bots removed from the various social media platforms, and with my ongoing Anti-Trump postcard project*, aimed solely at the cultists of the mango Mussolini, my personal consensus of being truly self-entertaining seems to be holding water. At best guess, I've sent out at least 300+ of these personalized missives highlighting his and the GOP's hypocrisy / idiocy, and as it goes on, I'm enjoying myself more and more.


*[Seriously. This is such a fun thing to do. The spark-joy is immense.]

Ideally, the structure of this somewhat silent protest all comes back to one central thought I'd love to see materialize in person- the knowledge of realizing that after going out to your mailbox that you're no longer hidden from the eye of a Karmic society. I'd assume it must be chilling to say the very least, and that it might make one give serious pause to their approach concerning civil discourse, knowing they've been fully exposed like a Hermit Crab to the midday sun- in theory, of course. And I'm also perfectly fine with the fallout and backlash these cravens suffer due to their being unmasked- nobody is an "accidental" anything on the internet, especially where the most vile of human character is concerned, and we all know it, so spare me the whole apology/non-apology sentiment and move on.

As we've seen from past examples, the greater part of those affected by having their vitriolic facade laid bare tend to claim either the dubious mantle of being the true victim of their own actions, or of being misunderstood, rather than exuding genuine remorse or a sense of understanding as to why they're being taken to task in the first place. I have zero sympathy for anyone who threatens, harasses, or slurs their fellow human being from under the internet's bed, and then gets tagged on social media for it. Poor babies. You literally asked for the attention, and now that you've got it, you want to complain?

I for one, have always been flummoxed by the dizzying leap of logic concerning the "I'm not a _____ , I just say and support _____ things, even though I'm so not that.", defense. If you're actually underpinning abominable actions with your support, I don't care if you're Mother Theresa on your off hours- you're still an appalling person, no matter how you try (and fail) to spin it. And therein lies one of the main hurdles in regards to the issue with these Cult of the Red Hat members- how will we as a society reintegrate people who have no interest interacting with a reality that isn't a paranoiac version of the Matrix?

The simple truth is that after years of unchecked and crazed fear-stoking by the sleazy offal that passes for the right-wing media in this country, most of this over-armed ilk is only one MRE and a camo t-shirt away from going into their bunker and plotting all-out civil war, and all they're waiting on is any thing they can claim as a justified signal to go ahead and set it off. Let's face it, when you're dealing with a nationwide community that believes 100% that Hilary Clinton is running a sex slave ring out of a pizza restaurant, but not in Global Warming, it's not as if you have a lot of intellectual clay to work with in the first place, if you catch my drift.

Gah. But do you know who should be dealing with these slack-brained sheep? The social sites themselves. For all their blustery posturing, I've yet to see the grand and sweeping changes these fraudulent collectors of data claim they're currently enacting. I do see that the most vile characteristics of mankind are disseminated all over these conduits for cravens, but I've yet to see any so-called celebrity banned or held accountable for any of the bile they spew, that we as ordinary citizens get hammered for, so you conservajerks can pretty much stuff your hollow claims of the "Liberal Media" being anything more than your wretched need for a digital boogeyman.

If we peons all have to follow the rules, so should the Trumps and Lahrens of the world, but we all know that's never going to happen, because their deliberate controversies keep the ad revenue up, and that's what these corporations truly care about- keeping their coffers filled, and their stockholders financially fat, screw whatever the consequential fallout may be, as they turn a blind eye to the problem. Russia influenced our election? Old news. The Alt-Right is inciting violence against minorities by means of faux content? What do you expect us to do, hold them wholly accountable? Anonymous rape cultists attack women online 24/7? Maybe they could try smiling more when they receive those unsolicited dick pics, am I right?

I for one, have always thought there must be a better way to untangling this, the most of uncivil Gordian Knots, so let me toss out a few ideas past my previous notion of stripping away the cowardly cloak of anonymity:

1) The ratings on the Wall.

Like most of the entertainment that we find ourselves exposed to, maybe it's time for a rating system that ranks websites/posted content based solely on accuracy and an ability to hold up under fact-checking. This I feel, would definitely neuter most of the racism, misogyny, alt-facts and Islamaphobia with a rusty chainsaw, as it should be. I'm not entirely sure what the symbol highlighting the false content could be represented by, but I am confident that Trump's red hat icon would be a supremely apt choice. Granted, I don't know at this point if it's even remotely possible to regulate the cancer of faux info that's wretchedly intertwined itself with our lack of civility, but I would sure as hell appreciate seeing an effort made to do so.

If my local news can run a concurrent stream of fact-checked information, so could these monoliths, if they so desired, but they're not going to do what they ethically should, unless they're forced to, and that opens up an even bigger Pandora's box, no matter how you look at it. How would one go about the minutiae of consistently enforcing the "truth" on the Web, and who would get to set the parameters for what constitutes the Truth in the first place? More importantly, what would the penalties be, and how many could you accrue before having the severest one applied?

2) Got Bots?

This ties in with my earlier assertion of eradicating the safety of hiding in the shadows- if you're bold enough to post something abominable on the web, then you should be brave enough to stand behind it 100%, with no exceptions. The fact that many won't only proves that the majority of these cravenly trolls already know their POV will be mocked or outright dissected. But concurrently, there exists an issue almost as annoying and troubling, that being the proliferation of fake accounts and "bots". A bot (aka: socialbot or socbot) is an autonomous agent foisted upon social media which is tasked with influencing the opinions of the people it interacts with. Operating as the pixilated version of flying monkeys, and usually under some form of human control, they express certain ideas, such as supporting a campaign for instance, by presenting as an advocate/fan and attempts to gather others under their false flag with deceit. These bots exploit the mistaken belief that behind every social media profile there's an actual human, and utilize that flawed idea to further whatever cause they're sadly programmed to disseminate.

Easy to spot, due to limited posts vs follower base, profiles marked with a private status, and an inability to handle the minutiae of a direct conversation, they throttle debate and the clarity of free speech by muddying the waters, and sadly, it's been darn effective. If the social platforms really want to provide a truly clear path to discourse, then their priorities need to incorporate the eradication of this scourge by salting the earth from which it spawns.

3) Box the Doxx.

As I noted earlier, there exists a morass of metaphorical land mines one must wander through when attempting to freely express one's opinion on the web- these range from mild rebukes to displays of outright aggressive behavior that borders on the sociopathic, if not the terrifying. The pinnacle of this presentation solidified as the repulsively successful vehicle of Doxxing. But what is that, exactly? Doxxing is the vile web-based practice of researching and then distributing, private or identifiable information about an individual or organization, in a somewhat personally psychotic attempt at disrupting or causing harm to a person's reputation and sense of personal safety.

The methods employed to acquire this information typically involve searching publicly available databases and social media websites, such as Facebook and the like. In essence, it's pixilated anonymous terrorism, perpetuated by the most contemptible of our society who walk around freely masquerading as fellow humans. This menacing correspondence runs the gamut, covering everything from threats of sexual assault to grievous bodily harm, and this needs to be addressed seriously, and with great haste. As noted earlier, the somewhat aggravating experience of having been harassed by no less than three pathetically gutless cyber-stalkers, along with the standard compliment of online trolls, prompts me to attest that it can be an experience in unchecked paranoia.

As I stated earlier as well, I already have an interior monster that's dedicated to the cause of ending my time on this planet, I don't give much, if any credence when threats are thrown in my general direction, because in the end, they're pretty much the masturbatory fantasies of impotent cravens, and nobody has the time or energy for that. Sadly, most local law enforcement agencies are way behind the 8-ball when it comes to taking these oft-valid threats seriously.

When I was living in Phoenix, the first officer I talked to in regards to the numerous death threats I was receiving had all the interest (and physical appearance) of a barely sentient slab of pork towards doing anything of note- in essence, he was a complete and total lummox, even going so far as to say the following: "This is no more than two guys meeting behind the gym, and I'm pretty sure what this person is doing isn't even illegal."

He then went to lecture me that if this individual showed up at my home and attacked either my GF or myself, I could be charged with assault because I had stated earlier that I would kick his ass if he did. No joke. And we're asked to support our local police? The only thing I'd support is if that particular officer went and got gastric-band surgery, because his ass was wider than my kitchen. Fortunately, the AZ state police were way more legally educated and interested towards helping me, and the case remains open.

Eventually, we'll find this loser, and let the chips fall where they may, that being primarily down his cowardly throat. Now a few of you might point out the detail that in regards to my "postcard project"  I utilize some of the same techniques that these slugs do, so shouldn't I be within the same category? For that, I'd issue a strong "Oh Hell no"- I for one, don't make the private information of the recipients of my mailed missives public, and I don't threaten them either. If anything, it's a very private way of hopefully changing a specific mental facet for some of these otherwise rational people, and I'll stand behind this conviction of mine 100%.

So, in closing the lid of this particular box, I'll just opine that nationwide and consistent legislation should be set so that this type of cravenly online harassment constitutes a felony that comes with some severely draconian penalties, whether they be imprisonment, fines, restitution to the affected, or the loss of access to the web for a limited time. Want to spew threats? Then get ready to face the consequences of such.

Gah. I don't know about you, but I could use a break. And some tacos. Lots of tacos.

And when I come back, I'll delve into the two topics I originally wanted to talk about- my slow integration into Silver City's local art scene, and my dawning realization that books are seemingly my personal form of heroin, and how I may have just found the perfect dealer of literature within my adopted city.

Cue Lou Reed's "Waiting on the Man".

"Civility, politeness, it's like a cement in a society: binds it together. And when we lose it, then I think we all feel lesser and slightly dirty because of it." - Jeremy Irons