He keeps calling me a VooDoo Queen, and I don’t know WHY.

Who do you voo doo?

The ceremony begins with a Roman Catholic prayer. Then three drummers begin to play syncopated rhythms. The attendees begin to dance around a tree in the center of the yard, moving faster and harder with the rising pulse of the beat. The priest draws sacred symbols in the dust with cornmeal, and rum is poured on the ground to honor the spirits. One woman falls to the ground, convulsing for a moment before she is helped back to her feet. She resumes the dance, moving differently now, and continues dancing for hours. It is perhaps no longer she who is dancing: She is in a trance, apparently possessed by Erzuli, the great mother spirit. It is an honor to be entered and “ridden” by a Loa, or spirit.

     

Spooky tools for voodoo ghouls:
I Got My Mojo Workin’!

You might think you were in Haiti, where such rituals are commonplace: Voodoo is the dominant religion. But no.

You’re in Savannah, Georgia. It’s a somewhat hidden lifestyle in the Low Country, one that is especially secreted away from non-African-American citizens.

And you’re me.

I live in Savannah, and often drove past a little stripmall-type business on my way to and from home. It’s probably three or four blocks from my front door. It’s located next to consignment stores, a brass buffer, a musician’s equipment store, a cake decorator, a Wendy’s. It does not stand out, and it takes effort to patronize this store, as hours are irregular–at the whim of the store keeper, primarily–and the road it faces is frequently clotted with what passes for a traffic jam here in lazy, tiny Savannah.

It’s Midterms time again, and was heading home and it popped into my head that maybe I should try to spot the botanica. Maybe I could check it out. I decided to pull off and spend a little time browsing. I assumed it would be a place with books, candles, maybe some tarot decks, maybe some Oriental tchotchkes and crystals. You know, New Age-y. It will probably smell good and have windchimes and maybe a cat or two. They probably sell tea. Maybe I could offer to work there.


“I put a SPELL on you…
beCAUSE you’re MIIIIIIIINE!”
— Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

Am I qualified? Well, no, but there’s a kid I talk to online, and he insists, for reasons of his own, to greet me as a VooDoo Princess. It’s this, and other quirks, that make me think he’s afflicted with 12-ness, but he means no harm. At any rate, if I wanted to do that voodoo to you, this town is as nice a place as any to get going with that stuff. So, okay, the first step is to visit a supply store. Can’t bake a cake without flour, and can’t be a big shot VooDoo Queenie without getting major mojo ingredients.

First of all, even looking for it and knowing it was there and going at a slower-than-normal clip, I passed right by it and had to turn around. It’s that much under the radar. When I pulled into the parking lot, a bleached blonde fat redneck woman boggled openly at me when she realized that I was heading towards the botanica. I had time enough to think to myself that this was a bizarre reaction from a total stranger before I opened the door to the store. Then I got it…sort of. I was an invader. The proprietress did not often get Caucasian chicks wandering into her establishment. It was a hardcore voodoo shop.

Fortunately, I find all kinds of new experiences fascinating, and I was willing to stay and explore and chat with the shopkeeper, and perhaps to learn something new. She was bored and I was hot and in no hurry to get home to wash my breakfast dishes.

Most of the store was taken up with candles and oils and incense, as expected, but there were certain differences between a botanica and your average New Agey store. First of all, don’t expect it to be polished and Yuppified. (And don’t drink the tea you can get there unless you’re sure you know what it has in it.) Most of the products were homemade locally. There is no discomfort with what outsiders would consider “black”, or dark, magick. Casting a love spell is a big no-no in most “white”, or healing / ‘good’, magick, as is attempting to control the will of other people in any other fashion. Not so in a botanica, where you can buy candles shaped like nude women and men (for use in sex and love spells, of course!), as well as various herbs and roots and powders and candles and oils, all intended to force someone else to bend to your preferences. We might judge that. Voodoo practitioners don’t. In fact, they probably reason that someone else is out there working a mojo on you already, so why not work your own personal mojo and get your requests listened to by the Loa too?

Again, it’s all somewhat alien to Caucasians, and that’s not a big surprise. It’s not our history, it’s not our culture. It’s not our place to horn in on what we do not have the background to deal with. Further, the tradition has many names and many different practices. The tradition in Louisiana is different from the tradition in Haiti, which is again different from the Gullah-based tradtion here in the Low Country.

In recent years, there has been a little more demystification of voodoo. Book lovers have gotten a glimpse from time to time, but only a glimpse. Fans of cyberpunk author William Gibson are aware of his interest in the Loa. It would seem that there are no two things more distinct than the primal, mystic, organic world of Haitian Voodoo (or voudoun), and the detached, mechanical world of the high-tech future. Yet Gibson parlayed off the success of his first SF ‘cyberpunk’ blockbuster Neuromancer to write a more complex novel, Count Zero, in which these two worlds are rapidly colliding. Gibson apparently felt there was an instinctive linkage between Haitian Voudoun and the urban hyperreality of his fictional Sprawl. As a fan of jazz and other urban music, Gibson instinctively found the religion for his new urban dystopia. The essential struggle in the book is between a Voudoun / cyber sect and the Yakuza, the Japanese gangster conglomerate. It is a battle between two traditions: one of power, corruption, and influence and the other of passion, magic, and sensuality. There are scholarly papers being written about how belief in the loa and belief in the possibility of the Internet–as a vastly interconnected System / Sprawl / Matrix–eventually developing a rudimentary artificial intelligence or awareness might tie together to explain a third popular meme, that of the Ghost in The Machine. (If you’re interested in this sort of thing, I urge you to explore it on your own, as I am long-winded enough without digressing off into THIS particular subtopic!)

Other bibliophiles discovered Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt. Berendt’s book introduced readers to Minerva, voodoo priestess, and the powerful and infamous (but currently deceased!) Dr Buzzard, of St. Helen’s Island, the courtroom specialist, who used power, unknown tongues and the Evil Eye, to cause hostile witnesses to seize up in the middle of crucial testimony and fall–frothing and twitching–to the courtroom floor. “Root doctors” command respect, fear and healthy fees for their services. And even though Dr Buzzard is now dead, believers still petition him for favours, lucky numbers, support in their causes. He’s still a big man in the voodoo community. Death has not cramped his style one iota.

At a voodoo ceremony, believers gather outdoors to make contact with the Loa, any of a pantheon of spirits who have various functions running the universe, much like Greek gods. Each of the spirits has a distinct identity. Some are loving and good, while others are capricious or demanding. Haitians believe that the Loa most often express their displeasure by making people sick. There is also a responsibility to care for beloved and deified family spirits and to honor a chief god, Bondieu. During the ceremony, participants ask the spirits for advice or help with problems. It’s said that more than half the requests are for health.

My new shopkeeper friend would dispute this. Or maybe she just read me well, and realized my impecunious state at present. As I noted, I’m pretty much a jobless ne’er-do-well at present, though I’d rather not be. Her clients buy come-to-me oils and money candles and prosperity incense sticks. They empty their already slender wallets, hoping to receive an insight so they can choose the correct three-digit Quik-Pik lottery number.

In the West voodoo has been portrayed in zombie movies and popular books as dark and evil, a cult of devil worship dominated by black magic, human sacrifice, and pin-stuck voodoo dolls—-none of which exist in the voodoo practices that originated in Benin. This isn’t the whole story. In Haiti, voodoo began as an underground activity. During the 1700s, thousands of West African slaves were shipped to Haiti to work on French plantations. The slaves were baptized as Roman Catholics upon their arrival in the West Indies. Their traditional African religious practices were viewed as a threat to the colonial system and were forbidden. Practitioners were imprisoned, whipped, or hung. The slaves continued to practice in secret while attending masses. What emerged was a religion that the colonialists thought was Catholicism—-but they were outfoxed.

It was easy to meld the two faiths, because there are many similarities between Roman Catholicism and voodoo. Both venerate a supreme being and believe in the existence of invisible evil spirits or demons and in an afterlife. Many of the Loa resemble Christian saints, endowed with similar responsibilities or attributes. For example, Legba, an old man, is said to open the gates between Earth and the world of the Loa, much like St. Peter traditionally throws wide the gates to Heaven. But there are differences. Westerners tend to believe in free will and personal choice. Not so in voodoo. The Loa are believed to determine our lives to an astonishing degree and they are always present in great numbers: there might be two people in a room, but there are also twenty Loa. Participation in voodoo ritual reaffirms one’s relationships with ancestors, personal history, community relationships—-and the cosmos. There’s another important difference: anthropologists estimate that voodoo’s roots in Benin—-formerly Dahomey—-West Africa may go back 6,000 years (an estimated 60 million people practice voodoo worldwide). Compare the longevity of these beliefs to Christianity, which has been with us for only a little over TWO thousand years.

Savannah has an active voodoo subculture here, though naturally it is not as widespread, commonplace or accepted as it is in Haiti, and yet the customs arrived here and persist for the same reasons: slavery and tradition. Isolated on coastal plantations, the slaves created a lingua franca–a common tongue. We call it Gullah. Maybe after Angola. Maybe from the West African Gola River. Nobody knows. Gullah slaves may have been stripped of everything but their names but they came from oral cultures. They had no books, no saved scrolls that could be torn away and flung overboard. They remembered what was sacred. In Cuba, they call the magic Santeria. In Belize, obeah. In Haiti, voudoun. In New Orleans, voodoo. Folklorists call it hoodoo, conjuration, rootwork. But the Gullah do not call it anything. Perhaps it is too fearsome for utterance. Certainly, casual talk is a faux pas of cosmic proportions. Nonbelievers are ashamed of their forebears’ credulity. Belivers are afraid of spiritual retribution. Even if they do not have a name for the tradition itself, the do have a name for the sorcerers who practice it. The Gullah call them root doctors, a literal translation from the west African Fon, which pegged tribal medical doctors as workers with roots.

Our voodoo folks down here are mostly root workers.

While I was in the store, a customer came in with five children. One child is also clearly not a relation but a babysittee. He’s blonde and even paler than I am. The other children are siblings and other babysittees. And they are incredibly well-behaved. Perhaps the babysitter has impressed upon them that running amok in a root worker’s shop and attracting exasperated attention is a bad idea.

She pretty much ignored me and started telling her troubles to the shopkeeper. She used to have good luck, but now it has turned against her. Precious Jesus alone knows why. She needs something powerful to fix her luck. She needs money, and money just fall out of her hands and bills come. She has the bad luck, the juju. Someone or something has fixed agin her, and she needs to turn it back around.

You get the idea.

She’s a bubbly older lady, and she makes me smile with her animated gestures and her lengthy, heartfelt speechifying. I say something to the effect that if the shopkeeper can’t fix it, there’s no help in this world, and they both favour me with a big grin. I then butt out and just continue to browse.

After the babysitter purchases her candles and powders and oils, the shopkeeper and I continue to chat as I browse, taking note of the differences between the botanica and a typical New Age store. You can buy “rum” at a botanica. (I wouldn’t wish to presume as to its alcohol content or taste, but the spirits probably are happy with it.) There are buckeyes and other roots, fenugeek and other herbs, bayberry candles for money-attraction and other candles, gold glitter dust and other powders to sprinkle, burn, wear or mix into various concoctions. It’s interesting.

I do have to say that there is a slightly dark feeling to some of this stuff, but that’s more due to my background and belief system than any inherent evil lodged in, say, a baggie of lavender buds or a bath oil with food colouring and herbs in it. A hammer can help you put things together by helping you nail things together, and it can help you dismantle things by helping you pry nails out. Peanut butter can improve a jelly sandwich or kill someone with legume allergies. You get the idea. It’s how you use the tools, not the tools themselves.

I left without buying anything (I had no money to buy anything even if there was something I wanted), though I had inspected her (seven) decks of tarot cards. I owned about 2/3 of the types she was offering, which is an indication to me that this isn’t where I need to be browsing for tarot decks anyway. Which means it is also not a place that would be interested in hiring me to do tarot readings. (The shopkeeper also noted that two customers per day means business is booming.) But finding stores with tarot decks I don’t have (and still want) is getting more challenging.

Yeah, I’m a tarot deck collector and a reader and have read since I was ten or eleven years old. I started collecting decks shortly after college. I have almost 70 decks of cards of various types, 55-60 of which are strictly tarot and the remainder of which are still divination decks of some type or another (like the one based on Jungian psychology, one based on Osho Zen, et cetera).

Do I believe it is actually telling someone’s fortune to read their cards? No, not really. I think the subconscious reacts to the symbols and uses them to translate what your intuition has already picked up on from your client.

On the other hand, I can’t really explain how this worked: I did conduct an experiment a few years ago. I offered to read tarot cards for people over AOL Instant Messenger. This is something that I have charged up to $30 for, though I’m still cheaper than most tarot readers, as I spend close to an hour or more with each querent. Readings go for $20-25 for fifteen minutes in Atlanta, LAs Vegas and New Orleans. What a bargain. And, being poor, I can’t afford to do hour-long readings for free these days. An hour spent noodling around on AIM is an hour I should be spending working on my websites or job-hunting, you know?

Anyway, I read for a few dozen folks, and I knew nothing about them except their “handle”. I said I didn’t want to know whether they were male or female, how old they were, where they lived, or even what their question might be. And out of all those blind readings, only ONE person said that I was inaccurate, but her question had been “should I have an affair with another married parent I run into while picking up my child at daycare”, or so she revealed when we discussed her reading afterwards, and the cards had said no, no, no, a thousand times no, don’t do it, all signs point to no, are you fucking insane, this is a bad plan, perhaps an illuminated billboard saying “NO!!!” would help, no, no and no…and she kept rephrasing the question to me again and again, hoping for a yes to justify her desire to give into her loin-flamage stirred by her libido. And I couldn’t give it, not based on what the cards were saying.

What happened? She probably fucked him. She wasn’t going to hear that it was a bad idea. Do I care? Not really. I gave the advice that was sought, but to care too much would be to inject my own opinions and morals into the reading. I don’t think married people should ignore problems in their marriage and seek booty from other married people that they aren’t getting at home. But that’s just me. Also, people who have a polyamorous and mutually-agreed-upon situation should know that I am not talking about them.

Voodoo practitioners probably wouldn’t have told her it was a bad idea, though I don’t know that for sure. I assume that only based on the plethora of products available to help the customer go after whatever booty object they desired. There were no warning labels, if you know what I mean.

I’ve been to New Orleans and I have what my former roommates and I dubbed a “poodoo doll”, a poppet in a coffin made for tourists to buy as a curiosity. The poppet looks like Mr. Hanky (from South Park), hence the nickname. Hey, I’m sure I could hex someone into a fierce bout of constipation if I concentrated hard enough.

I’ll probably talk about tarot and Qabbalah (what little I understand of it, of course!), and Taoist philosophy and travels hither and yon and so forth in future blogs, but, for now, I have rattled on long enough. Also, I got a check today from CafePress and I intend to treat myself to actual food. And maybe a pack of clove cigarettes. Yeah! So I’m off like a prom queen’s dress. Chat with you later.

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Atlanta Sheriff Roger Garrison Upset He Got Caught Wearing KKK Robes

Ain’t THIS some shit. Racist gets caught being racist, complains that discussing his racist past now hurts his family’s feelings.

Georgia Sheriff Who Dressed Up As KKK: Criticism Of Me Is ‘Sickening And Hurts My Family’:

Sheriff Roger Garrison dressed up in a Ku Klux Klan outfit when he was 22 years old — and now he wants people to stop talking about it.

A photo obtained by local TV station WSBshows Garrison and a friend in KKK attire, drinking beer.

The Atlanta sheriff insists that the outfit was meant to imitate a scene from the movie Blazing Saddles, and says that any criticism is not fair game. Garrison considers it a stupid move but says that the fury over the picture is “sickening”: “I don’t deny it was stupid, looking back now,” Garrison told the station, “but there again I say what 21 or 22 year-old in this world hasn’t made some stupid mistakes?”[…]

“I don’t espouse any of that. It’s just insane that politics digresses to this state,” he said.

The release of the photos comes at a bad time for the sheriff, who is facing a fight for re-election next month.

“I don’t think anyone who knows me is going to think anything of this,” Garrison told Atlanta’s CBS affiliate. “But it’s just sickening and it hurts my family.”

To the many black families living in Georgia, the outfit is far from a joke; the Ku Klux Klan are still a functioning white supremacist group with the aim of keeping white people separate from other races.

Garrison’s opponent is staying out of the debate, but did say, “it’s a statement that the suit makes and to call that a joke is – I don’t think a lot of people would laugh.”

 

RAEG! RAEG RAEG RAEG!

I am having a Samuel L. Jackson heat-inspired meltdown, clearly.

I have had it with all these motherfucking racists in my motherfucking state. GTFO.

Seriously. Do NONE of these people know how to say “I am sorry, I fucked up, I feel bad, I won’t do it again”? Hello? Any of them?

No, it’s all about how butthurt they are that they are being outed as racist motherfuckers in public because that might make their families feel all bummed and stuff, bu hu hu. Here’s an easy way to avoid shaming and embarrassing your family because you are caught being a racist asshole: Do not be a racist asshole.

I mean, how difficult is this concept? As the folks around here might say: don’t start none, won’t BE none. Don’t act the fool and you won’t get called a fool.

I take an extra measure of offense when people in my state reinforce these stereotypes. Like I don’t have to coexist with enough of these knobheads as it is.

HEY SHERIFF GARRISON: STOP MAKING GEORGIA LOOK WORSE THAN IT IS. WE STILL HAVE TO LIVE DOWN “DELIVERANCE,” YOU FUCKHEAD. YOU ARE NOT HELPING.

The KKK hate everyone who isn’t a white asshole. I am not down with people who celebrate white assholes.

Any “good” the Klan did was public relations bullshit to make their racist crap go down easier. It’s like loading up a spoonful of sugar to chase that slug of poison you were just forced to eat.

You can’t waltz into Wal*Mart and buy yourself a hood and robe off the rack. That shit is expensive. I saw a documentary about it. Some little old redneck racist granny in a trailer takes your measurements and all the badges and frills and colors and bullshit you want on your Omniscient Chameleon Battlegown and procedes to hand-sew a custom Racist Snuggie for you, with matching Racist Duncehood. These things cost hundreds of dollars. So, my question is: WHERE DID GARRISON AND HIS BUDDY FIND A PAIR OF THESE KLAN SUITS? You know what I think the answer is? I think that even if Garrison and his buddy were not actually in the Klan themselves, someone in one of their familes (or both) WAS and had Superlative Gecko and Extraordinary Snaildarter robes available to borrow. What do YOU think?

FUCK the Klan.

They are also the reason protest groups like Anonymous are not allowed to wear masks in public in some jurisdictions.

 

You know what? I was once 21-22 years old; here are some things I did not do and then blame it on being a dumb kid:

1. Dress up like a Klansman, ROGER GARRISON

2. Dress up like a highway patrolman, MITT ROMNEY

3. Get too drunk to behave myself

4. Drive drunk

5. Call someone a racist, sexist, homophobic or misogynist slur

6. “Forget” to use contraception

7. Vandalize shit that does not belong to me

8. Draft dodge (though I am a girl), MITT ROMNEY

9. Lie on my resume

10. Steal shit. No, I have never even lifted a tube of Chapstick from Walgreen’s.

11. Not pay my taxes (… *cough*)

12. Drunk dial

13. Forget where I parked my car / drive like an asshole

14. Blow off work (unless I was vomiting or contagious)

15. Mistreat pets or other animals

16. Wear offensive slogans on my t-shirts

17. Listen to shitty music

18. Hang out with idiots (if my friends were constantly idiotic, I got new friends)

19. Watch shitty television; life is too short and there are too many good books and non-shitty shows to watch (actually I went without watching TV at all for about 7 years)

20. Cheat on my significant other

21. Vote Republican

 

I could go on, but I get really sick of people trying to excuse stupidity on their youth. I managed to be a responsible adult human being and make good decisions, and I am far from perfect. It’s called considering other people and thinking of potential consequences.

And not being a damn racist.

 

 

The South Will Not Rise Again.

No, the South will not rise again.

First of all, you may have noticed that we do not own people any more. A hundred years or so after the Civil War, someone got the idea to reframe what the Civil War was about (the South being butthurt when reminded that slavery is bad, no matter what their precious Bibles said about it (the Bible says it’s OK), and throwing a big tantrum about “being told what to do”) as a States’ Rights Issue. Yeah, it was a States’ Rights Issue where the “right” the states wanted to throw down over was legalized ownership of people who had dark skin. You can squirm around and try to reframe that with a lot of flowery and vaguely patriotic waffling about sovreignty of states and woof-woof about a number of irrelevant distractions and tie yourself in a knot to try and make slavery sound like a fucking picnic (which it might have been…IF YOU WERE WHITE) that all serve to pretend that slavery was not why we had a civil war, but let’s face it: White people got mad that they were told to stop being assholes and trying to own non-white people. They thus decided to commit treason and secede and, surprise, there was a war over it. You can’t own people, you lost, so get over it.

Secondly, you may have noticed that we have progressed past being an agriculture-based society. In fact, we were going in that direction at the time of the Civil War. Nowadays, we don’t need your stinking cotton. (Who actually makes a decent living growing cotton anymore anyway?) We have not only an industrialized society, we have a technologically advanced society. Things change. You lost. Get over it.

Lastly, the American Civil War officially ended on June 22, 1865 and the Confederacy surrendered. Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia officially remained a part of the United States, even if the rest of the country weren’t entirely sure they wanted to have anything to do with those stupid racist treasonous bastards anymore at that point. The Confederacy LOST. YOU LOST. GET OVER IT.

As The Onion, bless them, put it: “The Deep South states of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Tennessee consistently rank at the bottom of the nation in a wide variety of statistical categories, including literacy, infant mortality, hospital beds, toilet-paper sales, and shoe usage.”

You can’t “rise again” when your people are painfully stupid. People in Alabama and Mississippi are so pig ignorant that they insist on believing President Obama is a Muslim, despite, I don’t know, pictures of Obama in church, Obama smoking cigarettes, Obama chowing down on a nice pork hotdog, and Obama drinking beer, Obama eating ALL the bacon. It’s like they forgot all the fuss about Jeremiah Wright already, who was–remember?–a controversial pastor in a Christian church where Obama was a parishioner. But, OK, sure, he’s a “Muslim,” you guys.

You stupid bastards. What is wrong with you?

What do the Southern states contribute to the country as a whole? A short list:

  • Creationists
  • The Moral Majority
  • Tobacco
  • Grits
  • Crappy country music
  • Creative roadkill recipes
  • Gigantic cockroaches
  • Kudzu
  • Coca-Cola
  • Fried Chicken
  • Gun racks
  • Ballsack-shaped trailer hitch decorations
  • Copyright-infringing Calvin-pissing-on-things stickers
  • People who think “yeehaw” is a word
  • NASCAR
  • Chaw (chewing tobacco)
  • Boiled peanuts
  • Mindbendingly miserable summer heat
  • Red clay dirt
  • Confederate flag paraphenalia
  • Mint juleps
  • Dog fighting
  • Klansmen
  • Lynchings
  • An obsession with football that borders on unnerving
  • Televangelists
  • Darwin Award winners
  • Names like Earl, Cletus, Bubba, Festus, and Oral that trip gracefully off the tongue like the finest poetry
  • People with two first names (Joe Bob, Jimmy Ray, Peggy Sue, Betty Lou, Mary Ann, Curtis Lee…)
  • Moonshine
  • Moonpies
  • Overalls
  • Picaninny dolls
  • Neo-Nazis
  • Rednecks
  • Hillbillies
  • Dueling banjos
  • Racism
  • Ignorance
  • Misogyny
  • Homophobia
  • Xenophobia
  • A wide variety of commercial products that display ignorance of the US flag code concerning proper respectful behavior towards and display of our country’s flag
  • Snakehandlers
  • Dirteaters
  • Speaking in tongues
  • Inbreeding
  • Mullets
  • Dental nightmares
  • Conspiracy theorists
  • UFO spotters
  • Stephen Foster tunes
  • Gone With The Wind
  • Militias
  • Domestic terrorists
  • Chitlins
  • Election fraud and dangling chads
  • Enough failure emanating from Florida specifically to earn it a special tag at Fark.com
  • The Dukes of Hazard
  • DIABEETUS

And, of course, Southern states tend to be “Red States,” meaning deeply conservative / Republican states. You’re not going to “rise again” if you’re the least healthy, have the shortest lifespans, have the highest infant mortality rates, rank lowest in education stats, have the highest number of teen pregnancies, consistently consume more tax-based social programs and handouts than do Blue States, are consistently the poorest, and consistently have the highest rates of unemployment. No, Bubba, that is not a recipe for domination and success, much less “rising again” in some racist wet dream of Southern culture supremacy creating a utopia based on a plantation-era fantasy.

Let’s get real.

The Red States are the unhealthiest states.

Bottom of the barrel (all bolded states are Confederacy states from here on out):

35 Indiana
36 Florida
37 North Carolina
38 Missouri
39 Texas
40 Arkansas
41 Kentucky
42 West Virginia
43 Georgia
44 Tennessee
45 Nevada
46 South Carolina
47 Louisiana
48 Alabama
49 Oklahoma
50 Mississippi

Red States take more medications.

“Forbes magazine reports that last year we spent $291.5 billion on drugs and that on a per capita medication usage rate (see “America’s Most Medicated States”)  the states with the highest usage are in the South.  West Virginia leads the pack, at 17.7 prescriptions/person vs 11.6/person as the national average; with other Southern states AL, SC, TN, AR, LA, KY and border state MO; following in the lead.”

Red States have the highest teen pregnancy rates.

So much for abstinence-only sex ed classes.

“The most “religious” states are the ones that consistently have the worst rates of teen pregnancy. Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia and so on, nine of the top ten states for teen pregnancy are in the Bible Belt (New Mexico is the outlier but they don’t require sex ed at all, with the same lousy results).”

Red States do least well in education statistics.

Red States have higher crime rates than Blue States.

“The average violent crime rate (murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault) in 2008 for the 28 states that voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 Presidential election was 389 incidents per 100,000 residents. The average violent crime rate for the 22 states that voted for John McCain was 412 incidents per 100,000 residents – or a 5.8 percent higher incidence of violent crime. […]

These crime rate findings hold despite the fact that blue states have a higher population of residents in urban areas, which tend to have higher crime rates than rural areas. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2000 Census of Population and Housing, Population and Housing Unit Counts, the average statewide percentage of residents living in urban areas in the Obama states was 78.0 percent, compared to a statewide average of just 64.6 percent in the McCain states. […]

Eight of the top 11 states with the highest property crime rates voted for McCain: Arizona (#1), South Carolina (#2), Alabama (#4), Tennessee (#6), Georgia (#7), Texas (#8), Arkansas (#10), and Louisiana (#11).”

Red States dominate the “poorest US states” lists.

Red States dominate the “most unemployed” lists.

38. ARIZONA – 8.6
38. KENTUCKY – 8.6
38. OREGON – 8.6
41. ILLINOIS – 8.8
42. SOUTH CAROLINA – 8.9
43. FLORIDA – 9.0
43. GEORGIA – 9.0
43. MISSISSIPPI – 9.0
43. NEW JERSEY – 9.0
47. NORTH CAROLINA – 9.7
48. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA – 9.8
49. CALIFORNIA – 11.0
50. RHODE ISLAND – 11.1

Red States dominate infant mortality lists.

By comparison, the United States as a whole ranks 6.81 per 1000

1. District of Columbia 12.6
2. Mississippi 10.6
3. Louisiana 10.0
4. Alabama 9.1
5. South Carolina 9.0
6. Tennessee 8.7
7. Delaware 8.6
8. North Carolina 8.5
9. Georgia 8.2
9. Arkansas 8.2

Red States pay fewer taxes and consume more social services than do Blue States.

 

Some AWESOME Red State stats for you:

WORST STATES EVER: INFANT MORTALITY

Ranked in order of Highest Incidence of Infant Mortality, 1-50: (Lowest number is worst.)

Mississippi 1st
Louisiana 2nd
South Carolina 3rd
Alabama 4th
Tennessee 6th
Georgia 9th
West Virginia 10th
Oklahoma 11th
Arkansas 14th
Montana 23rd
Arizona 24th
Kentucky 27th
Alaska 37th

WORST STATES EVER: LIFE EXPECTANCY

Life Expectancy ranked by Lowest Average Age at Death, 1-50: (Highest number is worst.)

Mississippi 50th
Louisiana 49th
South Carolina 47th
Alabama 48th
Tennessee 45th
Georgia 41st
West Virginia 46th
Oklahoma 44th
Arkansas 43rd
Montana 25th
Arizona 22nd
Kentucky 42nd
Alaska 26th

WORST STATES EVER: POOREST

Poorest States ranked by lowest Median Household Income, 1-50: (Lowest number is worst.)

Mississippi 1st
Louisiana 6th
South Carolina 10th
Alabama 5th
Tennessee 9th
Georgia 28th
West Virginia 2nd
Oklahoma 8th
Arkansas 3rd
Montana 12th
Arizona 29th
Kentucky 4th
Alaska 48th

WORST STATES EVER: EDUCATION

States’ Education ranked by spending, test scores, drop-out rate, college admissions, etc., 1-50: (Highest number is worst.)

Mississippi 48th
Louisiana 44th
South Carolina 26th
Alabama 45th
Tennessee 30th
Georgia 41st
West Virginia 37th
Oklahoma 36th
Arkansas 32nd
Montana 7th
Arizona 50th
Kentucky 31st
Alaska 46th

WORST STATES EVER: TAX BACK

Tax Back ranked according to the most Federal spending in the State per tax dollar from the State, 1-50: (Lowest number is biggest parasite on you if you live in a tax-positive Blue State.)

Mississippi 4th
Louisiana 13th
South Carolina 17th
Alabama 6th
Tennessee 18th
Georgia 35th
West Virginia 3rd
Oklahoma 11th
Arkansas 12th
Montana 9th
Arizona 19th
Kentucky 14th
Alaska 2nd

WELL DONE!

The South won’t rise again, because the South is the pits. As a Georgian, I am tired of being surrounded by Confederate-flag waving, “Dixie” horn-tooting ignoramuses who cite “being born white” as one of their life’s greatest accomplishments.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not all wormy peaches down here. But you really sound mentally challenged when you give lipservice to the idea of “rising again” and glorify slavery days as something to return to.

 

YOU LOST.

GET OVER IT.

 

Oh, by the way, your “Confederate flag” is historically inaccurate. Idiots.

How To Be an Awesome Person on Social Networks

After spending a little time scouring “I’m Not A Racist But” and “I’m Not A Sexist But“, I came to the conclusion that I have excellent online friends. I wrote them a little love note to explain why.

Stuff My Online Friends Do Not Do:

  1. Whine about Black History Month and wonder when White History Month is (that would be ALL the months, dicks)
  2. Whine about International Women’s Day and wonder when International Men’s Day is (that would be ALL the days, dicks)
  3. Whine about Women’s Studies courses in universities while wondering why there are no Men’s Studies courses (those are called History courses, dicks)
  4. Tell “sandwich” and “kitchen” jokes about women
  5. Tell sexist jokes in general (and yes, that would include “dumb guy” jokes)
  6. Tell jokes making fun of people from particular countries (i.e. Polish jokes) or religions (i.e., Jewish jokes) or races (i.e., jokes about Asian people)
  7. Fail to notice sexism in advertising (i.e., more than one FB friend has griped that while Axe commercials are bad and sexist towards both women and men, commercials that depict dads who can’t handle diapers or make healthy adult dietary choices or which show men making foolish financial choices while being scolded by women are also bad, and adverts using women as nothing more than props or sex objects are gross as well)
  8. Complain about a bad driver while making sure to specify that the driver is (pick one): black, Asian, or female.
  9. Complain about women in traditionally male-dominated fields; in fact, many of you ARE women in male-dominated fields
  10. Blame someone’s stupid behavior on their sex or race. Sometimes people are just not smart.
  11. Get grossed out by non-traditional partnerships or parents or people who express their sex or gender in non-traditional ways or people who define their sex or gender in non-traditional ways or people who choose not to define their sex or gender at all
  12. Try to explain your distaste for something by explaining it is due to someone’s race or sex / gender (e.g., “all women’s sports suck, because…women!” or “all rap music sucks, because…black people!” or, when pointing out a particular male acting badly, saying “all men suck!”)
  13. Get bent out of shape when someone expresses a lack of interest in having children. Instead, you guys are accepting of other people’s choices to have or not have children.
  14. Comment that “all” people of a certain religion are in some way the same.
  15. Comment that “all” people who are not religious are in some way the same.
  16. Show a lack of compassion for people with mental illness or disabilities.
  17. Show disdain for people in a lower social class than yourself. If anyone pokes fun of anyone in a particular social class, you can bet that they poke fun of people in other social classes as well (I’m thinking of certain folks who enjoy “People of Wal*Mart” videos as much as they enjoy “Bizarre Rich WASP people” news stories). It is not specifically their social class that is being mocked or shamed.
  18. Express a belief that being able to afford certain material goods makes someone better than someone else.
  19. Make comments about how “all” people of a certain race or sex / gender / orientation are the same, in a negative way. On “I’m Not A Racist But” and “I’m Not A Sexist But” you will find comments about how all X people “smell bad,” “talk too loudly,” “steal stuff,” “are criminals,” “are stupid,” “can’t drive,” “don’t belong in academia,” “are lazy,” “dress badly,” “can’t play sports,” “can’t operate electronic technology,” “have bad taste,” “eat gross things,” and so on. I would quickly get annoyed if my FB friends were making stupid comments like those.
  20. Use sexist insults towards female politicians you disagree with. In fact, whether you have agreed with a particular female politician or not, I have noted that you are typically quick to be outraged on their behalf when they are disparaged with sexist insults.
  21. Express xenophobia or a lack of curiosity and interest in other countries and cultures.
  22. Try to excuse attachment to a symbol (like the Confederate flag) that upsets and offends others.
  23. Use the nonsense phrases “reverse racism” or “reverse sexism.”
  24.  Get butthurt when you realize you have been harboring a racist or sexist or cisgendered assumption and it is challenged; rather, this tends to lead to reflection and discussion and a vow to address and work on it
  25. Pass around images that show the female body as an object or decoration (often headless / dehumanized). At least this doesn’t happen often, I should say.
  26. Assume, when a story about a crime is circulated, that the culprit, if race is not specified, is non-white.
  27. Ignore institutional and societal biases that unfairly target the less privileged folks out there
  28. Slut shame
  29. Casually use language that is traditionally racist, sexist or otherwise generally offensive (i.e., someone “gyped” you, “nude” used to denote a shade of Caucasian skin only, “whore,” etc.)
  30. Act like raging arseholes when you disagree with each other on my Wall threads

I could go on, but reading through “I’m Not A Racist But” and “I’m Not A Sexist But” really brought it home how fortunate I am to have connected online with some truly exceptional human beings. In short, you may not like what someone has done or said, but you restrict your criticism to that specific individual. You may not like someone’s political or religious beliefs, but you do not make the mistake of damning an entire religion or political party thanks to stupid people or stupid groups of people.

We could still do a little better about not lumping all cops and all military personnel (etc) into the same category when a single LEO or service member does something awful, but, on the whole, we do pretty darn well. We’re also pretty good about not using sexually shaming epithets, too. We’re still learning a language that includes people of all genders and sexual orientations (or lack thereof) but are not deliberately ignoring or dismissing others.

It’s just a shame that it is such a rare thing that I had to notice a general LACK of assholery–because it is so uncommon and unusual–at all. It’s true, however, that I become acutely aware of this when I branch out and, for example, read the comments sections under YouTube videos or news articles. What’s “normal” for my Wall or news feed is not “normal” for the Internet as a whole.

So, we’re not perfect, but we’re trying, and we’re avoiding most of the really obviously offensive behaviors while not becoming so “offensensitive” that we can’t discuss anything at all. I’m glad about that.

Your Lack Of Insight and Compassion Make You Ugly.

So the conservatives on social networks like Facebook and G+ are busily sharing this image around again.

If you shared this image, you are an asshole.

It pops up every two weeks or so, with a lot of “THIS IS SO TRUE LOL” and “THIS IS OBUMMER’S FAULT” comments from people who look, on average, to be about 15 years old.

Some typical responses:

Christine M A******: “Sad but true.” [She knows this because of her Learnings…in Social Studies 101 at Dead President High School.]

Ben H***: “Well, at least we’re not paying for all their health care….oh, wait a minute….” [Did you catch that “they” there? Who do you suppose he means?]

Julie Z*******: “I deal with these people everyday! They are pigs!” [“Pigs,” you say? Not like you, I’m sure, insulting people in need.]

Hey, people on welfare, conservatives would like you to know the rules. So here they are:

  1. If / when you lose your job, be sure to sell all your nice electronics and luxury goods immediately and make sure you are always dressed well in public (but not too well, because then you are clearly not in need of any financial assistance and will be judged for not immediately selling all your nice clothing, too).
  2. Cover up your tattoos, or people will snark that you are spending your welfare money on body art, even if you have had those tattoos for years, or a friend who is a tattoo artist who did them for free.
  3. Are your shoes nice? Better not wear them in public, especially while at the grocery store paying for food with food stamps, because you MUST have somehow magically converted those food stamps into enough expendable income to buy those shoes. Never mind that they were a gift, or you bought them years ago, or that they actually have huge holes in the soles and tattered insoles because you can’t afford to replace them.
  4. As a bonus, be sure not to have a job with flexible hours or work from home or work as a stay-at-home parent, because judgmental people will be on your ass and assume you are on welfare based on limited or non-existent evidence (even if you are not) and whine bitterly about having to contribute to social safety nets for the needy. That is right: You don’t even have to be on welfare at all, you can simply be out in public with your kid(s) during normal business hours and have total strangers assume you are on government assistance if you don’t look prosperous. Isn’t that cute?

But, hey, you know who will also be first in line with a hand out for benefits when they lose a job or fall on hard times, have family to house and feed, and qualify to receive them? That’s right: The same people who spend a hell of a lot of time claiming that people on government assistance are all undeserving and grifting the system and not really in need because they are, say, clean and are not wearing rags or being extra-careful to only appear in public while exhibiting visible signs of long-term poverty like, say, neglected teeth or unkempt hair and tattered sackcloth outfits.

Oh, you might also want to (5.) sell your car, too, unless it is a Piece Of Shit, because clearly no one receiving unemployment benefits or welfare could possibly have purchased a decent vehicle long prior to losing a job, getting a divorce, having unexpected healthcare expenses that devastated their finances, or just generally falling on hard times. You also don’t ever want to borrow a friend or family member’s car if you DO sell yours to make ends meet, because if it is even slightly nice or of recent vintage, you will be judged as not being needy enough for assistance of any sort.

Think this is an exaggeration? Some Republicans are busily trying to make it a law that if you own a car of any description, you will be unable to receive SNAP benefits (that’s food for the poor, if you aren’t familiar with the term) until you sell that car. This plan is Rush Limbaugh-approved, so you know it is empathetic and fair and kind-hearted and rational. (Yeah…no.) So while you are struggling to find work, and being told that you need reliable transportation to be hired (try to find a decently compensated job that does not require employees to have their own transportation), and being scorned for being unemployed, Republicans want to take your personal transportation away (while blocking any public transportation-related programs, mind you) or deny you help with food. Nice people.

Yes, you must sell everything you own that is even remotely nice, you must dress nicely (but not TOO nicely) when you are out in public, and you need to feel like a complete and utter failure before seeking help. Never mind that it is nearly impossible to get by without a mobile phone or reliable transportation these days.

Hey, poor person; hey, you unemployed person: your phone is too nice and isn’t there public transportation you could be using instead? Of course, anyone who has ever had to rely on public transportation realizes that it is unreliable, often late, sometimes fails to arrive at all, is almost always dirty and smelly and unpleasant, and if you need to get to work or home from work using it, then you get to hang out in unsafe places (often in the dark, and rarely covered to protect you from rain or heat or wind) by yourself (enjoy your mugging).

Of course, if you do wind up sitting on a sidewalk with a cup, these same assholes will walk past you like you are invisible or hiss “get a job” at you.

Also, if you are not white, these rules apply double to you. Because the majority of welfare recipients in the United States are white.

…Wait, what?

You heard me.

“According to the U.S. government, the majority of welfare recipients are white, live in the suburbs, have two kids, want to work, and stay on welfare an average of only two years.”

Who is the stereotypical Welfare Queen now?

You know what? People who post this kind of image and yuck it up and say “SO TRUE LOL HALLELUJAH YES”? Fuck ’em. Selfish bastards. (They better hope nothing bad ever happens to them…though, if it does, it will not be their fault, even though YOUR situation is definitely 100% YOUR fault.) Enjoy that DELICIOUS government powdered macaroni and cheese mix and generic peanut butter, you grifter, you.

I just want to kick people who make image memes like this really hard, right in the junk. I also wouldn’t be surprised if it was some neckbeard living in his parents’ basement and feeling all butthurt that his job at Wendy’s forced him to pay taxes. OH GOD HOW HORRIBLE HAVING TO CONTRIBUTE FINANCIALLY TO THE HEALTH AND WELFARE OF A SOCIETY WHICH YOU ENJOY THE BENEFITS OF EVERY SINGLE DAY. Golly, taxes sure do suck. I, too, wish I could be a selfish infant and never have to spend a penny on anything I don’t want to spend it on, even while I benefit from national parks and museums, Medicare, Social Security, FDIC insured banks, the Post Office, emergency services like firefighters and police officers and rescue services and 911 service, and public schools and public libraries, and funding for the arts and public broadcasting, and clean air and water, and interstates and bridges and tunnels, and safe food and medicine, and scientific advances and space exploration and national disaster preparedness, and weather reports and storm tracking, and garbage pick-up and sewage treatment plants and roads that are swept or plowed, and so on.

Oh, wait, no, I am not a big whiny baby who would rather live in Somalia where there is no government or taxes or welfare and everyone is so very free to just do whatever they want and they all live in peace and luxury and good health. (Except they don’t.)

Conservatives, it may fit your personal narrative and make you feel better about your courageous stance of denying the needy any assistance (while protecting tax breaks for corporations and toadying up to the wealthiest people in our country) and assuming that every single person on assistance is lazy and taking advantage of the system and so on, but I do hope you will remember to eat your words with a nice side of crow should you ever be in a position where you or a loved one need a little help from your neighbors. You probably won’t.

As mentioned above, I’m very familiar with the all-too-common conservative refrain that goes: “All MY problems are 100% not my fault, all YOUR problems are 100% due to bad decision-making and laziness on YOUR part, so while I deserve some help when I am struggling, you need to Learn A Lesson About Personal Responsibility and Pull Yourself Up By Your Bootstraps and Not Be A Beggar.”

Aren’t you glad that there are some liberal folks who are willing to lend you a helping hand when you fall on hard times? Because you and your conservative friends typically begrudge any kind of assistance to anyone…unless they are already rich or are a business…or unless it is YOU who needs some help.

The least you can do, if empathy and compassion are too difficult for you, is not be an arrogant dick about your extreme selfishness. Give it a try.

The newest “funny” anti-welfare meme circulating around Facebook by assholes who enjoy demonizing the poor claims that the poor are spending their welfare checks on luxury goods. O RLY? Do tell.

If you share this image, you’re also an asshole.

Some choice comments:

Boo H***: “Drink’n from the hater-aid :p”

Erica A*****: “LOVE this!!! fuck welfare!! SOLO WORKING MOM RITE HERE!!”

This person ALMOST gets it, but not quite: Lynn W*****: “‎^sad thing is, you should be the one eligible for it, @Erica A***** not the drug addicts that haven’t even bothered looking for a job in the past 5 years. It shouldn’t be looked at as a degrading thing, it’s supposed to be when people are at the end of their rope and have no one to turn to and need to put food on their families tables. But now a days, its become some sort of sick joke and I hate watching my checks deplete to pay for the depletion of the human race. Its sad really.”[Translation: I know nothing about poor people, but I am certain there are simply scads of them using MY TAX DOLLARS to buy drugs, even though statistics show just the opposite.]

Josh J****: “This is perfect!!! Haha!” [Translation: Mocking the poor is awesome! I am laughing right now! Tee hee!]

Sarah A***: “LMAO!” [Translation: Me, too! HA HA, you’re poor!]

Linda M*******: “You betcha!!!!” [Translation: Sarah Palin’s lack of compassion inspires me!]

Fay T******: “DAM !!! Loveit” [Translation: I am clearly a scholar and have put a lot of thought into the plight of the socially and financially disadvantaged. FUCK ’em.]

Kent V*********: “Hard to believe anyone would be dumbass to do that…but Im sure theyre out there!” [Translation: I know nothing about the subject, but I am certain that there MUST be some poor people out there buying iPhones!]

Jenn D****:  “Lmao very true…I know someone who gets help from the gov yet went out and got the iPhone smh. It’s crazy how much money is spent on people who don’t need it but feel entitled to it. They can try but it’s easier to not and get by in life with as little effort as possible” [Translation: I know ONE PERSON who gets welfare who bought a phone. Fucker doesn’t deserve that phone. I am horribly jealous. Furthermore, my sample set of ONE validates your sweeping generalizations about every other poor person on welfare.]

Anthony D******: “This is a must share” [Translation: I can’t wait to spread the HATE THE POOR message to all my friends and family members on Facebook! They will be so impressed with my deep understanding of social issues and taxes and welfare, and will admire me for my compassion and concern for those less fortunate than myself. Oh, HA HA, no, just kidding. FUCK the poor.]

Joe K***: “Yeh I know a couple guys this totally applies to- they both get SSI and the minute they get paid they immediately go bananas and buy a bunch of crap they can afford and dont need, then are broke 3 hours after getting paid. Then 2 days later they pawn the overpriced crap they splurged on (which they never should have bought in the first place) for beer & cigarette money… some people just never learn. They say insanity is repeating the same actions over and over and expecting different results. If you only get paid once a month and only get $700, for Gods sake, leave some of it in the bank for emergencies, groceries, bus fare, or in case you need smokes!!!!!!” [Translation: Joe knows TWO PEOPLE who are totally bad at managing money, so that means ALL poor people are the same! Great logic, Joe!]

Amanda C*****: “‎^^^ welfare is government assistants for people/family that cant get a job or need extra help…NOT FOR IPHONES lol” [Translation: I, too, believe this fairy story about people on welfare all owning iPhones. FUCK ’em!]

Scott H*****: “OMFG YES!!” [Translation: I, too, hate the poor and I believe this nonsense and I am so excited I AM SHOUTING ABOUT IT.]

Tamera H**********: “I see it SO MUCH!! I Phones, Tattoos, Alcohol, and always buying cigarrettes! Yet they need food stamps and a welfare check…Ohhh! I almost forgot the EXPENSIVE vehicles with spinner tiresss!!!!” [Translation: I do not understand how food stamps work, and I am a judgmental asshole. Fuck the poor, right in the ear!]

Andy C**: “capitalist or socialist it should be illegal to take more than your share or rip someone off….”

Andy C**: “only handicaped peoople need iphones, rest of people just play games”

Andy C**: “im sorry i meant retards” [Translation: I am an asshole.]

Rose P***-I*****: “This so true and soooo funny! I see this everyday!” [DO YOU NOW. Did you ask all those people for a glance at their finances, so you can make the determination that they have not spent their money in a manner acceptable to your sensibilities? I fucking doubt it.]

Katherine G******: “wtha about child support. i know someone who spend $2000 of child support money to buy gucci suit” [Prove it. I don’t believe you.]

Douglas K*****: “Just end welfare alltogether. If you do not work you do not eat…natural selection takes it from there” [Translation: FUCK THE POOR, IF THEY CAN’T GET A JOB, THEN JUST LET THEM ALL DIE.]

OH MY FUCKING GOD I HATE ALL YOU STUPID ASSHOLES SO FUCKING MUCH RIGHT NOW.

My (angry!) response:

“If you think someone on welfare can afford an iPhone, you are mentally deficient. It is more likely that they fell on hard times after purchasing the phone or being given the phone as a gift (such as being laid off or having a family member die, or dealing with medical expenses). Welfare checks do not come anywhere close to covering the cost of a new phone. Further, that person on welfare probably paid as much in taxes over the years as you have, if not more, so it is their own tax money being used to help them out when they have fallen on hard times. Try a little more compassion and a lot less of this bullshit “let’s pick on the poor” fantasizing.

I have also just been informed by someone who should know first-hand that sometimes the government hands out a cheap pre-paid mobile phone with 250 minutes on it to the very poor who can’t afford a landline, so they can look for work and communicate with officials handling their accounts. And yes, that phone does look, at a glance, like an iPhone, but it is not. It is a cheap piece of shit. They didn’t buy it, there are a limited amount of minutes allowed, and they do not own it; once off welfare, they have to give it back. (P.S. Did you know that about the pre-paid phones? I didn’t. I learned something new today.)

If you are on food stamps you can NOT buy non-food items AT ALL. No alcohol. No tobacco. No “hot” food from the grocery deli. No pet food. No toilet paper, toothpaste, shampoo, razors, aspirin, vitamins, etc. Just food. And some jurisdictions do not allow pre-prepared foods (like frozen dinners). Food stamps are distributed via debit-card like food stamp cards, they are not little pieces of paper you can buy or sell or trade for things. The average allotment per meal for food stamps is a dollar and change. Think hard about how well you can eat for less than two bucks, then do that three times a day for months on end.

Oh, people on food stamps can buy birthday cakes from the bakery, but I suppose they should just suffer in silence and not waste their food money on something as frivolous as a child’s birthday cake. Your anecdotal evidence of one or two assholes you know working the system does not indicate that every single other person receiving aid is likewise irresponsible or taking advantage.

There will always be stupid people who do not manage money of any kind well, but that is not an excuse to pretend that the poor, who are struggling to EAT and not be homeless, and to find work when work is hard to find (I have three advanced degrees, great references, a lot of skills, a lot of experience, and I send out a MINIMUM of 50 applications every single day and I have been unemployed, after a layoff, for almost a year…why & how would someone who has fewer of those qualities and advantages than I have manage get a job more quickly or easily than I?) and I hope that some of the most judgmental among you have to experience what it is like to fall on hard times through no fault of your own and to hear nasty comments about it constantly from uninformed, rude, thoughtless people like yourselves who think it is funny to mock the down-and-out and impoverished and to make snap judgments about them.

When and if it happens to you, I hope you will remember every single derogatory and nasty comment you ever made about your neighbors and fellow citizens who are struggling to survive, and I hope you will feel a little shameful about it.

Be sure to sell all your worldly goods, even if you have to take a financial loss (because poor people don’t deserve anything nice, right? and it is your job to assume that they spent “your” money on anything that isn’t completely crappy, correct?) and never buy anything but the bare essentials while you are at it, too.

Have some goddamned sense. So fucking rude.”

Then, finally, after a couple dozen more “LOL”s and “SO TRUE”s from these hateful morons, one guy finally, finally says something sensible:

Rick Penn: “If you think that “welfare” is now (or ever has been) a significant part of any sort of economic problem faced by the country, then you’re very easily distracted and you’re a perfect fit for the GOP. If you want to look at a welfare problem that actually hurts us in our wallets, take a look at corporate welfare. Those numbers are staggering, but you won’t hear about them at the Republican convention.”

Rick Penn, ladies and gentlemen, someone who has an ounce of compassion for people who are less well off than himself, who is aware of the real “Welfare Queens” in our society (corporations turning huge profits who are still getting generous tax breaks and huge corporate handouts, all while they are busily off-shoring American jobs and stashing a lot of their revenue in tax shelters) and who realizes that memes like this which are trying to demonize the poorest and least powerful among us are complete and utter mean-spirited, ignorant bullshit.

Well done, Rick Penn.

I shared the “Poor people are buying iPhones LOL” meme on my Facebook Wall and it sparked some more discussion:

Me: “Here’s the latest “let’s hate the poor and pretend that trying to survive on the tiny allowance welfare provides is a total picnic” bullshit circulating around today. These nasty assholes need a kick in the junk.

It’s not at all possible that the person with the phone purchased it before falling on hard times, or was given it as a gift, or is borrowing it. No, they assume that “their money” is supporting someone else’s ability to buy a fancy toy.

It also ignores the fact that most people on welfare are white single moms who are looking for work and who stay on welfare less than 2-5 years total, and that the people on welfare have usually paid their fair share of taxes for years and so it is their OWN money that they are being granted to help them out now that they have fallen on hard times. You can’t even GET welfare if you do not have dependent minor children, or if your household income tops $9,000-11,000 annually, which is actually far below survival level.

Insensitive compassion-free judgmental assholes. I am sick of their crap. I hope they all experience the “joy” of having to live on welfare and food stamps and see how much fun it is, firsthand. I suspect they won’t be quick to sell off their mobile phones or vehicles the minute they fall on hard times, either. I hope they also hear a lot of comments about how they are “clearly” cheating the system just because they are not dressed in rags and able to bathe regularly, and I hope they remember their previous bullshit condemnation and shitty comments and that they are all repeated back to them by other shitty people every single day while they struggle to eat, pay bills, and keep a roof over their heads.

In short, I wish for a swift dose of karma to the people who think that welfare is “free money” and a lot of fun and games. They are wrong, and I will be thrilled if I ever find out that some of the worst offenders wind up crying into their government cheese and powdered milk about it.”

Lee F****: “Seriously. What a bunch of raging douchebags.”

Xenubarb G*******: “If you have no landline, a cell phone is the option as pay phones are kinda scarce on the landscape these days.”

Lee F****: “Yes, and asking a prospective employer to call a pay phone probably doesn’t work too well, either.”

Cathy D*****-W*******: “to the judgemental a$$h*les…check that cell phone carefully. It may not be an iPhone. It may be one of the free cell phones provided with 250 minutes monthly to people on disablility, or welfare. Because many rely on a government issues cell phone because they have no land-line…and good luck finding a pay phone nowadays. Or for some people, coming up with the .50-1.00 for a call on a pay phone if you found one. […] this is one very mean-spirited cartoon. And, yes, I hope karma gives a major smackdown to ppl who are so petty.”

Lee, Xenubarb and Cathy ALSO get it!

Why do these people always rage about “their” tax money being spent to feed hungry people? Do they really think that everyone on food stamps has magically avoided paying taxes their entire life? Unless they are minor children, they probably haven’t!

Feeling smug that you have never been on welfare, and think you are qualified to make ignorant comments about poor people? Perhaps you shouldn’t feel so smug.

I’m here with two BAs and an MA, a great work ethic, good references, great skills, a great resume, lots of experience, Caucasian, healthy, whole-bodied, from an upper-middle class family. I send resumes out every day and I am taking paralegal courses online to get YET ANOTHER degree, all so I can get a job.

Anything remotely nice I have, I bought long before I fell on hard times or my family has generously given to me.

I did everything right: Went to school (twice! and now, THREE times!) and got good grades, paid my bills, paid my taxes, have never been arrested even once for anything, worked hard for my employers, and made responsible choices. I saved for retirement, I had investments, I had regular old savings and a checking account, I had medical insurance, I bought nothing whatsoever on credit, I own no luxury items, my car is almost 20 years old, I have been actively seeking work for months, my unemployment benefits ran out…and whereas I am not on welfare (I do not qualify, as I do not have a child), I am on food stamps. Without them, I would starve. I have zero dollars left to my name. Zero. As in none.

So you think about that before you judge.

If you think I’m having a wonderful time begging for financial help from my mother while simply trying to EAT on a regular basis and while being rejected over and over and over again as I look for work, you are out of your tiny mind.

I do not know how I will be able to buy my next tube of toothpaste.

It is scary out here.

I certainly do not own a fucking iPhone, but I do have a decent phone I was given as a gift six years ago. I suppose, if you squint and are very stupid, you might mistake it for an iPhone. God help the motherfucker who tries to claim that I bought that phone with “his tax money” to my face, because then I MIGHT just get arrested for turning him or her into a bloody greasespot on the ground.

Don’t be an asshole.