Stupidity or Specialty

I find that God can teach you from any source. As such I read rather widely. One of my favorite novels is “The Lord of the Rings.” In this book, we are offered some rather important advice.

“He is wise enough on his own ground.” Gandalf to Frodo in Elrond’s house.

The above sentence is the rebuke Gandalf offered Frodo shortly after Frodo criticized the innkeeper’s intelligence. Yes, the innkeeper had a hard time remembering to do things, but he wasn’t stupid. If you have ever read “The Lord of the Rings,” then you’ll remember that Old Butterbur recognized the threat that the Black Riders represented. Frodo didn’t get this. He seemed to think that Butterbur was just too stupid to realize how important certain things were.

The same thing happens today. People are judged as intelligent or not based on: their beliefs, what they’ve read, what they like to do in their free time, the movies they watch, their political inclinations, their religious beliefs–or lack thereof–, or simply because they have an impairment. It seems like this is just a way to make us feel better about ourselves. That feeling is fleeting at best. Comparing the intelligence of two different people is a lesson in futility. The basic intelligence tests only test the ‘book smarts’ to put it mildly. Many who rate on the average side of the IQ, are more intelligent in the skills called ‘street smarts’ or even the more mathematical skills. So comparing people only works when you are comparing people in the same field of experience.

Let’s face it, we all have our fields that we’ve specialized in. Just because someone hasn’t specialized in the same field, that doesn’t make him or her stupid, they’ve just specialized in another field. It’s more blatant in those we call savants. I mean, they have their one area of genius, but they aren’t capable of living on their own. These people aren’t stupid, they’re just highly specialized in their abilities. Yes, some of them are better at math than any calculator.

Critical thinking skills have been traded for a sense of superiority. It’s time for a change. Past time, really. We can start by considering other people’s points-of-view. It might take a little work, as well as a dictionary, but we will be following the golden rule as laid down by Jesus in Matthew.

We need the dictionary because words don’t always mean the same thing to different people. Words even have different meanings in different professions. This is why a mechanic isn’t stupid because he doesn’t understand the medical lingo. Neither is a doctor stupid because he doesn’t understand legalese, of course–other than lawyers–who does understand legalese? Sometimes I wonder about some of those.

Let’s take the word ‘coin’ for example. Most people think of money when they hear the word ‘coin.’ But a writer ‘coins’ a phrase. Did the writer buy the phrase? No, it’s just a phrase that he or she made popular.

Or how about the word ‘key.’ It can be a piece of metal that opens a lock. But it can be the answers in a back of a book of puzzles, or a sheet that lets teachers grade their students’ papers. It can be the word that decrypts an encrypted document. Also, it can be the most important person or piece to a plan.

The thing is we should be seeing both sides of the arguments. There are two sides of every coin, so to speak, but as a whole people have started only taking the one side that they are more comfortable with as truth. This leads to some brutal arguments, online at least, and much ignorance on both sides of the argument. Instead of seeing our opponents as stupid, perhaps we should see things through God’s prism, as such we can.

God’s ways and thinking are higher and better than ours. Instead of trying to pull each other down, we should be reaching for God’s ways. After all, with His way of seeing things, you would think that He had the habit of talking down to His creation. But really, that didn’t happen in the Bible. He only called the children of Israel stupid, after He told them not to do something, and they turned around and did it anyway. Stupid is as stupid does. And many other parents have said the same thing in similar instances.

So the next time you want to call somebody an idiot, a moron, or stupid, remember that it may be your lack. The other person may be specialized in a different field, and you have yet to find a common ground. It’s time we try to see what’s on the other side of the coin.

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White Privilege?

Is there a problem with ‘white privilege’ in America? I don’t really think so. As Americans, I’d like to believe that we all have ‘American Privilege.’

It seems to me that ‘white privilege’ is a code phrase for racism. And even the definition of racism has gone a little screwy. It used to be that a racist held a feeling of superiority based on his race. But that’s not what people are proclaiming now. Now we’re being told that racism is inherent to the race that holds the majority of the higher jobs, politics, or who are the owners of businesses.

Now this isn’t fair. It’s not like I don’t believe that a minority isn’t able to become a CEO, or a business owner, or a politician. In fact, by believing in things like ‘white privilege,’ or–in some cases–that the police are out to get you, it’s my belief that we are teaching our children that, unless you’re white then you’ll never make anything of yourself. One problem. Well, more than one really. One: our president is black. So if those who have the power are racist, what does this tell you? Two: nobody is stopping you from making something out of your life, except you.

Let me ask you a question. Allow me to set the scene for you. Let’s say that you find that you have a brain tumor. You are told that the two best neurosurgeons are in the hospital and can fit you in for surgery tomorrow. One of the doctors is conservative in dress, enunciates his words clearly, and acts like he knows what he is doing. The other one dresses like a ‘gansta,’ uses ebonics, and acts like he is higher than a kite. Who do you want to perform the surgery?

You see, in my example here, both of these doctors held the same degrees. They were both the top of their respective classes. But one portrayed his knowledge and expertise in a more professional way. If it makes you feel better, bot of the doctors were the same color.

Yes, there are more white politicians, but this is also a choice. Take a look at the cities of Detroit, Baltimore, or other cities that are predominately black. If the citizens wish to tell me that they don’t have enough people of color in positions of power, then I have a question for them. Are you all talk? We may get some bad politicians, but they at least had the guts to try. If you don’t like the way they are doing their jobs, go for it yourself.

So if you want to say that someone has ‘white privilege,’ perhaps you should consider what it is that you are saying. You’re saying that if you’re white then:
You are expected to work hard.
If you fail, then there’s no one to blame.
You can’t claim racial profiling if you get pulled over by the police, no matter what the circumstances.
You cannot get away with disrespecting authority.
Overall, you are expected to take responsibility for your actions (and everyone else’s).

We are Americans. Shouldn’t we be teaching all of the children of America most, if not all, of these things? We all have the opportunity to be what we want. Should we really waste such a golden opportunity because we don’t have the right pigmentation? Are we so shallow that Dr. King’s admonition to focus on the content of character and not the color of the skin lost on our generation? Is that something you really want to pass on to your children?

I’d like to leave you with the words of wisdom that was laid out by Pres. Thomas Jefferson. “Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitude brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues.” The emphasis is mine. If you can, read the whole prayer. May God keep our Great Nation.

Is the American Dream a Sham?

I’ve always believed that America was founded on the basis that we had the right, and obligation, to seek life, liberty, and the pursuit of happyness. But as I look into the world today, this is not what I’m witnessing. It seems like there’s a group of people who claim the need of special treatment because their ancestors were slaves. Let me be clear, I don’t think this is a race issue, it’s a perspective issue.

Here’s the thing. These same people claim that both the Founding Fathers and God Almighty Himself supported slavery. But, how true is this argument? Um, not very, at least not from my research.

Let’s take the laws of slavery according to God. If you honestly examine these laws, you will find a common denominator. The slave has sold him or herself to pay off a debt. Also, a close family member could ‘redeem’ the slave. This description is more like that of indentured servitude. One person could, quite literally, hire himself out to make money. Sounds kind of like the job market today, doesn’t it?

But, you see the idea of selling another into servitude had a very different result. There were three crimes that guaranteed the death penalty under God’s Law. Premeditated murder, rape, and–as God puts it–stealing a man and selling him. Now what could that last one mean? Well, we have kidnapping for ransom today, but when America had slaves, how did they get here? That makes slave-trading under God’s law illegal, doesn’t it?

As you look through our Monuments in Washington D.C., you’ll notice Biblical passages on them. This is simple to see because atheism in the eighteenth century was even rarer than it is today. The first book printed in America was a Bible, so how did the Founders miss the fact that slavery was wrong?

The truth of the matter is, they didn’t. America couldn’t survive a war against slavery being fought at the same time as The Revolution. So they added a couple of clauses to The Constitution to deal with the issue. The infamous 3/5 clause was meant to keep the slave-holding States out of the majority when it came time to abolish the practice. In my opinion, the 3/5 clause included children, most women, and any other person who didn’t own any property. The Founders attempts to abolish the practice didn’t work out too well. We didn’t listen to section 9 of Article 1. According to that section, we were to ban the importation of slaves in, ready for it, 1808. Our failure to do so lead to the Civil War.

So now we know that the Founders didn’t intend to keep slavery as a part of America. It wasn’t meant for our inheritance. We can move on to our next set of questions. How did slavery get started in America? And why did the Founders have slaves, themselves?

Let’s start with the first question. When America was first colonized, we had a system of indentured servitude. Now that doesn’t mean that all servants came of their own free will, it just means that they could become free after a time. Indentured servitude meant that you had a chance of make a life of your own as soon as your contract was up. Of course if you tried to steal the time you owed to your boss it could cost you your ability to work for someone else. It would be like agreeing to work for, say, Coca Cola, then reneging on your word. At that time, you could be told that you can now only work for Coca Cola. It would guarantee you financial security, and your boss would be guaranteed a constant employee.

This worked until Anthony Johnson, a black man, had a disagreement with one of his white neighbors over a black indentured servant’s contract. Johnson won more than the contract; he won the ownership of the indentured servant, starting our problems with slavery. It wasn’t like the prior times of an indentured servant being stuck with a boss, this poor guy didn’t even have the benefit of having a paycheck.

Now to our next question: why did the Founders have slaves? To put it simply, most of them were in debt, quite possibly from funding the Revolution. During times of debt, freeing your slaves was seen as bad form. In fact, the slaves would probably be confiscated and sold to pay off the debt if their owners had tried. All they could do at the time, would be to try to climb out of debt, and then free their slaves. Our nation cost our Founding Fathers everything. Their slaves got their freedom after the Founders died, if they were lucky.

I’m not sure how we got to where whole classes of people in America can claim that the American Dream is just for the 1% or that The Constitution doesn’t go far enough. This isn’t the fruit of our Founding Fathers. Like them, I don’t want your patronage just because I look different than you do. I’ve worked and practiced too long and hard for such a cheap feeling of inclusiveness. I want your patronage because I’m good at what I do.

Thank you for your time. And consider Pres. Washington’s prayer to the Almighty before you leave.

And now, Almighty Father, if it is Thy holy will that we shall obtain a place and name among the nations of the earth, grant that we may be enabled to show our gratitude for Thy goodness by our endeavors to fear and obey Thee.

Bless us with Thy wisdom in our counsels, success in battle, and let all our victories be tempered with humanity. Endow, also, our enemies with enlightened minds, that they become sensible of their injustice, and willing to restore our liberty and peace.

Grant the petition of Thy servant, for the sake of Him whom Thou hast called Thy beloved Son; nevertheless, not my will, but Thine be done. Amen.

If you have time, you might want to consider more of Pres. Washington’s and Jefferson’s prayers. They are quite enlightening.

What Has Happened To Freedom?

The United States of America was founded on freedom. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the basic freedoms of life, liberty, the pursuit of happyness, and to follow your conscience. But something has gone very wrong.

We now have to watch what we say, lest certain groups become offended. Even flying our flag with pride, on American soil, can be considered ‘hate speech.’ One of the strongest symbols of our great nation is ‘hate speech’?

And now, certain organizations feel that they can dictate what others do. Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe that this is a brand new phenomenon. After all certain corporations have been known to dictate how their employees spend their paychecks, and sometimes even their free time. Be it as simple as certain businesses demanding that their employees pay so much to a certain charity, to the beverage companies firing employees for drinking the competition’s beverages, it happens. And, in my opinion, it’s just as wrong as what is happening now.

Our school campuses, be they primary, secondary, or higher learning, are places to learn. They are places that, by their design, are supposed to prepare their students for life in the world.

So, let me ask you this. How does making boys walk around in red high heels do anything but embarrass them? (Source link: http://chicksontheright.com/blog/item/28491-why-in-the-world-are-rotc-cadets-being-required-to-wear-red-high-heels-why) Oh, I know that it’s supposed to make them understand the threat of sexual violence against women. But do you know what? All this really said was: humiliate yourself, and you won’t be treated like someone who needs to be re-educated with sensitivity training courses.

When has wearing something that you don’t like, or participating in an event that you don’t agree with become mandatory? Wear high heels for a day, boys, or go to sensitivity training and have your GPA docked. Participate in that wedding you disagree with or be fined and lose your business license. Where are the freedoms our great nation was founded on here?

Have the rights of the founders of #Walkamileinhershoes somehow trumped the rights of ROTC boys, who are going into the military, or the other men at these campuses? Have the rights of the gay couples who want to be married trumped the rights of Christian business owners who are afraid of disappointing God if they participate in a gay wedding? Have the rights of nature trumped the basic rights of humans to live?

Well you guys, you’ve got to make your choices. Will you sacrifice your job, business, or GPA for what you believe is right? That’s a hard choice, but not as hard as some have made. Our military and police personnel have made the irrevocable sacrifice for our well-being. They have sacrificed their very lives for our freedoms, in the case of the military, and our security, for both of them.

These groups in the minority of the population have offered us a choice, now. Will we sacrifice our morals, our pride, or our beliefs, going against our very consciences, to keep them happy? Or will we sacrifice our jobs, our financial security, or our grades for what we believe is right? Will you sacrifice these smaller things, that we may walk in the company of those who have made the greatest sacrifice of them all?

Okay You Vitriolic Bitch

    (This is the first time I’ve been so angry. I’ve seen what she has done to others, and it’s not right that anyone is allowed to get away with such things just because they ‘might’ be a minority.)

So sorry for the language, but I have heard it said that sometimes the case involves language that I abhor, even detest using. This is so different. This is for people that for some reason this “one person” so desires to step on, that nothing will stand in her way to get what she wants. Somewhere, someone scorned this woman, otherwise, she would have no excuse to belittle, deny, and charge others of things she herself does. To be blunt, she sets others up to take her fall, blaming others for her crimes. She is cheap, moral-less, and hides behind her race. She is, what most would call, a racist who sees what she is in everyone who is what she wishes to be.

There is no reason for any of her attitude. I mean, isn’t diversity vital to what people want? We all can’t, and won’t, like the same things. Who declared this person a sentinel on what is worthy to read, write, or play?

Her attempts to destroy people’s dreams is misguided at it’s best, and demonic at it’s worst. We are familiar with her most famous nick “Requireshate.” After all, she was just ousted by an editor friend of hers. Classy, isn’t it? There are at least thirty other nicks, that she goes by. I don’t know what her newest, unburned, nick is, but you will recognize her by her quirks, and descriptions. Not many use such extremely violent language. And hate is, at least implied, in every sentence. Just be aware that she isn’t just going after writers, or fans of books. She also goes for the gamers, anyone who is on social media, and does things that she disapproves of.

When you have to rely on hate, you bring down people to keep from drowning in it yourself. Perhaps it’s better to pull the plug on your hate, and go another way.

Anyone who has been her victim, (Collum) please don’t let such trash stop you from being who and what you are. Hold fast to the fact that burning bridges can be beneficial as well as a hindrance, depending on how it is used. Things are not evil; people have that distinction. Fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, thrillers, crime, it’s all okay if it’s you. Be who you are: the trolls all fail sooner or later. I hope that you, and others like you will never let anyone, at any time, or for any reason, make a stepping stone of you. And remember, stones do not disperse as fast as the dust, or clay. Hold your head high and reach for the stars. May God be with you and yours.

Hate will not win, love conquers all.

Is it Really Wrong to Read Authors of Mostly One Gender?

There seems to be a circle of people, mainly women, that believe that we as readers are sexist. That we would rather read a male author than a female one. But is it really just because we don’t like women to be writing? Or could it just be a matter of tastes/genre?

Let’s be perfectly honest with ourselves. Women tend to be more emotional, and as such relationships in the story tend to be more important. They are also more likely to focus on the romantic angle. Don’t get me wrong, not all women do this. It’s just aggravating to be reading one style of novel, say a detective novel, and been thrown into a one-three page romantic encounter.

Men have their own quirks. Their’s just happens to be the gore, extreme violence, and bodily functions. And with certain authors, this gets to be too much. Hence why I don’t really like Peter Straub.

Both sides over do their particular quirks at times. Some women write so much sex that it overpowers the rest of the novel. Please don’t take this to mean that I consider only women capable of writing romance or sex. (I’m looking at you, Mr. Martin.)

Now, why should I–someone who hates graphic sex and gratuitous violence–be told that I must read more female authors or I’m helping the publishing houses keep them down? Have we gone so far as to say that one’s personal tastes no longer matter? Do the publishing houses really reject more women for benefit of publishing a man, or could it be that the women don’t follow the submission guidelines?

Do you think the military fiction fans are really happy with “the female SEAL turned Captain’s lover” stories? Are the Hard Science-Fiction fans really wrong for saying “focus more on the science and not the relationships”? I say no. As well as if you want to write Romance, then write Romance. Please don’t infiltrate the other genres in the name of fairness. You are just confusing the waters for those who want a straight detective novel, fantasy, science-fiction, or any other novel style.

Personally I read those who don’t focus on the sex. I don’t care about the gender of the author. The sad thing is that it seems most women can’t write without the sex scenes. I say let those who have something to say, say it. And those who care to hear, hear it. Let’s keep the gender out of it.

Are Agents and Publishers Really the Gatekeepers?

This possibly seems crazy to ask, but there seems to be a couple of opposing views on the subject. On one hand, the agents and publishers seem to be interested in only what is selling today. (Not a bad business practice, really.) On the other, works that have gone through the traditional route seem to have more tender loving care lavished on them.

So who is right? Remember, “Twilight” was published through the traditional way. Yet agents and publishes only have so much time in their day, like the rest of us, and only so much room for a new author.

I guess the real question is what would you do in their position? It’s easy to say you wouldn’t publish “Twilight.” And I’m positive Mrs. Meyers received a rejection slip or two. It’s not as easy to say you would find every hidden gem. Let’s face it, “Twilight” is a popular series. Obviously, the publisher who gave it a home, knew or saw something that I don’t. If I had been in charge of that publishing house, untold numbers of teenage girls would’ve missed the chance to swoon over Edward, or was it Jacob? I never got past the first page.

Let’s face it, publishers and agents are human,(say it ain’t so). They’re not the guardians of the literary gates. If they like your work and feel that they can sell it, you’re in luck. If not, either try another agent/publisher, or accept that you may have a niche specific work and go with self-publishing. But let’s not place the agents and publishers in a position they don’t belong in. They wish to be a writer’s partner, not his/her master.

Believe the best of them. They are trying to make a living like you and me. They want what sells and they do go scouting for good works. Make yours good, and may luck go with ya.

Yeah, “Twilight” got published, but so did millions of better books. So many books, so little time.

(I sure hope this puts me on their good side :))

WHAT IS THE RUSH?

There seems to be a lot of self-published works out now days. And many reasons from the authors who’ve done so. My question isn’t: why self-publish? There would be as many answers as there are writers. My question is: what’s the rush?

From the self-published works that I’ve read, there seems to be a common problem. The story seems to be stuck in the early stages of the writing process. There are numerous misspelled words, a lot of padding (not that this is eliminated in traditional publishing), and the most unfair to the reader, severe plot holes.

I’ve heard it said that a benefit to self-publishing is that you can take the book down, and re-edit then re-release it. But this attitude seems writer-centric. This is not what the process is all about. If you think ‘I can just edit it later,’ then you not only cheat your readers, you cheat yourself.

Writing can be hard. The process takes time and patience. If it was easy, we would be buried in books by now. It is said that anything worth doing is worth doing well. If you wish to self-publish, then learn the business, strengthen your editing skills, and work your story so that it still makes you proud years down the line, even if you would do it different now. Does this advice sound familiar? It’s what an author has to do in order to avoid the slush pile.

Until the self-publishing paradigm changes, I don’t intend to knowingly pick up another self-published book. There are far too many finished books to enjoy.

That’s just the opinion from this writer.

When is it Censorship

I have recently read an article from the Independent. According to the article if a children’s book is labeled “for girls” or “for boys,” it will no longer be reviewed.

This sparked questions in the comments whether this was a form of censorship. Some of the comments turned into arguments. This got me to wondering when does just discouraging a book turn into censorship?

Maybe we should start with what is censorship. What is the definition of censor? According to the American Collegiate Dictionary, censor mean: 1. An official who examines books, play, new reports, motion picture, radio programs, etc. for the purpose of suppressing parts deemed objectionable on moral, political, military or other grounds. 2. Any person who supervises the manors or morality of others. 3. An adverse critic; a fault finder. 4. A mentor of the board of two officials of republican Rome who kept the register of census of the citizens, let public contracts, and supervised manners and morals. 5. Psychanal. Censorship. 6. To examine and act upon as a censor does. With these definition, we can figure out our answer.

The second definition is something every parent should do for their children, not necessarily what they take in, but when, for all knowledge is power, this we know. The parents are there in order to supervise manner and morality of their children. This is the only aspect of censoring I see that is needed. The parents are the foundation of the nation’s morality, much as the family is the building block for the nation.

The fourth definition doesn’t seem to be applicable to our situation. And, God willing, it never will be. That leaves the first, third, fifth–admittedly ambiguous–, and sixth definitions to see if the Independent was practicing censorship.

At best they were acting like a censor or just a fault-finder. At worse they were convinced that, for reasons known only to themselves, that they should tell us what books are suitable to or for our children to read.

Censorship isn’t just when the government decides what we ought to read or watch. When the Independent decided that their readers shouldn’t hear about gender-specific books for children, they stepped into the role of a censor. Both types, we can do without.

As long as parents censor only their children and dependants, they practice the only form of censorship that I find acceptable. And even that one will fall short, if they just refuse the child the knowledge. Timing, after all, is everything. No one else has the right to say what a child learns, or when a child should receive the information.

And that’s just the opinion from this writer.

Why I Support the Copyright

There has been a lot of controversy over the issue at hand for the past few years. This is my opinion.

I know, I know. The writer believes we should keep the copyright. The thing is those who want to get rid of it are just sending us back to the early days of the written word.

A while back, authors held no rights to their works. It took our predecessors to make it so that the authors could gain the copyright. Of course, the publishing houses worded the contracts to benefit the house and not the author, so not much changed for the authors. Like their predecessors, they had their names on the books, and a payment for the rights. That’s it.

Those writers started to warn other writers not to just sign the contracts. So now, we could hold on to our rights as authors. But, if we ever forgot to renew the copyright, hello public domain. Needless to say, this worked for the radio and fledgling movie industries.

This leads us to the international copyright laws. All of the nations who signed on to these laws gave the authors rights automatically for life-plus-70. No longer do we have to register our copyrights. No more renewals. And Hollywood has to work with either the author, or the author’s chosen representative(s).

Why would I hate the copyright? If it was gone, can you imagine the movies being made? Let me ask that another way. Do you think that “Harry Potter,” “The Hunger Games,” or any of Stephen King’s movies would be the same if Hollywood didn’t have to work with the authors? And please don’t bring up Disney. I’m not standing for his rights. He’s dead, he isn’t even standing for his rights. Besides, most of the Disney Princesses and Mickey are trademarked, not only copyrighted.

I’ll meet you at the middle. Make the copyright life-plus-30. Let the generation that knew the author support the works. Take away the rights of the authors though, and you won’t hurt anyone but the authors. I personally like that my works will have my intentions behind their incarnations.