Archive for the ‘Honesty’ Category

The Depth of a Youtuber
June 23, 2017

As some of you who read my posts regularly know, I have a channel on Youtube that is titled “theartbook35”. This is an old internet handle that I’ve used since I was 13, which means I’ve been using this handle for 17 years. If you really need to know, I borrowed a book from a library back then that was titled “The Art Book”, and I just liked the sound of it. When we got CompuServe (the shitty AOL alternative and a testament to my age), I made “theartbook” my username. A short time later, I added the number 35, purely because that’s my favorite number. It’s my go-to username on every site I join (at least when I want people to know it’s me), because it’s never unavailable about 99% of the time. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with my channel’s content, which is primarily Minecraft survival series (modded and vanilla), building and the occasional retro game.

Since March of 2015 I’ve been uploading regularly to my channel. I get a lot of enjoyment out of making videos, because I can make whatever I want and know that the handful of people who watch my videos, actually like what I do. Of course my aim is to have more than 250 subscribers, and I’d like for my channel to become a source of income for me. But I’m also old in spirit, so I’m not banking on ad revenue being my only source of money. That’s why I have a somewhat standard job at a retail store. Working in retail is not always glamorous, but my work environment is a huge step up in comparison to Walmart and Target, as well as other retail chains, and the only thing less glamorous than retail is being unemployed. I’m happy where I am, devoted to the work I do and I have no plans to ever become unemployed again, even if my Youtube channel gains millions of subscribers in the future.

One thing I can say about myself is that even though I have fun with life, because of my old-fashioned brain, I take things seriously. Even my videos can be serious business. I swear up a storm sometimes in my commentary, say silly things and temporarily return to my childhood, but I have standards at the same time. If my commentary is shit quality, or the video footage is shit quality, it will not go on my channel. And believe me, I know when something is bad quality, especially if I know it’s something I wouldn’t watch. I’m gentle about how I advertise my videos within my videos. I keep my intros short and to the point. I tell people at the end of each video that if they enjoyed the content, they have the option to leave a like or a comment or possibly subscribe. I have an end screen and that’s it. I’m not going to beg people to stay, because if they’re going to stay, then they have the sense to make that choice, and I’m not desperate to be popular. Do I want to be popular? Technically, yes. I somewhat define popularity as a lot of people liking me. There’s nothing wrong with me wanting to be liked by a bunch of people. Who doesn’t want people to like them? But my entire idea of being popular is more along the lines of people enjoying my videos, and responding to my commentary so we can create interesting discussions in the comment section. Why should the enjoyment of a video stop when the video itself stops? I’m not trying to make my channel educational (even though I have worked as a teacher for many years), I just don’t have the heart to throw videos at people and pretend to care about my subscribers. I need to speak to people, which I see many content creators on Youtube fail to do.

When it comes to Youtubers who conduct themselves in a way that I disagree with, I am not going to name names, no matter how badly I want to. I have a very different idea of expressing my opinion than how people younger than me like to express themselves nowadays. It’s very hard for me to not call out someone directly and hold them to task or make them responsible for their actions/behavior. I don’t get offended by the little shit, especially when it’s not even shit, and only the big shit can make me speak up. But I have observed a trend on Youtube for a long time, where gamers beg for subscribers and to “smash that like button”, and they don’t give a flying fuck about the people who watch their videos. Those subscribers they’ve accumulated don’t even register on their humanity scales. I may not have millions of subscribers, but the 250 that I have I definitely earned, and if I earn millions, I sure as hell won’t objectify them the way these kids like to. And don’t you dare even think of telling me I’m doing one of those holier than thou things, or being snooty, because I’m not better than other people. I just had the unfortunate experience of being objectified for most of my life, and that experience has taught me to never do that to someone else.

There are a select few Youtubers who I feel like have some real depth to who they are. My all time favorite channel is “ochikeron”, whose videos are about Japanese home-cooked meals, traditional Japanese recipes and the artistry of cooking. Another favorite of mine is “Grant Thompson”, who refers to himself as the King of Random because his channel’s content doesn’t fit into a particular mold. Science experiments, projects, decorations, tools, it just goes on and on and on. And it’s funny because unlike ochikeron, who makes videos about recipes that I actually use in my day to day life, Grant Thompson’s projects and experiments are things that I would never try. I love science like you wouldn’t believe, and I enjoy watching him try these things, but they serve absolutely no purpose to my every day life. I think my fascination with his channel is that beyond the videos, he’s a husband with four children and has responsibilities outside of Youtube.

One of the best experiences I have ever had with my channel, is being able to tell my subscribers that I have important things going on in my life outside of Youtube, and those things will impact my ability to record and/or edit my videos. And I make it a point to remind people that I care about my channel, but I also care about my family, friends and my retail job a lot more. My subscribers respect this, and it’s probably because I’m honest with them. The best thing I learned from working as a salesperson, is that if you make people feel like they are obligated to buy what you are selling, you are lying to their faces and that is hurtful. I understand, and my subscribers understand that Youtube is not everything; it is not the end all and be all and it never will be. Youtube will not last forever, no matter how popular it may be right now. Just like how Facebook replaced Myspace, Twitch can replace Youtube. And it honestly scares the hell out of me how many young people devote themselves to their “Youtube careers”, quit their jobs and in some cases sell their souls for internet fame. The class, dignity and professionalism are thrown out the window, because they are so desperate for those likes and subscribers. I call bullshit on anyone in their early to mid 20’s who dares to say that they dreamed of being a Youtuber when they were younger. You’re on average only five years younger than me, and when you were a kid, Youtube wasn’t even a thing. I can’t say what you should be dreaming about, because your life is not mine to live, but I can say it shouldn’t be Youtube.

If anything, view Youtube has a stepping stone to greater possibilities. It’s a good way to build connections to other content creators, who often times know people that will be able to give you a recommendation or even get your feet in the door. For people who dream big, like visual art, publishing their books, acting, music, and other forms of entertainment, Youtube is a good avenue for these projects. This is where the depth of a Youtuber comes in. When Youtube eventually disappears, what will you go on to do? Migrate to another website and keep producing videos where you sell your soul, or will you pursue something that you actually love doing?

One Youtuber I want to discuss is Markiplier. He’s been a popular topic of discussion for a long time, for a lot of reasons. Most of the time it’s because people question how real he is, which is hilarious to me, given that people en mass don’t seem to question the legitimacy of the fakest Youtubers on the map. Is it really so hard to believe that someone on Youtube can be real and honest with his audience? The thing is, Mark is followed by millions of very young people, and he speaks to them and doesn’t subscribe to the bullshit that his fellow content creators subscribe to. And these young people couldn’t be bothered to listen to his suggestions of how to treat others; they’d rather tear fellow fans apart and harass each other just to prove they are the best fans ever. In the beginning, Mark drew in a good sized crowd of people who engaged in what he said, respected him as a person and appreciated the respect he gave them. This is basically what I have done with my channel thus-far. Not inspired by Mark of course because it comes naturally for me to act this way. But I do wonder from time to time, if my channel were to reach the level that Mark’s has reached, if I’d end up with a fanbase who is predominantly mean and nasty like his.

The one good thing I can say is that outside of Youtube, Markiplier has the power to walk away and go on to other things. His recent comedy/improv tour proved that. While I do think the tour was poorly organized, sloppy in places, and certainly not something that some of the people involved were ready for, I also appreciate his willingness to aim for something he’s passionate about. Mark was not required to give a fuck about his future. He was fully capable of sitting at home making gameplay videos and sucking off his fandom, but he chose a different avenue. He exercised this basic human quality called DEPTH. Again, while I don’t think the tour is the best thing ever created, I do think it’s a great example of who he is as a person and what creative endeavors he cares about. I hope other people can respect that, and have the insight to see his pathway choices as a form of wisdom and/or inspiration.

I can say for myself that if I ever get to a point where my Youtube channel serves no purpose in my life, I will be able to walk away and feel good about it. At the end of the day I am not a Youtuber, but instead an artist, writer and an educator. I have a future ahead of me. I hope that if you are a young content creator who is banking on Youtube being your career path, that you take what I have written here to heart and find something within yourself far more magical than begging people to smash like buttons and subscribe to your videos.

Thinking of Getting a Turtle? Read this first :)
May 31, 2017

I began my journey into reptile-land back in late 2008. It all began when my mother’s boyfriend at the time suggested getting a couple of aquatic turtles from a flea-market. I told him very firmly that I liked the idea of having turtles, but I wanted to do some research about a proper setup, diet, and other things that turtles may need since they obviously are nothing like cats and dogs. He told me he understood. And a week later he came home with two tiny aquatic turtles.

They were so tiny they fit in the center of my palm. My mom liked how active the smaller of the two was, so she started calling her Hurricane. I wanted their names to match somewhat, so I named the other Typhoon. We’ve had them ever since.

After a few years of experience in turtle care, we heard from a friend that someone she knew had a turtle he wanted to “get rid of”. He’d had this turtle for a few years and was sick of taking care of her. We asked them to bring her to our apartment so we could see what condition she was in. Aside from a bad case of conjunctivitis, she was in really good shape. We said yes almost immediately. We got her in a proper setup over the next few days, treated her eyes with medicated eye drops, and after a couples of weeks she was fine. We named her Sadie.

Hurricane is a standard red eared slider. Her shell is about 7 inches long now. She doesn’t like being held, pet, or any contact with us unless it involves being fed in the early morning. If we pick her up, she starts scratching and snapping and even hisses. Hurricane cannot be handled like a typical pet at all. When I have to move her to and from her tank, I have to be quick to avoid being bitten or scratched.

Typhoon is special. She is half red eared slider, and half common map turtle. She shell is 8 inches long. Map turtles are VERY different from sliders. Maps are spunky, assertive and very sensitive to their environments and how they are treated. I think of them as the most “emotional” of all aquatic species. Typhoon is pretty chill with just about anyone, adult or child. I’ve introduced her to kids, and plan to keep training her so that she can actually work with kids in an educational setting in the future. I can pick her up and hold her, rock her side to side, give her chin rubs and she’s totally cool with it.

Typhoon and Hurricane share a 55 gallon tank. A while back, Hurricane used to be very aggressive toward Typhoon, and seriously injured her chin. I knew well before that incident that aquatic turtles DO NOT like to live in groups. By some miracle these two since then have managed to sort out their differences. I do not condone putting aquatic turtles together, even hybrids, because the likelihood of aggression is too high to risk it. Aquatic turtles can seriously hurt each other, and captives have been known to kill each other. I assure you, I am moving into my own apartment later on this year, and these two will be separated.

Our theory is that the guy who had Sadie before us, took her from the wild. We live in CT, and taking a red eared slider from the wild is actually okay, because they are invasive here, and do a huge amount of damage to native wildlife and foliage. However, I also caution you who reads this – don’t take a red eared slider from the CT wilderness if you aren’t prepared to care for it. Sadie likes my mom and sits in her lap, but is very aggressive toward everyone else. Part of this is due to her size and age. Her shell is almost 11 inches long, and she is approximately 20 years old. In 2012, Sadie became gravid, which means she was carrying unfertilized eggs. All of my attempts at nesting boxes, attempts at getting her to lay those eggs outside, failed. We brought her to the vet to be induced. She bit the vet when he tried to give her the shot. My mom held Sadie by the rear-end of her shell, I put a popsicle stick in her mouth, and the vet quickly stuck the needle in her before she could get away. She laid one egg. We brought her back the next day for a second shot. The vet techs told us not to come in with them, despite us insisting that we should. 15 minutes later, one vet tech emerged with Sadie wrapped in a towel and she was as pale as a ghost. And Sadie is looking at us like nothing had happened. That vet tech practically shoved Sadie at us, and told us about what a nightmare it was to give ONE SHOT to our turtle. We were told that if she didn’t lay any eggs after this, not to bring her back and just let her do it in her aquarium. That’s what Sadie ended up doing. She laid the 11 remaining eggs underneath her basking dock. After that experience, we CANNOT put our hands in Sadie’s tank, because she will attack us. That tank is her nest, her territory, and she will defend it ferociously. In the morning when we feed her, she launches herself out of the water and bites the first thing she can get her mouth around. I am not exaggerating, turtles can launch themselves out of water similar to what alligators and crocodiles do. On a side note, every since the day we got Sadie, she’s been extremely close with our Egyptian mau mix, Spike. We let Sadie walk around the apartment and Spike follows her everywhere. Spike is the only living thing that Sadie has never acted aggressive toward.

Not all turtles are like this. Most people end up with sliders like Hurricane, that are very active, and don’t like to be handled. There are a few rare ones like Typhoon that genuinely enjoy contact with people. None of the people I know who have turtles have ever been shocked at Sadie’s aggression.

I genuinely enjoy caring for turtles, because they are fascinating animals. People tend to think reptiles in general are lazy, unintelligent and slow-moving. Watch my turtles dash across my living room floor, take apart their filters and plot their escape routes from their aquariums, and you’ll stop thinking they are dumb and lazy. Aquatics have full color vision, they can see a good distance and they even have personal likes and dislikes of various colors. Typhoon is attracted to yellow and acts aggressive toward anything pink. Hurricane like red and green, and doesn’t care either way about any other colors. Sadie likes dull, neutral colors, and tends to act aggressive toward anything vibrant. There’s no pattern to this, because I’ve heard stories about turtles that were obsessed, genuinely obsessed with colors like blue and orange. After all my years with turtles, I attribute this to personal taste, and I see nothing that indicates it’s an evolutionary advantage to have color preferences.

In short, I’ve learned so much about them that I could write a book about aquatic turtle care. I won’t spend my time doing it, but I could do it if I wanted to. I won’t go as far as to recommend turtles, or say they are “good” pets. I will say that they work for some people, and don’t work for others. Do your research about the species you want, take the time to spend a few extra dollars on a good, appropriate setup and don’t forget to ask questions. A good place to start is http://www.redearslider.com, which is where I started. They gave me a good boost into turtle care, and then I took off on my own. My advice however, is that if you feel for even a second that you don’t want to take the time to spend the money on the right aquarium setup, and take the time to learn about aquatic turtles, then you should not get one.

Windows 10 Updates Broke my Operating System
March 18, 2016

I am writing this as a serious warning to anyone who upgrades from Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 to Windows 10. DO NOT DO IT.

Here’s the story: I saw that the upgrade was available and free, so I figured, hey, why not? I wasn’t totally happy with how 8.1 was running on my computer, so I thought this would be an improvement. When Windows 10 decided to install without giving me an option to back out of it, I knew there was no going back. That’s really what I thought, that there was NO GOING BACK. Microsoft will not straight-up tell you that Windows 10 has a “Go Back” feature within 30-something days of your upgrade. So I continued on with Windows 10. It ran pretty smoothly. I updated a lot of my drivers for sound and processor and was quite happy.

Then things got slow, really slow. I got to a point several weeks ago, where uploading my videos to Youtube would slow down my internet so significantly that I had to upload while I was sleeping, so both myself and my mother could use the internet during the day. My computer was also taking a long time to start up. I mean, I had a lot of stuff on my hard drive, and certain programs like Skype, AIM and a few others that would load on start-up, but they are small programs. They loaded up just fine when I was using 8.1, and honestly, 8.1 started up real quick before the upgrade. Before the upgrade, my computer was well beyond the minimum upgrade requirements.

I also have a very powerful antivirus – Panda Antivirus Pro 2015/2016. And when I say it is powerful, I mean it is POWERFUL. So don’t even suggest that malware was on my computer, because it wasn’t. That’s how much faith I have in my antivirus.

Last week, Windows 10 updates were downloaded. There is a way on Windows 10 to disable updates, but I have no idea how to do it, and I won’t say no to security updates. I like my computer to be secure. But I did enjoy having the option not to receive them, you know, because of the freedom to choose. This past Sunday morning, they were scheduled to install. So, they installed.

I go onto my computer, to discover that I cannot open ANY of my web browsers. Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Internet Explorer. NONE OF THEM. Most of my files won’t open either. My start menu won’t open. Basically, my computer was a useless fold-up rectangle.

The only thing that would open, strangely enough, was GIMP 2, a photo manipulation program I use. It would take a good five minutes to open (versus the 30-45 seconds it normally took).

I did what most people would do in a situation like this: A system restore. Well, it got to a certain point and it just sat there with a black screen for an hour. AN HOUR. Seeing as that wasn’t working, I shut my computer off an turned it back on. Before everyone freaks out on me and tells me you should never do that, what other option did I have?

So, I tried to get back into my computer but got an error message saying Windows couldn’t start up correctly. So I called Microsoft support (greatest oxymoron in existence). I was told that my operating system was corrupted because I did not complete the system restore, and had to do a clean installation. They actually wanted to blame the whole problem on me, even though I had explained that this started after the updates installed, and I had done a system restore to try and fix it. I got sick of arguing with this guy, so I hung up, and called back. I got a woman who could not formulate a sentence. And I don’t mean someone who speaks English as a second language, I mean someone who talks like this: “So tell me, after Windows updates and after system restore, what happen what you, did what to change.” You try and decode that. I have a language impairment, but I can formulate a sentence better than that.

So in my frustration, and after repeated attempts to get this woman to speak clearly, I started shouting for a supervisor. Her immediate response was that all supervisors were with other customers. I call bullshit on that one, because nobody can figure that out in 10 seconds or less! I hung up.

I tried two more system restores. The first one failed. So I undid the very first system restore, and that got me back into my screwed up desktop. I called Microsoft support again, and got a really nice person this time, who helped me to get to system restore through a “backdoor” method. Sadly, it didn’t work. So I reset my PC.

Finally, I had a desktop and I could go on the internet and also back up my files. During this process, all I kept thinking about was the hours upon hours of video footage I had made for my Youtube channel, and how I didn’t want to lose any of it. My videos are a part of my daily routine, and are also language therapy. This is important to me, because it helps me with my speech and it helps me with my self confidence. I was on the verge of tears at the idea of losing all of that work.

However, I could not reinstall my antivirus. Panda support wanted to charge me a fee to install it for me, and I said no to that. Something was still wrong with my computer, and I had decided that I would not leave Microsoft alone until it was fixed. People had the audacity to suggest I just buy a new computer. NO. This is NOT my fault, and Microsoft will be held accountable. PERIOD.

So I called back, and got a guy who tried to reinstall Windows 10. During the installation, he stopped it, and would not respond to the support chat. He basically abandoned me. I called back the next day and made a complaint about that. I also asked that the re-installation of Windows 10 be continued. This technician would not do it, and kept trying to get me to buy Windows 10 and do a clean installation. That will WIPE OUT all of my files, and I had no way to properly back them up. So I started shouting for a supervisor. And I wouldn’t let up until he transferred me to the supervisor.

There is a part of me that thinks that Microsoft intentionally corrupted my operating system to try to get me to buy it. Mainly because, during this process, the first thing out of these technicians’ mouths have been about buying an antivirus or Windows 10, rather than trying to fix the problem.

So when I got my hands on that supervisor, I kept explaining that I wanted to reinstall windows 10 and keep my files. He kept arguing that that wasn’t possible. And finally, I let loose, and told him that Microsoft will reinstall Windows 10 for free, and if they don’t, I will not only contact the Better Business Bureau, but also demand reimbursement for my laptop which I still could not use properly, and even file a lawsuit if necessary. Is that a bit much? Yeah. Do I care? Obviously not. He transferred me to a technician who listened to me retell the story, then transferred me again to a very sweet woman who thankfully knew what she was doing.

And by sweet, I mean sweet. Like, when we were going through the re-installation process, she would say to me, “This will take a while so you can go get a coffee or a snack and relax while you wait”.

Sadly, the re-installation didn’t work. So we agreed to try again tomorrow (It was 1:30 am at this point). The next day, I was called by support and they scheduled a level 2 technician for me to try the re-installation. Windows 10 still wouldn’t reinstall correctly. We decided the last, and best option, would be to go back to Windows 8.1, and you can imagine how happy I was to hear that. They are also doing it for free.

So yes, they are taking steps to fix the issue. And to get them to do that, it took 5 and a half days, screaming matches and me going to bed at 1 or 2 in the morning. I have a pretty nasty head cold right now, maybe because of the stress related to this, and lack of sleep it not a good thing for me while I am sick. I had to take time off of work, and could not go to my classes at my university because of being sick.

We live in an age where computers are necessary. Sure, the fun side of the internet and Youtube are not necessary, but to be able to write papers for my classes, submit papers and quizzes online for my classes and communicate with my professors, it is VERY NECESSARY.

I will never upgrade to Windows 10 again. And if, someday, I may need to replace my laptop, and Windows 8.1 is no longer available, I will not buy a computer with Windows 10. Even if all of these bugs and serious problems are fixed. Instead, I will get an Apple computer, something which I never thought I would say within my lifetime.

Note: If the installation of Windows 8.1 is successful, I will let you know. If any other issues occur, I will keep you posted.

Identity of Our Names
February 9, 2015

So far into the month of February, and I haven’t written about black history yet. But the history of our blackness, and of our names, is not only rooted in Africa and the slave trade, but rooted in every place around the world. Our name defines our family, origin, culture, race and legacy. I am grateful to know that my surname, Nofi, comes from Nigeria. I also know that thousands of people in the United States do not know their true surnames, and likely never will.

There is a profound connection between Native Americans, Africans, and the slave trade. Not just because both groups of people were enslaved, but because both groups have lost their identities, place names, and cultures at the hands of European settlers. For example, an African brought to North America, who’s name originally was Kwame, would be beaten and tortured until he accepted his new “name”, John. Areas with place names given by the tribe living in that area were changed by European settlers, or destroyed altogether. For both Africans and Native Americans, they were ripped away from their communities, thus ripping them away from their culture.

The most frightening thing of all, is that this still happens in 2015. It may surprise you to know that it happens on Facebook.

Facebook has a policy (that is binding because we agree to it) that “unauthentic” names cannot be used on our profiles. I understand this may be in place to deter folks from creating a fake Facebook identity. However, this policy effects people who have real names that fall under the definition of “unauthentic”. I did a test with a Yomechas Federation name, “Running Deer”, to see if Facebook would let me make a new account with that name. It did, but it could be because that name is so widely recognized. So, I tried using Little Shark as a first and last name. It would not go through. The site presented an ‘error’, stating that I was trying to create a profile for a business. Who are you, Facebook, to tell me Little Shark is a name of a business, and not a human being? Who are you to decide what names are real, and what names are fake?

In regard to Yomechas Federation, Running Deer is a name, not first and last, simply a name. So what do people trying to use Facebook do if they come from a culture that does not use surnames? Make up a name? Doesn’t that also violate the fake name policy? It sounds more like Facebook is filtering the types of people who use the site, rather than ‘catfish’.

That brings me to my next point about parents who name their daughters Gift, Lady, Future, etc. Unique and unconventional names have become increasingly popular. Facebook does not let these names go through as first names either. If the name on my birth certificate is Lady, what name do I use alternatively? A fake one?

In Sudan, the Dinka people have an identical first and last name. Believe it or not, Facebook will lock you out of your account for this. In the case of 7Song, who was using the name Sevensong Sevensong, because the number wouldn’t go through, recently was locked out for having an “unauthentic” name. This is just one more example of the extreme unfairness of this policy.

This business of picking and choosing who exists and who doesn’t, defeats the purpose of an internet community. It replicates the mentality of segregation, and robs us of our humanity. Some may argue that we do not have to use Facebook, or other social media. Some may argue that this is a silly thing to be upset about. My civil rights exist on the internet just as much as they do anywhere else.

Don’t Call Geisha Prostitutes
February 1, 2015

The word geisha most likely comes from a Japanese dialect that isn’t used anymore. Nowadays, if you look up the word for art in standard Japanese, you will get びじゅつ、 (bijutsu; but it really means fine art). For person, you will get ひと. I’m going to operate under the assumption that geisha was from the “Old Tokyo dialect”, and it literally translates to “art person”, not “prostitute”. There are many things that are considered art forms, from classical music to calligraphy to poetry and even conversation. The most important aspect of the geisha is that they are entertainers. Even sex in it’s own way can be considered an art form, in the correct context.

I often refer to Japan as the art capital of the world. Art is so deeply rooted in Japan’s history that it pretty much is Japan’s history. All of my experiences with Japanese culture while growing up, were artistic. From studying Kenpo to the stories from Shintoism to the incredible souvenirs my god-mother brought back for me when I was little.

I won’t sit here and say that geisha were not, at times, exploited, because women have been exploited in every corner of the globe. But I won’t sit here and act like geisha are somehow worse-off than American women, or any other woman in any other part of the world. It’s been my experience that if a cultural behavior is different than what we’ve grown up with, we label it as wrong. Well it’s not wrong for a woman to be a geisha, who lives, eats, breathes and performs art. By your logic, the starving artist down the street would also be a prostitute because he sells his paintings. If you think selling your body and selling your paintings are not the same thing, there are thousands of artists lined up around the block to tell you otherwise. Art is, and always will be, an extension of the human form.

The original purpose of the geisha was to entertain men. A woman entertaining men for far too long has been associated with exploitation. It is automatically assumed that any sort of entertainment performed by a woman, for a man, is sexual. But if I sing to a man, or play an instrument for him, am I really being exploited? The disturbing part about this is that if a man were to do the exact same type of entertaining, we’d see it as courting, romantic, and call him a really nice man. But a woman has to be forced to be nice to other people, making her a beast… I’d say you were fighting the wrong fight, but, this isn’t a fight.

Unfortunately, Americans are obsessed with Japan’s culture, which they define as ramen noodles, manga and anime. In my Japanese 100 course last semester, a classmate admitted that she was taking the class so that she could understand what characters say in the anime porn she watches. There is much more to Japan than that.

Memoirs of a Geisha was a huge hit because of this obsession with Japan. The film is beautifully done, and historically accurate, though some societal attitudes miss the mark. Even so, the movie still made geisha look like these exploited prostitutes, rather than woman making a living as artists. It starts with the lead character, Sakamoto Chiyo, being sold to a house with まいこ (maiko) who are training to become geisha. Sakamoto also has blue eyes, and is often criticized for it. A heavy amount of emphasis is also placed on when Sakamoto is sexually assaulted, and the bidding for the geisha’s virginity. To most Americans, that portrayal looks like an exploited girl sold into sex slavery. If you watched the film and saw it as positive, then I’m concerned for you. But in the real world, things didn’t happen that way. Or if they did, it was extremely rare.

The Japanese people believe very strongly in a right way, and wrong way to do things. There are certain things you just don’t do in Japan, and one of those things is prostitution. There were serious limits on what parts of the country could have brothels, and by the turn of the 20th century, prostitution was illegal. There are also restrictions on how much male genitalia can be shown in literary/manga porn.

I felt a little silly for doing this, because for the longest time I assumed my Japanese language teacher wasn’t married because she never wears a wedding ring. Most people from her generation and older, don’t wear wedding rings. In addition, the marital restrictions we have in America are very different in comparison to Japan. Men, AND women, were allowed to seek out the attention of courtesans. While there are clear expectations of how women and men should be in a marriage and home, they are a lot more equal than you thought they were.

Sakamoto’s blue eyes gain much disrespect, but in real world Japan this would not be the case. The sea which surrounds the country is precious, and a young girl with watery eyes would be special. The Japanese pay attention to facial features and appearance, and have more words to describe appearance than Americans do. This is not vanity, because talking about different physical features is casual. Asking someone what their weight is, or how tall they are, is a normal question. When people, especially those in the military, try to convince me Japan is sexist and racist, I get very irritated. The concept of ethnicity and race in Japan is relatively new. When the Japanese first encountered people from America and Europe, they referred to them as あおいめのひと (aoi me no hito), ‘blue-eyed people’, because they were people who had blue eyes.

I’m not entirely sure why a geisha needed to look bad in this film, or why the exploitation of a fictional character was needed to make a statement about feminism. I especially don’t understand, out of all the women in this world who are actually victims, the author chose the geisha to make his point.

How Men Can Prevent Themselves From Being Sexually Assaulted and Harassed
January 30, 2015

Several years ago while I was on the city bus, I witnessed a woman start groping the thigh of a man who was another woman’s boyfriend. He was visibly uncomfortable and seemed to have very little idea of what to do. His girlfriend stepped in, and these two women had a violent argument. The bus driver, myself and several other people were able to get this woman who had groped this man off of the bus. He was so quiet afterward, and he looked like a deer headlights. A lot of passengers tried to say she was coming on to him, or trying to steal him from his girlfriend. At one point I said to him, that was sexual harassment, and you don’t deserve to be treated like that. He said thank you, and he calmed down a little bit. This incident revived my anger toward people who believe that men are not capable of being raped or sexually harassed. In reality, nearly 50% of rape victims are men. Because our society thinks men cannot be victims, women take advantage of this, by telling these men that this is what they really want, and societal pressure discourages these men from saying no. After all, aren’t men the ones who will sleep with anyone, and who sleep around all the time?

I had to word the title of this article in a way that didn’t make it sound like it was about men preventing women from being victims of rape and harassment. I already have a blog entry on that topic. We need to talk about what men are forced to go through, and we need to do it fairly and compassionately.

1. Say No: No means no, period. When you say no you make it very clear that you do not want whatever that woman or man wants from your body. Your body belongs to you and no one has the right to invade it, or force you to use your body in a way that you don’t want to. I don’t care if you’ve never had sex before, I don’t care if you have never had a girlfriend before, I don’t care if you really like her. Don’t convince yourself that you have to meet a societal standard more than protect yourself from harm. If she tells you that she’ll accuse you of assaulting her, remember that you said no. You never consented to this behavior so even if she accuses you of something you didn’t do, you are safe.

2. Fight Back: Even when I was a kid, we were taught not to hit girls. Any woman who assaults you is exempt from that rule. You have every right to defend yourself from anyone who attacks you because that is the law. Women are not the weaklings that people think we are, we give birth, and I promise you we can seriously hurt someone if we want to.

Self defense is something that everyone in the world can learn. You do not have to be Bruce Lee, or have some sort of special talent in order to learn self defense. If you want to study a specific style, even better. Self defense also raises self confidence, and empowers you.

3. Carry Pepper Spray: Pepper spray is typically associated with being a woman’s weapon, but in reality, both genders can use pepper spray. Cops carry it, mailmen (and women) carry it. Last summer, a male college student was able to subdue a gunmen on campus by using pepper spray on him. State laws about the carrying and usage of pepper spray vary, so it is a good idea to do some research before you decide to get it. Just about everyone with at least half a brain is scared of it because it is extremely painful, and when inhaled can make a person’s throat close up. Therefore, only use it if you are in serious danger. I guarantee you, that a woman attempting to assault you will back off the instant you spray her.

Check out this cool video about how to use pepper spray: How To Use Pepper Spray

4. Be Mindful Who You Date: Don’t lower your standards, make sure that the woman you are interested in is really worth your time. A woman who is confident, respects your space, is interested in who you are, is mot likely a good woman to be around. It’s perfectly all right to ask people who know this about her personality, or what she is interested in. It may surprise you how honest people are when you do this. If someone warns you about a particular behavior, then this is a red flag. Stay away, you deserve better.

5. Pull Up Your Pants and Put a Shirt On: Many women are put off by men who do this, I know I am. I don’t want to see a stranger’s underwear, or even his breasts and abs. For some reason it has become socially acceptable for men to walk around half naked. Unfortunately, when you advertise your body, women will look. And women will desire what they see. Many women are good at giggling, making a cute comment o their girlfriend about it, and moving on with their life. A lot of women catcall shirtless men, and they think it’s okay. Well, it isn’t. Catcalling is inappropriate and creepy. You don’t sexually advance on a stranger. If you really have to mow your lawn shirtless in the middle of summer, then be prepared to tell any woman who harasses you to leave you alone.

6. Report It: Reporting harassment and rape is embarrassing and frightening. Many precincts don’t treat male rape victims like they deserve any support and justice. The more men report what has happened to them, the more it will be taken seriously. The more it is taken seriously, the greater the consequences will be, and hopefully discourage women from taking advantage of men.

7. Don’t leave your drink unattended: Men have been raped by both women and men with the date rape drug, and it happens more often than you think. What makes the date rape drug so frightening is that it not only renders you powerless, but it also makes it hard for you to recall what happened to you, so you cant even defend yourself.

8. Men are victims before they reach adulthood: Thousands upon thousands boys and teens are taken advantage of by members of their family, family friends, school teachers, camp counselors, coaches, neighbors, priests, celebrities, and even their parents. Your sons need to know how to defend themselves. They need to know who is their family and in their neighborhood is safe, and who isn’t. They need to be aware of the reality that people prey on little boys, and that they are not only protected by you, but that they can protect themselves.

Statutory rape is probably one of the most ridiculous laws in America, because it makes a teen girl automatically the victim, and the teen boy automatically the aggressor. This is not fair, because in a situation where the girl is 16, but the boy is 15, the boy is considered the rapist, even if he was actually raped by the girl. Teens are going to have sex, but it is our responsibility as parents to keep tabs on who they hang out with and where they are going. Teens need to be aware of what is healthy sex and what is not.

You Do Not Have the Right to Choose
January 28, 2015

There are a specific handful of arguments that parents like to make to explain why they do not vaccinate their children:

1. It’s my right to choose whether or not my child is given a vaccine.

2. Vaccines cause autism.

3. Vaccines cause allergic reactions.

4. Diseases can be prevented with healthy food and good hygiene.

5. Vaccines are ineffective.

6. We don’t really know what is in a vaccine.

This has been a debate that I’ve followed for a long time. Since the measles outbreak in the Disneyland park in California, it has been on my mind more often. My frustration with the anti-vaccine movement lies primarily in the rhetoric used to discredit vaccines, along with the extreme lack of empathy.

No, it is not your right to choose whether or not your child is given a vaccine. You do not have the right to make diseases which were eradicated come back and infect other people. You do not have the right to put your child in harm’s way, or allow your child to catch an illness that can be spread to INFANTS who are too young to be vaccinated. Measles is deadly to infants. You do not have the right to murder babies with your poor decision making.

Autism Spectrum Disorder is not, never has been, and never will be caused by vaccines. Autism Spectrum Disorder is a sensory disorder which causes developmental delays. The causes are an enlarged amygdala, which is the emotional epicenter of the brain. There are also abnormalities in the frontal lobe, which can cause intellectual delays. Autism Spectrum Disorder is passed on to a person via genetics, in other words, if your child has autism, your genes gave it to them. There has not be a “rise” in cases of autism, because we have learned more about this disorder in the last several years, including ways to properly diagnose it using MRI scans. Autism is a fascinating anomaly, and is unique to each person who has it. Do not use your anti-vaccine rhetoric to make people with autism feel guilty or ashamed. People with autism who are savants can do incredible things that the average public cannot do. Why not celebrate that?

Allergic reactions to vaccines are very rare, and at the very worst, they are a fever. Paracetamol, when taken after receiving a vaccine, can control these minor reactions. Any serious reactions to a vaccine happen at about 1 in one thousand, to 1 in one million. The amount of people who have died after being vaccinated, is so infrequent, that statistics on risk can’t even be drawn from those deaths. Logically speaking, if my choices are catching and spreading a deadly illness to other people, or get the vaccine with a 1 in one million chance of having a serious reaction, I’m going to get the vaccine. Several studies were conducted in the 1980’s to determine whether or not the Diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine causes Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The studies concluded that there was no direct connection between the DTP vaccine and SIDS. This means that the infants would have died of SIDS whether they had this vaccine or not. You can read more about it here: http://www.who.int/vaccine_safety/initiative/detection/immunization_misconceptions/en/index4.html

The common cold can be prevented, or at least lessened in severity with good hygiene and healthy eating habits. However, the measles vaccine was first used in 1963, and right after the cases of people with this disease dropped dramatically. Another example is smallpox, which was also eradicated because of its vaccine. And according to http://www.who.int,

Finally, we can look at the experiences of several developed countries after they allowed their immunization levels to drop. Three countries —Great Britain, Sweden and Japan — cut back the use of pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine because of fear about the vaccine. The effect was dramatic and immediate. In Great Britain, a drop in pertussis vaccination in 1974 was followed by an epidemic of more than 100,000 cases of pertussis and 36 deaths by 1978. In Japan, around the same time, a drop in vaccination rates from 70% to 20%-40% led to a jump in pertussis from 393 cases and no deaths in 1974 to 13,000 cases and 41 deaths in 1979. In Sweden, the annual incidence rate of pertussis per 100,000 children of 0-6 years of age increased from 700 cases in 1981 to 3,200 in 1985.

People auto-immune diseases, such as HIV and Multiple Sclerosis, do not have the option to prevent illness with hygiene and health food. Their bodies do not have enough of an immune system to fight off influenza, and even colds. They must rely on the flu vaccine otherwise it can be serious and even deadly for them.

Read this to understand the vaccine creation process: http://www.immunizeforgood.com/vaccines/how-vaccines-are-made Vaccines are also created using these viruses and bacteria, which are killed and placed inside the vaccine. When your body is exposed to the dead virus or bacteria cells, your immune system can safely react to it and consume those cells, thus allowing your anti-bodies to build up an immunity to the diseases those cells cause. Also check out Upworthy’s graph of 14 vaccines and how effective they are: http://www.upworthy.com/ever-wonder-why-people-100-years-ago-died-so-much-younger-its-these-14-reasons?c=ufb4

If you have always wanted to know what is in a vaccine, this gentle read will give you insight: http://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthfiles/hfile50d.stm

I like myself. I like compliments, too.
January 15, 2015

The Huffington Post had a very bizarre “social experiment” on their site today, regarding how a woman received compliments, and the reactions men had to what that woman said. The woman was given compliments by random men she chose to speak to. She responded to these compliments with “I know”, occasionally a “thank you”, but mostly comments which would be seen as conceited or even unappreciative. This was a failed social experiment because the language used, is a severe hot button in any conversation, whether or not it is flirtatious. There are no alternative scenarios, in which a man responds to compliments from women, including male to male and female to female conversations. We could even go as far as to include conversations among friends, and gauge those reactions too. I have a strong suspicion that the majority of the people giving compliments, male and female, would be put off by a response like “I know”.

My primary issue with this experiment, in addition to its sloppy execution. is the deep seeded undertone that if I am a woman, I am somehow too perfect or special to take a compliment. I think it is the epitome of arrogance, when a woman constantly believes that every time a man, or anyone, compliments them, it is because that person is trying to validate them. Because the general public has nothing better to do with their lives, than worry about making sure that you feel absolutely perfect all the time.

Compliments within themselves have multiple purposes. Some are, unfortunately, used to insult other people. For example, when a 40 year old women encounters a 20 year old woman, and “compliments” the younger woman’s thin waist. Sometimes compliments are fake, just to pretend there is a good relationship there, or because you are co-workers and you have no choice but to “get along”. Compliments are also used as a flirtatious behavior, just because that is one of many ways that humans court each other. But I generally believe that the majority of compliments are given as a sign of respect to the person they are given to. When I compliment someone, it is because I like that person, and I want them to know that I like them, because they are human and they deserve to be liked.

There are also phrases or terms people use in the guise of a compliment, which are really inappropriate. Telling anyone that they are hot and sexy, or constantly telling anyone that they are pretty or handsome, is a severely sexist and appearance oriented thought process (saying these things rarely, in a different context, is not what I am talking about). It has nothing to do with the personality or interests of the person being spoken to. In 2011, 2NE1 came out with a single titled “Ugly”, which targeted the over-complimenting that Korea’s society does to women, as well as the societal obsession with plastic surgery. This over-complimenting is often the use of the word “pretty”, the users of that word often desire to look exactly like the person they are referring to. This is an inappropriate validation, and 2NE1 decided that the term “ugly” needed to be redefined. Simply put, you think prettiness is based on an unrealistic, plastic body. Therefore pretty does not exist, and since you cannot perceive a non-existent thing, you do not have permission to use it to describe me. Ugly is the opposite of pretty, therefore it is real.

However, this experiment that Huffington Post reported on, did not send the same message as 2NE1 did. Instead, this article told us that if a man says something nice to a woman, and she never says thank you and simply agrees, that he should just put up with that. Well no, he shouldn’t, for two reasons: He gave you that compliment because he respects you, and has taken the time to pay attention to who you are, and if you throw it away, that is ungrateful. The other reason is that you just told women they do not need to be complimented because they do not need a man’s approval, but that agreeing with what a man says is a way for a woman to use what he says to be validated. So you are putting yourself in a situation where ultimately, you are being “demeaned” by a man, and putting this man in a situation where he is “oppressing” you. Or I could rephrase that as you believe that women need to agree with what men say about them, because they do not need to be validated by men. You are oppressing women with this logic, and you are doing it in the guise of the word “feminism”. How dare you.

This should not be a debate about whether or not I deserve to be validated by what anyone says. I don’t feel that way, because I like the person that I am. I am also glad when people care to tell me that they enjoy something about me, because meaning something to that person is a good thing. So in essence the debate should be about whether or not I deserve to be respected, and my answer is yes. Even so, when I am given respect, it is my responsibility to return that respect, either with thank you, or another polite term. Even saying something tactful such as “There are times when I feel the same way about myself”, is fine, because it is an expression of humility. When someone sees you for who you are, truly sees you, not themselves, and shows you that, that is their expression of humility as well. If you throw that back into that person’s face, as though it means nothing to you, then your right to be respected by that person has been lost. No man or woman has to ever take that from you, and your gender does not give you special permission to treat someone in a disrespectful way.

The Alternative Treatment is No Alternative
January 9, 2015

If you are a Connecticut resident, you’ve probably heard about 17 year old Cassandra, who is being forced by the CT Supreme Court to undergo chemotherapy to treat Hogkin’s Lymphoma. The decision was reached after a trial to determine whether or not Cassandra was a competent minor who could refuse chemotherapy. The result of that trial, is that despite being almost 18, Cassandra is not able to make this decision on her own. You can read NBC Connecticut’s report here: State Supreme Court Rules Teen Can’t Refuse Chemo.

There are many arguments against the Supreme Court’s ruling, most of which focus on bodily rights and the right to choose. Many say Cassandra is a mature 17 year old, and has been against chemotherapy since before she was diagnosed. Her mother, who knows that the chemotherapy will save her daughter’s life, supports Cassandra’s refusal of it. Her mother is also adamant about using alternative treatments instead.

Statistically, when Hogkin’s Lymphoma is treated with chemo, the survival rate is 85%. There doesn’t appear to be a clear statistical analysis of success rates with alternative treatments. This could be for many reasons, such as these treatments are used experimentally and by smaller groups of people. Alternative treatments are rarely offered by doctors. For cancer in general, most alternatives are used to treat symptoms and keep patients comfortable. Alternatives are also offered by independent organizations or practices, which means they could be fraudulent, or do more harm than good. Trying to find an actual instance where someone was cured of Hogkin’s Lymphoma without chemotherapy and instead alternative treatment, yielded no results. However, Hogkin’s Lymphoma has been treated with stem cells, which can cure the illness, but this procedure is far more dangerous than chemo, and hardly ever used.

Since the primary argument against the court is Cassandra’s maturity, it is important to note that no matter how mature she is, she is biologically 17 years old. Maturity and myelination of the brain are two entirely different things. Maturity comes from environmental experiences, most of which are social. Myelination is the growth and development of the brain. There are certain things a 17 year old brain cannot do as well as a 27 year old brain (27 is the average age when the human brain fully myelinates), like make important, life saving medical decisions. Cassandra is very good at focusing on what chemotherapy will do to her body right now, but what the cancer will do to her body, does not appear to be at the forefront of her mind. In addition, her reaction to the treatment was to run away from home for a week. Before that, she and her mother had missed several treatments. This is why teens are minors, and why we must protect them, not just from their parents/families, but from themselves.

That leads me to my next point, about why alternative treatments are no alternative. It’s more than statistics, it’s the fact that these “natural cures” don’t actually cure diseases. It’s the fact that this belief that if you refuse vaccines and eat healthy food you’ll never get sick, and alternatively you get very sick, very often. It’s about the fact that these folks are trading health for making a statement, and forgetting that deadly diseases like smallpox were eliminated because of vaccines. It’s the fact that this teenager will die very young without chemotherapy, and the state is being more humane than you are giving them credit for.

This is mainly a question of what is ethical, and what is not. We live in an age where assisted suicides are becoming more common, and abortions are being heavily debated. These are serious topics for discussion, because they examine when, and how, it is okay to die.

Take abortion for example – it is a huge debate about whether or not abortion is murder. Whether or not the fetus’s survival is more important than the mother’s. Regardless of how you feel about it, you cannot argue with scientific fact: The fetus is not alive. In order to be alive, you need to be able to do three things, breathe, eat, and grow. Fetuses have plugs in their noses while in the womb, so they do not breathe. The nutrients they receive are via umbilical cord, and come from the mother. The mother starves herself, the fetus does not eat. Growth is also dependent on these nutrients. Therefore, it is okay to have an abortion because you cannot murder a fetus that is not alive, and is not human. It is not okay for a mother to die because of a fetus’s imaginary life being considered more important. That is unethical.

Assisted suicide is another serious debate. People who choose assisted suicide do so because they have incurable diseases that are painful, not just physically, but psychologically and emotionally. People choose assisted suicide because the quality of life is so poor, that it cannot be improved, thus making life not worth living. Assisted suicide is best reserved for people with circumstances beyond their control, like an incurable disease. It is not for people who want to die because they are unhappy with life choices, or other aspects of their lives which can be improved or worked toward. Assisted suicide is not a cop out, it is an alternative to imprisonment because of a disease, and because quality of life is not defined by a beating heart.

You may have heard about Brittany Maynard, 29, who chose to die on November 1st last year. She was suffering from a malignant brain tumor, and was terminally ill. Radiation treatment would have kept her body alive, but as she put it, her mind was going to be eaten. Being a competent individual, she made this decision, and many people argued against it. Many people disregarded quality of life, in favor of quantity of life. You can read more about her story here: Cancer sufferer: Why I’m choosing to die on Nov 1 aged 29.

What makes the previously described instances, so relevant to Cassandra’s story? Perhaps it is because the woman’s right to choose what goes in and out of her body is serious. You cannot force a woman to do something she doesn’t want to do. It sounds hypocritical, to say that a 17 year old can have an abortion without parental consent, but not choose whether or not to have chemotherapy. However, it’s not hypocritical, because it is not okay to force a teenager to live with a child she does not want, and it is not okay to force a teenager to die of cancer. Argue otherwise all you want, but it is very unlikely that Cassandra’s choice to refuse chemo was really her choice, and not her mother’s. It is quite convenient that Cassandra happened to have these views about chemo, then was diagnosed with cancer. Parents can often times be the bane of a teenager’s existence.

Now why have I chosen to bring up assisted suicide? Notice my description of it, and how it is about incurable diseases. Hogkin’s Lymphoma is a curable illness, with a survival rate of 85%. This martyrdom, of refusing chemo and choosing to die instead of accepting life saving treatment is a severe cop out. Furthermore, the vast difference between Brittany Maynard and Cassandra, is twelve years. Brittany was an adult, not just legally, but physically too. She was well beyond the expected age of myelination, and thus fully capable of making that decision. This is not something which should ever be left up to a teenager, or any child at any age. Imagine if the maturity argument was allowed to be used for a five year old, and what horror that would bring.

I am going to leave you with a description of what Hogkin’s Lymphoma does to the human body. First the lymph nodes swell. This is followed by itchy skin, night sweats, and then unexplained weight loss. The liver and spleen enlarge. Sufferers also experience cyclical fevers.

If left untreated, or treated with alternative medicine, then the cancer’s attack on the lymphatic system weakens the body’s ability to fight disease. This is not that different from having HIV, because now a cold can be dangerous, especially if it turns into pneumonia. People with this disease will not just be suffering from it, but from all of the other illnesses that they will get on top of it. They will be sick constantly, uncomfortable, and certainly unable to live life well. If the alternative treatment prolongs death and causes more suffering, then it is not an alternative.

Several Reasons Why I Believe Hunting Should Be Outlawed
January 5, 2015

I am well aware of the laws regarding hunting for “sport” that already exist. I am aware of what animals are protected species and endangered, and that laws forbid those animals to be killed. Despite those laws, humans still kill wolves and claim they thought it was a coyote. Humans go to other countries and kill animals because those laws are more lenient. I would prefer that this hunting for “sport” so that you can wear it’s fur or mount it’s head on your wall, ought to be outlawed everywhere on this entire planet. However, that’s an unrealistic expectation. What is realistic, however, is banning hunting for “sport” in the United States. No exceptions. That does not include hunting for food, or indigenous people whose cultures embrace nature and only hunt out of necessity.

1. The damage to the ecosystem.

I’m not the first argue this, and I certainly won’t be the last. Endangered, protected or neither, whenever you alter the population beyond what nature intends, you cause damage. Wolves are endangered because they have been hunted to the point where their population has difficulty sustaining itself. Wolves prey on deer, mostly. But if there are less wolves, there are more deer. Some people believe the solution to this is to hunt deer to balance it out. Let’s say you have 100 deer, and 30 wolves in one area. You kill half of the deer, and half of the wolves. Now you have 50 deer, and 15 wolves. Doesn’t really balance out, does it?

2. Hunting for “sport” is ignorant.

The massive difference between hunting practiced by indigenous people, and “sport” hunters, is that the first method makes use of every part of the animal, and multiple tracking methods. Methods which require an understanding of these animals, where to find them, how to approach and how to track them if they are able to run after shot. Sport hunters don’t typically do this. It is mostly sitting around and waiting, or laying traps with bait and hoping something gets caught.

3. You lack appreciation for nature and life.

Gaining enjoyment from killing an animal and using it’s body parts as decoration is a sociopath behavior. If you want to experience nature, go to your local hiking trail and do just that, hike. Take a camera with you, and document what you find. Whether you want to admit it or not, you are a part of nature, therefore, you should learn to be a part of it. If you ruin nature, it will not be there for you when you need it most. I’d like to think animal populations that have been at the mercy of hunting, feel like nature cannot be there for them when they need it most.

4. You aren’t killing only one animal.

Even if you go out and kill one deer every season, you aren’t killing just one deer. Males are less plentiful than females, so the more you kill, the fewer can breed their genetics. Without genetic diversity, a population suffers illness and shortened lifespans. If you kill the dominant female in a wolf pack, the pecking order changes dramatically. The wolves will fight for leadership, and at times seriously injure or kill each other. In other parts of the world, if you kill a lion, the pride is in danger of being invaded by rogue males. Lionesses will violently defend their cubs, which could lead to their death or the death of the invading males. If a male succeeds in taking over the pride, he will kill all of the cubs.

5. This behavior can be self-deprecating.

It’s not just that some folks will think wrongly of you for your chosen hobby. You are desensitizing yourself to the well being of another being. A good example is Sarah Palin’s many hunting trips, and her recent approval of her young son stepping on the family dog. She has decided her dog’s discomfort is okay, and she has also taught her son that causing the discomfort of the dog is okay. By and large, people who support and practice sport hunting also participate in other groups which do not have the best interests of the public in mind (specifically Republicans and related groups).