Fears: The Economy, Money, Life, Other

Man, that discussion on sex was fun. So was my Valentine's Day post, but we're now back to my favorite topic of discussion, me! And what's better than talking about me? Me talking about my fears then relating them to other people my age who are possibly just as screwed as I am. That said, I still want to just movie west and say 'fuck you too, Virginia' maybe next year, I really want to go to SPX this September, I'll move away after SPX..

So, my fear! This was originally written on my cell phone, it ended up a lot longer than I anticipated it being and I change my title to better reflect what I think I was taking about. --

Are millennials, Gen Y, or whatever the fuck the 20-35 age group is called, going to be like our Depression Era great/grandparents when we’re older or will that be the children born in the last 15 years?

I mean, many of us “came of age” during an economic depression where compared to 50 years ago minimum wage is proportionally less when inflation is taken into account. The cost of living has sky rocketed and it’s now a life time effort to pay of college loans as opposed to a few years because low and middle class Americans are not being paid as much when compared with our counterparts from a few decades ago.

In America I've seen between 200-350% wage difference between the worker and their bosses who take bonuses even as the companies fold (here’s looking at you, Hostess) and the employees barely have the money to support themselves. Skilled labor education is lowering, and every year universities turn out graduates who are over qualified for the few competitive jobs there are.

It’s a mad house and we’ve all been blind to it as we buy technologies we don’t need (up high iPad! (and other tablets)) and can barely afford (down low iPhone 4, 4.5, 5) that cost an arm and a leg and offer little more than cosmetic changes to their predecessors.

So, I was wondering if the current generation of young adults who distract themselves from reality with more technology (I’m guilty of this in my own way, even with my Apple hating habits) but are still living through a depression, going on ebt/food stamps and are working in restaurants and retail, jobs previously left to high schoolers, will end up the way people who lived through the 1929 such market crash did and start hoarding everything. Money will be stuffed into mattresses, the banks haven’t been that well trusted in a long time going, anyway, and will we end up deadening like a generation if penny pinchers and misers when the economy turns and is robust again. Will the American economy turn around like that, again? It was aided in a global war that put all able-bodied hands to use fighting and in manufacturing that to some extent is now done overseas where labor is less picky and cheaper. The economy turned around in the 40s because military technology was now used to improve and cheapen the cost of living so more people could afford 2.5 children, a tract house and a yard (and a mean green mother from outer space hiding in said yard) and people had the money to spend on frivolities as technology replaced the need for skilled labor.

What is going to turn the modern economy around so that people like me, who have bachelor’s degrees and spend their days doing little can become effectual members of society? What is going to upset American classicism and put more money into the hands of the workers and create more jobs? What happened to the American Dream, the idea that anyone could work their way from nothing, with a little help maybe, and make a living wage? I love what Hunter S Thompson had to say with his myopic view of the future from the mid 70s

--"And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. . . .
So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back."

Fear and Loathing in Las Vega

America peaked and he couldn't see it’s salvation or it’s return to societal power. I believe we peaked and since we've been falling but it’s not impossible for us to reach some sort of glory again.

I do wonder what becoming an adult in America’s turbulent recent history as the idea of success and normal change, will play on us.

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Fun Fact portion!

Minimum Wage:
USA Today: Adjusting Minimum Wage for Inflation - Feb 2013
Huffington Post: Raising Minimum Wage - Feb 2013

Wage Ga
Wall Street Journal - Firms Resist New Pay- Equity Rules - June 2012
AlterNet - Wage Gap Between CEOs and Workers Continues to Grow - June 2012
OpEd News - Corporate America's CEO Pay Heist - ~2003
AFL-CIO - CEO to Worker Pay Gap  - some time after 2011
AFL-CIO - 100 Highest Paid CEOs - 2011 

Hunter S. Thompson Quotes
I used the pertinant part of that quote for what I wanted to say here but the entire thing is beautiful, it's from the Wave Speech in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. That entire quote, and other, can be read on my old blog here

Thoughts on Sexual Assault

Edited Fem 4, 2014 Author's Note: At the bottom of the essay, in addition to rape and assault hotlines and websites I have added links with resources about domestic violence and getting help. 

I have never been assaulted, if I had I think I’d be open about it. I’m open about so many things, but I don’t know. I hope you’ll trust me that I’m being honest about this. There are so many reasons to lie.

I just read an article in the Washington Post about how a Notre Dame alumna isn't going to be supporting ND in some game on January 7th because they protect and defend their football players who have been accused of rape and assault. You can read the article here. I find that the school protects accused assailants in the ways identified to be horribly disgusting. I’ve seen different image projects pass through tumblr where an assault victim has written what they were told to say on a piece of poster board. 

The above images are from Project Unbreakable, the exact posts: "I'm Going to Fuck You" "C'mon...Nobody has to know..." "Stop Struggling"

These statements are all victim shaming which is also telling these people that their peace of mind is valued to be less than that of their assailant. These women are actively being told that they are less important and that they’re lying about being assaulted. These are the things that feminists and people are and should be fighting against. Institutions that protect someone accused of something. Institutions that drag their feet to find the truth about what happened to a potential victim. Institutions that grill and attack the victim on the witness stand and turn a blind eye to the wildly changing story from the assailant.

What about the women who lie? So fucking what? If a woman lies the truth will come out. If a man lies the truth should not be protected. It isn’t everywhere. I really did feel proud that at ODU they protect women. We take all of October, every year, to educate on sexual assault. There are little seminars and speakers against it. ODU has a sizable women’s center that works with women who have been assaulted to help them the best they can. ODU has persecuted at least two accused football players for sexual assault because the understand that college football is fleeting for most, the fallout from sexual assault isn’t. My university tries and when it fails and an assault happens they do what they can afterward to help. We are a little, moderately known public university in south eastern Virginia. We have a new football team that apparently has been doing quite well and bringing us notoriety. Our other major sports, before we had football (which has been around for only 3 years) were women’s basketball, men’s soccer and I think woman’s field hockey or lacrosse  I’m not a sports person, I don’t really care, but I do think it’s a big and fantastic thing that ODU works for victims as much as they do and that some of our biggest draws in sports were our women’s teams. That’s respect.

Thinking about what I learned about “why” sexual assault happened as a kid, in the glorious rainbow filled 90s that had the best cartoons, I remember kids in elementary or middle school saying that fat and ugly chicks should “ just lay back and enjoy it, it was the only way they were going to have sex”. That is an incredibly ugly, hateful and poorly educated sentiment and it’s horrifying that children thought this about assault. It’s showing a lack of understanding about how adults go after sex to begin with, but also showing how little respect women had that they should accept and expect to have no choice in how they were going have sex. It’s also an interesting dichotomy of adulthood where the hateful statement is that “she deserved it for dressing how she was/being where she was/being alone etc”.  That dehumanizes a woman in one of the worse ways imaginable and it’s saying that men have no control over their sexual urges. Both of these faulty statements take the responsibility of the assault away from the assailant and put it on the victim. That is never right. If we lived in a country where we were truly past ‘feminism’ and it wasn’t a thing that people worked for and identified with as a social statement then falsehoods like those would never be uttered. There wouldn’t be an assumed statement that the victim of sexual assault deserved it to any extent. There wouldn’t be the heaping of responsibility onto women on whether or not a sexual experience was going to happen or not. If we lived in a truly post feminist world victim blaming, shaming and quieting wouldn’t happen. Victims of assault would not be afraid to point out the accused. Hell, if we lived in a truly post feminist world and everyone was humanist wanted equality for everyone, maybe sexual assault wouldn’t happen. Maybe no one would be pressured into a situation they didn’t want to be in and the party that wanted a sexual experience would back off and find a willing partner or handle it on their own.

Both of those statements involve an unhealthy relationship and understand of sex what all parties involved are expected. The first one shows that men will fuck anything and they don’t care about what their partner wants. That’s incredibly selfish. The second says that but it’s also saying that men have a right to sex whenever they want it and that women need to be punished for showing too much skin. The second statement says that women are just walking sex toys for any interested penis and if every penis is interested then her vagina is theirs for the taking. But really what’s worst about both of these is that it’s reducing all factors involved in a sexual experience to a dehumanizing base where men have no control over themselves, effectively ever if they will equally rape a ‘fat/ugly girl’ and a ‘scantily clad hot girl’. This thinking also says that women have no say over their bodies and that they exist solely for the pleasure of men and that women have no interest in sex. 

That’s all just me thinking about an entirely unwanted sexual situation and not considering other ways for people to get to a sexual situation and maybe wanting it for a while then changing their minds. That’s allowed. Either party can change their mind and any time. I never wrote out any hypothetical situations that could lead to an unwanted sexual situation because I don’t think it’s necessary that I make those up when there are real accounts of assault that can be found and read online.

I have kept to the more common male attacking female situation but understand that men do have control over their faculties, as much as they jokingly deny it, and they can be assaulted. The body will react to stimulus that the brain doesn’t approve of, that is not consent for either sex. Women can be sexual predators and that is never right. It doesn't happen or isn’t reported as often but it can happen. And after that, there is unwanted homosexual assault that happens. There is never a right time to blame a victim for their proclivities, their fetish, their sex, gender, age, race, orientation, fashion choices and especially their sobriety.

There are many resources online for information on what to do in instances of sexual assault and my favorite anti-assault program I’ve ever heard that works to educate young men that assault is wrong and they should use their strength to protect women and make them feel safe and not to abuse them.

I know I used 'assault' more often than 'rape' and polite euphemisms don't really make things better, but this was a time I felt more comfortable with the euphemism.

Reference and Help
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More from Project Unbreakable here
If you are struggling, RAINN has a free, confidential, 24/7 sexual assault hotline: 1.800.656.HOPE(4673). or online -
  Online
Similar to Project Unbreakable, It Happens Here
Laurie Penny sharing her story of assault
Societal Attitudes About Rape - Stats and numbers
Men Can Stop Rape - I mentioned this for a moment in the last paragraph above. This organization works with young men to educate them on not raping people, and not just on avoiding getting raped. That is one of the most important and biggest things that can be done to be a rape deterrent 
Title IX - the cause of many of the assault problems on colleges
Sexual Assault Prevention Tips
An old essay of mine: American Sex Culture

Edit: Feb 4, 2014

Verizon Wireless: Hopeline -- Karen Ogden informed me about this program through Verizon which works to get help to women, people though, in abusive situations. By proving phones to people who are in danger but have no safe way of getting help, hopefully more victims can break out of he dangerous life they had and get to safety.

Helpguide - This site has information from psychologists for getting help with depression, anxiety, abuse, family issues, weight change, and others. Here for Abused Women - Here for Abused Men

National Guide for locating women's shelters

Oprah's Domestic violence resources

Shelter for Help in Emergency

Safe Horizon - various types of abuse assistance

National domestic violence hotline - help understand if you're being abused and how to get help and move to a safer situation.