Chris Pratt And The Outrage Culture Of America

Chris Pratt And The Outrage Culture Of America

The latest victim of an ever-growing problem in America.
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This past year our society has been hijacked by political polarization to the point that being offended is more of a crime than actually saying something offensive is. I’ve never been a fan of Tomi Lauren’s “snowflake” title she created for the left where if you were offended by anything you were a “liberal snowflake.” Yet her title, and her career (where you at Tomi?), are complete jokes. Because if there’s one thing that really offends right-wingers, it’s when people don’t accept their beliefs in religion, abortion, vaccinations, etc. The fact of the matter is both sides are so incredibly fragile and “triggered” that you almost cannot say or do ANYTHING anymore.

What I’m talking about folks is the outrage culture. We live in a culture where anything you say is misconstrued and taken offensively to at least one person or group out there. And once that group speaks out, the public mob is out to put your head on a pike. Both the left and right are so bad for it, and it makes it more infuriating when both deny it. It’s ruining our comedy, our interactions, and our society.

Now let’s be clear, I do think there are actually offensive things to be said. It is 2017 and we are not the same society we were even a few years ago. It’s not cool to be a racist or a homophobe, you are in the minority. And if you say things that are directly antagonistic towards a person or group of people, then it may indeed be offensive. But we’ve given too much room to the extremists on this one. 90% of the time I don’t think people are actually offended, but they are taking advantage of the climate were living in and using it to destroy people who speak their mind. If you’re still unsure what I’m talking about, of what is and isn’t offensive, allow me to show you some recent examples.

Let's start with our good friend Star-Lord, also known as Chris Pratt. When he's not out saving the galaxy, taming dinosaurs, or saving Pawnee as Burt Maclin, he's living his normal celebrity life. That is until one day, Pratt gives an interview with Men's Fitness saying

"I don’t see personal stories that necessarily resonate with me, because they’re not my stories. I think there’s room for me to tell mine, and probably an audience that would be hungry for them. The voice of the average, blue-collar American isn’t necessarily represented in Hollywood.”

That's it. Seem's like a totally normal thing for a man to say, but that little part at the end blue-collar American isn't necessarily represented in Hollywood drove the internet absolutely insane. Suddenly everyone is attacking Pratt for his "white privilege" and how terrible he is for thinking this when there are so many groups and people out there who get no representation in Hollywood. Pratt literally didn't say anything else about any other group out there but one he feels he can relate to most. I'm sure Pratt (one of the biggest Hollywood stars there is today) has a pretty good feel on Hollywood and if it's what the man feels than who are we to judge? But the public was so offended by it for no god damn reason. Seriously, how is this offensive in any way? Because he didn't say blacks or Asians or trans people don't get enough representation, he's suddenly a terrible person? I don't buy it. But the backlash won and Pratt gave in, releasing an apology just a few hours later.

But if that didn't tip the scales for you, Pratt had another run-in with the outrage police, for a social media video for Marvel promoting the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy 2 movie. Usually in these video's on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, the whole video has subtitles because not everyone can hear the video or turn on the volume on their phone or they just think it's easier to read what's being said. At the end of this particular video (which has been removed from the internet) Pratt says "C'mon seriously dude? You'd rather read those than hear me?" speaking about the subtitles.

Hours later we get this

Yes, I know what you're thinking. You have got to be fucking kidding me. Because of that little snippet at the end of the video encouraging people to turn the volume up as opposed to reading the subtitles, the "deaf community" came running with their pitchforks and torches. I'm sorry, but that's just ridiculous. Of all the things going on in this country and this planet, THIS is what people choose to be in an uproar about? You're offended because someone IN A VIDEO, wanted you to turn the volume so you can LISTEN TO YOUR VIDEO. And if you can't listen to the video THEY HAVE SUBTITLES FOR YOU. If were being honest here, how did the deaf people get so irate in the first place if they couldn't hear what Pratt was saying?

That's my point, people are jumping on to these things and making a outrage out of absolutely nothing even when it doesn't affect them at all. Someone saw this opportunity and leaped on it even though they probably weren't offended at all, they just want to cause chaos and drama. Surely a deaf person realizes when they are watching a video it is mean't to be heard. That is just how video and audio works. At this point why aren't we worrying about the blind people? How are they supposed to watch this video? Where is the braille transcript of the video for them to feel out? It never ends. If it's not one person getting offended it's another.

The saddest part is hours later Pratt posted a video of him apologizing entirely in sign language looking all sorry and sad as if he had accidentally killed someone's dog or something. Don't apologize Chris, you didn't do anything wrong, you didn't say an insensitive joke, you simply said how a video works. In no single way did Pratt say anything at all about deaf people, or people who cannot hear or anything antagonistic at all but everyone decided to spin the fucking shit out of it and turn it into something that it wasn't.

These are the best examples of outrage culture I can give you. It's people going out of their way to be offended by something that could not be more pedestrian and inoffensive. All of this is especially surprising considering our President can say he grabs women by their genitals, is allowed to make fun of handicapped people, and wants to bang his daughter; but heaven forbid Chris Pratt ask you to turn your volume up.

So I beg you, please - PLEASE - do not give in to the outrage culture. Stop and think for a second, "is this actually offensive? Is this actually an issue? Should I actually go on Facebook and rant about this?" I guarantee you 90% of the time it's not. Simply move on and put your time and effort towards things that actually matter.

WRITERS NOTE: I will not apologize for anything written in this article.

Cover Image Credit: freerepublic.com

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No, I Don't Have To Tell You I'm Trans Before Dating You

Demanding trans people come out to potential partners is transphobic.
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In 2014, Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old Filipina woman, was brutally murdered after having sex with a U.S. marine. The marine in question, Joseph Scott Pemberton, strangled her until she was unconscious and then proceeded to drown her in a toilet bowl.

Understandably, this crime triggered a lot of outrage. But while some were outraged over the horrific nature of the crime, many others were outraged by a different detail in the story. That was because Jennifer Laude had done the unspeakable. She was a trans woman and had not disclosed that information before having sex with Pemberton. So in the minds of many cis people, her death was the price she paid for not disclosing her trans status. Here are some of the comments on CNN's Facebook page when the story broke.

As a trans person, I run into this attitude all the time. I constantly hear cis people raging about how a trans person is "lying" if they don't come out to a potential partner before dating them. Pemberton himself claimed that he felt like he was "raped" because Laude did not come out to him. Even cis people that fashion themselves as "allies" tend to feel similar.

Their argument is that they aren't not attracted to trans people, so they should have a right to know if a potential partner is trans before dating them. These people view transness as a mere physical quality that they just aren't attracted to.

The issue with this logic is that the person in question is obviously attracted to trans people, or else they wouldn't be worried about accidentally going out with one. So these people aren't attracted to trans people because of some physical quality, they aren't attracted to trans people because they are disgusted by the very idea of transness.

Disgust towards trans people is ingrained in all of us from a very early age. The gender binary forms the basis of European societies. It establishes that there are men and there are women, and each has a specific role. For the gender binary to have power, it has to be rigid and inflexible. Thus, from the day we are born, we are taught to believe in a very static and strict form of gender. We learn that if you have a penis, you are a man, and if you have a vagina, you are a woman. Trans people are walking refutations of this concept of gender. Our very existence threatens to undermine the gender binary itself. And for that, we are constantly demonized. For example, trans people, mainly women of color, continue to be slaughtered in droves for being trans.

The justification of transphobic oppression is often that transness is inherently disgusting. For example, the "trans panic" defense still exists to this day. This defense involves the defendant asking for a lesser sentence after killing a trans person because they contend that when they found out the victim was trans, they freaked out and couldn't control themselves. This defense is still legal in every state but California.

And our culture constantly reinforces the notion that transness is undesirable. For example, there is the common trope in fictional media in which a male protagonist is "tricked" into sleeping with a trans woman. The character's disgust after finding out is often used as a punchline.

Thus, not being attracted to trans people is deeply transphobic. The entire notion that someone isn't attracted to a group of very physically diverse group of people because they are trans is built on fear and disgust of trans people. None of this means it is transphobic to not be attracted to individual trans people. Nor is it transphobic to not be attracted to specific genitals. But it is transphobic to claim to not be attracted to all trans, people. For example, there is a difference between saying you won't go out with someone for having a penis and saying you won't go out with someone because they're trans.

So when a cis person argues that a trans person has an obligation to come out to someone before dating them, they are saying trans people have an obligation to accommodate their transphobia. Plus, claiming that trans people are obligated to come out reinforces the idea that not being attracted to trans people is reasonable. But as I've pointed out, not being attracted to trans people supports the idea that transness is disgusting which is the basis for transphobic oppression.

The one scenario in which I would say a trans person should disclose their trans status is if they are going to have sex with someone and are unsure if their partner is attracted to whatever genitals they may have. In that case, I think it's courteous for a trans person to come out to avoid any awkwardness during sex. But even then, a trans person isn't "lying" if they don't come out and their partner is certainly not being "raped."

It is easy to look at the story of Jennifer Laude and claim that her death was due to the actions of one bigot. But it's more complicated than that. Pemberton was the product of a society that told him that disgust towards trans people was reasonable and natural. So when he found out that he accidentally slept with a trans woman, he killed her.

Every single cis person that says that trans people have to come out because they aren't attracted to trans people feeds into the system that caused Jennifer Laude's death. And until those cis people acknowledge their complicity in that system, there will only be more like Jennifer Laude.

SEE ALSO: Yes, You Absolutely Need To Tell Someone You're Trans Before Dating

Cover Image Credit: Nats Getty / Instagram

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You Know Economic Capital and Social Capital, How About Energy Capital?

Gaining capital = gaining mobility.

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The most over-used phrase in America is "All you have to do is work hard to get ahead." Another one is the classic, "You can't have a million dollar dream with a minimum wage work ethic." Both of these exhausted ideas are busted by looking at the importance of economic and social capital.

Obviously, our capitalist system is not an equal one. One of the ways in which we're distinctly separated is by our economic and social classes. When we advance by making gains, we accumulate capital, which mobilizes us and enables us to more easily climb and gain more capital. The growth, then, is exponential. If we are born into a great deal of capital, it is immediately easier to gain more.

Economic capital is clear enough; we may call this wealth. It's about our money, our assets.

Social capital, on the other hand, is our position in society. It includes our network and the power of those with whom we hold relationships, our education, and the communities in which we are raised. For example, people raised by parents with college degrees have social capital because they are in positions to understand and help out with the processes of applications and financial aid and the dynamics of post-secondary education.

But there's another kind of capital that plays a role in our mobility. This is energy capital.

This is where my issue with the "minimum wage work ethic" concept arises. I've worked near-minimum-wage jobs. I've worked in fast food. And in every case, I am confident in stating that my coworkers and I worked extremely hard. When I worked at McDonald's, I would go home every day and collapse on the couch because it had taken everything out of me. Physically, my feet were killing me. Emotionally, I was exhausted and tense from being mistreated by customers who dehumanized me. And since I also wasn't making enough money to have extra economic capital, I had to dispense even more emotional energy once I got home to stress over finances.

One of the biggest critiques of fast food workers like myself is that we just need to work toward another job. Yes, that's very true. But the last thing I wanted to do when I got home was get on the job hunt; all I really wanted was to go to sleep. And since I had no connections (less social capital), this job search would take a lot more effort than someone who could contact a family friend.

Meanwhile, there exist people at the top who can make a great deal of money without working all that hard. Some can even get away with no work at all. Some can also then pay for cooks and nannies and housekeepers and wealth managers and tax professionals and tutors for their kids and plumbers and electricians and repairpeople and restaurants and so on and so forth. And they don't have to dispense nearly as much energy.

Now, I don't want to insist that energy capital is always linked to higher economic or social capital. Many people with a lot of economic and social capital work extremely hard. Similarly, there do exist people with no economic and social capital who are in that position because they expend no energy at all.

However, it is necessary to consider energy as an additional criterion in building the capacity for safety, power, and mobility in society.

This is also tied up with privilege. People in positions of privilege (i.e. men, white people, Christians, heterosexual and cisgender people, temporarily able-bodied people, etc.) need not expend the energy to consider stereotypes and prejudices on a day-to-day basis; they can focus all of their energy on their mobility, which already comes easier.

Extra energy is extra capital. Know where you're privileged.

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