All posts by chazandbean

Road Trip

First off I would like to apologize for not following through with my promise to write a second post about the two articles I read last week. My life got pretty hectic, and I just couldn’t find the time. There were family get togethers, dinners and partying, and preparation for the road trip to Ottawa. Before I jump right into that, let me give you some background on why I made the decision to do this.

My brother has been living at home these past few months, and has been preparing to go to Europe for the summer. For those of you who don’t know him, he’s going to grad school in London ON, in the fall, for something vaguely philosophical. He worked for a year as an English teacher in Japan, and most definitely has the travel bug. So it was no surprise when I found out he would be going to Croatia to become a skipper, with the promise of postings around the Mediterranean and the Adriatic. His departure from our house coincided with my parents also going away. They were destined for England, where my mother’s Nanny is turning 90! It’s going to be a big party, with most of my mother’s family traveling from their respective corners of the globe to be there. 

Back to me though. Upon hearing all of this, I realized that all of a sudden I was going to be left alone in our house. Which isn’t a bad thing, I enjoy having my own space, I just wasn’t ready for that much of a change. I figured I didn’t want to just sit at my computer for two weeks, only leaving the house to get food. So I decided to go to Ottawa to visit my friend Winston, who goes to UO. I talked to him about the dates and he said he wouldn’t be too swamped with exams, so I got the ball rolling.

Last Tuesday, Anthony and I left Guelph at around 1 PM and drove up to Kingston (I drove, Anthony doesn’t have his license). We stayed the night at Tristan’s house, and the next day we drove to Ottawa with Tristan. The sleeping arrangements were a bit cramped, but we managed. I slept on Winston’s mattress that he set down on the living room floor, Tristan slept on the floor beside me (I still don’t know why he didn’t want to switch, but hey I’m not complaining), and Anthony MacGyver’d himself a bed with a half broken couch, a beanie bag chair, and 4 actual chairs. We met Winston’s three roomies, who are really good guys. Their residence is basically a bunch of apartments, and their room seemed to be the hub for all of their friends. There were five or six people (not counting myself, Anthony or Tristan) there most of the time. 

During our time there we did some wandering, exploring the city around the UO campus. We explored the mall, Winston bought a pair of white sweat shorts, and we convinced Anthony not to buy a pair of shoes for 250$. Tristan got a vinyl at the local record store, and I bought a shirt. Oh yeah and booze, we all bought booze. That night we went across the street to Father n’ Son’s, the closest bar, which was nice. It had a good atmosphere, the pub and the city both. I felt strangely calm, for once not getting stressed out or anxious. It was a much needed change of scenery, and I’m really happy that I went through with it.

Friday gave me a chance to do my own thing. One of Bean’s friends lives up in Ottawa, we’ve been gaming together for a couple of months, and seeing as I was in town I went to meet up with him. I drove over to his place and we gamed for most of the day, stopping to go out for food at one point. The others were planning to go to a Keys n Krates concert, and invited the two of us to come along. Part of me would have liked to go, but alas, I decided I didn’t really feel up to it, so James and I just hung out at his place, invited over one of his friends and gamed a bunch. I left his place around midnight, and drove back to Winston’s residence. Only his roommate Josh was there, who let me in, and I waited around watching TV until the partiers got back. My highlight of the night was Anthony, after about 20 minutes of silence, looking up and asking everyone what they had been doing that night. It was around that point that I thought to myself, ‘Damn, i missed out on drunk Anthony.’ For those of you who don’t know him, Anthony is one of the funniest guys I know. That fact only gets exacerbated by alcohol.

The next day was Saturday, and it was definitely a slow day. Everyone else was pretty wiped from the concert the night before, and weren’t really up for much. We lazed around for most of the day, and then around six o’clock we left to drive back to Kingston. We were really tired so we set up a movie and got about an hour into it before realizing that more of us were sleeping than watching it. I’ll admit, I was one of the ones who was sleeping. Having had a good night’s sleep, we packed up the next day (Sunday) after some interesting gluten free pancakes that Anthony made out of bananas, and at around 1 PM we departed for home.

The drive home was uneventful, although we discovered that the CD that was in the car when we first took off on our adventure was Random Access Memories, and was actually better than the music we brought with us, so we listened to that on our way home. We stopped once just outside of Kingston to fill up on gas but other than that the drive was uneventful. All in all I had a wonderful time and met some pretty cool people. This trip has made me want to get out and around more, and on that note I bought a ticket for Mad Decent (Toronto, August 2014). 

Feeling pretty happy, probably gonna go buy some food cause theres none in my house.

Feminism and the MHRM

Yesterday I read two articles about Feminism and the MHRM (Men’s Human Rights Movement). They were both quite interesting in their own way. Both were very outspoken, and had valid points. This post however, is not about the valid points presented in each artice (look for my next post for that topic).

First, the feminist article came out, with the offensive title of ‘Why the Men’s Rights Movement is Garbage’. I read it and actually quite enjoyed it. I approve of some of what was said, especially about the Patriarchal society. You can read it here   http://bellejar.ca/2014/03/28/why-the-mens-rights-movement-is-garbage/ . Very interesting article, although I noticed some issues with it. At one point the author states that MRA’s are spending their time bashing feminists and what not. Now I’m not disagreeing with that, especially after the MHRM article in response to this one, but the very title of the article is bashing the MHRM… from this I take away that feminists are allowed to slam and defame MHRM but if it goes the other way then all of a sudden it’s a big deal.

What I disagree with in the article written by The Belle Jar, is that she creates the idea of two very separate groups of Feminists and MHRA’s. The way she writes makes it sound like every single MHRA is a terrible person and hates Feminists. Just as she creates the image of a united front on the Feminist side, where they all feel the same way as her. I would like to consider myself both a feminist and an MHRA, and why not? I support the empowerment of women, and yet I also recognize the ideals of the MHRM. So what does that make me? I would hope that there are Feminists out there who are ashamed of this article, just as I hope that there are MHRA’s that are ashamed of the response article. Here is that one http://judgybitch.com/2014/04/02/why-this-hit-piece-on-the-mens-rights-movement-is-garbage/ .  It is equally offensive, although definitely more factual. Every incorrect assumption that The Belle Jar makes is greeted with a friendly Wrong! hyperlinked to the article that proves it.

Okay, not that friendly. In fact, when I started reading the article I was hopeful. I wanted to see how the MHRM defended themselves. I was let down. Just as with The Belle Jar’s article, Judgy Bitch’s article maintained the same sense of Feminist vs. MHRA. As if these articles are carrying the full weight and support of each respective side.

Look at what I just wrote. It saddens me that I see it as two different sides. It is upsetting that Feminists and MHRA’s can’t set aside their differences. Oh wait… they can. These two in particular though have got it in for the other group, and anyone who classifies themselves as such. This is hateful and wrong, and neither party involved is free of blame. There is literally nothing to be gained from continuing to undermine one another, if either party wants to actually make progress.

In BelleJar’s article, she writes “MRAs believe that feminists are to blame for basically everything that’s wrong with their lives.” She later (having done a very good job in making this distinction until this point) uses the word women instead of feminists. Not every woman is a feminist even if she would like it to be that way. Her style of writing is very fluid, and reads like an article should. Good things. It hides the fact that she doesn’t have any links to back up the statements she makes.

Conversely, Judgy Bitch, while providing factual counterarguments, takes it in completely the opposite direction. Unless you had already read the first article, it would be nigh impossible to enjoy the highlighted portions. It is choppy and rough. She hardly uses complete sentences, and rather than explaining herself often just shoves a link in your face. Both authors abuse the tools at their disposal to create the atmosphere they desire. For the majority of readers, (who only clicked on the link because they agreed with it from the get-go) it is easy to jump in behind the author and praise it as righteous. For myself, and I’m sure there are others, I see the duality and nothing else. I see the Yin and Yang, the good and bad. Both articles share elements of each. Neither is right or wrong, in fact they both have valid points. Unfortunately, both articles are also extremely instigative. They are both guilty of what is being accused, although neither is really open to seeing that fact.

While I will state that the response article by Judgy Bitch was more justified in it’s righteous fury than the original was, I also am more ashamed of the response article than I am of the original.  Belle Jar’s article was an opinionated piece, where she shared her thoughts and feelings about something she felt strongly about. However wrong she was about certain things, it’s important to note that she should not be ashamed of what she wrote. She meant it when she wrote it, and as long as she is willing to agree that she made incorrect assumptions then that is all that needs to be said. A light slap on the wrist, and a helpful push towards the truth is all that was needed.

Instead, in a vindictive manner, the author of the respose article felt it was necessary to take her out back and shoot her a few times, then shoot her a few more, just for good measure. She takes it way too far, and doesn’t really formulate her own ideas or opinions, she just refutes every single thing Belle Jar says. She doesn’t even do it nicely! JB tears her article to shreds, and in doing so lowers herself to Belle’s level, perhaps even lower.

Here is the bottom line for me. What bothers me the most is that these are the people who are seemingly the spokespeople of these organizations. Yes belle jar had some things wrong. That was her mistake, and I’m sure she is regretting it. However, what Judgy Bitch did is inexcusable. She is simply reinforcing the opinion that MHRA’s hate feminists. Even though I’m sure she doesn’t, she never conveys that. She might despise this particular one, and she is entitled to that. Individuals disliking other individuals is a natural part of life on this planet. Pretending that they speak for organizations such as these is no laughing matter though, and they both have failed that which they claim to fight for.

This post got pretty negative pretty quickly. I would like to reiterate that I found things in both articles that I believe are good, and need to be shared. I plan on re reading both articles when I have more energy and compiling the things I agree with in each one, and writing another post about that.

We are entering a very important phase as a planet. We are reaching the ends of our world, and we are starting to see the truth of needing to act as a united planet. Every organization and article along these lines stems from that same belief. Unfortunately, no one seems to notice that unifying factor. We all want what is best. Everyone just seems to feel the need to tag on extra bits to that truth, and in doing so, distort it beyond recognition.

The Adventures of Chaz and Bean

There are many truths in our reality. Some are constant, others are subjective. Sometimes a truth encompasses the lives of many, other times a truth marks an individual as such. For my first post I thought that I should share with you a truth about myself. While many of you will know me as Charles Hamilton, you will also know that I have been a hermit for the past few years of my life. Despite not maintaining friendships and connections to those who I used to know (and cherish), I have still been socializing. The people who I have met know me as Bean. Bean’s acquaintances come from all over, from Serbia to California. Recently I have become acutely aware of the differences between the two. Part of what I want is to be able to reconcile said differences. To do that I have to challenge myself to improve and change. I don’t expect it to be easy, and now I shall sleep. It’s too early to be awake still. Good morning and good night.