April 18th, 2002

pencil

alternative to what?

My favorite phrase from the diversity seminar I attended yesterday: logging as an alternative lifestyle. The utterer was part of the audience, so my grasp of the irony quotient might be tenuous, but he sounded dead serious to me. He commented that the focus so far had been on recruitment efforts of right-wing groups like the National Alliance, and wondered if there was going to be any mention of left-wing groups (he mentioned PETA and Earth First!) as well.

It was during a presentation that essentially covered spotting the spoor of supremist/extremist groups - symbols, phrases, music. It was billed as 'how to avoid recruitment' and was cast in the introduction as "things your children might be exposed to" - not quite the 50's notion parodied in Reefer Madness, but I still spent the entire session with the Dead Milkmen ranting about 'what the queers are doing to the soil!' on the soundtrack of my head. The speaker, to give him credit, did a good job of reinforcing the notion that you have to be aware of what you are looking at - not all skinheads are racist, not all celtic crosses(*) mean white pride, etc. and that when you see a symbol on something like your child's notebook it should be a trigger to ask, not instantly assume they've been co-opted.

Other than a poster labeling runes as "the Skinhead's alphabet" (from the Simon Wiesenthal center no less - you'd think they'd 1. avoid emotional rhetoric and 2. do their research a little better) it was a thoughtful assemblage of information. In my opinion, the important thing to do about this sort of thing is discuss it - that's what leads to finding the underlying unhappiness that draws people toward hate groups. So it was nice to have that validated by "here are things to look for, but remember to ASK".

* Yes, an equal-armed cross in a circle. One of the things that adds insult to injury for me is these bigots are co-opting MY cultural heritage for their nonsense. If I have a triskeleon badge on something, the last thing I want people to think of is the Aafrikaner neo-Nazis...
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pencil

caffeine, mon amour

Ah, that smacked-in-the-corpus-callosum feeling of delight that says "go make your coffee, idiot! worry about cutting back on your caffeine consumption when you don't have to make sense at work." I'm inclined to agree - besides, Eos' rosy fingers are busily prying open the venetian blinds, so it's almost certainly time to get up (or it would be if I weren't already up, cf caffeine restriction plans earlier). Only from someone/thing I loved would I tolerate this much pain on a regular basis...
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