The thing about emo (as a musical genre and a cultural phenomenon) is, I think, that it was a response to the September 11, 2001 terror attacks and the Bush administration’s painful mishandling thereof.

No, I’m serious. My Chemical Romance was formed as a direct result of Gerard Way witnessing the towers fall. Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’ (an album that, at least as far as I can tell from having been a teenager in Canada at the time, was seminal in influencing the look and sound of emo) is all about the Bush administration – all the lyrics are about life under a democratic dystopia and many reference current events from the time – and it came out in 2004, halfway through the Bush presidency. A bunch of Linkin Park’s stuff makes reference to it also, especially their album ‘Minutes to Midnight’, where they first started moving out of the nu-metal/rap sound they’d been working with before and into a more mainstream emo-rock sound. That album came out in 2007. All of the really big bands with that kind of sound – and most of the smaller ones with more of a punk/hardcore sound but similar themes – were active in the mainstream from around 2001-2010. Many of them didn’t survive past 2009, and those that did either totally reinvented themselves (Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco, MCR for the five minutes it took to produce Danger Days, Linkin Park) or became near-totally irrelevant (Paramore dropped an album sometime in the last two years; did any of you know that? And Green Day haven’t mattered since 21st Century Breakdown, which was released in 2009).

Why? Well, many of you are probably too young to remember this, but the 2001 terror attacks were what really made ‘Islamic terrorism’ a real threat in the minds of most Westerners. We’d never experienced an attack of that scale on American soil, and it was just as the internet was really becoming a mainstay in every house and my generation was getting online. As a result, it was not only a major political event, but it was hugely personal – the coverage was everywhere, in everybody’s home, all the time, and there were a lot of kids being exposed to the coverage in such a way that they often had no good way to process it. I’m not exaggerating when I say it changed the way we live. I’m Canadian and I felt this shit. Before, we could fly to America domestic, without a passport. Now? Half the draconian, ridiculous rules that hold you up at the TSA today were initiated in September and October of 2001. It was the only thing anyone could think of to do – lock down, protect your own. People were scared, on a continental scale.

And to make matters worse, George W. Bush’s government, which had to somehow respond to and take point in the response to this unprecedented event, didn’t seem to have the first foggiest clue what they were doing. This was a government that not only didn’t seem to listen to its people, not only lied blatantly to its people, but did it badly. They made hugely unpopular decisions, including starting a war in the Middle East that dragged in multiple countries and completely failed to achieve its stated goal of catching Osama bin Laden or proving that he had in his control weapons of mass destruction (the whole war was predicated on the fact that these so-called weapons of mass destruction existed, that the Bush administration had good reason to believe that they existed, were under the control of the Taliban, and were going to be used against Western targets, none of which was ever proven to be true).

So, from 2001-2009, the two (TWO) full terms of the Bush presidency, there were a whole lot of people who couldn’t vote (be they under the age of majority, like most of the emo kids I knew, or Canadians unhappily dragged along with the US’ boneheaded foreign policy decisions because we’re allies, also like most of the emo kids I knew) and therefore felt, not only scared of basically the impending end of their world in a way that they hadn’t previously had to feel, and not only angry about being clearly lied to and clumsily manipulated when the truth was obvious to anyone with eyes, but also powerless to do anything to change anything about that. And meanwhile, people kept dying in this pointless war and the president kept trying to hold together the illusion that everything was hunky-dory.

And what was popular with teenagers from about 2001-2009? Yep. Emo.

Emo as a genre was very personal, very focused on the individual (with the exception of the albums I noted above), but lyrically and musically, it fit right with the cultural atmosphere of the time. People were scared of the impending end of their world/their lives? Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge and The Black Parade. People were angry about things they felt powerless to change? From Under The Cork Tree and Decemberunderground. Emo captured what kids were feeling about trying to fit into a world that was so clearly fucked up and broken and pretending to be okay, putting on a strong face to Show The Terrorists They Didn’t Win. Emo was about stripping away the mask, exposing the messy, angry, frightened, sad, true underbelly of American society at the time, and exposing hypocrisy – in individuals as much as in politicians. The hatred of ‘preps’ and ‘posers’? Totally not just a My Immortal thing. Emo was about wearing your heart on your sleeve, about it being okay to mourn, to rage, to be afraid for your life beyond this – and to keep moving forward regardless, step by slow step.

So what changed in 2009 that made the phenomenon fade without so much as a whimper? Simple. Hope. The Audacity of Hope, to be exact.

Barack Obama won his presidency largely because young people supported him. Those were the young people who suffered through feeling helpless and powerless under Bush, who wanted things to change but felt they had no chance of making it so. Barack Obama was a chance. One of his first campaign promises was to end the Iraq war, a promise he followed through on. And even if his presidency hasn’t been perfect, it has never been the Bush administration, with the feeling that the will of the people was being entirely and quietly ignored by those in power to further their own agendas.

What I am saying, then, I guess, is that it’s time to buy stocks in Hot Topic, because whatever happens in the upcoming US presidential election, there are a lot of young people who may soon be needing black, white, and red graphic band tees and Manic Panic hair dye.

From someone who was in American high school in 2001, we were also incredibly terrified for at least the early Bush years. We were all pretty sure that the draft could possibly be reinstated and we could get sucked into the war. Some of my friends and I had plans on how best to get Don’t Ask, Don’t Telled out of the draft. We were all absolutely terrified of the prospect.




Because I am annoyed about people saying “Hillary Clinton is basically a Republican” I’m going to do some math. As a bonus point, I’ll have “Bernie Sanders is not nearly as extremist as you’ve been told.”

In the modern era, we have a wonderful thing called a NOMINATE score. Based on who a lawmaker votes with, and how frequently, it clusters lawmakers into groups (it turns out, in the US, there are exactly two and they correspond – not surprisingly – to left and right), it assigns a lawmaker a numerical assessment of their ideological position. It’s not perfect, and there are some more precise methods, but it is pretty darn good and most importantly, it’s utterly objective. It doesn’t rely on gut feelings or pet issues. It’s mathematically deduced from voting patterns.

So we can get a mathematical answer to “How liberal or how conservative is Hillary Clinton?” It won’t be based on anyone’s opinion, just on how she actually voted, and who she voted with.

I’m going to use NOMINATE scores from the 110th congress, because it’s the only Senate that contains both Clinton and Sanders, and also has several other useful benchmark senators. (By convention, left-wing ideology is negative numbers on the NOMINATE scale, because negatives are on the left side of a graph. I’m going to stick to that to avoid confusion.) The scale is -1 to +1, with -1 being a perfect liberal partisan, +1 being a perfect conservative partisan, and 0 being a totally balanced centrist.

During the 110th Congress, the Democratic + Independent senate caucus had 51 members, ranging from Sanders (most liberal, a -0.523) to Ben Nelson (most centrist at -0.035). Imagine we had all the senators standing in a line, arranged by NOMINATE score, with Sanders at the left and Nelson on the right.

Now, imagine you take this line and cut it in half. You can’t, quite, because there are an odd number of senators (51), so the man in the middle – Oregon’s own Ron Wyden (at -0.324) – has to pick a side. Oregon’s a pretty liberal state, and Wyden is a pretty liberal guy, so let’s put him on the left. So now there are two groups – 27 leftist democrats (+ independent) running from Sanders to Wyden, and 26 centrist democrats (+ independent) running from future VP and American’s weird uncle Joe Biden (at -0.321) to Ben Nelson.

We know where Sanders is: he’s out holding down the left flank. Where’s Clinton? If you believed the line that “Clinton is basically a Republican,” you’d say definitely on the right side, probably out by Nelson, right?


She’s on the left side. At #13th most liberal member of the senate, with a NOMINATE score of -0.381, she’s at the precise middle of the left wing of the Democratic party. She’s not right wing. She’s not a centrist. She’s not even with Joe Biden at the center of the Democratic party. She’s standing comfortably in the middle of the Democratic left.

As it happens, this was also Obama’s last term in the Senate. So where’s he? He must be off well to the left of Clinton, right? I mean, it’s a truism that Clinton is to the right of Obama … but nope. Even though their scores are almost identical, Obama at -0.363 is a small but noticeable step to the right of Clinton.

Sanders, though, wow, he’s way out in left field, right? At -0.523, he must be well outside the range of reasonable, right? A total nutjob.

Not really.

At -0.523 he is the most liberal senator in the 110th congress (although, in the present congress, he’s actually third behind Warren and Baldwin). But how extremist is that, exactly? Let’s look at the other side for some context.

Imagine a dark mirror of Bernie Sanders, from the evil Star Trek universe, goatee presumably included. Where our Bernie Sanders is a leftist, this Bernie Sanders is a rightist, with exactly the same amount of intensity. He’d easily be the most right-wing Republican, though, right?

Hahahah. No.

The most right-wing Republican in the 110th is Tom Coburn of Oklahoma at 0.807. Holy shit! That’s way more conservative than Sanders is liberal! Imagining our Mirror Bernie, he’d be hovering around 10th place for “most partisan,” right about with John Cornyn at 0.517. Still a pretty strong ideologue but nowhere near the level of the hardcore wingnuts. And, most notably well more moderate than President George W Bush, who in the 110th clocks in at 0.729, on the extreme edge of political partisanship.

Sad note: if you look at the modern senate, the Republicans have entrenched even more. The most extreme republican in the 113th Congress was Mike Lee, at 0.986. The degree to which he’s not a utterly complete right-wing extremist is a rounding error.

So, that’s what’s up with the political alignments of the Democratic primary candidates, and math.

I don’t think this takes into account the issue of riders. Still, it’s interesting.


Petition to destroy the myth that every person who doesn’t identify as ace experiences sexual attraction in this one specific way made up by the ace community that is a universal truth for all non-aces. Sexual attraction is /complicated/, for a lot of people. This idea of ‘normative sexual attraction’ doesn’t exist. It’s a myth. Not every non-ace person has a straight forward, healthy uncomplicated understanding of their relation to sex.

Like I understand the need to have words to describe what yourself and what you’re feeling. It’s important, it’s helpful, it’s why I identify as ace. But acting as if these terms are somehow coherent identities with definitive separation from those who don’t identify with them is useless and grasping at straws as well as putting a lot of people into boxes that don’t exist and don’t make any sense.

Like if you want to identify as demisexual that is fine and okay, but at the same time you have to recognise that ‘doesn’t want to have sex with someone until you’re close to them/doesn’t develop sexual feelings for people until you’re emotionally attached to someone’ is true for A LOT of people, most of which do not and will never identify as demi.

The same goes for asexuality and the entirety of the spectrum; a lot of people, especially LGBT people and various other marginalised groups have complicated relationships with their sexuality and sexual identity and easily fall on the ace spectrum by pure definition, regardless of whether or not they self-identify that way.

To act like there’s a coherent group of ‘allosexuals’ who all experience sexual attraction in a similar way that is considered ‘normal’ without issue is troubling and flat out a myth.


sigh … okay, I go again 

I think there is a divide between those who were discriminated against and bullied and abused for being weird or “immature” or other things like that but were able to succeed academically and those who weren’t able to succeed academically and faced discrimination and bullying and abuse for being “stupid”. 

For the first person, when they’re being constantly knocked down by some jerks, being able to say “well, I’m smarter than you” is really empowering and liberating. And I’m not advocating for taking that away from anyone who has it now, I’m not. 

But where do the other kids go? The ones who can’t say “at least I’m smarter than you” because by every traditional definition of “smart”, they’re not. Their bullies are the smart ones.  

In my experience, telling a kid who is not succeeding in school, that “well really you are smart. you’re a good artist and thinker and all these things”, doesn’t help. Because the kid knows, they feel like they’re being placated. Okay, you say I’m smart, but I know I’m not what really smart is. I can’t do what being really smart means. Sure, I’m good at those things but I’m still not like the kids who are really smart

And that’s why I’m arguing that, going forward, if we continue to define intelligence by these specific, narrow things, people are going to get hurt by being told “you’re smart” with no other qualifier. The kids who can’t succeed in an academic environment, who are surrounded by this traditional idea of intelligence, aren’t going to believe you when you tell them they are, because in every other way they’re being told they aren’t. They’re going to lose out. 

And the “smart” kids may be even worse off. Because what if one day they lose the skills that defined them as smart, or their other struggles suddenly outpace their intelligence? They really lose out, cause in one fell swoop they lose the thing that defined their worth. 

So what I’m saying is, in the future, if we tell kids from the get-go, “intelligence isn’t something you are, it’s something you apply. to anything. and everyone has the ability to apply it to different things, because each of our brains have different blueprints, and no one thing is better than the other, and no one thing takes more or less intelligence,” then we’re going to be much better off. 

Don’t get rid of the concept of intelligence, just get rid of how we conceptualize it. It’s not a trait, it’s a universal tool, applicable in different ways by different people. 

did you seriously just say we should let pandas go extinct to save other animals or am i misinterpreting because that is a very questionable judgement


ALRIGHT MY FRIEND I have received about six messages in this vein since yesterday, but I worked for thirteen hours today and I have no time for this nonsense. Short answer: YES. 

I’m gonna summarize some salient points on why pandas are awful from a conservation standpoint:

  • Artificial insemination and hand-rearing of cubs are basically standard practice, and still they usually die. At what point is it reasonable to give up because I think we hit it DECADES AGO
  • In 35 years, only 90 cubs have been born in captivity outside of China
  • Wild panda numbers have increased a bare (bear?) 200 individuals in 10 years, despite literal billions of dollars being poured into conservation
  • And yet we’ve managed to literally rebuild populations of black-footed ferrets, oryx, and California condors with exponentially less money
  • Despite all of this, only 10 pandas have been released since the 80s, and all but two died
  • I bet you wouldn’t have guessed that it’s because their habitat is destroyed and fragmentary and barely protected!!!!!! 
  • The only good thing about panda conservation is that protecting their range is also protecting tons of other species. Which would be great, if more of their range was being protected effectively.
  • There is way more money in keeping captive pandas captive than in releasing them!! surprise!!!!!!
  • Zoos pay a lot of money to get pandas on loan because people just LOVE looking at pandas and they can’t afford to house and care for their other animals without people coming to visit! Or do any kind of conservation whatsoever!! Panda-economics! (this is kind of a pro as opposed to a con but its the kind of pro that makes me feel like I need a shower)
  • Pandas are endangered and sort of have a role in spreading bamboo seeds around, so they get billions of dollars. Every shark ever is MORE endangered, and without them the entire ocean ecosystem would collapse, but that’s fine they don’t need money (I’m not bitter) ((I am bitter))

I’m gonna be frank with you. We are in the middle of a mass extinction event, caused by us. Not to be a downer (jk, I’m gonna) but we’re already driving so many species to extinction that we cannot afford to save them all with the money and interest that is in conservation right now. 

Instead, we have to do some kind of awful extinction triage and assess which animals will do the most good to work to conserve – and getting into keystone species, ecosystem engineers, and other truly integral species is a whole other can of worms I’m not gonna touch on – but there are animals that are “more important” in a certain sense than others, in that they can support or affect a much wider range of other species than another

People only care about big, cute, fluffy animals – a common lament heard from conservationists, but it’s so true. There are thousands, if not millions of species that don’t fit this mold that conservation work would benefit eons more than pandas. It’s like fixing a pretty, stained-glass window in a house whose foundations are collapsing and thinking you’re helping. 

Pandas have always been the face of conservation, and they continue to be one of the biggest and most expensive ongoing failures. 

[Sources/ stuff to read to make sense of my incoherent response!]

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This has been bothering me




Why is everyone in episodes 4-7 constantly exclaiming ‘I thought the Jedi were a myth!!11!!’ when confronted with a Force-user? I mean, weren’t the Jedi a major part of galactic life and politics for centuries? Isn’t it well within living memory that the Jedi had a fricking council?

Does everyone in that galaxy far, far away lack object permanence or something? Poor Obi-Wan Kenobi leaves a room for a minute and when he comes back in everyone’s like ‘WHOOOOOA it’s a real Jedi! I thought they were a myth!’ And he’s like ‘goddamn it, this shit again, I need a drink.’

OH MAN I THINK ABOUT THIS A TON OKAY like here is my thing:

There were like… 10,000 Jedi Knights at the height of their strength. I don’t remember where I’m getting that number, but it’s super firm in my mind. Like, definitely correct me if I’m wrong, but honestly it doesn’t even matter if it’s 10,000 or 100,000, or even 10,000,000 – because we’re looking at a galaxy of (conservatively) trillions of people. I mean, thousands of fully populated worlds? Look at the size of the fucking senate chamber, and each of those dudes is representing hundreds of millions, if not billions of people.

This setting is very bad at conveying its sheer scale, and not only fucks it up frequently – i.e. the declared canon number of clone soldiers created is barely enough to fight a ten-year war here on Earth – but by necessity gives us a very skewed perspective. There’s no way that, in a galaxy that size, even a fraction of a percent of the populace have seen a Jedi. They’re a tiny, weird cult that for some reason wielded tremendous governmental influence. It’s like… a very vague equivalent would be if the UN employed three dudes with a Ouija board, gave them diplomatic immunity and a fancy all-expenses-paid hotel room, and took their advice seriously. Like maybe if you actually ran into one of them they’d be able to truly put you in touch with your great-great-great-grandmother, but on the other hand what the fuck is this bullshit.

So post-Order 66, I imagine it was actually pretty astonishingly easy for Palpatine to arrange enough propaganda that people got walked down from “the Jedi are a respectable thing” to “this weird cult betrayed the Republic and tried to assassinate me.” Also it very quickly became political poison to talk about the Jedi at all, ever, like seriously don’t, so “were they ever a thing at all?” becomes an actual legitimate question, particularly for younger people. 

Like even Vader’s powers are clearly mostly vague rumor for anyone not serving or looking to serve directly under him – “don’t try to frighten us with your sorcerer’s ways” is not a thing you just up and say to a dude you even kinda-sorta believe can crush the life out of you with his brain. And Motti was a fucking admiral, not some boob lieutenant fresh out of Academy. Again, the Imperial military is huge, and Vader’s one dude… he’s just the one of the main characters, so we see a lot of him.

So I think it’s believable, you just have to look at the setting from a wildly different point of view than what we’re given in the movies.

so you’re saying that “the jedi are a myth” thing is true… from a certain point of view?