My Life In Essays

My Thoughts on Life

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Why Some People's Minds Try to Kill Them


I wrote a long thing in fragments on my personal blog - it may or may not be helpful to anyone, but it is honest. And really long.

Filed under depression mental health depression tw suicide tw Lindsay Ellis reblogged

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See, Rowling largely operates Harry’s generation in a clear system of parallels to the previous generation, Marauders and all. Harry is his father—Quidditch star, a little pig-headed sometimes, an excellent leader. Ron is Sirius Black—snarky and fun, loyal to a fault, mired in self-doubts. Hermione is Remus Lupin—book smart and meticulous, always level-headed, unfailingly perceptive. Ginny is Lily Evans—a firecracker, clever and kind, unwilling to take excuses. Draco Malfoy is Severus Snape—a natural foil to Harry, pretentious, possessed of the frailest ego and also deeper sense of right and wrong when it counts. And guess what? Neville Longbottom is Peter Pettigrew.

Neville is a perfect example of how one single ingredient in the recipe can either ruin your casserole (or stew, or treacle tart, whatever you like), or utterly perfect your whole dish. Neville is the tide-turner, the shiny hinge. And all because he happens to be in the same position as Wormtail… but makes all the hard choices that Pettigrew refused the first time around. Other characters are in similar positions, but none of them go so far as Neville. None of them prove that the shaping of destiny is all on the individual the way he does.

Emily Asher-Perren (via margaerystyrells)

No, but this is actually perfect. 

The Marauders were a quartet of typical literary archetypes: the Golden Leader, the Wit, the Estranged Bookworm, and then, of course, the Protector.

"But how is Peter the Protector?" you may ask. Well, first, allow me to present that Neville is Peter’s parallel, and let us draw conclusions from there. 

In first year, Harry, Ron, and Hermione were obviously bent on sneaking out of the dorms to do something dangerous, probably get themselves hurt, and get everyone in trouble. Neville knew this, and waited up for them, to stop them. He was willing to stand up to three very intimidating students (The Boy Who Lived; the brother of the Pranksters and, well, Percy; the genius witch that is damn good at spells) in order to protect them and others. Yes, he got hexed for it, but the point is that he tried.

Imagine, if you will, a similar situation about twenty years prior. James, Sirius, and Remus, sneaking out of the dorms to raid the kitchens. Peter hearing about this and knowing they’ll probably get caught and get everyone in trouble. And knowing about Peter, what would he do? Knowing what we do from the books? Well, he probably would have ignored everything, or followed along so he could get in on the snacks. 

"But that’s not being a protector-" Actually, it is. He is protecting his own interests as opposed to others. 

And that’s a recurring theme with Peter. He is placed in positions where he is in fact a protector (as Scabbers, the family rat- pets are confidants and a shield from stress, even if they may have pretended to hate him; as the Potter’s Secret Keeper, at Sirius’s behest; as Voldemort’s caretaker and the one to resurrect him), but those roles are just ways for him to protect himself and further himself. 

And then, of course, you have Neville. Neville, who was always hesitant, but one of the first to do his best. Neville, who lead and protected the students through the terror of his Seventh year at Hogwarts. Neville, who would stand up to the professor that terrified him. Neville, who drew a sword from a goddamn hat in order to slay a snake and keep others safe. He does this at great risk to himself, but he does it to protect others. 

There are so many things that you can draw out of the parallels between the Marauders and the new generation, and it should be looked into way more as a way of analyzing characters, but by far the best one is this:

Neville and Peter show how easy it is to walk the line between a selfish protector and a selfless one. They show how close the realms of the light and the dark really are. And they emphasize more than any just how much one person’s choices can impact “destiny.”

(via hirilelfwraith)

(Source: nathanielstuart, via cartoonwonderful)

Filed under Harry Potter This is neato Reblogged essay Neville Longbottom Peter Pettigrew

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November 19th, 2013,
‘Selfie’ was named the Word of the Year by the Oxford Dictionary
Pseudo-intellectuals everywhere cried about the ‘death of the English language’
Because God forbid modern colloquial speech be recognised as valid.
Time Magazine refers to ‘millenials’ as the ‘me me me generation’
Selfish, all we care about is personal gratification
Lazy, entitled, shallow narcissists.
A picture of a girl taking a selfie on her phone is used for the cover
Because our selfishness can be summed up in the fact that we like how we look enough to document it.
We are consumed, they tell us, with our self image.
Everything is about us.
With the addition of every word to the dictionary,
‘Hashtag’. ‘Perf’. ‘Sexting’. ‘Totes’. ‘Selfie’,
The ‘me-me-me’ generation continues to make it all about ourselves,
And we should, they tell us, weep,
We should weep because we are entitled,
Because all we care about are selfies and parties and Instagram,
Because this is the generation that will one day run the world,
And for that, we should weep,
Because all we are is ‘me-me-me’.
Let me tell you something.
Every year, university tuition will be 2.3% more expensive for MY GENERATION,
MY GENERATION reports the highest levels of anxiety and depression than ANY other generation,
15% more of US than YOU will go to university,
But 46% of MY GENERATION won’t find a job until over a year after law school,
MY GENERATION, on average, is $47,628 in debt.
58% of girls in MY GENERATION feels like they are the wrong weight,
95% of people with eating disorders are part of MY GENERATION,
And MY GENERATION has a million dollar industry telling us that we are not good enough,
That we are ugly, lazy, and entitled,
And anything we do to be financially successful,
Or less stressed,
Or beautiful, god dammit,
Is in vain.
So pick up your phone,
Pick your favourite filter,
And take a goddamn selfie.
You deserve it for having to grow up in these times.
My poem, ‘Hashtag Selfie’. (via dingdongyouarewrong)

(via webrainit)

Filed under Millenials

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Our cultural attitudes are unconsciously shaped by our collective history as much as they are consciously shaped by our current context. When you consider the death penalty as a tool of racial control—a way for whites to “defend” themselves from blacks—then Pew’s poll results make sense. What we’re looking at is the inevitable result of that history expressed through public opinion, and influenced by racialized ideas on crime and criminality. If you’re still skeptical, consider this: In 2007, two researchers tried to gauge racial differences on capital punishment and assess how blacks and whites responded to arguments against the practice. Their core findings with black Americans weren’t a surprise—in general, blacks were receptive to any argument against the death penalty. Their findings with whites, on the other hand, were disturbing. Not only where whites immune to persuasion on the death penalty, but when researchers told them of the racial disparity—that blacks faced unfair treatment—many increased their support. It sounds glib, but if you needed a one-word answer to why whites are so supportive of the death penalty, “racism” isn’t a bad choice.
Pew Research death penalty poll: Why whites support capital punishment more than blacks. (via candidlycara)

(via candidlycara)

Filed under Death Penalty Prison system racism

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Tina Belcher’s sexual desires are weird. They’re weird and more than a little off-putting and not meant to be particularly palatable for the average straight male viewer. And it is glorious to watch. The show makes you recognize her desires as a young woman and the possibly that other girls feel the same way. Tina’s budding sexuality might be an exaggerated view of how a lot of teenage girls feel as they grow up, but there are girls out there that relate to Tina and it’s a point of view that rarely gets told. And when it is, it’s almost always bent to fit how men want girls to express their sexuality. But Tina’s sexual desires aren’t there to titillate the audience. They’re there because they’re a part of her.

Sexual Agency and Zombie Butts: Why Bob’s Burgers’ Tina Belcher Matters  (via albinwonderland)

(via no-country-for-meet-cutes)

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Filed under Bob's Burgers Tina Belcher I love the mary sue so I'm not surprised that's the source of the article Media Representation Television Reblogged essay

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Here is how the internship scam works. It’s not about a “skills” gap. It’s about a morality gap.

1) Make higher education worthless by redefining “skill” as a specific corporate contribution. Tell young people they have no skills.

2) With “skill” irrelevant, require experience. Make internship sole path to experience. Make internships unpaid, locking out all but rich.

3) End on the job training for entry level jobs. Educated told skills are irrelevant. Uneducated told they have no way to obtain skills.

4) As wealthy progress on professional career path, middle and lower class youth take service jobs to pay off massive educational debt.

5) Make these part-time jobs not “count” on resume. Hire on prestige, not skill or education. Punish those who need to work to survive.

6) Punish young people who never found any kind of work the hardest. Make them untouchables — unhireable.

7) Tell wealthy people they are “privileged” to be working 40 hrs/week for free. Don’t tell them what kind of “privileged” it is.

8) Make status quo commentary written by unpaid interns or people hiring unpaid interns. They will tell you it’s your fault.

9) Young people, it is not your fault. Speak out. Fight back. Bankrupt the prestige economy.

The moral bankruptcy of the internship economy | Sarah Kendzior (via brutereason)

solarbird added: see also the intrinsic fraud of the prestigious internship. (via solarbird)

this comes from the top rope.

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(via rhymingteelookatme)

Filed under Internships Unpaid internships Economics List Reblogged essay

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"Why couldn’t Lincoln just BUY the slaves from the south, then set them all free?"


I’ve seen this argument bouncing around a lot lately. It was kind of kicked off by former judge and human toenail Andrew Napolitano, and it goes like this:

The civil war and reconstruction of the south cost a great deal more than the combined price of every person held in bondage in the United States and its territories, and slavery could have been abolished if the Lincoln administration had allocated the money to purchase all the slaves and grant them their freedom. 

Of course, this argument makes no sense. 

First of all, anyone with the slightest bit of economics is aware of the concept of supply-and-demand. If you buy up the entire stock of a product, you’ve increased demand, and the supplier of that product will increase supply. 

By buying, and freeing, all the slaves, Lincoln would have essentially given the institution of slavery a shot of adrenaline straight to the heart. Not only would it give a financial  reward to white slavers for the owning and sale of slaves, but it would create a demand for more slaves in the south as well. 

Despite the fact that the transatlantic slave trade was not legal by Lincoln’s time, it still happened rather regularly, and to purchase all the slaves and set them free without outlawing slavery itself would have a consequence of “no more slaves,” not “no more slavery.” More and more slaves would be imported in this scenario, and the institution of slavery would come back stronger than ever. 

If simply outlawing slavery without war breaking out were an option, it could have been done without purchasing the freedom of the southern slaves. Even if the slaves were to be purchased and set free, a civil war would still have broken out if a law was established outlawing the institution of slavery

But for the main reason this proposed solution wouldn’t work, I’d like to re-tell the story of the goose that laid the golden eggs.

A married couple of farmers has a goose that lays a single solid gold egg every night. Every night, they get a golden egg that buys them food for that day and then some. They start to believe that this goose might contain an enormous lump of gold in its stomach, so they kill the goose to get it. 

However, once they’ve done it, they find that this goose is physically no different from any other goose. It’s just a goose, with no gold inside of it. 

They gave up a steady, self-renewing source of gold in the hopes of getting one big lump sum of gold. If they had let the goose live, they would have been set for life, but they killed the goose and they are left with nothing.

So knowing that fable, if you had a golden goose, and someone comes up and tells you they’re willing to buy it from you for $10,000, you would say no. If you sell, you get $10,000 and that’s it forever. 

If you don’t sell, you get an egg worth $1,000 every day, so if you wait ten days, you’ll make as much as the buying price and you’ll still have more coming in every day after that. 

The thing is, the institution of slavery was immensely profitable for the southern planters. After all, they were selling a product they didn’t personally make, and they were taking the profits of those sales for themselves, as well as stealing the wages that should have gone to the people who were doing all the work. 

Slavery was pure, self-sustaining profit for the south. They barely had to do anything and the money kept rolling in. If the government came along and said they would pay a lump sum for all the enslaved workers, they almost certainly would have refused. 

They especially would have been unwilling to sell their slaves in the event that slavery would be outlawed immediately following emancipation. That proposition would have, to a southern planter, sounded something like this:

"Hey, so I know you have this source of free labor that creates a strong, steady flow of cash and brings you in a ton of money that you don’t have to share with anyone, but how would you feel about this? In exchange for setting your slaves free, we’re going to give you a fraction of the amount of money you could make if you keep them, then, if you agree to this plan, we’re going to make a law saying you have to spend pretty much all that money paying workers, because you wouldn’t be allowed to make people work for free anymore."

It’s despicable, of course, but it’s important to remember that since the cause of American Black slavery was white greed, the slaveholders would certainly not be agreeable to any proposed solution that involved a net loss in their profit. 

The institution of slavery in the American south was thriving and growing prior to the civil war. The southern states were so dedicated to preserving the institution of slavery that, in response to the potential for abolition (which racists will tell you is actually “states’ rights” or “economic reasons,” even though the states’ right in question was the right to decide on their own whether or not to preserve the institution of slavery, and the economic reason was “if you abolish slavery I won’t be able to stay as rich as I am”), they were willing to commit treason, attack their own country, and spark one of the bloodiest wars in history. 

There is no scenario in which the southern states would have been willing to cooperate in the abolition of slavery. The only way to liberate the slaves from the southern states was by force. 

There is also the point to be made that, in a way, the civil war was actually going on for a long time before the first shots were fired. It was, however, a black resistance movement against the society that allowed them to be held captive. There were many slave revolts and uprisings, a great deal of underground resistance among both enslaved and free black populations, and this was against both halves of the country. 

When the two halves turned against one another, this movement largely sided with the north because it was the lesser of two evils and was slightly more willing to help their cause, and the north’s eventual willingness to lend its force to the cause of black liberation simply gave the existing groups working towards that cause the power necessary to break the hold their captors had over them. 

Now, it is fair to say that the civil war could have been avoided if the question of slavery had been solved through economic or diplomatic means. It’s also fair to say the civil war could have been avoided if the question of slavery had been resolved with fairy dust, or unicorn tears, or a time machine that allowed Abraham Lincoln to go back and repeatedly punch the person who invented the system of American slavery in the dick until they agreed not to do so. 

The point is, though, that simply buying the slaves was not a viable solution for two basic reasons:

  1. The main reason the institution still existed was the fact that it was so wildly profitable, and throwing money at it would be about as effective as trying to put out a fire with gasoline
  2. The south was unwilling to sell their slaves into freedom, as shown by the fact that Abraham Lincoln actually tried to do this and southern states refused

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Filed under Reblogged essay history civil war