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I can’t remember a single year in the time I’ve been on this earth that I did not hear about free speech being under attack. In some corners of the world, where criticism of the government is violently oppressed, this is undoubtedly true. But in the United States, the cries of oppression are different. …


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For a few days now, a number of conservative online sources have been hard at working pushing the narrative that Democrats and Joe Biden have stolen the 2020 election. One of the foremost pieces of alleged evidence they’ve so far produced is a comparison of vote tallies with Benford’s Law. This argument has already made its way to the Washington Examiner, where it’s being reported that Trump campaign staff themselves are touting it as proof of election theft. …


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I have a confession to make. I’m a huge fan of horror, but very little of it actually scares me. I’ve been fascinated by the genre ever since I picked up my first book on “true” paranormal encounters from the school library. I still remember reading about someone’s experience seeing a black, shadowy mass and how it intrigued and excited me.

But hundreds of stories, movies, novels, haunted houses, video games, and songs later, I can honestly say that probably 95% of horror doesn’t scare me. In the beginning, when I was younger, I’m sure I was easier to frighten. Even then, there was a lot that felt fun, thrilling, spooky, creepy, and surreal. …


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Warning: This article may contain minor spoilers for those who have yet to play Breath of the Wild.

Let’s be honest: 2020 has been a difficult year. If that seems like it’s a gross understatement, that could be because it is. For the past few months of this pandemic, much of the world has been balanced precariously between strict, self-imposed isolation and carefree (or careless) behavior that may be putting countless lives at risk. With many struggling to find work, struggling to stay safe, and struggling to stay afloat, leisure time can sometimes feel like a luxury we can’t afford.

Video games in particular are often singled out by some sources and media outlets as allegedly associated with a variety of harmful effects. It’s not at all uncommon to see claims about how video game addiction contributes to depression, alongside statistics on the number of gamers that suffer from depression. …


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Note: This article interchanges the terms “black” and “people of color” in places. The author recognizes the latter of these terms is often also used to include indigenous peoples, Latinx peoples, and other identities, and no erasure of this fact is intended.

Recently I found myself in a brief exchange with someone upset over the decision by gaming titans Valve to sponsor this year’s Game Devs of Color Expo. Notably, this decision was made after criticism had been directed at the company for failing to issue any kind of statement in support of Black Lives Matter. …


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As protests against the murder of George Floyd are spreading across the country, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick appeared on Fox News to propose his own solution for ending racism. While stating that Floyd’s death and the resulting unrest break his heart, Patrick was quick to attribute the problems facing the nation to a lack of religious devotion, along with the predictable insinuation that this absence is particularly strong with the political left. He went on to explain:

You cannot love your fellow man if you don’t love God. And we have a country where we’ve been working really hard, particularly on the left, to kick God out. We need a culture change to address this racism. You cannot change the culture of a country until you change the character of mankind. And you can’t change that unless you change the heart, and for billions of us on the planet, we believe you can’t do that unless you accept Jesus Christ or unless you accept God. …


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If you’ve contributed any moderate amount of essays, articles, or writing to blogs or other content creation sites, then looked over the stats for those pieces, you’ve probably noticed a familiar pattern. On this site, the read ratio for most of my own work generally hovers around 30%. That is, most people only make it through about a third of what I’ve written before they venture off to other pages, links, and sites. Of course, this varies somewhat based on word count and other factors, but usually this figure remains fairly stable.

Now before jumping to conclude that my read ratio is so low because my content isn’t that interesting or isn’t written that well (save the effort; I assure you, writers are almost always their own worst critics), there is some additional information worth considering. …


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My first exposure to the political commentary of Rush Limbaugh came as a child. Often when I would ride in the car with my dad, he would put on Limbaugh’s radio show. Even at a young age, I couldn’t help noticing the fact that he wasn’t exactly allowed to do this when my mom was with us. I think she mostly disliked the anger she heard on the show, but that was one of those things that always stuck with me. …


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The more I’ve learned about social norms, human psychology, and related subjects over the years — not to mention what I’ve learned through personal experience — the more I’ve settled on exorcising the word “ugly” from my vocabulary when physical appearances enter the picture.

I think this is worth doing for more than just the popular wisdom of how “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” As I see it, this phrase is not as insightful as some think. The implication often concealed behind it is that beauty is graded along a spectrum, and so the opposite of beauty is also in the eye of the beholder. It’s a difference that not infrequently boils down to the difference between expressing “You’re ugly” and “I think you’re ugly.” …


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In a tweet that has since been deleted, conservative radio host Bob Lonsberry provocatively claimed that “‘Boomer’ is the n-word of ageism.” Though Lonsberry seems to have backpedaled on his remark, his voice is one of many making the rounds in social media and news media at the moment, contending that this term is an offensive and ageist one. Bhaskar Sunkara argues in an article for The Guardian that it’s time we give up the meme behind it in the interest of promoting solidarity with older generations who are suffering from problems of their own.

To those who draw the obvious association between ‘boomers’ and the Baby Boomer generation, the ageism of the word might appear to be self-evident. However, things are not as clear when we take into account the way language functions socially, including how it shifts and changes through even its use on social media and in memes. What will be most helpful here is to look at the context of how the term is used, instead of relying solely on its etymology. …

About

Taylor Carr

Writer, reader, musician, and graduate in philosophy and religious studies.

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