Posts Tagged ‘social exclusion’

Qaturday Empathy

July 19, 2012

Das Qaturday Empathy

First they came for the goats:
Subjective Exclusion and the search for an enemy to rob
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Many cats ask me why the humans seem to be eager to go extinct – why they play Russian Roulette with technologies that they don’t really understand or control. This leads the inquisitive feline to ponder: why have humans allowed unnecessary complication to imperil the simple and natural process of surviving?

It might help us felines to comprehend these giant, resource-vacuuming, human nihilists if we interact a bit with their texts. Not too much, of course; we don’t want to be numbed and dumbed down by texts like human readers are. But let’s look at a few human texts at a safe distance to find out where these destructive beasts get their insane marching orders.

Goat Sacrifice Texts

One human text that a cat might find interesting – because it relates to other species – is the goat sacrifice text. It’s important because it’s a recurring trope in the Abrahamic texts of many power-mad human societies.

The Abrahamic texts include stories where God asks a human to kill a goat simply to make a point. For example, God (the superhuman who fabricated the universe like a craftsman) will ask a human to kill his son. And then, just before the father human’s axe hits the neck of his child, God will dramatically change his orders, and tell him to kill “this goat” instead. This eleventh-hour switch is supposed to provide some kind of relief, and this feeling of relief is supposed to convince recalcitrant human readers to obey God’s orders. After all, God isn’t such a bad guy; he rescinded his order to kill a human child, and only had a lowly goat killed instead, right?

In these stories, the goat – a species that doesn’t speak or write – is used as a prop and completely objectified. Human readers are trained not to care about the death of this animal. The same God-texts imply that all creatures were created for humanity to kill at will. Even if it’s just to make a point.

“First they came for the goats, and I wasn’t a goat, so I ate my goat burger and pretended to enjoy it.”

For this sacrifice text to work, it’s important that goats can’t speak or write – or lie. This is crucial because it allows humans to exclude the goats from their human-fabricated stories, all of which are composed of human-only words. By excluding any input from the goat community, humans are able to kill them with total impunity: “There are no goats in our church, so we make jokes about killing goats,” a human might say –  if humans were still capable of telling the truth.

Subjective Social Exclusion

This goat-killing trope sets humanity up for a social philosophy based on Subjective Social Exclusion: A group of humans form a gang, and then all agree to pretend to believe in the same lies. Humans who don’t believe the same lies are socially excluded. And these socially excluded humans are then attacked, killed, raped, and stolen from, with total impunity. Non-humans like us cats are are socially excluded as well and treated with the same brutal callousness.

(Note: The reason it’s called subjective exclusion is because the criteria for the social exclusion are purely subjective. Anything will do, really. The important thing is to recruit a powerful mix of people, and to invent some beautiful lies that are difficult to disprove.)

Now, nature being what it is, what happened to the goats (goat burgers) and to the environment (pillaged and destroyed) will soon happen to the group that started the whole Subjective Exclusion craze in the first place – the human elites. If we survive their demise, the cat world needs to beware of this kind of manufactured species-ism. And in the present day, we need to keep our claws out when in the company of humans who, as we all approach extinction, still live by their sacrifice memes and continue to practice strategic social exclusion.

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Wallpaper Sample Books

December 20, 2011

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(dedicated to all fathers)

Dad’s store makes me think of vinyl and paper cuts. Only time I’m allowed to go there’s when I have a doctor or dentist appointment. When this happens, I have to wait for a ride home. No choice.

I’m ten and in Grade Five, and just had my first dental fillings. Boy, was I scared. It’s hard to face first-time events like this when you have no older brother or father to say he’s been there. I never know what to expect or how to react.

My old man had all his teeth pulled out in his twenties, but I never heard about why or how. I guess the words got pulled out as well.

So today is the day. Right before I left for my appointment, my mother assured me I’d be fine. Her exact words: “Stop bein’ such a jeezus sissy!” Then she growled at me like a tiger to give me cat-like encouragement.

Just before filling my teeth with hot lead, the dentist snarled at me and called me a baby because I cried in pain. Dr. Hickstein’s hands shake like an epileptic seizure and he usually tears my gums to shreds during the freezing-slash-interrogation phase of each appointment. All I remember of him is: “You’re a baby!” *slash!*

So now it’s 1 pm, and I’m injured and weak at my father’s shop, and I start to tell him about the experience. “Shut up and go sit in the front of the store,” he snarkily tells me before I can finish the story. I keep forgetting it’s still World War Two: dental secrets can sink ships.

So, I slowly get up – embarrassed to be treated like a dog in front of human strangers – and sadly limp to the front of the store with my tail between my wegs. This is the farthest part of the store from the office – an outpost, almost in the display window. It’s raining, so no one is walking by.

For the next four hours, I look at wallpaper sample books all by myself: patterns and textures and colors and shapes. I guess I’m supposed to be learning that work is boring and lonely. Only one customer walks in during the whole four hours. As a form of solitary confinement, looking at wallpaper samples for four hours is probably worse than watching TV in a bungalow for the same duration.

Every once in a while I hear my dad laughing along with others coming from the office. I wonder what they’re laughing about? I wonder what subjects the men are talking about? Will I ever know what to say to other guys?

Patterns and textures and colors and shapes.

After a few years of these treasured educational visits to the store’s wallpaper counter, I decide to become a graphic designer whenever I grow up. My father laughs at my first attempt at imagining being a grown up, saying mockingly: “When I was 15, my guidance counselor said I was gonna be a paint and wallpaper salesman.”

The burn of the sarcasm helps me understand my low place in the universe.  I will forever be the Steel City Fruit.

(Note. Any resemblance to real human beings is unintentional. This story – like other Steel City Fruit stories – is purely fictional.)


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