Friday, October 21, 2016

When De-Stigmatizing Becomes Demoralizing

That there is any discussion at all about prostitution not being immoral is just appalling to me. Now perhaps this has to do with some naiveté on my part, but I've always assumed that the response to prostitution was quite simple, at least, from those who were neither sex workers nor clients: prostitution objectifies persons, the objectification of persons is wrong; therefore prostitution is wrong. Personally, my objection to prostitution would be more religious, however, if I am correct in what I assume to be a quite common response, then this indicates that many people, religious or not, hold a deep intuition that prostitution is wrong.

But for some, this belief is 'not good enough.' "Sex workers need to be defended against stigmatization," they might say. I don't see this idea as a problem in itself; my problem with this, however, is what is being implicitly said. If the perceived solution to ending stigmatization is that I must stop thinking of prostitution as being immoral, then I will not succumb to that. These social philosophers, policy makers, etc. seem to think that it's so easy to get people to stop thinking about something in a certain way. Since when was it human to just shut down intuitions and judgments at the demand of another? The correct thinking of either side is a can of worms I'm unwilling to open at the moment, but what I want to emphasize is this weird notion of humans being able to simply dim their beliefs as if their mind is some unconscious light switch.

I'm also surprised at the deterministic flavor of some of the commentary on this issue. In theological terms, I would agree that transgressions are not wholly personal troubles, but that sin committed by an individual can have an interpersonal effect. That being said, this idea of defending the lifestyles of these sex workers as if they are entirely unable of getting out of their situation is just as hopeless as it is disturbing. If you're a social reformer, don't you at least think it's a possibility that these (mostly) women could live better lives? Aren't you the one who emphasized the social construction of all this? If it can be constructed by humans, it can also be deconstructed.

Another interesting point: the prostitute is defended but the customers are not. The customers are certainly stigmatized, I would imagine, so why aren't they defended? I guess you can't get mad at humans if they're just sub-atomic particles who are void of freedom.

"All the controversial issues in the culture war are sexual," says Peter Kreeft. It used to be a stereotype that young men thought sexually about everything; this was rightly referred to as perversion. But this way of thinking is now entirely acceptable, being promoted under the guise of cultural capital on behalf of the zeitgeist of the Western intelligentsia. I guess that's what you get when you keep Freud and forget about Jung. A shame indeed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


I've been a fairly active Instagram user for ~3 years now. It's been a vanity and pride-ridden an interesting medium to express my ambivalence through (both in terms of content and posting habits). I've had numerous accounts, I forget how many ... but I think the most posts I published in a single day was 9; I did not abide by the ethics. Nowadays, I post approximately once per week.

Anyway, the numbers are currently in my favor:
  • 107 posts
  • 97 following
First, the three numbers contain a 10, an 8, and a 9. Second, they all end in 7, thus making 777 (a number of Kabbalistic significance, as a friend once put it)!

For being the colossal time-squanderer that Instagram is, it seems like an apt note to end on. I'm tempted to pull the proverbial plug altogether on the meaningless archive, but then again, I'll likely want to look back on it - that is, assuming I ever leave in the first place.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Kids in the Way - Hallelujah

Here's another one of my efforts - or rather, my intentions masquerading as material efforts (since I have nothing to do with most songs I share on the blog) - to resurrect emo music. There's just no proper statement I can make about how this style of music has been lost to the torrent of modernity. Also, I was reminded about how much difficulty I have with spelling 'hallelujah' correctly.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

No Morals? No Justice.

I gave a presentation this afternoon for my social control seminar. My topic was restorative justice, particularly, criticisms made toward it and some of the implications of how informal justice styles (like restorative justice) are often mixed with retributive justice. The notes I referred to covered a lot of ground, clocking in at around a half hour worth of speaking. My favorite part was considering the relation between justice and postmodernism. Here's what I wrote:

Restorative justice, like postmodernism, places its emphasis on subjectivity. In particular, it is interested in narratives that remain at a personal level rather than meta-narratives. This is why such diverse groups of people are brought together to discuss a single issue. However, it might be argued that restorative justice is less relativistic than postmodernism. Despite postmodernism’s difficulty in being defined, it may reasonably be inferred that, at least for its serious advocates, nothing is truly morally right or morally wrong. This is a problem because justice has to do with moral rightness being brought to situations of moral wrongness. It is known intuitively that justice is a response to injustice, so if there was no injustice, there would be no need for justice at all. As such, it seems questionable to even infer that advocates of justice do not sincerely believe that what they are opposed to is actually wrong, but just some illusion that is ingrained in them by the collective conscience of the society they find themselves in. Sociologist of religion Steve Bruce asks a good question: “If it is not possible to distinguish truth from error, why do postmodernists argue with those who do not share their views?” (Bruce, 2000).

Sunday, October 9, 2016

i listened to wilco today and ...

i didn't enjoy it that much (yankee hotel foxtrot, that is). as long as i can remember, i've been under the impression that hipster musicians (singers especially) try to sound as uninterested as possible. but why listen to a singer who sounds so ... bored? why, they're not even hitting the right notes! oh, but it's on purpose, you say? okay, i'll try and dupe myself into thinking that this essentially unrecognizable aesthetic makes up for such haphazardness. nah, i can't lie to myself like that. to think that pitchfork gave this album a 10 ... i can't say i'm too surprised. things were just fine before this music began to exist, and hey, even the peaceful co-existence of emo and hipster music was alright. but the fact that emo music was utterly squashed by the bourgeois, faux-inexpensive shoe of hipsterism leaves me with some disdain.

an emo acoustic song to cap things off with:

Saturday, October 8, 2016

An Insufficiently Succint Thought on why 'Social Justice' Replaced 'Justice'

The term 'justice' is less specific, and so, it poses a disadvantage to proponents of secularism, that is, by the very possibility of justice having, in its most basic form, a spiritual nature (i.e. God defines justice). 'Social justice,' on the other hand, is the migration of moral rightness from the supernatural world to the human world, with an emphasis on political institutions, that is, since justice is, rather abstractly, the process of moral rightness being brought to situations of moral wrongness. The first worrisome possibility about all this is that what is morally right or wrong is decided by a human institution, and as we know, such institutions are prone to error. God, on the other hand, is not prone to error. 

A second consideration I'd like to mention is that social justice is quite structural functionalist in nature, which is bizarre, since structural functionalism is generally recognized as an embarrassment in relation to other sociological theories. Structural functionalism assumes that the cogs in the societal machine (norms, customs, traditions, institutions) cooperate with one another in order to maintain solidarity and stability. Social justice must have these same goals since it's about moral rightness being brought to situations of moral wrongness (social harmony), and especially since all of the aforementioned components can take on a moral nature. 

Perhaps structural functionalism isn't dead like its critics claim? Justice is a wildly popular topic in sociology, and as far as I'm concerned, there is a contradiction between its popularity and the idea that structural functionalism is no longer relevant.