I Do Not Consent: The Murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile

Content note: racist violence. Graphic violent images at some of the links.

Alton Sterling was shot and killed by police on July 5. The police pinned him to the ground and then shot him. I have not watched the video: it has been described as gruesomely brutal, even by police killing standards.

Philando Castile was shot and killed by Minnesota police on July 6 during a traffic stop.

Two black people, killed by police, in two days. And these are not isolated incidents.

There’s some good, important writing about Alton Sterling’s death. (Philando Castile’s death had just happened at the time I wrote this.) Here’s writing by Shaun King; by Lilly Workneh; by Breanna Edwards; by Kirsten West Savali. I don’t have much to add to this. I’ll just say some of what I said when the grand jury failed to Darren Wilson for Michael Brown’s murder:

No.

This is not acceptable. It is not acceptable that millions of people live in a police state, afraid for their safety and their lives on a daily basis, because their skin is black or brown.

I know there’s a limited amount I can do about this. But I can say this, as clearly as I can: I do not consent to this. No, no, no, no, no.

the word no

The comment policy on this post is the same as it was on my posts about Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin: I am not willing to host a debate about this on my blog. I am willing to host many debates on my blog, about many issues. I am often willing to make my blog into a place for people to express many ideas and opinions with which I passionately disagree. This is not one of those issues, and this is not one of those times. If you have anything at all to say about this that even remotely hints at implying that these murders were justified or that the police response has been reasonable and proportionate — do not comment in my blog. Now, or ever. Do not read my blog. Do not follow me on Facebook or Twitter. Do not attend my talks. Do not buy my books. Get the fuck out of my life, now. Thank you.

I Do Not Consent: The Murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile

No, Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Will Not Help My Depression

Acupuncture needles

Are you seriously going to tell a skeptic with depression that alternative medicine is an emotional cure-all?

In response to yesterday’s piece about meta-depression, I got this comment on Facebook:

“A long course of acupuncture from a licensed acupuncturist plus probably Chinese herbs is often going to help anyone with anything emotional.”

Sigh. Okay, fine. Let’s do this.

Dear Person:

First, I specifically asked people in this post to frame any suggestions as things that worked for them. I specifically said I did NOT want prescriptive advice, for me or anyone else. Are you always this careless about violating depressed people’s boundaries?

Second: Your advice is unhelpful at best and dangerous at worst. Even if these methods were effective, there is no single method of managing mental or emotional problems that works for everyone. Suggesting that there is one is dismissive at best, reckless at worst.

And there’s no reason to think these methods are effective. Continue reading “No, Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Will Not Help My Depression”

No, Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Will Not Help My Depression

“There is peace in being one more descendant of Sisyphus”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

There is peace in being one more descendant of Sisyphus, pushing that rock upward, passing wisdom and experience to the next generation of rock-pushers. There is peace in knowing that without our struggle, the rock would always be at the bottom, grinding people into the ground.

“There is peace in being one more descendant of Sisyphus, pushing that rock upward, passing wisdom and experience to the next generation of rock-pushers. There is peace in knowing that without our struggle, the rock would always be at the bottom, grinding people into the ground.”
-Greta Christina, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life
(from Chapter 27, “Permanent Struggle”)

(Image description: above text, juxtaposed above image of mountains)

I’m making a series of memes/ inspirational poster thingies with my favorite quotes from my new book, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life. Please feel free to share this on social media, or print it and hang it on your wall if you like. (The image above is pretty big: you can click on it to get a bigger size if you like.)

Way of the Heathen cover
The Way of the Heathen is available in ebook on Amazon/Kindle and on Smashwords for $7.99. The audiobook is at Audible. The print edition is at Amazon and Powell’s Books, and can be ordered or carried by pretty much any bookstore: it’s being wholesaled by Ingram, Baker & Taylor, IPG, and bookstores can buy it directly from the publisher, Pitchstone Publishing. Check it out, and tell your friends!

“There is peace in being one more descendant of Sisyphus”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

Orlando, and Listening to TBLG Ex-Muslims

TBLG rainbow flag

In the wake of the terrible violence in Orlando this morning, I understand the intent to not engage in anti-Muslim bigotry and hatred. I share it.

But I’m listening to my TBLG ex-Muslim friends. They’ve been subjected to queerphobic horror from their religion for years — and they’re sick of seeing it minimized. They’re asking people to stop contributing to that minimization.

TBLG ex-Muslims are saying that their former religion is a major contributing factor to the hateful queerphobia against them. Yes, other religions and cultures are hatefully queerphobic as well, and when they’re responsible for anti-queer violence, we should say so. But this time, it seems probable that Islamic queerphobia was part of what inspired this terrible act. My friends are tired of having this reality ignored or erased.

I’m boosting their signal.

We don’t have to pretend religious-inspired venom and violence doesn’t exist. We can speak out about it without being bigoted or hateful.

Orlando, and Listening to TBLG Ex-Muslims

“Engaged from the first page”: Bridgett Crutchfield on The Way of the Heathen

Way of the Heathen cover
Some people I like and respect greatly have said some really nice things about my new book, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life. Here’s the blurb from Bridgett Crutchfield:

“Engaged from the first page. While The Way of The Heathen abounds with anecdotes and analogies, what I take away most is Greta Christina’s nuanced, down-to-earth, around the breakfast table with a cup of coffee manner of speech. As with her previous books, The Way of The Heathen speaks TO YOU, not at you — a gift not often bestowed upon readers by atheist authors. The book is dense with facts, but Greta Christina’s handling of scientific data and philosophical questioning doesn’t go over your head but instead moves you to question your current perspectives and beliefs in an abrupt but non-confrontational manner. It is an easy to read book that will challenge you in the most unexpected ways, whether you are a secularist, believer or somewhere in between.”
-Bridgett Crutchfield, President and Founder, Black Nonbelievers of Detroit

The Way of the Heathen is available in ebook on Amazon/Kindle and Smashwords for $7.99. The audiobook is at Audible. The print edition is at Amazon and Powell’s Books, and can be ordered or carried by pretty much any bookstore: it’s being wholesaled by Ingram, Baker & Taylor, IPG, and bookstores can buy it directly from the publisher, Pitchstone Publishing. Check it out, and tell your friends!

“Engaged from the first page”: Bridgett Crutchfield on The Way of the Heathen

“Really clear and concise thoughts”: Cathy on The Way of the Heathen

Way of the Heathen cover
I got a really nice message from a reader, Cathy, about my new book, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life. I’m sharing it here with her permission.

“I’ve just started reading your new book and it’s fabulous. Really clear and concise thoughts. I hesitated to purchase, I’m 57 and an atheist all my life, so I figured I knew how to do it, but I’m finding some wonderful stuff in your book about how to live in the world while trying to make it the world you want it to be. Anyway, thanks! Keep on writing… we all need you.”

Thanks, Cathy! To others who have read/ listened to my book, I’d love to know what you think of it.

The Way of the Heathen is available in ebook on Amazon/Kindle and on Smashwords for $7.99. The audiobook is at Audible. The print edition is at Amazon and Powell’s Books, and can be ordered or carried by pretty much any bookstore: it’s being wholesaled by Ingram, Baker & Taylor, IPG, and bookstores can buy it directly from the publisher, Pitchstone Publishing. Check it out, and tell your friends!

“Really clear and concise thoughts”: Cathy on The Way of the Heathen

“We don’t have a God-shaped hole in our hearts”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

We don’t have a God-shaped hole in our hearts. We have a hole-shaped hole in our hearts.

“We don’t have a God-shaped hole in our hearts. We have a hole-shaped hole in our hearts.”
-Greta Christina, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life
(from Chapter 4, “The Sweet Mystery of Life”)

(Image description: above text, superimposed over image of snowy, barren hilltop with three figures in outdoor gear walking towards horizon)

I’m making a series of memes/ inspirational poster thingies with my favorite quotes from my new book, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life. Please feel free to share this on social media, or print it and hang it on your wall if you like. (The image above is pretty big: you can click on it to get a bigger size if you like.)

Way of the Heathen cover
The Way of the Heathen is available in ebook on Amazon/Kindle and on Smashwords for $7.99. The audiobook is at Audible. The print edition is at Amazon and Powell’s Books, and can be ordered or carried by pretty much any bookstore: it’s being wholesaled by Ingram, Baker & Taylor, IPG, and bookstores can buy it directly from the publisher, Pitchstone Publishing. Check it out, and tell your friends!

“We don’t have a God-shaped hole in our hearts”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

“Our world gets bigger”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

Our world gets bigger when we let reality be what it is

“Our world gets bigger when we let reality be what it is.”
-Greta Christina, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life
(from Chapter 1: “Caring About Reality: Why It Matters What We Don’t Believe”)

I’m making a series of memes/ inspirational poster thingies with my favorite quotes from my new book, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life. Please feel free to share this on social media, or print it and hang it on your wall if you like. (The image above is pretty big: you can click on it to get a bigger size if you like.)

(Image description: a picture of the Earth seen from space, with the text, “Our world gets bigger when we let reality be what it is.” -Greta Christina, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life)

Way of the Heathen cover
The Way of the Heathen is available in ebook on Amazon/Kindle and on Smashwords for $7.99. The audiobook is at Audible. The print edition is at Amazon and Powell’s Books, and can be ordered or carried by pretty much any bookstore: it’s being wholesaled by Ingram, Baker & Taylor, IPG, and bookstores can buy it directly from the publisher, Pitchstone Publishing. Check it out, and tell your friends!

“Our world gets bigger”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

Frivolous Friday: Buffalo Wings

buffalo

Over at Almost Diamonds, Stephanie Zvan has a hi-freaking-larious review of ManCave brand bratwurst, Buffalo wing style with bleu cheese, in which she coins the word “portmanbro.” It reminded me of my very silly story about Buffalo wings.

Not much to it really. Just that when I first saw Buffalo wings on a menu, and for literally several years after, I did not connect them with the city of Buffalo. It did not occur to me even for a second that Buffalo wings referred to a style of preparing and serving chicken wings invented in Buffalo, New York.

Instead, I thought the term was meant to be a fanciful imagining of what buffaloes’ wings would be like, if they had them. I thought the joke was that if buffalo had wings, they would be tiny and vestigial. I thought the joke was that buffalo had evolved from birds, or possibly pterodactyls, and had evolved into large land-bound mammals who couldn’t fly, but they still had vestigial wings which didn’t serve any purpose for the buffalo — but which were delicious.

It reminds me of Mondegreens (comical mis-hearings of song lyrics or phrases). They often make less sense than the actual thing. Often our brains fill in missing information with the most obvious, readily-expected thing — but sometimes, they really, really don’t.

Frivolous Fridays are the Orbit bloggers’ excuse to post about fun things we care about that may not have serious implications for atheism or social justice. Any day is a good day to write about whatever the heck we’re interested in (hey, we put “culture” in our tagline for a reason), but we sometimes have a hard time giving ourselves permission to do that. This is our way of encouraging each other to take a break from serious topics and have some fun. Check out what some of the other Orbiters are doing!

Frivolous Friday: Buffalo Wings

Insomnia, and Falling Asleep as an Activity

bed

The comment policy for this post is different from my usual one. It’s at the end of the post. Content note: passing mentions of depression.

There was a time when sleep was easy. It was so easy, I literally didn’t understand how it could be not-easy. I lay down at the end of the day, and in ten minutes I was asleep. It felt like pure, physical cause-and-effect: falling asleep at the end of the day was like falling down if I rolled off the bed. It just — happened. How could it not happen?

But age happened, and menopause, and post-trauma, and depression, and anti-depressants with a stimulant effect. Sleep got more and more elusive. At this point in my life, some degree of insomnia is no longer the exception — it’s the norm. And I had a realization a little while ago that’s been helping me deal with it:

Falling asleep is no longer something that happens to me. It’s an activity. It’s something I do.

eye
I can’t just lie down at the end of the day and expect sleep to happen. If I lie down and let my brain do whatever it’s inclined to do, it will stay up until at least four in the morning. At best, it’ll think about blogging ideas, book ideas, self-aggrandizing fantasies, re-casting of favorite TV shows, movie mashups, social plans, to-do lists, made-up theologies — it’ll just generally entertain itself. At worst, it’ll replay its long litany of fears and regrets and worst-case scenarios. What it will not do is shut up and go to sleep. It wants to be awake.

So to fall asleep, I have to go through a deliberate series of mental techniques. Continue reading “Insomnia, and Falling Asleep as an Activity”

Insomnia, and Falling Asleep as an Activity