Guys being awful
I have recently learned, on two separate occasions, about men who struck me as “friendly, though a little insecure/out of place and maybe overcompensating for it in a little bit extra-masculine kind of way” being uhhhh way creepy to women. (in both cases “creepy” is an understatement! but I won’t describe more because 1. content warning, 2. I’m reporting like thirdhand here, 3. you probably know at least one of who I’m talking about already, yep that one, right-o)
I don’t really have much to add to this conversation, and I’m not really close enough to either situation to meaningfully effect change. I’m a little puzzled because I don’t know what (if anything) I should learn from this. Obv I should have seen it coming, etc., and obv as soon as you hear about it you believe the victims and shut down the assaulter and etc., but like… should I have not been friendly with them in the first place? And if so, I really gotta keep adjusting my radar because I don’t think I can tell the difference between “a little insecure so you should include them and that’s exactly what they need” and “a little insecure and actually a sexual assaulter.”
Assorted side worries
- the housing market is so bad for anyone who needs to buy a house, and based on what I’ve seen in SF, I don’t see why it would ever change. Does the future get worse? In the future, instead of $1.5m homes in SF and $250k homes in Pittsburgh, is it $5m homes in SF and $1m homes in Pittsburgh? Or can some cities turn this around? (Pgh, which is already down about 50% in population from its peak in the 30s-60s, might have a chance? just by infilling all the homes that we’ve lost? I dunno.)
- I have not heard much about national politics since approx Jan 20. This is so wonderful, and I enjoy the peace in my life. I’m glad that the Less Bad Team got 51% of the votes. I don’t think we’re making the kinds of changes that will keep the Worse Team from getting 51% of the votes next time, especially as everyone gets as relaxed as I am. This worries me.
- I don’t think we’ve learned enough from Covid. I’m vaguely worried about vaccine research, given how bad it can be if we goof once. I’m also vaguely worried about “the next disaster of another sort” (an example I’ve heard is “huge power outage due to our aging power grid”); I don’t know what we’re doing to prevent that.
On Drugs and the War On Them
I’m slowly opening to the idea that the whole War on Drugs has been worse than we ever thought (even if we thought it was bad), and that the best answers may be more radical than I thought. I love accounts like this one about how basically science advances because of drugs. I heard an interview with Carl Hart, and it wasn’t this one but sounded like it, and I think he’s doing a great service by pushing the Overton window. As an endowed-chair professor and father, he’s a good one to say, “let’s literally legalize all drugs, even if people are just using them for fun.” (I think “heroin” will get too many of the headlines here, and this is kind of too bad; I still don’t think you should do heroin? “I didn’t get addicted” isn’t a good argument that you won’t get addicted.)
I’m not sure what the ultimate answer is. But I feel like it’s something closer to “everything’s legal, maybe you have to jump through hoops, but you can get or use anything without fear of arrest” than our current situation. Even setting aside all the flawed premises and motives of the drug war, banning drugs turns off all sorts of promising research angles. And I mean that on a societal level, but also on a personal level. I’ve loved Nick Cammarata’s tweets recently, like this, loosely describing potential psychological benefits from MDMA, and this is not “in a clinical trial with vets with PTSD”, this is just people healing themselves. People using the substance to learn new patterns of thought and emotion that can really help their lives. We’ve got to be able to experiment, to learn how to be our best selves, if we as a society are going to continue to grow. And I agree with Hart that people don’t become addicts because of the drugs. The drugs are filling holes in their lives that they’re not addressing in another way.
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