Afternoon InquisitionRandom Asides

AI: What’s Your Beef? (End of Summer Edition)

Well, we did this before with some success, so I’ve decided to give it another go. Don’t want to dip into this well too often, but I’m sure there are a whole host of new and different things that have you riled up; at least to some degree. Republican presidential candidates, bad science, Dr. Oz. . . . The list should be long and varied.

So in the spirit of good griping, I’m just going to open the floor and allow you all to unburden yourselves of anything that’s bothering you. Go ahead and complain about an injustice, whine about something nit-picky, bitch about something that’s bothering you, rail against something outrageous, or pick a fight like a street thug; whatever.

Let’s hear it:

Skepchick readers, what’s your beef?

Sam Ogden

Sam Ogden is a writer, beach bum, and songwriter living in Houston, Texas, but he may be found scratching himself at many points across the globe. Follow him on Twitter @SamOgden

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40 Comments

  1. *Misinformation* Or maybe it’s the lazy ignorance of the people who spread it around totally missing the glaring obvious errors because they’re into the overall message of something & don’t care about complete accuracy? Yes. Maybe that. I’m tired of people with increased influence trying to get people exited on their quest, spreading BS “News” articles from questionable sources & full of junk! People need to stop jumping on bandwagons regardless of how they sound and care about the detailed accuracy of information they let get them riled up and pass along. I thought this was supposed to be the information age where knowledge is power and all that?! So what if you’re full of fake information? You’re worthless and just help make everyone around you just as worthless!!

  2. I hate it when people overlook obvious solutions. Just today I heard a mother bemoaning the lack of attention paid to high school and junior high school football injuries: mostly joint and close-head injuries. “We need more research into better helmets and padding!” When I suggested that the fundamental problem is little children running into each other and that the best thing would be to, huge logical leap here, not do that she looked at me like I was an alien. I get similar looks when I suggest the most effective remedy for traffic tickets and high insurance, fuel, and repair costs is to, another huge logical leap here, not drive.

    Embrace the logical solution or STFU!

    1. “I get similar looks when I suggest the most effective remedy for traffic tickets and high insurance, fuel, and repair costs is to, another huge logical leap here, not drive.”

      “Don’t drive!” is great advice for someone in, say, New York or San Francisco.

      But I dare you to live where I lie (Phoenix) and not drive. It’s not easy. Nearly impossible for most people. And I didn’t drive for my first 8 years here! It was torture. I do not miss not having a car here. The last straw was when, during my two-bus, hour and a half long trip, the air conditioner died. In August. When it was 110+ degrees outside.

      I’m too old for that now, lol.

  3. Could we start a pact of bloggers to ignore the November 2012 US election, to you know, maybe, just saying, November 2012? Is anything happening today that will be relevant after 14th months of US politics? If you tune in a month before, are you going to be any less informed?

    1. The primaries are important too, one of the reasons we get such poor candidates is that people ignore the primaries or only look into the candidates the media has chosen to focus on. So yes I would say it would be very bad if everyone only paid attention long after the primaries were over and I do believe in addition that people would be less informed.

  4. My beef today is the fact that some random religious asshats put giant abortion scare-tactic pictures all over the main walkway of our college campus. I’m talking billboard sized and in view of most of the main buildings people go to for class, AND right in front of the library, where most people are hanging out to study for up-coming midterms. My beef is with them making me physically ill and for their attempts at “debate” : basically, they want me to stand by and let them rant about how bad it is that I am a female who is pro-choice.

  5. I second dave’s post. My beef is anything related to transportation, but most often safety. Driving is the most dangerous thing Americans do, and we pass laws to stop texting, phone calling, eating, sneezing, or scratching while driving to try to get a miniscule reduction in accidents (if any reduction at all) when the best way to that is to invest in public transportation so people aren’t on the road! Then it drives me nuts when people say it’s economically unfeasible. If that’s so, why can the Europeans do it? Simply put they make easy cheap transportation a priority and we don’t.

  6. Complaining, it just makes me insane! People just going off about things that drive them crazy. I mean it really drives me crazy. I mean really why do people feel the need to just vent publicly? It’s not like it’s going to fix anything! Yet it just continues, “I hate this, why do people do that?” GAH!

    It’s like when they stopped selling Count Chocula in California That drove me nuts, I practally told everyone about it, but did I complain…

    Wait a minute.

  7. The execution of Cameron Todd Willingham. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/09/07/090907fa_fact_grann?currentPage=all

    This facebook status:
    “Interesting…If you cross the North Korean border illegally, you get 12 yrs. hard labor. If you cross the Afghanistan border illegally, you get shot. Two Americans just got eight years for crossing the Iranian border. If you cross the U.S. border illegally you get, a job, a driver’s license, food stamps, a place to live, health care, housing & child benefits, education, & a tax free business for 7 yrs. No wonder we are a country in debt. Re-post if you agree”

    Some of those bad things might happen if you cross the U.S. border illegally, too. I don’t think the government provides many of those listed benefits to citizens, much less non-citizens. Only re-post things you know the facts for.

    Chain emails that are intended to frighten and contain appalling misinformation.

    It goes on and on.

    1. “The execution of Cameron Todd Willingham”

      I read that article in full when Rebecca linked to it the other day – it’s the best argument against the death penalty I’ve ever seen.

      I can’t believe that the institute of fire investigators applied to the court for an EXEMPTION from using scientific methods – and I can’t believe that it took until the late nineties for somebody to actually DO THE EXPERIMENT to discredit the bogus science used.

      Don’t feel too bad though, the state of forensic science is just as crap in Oz. Remember the Lindy Chamberlain case? (the dingo took her baby). I am friendly with one of the expert witnesses (facepalm)….

      More recently in South Australia the state of forensic pathology has been called into question (to put it mildly).

      I reckon if you scatch the surface of forensic “science” in a lot of places in the world, there is a can of worms just waiting to be exposed.

      That can be my beef for the day!

  8. I hate the 9/11 conspiracy movement. I hate when people I know and should respect feel like they are smarter than everyone else just because they believe the government/CIA/FBI knew about the attacks ahead of time, or because they believe the planes couldn’t do the damage that they did and it was actually a controlled demolition.

    I hate that when I try to reason with them, they will probably pretend they understand the physics of what would actually happen if you sent a plane into the WTC.

  9. The heat. I mean, it’s been much, much better lately (high of 95 today and tomorrow!!), but I really can’t wait until late October/November, when fall will finally be here…

    The lack of awesome monsoon storms, and the ridiculous amount of dust storms (HABOOB!) that we’ve had this summer. I haven’t washed my car ALL summer because of the dust storms.

    People who don’t use their blinkers/turn signals. UGH.

    When I’m going nearly 50, and the speed limit is 40, and you are STILL riding my ass, like I’m some slow grannie. ASSHOLES. (Here in Phoenix, always add 9-10 mph to any speed limit; that’s the actual speed limit.)

    My ex-boyfriend. He’s an asshole. And a mamma’s boy. He’s 24, getting his bachelor’s … and his parents still do his homework for him. True story. Totally dodged a bullet on that one.

      1. OH, he doesn’t ask. They insist. He’s got dyslexia and ADHD and he’s a terrible writer. He’s not stupid. FAR from stupid. However, he definitely has dyslexia which affects his writing a lot. But I wonder why he’s still having issues with it? Don’t you? Oh, maybe it’s because instead of tutoring and extra writing classes and other things to help with his dyslexia … they do his homework for him. It’s … sad.

        He basically has to go to his parents for EVERY SINGLE DECISION.

        He’s taking three online courses and won’t be working this semester and yet … he “doesn’t have time to have a girlfriend.” Wonder how he’s going to handle the real world, when his parents can no longer hold his hand? Because the real world is going to be a lot more difficult than three online fucking classes.

        And he had some issues at work (summer job) with his supervisor, who was an asshole. Which happens sometimes when you are an adult and working at a hotel. Asshole supervisors happen, ya know?

        His fucking dad went in and had a chat with his supervisor. More than once.

        I was flabbergasted when I learned that. Is his daddy going to come in and talk to every shit supervisor he has until the day he dies? I mean wow. If you can’t even handle a horrible boss at 24 fucking years old.

        They always said “but he’s so YOUNG!” (I’m 30), but I have plenty of friends near his age who do just fine in the real world. They have jobs. They do their own homework. They have their own places…

        So, uh, yeah. Rant over. LOL!

  10. If we must tolerate a world full of people who think* they believe in bronze age mythology, why cannot I be the supreme being? As long as there has to be one, let me be the all powerful, vengeful GOD that rains misery down upon their sorry selves. I have some ideas … ;)

    * I say think because how often do you meet one of these sheeple who have actually read their little book? I mean come on, if you are going to try to rule the world would it be too much trouble to read your own god damned book?

    That is the one true difference I see between Islam and Christianity; the percentage of those who read their book and those who do not. Imagine a world where the numbers were reversed; Islam would not be such a threat and there would far fewer people willing to call themselves Christians.

    1. It would all depend on what parts of the book they valued most, though, wouldn’t it? Instead we could end up with crazy fundie Christians who eat kosher, wear robes, grow out their beards, execute adulteresses, hate homosexuals, smash any kind of religious imagery, take the Sabbath as seriously as Orthodox jews and set up backwards theocracies like old-school Afghanistan, OR we could end up with super kind, forgiving, pacifist, eternally compassionate Christians who will literally turn their other cheek when you slap them.

      1. Natalie, you are so right on. The most frustrating … one of the many most frustrating things about people of the book is that they have not read their book. If they would just read it, all of it, maybe they would reconsider their dear and fluffy lord. You think?

        IIRC, Saul/Paul says once and only once that a man lying with a man was unnatural. He also said that long hair on men and short hair on women was unnatural. Big effing deal. I do not see people demonstrating against dead soldiers because women have short hair.

  11. People who misrepresent the marginal income tax rates in the U.S. Seriously, how is that someone can get into their 20s and 30s without knowing how the goddamn income tax system in this country works? And how is it that I’ve had to explain this to several different people over the last year?

    1. Well, considering that I spent part of this week explaining to some folks in their 20’s and 30’s what sales tax is and how to calculate it…I would definitely believe that those same people have no clue how income tax works.

        1. I know. It’s pretty disturbing that I end up having to teach these things. (Also “Hey doc, I have a question for you. How can I reliably calculate how long I’ve worked? So…say I clock in at 8:30 and clock out at 5:45. How long have I worked and how would I figure that out?”) At least they’re starting to see the relevance of math in their lives and are asking about it.

  12. You want beefs, I got plenty.

    I know everyone wants their veterinarian to be a caring, sensitive person…and I really believe that I am. BUT…on a daily basis, for 30 years, I have tended to many a dog or cat that is owned by a magical thinking owner. I mean, to the point where even getting a decent history is almost impossible. The number of odd theories that some owners have about the reason for their pet’s ailments is really mind boggling. Mostly it surrounds what they are feeding their pets (but doctor, it’s grain free, or I don’t understand why he’s fat, I don’t overfeed him) or beliefs about exposure to “toxins.” I am kind and really I try and am almost always successful in guiding them towards helping me to understand the reason they have brought their pet to see me. But it is not easy. One thing I have learned is to just shut up and listen for at least 5 minutes. 5 very long minutes. This is a situation where I can’t just confront them in an aggressive way. I kind of nod and listen and then I present the evidence, which is often very, very limited in veterinary medicine. I love my job, I love my job, I love my job.

  13. I had to quit my job today. It just isn’t working out for me, and I have to leave. But I hate being poor even more. I hate jumping through hoops for EI, and paperwork, and applying for other jobs. And cover letters. Ugh.
    I wish I knew what I wanted to do with myself so I could commit myself to it. I’m 33 and as directionless as I was at 17. Debating going to school…I am full of angsts.

  14. I am depressed. I just want to listen to Outlaw Country and break shit, maybe get into a fight with one of the multitude assholes that inhabit my home planet, Retardo (aka earth). Anyone have an old TV that I could beat on with a baseball bat while listening to Johnny Paycheck?

  15. I have lots of beefs! It varies from day to day.

    I guess I’ll go with two.

    1) People who hypocritically feign concern for people with drug addictions while opposing harm-reduction methods and supporting the drug war.

    Today I was in a conversation about the extreme discrimination and hatred directed towards people with severe drug addictions, and I put forth the idea that the reason for this is that they serve as a “scapegoat” for our society’s own collective hyper-consumerist, addictive drives. We’re taught through advertising to seek fulfillment through the acquisition of external things and pleasures, and the addict represents that same drive in its most bare and exposed form, as well as the uselessness of that drive. So we hate him while forgiving ourselves. Scapegoat.

    My friend responded “Or maybe some of us just have trouble watching people destroy their own lives willingly”

    Sure. Except that study after study after study, plus all the common sense in the world indicates that a drug war approach has been, and will continue to be, totally, completely useless. Harm reduction programs, on the other hand, have proven to do a VERY good job of diminishing the negative effects of addiction upon the addicts and the communities in which they reside. But there is nothing but fervent opposition within the mainstream for such programs.

    I’ve heard, far more times than I’d have like to have, time and time again, the argument that Vancouver’s safe injection site should be shut down on the grounds that addicts’ lives aren’t worth saving. Really. I hope you find that as unbelievable and disgusting as I do. So I can’t STAND it when people claim that the hostility and harsh enforcement programs and “drug war”, given the massive financial and human cost with nothing to show for it, is born out of a concern for life. Ugh.

    It doubly bothers me when America pressures us to abolish our already flimsy, under-funded harm reduction measures. Like a US represenative publicly declaring the safe injection site “state assisted suicide.” Back off. This is OUR country, OUR city, and OUR drug problem. You don’t understand the issue or have to live with the consequences. So STFU with your moralizing. Talk to me after you’ve had at least two friends die of overdoses.

    My other big beef today? Trans-exclusionist radical feminists.

    Normally, I’m fine with the bigots out there in bigotville making a lot of bigoted noise. Really, I am. Who cares? In most every human rights movement, such people eventually lose, and end being nothing more than an embarrassing paragraph in the history books. Haters gonna hate.

    But what *really* rubs me the wrong way about this particular instance is that they’re doing it IN THE NAME OF FEMINISM. And while doing so, they replicate precisely the same binary, gender-essentialist, “biology is destiny”, “you can’t overcome you’re socialized and/or innate nature/role”, hierarchy of gender, anti-feminine and even occasionally phallocentric (“but you have a PENIS! Your small, limp, hardly-functional, heavily estrogenized PENIS threatens our safety and symbolically rapes our space!”) kinds of thinking that they claim to be opposed to. Then they have the gall to insinuate that our opposition to this bigotry and hatred is simply an example of “male entitlement” on our part. And the audacity to make the claim that somehow *we’re* the party favoured by patriarchy and there to colonize and undermine their spaces. That the “male privilege” we supposedly still have (despite, you know, living as women and experiencing misogyny in our daily lives) is so much bigger than their supposedly non-existent cis privilege. Oppression olympics! Yay!

    It’s the height of hyprocrisy, it completely violates everything positive and powerful about feminism, deliberately alienates a potentially extremely useful and committed group of allies, and mocks everything feminism stands for. It disgusts me.

    Yes, at the end of the day, socialization *does* matter, and there are important differences between a cis woman’s experiences and a trans woman’s, but no woman, regardless of the particulars of her experience is more valid or real than another, and most importantly it seems incredibly obvious to me that our mutual oppression is based in PRECISELY the same sexism and misogyny we BOTH are working against. The fact that such “feminists” work so adamantly to drive a wedge between us is tragic.

    1. Great rant Natalie, I fully agree on both issues!

      Recently I lost a good friend through ?accidental overdose/?suicide. I don’t blame the heroin dealer and drug culture so much as the stepfather who raped her when she was a teenager. I am friendly with her real father too, a really intelligent nice guy – he was the one who found her body. Fuck this world.

      Nothing I can do now – too late, too much pain and her demons caught up with her I guess.

  16. I think this is my second time posting here. Long time reader. I really needed this, so thank you!

    7 month ago I busted my back and have two bulging discs in the lumber region of my spine. I am so sick of everyone all of a sudden having an opinion on my medical treatment. I have a doctor and a physio, I am doing rehab and have had a couple of cortisone epidurals for the inflammation. Yes it is a slow process and I was hoping it would be better by now but its not any slower than average for this injury.

    Over the last few months I have had the following suggestions just to name a few, acupuncture, chiropractic, reiki, spiritual healing, crystal healing, Quantam bio-energetics, Myotherapy and Chinese Medicine. I have had acquaintances tell me I could be healed in 1 session through them at a certain fee.

    Generally I politely decline but more often then not that is followed up by a why? When I respond that I have looked into it and there isn’t really evidence that any of it works or at the very least works more effectively than what I am already doing, then they get defensive and get angry at me for not wanting to do what they want me to do. Then they tell me I have bought into big pharma and that my precious “Science” obviously isn’t helping me because I am still injured 7 months later, implying that I am responsible for being injured for so long because I haven’t tried what ever quackery they are pushing. Then they call me brainwashed and all of the normal things, then they send me articles full of fallacy after fallacy and then when I disagree with the article. Being injured, stuck at home and in pain most of the time is stressful enough and the last thing I need having to constantly defend my position on my own health to people because of their own emotional attachment to what ever health ideology they are pressing on me at the time. I don’t have many skeptical type people around me so mostly when I speak to friends about it they tell me nicely (but their tone doesn’t really make it any better) that maybe I should just give it a go, what harm could it do?

    I am sure that in their heads they are trying to help but it gets pretty old. Anyway, thanks heaps for letting me have that rant.

    1. I busted my ankle two months ago and it’s taking its damn sweet time healing too. Thankfully no one has pulled any of that alternative crap on me, good on you for standing up to them. My mum did suggest once I visit a naturopath, but I said I didn’t trust them (and I couldn’t afford it) because there was no regulatory committee or any kind of standards they have to live up to. Sure you could find someone who has some kind of training,but anyone off the street could call themselves an alt-ed practitioner and you’d never know.
      I hope you get well soon…I know how frustrating it is to be in constant pain with limited mobility. Having to deal with bullshit on top is just not acceptable.

  17. This may take a while. I really need to vent. What’s bugging me?
    Rick Perry getting cheered for his execution record. Uptight goddists freaking out about Chas Bono dancing on a TV show. Rick Perry praying for rain (where were his feather headdress and turtle-shell rattles?). Friends on Facebook posting prayer requests. Angry clients. Wildfires. Couds, but no rain. American food waste (hot dog eating contests, those stupid stunts where people grab the ice cream cone in the drive-through by the ice cream) while people all over the world starve to death. Bullies. Homophobes. Hypocrites. Homeopathy. Psychics. Reiki. Crystal therapy. The funeral industry. Toddlers & Tiaras. Parents who film their kids fighting. Parents who let their kids die because of their religious beliefs. Child abuse. Racists. The Tea Party. Tiny yippy dogs. Rick Perry. That beep the smoke detector makes when the battery dies. The Catholic Church. The FLDS. Truthers. Anti-vaxxers. Rick Perry.
    That’s all for now. I feel better, thanks!

    1. Rant on a rant. I agree with everything you said except the bit about tiny yippy dogs. Not all small dogs are yippy. They are small DOGS with generally the same behaviors as “real” dogs, but just smaller. There are individual breed characteristics, I agree, but the yippy thing is such an unfair generalization. Small dogs can be obnoxious, but so can large dogs. A dog’s a dog no matter how small, with apologies to Dr. Suess.

  18. I’ve got a couple;

    I am tired of unskeptical people assuming that I am being unskeptical because I don’t agree with their unskeptical opinion.

    And just how easy it is to mess with somebody who is far away.
    A story; At 3:30 Monday morning I was awaken by the sound of someone pounding on the front door, while I was trying to find out who was there (not in the habit of opening the door to just anybody) my wife came downstairs and said she had just gotten a call from the dispatcher that it was the police outside for a “welfare check” (my first thought being “but we’re not on welfare). Turns out the local police had been called by the state police because I was “chatting with someone online and had mentioned that I was going to take a bunch of pills and get a gun” (I did not, I was sleeping). So all someone had to do was find out where a person with my, fairly common, name lived and call the state police for that area to be awaken at 3:30 in the morning.
    I believe it was mistaken identity rather than someone messing with me but I didn’t pursue it.

  19. @Mrmisconception I have been getting that people calling me unskeptical because I don’t agree with their unskeptical opinion thing too

    @madfishmonger Thanks for the get well wishes and right back at you with them. I had a sprained ankle last year and it’s another injury that feels like it will go on for ever. Hope you have a speedy recovery. Naturopathy is one of the few things that hasn’t been suggested, I was actually starting to think that people would run out of quackery to recommend. But I suppose that is far to optimistic, there is always more.

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