What do you think the “Wait, smoking is bad for you!?” revelation of our generation will be?
1. “Wait, alcohol is actually a dangerous, mind-altering narcotic that can cause you to do something stupid or criminal or even die if you drink too much of it?!”
2. “Wait, driving to an office five days a week, only to sit for eight hours while doing meaningless tasks and staring at a screen is bad for both your physical and mental health?!”
3. “Wait, forcing your kids to participate in your ‘family vlogs’ without their consent is just as psychologically harmful to them as if you pimped them out?!”
4. “Wait, sugar really is unspeakably bad for you in the quantities we’ve been eating it for the last hundred or so years?!”
Fellow Americans, when was the last presidential election where you felt that both candidates were well suited for the job?
2012, when it came down to Obama and Romney. I mean, I loathed Romney, and I still believe he would have been a terrible president, but he was qualified for the job. In my opinion, the only people qualified to be president are (a) educated to at least the undergraduate level (i.e., have completed their B.A. or B.S.) in at least one the following subjects: Political science, international politics, economics, law, and sociology, (b) have worked in local, state, or federal government for a minimum of five years, (c) held an elected position for at least three years, or (d) some combination of (b) and (c). Romney ticks all of those boxes; even though his undergrad was in English, he graduated from law school, was governor of Massachusetts, and has been a Senator for several years. Again, I didn’t vote for him and I think he would have been a bad president, but he met my idea of a “qualified” candidate.
What are some things Trump did wrong?
Psh, easier to ask what he did right. And that thing? That singular thing he did right? He signed a bill that makes animal cruelty a felony at the federal level. Which, great, I’m happy, but when you consider that this fuckass voted to defund Social Security (which most harms Boomers, by the way, not Gen Xers, Millennials, or Zoomers), tried to destroy the post office when he realized he’d lose an election that was entirely mail-in, stripped away the few rights that trans people had gained under Obama, threw more and more kids into prison camps, and how he handled COVID, not to mention his general idiocy, doesn’t even begin to fractionally make up for anything else.
What is something that everyone accepts as normal that scares you?
The idea that if you’re not working, you’re not worth helping. Work requirements for welfare and Medicaid are absolutely bonkers, and yet, it seems like most people (not just Boomers, but quite a few Gen-Xers and Millennials, too) support them.
What truly is a victimless crime?
Growing weed. Selling weed. Buying weed. Using weed. Consensual prostitution. Feeding the homeless. Being homeless. Yes, in many parts of the US, including Indianapolis, it’s a crime to be homeless. And not in the way that attempting suicide is a crime (which allows officers and EMTs to come into your home without a warrant, which in turn gives them the best chance at saving your life), but in the “you can go to jail, lose your job, have your kids taken from you, and end up with a rap sheet” way. Given how much of American homelessness is caused by our society and government, the last thing we should be doing is criminalizing it.
Now that you know how your country responds to a pandemic, how would it handle a zombie apocalypse?
Uh, we wouldn’t. We’d have leaders calling it a “hoax” as people were dying and zombie-fying in the streets. (Seriously, the American response to COVID-19 was so bad, it makes President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho look like a competent leader.)
What’s the dumbest Coronavirus conspiracy theory you’ve ever heard?
That the vaccine is “unsafe” and “it shares CHEEEEEMICAAAAAAAAAAAALS! with [actually pretty innocuous thing here].” Hokay, firstly, everything is made of chemicals, including you, Becky, and your all-organic diet. Secondly, you’ve done a hundred things, and touched a hundred surfaces, that are way sketchier than any vaccine, even the Russian one (which, for the record, I do not trust, but I don’t live in Russia, so I don’t have to worry about it). Example: Did you take your phone with you into the bathroom, take a dump, and then handle your phone after you wiped and before your washed your hands? Have you sanitized your phone and its case in the last two days? Then don’t worry about the vaccine! phones are absolute cesspools of filth and bacteria and all other sorts of nasty, microscopic vermin. Wipe it with rubbing alcohol once a day, or get one of those Phone Soap things. If anything on this list applies to you, don’t worry about what’s in the vaccine.
What do you miss most from before the pandemic?
What’s the biggest lie you heard this year?
COVID “is a Democrat hoax/will be gone by Easter/is just a flu/isn’t killing people.” Oh yeah, and DJT only had a “mild” case.
What double standard disgusts you?
Most of the ones having to do with being a working adult. If you’re late without notice once, you’re in trouble, but your boss never gets in trouble if you stay late to finish up something they gave you at the last minute (which, if you’re in a job like mine, you can’t get overtime for; you have to use flex time, or knock off early for the rest of the week). Or, if you’re asked to come in on your day off and refuse, on the grounds that it’s your day off, your boss gets angry, but if you come in anyway, they just expect that you’re on-call every day from then on. Or… You have PTO in the form of vacation and sick days, so you use them, but then your boss brings them up against you during your annual review. So why offer PTO in the first place, if you’re just going to make an employee feel like an asshole for using it? It’s theirs to use! And, since we live in an ableist culture that forces people with disabilities and chronic illness to work because they’re not “disabled enough” to be on the pittance we call SSI, you have to allow that someone who is disabled or always sick is going to take more sick days than a non-disabled employee. (This could be helped by not having a for-profit health care industry, but let’s not start actually caring about people, here.) Late-stage capitalism’s work ethic is incredibly toxic, especially to the people who are actually working.
Also, a bank can charge an overdraft fee immediately, but if you put money in the account that makes up or exceeds the overdraft, you have to wait 7-10 business days for them to refund the overdraft fee, if they refund it at all. (I could make an entry-length rant about overdraft fees being the ultimate double-standard in banking, and I still may, but now is not the time.)
Oh, and one last thing about workplaces. If you leave a job and want to collect unemployment, you have to give two weeks’ notice and go through an exit interview. If your boss wants to fire you, they can do it without any advance notice, especially in a “right-to-work” state like Indiana.
If all 46 presidents of the United States would fight in a battle royale who would win?
If you could learn the truth of any one mystery, urban legend or conspiracy theory. What would you choose?
QAnon. I really want to know who’s behind this, so they can be prosecuted for not only the January 6th terrorist attack, but also Charlottesville, death threats against members of Congress, and spreading massive amounts of disinformation.
Why shouldn’t we just make all sports coed and stop the fighting about who transgender athletes get to compete against?
You know, I’ve really been racking my brains for an answer to this that doesn’t boil down to “cuz menz has moar testosterones and girlz iz weak BIOWOGIKAL SEGGS!”, and I can’t find one. This especially bothers me when it comes to running, because honestly, who the fuck cares if Caster Semanya is intersex? She’s the best runner in the world, end of. And if people have a problem with it, then here’s my solution: Drop her, and every runner in the world who thinks they can compete with Ms. Semanya, into a field in Nebraska, and tell them, “This line, start. That line a mile away, end. Whoever crosses the end line first is the best runner in the world, and the rest of you, shut the fuck up about it.”
People with disabilities, what’s a common misconception about your disability?
That I’m hyperactive and also probably 32 years in need of a good, hard smack. In reality, ADHD is more like having the world’s worst browser in your brain: Most of the links are broken, nothing really works, the search function has absolutely no quality control, and Jesus fucking Christ, WHICH TAB IS PLAYING THE NUMA NUMA SONG?! With meds, it’s still like that, but at least the Numa Numa song isn’t playing quite as loudly.
How would you feel if people convicted of domestic violence had to register like sex offenders do?
I’d support it, but I’d be more in favor of getting their exes and current partners into safe houses and therapy. Abusers are who they are: They don’t change, and they go after vulnerable people who think they don’t deserve better. The best way to stop domestic violence is to make their pool of potential victims smaller.
In what way is it expensive to be poor?
If you’ve been online recently, you’ve probably seen this quote, but just in case, this is from Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett: The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money. Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles. But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet. This was the Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socioeconomic unfairness.
Honestly, that about sums it up. Being poor means not having enough money to spend on high-quality anything, so you get by with low-quality everything: Clothes, shoes, cars, appliances, even food.
What’s something that’s secretly been great about the pandemic?
Honestly, for me, working from home. My productivity is better, probably because I’m not spending the first two hours of my day trying to suck down enough coffee to feel only slightly more alert than if I were still asleep. Also, if I don’t have any work that needs done right away in the morning, I can either go back to bed for a little while or wake up slowly with some breakfast, coffee, and YouTube. Slow days have been particularly good for me lately; I joined the Just Dance Fitness subreddit, so if I have an exceptionally slow day, more often than not, I’ll start a Just Sweat session (there doesn’t appear to be an endless shuffle mode on Unlimited, but it works out nicely if I have to do something) and play until I have some work to do. It’s also nice that I don’t have to do the 40 to 45-minute drive from my place to the office and back more than twice a week anymore, which is time I can use to work on assignments or, in the afternoon, start planning for dinner. All in all, I really like working from home, and I sincerely hope this remains an option.
What crimes just don’t happen anymore because technology made them impossible?
Signal intrusions and phreaking. Also, the reality of the internet makes the entire plot of WarGames pretty laughable in hindsight. I still watch it, though; Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy have good chemistry, and the movie itself is prime early-80s fondue. (And Broderick’s acting is adorkably terrible.)
How would a $20/hr minimum wage change your life?
1. I would be able to quit my second job, which would save me money in gas, maintenance, tires, and insurance on my car.
2. I’d be able to pay my credit cards off faster, since I’d have about $400 more to pay them down with monthly. (For the record, I have less than $10,000 in credit card debt, and I owe less than $5000 on my car loan; it’s the student loans that are killing me.)
3. I’d be able to start actually paying off my student loans, instead of banking on my Income-Driven Repayment plan to stay at less than $20/month.
4. I’d be able to rent a detached house, or at least move into a bigger apartment.
5. I’d be able to start saving more, not just in my emergency fund, but also in my HSA and my PERF (Public Employees’ Retirement Fund, for those unaware), and I’d be able to start a nest egg. And all of these would lead into
6. I’d be able to stop worrying about if my rent goes up, or my insurance, or how much my electric bill is each month (and yeah, can I point out that with a significant number of people working from home and educating their children from home, people are going to use more electricity? This is a pandemic; I feel like there should have been laws passed to keep power companies from gouging people from the very start. Yeah, I know, wishful thinking, especially given how dedicated the last guy was to denying that anything was going on). I’m not saying I’d have endless money, or that I’d leave the A/C on 65 all the time, but fluctuations wouldn’t cause me to open my budgeting app and figure out where I can cut corners, financially speaking.
If you became dictator of the world tomorrow, what global laws would you put into place?
1. UNIVERSAL 👏 BASIC 👏 INCOME 👏👏👏 of $5000/month, starting on your 17th birthday.
2. UNIVERSAL 👏 HEALTHCARE 👏 and free birth control for anyone who wants it.
3. No more tax loopholes for the 1%; they pay their share, just like everyone else.
4. If you’re on the sex offender registry for a violent sexual assault (rape or child molestation), if you have a history of beating your partners, if you have ever abused an animal or another person for your own pleasure, or if you have ever bought child pornography, you must immediately present yourself for sterilization.
5. Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Nonbinary identities are valid. We will make precisely zero laws quibbling about this, and instead help people discover their gender identity in a way that makes them feel whole, nurtured, loved, and respected.
6. Religion can stay; there are actually benefits to having a faith system, and religions provide community and charity in a lot of cases. BUT. If a house of worship wants to keep its tax-exempt status, (a) it must be absolutely apolitical, (b) its practitioners must perform acts of a charitable nature, as outlined by their religion’s laws and holy book, once a month from age 7 onward, (c) it must immediately fire any and all clergy members found to be abusing parishioners in any way, and (d) it must continually and provably promote and increase the wellbeing of its community. Oh, and the Vatican has to turn over its porn collection to my government, for reasons. (Hey, is a dictator really a dictator if they don’t have at least one certifiably insane law?).