Author Archives: zenzalei

About zenzalei

Writer with a bird. Or, more accurately, bird with a writer.

A little good luck.

Me, running through my coworkers after winning an office holiday party raffle for the first time in a 34-year career:

I’m as excited about the tin as I am about the gift card inside.

Picked up these cute earrings at the drugstore, by Claire’s, for the party.

Also got some cute hair accessories. Claire’s is generally for teens and girls but when it comes to holiday earrings and minor accessories, all bets are off.

That’s all I’ve got tonight, kids.

A Blow to Hate.

Diverse beliefs about the role of gender in marriage are held by reasonable and sincere people based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises. Therefore, Congress affirms that such people and their diverse beliefs are due proper respect.

The above is from the text of the Respect for Marriage Act, which repeals the Defense of Marriage Act and provides federal protection for same-sex marriage and mandates that and state governments recognize legally celebrated marriages regardless of the individuals’ sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin. People are also now allowed to sue to enforce those rights.

I am beyond grateful that this bill is now law. I will sleep better knowing that so many dear to me have this protection from hate, including the hate so often spewed forth by the majority of U.S. Supreme Court Justices. It is, as President Biden says, a blow against hate.

Elon’s Henchmen

Ye gods, I’m so tired of Elon Musk and his sycophants, almost as much as I’m sick of Donald Trump and his. Every time someone criticizes Musk, his (largely White male) bootlickers come out en masse like an indignant and egregiously offended group of Bronies who take criticism of their hero as a personal affront. They need to get some boundaries because negative commentary and satire of a public figure should not prompt that much butt-hurt and aggro in those who admire the person.

Even worse, they want to make it political, like it’s a liberal thing not to like the guy. As someone who identifies as left of center, for me, it’s absolutely not political. He lost me long ago with his antivax garbage and his denigration of higher education, even though he needs people with advanced degrees to build his toys and run his companies. He’s more than a little sexist and racist, judging by his comments, and no, he is not the founder of Tesla like many believe. Tesla was founded by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning. Half the people who come out and rage in Musk’s defense appear to not even know that much.

His sycophants, so many of them armchair “experts” in Constitutional law, want to make it about “freedom of speech,” as though Twitter’s previous bans on hate speech somehow curtail the right to speak one’s mind. The problem with that is that the Constitutional right to “freedom of speech” extends only to the government in that it prevents the government from censoring the press, incarcerating people for peaceful assembly, and punishing those who petition for redress. Social media is privately held, and if the owners want to ban the word “cat,” they have every legal right to. I’ve had other blogs in the past, more popular and well-tended blogs, and I absolutely had a list of words that were banned in the comments because I have no tolerance for intolerance, hate speech, or incivility on any site I run. While my country is designed to be a democracy, my blogs and sites are not. The buck stops with me.

Furthermore, the First Amendment does NOT protect ALL speech. It does not protect incitement, defamation, fraud, obscenity, child pornography, fighting words, or threats. And guess what, kids? More and more courts are finding racial epithets and other forms of hate speech to be “fighting words.”

The Musk syhophants like to go on about how Twitter had “censorship” before Musk came in. I would like to know what is so wrong with a private company wanting to make its platform welcoming to all. Why should women, people of color, trans people, gay people, immigrants, and other marginalized groups have to be subjected to hate speech and bigoted rants meant to intimidate and frighten them? Why should any platform be welcoming to hatred? There is mounting evidence that hate speech online harms the mental health and well-being of the people it targets. It’s a form of cyberbullying, and it is psychological violence.

Sorry, racists, homophobes, and misogynists. You need a better argument to defend that egomaniacal jerk and the way he is further lowering a platform that was already a cesspit of conspiracy theories and low-brow, emotionally stunted discourse.