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Wednesday’s insurrection should have been a surprise to exactly no one. Division and outright rage have been reaching a boiling point for several years now, and we’ve watched Trump fervently stir the pot since Biden was declared the winner of the presidential election. Much of the provocation from the President, and the rallying of his insurgents, took place before our very eyes on social media. Which begs the increasingly urgent question — what role and responsibility does social media have in today’s world?

Currently the FTC and 46 US States, the District of Columbia and Guam are suing Facebook for anticompetitive practices, with a similar suit recently announced against Google. These lawsuits specifically address the issue of stomping out competition, and don’t even touch on privacy, data collection, fake news, election interference, or Section 230, so it may seem that these particular suits are Wall Street’s concern and not at issue in this conversation. While they certainly are of concern to Wall Street (US tech stocks are now worth more than the entire European stock market), the implications of what happens on Wall Street are far reaching. …


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Image by Mediamodifier from Pixabay

The US election results (or lack thereof) have been the shock heard round the world, and it isn’t just the protests, pre-mature claims of victory, and accusations of fraud that have people unsettled — it’s the closeness of the race. A landslide win was projected for Biden by many, but the narrow margins by which states are being won and lost make clear just how divided the nation truly is. We are being forced to face the question that has been murmured reluctantly in the shadows for a few years now: is America on the precipice of a civil war?

While I believe that the vast majority of Americans would say they were opposed to civil war, we also seem alarmingly opposed to compromise and building bridges. The notion of finding common ground and treating with respect and civility those with whom you disagree seems to have become the mark of the immoral. The public lashed out viciously at Ellen DeGeneres last summer after she was seen laughing and having polite conversation with former Republican President George Bush. …


Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional nor an expert on transgender issues. I am no more qualified to have or express an opinion on these topics than any of the other thousands of people weighing in and throwing stones.

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Image by Pixabay

In all honesty I had not been following the recent controversy surrounding JK Rowling all that closely. Primarily this was because I don’t believe we should control or be controlled by the opinions of others, and secondly because I don’t believe that we should value the opinions of celebrities to the degree that we do. However, I did finally read the essay Rowling published on her website explaining why she decided to speak out about sex and gender issues, an essay which I was surprised to learn had been published weeks earlier. Despite the barrage of headlines I saw popping up about Rowling’s conflict with trans-activists, it was nearly a full month after the publication of her essay that I saw the headline that she had written such a response. Having read the essay and some (not all) of the many tweets surrounding the controversy, I can say that I stand in support of JK Rowling. …


I came into this strange season of pandemic and isolation at the tail end of what has already been the strangest and most difficult time of my life, making it a bit like the final quarter of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland… are all of the oddities encountered at that stage in the story really that odd anymore?

You see, we’re in the midst of a home renovation. My husband and I bought an old historic house and what was at first scheduled to be a four month renovation has just stretched into its second year. It goes without saying that this has been the most stressful and overwhelming two years of my life. I won’t bore you with all the details here — just think of every renovation horror story you’ve ever heard and know that it’s probably some godawful Frankenstorm of them all. I’ve experienced more stress during this period than I would have thought a person could survive. Yet here I am, still standing, and I owe it all (or at least in large part) to mindfulness and its cousin hygge. …


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Maslow’s hierarchy of needs suggests that, in order for an individual to be motivated to achieve higher needs, their lower needs must be met first. That is to say that if a person does not have their most basic needs being met (food, water, air, sleep), they are not going to be concerning themselves much with higher needs, such as friends or status. It is hard to argue with the truth of this premise — after all if you were having trouble breathing, an idea such as being popular would become remarkably trivial.

The next level above these physiological needs is safety, such as employment, health, resources and property. After that is love and belonging, then esteem, followed lastly by self-actualization. …


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Growing up in a literalist Christian church, I was taught from a young age that people are born inherently sinful. Man is born with a sinful nature which makes him deserving of hell, hence the need for a redeeming savior who bore the punishment for us. This concept may not seem all too radical on its face (at least if you’re accustomed to religion), but it gets a little disturbing when you start peeling back the layers.

The idea that man is inherently sinful led to me being taught by our pastor’s wife at the age of seven that babies that die (including aborted or miscarried babies) go to hell because they never had the opportunity to ask for God’s forgiveness of their sinfulness. Isaiah 64:6 was oft quoted (“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags…”) to remind us that we were so awful and disgusting that even the good things we did were like filthy rags to God. Innocuous and natural emotions were sins against God — worry was the sin of failing to trust God, desire of any kind was the sin of greed or of feeling like God wasn’t enough, sexual arousal the sin of lust. Nothing you could ever do, think or feel wasn’t sinful in some way because you were sinful. …


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As a writer, conceiving a new idea can be much like deciding to conceive a child. Starry-eyed and full of anticipation, you dream about how beautiful and perfect this story will be. You imagine with romanticism the late nights of sitting up tending to it, picturesque, a labor of love. You think about how everyone will “oo” and “ah” over it, how amazing it is, and you’ll be so proud.

Then you put pen to paper, the idea is born, and it’s nothing like you thought it would be. You realize you have no idea what you’re doing, you’re way out of your depth. Am I even qualified to do this? you may ask yourself. You become convinced that you are not. You feel like a failure. …


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It’s a beautiful thing to watch human beings give one another encouragement, but somewhere along the way “You can do it!” has started to feel almost like an admonition — “You can do it, so why aren’t you?”

If you browse Pinterest you will find that everything that needs to be done in life has been boiled down to such simple steps that “anyone can do it.” Quick tips for cleaning or working out are often advertised as “fitting into any schedule.” …


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During the 2016 Primaries, when I expressed my support for a particular candidate, I was told to do my research. The woman I was speaking with didn’t ask why I supported this candidate, but automatically assumed that the only possible explanation could be ignorance, and that as soon as I did my research there was no way I would support this candidate anymore. I have seen people, when presented with a litany of evidence in support of their opponent’s claim, dismiss the evidence with those same three little words — do your research.

“Do your research” has become the most popular (non)argument in debate. Any time someone doesn’t like what someone else is saying, they can bow out with that one demeaning rebuttal. It says so many things without saying them. You clearly don’t know what you’re talking about. You haven’t even bothered to educate yourself before entering into this conversation. You don’t know as much as me, so come back when you do.


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If you’ve spent any amount of time online outside of reading this article, then you probably already know that the Internet is a hotbed for debate. And by debate I mean name-calling, hate speech, and every other flavor of verbal abuse. Godwin’s Law asserts that any online discussion that goes on long enough will eventually lead to comparisons to Nazis or Hitler. Online instigators that make a hobby of goading online commenters into petty arguments have even been deemed their own moniker of “trollers” or “trolls,” fittingly conjuring up images of ugly troublemakers who live under bridges.

We see the bad that Internet debate brings out in people, and yet we continue to engage. Why? We seem to be addicted to the anger. You may not know that we can become addicted to emotions, but we can — emotional addiction is a thing. The adrenalin rush and release of dopamine that we get from anger can become as real an addiction as drugs or alcohol. When we see an inflammatory headline or an ignorant or hateful comment, it can be like a free shot of vodka to an alcoholic. …

Sara Karnoscak

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