Author Topic: Hello, please call me Jag  (Read 1285 times)

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Offline Jag

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Hello, please call me Jag
« on: March 26, 2012, 10:32:02 PM »
Atheist, mostly closeted, attended Reason Rally on Saturday and suddenly find myself with something to say.

I got back from the event late last night and sent an email to my best friend telling her about the experience. I've decided that it will also do quite nicely for my introduction here. One note for the sake of clarity - I make reference to an article in the email, but I didn't include it here - it shouldn't be too confusing though.

One further note - I cuss a bit toward the middle.



I laughed, I cried, I cheered and chanted. I applauded, and I sang along with Tim Minchin, and with Bad Religion. I bellowed my approval, laughed, cried, cheered, chanted, applauded and sang some more. It was incredible.

(I also had a discussion with a protesting Christian about evolution - it was a short conversation that ended when he explained to me how evolution was the biggest lie science ever told because we couldn't see it happen, it couldn't be measured, it was all a lie; he was utterly sincere. The irony was that we were standing within 100 yards of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, where he could go see it, and measure it for himself. It was also the end of the conversation. I don't know how to talk to "that guy".)

I'm still kind of reeling from the whole experience. It truly was amazing, and I'm so very glad I decided, rather impulsively, to go. To have the opportunity to stand, outside, in the rain,  from 10 in the morning until 7 in the evening, shoulder to shoulder with people who care passionately about the same things I care passionately about, and speak as a single united voice. Women's reproductive rights, civil rights, gay marriage, LGBT rights, free speech, climate change, women's health care rights, and ultimately, the separation of church and state. In the end, that's the single thread that touches all the things I really care about, and I was dumbfounded to discover, completely by accident, that there are literally thousands of people, who also happen to be atheists, that feel the exact same way.

Whu'da thunk THAT was my missing link? Bear with me on that - yes, it's really obvious now, but I didn't see it for a long time.

I didn't agree with every opinion stated onstage. I didn't expect to, but my disagreements were pretty minor, and usually more an issue of style, or personality, than actual content. Out of 7, maybe 7 1/2 hours of speakers, I might have been at odds for about 10 minutes.

As it turns out, what we all really have in common is our shared belief that MIGHT DOESN'T FUCKING MEAN RIGHT. You don't get to win just because you're bigger than me, or because there are more of you. You may very well be capable of whupping my ass, and I may not be able to stop you.*** But don't mock my intelligence and add insult to injury by telling me it's "God's will".

It was incredible. The article references 8 - 10,000 people. A couple of the Park Service workers told <my son> and I that that their estimate was just over 20,000 over the course of the day, with people coming and going.The really cool part about that? A significant portion of that crowd lived in the region. And they showed up to attend this event knowing full well that it was raining. The rest of us came from across the country, and a small percentage (but bigger than you might think) came internationally. What would the attendance have been with better weather? Or a more central location?

Until pretty recently, my lack of belief was just something I knew, but no longer thought about much. I struggled for years to make my peace with it, but once I finally did, I just let it settle into my skin and stopped noticing it much. I rarely spoke about it to any but a VERY select few who I happened to know were also non-believers. I never made the connection to my political position. I rarely actually even thought the word "atheist" in connection to them, or to me, it was just a recognized, shared non-belief. I simply didn't mention it to any of my friends who weren't atheist, regardless of whether I ever consciously applied the term or not. On some level, I was aware of it, because I don't shut up about anything.

This was incredibly liberating.

And in truth, I'm not sure that I'm coming out of the closet, so to speak, to many more even now. I need to process all of this and figure out what my next steps are going to be. I've found the political thing I'm going to throw myself into, but I'm not in that big a hurry to blow my life up over it. Lots of people have a very negative view of atheism, and I'm looking for a job. So, baby steps.


***Since none of you know me IRL, it's probably helpful to know that I'm 5'4" - everyone is bigger than me. Obvious joke to her, maybe not so much to people who don't know me.

So, there's my introduction. I'll be back tomorrow!
« Last Edit: March 26, 2012, 10:40:01 PM by Jag »
"It's hard to, but I'm starting to believe some of you actually believe these things.  That is completely beyond my ability to understand if that is really the case, but things never cease to amaze me."

Offline JeffPT

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Re: Hello, please call me Jag
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2012, 10:45:51 PM »
Welcome Jag. 

Looking forward to seeing more from you. 
Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT

Offline kin hell

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Re: Hello, please call me Jag
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2012, 11:37:22 PM »
Welcome Jag. 

Looking forward to seeing more from you.

Jesus Jeff  she's already said she's 5'4"  you just ain't gonna be seeing any more of her.... ;)

again greetings Jag 
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Offline BaalServant

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Re: Hello, please call me Jag
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2012, 07:22:18 AM »
That seriously rocks, Jag.  Thank you for the introduction, and more on your experience.

Don't sweat the reluctance about 'coming out of the closet.'  There are still many religious people in my life that I haven't breached the subject of my atheism with, and it may never happen. 

It's good that you at least have a portion of your life now where you can feel like you can actually be yourself.

If you're ever interested, my wife's about 5'4" as well - if you decide you could use some whupping practice, I can see if a bout can be arranged.  : )
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Offline Tero

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Re: Hello, please call me Jag
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2012, 08:57:39 AM »
Good report on the rally.

With politics and society, remember there is no right and wrong, only winners and losers. A minority can only win in a coalition. Unknown in our 2 party politics.

Offline Seppuku

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Re: Hello, please call me Jag
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2012, 09:29:28 AM »
Welcome. Jealous you got to see Tim Minchin, I seem to keep missing him.

That letter was an awesome read and I'm glad you had a great time and I hope you enjoy engaging with the forums. We're a friendly bunch despite what some might think and I'm sure you'll fit in just fine.  ;D
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Offline Jag

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Re: Hello, please call me Jag
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2012, 08:22:22 PM »
Thank you all for the warm welcome, it's good to be here.
@Seppuku - Tim Minchin is so much fun to see live, it was almost worth the trip just to see him perform. I "discovered" him right before the holidays, and played "White Wine in the Sun" several times during the day on Xmas. The only people to catch on were my kids. I clearly raised them right ;)

@Tero - I have a love/hate relationship with politics. Fascinating and infuriating - the people watcher in me can't resist.

@BaalServant - if I need a sparring partner, I now know who to ask. Thanks for volunteering your wife!

@Kin Hell, your sense of humor meshes well with mine. I think I'm going to have to keep an eye on you...

@Jeff - I've been reading this forum for months, I already know I like it here. Now it's time to stop being passive and get involved!
"It's hard to, but I'm starting to believe some of you actually believe these things.  That is completely beyond my ability to understand if that is really the case, but things never cease to amaze me."

Offline Seppuku

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Re: Hello, please call me Jag
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2012, 08:35:17 PM »
Quote
@Seppuku - Tim Minchin is so much fun to see live, it was almost worth the trip just to see him perform. I "discovered" him right before the holidays, and played "White Wine in the Sun" several times during the day on Xmas. The only people to catch on were my kids. I clearly raised them right

That is such a good song, it's spot on, but then he always is ;). When I was at Uni I did have 2 opportunity to see him, unfortunately he was playing in my home city a week after the semester started and played at my university a week before I moved into my place in my University city. Just poor timing. My brother and sister managed to see him though.

Though for stand up routines, I'll be seeing Henry Rollins do his spoken word stuff at a festival in Germany this summer. I have the feeling he'll mention the war. ;)
“It is difficult to understand the universe if you only study one planet” - Miyamoto Musashi
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Offline Tero

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Re: Hello, please call me Jag
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2012, 09:12:37 PM »
Offtopic: summarize Rollins for me. I dont have the attention span for spoken word.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2012, 09:28:00 PM by Tero »

Offline Seppuku

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Re: Hello, please call me Jag
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2012, 06:59:11 AM »
Erm, I guess I could sum it up by saying 'don't sit/stand in the front row'. He's got a big mouth and now doubt the front row gets showered in spit. He's pretty funny and has lots of interesting stories, some of them funny, some of them deep, meaningful and serious. Essentially he's just a funny, but loud storyteller who likes to swear.
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Offline Tero

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Re: Hello, please call me Jag
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2012, 08:36:25 AM »
I never heard Rollins band but probably heard Black Flag once. One of my favorite punk songs: TV party. Did Henry sing that?

Offline Seppuku

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Re: Hello, please call me Jag
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2012, 09:18:34 AM »
I think he may have done, I know he was in the band for most of the 80s. *checks wiki* 1981-86. I think TV Party came out during that period.

Here's a short clip of his spoken word/stand up - hopefully should be short enough to appeal to your short attention span. :P
“It is difficult to understand the universe if you only study one planet” - Miyamoto Musashi
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Offline atheola

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Re: Hello, please call me Jag
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2012, 09:52:45 AM »
All so well written Jag.. You're becoming one of my favorite posters already either that or I'm just schmoozing...or both.  ;D
I think if there were any prerequisites to atheism the fine art of topical cussing should top the list right after the whole not believing in god(s) thing..
I've lurked and participated in quite a few atheist forums, but this one's by far the best IMO so you have good forum taste picking WWGHA.. See? You're on the right track from jump..no having to divorce from 20 inferior forums. ;)
By the way.. 5'4" isn't all that short..both my exes were sub 5'2".. I suspect they still are.
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Offline BaalServant

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Re: Hello, please call me Jag
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2012, 12:39:38 PM »
@BaalServant - if I need a sparring partner, I now know who to ask. Thanks for volunteering your wife!

Well, shoot.  I mentioned it to her and she says she'd want to bring a sword.  I think it's just a bluff, though, as we don't own any swords.

@Seppuku - thanks for the reminder of Henry Rollins' spoken word, you lucky Saukerl!  Are you going to try to get a seat up close?
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Re: Hello, please call me Jag
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2012, 12:48:29 PM »
Welcome Jag. We're really picky about who we let in here, but you're probably okay

Our standards are high. And its the same one I have for girlfriends  You have to be human.  ;D
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Offline Seppuku

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Re: Hello, please call me Jag
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2012, 12:55:46 PM »
Quote
@Seppuku - thanks for the reminder of Henry Rollins' spoken word, you lucky Saukerl!  Are you going to try to get a seat up close?

It's a music festival, so we get the privilege of standing up and pushing ourselves through to the front . I saw him at a UK festival in 2006 and it was awesome, though I wasn't within spitting range. ;) Danko Jones is going to be doing spoken word there too, but I've not actually seen any of his material, so I probably should look it up on YouTube.



And er...sorry I've hijacked this thread. This thread opened with an open letter...so in theory to keep on topic I should post an open letter too, so here I present you with this:

U
“It is difficult to understand the universe if you only study one planet” - Miyamoto Musashi
Warning: I occassionally forget to proofread my posts to spot typos or to spot poor editing.

Offline atheola

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Re: Hello, please call me Jag
« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2012, 02:52:36 PM »
PP, that ain't what I heard when I lived in Montana...where men are men and women are.......you know..err sheep.  ;D
...and I lived right down the street from you.  :P
« Last Edit: March 28, 2012, 02:54:10 PM by atheola »
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Offline Jag

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Re: Hello, please call me Jag
« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2012, 03:08:24 PM »
Lol, when my brother was in college, he lived in a dorm. The guys on his floor had tshirts made that said: Ellingson Hall, where the men are brave, the women are few, and the sheep are nervous.

I thought my mother was going to have a heart attack the first time she saw it.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2012, 03:10:08 PM by Jag »
"It's hard to, but I'm starting to believe some of you actually believe these things.  That is completely beyond my ability to understand if that is really the case, but things never cease to amaze me."

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Re: Hello, please call me Jag
« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2012, 03:12:06 PM »
PP, that ain't what I heard when I lived in Montana...where men are men and women are.......you know..err sheep.  ;D
...and I lived right down the street from you.  :P

Nah, we've had to change our ways since all the rich folk bought up the ranches and built McMansions. We went back to humans.

But it's a small town so around here you don't break up with your girlfriend, you just loose a turn.
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Offline atheola

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Re: Hello, please call me Jag
« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2012, 03:16:07 PM »
I still have the sweater my old girlfriend grew for me.  :P
You better believe it's not butter or you'll burn in hell forever and EVER!
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Offline One Above All

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Re: Hello, please call me Jag
« Reply #20 on: March 28, 2012, 03:19:11 PM »
Welcome to the forum, Jag. You can call me Lucifer.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

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Re: Hello, please call me Jag
« Reply #21 on: March 28, 2012, 07:09:40 PM »
Welcome, Jag. You write clearly and eloquently; is that a skill you use professionally?

I'm curious because I aspire to be a writer, and spending far too much time on the internet makes me aware of how few people know how to write well. Those like you tend to stand out.

Look forward to seeing you around the forum.
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Offline Tero

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Re: Hello, please call me Jag
« Reply #22 on: March 28, 2012, 08:52:17 PM »
Seppuku, good length. I am really happy for two things
1. I am not a woman
2. I don't have to date Henry Rollins

Offline Jag

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Re: Hello, please call me Jag
« Reply #23 on: March 28, 2012, 10:06:05 PM »
To all who have welcomed me, thank you. I'm happy to be here, truly.

Next, the whole sheep sideline was highly entertaining while reading it at work. I couldn't respond, as I didn't want to have to explain to any nearby coworkers just what I was laughing about... NSFW, but a nice break in my day. :laugh:

Further thanks for the kind words about my writing. My bestie once referred to it as eloquent navel gazing, and I adopted the phrase on the spot. It's a self-indulgent hobby, nothing more. I don't have the discipline required to write professionally, nor the patience frankly.

Fair warning BaalServant, I do own a sword. Well, there's a sword in my house. My daughter's actually, but I'm sure she'd let me use it rather than go into a sword fight empty handed. At least I hope she would...

I sincerely hope I pass the human test.

Lucifer, I've noticed your posts as I've been wandering about in here. You interest me a great deal. Your precision caught my attention early, and I look forward to reading more.
"It's hard to, but I'm starting to believe some of you actually believe these things.  That is completely beyond my ability to understand if that is really the case, but things never cease to amaze me."

Offline kin hell

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Re: Hello, please call me Jag
« Reply #24 on: March 28, 2012, 10:27:21 PM »
This thread opened with an open letter...so in theory to keep on topic I should post an open letter too, so here I present you with this:

U

so bloody parsimonious 

here Jag   here's an open letter that's three times as open

W
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all edits are for spelling or grammar unless specified otherwise

Offline atheola

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Re: Hello, please call me Jag
« Reply #25 on: March 28, 2012, 11:00:09 PM »
Jag...we sheer the sheep that stumble in so you'll be getting your official WWGHA wool blazer soon..The sheep are munching on church grass and so on then come in here all wooly bully. They keep the sheers nice and sharp.  ;)
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Offline BaalServant

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Re: Hello, please call me Jag
« Reply #26 on: March 29, 2012, 06:12:05 AM »
Fair warning BaalServant, I do own a sword. Well, there's a sword in my house. My daughter's actually, but I'm sure she'd let me use it rather than go into a sword fight empty handed. At least I hope she would...

Thanks for the warning.  I do know an armorer; he may be able to get us a sword.  We do have a cat.  I suppose that could do in a pinch.

@Seppuku - Danko Jones is a new name to me, I'm going to look them up as well.  If you can, save some of Rollins' holy water.  I may know someone who'd be willing to pay you for it.   

Here's a letter that's acutely and obtusely open -

Y
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Offline Seppuku

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Re: Hello, please call me Jag
« Reply #27 on: March 29, 2012, 07:02:40 AM »
Danko Jones is the front man of a metal band with the same name. However, I can't seem to find his spoken word stuff on YouTube, but he's got a load of Podcasts on iTunes:
http://itunes.apple.com/se/podcast/the-official-danko-jones-podcast/id438095650

Er...I think that link is in...Swedish maybe, I just took it directly from a link on the Wacken website (the festival he's playing at). But it should make sense otherwise.

I might stand at the front of the stage holding up a holy grail of some sort...or given it's Wacken, a mead horn.


[edit]

Balls. There's a music festival that happens in my village every year, we can get tickets really cheap because we live here, but we don't ever go because we don't like the genre of music that's typically played there...however, Tim Minchin's just been announced as one of the acts and we can't buy tickets any more.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 08:26:33 AM by Seppuku »
“It is difficult to understand the universe if you only study one planet” - Miyamoto Musashi
Warning: I occassionally forget to proofread my posts to spot typos or to spot poor editing.

Offline Quartinium

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Re: Hello, please call me Jag
« Reply #28 on: April 02, 2012, 05:02:26 AM »
I think i'd like to see a discussion about what does make right if it is not might.