A Mild Defense of Alcoholics Anonymous

Los Angeles is home to the Pacific Group, one of the most respected (or notorious depending on who you ask) Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in the country. Its influence has spread all the way to New York, so it should be no surprise that Southern Califonia is awash in it. That influence is why I stopped attending meetings once I had some time under my belt.

So I get a small joy reading stories bashing AA, and I come by that honestly. Gabrielle Glaser’s The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous in The Atlantic is a good piece, and echoes many of the issues that I had with the organization. AA groups can be very cult-like. The 12 steps are demonstrably not the only way to get and stay sober. The program is 80 years old, and we know more about the brain than we did in the 1930s. There’s really no scientific evidence that the steps actually work. The list goes on.

And yet…

I’m only going to speak for myself. When I dragged my butt into that church basement, sweating and shaking, I really only needed a few things: Somewhere to go other than my house or a liquor store, people who weren’t mad at me, people who understood me, and things to do when I wasn’t at the meeting or hanging out with my new friends. And when I repeatedly fell on my face in those early months, I needed the greeter at my home group, a former Marine, to punch me on the shoulder and say, “Welcome back, Fuckstick.”In other words, I didn’t need rational things, and I suspect that I’m not alone.

Glaser writes about experimenting with naltrexone, an opioid blocker that appears to reduce alcohol cravings, and reports that it worked for her. This tells me that Glaser is not a problem drinker.

See, for me one of the biggest obstacles to sobriety was filling up all of that extra time. A person who is in some ways suicidal has bigger problems than alcohol cravings. He’s not safe alone with his own thoughts. If Antabuse didn’t stop me from drinking, naltrexone certainly would not have.

I would be happy to see AA either lose its dominance in the recovery industry or reform into something different. Even if that happens, though, I suspect that people looking to recover will still need new friends and a place to go when they decide to get better.

I don’t know exactly why I wrote this, and it might not stay up. Perhaps it will help someone or make some conversation.

Benji, Please See the Suggested Changes

I don’t have the energy for a full fisking. It’s my birthday. Suggested edits to Benji Hart’s moronic Salon post are in bold and / or brackets.

We see ghettos and crime and absent parents where we should see communities actively struggling against mental health crises and premeditated economic[Democrat] exploitation. And when we see police cars being smashed and corporate property being destroyed, we should see reasonable responses to generations of extreme [Democrat] state violence, and logical decisions about what kind of actions yield the desired political results.

I’m overwhelmed by the pervasive slandering of protesters in Baltimore this weekend for not remaining peaceful….We need to clarify[change]what we mean by terms like “violence” and “peaceful.” Because, to be clear, violence is beating, harassing, tazing, assaulting and shooting Black trans, immigrant, women, and queer people,[men] and that is the reality many of us [them] are dealing with daily. Telling someone to be peaceful and shaming their militance not only lacks a nuanced and historical political understanding, it is literally a deadly and irresponsible demand.

The political goals of rioters in Baltimore are not unclear—just as they were not unclear when poor, Black people rioted in Ferguson last fall. When the free market, real estate, the elected government, the legal system have[Democratic party has]all shown you they are not going to protect you—in fact, that they are the sources of the greatest violence you face—then political action becomes about stopping the machine that is trying to kill you, even if only for a moment, getting the [Democrat] boot off your neck, even if it only allows you a second of air. This is exactly what blocking off streets, disrupting white consumerism, and destroying state property are designed to do.

Fucking douchebag.

(h/t Vox Day)

What Trigger Warnings Hath Wrought






That’s exactly how this works. You made this happen. Back in ancient times (2005 or so,) failing a quiz was an opportunity to figure out what we did wrong in order that we might do better on the next quiz. In 2005, though, we didn’t have trigger warnings, microaggressions, safe spaces, and adult preschool.

Over the years, students have learned that they can expect coddling. Boomer and Gen-X professors encouraged this, and now the latest generation can’t handle accepting the consequences of being wrong.

Professors: I know that you have a social agenda to push, but it really is in your best interest to let your students know how unimportant they actually are. That means no more trigger warnings on the syllabi. If they can’t handle the course material, they drop out or fail. If the students worry about microaggressions, tell them that no one will care about their feelings once they graduate, and impress upon them that you don’t really care about their feelings. Show a really insensitive movie in class just to underscore this. American Sniper comes to mind.

Seriously. Do this for yourselves. Forget about changing the world and do something to cut down on your Rolaids budget instead.

Advice for Prospective English Majors

Eh. I decided to do a series of videos on why college students should avoid English as a major. Share this with anyone who might be considering blowing his or her money on this foolishness. Here are the links that I mention in the video:

In Defense of Looting

Solidarity Is for Miley Cyrus

Why I Can’t Stand White Belly Dancers

Jezebel Is Politics for Drooling Morons

Drooling Moron

Social Justice Warriors never learn. If Scott Walker wanted to do something particularly awful, it wouldn’t take a shitty Gawker site like Jezebel to report it. The story would be in the New York Times and the Washington Post. Similarly, anyone with even a double-digit IQ who spends time on the Internet should be able to spot rage bait just by reading a headline. Here’s the headline (still not redacted:)

Scott Walker Wants Colleges to Stop Reporting Sexual Assaults

The first question that a non-idiot would ask upon reading that is “Why would he do that?” That bare minimum of intellectual curiosity would lead someone with a brain larger than that of a fruit fly to the answer, which isn’t even particularly interesting.

As it so happens, this Jezebel writer, Natasha Vargas-Cooper, either didn’t do any research at all on this piece or she deliberately left out the whole story.

There is a pretty damn good reason Scott Walker deleted these reporting requirements.

He did it because – get this! – the University of Wisconsin *asked* him to.

Look, I get that we all have to eat, and Gawker’s business model revolves around goading stupid people with college educations into five minutes of rage on Facebook. However, as I always wonder about Amanda Marcotte, are they as dumb as their audience or are they just that cynical?




The Hollywood Sign Is a Thing?

Hollywood SignFirst, per my style, an unnecessary anecdote. I have lived in and around L.A. for the better part of 30 years, and I can’t remember ever actually seeing the Hollywood sign in person. It doesn’t mean that I haven’t seen it, but for whatever reason I can’t picture it outside the context of television and movies. There’s a weird metacommentary in there somewhere, but I don’t care enough to explore it.

So yeah, this doesn’t make any sense.

[T]here’s a never-ending pilgrimage of travelers, thousands a day — an exponential uptick from half a decade ago — embarking on a strange, possibly sacred journey to commune with the sign. Giddy teens from the heartland, gay friends excitedly chatting in varied European dialects, elderly Asian couples walking hand in hand, Muslim families crowding into the camera frame in their hijabs: They come, they see, they selfie.


But if you live on these streets, you likely view the situation through a far less sympathetic lens. In this dark vision, rental cars perpetually block your driveway as slack-jawed outsiders take the same picture day after day. You contend with public urination and find used condoms strewn about.

I’m conflicted regarding the feelings of the residents. On one hand, I sympathize with people who work hard and exploit their talents in order to make enough money to live in a pleasant area that happens to be close to the nation’s ugliest landmark.

On the other hand, fuck ’em. Most of them voted for Jerry Brown and Barack Obama. Now they have to deal with it when my neighborhood visits their neighborhood.