We talked to a former high-ranking member of a South Philadelphia skinhead gang, who said things look a little different from the inside. And the scariest part is how easy it is to get sucked in.
5 Things I Learned as a Neo-Nazi
#5. We All Start Out as Scared Kids
The first thing to understand is that it’s not about racism. Yes, hatred of other races is what binds a skinhead gang together, but it could just as easily be something else as long as it binds us. If the skinheads hadn’t found me, some other gang would have, and I’d have gone along with whatever they were into. It could have been that gang of mimes from The Warriors.
Anonymous said: Regarding the whole feminism debacle, don't you think that a website like Cracked should probably not take sides on issues like this and begin alienating fans?
[Speaking on behalf of myself and not Cracked-at-Large, the policies and shape of which are not under my sole jurisdiction.]
I’m not talking/thinking about every sub-faction of feminism and every misguided protest or action that has resulted from a misinterpretation OF feminism, because feminism is such a huge thing and, as Soren pointed out, not everyone is going to be getting it right, all the time. There will be feminist spin-off groups that don’t quite grasp the message, there will be groups that pervert and distort it for their own agenda, and there will be groups that go overboard and so on, but that is true of literally every movement (civil rights-related, political, religious or otherwise) in the history of time.
I’m by no means an expert, which is why I’m trying to learn, but what I think about when I talk about feminism is what I remember being articulated to me by my sisters-in-law and what I saw/see embodied by my Mom’s example (and my Dad’s, for that matter), and it’s a really simple and clear message to me: Equal political, economic and social rights for men and women. There are smaller and more specific aspects of this broader conversation that are a particular focus of mine (representation in fiction/pop culture, educating people to help make an America where a woman can walk down the street at night feeling exactly as safe as I do, every night of my freaking life [which is to say, very]), but the core remains the same: Equality where it doesn’t currently exist.
So, when you talk about “taking sides,” my knee-jerk response is, uh, what’s your side? I’m not trying to be glib here. I could be wrong but, according to my slow, caveman brain, if my side is equality for men and women then the other side must be inequality, right? And if that’s the case, then, no, I don’t feel any responsibility to give the other side representation in my writing. There’s the potential that in doing so I’ll be alienating readers that either want men to have more rights than women or women to have more rights than men, but that’s a risk I’m absolutely fine with.
I am a historian and this is how it happened.
Wakey Wakey -
I’ve stated elsewhere I majored in Philosophy and English in university, not the most productive or lucrative fields, but ones that did help broaden some horizons, I like to think. My favorite memory of my time in university was in a second year philosophy class in which, ancillary to some…
Anonymous said: How do you make socialization less scary? Goal-oriented interaction like presentations and projects I can handle, but when it comes to general mingling I always wind up standing stiffly off to the side, reminding myself to make eye contact and not bite my nails, and my sentences become more jumbled than a box of miscellaneous legos despite being planned well in advance. HOW IS PEOPLE CONTACT SUPPOSED TO WORK?!
Sorry to hear about your anxiety issues, it can be pretty tough. I’ve talked to a few doctors about this actually and together we’ve come up with a ten-step process that I think has gotten me to a much healthier place. I’m no expert, I don’t know if it’ll work for everyone, but I’ve certainly found success with it.
1. Take a deep, deep breath, and really focus on your breathing. You’re not thinking about the crowd, where to put your hands, and the music and your nails and everything else- all you need to think about for the next twenty seconds is a deep breath. That’s one thing. You can handle one thing.
2. Count to ten. That’s easy, you can do that. You have total control over your ability to count to ten. Look at you, crushing ten.
[Remember, the key to socialization is being comfortable with yourself first. People are like more sophisticated versions of dogs; they can sense if your nervous or tense and they will respond in kind.]
3. Life your shoulders up, then roll them back and down. This is relaxing (and will help your posture) and it is yet another thing you can control, which seems to be in your wheelhouse; you’re comfortable doing presentations because everything is written out or rehearsed, there’s no room for spontaneity, you have everyone’s full attention and you are in complete control.
4. Accept that you won’t be able to control the people/events in this room or party, but you CAN control how you respond to them.
5. Take another deep breath, in through the nose, out through the mouth. Very good.
6. Take out the bag of spiders you’ve been keeping in your inside jacket pocket and liberally sprinkle them throughout the party. Slowly, everyone else at the party will notice the spiders (the bag should have lots) and they will all individually come to the realization that they ALSO can’t control the events of the world. When Chaos is given a voice, the playing field becomes even.
[The spiders can smell blood in the air and will thank you for the gift you’ve given them.]
7. Isolate the person who seems to be the most “in charge” in the room. This will be an authority figure (in a work situation) or the person who seems least phased by all of the spiders (at a party or family gathering).
8. Unhinge your lower jaw and consume this person. His authority was imaginary and reliant on the cooperation of cowards and charlatans. You are neither. You are a shark in a sea of guppies. What everyone else in the world is looking for, you’ve already found and discarded.
9. The light inside you is the only light that truly matters. It burns brightest and hottest. It would be blinding to anyone else, but not you, you are the Warrior and the Father.
10. One more deep breath.
Hope this helps!
Don’t invite me to anything because this is what I will be doing from now on.