Why I Don’t Support Gay Marriage

“What!?” you say. “Bleeding-heart left-winger Purple Wyrm doesn’t support gay marriage!? Has the world gone mad!?” well, read on and I’ll explain.

I don’t support gay marriage, because I don’t support straight marriage.

Let me clarify.

What is marriage? Fundamentally marriage is a religious or cultural institution. It has acquired a legal status because, historically, governments haven’t been able to  keep their hands out of religious issues. Nowdays, in an increasingly secular and multicultural/multi-religious society, governments are moving to shed themselves of religious trappings so as to accurately represent all of their constituents. And in my view governmentally sanctioned marriage is one of those trappings and should be done away with post haste.

I don’t mean that people won’t be able to get married. I’m not advocating some kind of storm troopers breaking up weddings and hauling priests and celebrants off to re-education camps. What I’m talking about is divorcing (haha! see what I did there?) the cultural and religious ceremony and sacrament of marriage from the legal definition of two people pooling their resources and assets. A legal contract that binds two people together and gives them certain governmentally recognised rights should have nothing to do with a guy (or gal) saying words in a church, any more than you need a Shinto Priest to authorise the taking of your passport photos.

If you want to get married in a ceremony and have a religious official presiding – fantastic! Do it! Have a fantastic day and be happy in the knowledge that you’re legitimately joined in the eyes of your deity and culture. But you should get no rights or privileges from the government until you fill out the appropriate paperwork – the same paperwork as everyone else. And if you don’t want a big ceremony (or you can’t get it because the religion or culture in question won’t recognise your union as a valid one) then just fill out the paperwork and get exactly the same rights and recognition as every other civilly united couple.

Religions can continue to offer the ceremony and social/theological concept of ‘marriage’ to whoever they want – subject to the wishes of their congregants. Government won’t deal with ‘marriage’ at all, just civil unions. The ‘sanctity of marriage’ will no longer be threatened by ‘teh geyz’ because it will have been handed back to the religions to look after for themselves, and everyone gets the same rights

That’s the way I reckon it should be. Civil unions for everyone who wants them, and miniature national flags for everyone else! 🙂

The Pony Problem

The other week, this happened…

The Internet—the global system of interconnected networks that’s become an increasingly central means of commerce and communication capable of bringing far-flung civilizations together—reached its apex this week, after a man claiming to be the fiancé of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic character Twilight Sparkle contacted a user of online community DeviantArt to demand he stop drawing sexual pictures of his imaginary pony-bride. The request was made in a letter that was then published in full on the Internet, which no longer has any reason to exist, having achieved everything it has ever set out to do.

My initial reaction to this was to track down a ‘Brony’ and yell STOP IT!! JUST STOP IT!! NOW!! at them for a while, but on reflection I think I can offer some explanation on just what is going on with this person, and perhaps light the way to reintegrating them into sane, non-cartoon-pony-marrying human society.

I would guess that our pony fancying friend is autistic. Yeah, not so much of a leap given that he’s intending to share his life with the plushy version of a cartoon pony, but bear with me. What I’m intending to explain is why to the autistic brain, sharing one’s life with the plushy version of a cartoon pony might seem like a good idea.

It is my contention – based on reading lots of articles in New Scientist and on that fact that I’m an autistic person myself – that the autistic brain doesn’t draw a distinction between people and non-people. I suspect that neurotypicals have some kind of system in their brains that detects when the thing they’re looking at/dealing with is a person, and places it into a privileged mental category – a category that says ‘this is a fellow human being with whom you can have some kind of social relationship’. This system isn’t perfect of course, but generally it does a good job of dividing the world into two classes – people (eligible for social relationships) and things (not eligible for social relationships).

We autistics lack this system. For us the world is made up entirely of things – it’s just some of those things happen to walk and talk. For us a person is – on a fundamental neurological level – no different to a telephone pole, so we have to learn how to tell what things are suitable for social relationships. A useful starting point is ‘Is it animate?” Another is “Does it talk?’ Yet another is ‘Does it appear to engage in social relationships with others?’I think you can see where I’m going here…

Up until the 20th century this probably worked pretty well. The only animate, talking, social things around were human beings. But throw in film and  suddenly you’re exposed to animate, talking social things that aren’t actually people – they’re recordings of people. And then throw in animation and you can be exposed to animate, talking, social things that plain don’t exist – like magical ponies. Show this kind of thing to an autistic person whose method for identifying people isn’t robust enough, and the stage is set for all kinds of inappropriate weirdness.

Interesting, you may say, but it’s just a theory. Well I speak from more than just a theoretical perspective. Many years back I myself fell prey to this particular social-neurological trap and developed a particularly strong attachment to a fictional TV character (not, I am relieved to relate, a cartoon pony – or for that matter a cartoon anything). I never reached the levels of delusion required to refer to her as my fiance, or to write letters to random internet people defending her honour, but I did spend a substantial amount of time daydreaming about our ‘relationship’ and building up a fairly detailed mental dossier of our ‘time together’. It was all mad as a meat axe, sure, but years later I still think of her fondly.

And the truth is that an imaginary relationship has a lot of advantages – particularly for the lonely,  socially inept autistic. All aspects of the relationship are entirely under your control. Your ‘partner’ has no hard to understand emotions, they have no need for time or attention you don’t feel like providing, they’re always up to hang out, and conversely don’t get upset or offended if you’re not in the mood to see them, you don’t need to buy them gifts or take them out on expensive dates – it’s all so simple!

And while the ‘affection’ you get from them isn’t as good as the real thing (not, in fact, being anything at all) it’s better than nothing. Hell, if you’ve never had a real relationship it’s the best affection you’ve ever had! And the opportunity to express affection to someone, and have them accept it – even when they don’t technically exist – is just as intoxicating. It’s a nasty, addictive and unhealthy trap to fall into – regardless of whether you make a fool of yourself professing your love for a cartoon pony or not.

So I get where this guy is coming from. I think I understand it. But, seriously, dude, dump the pony and try to get out there and find a real person. You might fail, but at the very least you’ll no longer be the poster boy for internet mediated pony based insanity.


Oh, like I seriously wasn’t going to troll you!

In response to yesterday’s post about the Black Satans, frequent commenter Martin C. recommended looking up Troll Metal. I did, and have to echo his comment of TROLL ON!!

It’s like Limbonic Art without all that annoying screeching!

Enjoy some more Troll Metal here, here and here.

On another subject, good lord, the Government is just falling to bits. I already had a horrible feeling that Tony Abbot was going to win the election, this pretty much makes it a certainty 🙁

Denys Knows Nothing About Death Metal

Seriously, I know almost nothing about death metal. I can identify it when I hear it, but I am completely unable to distinguish good death metal from bad death metal, or identify or discuss any subgenres of the form that may or may not exist.

As such I have no idea whether The Satan of Hell by the Black Satans is a fine example of the genre, an excellent parody of the genre, or a load of old cobblers. What I can say however is the video clip is hilarious. It’s clear that the band simply got dressed up in leather and corpse paint, then filmed themselves piss-farting around in the Finnish woods. Observe…

The entire clip is ridiculous, but highlights include…

0:28 – Get funky!
0:43 – Going for a jog!
1:03 – Even more funky!
1:06 – Die tree! Die!
1:29 – Missed it by that much!
1:51 – Whoops!
1:53 – Hold! Hold! Now dance!
2:11 – Peekaboo!
2:44 – Snowball fight!

Great stuff! 😀

(For those who dislike the sound of machine gun drumming and gargling, try pairing it up with Yakety Sax. Works like a charm!)

Lol Film

lol film

It’s funny the influence advertising can have on the human brain.

Whenever I hear The Timewarp it take a conscious effort of will for me not to sing…

For perfect pictures,
In sixty minutes,
(Two lines I have to mumble,
because I can’t recall the lyrics)
And albums too,
And so much more-or-or!
They’ve all you nee-ee-ee-eed,
To make your photos look their very best!

There’s another song well known song (which I unfortunately can’t recall right now) that I can’t help but finish with Oh what a feeling! Toyota!

So, so sad 🙂

Later: God bless (or maybe condemn) the internet!

The Townsville Shuffle

This whole article reads like something out of The Onion.

”I’ve been in the whole hard dance/shuffling scene for quite some time,” Zach, 19, said.

Originally from Mount Isa, Zach moved to Townsville for work, and said he was surprised at how strong the shuffle scene was here.

”Being a DJ myself, I have experienced a lot of shufflers through two different towns,” Zach said.

”Most of the Townsville Shufflers go dancing at Bully’s at lockout when they play some of the hard dance music, which is what shuffling is basically good to dance with – hard beats and wicked melodies.”


Some facts about the new Pope…

  • The first non-European Pope in 1,272 years
  • The first Pope from the Americas
  • The first Pope from the Southern Hemisphere
  • The first Latin-American Pope
  • The first Jesuit Pope (which must be sending the conspiracy theorists into a state of nervous collapse…)
  • Is not named Peter (so much for Saint Malachy then…)
  • Has had some surprisingly decent things to say about the divide between rich and poor
  • Has said all the expected ultra-conservative things about women, homosexuality, contraception and abortion
  • May have been involved with kidnappings and other nefarious acts by the Argentinian Government
  • Isn’t likely to be terribly different to any other Pope ever

Le Docteur Est Dedans

So I was casting about for something to watch on TV last night, and noticed that there was an episode of Doc Martin scheduled on SBS 2. Naturally I abandoned all thought of watching anything else because, after all, Martin Clunes is so dreamy!*

So I switched over and ignored the subtitled episode of Inspector Rex that seemed to be running over long.

After about six minutes a few things occurred to me…

1: Inspector Rex is usually in German, while everyone on my screen seemed to be speaking French…
2: Since when has SBS run six minutes behind schedule?
3: Since when has SBS shown episodes of Doc Martin?
4: The people on screen seemed to be rather provincial looking types, wandering around a Breton fishing village while a grumpy looking man in a suit yelled at them…

Mon Dieu! Could it be?!

I raced to Wikipedia** to discover that not only was I, as I suspected, watching a French version of Doc Martin, but there are Spanish, German, Greek, Dutch and (possibly) Russian versions as well. It’s a goddam media empire!

Amazing! But no so amazing that it stopped me switching back to SBS 1 to watch Bear Grylls eat a rotting deer carcass.

* He’s not really, is he? Poor man…
** Yes, Telstra have fixed my phone line a few days before schedule. Don’t think this makes me like you Telstra!

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