The Streisand Effect, The Vegan Agenda, And Sending Me To Japan

Hello friends. This week’s dose of randomness comes a little late due to your humble correspondent being overcome by events. (My father is doing better, thank you to all who’ve checked in.)

The Streisand Effect

You probably heard about Elizabeth Warren’s speech last week criticizing the execrable Jeff Sessions, in spite of Mitch McConnell’s invocation of an dusty old Senate rule to shut her up. “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted” is quite likely to feature in a Warren 2020 campaign ad. As Matt Flegenheimer of the New York Times put it, “Republicans seized her microphone. And gave her a megaphone.”

There is a name for the common phenomenon where attempting to censor or silence speech leads to many more people becoming aware of it than if the aggrieved party had simply ignored the speaker. It’s called the Streisand Effect, after a 2003 incident where Barbra Streisand tried to suppress aerial photographs of her house, and ended up causing hundreds of thousands more people to see them than if she’d remained silent.

But it’s not something that applies just to Senators and singers. Efforts by the authoritarian left to shut down speech by alt-right dingbat and troll Milo Yiannopoulos drove his book to the top of the Amazon best-sellers list.

More than a year ago I pointed out how “shutdown culture” was empowering Donald Trump, putting him closer to the presidency. Confused progressives didn’t listen and kept pouring metaphorical fuel on the metaphorical fire. Now they’re setting actual fires to try to stop people from talking. That, friends, is not progress.

The Vegan Agenda

This one is from the “real life is stranger than fiction, because fiction has to make sense” department: white supremacists are making drinking cow’s milk a shibboleth, on the theory that lactose intolerance is the mark of inferior ethnic groups. Neo-Nazi idiots have claimed that they are taking a stand against the “vegan agenda”.

Now, my vegan agenda has always been about stopping cruelty to animals and improving human health. But we have an old slogan: “Animal Liberation = Human Liberation.” So if I get to take a stand against Neo-Nazi fools at the same time, it’s just that much more of a win.

Send Me To Japan

Public domain image by Swollib via Wikimedia Commons

Public domain image by Swollib via Wikimedia Commons

This spring represents the 25th anniversary of the World Seido Karate Organization’s Aichi Branch in Nagoya, Japan. As part of the celebration, they are holding a tournament as well as a special demonstration and training on May 3rd. This demonstration will be part of the Taisai (Grand Festival) at Hida Ichinomiya Minashi Shrine in Takayama — a festival which occurs only every 57 years!

I’ve been fortunate enough to visit our friends in Aichi before, and I’m asking for your assistance in returning to Japan for this once-in-a-lifetime event. Travel is expensive, and as some of you know the past few months have seen me miss work time due to my parents’ health crises. After this difficult period I can really use your financial help.

Your support will not just help me, but my students. Making this trip will help me better understand Japanese culture and the philosophy of the martial arts, and I can bring that understanding back to the dojo.

If you would like to make a contribution, you can do so via PayPal at https://www.paypal.me/tomswiss or by the “Send Kyoshi Tom to Japan” GoFundMe campaign at https://www.gofundme.com/send-kyoshi-tom-to-japan. (GoFundMe takes a higher fee out of contributions than a straight-up PayPal donation does.)

Unfortunately, donations are not tax-deductable. Thanks for your consideration.

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About Tom Swiss

Tom Swiss describes his spiritual path as "Zen Pagan Taoist Atheist Discordian", which usually baffles questioners enough to leave him alone. Over the past decade he has built a reputation as a lecturer on subjects spanning the gamut from acupressure to Zen and from self-defense to sexuality. He is an NCCAOM Diplomate in Asian Bodywork Therapy, a godan (fifth-degree black belt) in karate, a poet, a singer/songwriter, an amateur philosopher, and a professional computer geek. Tom has previously served as President of the Free Spirit Alliance. He is the author of "Why Buddha Touched the Earth" (Megalithica Books, 2013). Find out more about his wacky adventures at www.infamous.net.