Saturday, 22 February 2014

Is asexuality about disgust? / Holding the USA accountable

The more I think about asexuality, the more it seems to be people who identify as asexual choose not to engage in sexual behaviour because they find something abhorrent in it. Maybe they find the practice of being sexual with the self or others disgusting on some level, and so make a conscious decision to avoid it. I don't think anyone (or hardly anyone) is born without the capacity to experience sexual attraction. What do you think?

Finding a balance in viewing the USA

I'm reading 'The Snowden Files' right now, and it's becoming clear to me that the individuals in charge of NSA reacted in a disproportionate and corrupt way in response to 9/11. The decision to collect extensive data on its own citizens and people from all around the world shows blatant disregard for the right to privacy, a right that we didn't even know was being abused until whistleblowers alerted us to the fact.

The question is, how do we place this abuse of authority within a balanced perspective on USA? The last thing I want to resort to is knee-jerk anti-Americanism, aware as I am that America has also contributed in many constructive ways to world/Western culture. I am currently considering whether to visit New York City and some other nearby locations in the next few years. My goal is to be better informed about the kind of cultural content I'm consuming everyday by exposing myself to Boston and Washington DC, and yet I also find boycotting the US a good idea - choosing to visit places like Buenos Aires or Ireland (which have their own spheres of influence) would be a different kind of education, one I can value no less.

I haven't visited North America since 2005, and I'm not sure what to make of this. Am I missing out by not having set foot on the streets of NYC? Or was eight months of living in the San Francisco Bay Area more than enough to experience American culture?

Knowing as we do that environmental activists are perceived as a threat akin to terrorism over there, and that NSA employees have repeatedly spied on ordinary people for personal reasons, I feel I need to be vigilant about the kind of subconscious (and, sometimes, conscious) messages I'm absorbing from the States. Would it be best to boost my levels of insight by making myself familiar with a new culture (such as that of, for example, Finland or Iceland), or is some more recent exploration of the USA in order?

One thing's for sure - nothing's black and white. 

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