Thoughts on Hobby Lobby: “Rights” Don’t Really Exist, So Let’s Stop Pretending They Do

Artist's representation of everyone on the Internet following the Hobby Lobby ruling

Artist’s representation of everyone on the Internet following the Hobby Lobby ruling

Hey, remember when everyone’s head exploded on the Internet over the Hobby Lobby ruling? That was fun, right?

I’m not here to take sides in the debate, but I will go ahead and say that every argument I’ve seen and heard about it has been really, really stupid. I don’t feel like I have much to add to the debate, so I’m not going to harp on it any more. (My original thoughts can be found here; the TLDR version is that I think the debate is a terrible question that gives birth to many terrible answers, but if I had to pick a side in the idiocy, I’d probably agree with the Court, since I don’t think the mandate clearly satisfies the standard set by the RFRA.)

O RLY?

O RLY?

What I do want to talk about is this concept of “rights” we’re all throwing around. It occurs to me that when America’s “conservatives” (who are actually not conservatives at all, but in fact classical liberals, but whatever, fine, words mean nothing, call yourselves conservatives if you want) talk about “rights,” they mean something very different than “liberals” (who are actually…y’know, I’m not really sure, but “progressives” is probably a better word) do. This may not be news to anyone, necessarily, but it certainly explains the head-slapping stupidity that results from arguments over whether corporations have the “right” to freedom of religion and whether women have the “right” to free birth control [of any sort]. Continue reading

The real reason I won’t be buying a videogame system this week.

John Dies at the EndDavid Wong’s comic horror novel John Dies at the End posits a race of inter-dimensional beings who can play with our universe’s timeline as they see fit, inserting and removing people and things at will. Towards the end, a middle-aged character pontificates on his first encounter with a videogame system (which is one of the things they’ve inserted): Continue reading

New Videogame Consoles! Because…Why, Again?

Also available in black!

Also available in black!

Like all members of my generation, I have a rather ambiguous relationship with videogames.

I believe in the medium. It’s a fascinating new art form, and certain games have been central to some of my fondest memories.

And yet, every few years, I look around and realize I haven’t really played a videogame in almost forever. And then I try to remind myself why I used to care.

Part of this is just a time issue. A truly great single-player game can take as much as 50 hours to complete, and every time I get through one, I look at my watch and realize that (a) it’s three a.m., and (b) I could have read five books in the same amount of time it took me to finish one game. And when you work full time and have kids, that sort of time is at a premium.

But I think there’s more to it than that. Namely, that the games companies haven’t given us a reason to get excited in a long, long time.

This is particularly striking now, as we’re currently in a moment where all three console manufacturers are making bids to be on top in the next hardware generation, and literally nobody I am aware of is at all excited about any of the three new consoles.  Continue reading