marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

Worth reading not just for the biology - as up for debate as that might be - but for the points the author makes throughout.

That word—disease—carries a stigma with it. By using it here, I don’t mean that the poor are (that I am) inferior or compromised. I mean that the poor are afflicted, and told by the rest of the world that their condition is a necessary, temporary, and even positive part of modern capitalism. We tell the poor that they have the chance to escape if they just work hard enough; that we are all equally invested in a system that doles out rewards and punishments in equal measure. We point at the rare rags-to-riches stories like my own, which seem to play into the standard meritocracy template.

But merit has little to do with how I got out.


Why do so few make it out of poverty? I can tell you from experience it is not because some have more merit than others. It is because being poor is a high-risk gamble. The asymmetry of outcomes for the poor is so enormous because it is so expensive to be poor. Imagine losing a job because your phone was cut off, or blowing off an exam because you spent the day in the ER dealing with something that preventative care would have avoided completely. Something as simple as that can spark a spiral of adversity almost impossible to recover from. The reality is that when you’re poor, if you make one mistake, you’re done.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

This, more or less, is an impromptu and quite informal Bible sermon. If you're itching to invade the comment section to say you don't believe in my stupid, fairy tale god/goblin (which is a completely off-topic thing to even bring up!) then go away. If you won't go away then buh-bye, because you're buh-banned.

I'm tired of evangelicals dragging Christianity around on "their" Republican platform like it belongs to them. There is nothing un-Christian about not being Republican.

Democrats believe "judge not lest you be judged", "do unto others as you'd have done to you", and "...the greatest of these is love". Atheists, agnostics, and other stripes of non-believer or uncertain-what-to-believe have similar moral codes which rule their lives.

Similar moral codes rule no evangelical life, ever.

Evangelicals have a single, overweening and quite twisted moral code that translates into something like this:

"Judge, or be even more harshly judged and ostracized by the rest of us".

As a mostly white, middle-aged, middle class and rather noisy, if not immensely powerful, voting bloc they've been trying for well on 50 years now, if not longer, to force their views upon this country - which is to say, to force everyone they don't like, don't "want" or don't feel things in common with to either leave the country or else to check their right to exist.

Do you have the right to exist?

Forget checking your privilege, especially if you're white. You think that's so bad. Try being black, brown, Jewish, disabled, LGBTQ or a woman in this country. Try it. Check your right to exist if you can tick one or more of those boxes, because evangelicals don't guarantee it. They're working against your own interests every day of your life, to make your paths as difficult as possible.

Why? Because they judge you.
What basis do they judge you upon?
Not looking, acting, being or living like them. Alternately, for the seditious act of disagreeing you should. That really is enough, these days. The in-group identity politics are strong. Even the children are indoctrinated early-on and in myriad ways, which is really kind of sickening.
What's the basis for this criteria?
Believe it or not, the Bible.

The Old Testament pisses on about Sodom and Gomorrah and slaying enemies if they're not God's chosen, while the New Testament pisses on about how women should be seen but not heard, keep their "place" and head covers on and keep away from the pulpit, turns a supernatural birth into the original Madonna/whore story, glorifies slavery, and hints that only Poors might possibly ever inherit the Earth.

Which means the middle class and rich must inherit Heaven, so yay, let's make lots of Poors! Evangelicals and even non-evangelical Republicans might see this as a way to secure their place in the afterlife, where they probably envision getting thanked by God for oppressing All The Rest.

If that doesn't sound like a cult to you...

Evangelicals twist the above-noted passages (note I'm not giving exact chapter/line references because I'm no theologian nor am I Joyce Meyer, but I entreat people to look these things up and welcome any corrections) while conveniently forgetting the equally important passages in my opening paragraphs and many others, such as doing good works, healing the sick, paying taxes ("give unto Caesar what is Caesar's"), not charging interest and welcoming people of all ethnic origins into the fold.

The above is just a short list of Biblical directives evangelicals will never willingly acknowledge nor consider as ways to ensure the well-being of their own people, society or the entire world. These are perfectly Christian directives pulled from the New Testament, a book solely about Jesus Christ, which they ignore entirely.

The most important of these ignored messages, given our political landscape, is the one to "judge not lest you be judged". There are nary evangelicals (and precious few non-evangelical Republicans) who give any credence to that. They're here to judge. They think it's their calling.

They judge if you're poor. Disabled. Don't have a job. Don't have a better job. For being "too" educated, or knowing how to spell, which is entirely too "elite". For being black or brown. For not making fun of blacks or browns. For being a woman. For not minimizing the roles of women. For being LBGTQ. For not hating LGBTQ. For being too PC, but only where PC means "disagreeing evangelicals should judge". Otherwise you're not being PC enough, not in their version of PC, which is ugly and brutal.

For thinking people should live their own lives. For thinking dignity, respect, and self-agency belong to all humans. For the audacity of anyone thinking those they don't like are human.

For all these things and more they judge because God and thunder and brimstone, Sodom and Gomorrah and chosen and hell, I tell you, this is Hell.

Does any of this sound very Christian to you?

But they can't just leave it at that. They not only judge, they control. Remember I said a lot of Biblical wars were fought against those who weren't God's chosen? Well, let me add a qualifier: those wars, according to the Bible, were fought by God's chosen. The evangelicals make the mistake of choosing themselves to act as God's chosen, cherrypick the criteria for judgment, then enforce it by using the law to shove what they (falsely) believe down everyone else's throat.

This is how you get the next eight years of people dying so we can cancel the ACA without putting something comparable in place ("the meek shall inherit the Earth", so get busy meeking or get busy dying). This is how you get fights over who gets to use which bathroom turned into laws stating birth certificates must be produced just to go powder your nose (Sodom and Gomorrah).

This is how you get the minimum wage repealed (because the Bible says "be the best slave you can be"), women's rights rolled back ("seen but not heard"), blacks treated like second class citizens (see the slave thing), anyone brown or non-Christian rounded up, interred and/or deported (the self-chosen get to choose whomever they want for exclusion; it's what God would want).

These are just some of the things evangelicals think "their" Bible puts them on a God-given mission to accomplish. It's like a holy war. Or simply another strange cult.

The Bible has many inconsistencies, a history of being re-written to help the rich profit from the mind and income control of the masses, and a wealth of good and bad morality tales. So I'll just say this to evangelicals: if you're going to base your religious power-politics upon the Bible, then take everything it says as a whole - whether it agrees with your particular brand of identity politics or not - or stop calling yourselves Christians.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

I don't suppose I'll join it worried that on Earth, oh devastating Earth, I supported LGBTQ having relationships, marriages, homes, babies, kids, cars, bills, mortgages, bikes, photo albums and blogs together, nor do I suppose I'll be concerned that anyone - myself included - had sex in any so-called prohibited/unlawful fashion or not at all; I don't suppose God will cast me to hell upon such things nor that Jesus will shake his head and call me Satan for the prejudices and bigotry I didn't have.

I don't suppose God waited upon Antonio Scalia with bated breath, a handshake and a bear hug in thanks for all the good he did, nor that he turns to one like me afterward to shake his head in condemnation. I also don't believe God would cast a Scalia (or anyone, actually) into the fire over those he hurt and held back or simply did not help. I don't believe God wants Me vs. Scalia. I don't believe God wants Any of Us vs. Any Of Them. I don't believe it.

I think the fundies do. I think the Trumpists do. I think Republicans do. I think the ignorant do. They're all the same thing.

I think once we're all up there we'd better stay away from them. Finger-pointing, their rabidly flung accusations chewed from the Bible as hungrily as ISIS chews theirs from the Koran and the twisted, diehard thirst for blood - what they call "justice" - because someone was black or Christian or brown or Jew or slow or union or homeless or red or Muslim or Democrat or gay or weak or disabled or voted for Obama or was on food stamps or Section 8 or unemployment or took charity or was seen having no health insurance at a hospital and my God, how dare they; do something, God, do something! About them. The unclean! The unjust!

They'll scream in God's presence as though personally wounded by other people living their lives as they saw fit or else as best they could. They'll demand blood, not stop until blood comes, until it splatters over their empty mouths pouring out empty words like a depiction of Scream in reverse. They'll demand not one be shown any mercy. No, not any mercy, God. No, no, not one, do it now.

They're not going away after we die, and they're not coming back in any better condition. Sorry to burst anyone's bubble. We have no defense against them except a God who refuses to bend to self-aggrandizing hate.

I'll say mine refuses to. It's the only protection I'll ever have.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

Because more than, say, 20 browser bookmarks and my brain melts, so I must clear out the "more than 20" part of them. Right now I have much more than 20, because I was coding throughout my head cold because I was too sick to brain. Much. Will I inflict more than 20 bookmarks upon you all? Let's see...

Linguistics - yeah, I know all 'bout them ya see cuz...whaddaya mean 'hold up wait' - what?

While your genteel hostess often affects a Southern accent while writing, she's not Southern nor is she from the South (but has passed the magical 15-year mark making her quasi-native to all but the true nativists). She is/will always be a New Yorker so found these thoughts by Deborah Tannen veddy inneresting: New York style. Upshot (because I'm gonna jump in with a synopsis before you can even read the damn thing): we cut each other off. A lot. And think it's rude if we don't. Hey, you gotta love it! Because I'm from New York and I said so.

Addendum: Once you've spent time in the South, you can't tolerate being cut off anymore. It's like an allergy develops. My mom got fed up with it coming from me many years ago, maybe shortly after we moved to Florida. I can no longer tolerate it starting within the last few years. I'm not sure why; I guess my mind was slower to convert to Southern speaking and listening styles, but why it converted is something I don't understand. Unfortunately, I still cut others off without realizing they're speaking, I guess because that's what we do, so I need to work on that.

Also, if you feel like you say 'I feel' all the time, after reading this maybe you'll feel like admitting men hedge in noncommittal ways as much as women do; they just choose different words:

Men preface their claims with the phrases "I guess" and "I believe" more than women do, plus they use inter-clausal qualifiers such as "seems," "somewhat," and "probably" more often than women.

For the record, I can't stand the phrase "I feel", mostly because an overly-therapized Seattlean wore it out on me years ago. But every phrase in the men's noncommittal use cases takes a turn on my blog, with the addition of the word "if", mostly because it seems I believe - somewhat, at least - that I could probably never be noncommittal enough - I guess? *shrug*

And if you feel like you curse a lot? The people who tell you it's proof you have no vocabulary are, like, so fucking wrong. I'm taking this study with a grain of salt because there are uneducated people - in the US, especially - whose vocabularies seem to consist of one long string of curse words which are rarely - if ever - broken by any non-obscene adjectives, verbs and nouns which are used only on an as-needed basis (such as for job interviews, attending church, going to funerals, speaking with their mothers, etc.).

Advertising

There's an ad bubble. It's gonna blow. This from one of two bloggers I'll mention tonight who could write about the science of paint drying on walls and I'd be devouring it like it was the most exciting thing since...sliced bread.

Productivity

Jerry Seinfeld's productivity secret is...

*hums "We will never break the chain"*

Lies, damn lies (also known as "memes")

Blame Facebook or not, "memes" (pre-LJ/Facebook, these were called "myths"; I still prefer the former word to the latter) have a way of talking, walking, and acting like the real thing. The other blogger I've developed a "please write about how paint dries on walls" fixation for explains why Dunning-Kruger and many other "memes" don't work the way you think.

Along the same lines and contrary to the most popular "meme" of the moment, winning the lottery is not going to kill you, unless you're really stupid about it and spend it on enough hookers and blow to kill yourself with before the check is cashed. Luckily, though, that never happened. But this huge pile of crap? Totally did.

Your IQ

In any country but the US, you're as smart as you are regardless of income. In the US, you're only as smart as your income. Which makes me think if I hadn't been dirt poor by the time I started school, I could've been the next Albert Einstein. Even despite the sudden change from poverty at birth to upper middle class by age two to poverty again by age five - in spite of all that - I wasn't dumb. Which makes me wonder how much smarter - given more money, a uniquely American situation to have to be in - I could've been?

For the Femme

Quoting women like Marissa Mayer who claim they've never experienced sexism - while wonderful for her - is not really helpful. So - while I don't make a regular habit out of reading or posting such stories because they depress me too much to function properly, I feel like I need to take one for the team, so here's how one codes like a girl, how autism in women stays invisible, how being raped got a woman thrown in jail, and what it's like to be a woman of color in privileged white spaces.

For the Food

Vast amounts of the American food supply are killing us and ours, and have been since chemists started messing with it over 80-100 years ago. In what food is really doing to your body we discover what your microbiome wants to eat, interlaced with a truly stunning description of how our guts digest food.

Since frying oil has been A Thing lately - on my reading list and on the Network (our FOAF RSS feed, for the non-acclimated) - I've been looking at (and using) supposedly better oils, but cost is an issue, so I've been considering how many times you can reuse the stuff, and if it's even safe to do so. *wrinkles nose* Botulism? Seriously? Yeah, maybe not.

Just to prove I've been out of service for a while, here's a link on how abstaining from alcohol for 'Dry January' improves health. Me, abstain? Not so much. I had to on Dec. 26th when I got my cold, because alcohol depresses lung function and I don't have the world's greatest set, so when I finally got over the worst of it - uh, last week - I had a glass of red wine. And some days later, a very tall, very vodka-ish, very Bloody Mary. And it's still January. But I'm not a heavy nor regular drinker (anymore), so...

No, seriously, I'm so far behind on life that here's what really happened on the first Thanksgiving (another post I'm eyeing with a grain of salt, mostly because the author is a Mayflower descendant with all the family stories, blah blah blah). If a cold could knock me down this much ya'll probably would not believe what would happen if I got any sicker.

For The Eats

There's a recipe I haven't had time to post or talk about. How I came about finding it was one day (while sick, of course) I saw I had chicken breasts and frying oil but knew if I fried the chicken, I would surely die, so I set about finding some healthier, easier way to prepare it without sacrificing the next seven hours of my life.

Upon the Google I eventually stumbled across lemon and thyme chicken breasts, along with steps on how to slice them thin because looking at/thinking of eating big, fat chicken parts was not doing it for me. The three of us who had it that night gave it a huge thumbs up, and as an added bonus, the pan drippings made an excellent gravy that perhaps needed only a bit of cornstarch to thicken it.

If anyone wants to make it, what I did was slice the chicken thin and added more of everything except the chicken. I easily tripled the amount of fresh lemon, and because the thyme bush in the yard apparently froze to death, used tons of dried thyme, along with lots of pre-minced raw garlic, some red pepper flakes, and a few tosses of dried oregano. The finished dish's flavor was "bright" but fairly mild, so go nuts if you like the flavor...brighter, I guess.

OK, so I had this whole, exciting technology section planned but it's getting late and this post is getting long. That might've been at least 20 links *counts* ...aha, OK, so it was more than 20!...but I'll post the rest next time, regardless.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

After seeing a referral by [personal profile] andrewducker to Gadgette as a good tech site to follow, I visited it (after leaving Andrew a sort of obnoxious - but honest! - comment, because it markets itself as "for women", which as a woman, I find offensive) only to feel bored. For something marketed to women, outside of a pink mailbox *vomit* attached to one of the post thumbnails there was nothing to make me feel I was anywhere else besides Engadget. I sometimes like Engadget - even if it is owned by AOL.

Anyway, after what felt like miles of semi-conscious scrolling a headline finally popped up that made me blink: A new Chrome app wants women to stop saying ‘sorry’ and ‘just’ in their emails. It's been a common theme in my more recent reading that some authors take up to three days and five screens to say what could be put a lot more simply. It's not just a woman thing; I got annoyed this morning by a man writing about UI who pulled the same crap. It's like damn, just get to the point, already.

This author missed the point - it's not just that as women our language is policed, along with our levels of vocal fry, how often we end a sentence as a question, how often we use higher pitches at the end of sentences, our looks, clothes, degree of sexual interest in whatever man we're looking at or speaking to at the moment, our hair, jobs, cooking, cleaning, child-raising, animal-rearing, driving, drinking, drug-doing, and how much of and how well we do any of that, along with many other points of critique - it's that some women are jealous of men's bluster and how far it seems to get them so think imitating that bluster solves their problems and makes the genders more equal. As with all artificially drawn binaries, when you draw artificial rules and expectations around them, more problems arise.

In this case, there really isn't a problem to solve. It's just that men are so willing to make things sound better/more hopeful/more fixable than what they might actually be that getting them to make an accurate, clear-headed assessment of their abilities or of any situation they/you/all of us are involved in is...unlikely, at best, especially if the man's ego has any say-so in the outcome. Men bluster their way through their lives, jobs, and most everyday situations they encounter. They typically do well, as people are often impressed and intimidated by such shows of confidence and bravado. I'm not knocking this as a method of behavior! It's manipulative, but often accurate, and inspires trust and happiness in others. It has its upsides.

Women, on the other hand, are more honest. Our egos are not on the line every time we assess our abilities or situations and how to handle or resolve them. We're willing to admit the same gaps in our knowledge that some men might have in theirs. We're willing to admit we might not always have an answer. We're willing to admit that the one answer there is might break two or 20 other things that we and others don't want broken, whereas men will take the same situation and that one answer and rush headlong with it like a football to the goal. All they care about is: "Did I solve the problem?" and "Was my know-how enough?" If they can get two clear "Yes"s in answer, then hell yeah, TOUCHDOWN! They won the game.

Again, that's not necessarily a bad way to behave. Anything else they broke by fixing the one thing is hopefully of lesser stature in breakage and won't affect too many other things and can be patched up down the road, if need be. Whereas a woman in the same situation might not fix that situation at all for fear of those two or 20 other things breaking, or if she does fix it, does so knowing these other things might break, so she'll want to give a clear, rational assessment of what might go wrong, so she can get consensus that other things might need fixing later on. She'll get people onboard before she makes a move - or else onboards them as quickly as possible afterward - to prevent as many surprises and miscommunications as possible.

What this boils down to is when a woman says, "Your plan sounds brilliant, but I'm just worried about this, this or that" or if she says, "I thank you for your confidence in my abilities but I'm just not sure if I can do A, B, and C - C might be a problem because my expertise in that one area is a bit weak" you should listen because she's being cautious, thinking ahead, and honestly assessing her abilities and the overall situation, not belittling herself in the face of your bigger, better brain or selling herself short. Nor is she trying to inflate or deflate your ego. And that's actually not a bad way to be, though I'm no expert on The Best Way To Be. Neither are you, and neither is any typical blustery man.

marahmarie: A coffee mug that reads: "I figuratively die as I hear you literally abuse words." (grammar)

The usual preamble follows: I rarely do link roundups (and when I do, they're mostly for my own, specific delight and edification) so if the content or format is to your liking, try not to get used to it.

Now that Wil Wheaton's said it, it's finally so.

I'm including this one (via [personal profile] silveradept) just so I can roll my eyes while typing. It's rare that I get to engage in extensive eye-rolling so I'm savoring this moment so much, y'all. Anyway, WW says workers should be compensated for their work, repeating the same complaint gazillions of uncompensated writers for HuffPo have been making ever since Arianna last paid for blog writers - that is, approximately never - in claiming her platform and exposure is all the compensation you'll ever need for your services because teh eyeballs, dahlings.

I've been following the uproar over Arianna not paying - yet heavily soliciting for popular Internet writers - for the last 5-6 years. It's been a contentious topic on ProBlogger and other "writing for a living" blog sites, and while I'm with WW on this - you need to get paid for your writing, especially if it's been solicited out of nowhere by someone, anyone, even the almighty HuffPo - if you're an already well-established online presence, and you like finding a wider, more diverse audience than the niche that normally absorbs your musings, then yes, by all means, scribble away for free for the feckless Arianna.

I'm aghast not at what WW says, but at what's signaled by the fact that he said it. The fact that he's thrown his two cents in will invariably "change the landscape" to "create activism around the issue", with the likely conclusion somewhere down the road that: "Huffington Post has responded to WW's objections/initiative/activism/offerings/challenge by offering competitive compensation to our most sought-out writers" - which is a non-answer in itself, but that's a discussion for another time. But why does it always have to come to this - to another WW shouting from the rooftops - when we did that for so long without him over the same issue? Why is it that it's not until the 'big voice' walks into the room, the one who doesn't need the money, who does have a sense of justice and fairness, that the 'face' of the problem - that is, Ms. or Mr. Everyday who just wants to get paid for the post that Arianna, et al's asked them to write for free - finally gets seen by a larger, more receptive audience?

I've never seen a problem solved without someone being famous around it. Not famous because of it, but famous around it.

Some famous faces have said that trying to scrape by on $7 an hour is bullshit, so now we have the infamously too little-too late, finally rising but just barely because Republicans said so, so just get three jobs and shut up minimum wage. Apple wasn't going to pay artists for their music until an artist who was literally born rich - Taylor Swift - threw a massive, if very polite - hissy fit and refused to back down. To go back in time, AIDS didn't exist, didn't matter, and would never be dealt with until Magic Johnson told everyone he had it. Wil Wheaton speaks up about working for free for a rich woman - which thousands of people have humbly done every day for years now because What Other Choice - but because Famous Face has said so, now things might get better? Look at what it took and think to yourself: why does it always take a Famous Face for things to change?

And people wonder why others being in any sort of minority or underclass can utterly jade them. First, it's because we're expected to be as numb about and uncaring of our circumstances as everyone else is who's not experiencing them. They don't care, so hell, we're not supposed to, either. It's gauche, it's just not done, dear. Secondly, it's not the pain of the circumstances we're in - which are certainly bad enough as it is - as much as it's that we know 9/10ths of the people around us don't give a damn as long as it's Not Them. The Famous Face does, then all of a sudden it's acceptable again to have our own emotions around Said Topic? I'm sick of the revolving door, one issue after another, always "solved" - in the long run - by someone finally Famous Enough to legitimatize it.

We shouldn't need a Famous Face to back us up - not literally nor figuratively - when we say, "This is not right. This needs to stop" or "This needs to change." Yet somehow it always comes down to that, and we're not legitimate until it does. Our story? Just does not check out - or even matter - until Famous Face says so.

The rich live off the government and pay no taxes - and want YOU off the dole. Now.

I find the following articles so rich in Republican hypocrisy that, were they alcohol, I'd be getting my stomach pumped at the hospital, my totally intoxicated lethal overdose limit finally reached. I actually broke out my imaginary bright pink linkspam pen just to write this. To begin, we have 18 CEOs Called Out By Bernie Sanders For Taking Trillions In Bailouts, Evading Taxes, and Outsourcing Jobs. They not only take trillions; almost every CEO on the list pays exactly $0 in personal federal income taxes, ever.

Yet these same tax cheats who take our money for their welfare sneer at us needing any sort of stuff (although the majority who get it work very hard for much less glory and much less pay; we also pay much more in taxes thanks to the perfectly legal criminal accountants they employ). Stop taking the minimum wage, stop taking health care, stop taking child care, or any paid time off, or any sick days, stop needing a place to live, and stop with this ridiculous 'needing food to eat' bullshit, already - our workers live off Jesus, pocket change and their own sweat, which is redemptive - just ask the Nazis, Work Will Set You Free, so shut up and get back to work already (although, as I said, most of you already do: so in that case just shut up and work harder).

Lighter Stuff, because heh heh, Light

When I'm busy trying not to bust my spleen over the previous links I do reserve a tad of mental energy for more enjoyable things, so here's some lighter stuff, like Win Your Next Argument by Citing Meaningless Neurobabble (see post title for a weaksauce example), How Powerful Do You Think You Are? (in my case, very powerful - which is a nice fantasy, if nothing else; I did exactly what the article says you'd do) and How Conservatives Can Sway Liberals and Vice Versa.

The last link wanders into a morass, its central point being that liberals feature different morality than conservatives. No one could say liberals are amoral, though (as they sport more of a truly Biblical 'help others' morality than Republicans normally do) unless you argue that libs suggest many things should be done but won't do those things themselves, expecting government to do it for them. (I've actually had this argument with someone - that liberals talk a good story but want the government to do the things they suggest, like help the poor, house the homeless, raise the minimum wage, etc. What this person forgets is we are the government; that's why we elect representatives, to represent how we feel, and to act on what we think should be done. It doesn't say "We The People" because someone thought the Constitution should include good poetry, it says "We The People" because that's who the government represents, and who it is comprised of. Us).

Personally, I agree more with a study done several years ago on the topic of getting the opposite political stripe to agree with you: simply don't disagree. When your opponent has no one to argue with they tend to become more introspective, and to sometimes adjust their opinions simply because no one tripped up their ego and got them on the defensive. Politics is quite strongly tied to ego.

While I wasn't planning on any link reposts tonight, [personal profile] silveradept had a good roundup earlier; here's another link from them worth chewing on.

Yes, I come by tightrope walking naturally. I was great even as a baby, walking my crib rails on tiptoe

So maybe you weren't born with it (and maybe it wasn't Maybelline, either) - perhaps talent is not quite innate. This post - from DW's [personal profile] momijizukamori, an impressive CSS and code wrangler whose talent might or might not be natural - got me thinking the problem is people confuse the word "affinity" with "talent". Just because you take naturally to something or seem rather good at it - even right out of the gate - does not mean you have an innate talent or are any good at said thing.

On the one hand, I believe I was born with innate talent - for writing, for reading, for puzzling over things to an extent that most people don't. But this is a misnomer, there is no 'talent' involved. There is a spark, a zest for some work of the mind, and even another spark to do it well, but there is no being born good at it. I've written poetry since age six (after learning to read at age three, blah blah blah - my intelligence, which was literally off the charts, was much feted in my youth, but who cares now?) but that doesn't mean I wrote all that well.

I love to cook so much that I can't stand letting others cook for me because I know I'll miss how I would've seasoned/sauteed/broiled/roasted/steamed/baked whatever it is someone else makes me that much. On other other hand, up until the age of 19 I couldn't cook at all; I could only boil water (boil it, mind you; this did not include knowing how to cook what went into the boiling water). That was it.

I'm still trying to figure out the "best clam sauce", and that was the first real meal I ever cooked for myself. If I was really great - naturally talented - I'd have that figured out by now, wouldn't I? Success is not talent. It's spark, it's passion, it's desire (not to go all Gordon Ramsey, but if you're technically good at something without giving a damn, you'll never be good enough. You can also have huge passion, energy and desire for your chosen activity and suck all your life, regardless of how biased you are about your ability). In most things I do, I think I fall somewhere between the extremes of completely sucking and massively succeeding - inborn talent or not. And I'd be lying if I said otherwise.

tl;dr Affinity != ability.