Category Archives: From The Author

I Am Charlie

Je suis Charlie.

I am Charlie.  Charlie Hebdo, a French satire magazine.  I was attacked twice over the years by religious extremists for exercising my freedom of expression.  A freedom that truly reflects the unique and indominable human spirit while ensuring all opinions are held valid and no ideas are censored.  A freedom that gives a voice to citizens, opposers of tyranny and defenders of liberty.  A freedom that must never be taken away and should always be carefully guarded.

Today I was attacked and more than ten of my employees were murdered along with a police officer who was executed in the streets.  All because of a joke.  But not just any joke, a joke about a particular religious prophet.  A prophet people are currently killing others in the name of, which is a pattern we’ve seen repeated too many times throughout history.

I could have not made this joke and maybe the tragedy would have been avoided.  But at what cost?  To allow a group of people to command me into silence with the threat of physical violence?  To be forced to conform to others’ subscribed beliefs and dogmas rather than my own?  To give in to bully behavior and make this religious prophet the one thing I can’t joke about?  Laughter is the greatest medicine and helps people unite in harmony.  Laughter helps us take ourselves and life a little less seriously, it eases tensions, it reduces fears, it humbles us, it elevates us above our problems, it strips power from people and things so we are all equal and empowered, it makes boring topics easier to understand, it turns strangers into friends, it makes illuminating truths easier to swallow and it makes us feel good.

Most people are offended by something but making those subjects taboo to joke or talk about only keeps them offensive and leads to the banning of other subjects–in other words, censorship of expression. If you can’t laugh about it, you can’t heal or get over it and it will always have power over you.  Either everything is okay to joke about or nothing is okay to joke about.  This is how we maintain balance and remind ourselves that we are in fact human, we make mistakes, we don’t know half as much as we think we know, we think and do stupid things sometimes, we have transcendable fears, we have painful experiences that need healing and we like to be playful with each other. It also helps make difficult topics easier to talk about, which promotes responsible discussion and social change. 

My jokes made extremists the subject of ridicule to empower free citizens everywhere and demonstrated why ideologies shouldn’t be followed blindly.  Yes, many consider religion a sacred topic but just as many people consider it a fallible human creation…while we all have different beliefs and perspectives we all also like to laugh and have different senses of humor.  Denying people the freedom to express their senses of humor denies them expression of themselves and their personalities–what makes them unique and authentic.  If we don’t find something funny then we don’t laugh at it and we either move on or explain our position to seek understanding…rather than demand the censorship of that joke and shoot those who make it.  This is how free society operates.

Today’s attack was a test of our collective will to defend our freedoms and stand up to those intent on taking them away.  The pen is mightier than the sword and as humans we should seek to understand each other and discuss our issues peacefully rather than force each other into doing things our way and using violence or coercion as an incentive. 

My thoughts are with the lives lost today along with all those who died due to violent extremists.  I hope the victims’ families find peace and closure and that all who are affected by these individuals find shelter and sanctuary.

We are in the midst of volatile and trying times but don’t lose sight of peace and prosperity.  Together we can make a difference for a better tomorrow, when we can all take a joke in stride and respect each other’s right to self-expression and critical inquiry through humor.

I am Charlie.  You are Charlie.  We are all Charlie.  This was an attack on all of us and our freedoms by a group bent on domination and control.  They don’t represent all Muslims but they do represent all people who let their beliefs run wild and use them to oppress other humans and disrespect the sanctity of our condition.  Poking fun at people’s beliefs may not be the most classy move but we are allowed to think they are ridiculous or degrading and have the right to say so.  Especially when the beliefs have led to thousands of years of bloodshed, disparagement of women, beheaded soldiers and journalists, citizens murdered in their homes, children shot by snipers or orphaned and seeking refuge in another country, terror attacks in Boston and New York, legitimizing torture to find terrorist leaders, several nations in shambles and the apparent need for increased government surveillance that invades privacy.  All this because of a few beliefs.  We can poke fun at them to make the monster easier to deal with or we can say nothing yet act sovereign and free.  I choose the former.  Because I am Charlie.

#jesuischarlie

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PhAze 2 Facebook Page Launched

Hello everyone and welcome to November!

I just wanted to let you all know I created a Facebook page for PhAze 2 as a satellite for this blog.  I’ll use the Facebook page to post new PhAze 2 articles and to engage readers in a more convenient setting.  The majority of my focus will continue to be on this blog but having a Facebook page may make it easier for me to update everyone on new articles without requiring you to log in to WordPress.  It will also allow others to engage with and follow my blog without having to create a WordPress profile.

Please check out the PhAze 2 Facebook page and give it a Like by following the link below!

https://www.facebook.com/phazetwo

Thanks for your time!

I’m Back & Meet The Mascot

This blog isn’t dead yet though it may have seemed that way over recent months.  My apologies for leaving you all hanging.  I got a job as a copywriter back in September doing a good amount of promotional writing for newsletters and marketing materials as well as working on several bulky product catalogs.  After writing all day at work it was hard to come home and write for PhAze 2, let alone the novel I’ve been working on for several months.  But I’ve been feeling the itch to get back to blogging and I feel now is as good a time as any to give it a good scratch–especially considering my stint as a copywriter is on its own hiatus for the time being.

PhAze 2 started as a project of mine, an attempt to carve a niche for myself in the new media scene that actually helps people rather than manipulates or uses them like a lot of mainstream networks.  Covering stories, issues or topics you typically won’t see on the news that inspire and empower people to make a real difference in the world.  Challenging institutions and conventions with critical thought and illuminating questions to help equal the playing field between the individual and the corporate-political matrix.  Creating original content designed to make you think, laugh, act or engage with others positively to do my humble part in advancing society to a more conscious, aware and compassionate future.  After a lot of thought and a brief hiatus to thoroughly explore the world around me, I think I’m ready to take PhAze 2 to the next stage of its development.

This is a recent sketch of mine, titled “The Skyship Bomber.”

PhAze 2 Mascot The Skyship Bomber
Meet PhAze 2’s tentative mascot, The Skyship Bomber. Dropping insight, playing watchdog and equipping readers with inspiration and empowerment to make a real difference in this world.

 

The Skyship Bomber (“Bomber,” for short) embodies courage, independence and liberty, soaring above the clouds to survey the earth, keeping an eye on those in power and dropping insight on those who seek it.  The Skyship Bomber is a metaphor for the vessel that is this blog, providing wings of cover for those who need it while shooting down corruption or those who perpetuate it.  He is a peaceful yet forceful public defender that has a sense of humor and spunkiness to spare (just get a load of that jet pack strapped onto the tail!).

It seemed natural to make this the mascot for my blog so that’s what I’m doing.  At least temporarily.  It could be the rush of adrenaline from writing my first blog post in nearly a year or it could be the refreshed conviction I feel from writing article after article about the jewelry industry and realizing I no longer want to be a part of that industry’s marketing efforts that is causing me to feel slightly more defiant and bold than usual.  I’m not sure.  But for now it feels right so I’m going with it.

I’ll be updating the structure, layout and utilities of PhAze 2 for the next couple days until I find a combination that sticks.  And of course, I’ll be adding some new content.  I have quite a few ideas in the works that I’m excited to experiment with and launch–including a possible column reviewing TED Talks–so be sure to check back in the next several days and see what’s going on.

Thank you so much for your readership and your patience as I’m coming into my own as a blogger and producer of content.  I’m looking forward to writing more and getting to know some of you through your comments.  Discussion makes the world go ’round–between your comments and my posts, we can join in the global conversation of spreading conscious knowledge.

Now, Carpe Diem!

-bw