A note from the future

This site represents things that I, Matt Dragon, though worthy of posting to the internet to be publicly consumed from age 18-27. Many of those things were, and are, wrong. I used words here at the time I hadn't bothered to educate myself about the harms of. The fact they were more widely used then doesn't absolve my use of them. Many of my opinions reek of what I now understand to be white male privilege.

But I'm not going to take those posts or this site down. For one because it wouldn't matter, the internet is forever and people would still be able to find it. But also because it's important to acknowledge that people should and do change over time. Merely changing doesn't reverse the wrongs or forgive us of what we said or did before. But the actions we take in response to those personal changes should be evaluated to see if they can offset at least some of the harms we caused. I no longer believe people are beyond redemption if they put in the work and the communities their prior words or acts hurt decide to accept their help going forward.

Taking this down entirely wouldn't address the harms nor hold me accountable. So instead I'm adding this note and asking people to evaluate for themselves if they think that 2021 Matt has done enough to offset 2010 Matt. To be honest, these were not my worst takes. Around this time I also stated less publicly that when people run from the police they should hit them with their cars to catch them. If you run you must have done something, right? I had an argument with someone about how no one who wasn't guilty would ever confess to a crime. (Sorry random dude in MegaBYTES)

Obviously those takes were bad, uninformed, and I was wrong for voicing then at the time. I share them because I feel they represent how easy it was to feel empowered as a white male teenager and young adult despite knowing almost nothing. I share them because I think they represent the rock bottom of my opinions and show how much someone's thoughts can change when you simply seek out first hand knowledge and then listen.

Those are just terrible opinions I can remember right now. I'm sure there were others. I haven't exhaustively read all the posts here so there may be similar or worse things I said here. But today, I'm writing letters to the editor about the need for civilian oversight over jails and the police and advocating for the police to be taken out of traffic enforcement. I'm speaking at County Commissioners meetings about civilian jail oversight and the need for accountability. I'm constantly trying to unlearn my bad habits and challenge my initial responses to things. Not because the world has changed but because I have learned to listen. Because people took the risk, the time, and the emotional effort to share and luckily I realized I needed to hear them.

So I leave this up, with this now lengthy disclaimer to try to push folks reading my bad takes to also learn to listen, and to be explicit, not always and only listen to white dudes like me. Where I'm at now, I'm trying to lift other voices. Folks actually experiencing the struggles I have ideas about trying to lessen or solve. Folks who's opinions I trust not because they have degrees or status, but because they're talking about their community, their friends, their family, their life, their struggles. For some of my later posts elsewhere, I chose to channel Dennis Miller when naming that blog. That decision didn't age any better than he did. He's now a racist bigot or at least he is publicly, maybe he always was. He's probably beyond redemption at this point. Andrew Gutmann is probably beyond redemption too, but it's honestly not my decision. I think people definitely can change, and they can change for better or for worse.

So I've done some more recent writing elsewhere that, if you want to read it, is definitely more informed, less self absorbed, with fewer blind spots, and just generally better all around.

My whiteness and maleness have given me all the second, third, and fourth chances anyone could ever ask for. It's up to me to prove I've changed for the better. Hopefully this is a step in that direction.

parents television council, i hope your children read the shit i'm writing

posted 07/23/2006 20:06:11 by matt flesch-kincaid: 36, grade level: 13 commentscomments(0) linklink
i encourage everyone to go to the ptc site and let rescue me's sponsor,s such as wendys, visa, toyota, and staples, know that you think the ptc are close-minded, home-schooled, sheltered morons via their handy form. here's what i sent:

I am writing today to express my concern about your recent sponsorship..... oh wait, no I'm not.

I'm writing to encourage you not to listen to an exceptionally annoying, exceptionally vocal, and exceptionally delusional minority of your customers, known as the Parents Television Council (PTC) and its members. You should not allow yourself to be fooled into the idea that any sane, normal, or educated member of your customer base believes any of the insanity that comes out of PTC representatives' mouths.

The PTC represents and incredibly small portion of the US population, yet according to the FCC's own statistics generates more than 99.9% of all complaints they receive in a given year. These PTC members believe that since they are too self-involved to control what their children watch on TV, the government should do it for them, and attempt to accomplish this by using their small membership to fraudulently create a massive volume of complaints. Yet no one forces them to have cable TV in their homes, to not use TV and cable box features to control what their children watch, or god forbid, supervise their own children and their TV viewing habits. Maybe if they weren't so busy sending millions of copies of emails and letters to people they'd have time to watch what their own children were viewing on TV.

I encourage you not to listen to these ignorant, lazy, self-absorbed, idiots, who claim to speak for the American population at large. I hope you will continue to sponsor Rescue Me, and every other show on the PTC top ten worst list (available here: http://www.parentstv.org/PTC/publications/reports/top10bestandworst/main.asp). As a 23 year old, college graduate, with a large amount of disposable income, I hope to continue to see your delightful adds during episodes of Rescue Me, Family Guy, and everything else the PTC hates. While you might lose one of the six idiots who believes what the PTC says, you'll certainly keep me as a continuing customer. I can also distinguish the difference between reality and TV, just like I can tell the difference between the real world and video games. When the PTC finally mature and develop a method of conversation besides whining, crying, and throwing temper tantrums, they can join the rest of us in reality.

The site then responded: Dear Matt Dragon,

Thank you for taking action on behalf of America's children and grandchildren. Your emails have been sent!

Well you're very welcome PTC, I look forward to meeting your socially disabled, sheltered, home schooled, afraid of the world, gun toting, psychopath children and grandchildren and enlightening them as to how increadibly screwed up their parents and grandparents were for believing in your cause.


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