Holiday Gift Bag: Some Goddamn Compassion and Empathy


We can return to the standard here’s-gifts-you-can-buy Holiday Gift Bags another day. I’m not going to do it today, though. Today, I’m too mad.

I’m sick of mass shootings. I’m sick of politicians and pundits and social media sociopaths shrugging off white men bombing clinics one day and howling for mass incarcerations for brown people the next. I’m sick of listening to an organized crime cartel that masquerades as a gun-rights group demanding that guns be given more rights than actual living humans. I’m sick of members of the most bankrupt religion on earth offering “thoughts and prayers” — and nothing else — and then pretending to be oppressed when the rest of the world calls them on their faithless cowardice.

I’m sick of racists and sexists and homophobes and transphobes. I’m sick of people using their power, no matter how strong or petty, to bash people with less power. I’m sick of people who sneer at retail workers and baristas and waitresses and old people and young people and poor people. I’m sick of living in a nation and world where assholes are rewarded and the innocent are abused.

And I know most of y’all aren’t the problem. I’m lucky that the relatively few readers I have are good people. And I’m not asking you to go out and single-handedly fix the goddamn world.

But could I ask that, for this holiday season and every season after that, you work to foster as much compassion and empathy as you can in the world around you, in your coworkers and friends, in your children and family, in casual acquaintences and strangers?

We live in a world full of monsters, there is no doubt. We’ve been a world full of monsters for decades, centuries, millennia. It’s likely impossible for us to reverse that. But every time we light a match against the darkness of the world’s rampant assholatry is, frankly, a damn good day all on its own. It’s a good thing to do, and it makes you feel good to do it, too.

Most of us reading this damnable blog are superhero fans. Yeah, yeah, indie comics rock, there are lots of cool genres, superheroes are all flash and fight scenes — but still, pretty much all of us got our starts with Stan and Jack, with the World’s Finest and the Brave and the Bold, with Spider-Man and Ben Grimm teaming up with every dang superhero they met. And I want us all to be the heroes, in big ways and small, instead of the villains populating the world around us. Let’s be heroes this year and every year.

Thanks, and happy holidays.


  1. Voodoo Ben Said,

    December 4, 2015 @ 9:27 am

    Bravo. I promise to do my best, man. I stand with you.

  2. scottslemmons Said,

    December 4, 2015 @ 10:27 am

    Thanks, mang. 🙂

  3. Christa Said,

    December 4, 2015 @ 11:08 am

    Aaaand now I’m crying, darn it.

  4. scottslemmons Said,

    December 4, 2015 @ 11:23 am

    Aw, no cry. Happiness serves us well during the holidays. Our happiness can give others permission to feel happiness, too, instead of seasonal grumpitude…

  5. Michael (aka Azul-din) Said,

    December 17, 2015 @ 12:03 am

    That, my friend , is why I am now in rural Wales, trying to teach our ram to play soccer and worrying about the amount of mud in the horse paddock. Call me a drop out if you like.