All posts by Maxine Durand

About the Editor

In my last article, I said that the tone of UnInkable will change. Personally, I think the site is ready for this, and to start off this new era of editorial tone, it’s time to talk about yours truly, your wonderful editor.

I was born in the primordial ooze of a faraway star system, and trained as an interplanetary assassin before I was kidnapped by space pirates. Working my way up their ranks, I became captain at the age of 15, and had many adventures across time and space. Sadly, our ship was destroyed, and my crew was lost, leaving me stranded on Earth with no alternative but to assimilate into human society and forge a new destiny for myself.

Actually, I was a small-town farmboy who liked books, but that’s not as fun of a story to tell at parties.

I was born in upstate New York, but raised in Idaho, where our chief exports are potatoes and racism. It wasn’t all bad – I got a lot of fresh air, and moving haybales and irrigation pipe around was great for my abs – but I definitely was out of my element for my teen years. College was a bit better, but also an exercise in patience as I learned that much of what I wanted from the experience was watered down by self-important professors, scary expensive textbooks, and classes I had already taken in high school.

There was a lot of aimless wandering from age 17, up until pretty recently at age 25. I struggled with depression a lot. I worked a lot of odd jobs, tried to get as many life experiences as possible, and enjoyed myself whenever I could – turns out, that was usually with food, since I was blessed with a fast metabolism and a joy of simple pleasures. Give me a French dip sandwich and a pickle, and you have bought yourself a place in my heart.

I’m also transgender.

See how I led into that, giving a lot of backstory before diving in? That’s because I’m a lot more than just the transgender bit, and I don’t want certain people to get all pissy when I inevitably talk about it. I’m not out to spread the transgender agenda (the people who do are already winning without me), but I’m not going to avoid talking about it. I was born male, and I’m transitioning to female. Expect a more detailed article about that in the future, but for now, just understand that’s why my byline has changed.

Here are some other assorted facts about me, in no particular order:

– I have been known to be irritated by pancakes, and hills.
– Coffee is my Titanic, and Tums are my lifeboat.
– My Sean Connery impression is on point.
– Spies Like Us is my personal Jesus.
– I try to find the good in everyone, so I know where to cut the deepest.
– I wear black every day because it’s easy; I’m too boring to be Goth.
– As a child, I loved Ghostbusters and Back to the Future, and I wanted to become an inventor
– I love to do certain things with my mouth – by which I mean talking and eating.

I have a lot of dreams, as many people do. One day, I hope they pay off. Until then, I work, I go to school, and watch a lot of Star Trek. If you should happen to come across me in public, please do not approach; I likely have just committed a crime, and while I am usually quite friendly, your interaction with me would serve only to hamper my escape from the authorities.

I’m Maxine, your wonderful editor, and I’m pleased to meet you.

End of Hiatus

Life is… unpredictable. UnInkable, as a whole, isn’t much better.

It’s difficult enough for most of us to get by on a day-to-day basis – some of us can barely manage even that. At the end of the day, we all have to shrug our shoulders, accept that we can’t bat a thousand all the time, and move on.

But then you add ambition to the mix, and a whole new world of excitement, trials, and failures reveals itself.

I, your humble editor, am writing to you, the readers of UnInkable, to talk a bit about what the hell has been going on, and where I’ve been.

But first, some backstory.

About two years ago, I started UnInkable. It was meant to be a passion project, a labor of love after a close friend of mine made me realize that, for whatever reason, I had a lot of people in my life who believed in me, who wanted me to succeed at something, and who really thought I could do something special. She got me motivated as hell, and I wanted to find a way to bring all of the people I cared about together – the group project to end all group projects, if you will.

At the time, I had just got out of journalism school – my job prospects were not looking great, and while I had managed to scrape out a somewhat comfortable living selling women’s shoes, I was restless, and I wanted to do something bigger. The thought of starting a website, however successful it may or may not become, was exciting.

Managing people across the globe, each with limited time commitments and with an effective project budget of “whatever I have in my pocket,” things went slowly at first – a friend helped me set up the site, another friend made the logo, a few more pitched in with article ideas, and I did the editing, some writing, and handled the business side of things. Eventually, the project gelled together.

I was happy to have something, even if it cost more money than it made. After all, I considered myself a writer, and even a personally subsidized creative outlet was better than nothing.

For content, I decided the best way to run this site would be a “shotgun” approach – we could write about anything we wanted, pick as wide a spread of topics as possible, and whatever seemed to hit, we would narrow our focus around.

Ultimately, I wanted the site to be a diverse, general-interest atmosphere geared toward Millennials, written primarily by Millennials. I feel like we often get the short end of the media stick, and I had hoped we could eventually zero in on a few topics, build up an audience, and with their support, maybe the site could pay for itself one day.

Things were going well enough – the site was starting to gain some steam, and I was even able to hire on some extra help to write and edit articles with me. However, the site was still primarily funded and operated by yours truly, and it quickly became more work and expense than I could keep up with. I may have been able to keep up with if things had worked out differently, but in hindsight, I was just spread too thin.

To top this off, this year has been a rollercoaster for me. Taken individually, any one of the things that happened are enough to put someone in therapy – when they happen in succession like they did for me, it’s damn near unbelievable.

Which brings me to the main point of this little heart-to-heart; UnInkable is going to continue, but with some changes.

First, the tone of the site will be a bit different. I’m going to be writing a lot more informally about things that interest me, personal experiences, things I’m researching, and so on. Other writers will still be present, but possibly not as much for the near future.

There will also be some articles that, let’s be honest, will be meant to generate clicks. I don’t want these to be “throwaway” articles – we’re not trying to be BuzzFeed – but if we can create useful, informative content that also happens to draw Google traffic, we should. We have bills to pay. We also have a backlog of articles that were written and in the editing pipeline when the site went on hiatus around March. The ones that are usable will be published, and eventually, more will be commissioned.

Second, the site will try to stick to a new update schedule, ideally a new article every Monday, starting today. The next few weeks of articles are already in the works, and it should be fairly doable to continue at this pace.

Third, I want to try and create more of a community around this website. We have about 260 followers on Facebook at the moment – that’s about half the size of my hometown. I want to see that number go up, and I want to try to create more engagement with you, the readers.

Those of you who followed the site aren’t just numbers – you’re people who found something worth following here, and from where I’m standing, you all have something to contribute. I want UnInkable to be a website worth sharing, for the readers we have now, and for everyone who may come.

Please, help me make that happen.

As for where the hell I’ve been, well… You’ll find out more about that in the next few weeks. There’s a lot to talk about, and this piece is getting long enough.

The hiatus is over. We’re warming up the engines, and I have big plans for the future. It won’t be easy, but there’s a lot of open space in front of us with a lot of room to explore. You’re going to learn a lot more about me, your wonderful editor, and hopefully, this site can become a place of community for those who want to stick around.

UnInkable is back – thanks for waiting.

Nationalism Today, Fascism Tomorrow

Nationalism is dumb.

Nationalism everywhere
Nationalism… If only it had more memes.

Oh, sure, I’m all for apple pie and the Star Spangled banner, fireworks, and hot dogs on Independence Day – but the racism, xenophobia, and outright bullshit are a deal-breaker for me.

Just to be clear, the “nationalism” I’m talking about is the Webster’s variety, or:

Nationalism (noun): “A feeling that people have of being loyal to and proud of their country often with the belief that it is better and more important than other countries.

Emphasis mine, of course.

See, you can justify a lot of crazy things by throwing the word “patriot” around. Don’t like Muslims, refugees, or the LGBTQ+ crowd? Well, you’re not prejudiced, you’re patriotic.

Tired of feeling bad about being a white male, constantly put down by all the brown people in society and their liberal, Marxist policies? They may call you a bigot, but deep down in your heart, you know you’re really just a God-fearing patriot.

Think everything will be fine with America as long as women can’t get abortions and students aren’t allowed to learn about climate change in schools? Don’t worry, you’re not an idiot, you’re just a concerned, hard-working, American patriot.

That’s really what nationalism is about, right? If you believe your culture, your nation, is really better than everyone and everything else, you should be a good little patriot, fighting against all other ideologies and calling people “cuck” in the comments section.

I realize I’m being a little dramatic, but allow me to support my point of view with some facts.

Nationalism is Trendy, and Nationalist Groups are Popping up Like Weeds

It would be hard to miss the constant bleating of the Bullshitter-In-Chief, or the rhetoric machine cranked up by the far-right these days. While it’s tempting to blame Donald Trump, the real problem has been a constant and growing concern for years now.

The Southern Poverty Law Center actively tracks the numbers for various hate groups in the United States. By their definition, hate groups have, “beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.” This can be anything from the KKK, to that group of old Baby Boomers who meet at the Legion hall and bitch about Sharia law undermining western values.

As of now, there are 917 active hate groups in the United States. That’s down from the peak in 2011 at 1,018, but a significant increase since 2014, when the number dipped down 784. 130 of these groups are chapters of the KKK, and 193 are black separatist groups, just to give an idea of what that ‘917’ means.

The SPLC keeps a full map of hate groups across the country, which I strongly encourage everyone to check out. But the real kicker for me is that of the 917 groups listed, 663 are considered, “anti-government ‘patriot’ groups.”

These groups are spread all over the country; Alaska and Hawaii are the only states that don’t show any activity on the map, but this is likely an error of omission rather than proof that no such activity exists. California has almost 80 hate groups, while even my home state of Fuck-Off-In-The-Middle-Of-Nowhere Idaho has 12.

That example I gave before, about crotchety old people complaining at the Legion hall? Even that’s not an exaggeration – I based it on Idaho ACT for America, which has two chapters, and is itself part of the larger “ACT for America” organization.

Even college and universities, stereotyped as strongholds of liberalism, aren’t protected from the sewage-laden tide of nationalism.

For months, if not longer, white supremacist and nationalist groups, i.e. groups on the ‘Richard Spencer’ end of the political spectrum, have been recruiting on college campuses, and the rhetoric has been chilling. CNN had a story just last month about this – watch their video, and listen to the people they interview.

These people – these nationalists – don’t think of themselves as hate groups. They think of themselves as the oppressed, as the downtrodden, as defenders of American values and the white, Christian way of life.

Seriously. Watch the CNN video.

“We are being replaced in our own country,” Nathan Damigo, the founder of Identity Europa, said. In his mind, and in the minds of people like him, they’re not attacking other people, they’re just opposing the false narrative of contemporary society! They’re not spewing propaganda, they’re just providing alternative facts!

These groups are everywhere, by the way. This was put up all over my local university campus just today:

Boise Nationalists
Boise Nationalists group flier posted on college campus

And that’s the second time this group has posted fliers. At least in our case, students immediately showed opposition by tearing down the fliers, and even posting anti-fascist fliers of their own – but don’t make the mistake of thinking these are isolated incidents, or that you’re far removed from it because the incident you just read about happened hundreds of miles away. Nationalism is trendy these days, and it’s probably not hard to find in your own town.

Resistance Is NOT Futile

Honestly, I feel like I shouldn’t have to explain why these so-called nationalist groups and the values they represent are a problem. If you’ve paid attention in history class, you know all about how the Nazis rose to power, you know all about the rhetoric used against Japanese-Americans during WWII, and you don’t need me to tell you about the humanitarian disasters caused by Manifest Destiny.

If you understand that history, you know that the American dream isn’t a given – it has to be periodically upheld and fought for, and the people who would willfully pull us backward must be resisted at all costs.

I don’t have all the answers. Maybe it’s better to protest, or to write to Congress, or to form organizations of our own. Or maybe you can do what these counter-protesters did in Dallas:

…or not.

I’m not advocating violence, of any sort. But you do have a legal right to protest, and a legal right to bear arms – as far as I’m concerned, if you’re doing anything, as long as you’re doing it legally, you’re fine, and we should be doing everything we legally can do to stand up for our rights and the rights of others.

The nationalism genie may not go back in the bottle – but we can sure as hell make him regret coming out.