complaints, controversies, social media, videos, YouTube

I didn’t know I was a producer of dirty content…

This morning has gotten off to a very interesting start. I woke up at about 6:00 AM, because Bill decided to take today off work. He has to go on a TDY next week, starting Monday night. Since Monday is Labor Day, he decided he’d enjoy today at home with me.

I was a little hesitant to check my iPad because I was afraid of waking up to a shitstorm on Facebook. Yesterday, I shared a somewhat controversial post that appeared on George Takei’s Facebook page. A minor argument ensued, with no final resolution. I wasn’t wanting to continue arguing about it today, and I was a little worried that other people might have chimed in on that controversial post while I was sleeping. It was a relief to see that there was only one other comment on that post, and it wasn’t contentious.

Then I went to my notifications and saw that I had one from YouTube. There was also an email from them. Behold:

There’s more, but you get the gist.

Mind you… this is not the first time I’ve had content age-restricted. For some reason, the bots seem to go wild in August and September, as that is the time of year when I tend to get these notices. Two years ago, YouTube dinged a video I had posted in 2015 called “Big Pink Dildo”. It was a parody of Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” that I did in response to a bunch of uptight military spouses who were upset because someone on a Facebook yard sale page had posted a joke listing for her used pink sex toy. It looked like maybe the thing had been co-opted by the family dog, though.

I thought it was crazy that YouTube age-restricted the parody, since there was no swearing in it, and only one photo of the toy, placed at the very end of the video. Most of the video is black, with my singing over it. Also, the video has been up for years and only has a few hundred hits on it. I appealed, but they declined to remove the restriction. I got over it and moved on with my life. 😉

None of the other videos I’ve posted have ever come close to being “adult content” of any kind. Most of my videos consist of vacation pictures or of me singing a song. When I saw the title of the video that was tagged, I had forgotten what it was about. I clicked the link to check it out, and was flabbergasted to see that it was a video I made in mid August 2016, when Bill and I visited a “Barefoot Park” in Dornstetten, a Black Forest hamlet in Germany.

Barefoot Parks are where people take off their shoes to experience nature and feel different things with their feet. There are a number of them in Germany. They are health promoting, fun, and absolutely kid friendly! But furthermore, I don’t think there were really any kids featured in my video. It’s not even three minutes long, and consists of four clips– Bill cranking a machine; Bill bouncing on a trampoline; Bill walking on a balance beam like log; and Bill walking through mud until he falls on his ass.

We didn’t even curse in the video, although doing so would have been perfectly understandable. So I was puzzled as to why YouTube’s bots decided to age restrict the video, especially since it has about 166 views as of today. It’s hardly a high profile performer that presents a danger to anyone. In fact, it shows what can happen at the Barefoot Park if you aren’t careful when you walk in the mud… You can end up literally hitting mud!

The only potential infraction I could come up with was “child safety”. Below is what YouTube says about that…

But this is a big stretch… Also, I never tag my videos as “made for kids”.

I clicked the child safety link, and then realized that my video is not at all like their description of one that would be dangerous to children.

Hmmm… again, there’s more, but my video isn’t at all like what they’re describing.

I thought about just ignoring the restriction and going on with my life, since no one watches it, anyway. But it’s one of my rare uploads that doesn’t have a copyright restriction, and besides, the bots just plain got it wrong this time. So I asked for an appeal. Happily, within a few minutes, I got one, and the restriction was removed.

I’m glad the appeal was quick and painless, but I’d love to know why it was hit by bots in the first place!

The stuff I put on YouTube is nothing like what I write in this blog. Likewise, my travel blog is mostly not the same kind of content this blog is. I’d say this blog is more “mature themed” and potentially R rated. My YouTube channel is mostly PG rated, at most. And certainly, aside from my “Big Pink Dildo” parody, there’s nothing there there that would make anyone blush.

Ironically, the other day I considered doing a cover of Red Peters’ “The Spelling Song”, which is a bit profane. But I decided not to do that, precisely because I didn’t want to get an email like the one above. If you don’t know the magic of “The Spelling Song”, here’s a link. I warn you, though… it’s kind of raunchy, especially if you know how to spell.

I see it’s not age-restricted here…

Anyway… I do try to be a good YouTube citizen. If you’re curious, below is the now non age-restricted video that prompted today’s blog post… It’s really dirty stuff, alright… LITERALLY!

Me and my “dirty” content! It’s a danger to children, only if their parents are cleanliness obsessed.

The best part about the above video was the round of German laughter when Bill hit the mud with a resounding splat. Maybe that could be considered a form of bullying… I don’t know. Fortunately, we all had the fortitude to recover from that incident without any lasting psychological ill effects.

By the way, after I got my video unrestricted, I visited YouTube, where I was immediately confronted by a video about a 17 year old girl, one month from turning 18, being arrested for running away from a group home. There’s a lot of swearing, screaming, and manhandling into handcuffs and police cars. As of today, that video is not age-restricted. I wonder if it ever will be. Surely that content is more frightening to children than Bill’s spill in German mud…

Or how about the scary news content about Donald Trump, wanting to get rid of the Constitution so he can run the United States his way? I watched a news video about a Georgia legislator who warns of another “Civil War” this morning. He literally speaks of getting out his rifle to “defend” the country from Georgia prosecutor Fani Willis, who is a threat to our country, as he sees it. But that video was unrestricted, as far as I can tell. My seven year old video, on the other hand… much too dirty for kids to see. 😉

Ah well… all’s well that ends well. I’ll try to clean up my act, going forward.

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psychology, rants

For shame!

As Germany is about to enter yet another partial lockdown, I’ve been looking for more ways to occupy my time. I decided to hang out in a Facebook group devoted to fellow graduates of Longwood College. I specify Longwood College because that was the name of the school when I attended. It is now known as Longwood University, and it’s changed quite a lot since my day. Those of us who were Longwood students before all of the insane building projects like to hang out there and reminisce about the old days.

Things have been pretty slow in that group lately, save for the frequent posts by one guy who has managed to sell Longwood College swag. Someone complained about the frequent sales posts. She said the group wasn’t intended to be a sales site. I have to admit, she’s right. But it’s not entirely the seller’s fault, since people did want him to start selling the Longwood College branded merchandise. He supposedly went through a lengthy licensing procedure in order to get permission to sell the stuff.

Now… I don’t actually care too much about the sales postings. It’s easy for me to scroll past them. But I did agree that things in the group had gotten kind of dull. A couple of months ago, I started a thread about Erin McCay George, a woman who used to be the editor of the college’s newspaper, The Rotunda. She ended up murdering her husband for insurance money and is now in prison. She also wrote a book about what it’s like to be in prison. For several days, that was a hot thread. No one seemed to take any issue with it.

Yesterday, I started a more innocuous thread about the State Theater’s roof collapsing during the spring semester of 1994. But then I remembered another “true crime” case involving a fellow alum. The trouble was, the case was about a man who is in prison for viewing child pornography. Although no one seemed to have a problem with chatting about a female murderer who is in prison, it somehow felt potentially icky to bring up the case about the guy who’s in prison for viewing kiddie porn.

People asked me to “spill the tea” about the case, so before I posted the details, I wrote that the crime was pretty yucky. I didn’t mind sharing what I know about it, but I advised anyone who had an issue with it to say so. No one did. In fact, I got more pleas to “spill the tea”, so I did. Bear in mind that this case is over ten years old and was all over the news in Texas back in 2009, 2010, and in 2016. In fact, one can even read very interesting legal documents about the case online. They are readily available to everyone. I also wrote about the case on my old blog.

So, without naming the guy explicitly, I wrote about the case in this group. Then I provided a link to a FindLaw article about his case. Sure enough, I got a shaming comment from someone who was “disgusted” that I would open that can of worms. I wrote that was why I posted a warning as the initial post. The story of the crime was in the comments. She could have scrolled past. She chose not to.

She pressed on that I shouldn’t have shared the story and implied that I should be ashamed of myself. My response was, “Why? No one had a problem with my post about Erin George, who MURDERED someone.” At least in this case, no one died.

Then someone else joked that no one should tell me anything “personal”. And I wrote that this was a news story that was covered extensively in Texas. It wasn’t confidential information. Moreover, I didn’t even write the guy’s name, although I did share a link about the case. It would be one thing if this was something secret, rather than just taboo. But it wasn’t a secret, nor was it even new news. Some people are interested in true crime. I certainly am.

Even if this case was not about someone I knew of in college, I would have found it very interesting, mainly due to the way he got caught. Basically, he hired someone to house/dog sit and did not lock down his computer. She helped herself to the computer, claiming that she was trying to rip music from one of his CDs (which investigators later found no evidence of her doing). She found his stash of child pornography and then went to the police. Granted, this happened in 2009, but it’s still amazing to me that someone with a habit like that one wouldn’t be more careful.

Some people in the group were grateful that I shared the story, salacious as it was. The one woman who “shamed” me eventually got swept up in trading insults with one of the more vociferous posters– the one who had complained about the many sales posts. Meanwhile, I was left perplexed that she’d tried to make me feel small for sharing a story about a ten year old news item. Yes, it was a negative story about an alum, but I did take the time to warn those who didn’t want to read it. And why should the shamer feel she has the right to dictate what people post about if something is not explicitly against the group’s rules? Just like I have explained in response to complaints about my blog, I can’t know what will or won’t offend individual people. I suspect more people were interested in the story– again well reported in the news– than upset by it.

I ended up explaining once again that I knew that some might not think the story about the pedophile was an appropriate post, but if someone who only wants to read positive posts doesn’t heed an explicit warning that a topic might be icky, that’s kind of on them. Even on this blog, I post explicit warnings when I’m about to get raw, raunchy, or inappropriate. Those who were offended by the post after reading the warning need to take responsibility for themselves. Moreover, I don’t understand why it’s okay to post about a murderer, but not a pedophile. No, it’s not a happy topic, but I explained that it wouldn’t be. She had a choice to avoid the topic entirely, but instead decided to call me out.

I have a problem with “shamers”. I’ve found that, so often, people who shame other people have an agenda. They have a momentary spark of self-righteous pleasure. It makes them feel better about themselves for being “above” another person. But the problem with that mindset is that as you point fingers at someone, chances are, a few fingers are pointing right back at you.

Take, for instance, last year, when a certain person sent me a private message “begging” me not to drag a mutual acquaintance through the mud on the Internet. She tried to appeal to my sense of shame in an attempt to silence me, even though Bill and I were victimized by the person she was protecting. The “certain person” who tried to shame me was very vocal about her desire to be “private” in her own life, yet she disclosed to me that she was sharing, and probably gleefully discussing, my personal business with the person she didn’t want me to “trash”. She’d write “supportive” comments to me on my blog, deleting them after she knew I’d seen them, although she didn’t delete all of them, and yes, they were used as evidence against the person whose honor she was defending. All the while, they were sitting around having a fine time reading my blog. Granted, it was a public blog, but I think she knew perfectly well that she was stirring the shit pot and being massively hypocritical. I think she was hoping that Bill and I would take the heat for shit she did and never took any responsibility for doing. And yet I’M the one who should be ashamed? I don’t think so.

In the back of my head, I knew what she was doing. But when she actually came right out and admitted it, and then tried to make ME out to be the asshole, that was just too much disrespect. I’m definitely not the one who should be ashamed about what happened. All I did was write the truth. It wasn’t a flattering look, sure, but abusive behavior rarely is. The person who was being protected tried to take advantage of us and ripped us off. We suspect she’s done it to other people who didn’t hold her accountable. We took legal action and prevailed, and we’re about to put the last nail in the coffin. Shit’s going to get even more real, as well it should. It would be a bigger shame not to address what happened and do our part to protect other people from someone else’s abusive, predatory behaviors.

Should I be ashamed for pointing out that things aren’t always rosy? Should I suffer in silence when someone treats me badly? Asking someone to be silent when they’re being abused is in itself abusive behavior. Shaming someone for being open and honest is shady behavior. I’ve had enough of that kind of treatment. I’m not going to take it anymore, especially from liars and cheats.

As for the woman in the alumni group, I have no idea what motivated her to try to shame me. She probably should know that I have no shame. I’m the same woman who made up a song called “Big Pink Dildo” to the tune of Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi”. I’m not sure what her goal was… did she expect me to delete the thread? Apologize? I explicitly gave her warning. She could have practiced some self-control and accountability. Not everyone is a docile, genteel, “class act” like she is. What gives her the right to try to dictate what other people say and do? What gives her the right to speak for others when she chastises people for communicating things she thinks are “inappropriate”? She’s one of over 1860 people in that group. She should only speak for herself.

As for the “certain person” who tried to shame me into being silent and has stalked my blogs for years, KINDLY GO FUCK YOURSELF. Your efforts at advocacy for our mutual acquaintance made things a hell of a lot worse than they needed to be. If you had simply minded your own business and not done your level best to try to help your “friend” screw us, your “friend” would probably not be in the situation she’s in. Moreover, your intel gathering skills need lots of work. You obviously misjudged us.

Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes it is appropriate to call people out. But nine times out of ten, shaming is not about righting a wrong. It’s about one person temporarily feeling better about themselves for humiliating another person. Was the woman who called me out really upset with me for posting about a pedophile? Would she defend the pedophile’s actions? My guess is that I actually have more empathy for him than she does. The fact is, as awesome as Longwood is, there have been some pretty bad and, dare I say, fucked up things that have happened there over the years. I have never seen anyone have a problem with those topics– Erin George the murderer, the fire at Dr. Sprague’s house that killed her, the murder of Dr. Debra Kelley, her estranged husband, their daughter and her friend, and the murder of a local antiques dealer, just to name a few. We’ve discussed these things at length with no shaming. Why is a pedophile different?

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musings

Blog design and layout are not my fortes…

I am sitting here looking through the many different blog layouts offered on WordPress. Some people love playing with blog layouts, colors, fonts, and all of that stuff. Not me. I kind of suck at doing layouts. I just want to get to writing. But then I realize that the blog is probably not easy for everyone to read and I wonder if I should change it.

Would it be better if I switched from a color scheme to just black and white? I could do that, but it seems so stark. I’m not really a stark person.

Don’t be surprised if I switch the design again soon. I’m not very happy with what I have right now. One thing I liked about Google’s Blogger engine is that it was so easy to use. I had a lot of freedom as to what templates and colors I could employ, as well as fonts. It didn’t cost me anything, either. In fact, I made money using Blogger, although I did occasionally run afoul of their “anti-decency” rules. I got in trouble once because I wrote a post about a big pink used dildo someone was selling in one of the Stuttgart yard sale groups. Hell, I even did a well-received song parody about it. But Blogger said it was too dirty for their advertisers, so I had to put it in draft. I later rewrote it for this blog, because I now own the domain and can mostly post whatever I want.

WordPress just seems harder to customize the way I want it. And there are so damned many designs to choose from, some of which are kind of expensive. I don’t mind paying for my blog space, but I already have a lot of subscriptions and it gets hard to keep them all straight. On the other hand, everything works on WordPress. Blogger got pretty wonky toward the end of my stint there. That was one major reason why I switched venues. The other major reason is that I had stalkers.

I really do suck at this kind of stuff. I’m much better at communicating than creating visually appealing spaces. I didn’t inherit the crafty gene from my mom (who really does have it in spades). It’s probably a good thing I’m not a Mormon. I could never do the crafty shit they do and put in their blogs. Apparently, in some circles, that makes me a failure as a woman.

Anyway, if anyone out there in blog land has a preference, let me know. If readers would rather see this blog in black and white, I can easily arrange that. On the other hand, it looks like readers have the ability to alter the way the blog looks, anyway.

Sigh… life was a lot easier when I had a simple diary… Just give me a pen and some paper and I’m good. I like the layout on my travel blog better than I like the one on this blog. But the travel blog is photo heavy, while this blog isn’t. I’ll keep looking for a better layout plan. Please let me know in the comments if you have any tips.

Edited to add: THIS DOES NOT MEAN I WISH TO HIRE ANYONE TO HELP ME WRITE MY BLOG. I don’t need rude comments about my writing style or “wordiness”. I’m looking at you, Richard M. Miles, spammer extraordinaire. For a “business communication specialist”, you sure suck at communication. This isn’t a business; it’s a personal blog, and thus it comes straight from me, wordiness and all. Kindly fuck off.

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Song parodies

Just because I’m still feeling inappropriate…

On my original Overeducated Housewife blog, I once had a post called “Big Pink Dildo”. It was inspired by a minor drama that erupted in the Stuttgart Yard Sales Facebook group. As a joke, one of the “wives” decided to put her used pink dildo up for sale. She asked $5 for it, and, as the picture revealed, it came “equipped with pubes”. Naturally, a lot of people got their panties in a wad over the “joke”, and one extremely uptight group member demanded that the jokester take down her inappropriate, unprofessional post, lest someone’s child see a pink rubber replica of a man’s genitalia.

The lady who had put the sex toy up for sale had evidently long ago stopped using it for its intended purpose. It appeared to me that the toy was repurposed as a dog toy. It looked like it had teeth marks on it, as well as some kind of hair. Maybe it was pubes… but it was more likely dog hair. I have included a photo at the end of this post.

I was so tickled by this drama that I decided to write a blog post about it. I also made up a parody song set to Joni Mitchell’s hit song, “Big Yellow Taxi”. I changed the words to “Big Pink Dildo”, and even made a video. For over a year, that public post sat undisturbed on my Blogger account. But then one fateful day, I got a message from Google, telling me that my content had been “flagged” for being “inappropriate”. The person who flagged it was a Google staffer in India. I noticed he haunted my blogs for weeks after that report. It was almost as bad as when I wrote a negative post about USAA and got haunted by their PR people for weeks. I am happy to report that I’ve mostly kept my nose clean since– at least when it comes to big companies like Google and USAA.

Ordinarily, it wouldn’t have been a problem to write such a post and include a photo of a chewed up sex toy, but I was running ads on Blogger and lacked the technological savvy to prevent the ads from running on that post. Advertisers don’t like it when their products are advertised on posts that have anything sexually explicit or pornographic in them, even if the post is just a joke and not actually pornographic, like mine was.

For over two years, I kept that post in draft mode, thinking I might eventually repost it. But then I did a purging of some stuff and decided to toss that post along with some others that had given me trouble. Now that I have my blog on my own domain and am not running ads, I figure it’s time I shared “Big Pink Dildo”, the hit song, again for my intrepid readers. I think it’s pretty good, even if I do say so myself. I sure had fun with the lyrics. Maybe I missed my calling. Sorry about the picture, but we all have to get our thrills somewhere, right?

I didn’t add pictures until the very end because, to be honest, I wasn’t sure how I could do so without being overly crass…
You know, it almost doesn’t look like a dildo… It’s like a pink stick with clown shoes… or something. I’m not sure if the seller ever managed to unload it. Looks like her dog enjoyed it, anyway.

Anyway, that’s my outrageous and inappropriate posting for today. We also went car shopping, which I detailed on ye olde travel blog.

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