dogs, healthcare, politics, Trump

Chemo, comedians, and crazy Trump supporters who need a clue…

As I write this, Arran is about 17 hours beyond his first chemo treatment. He is noticeably better than he was 24 hours ago. I was a bit worried about him last night. He took the actual chemo treatment well. It consisted of infusions of Vincristine at the vet’s office, then some Prednisolone, and another chemo drug delivered by tablet called Endoxan. In the United States, Endoxan is known as Cytoxan, or Cyclophosphamide. I’m supposed to wear gloves when I give him that drug, and when I pick up Arran’s poop or clean up any urine accidents in the house.

Prednisone and its various incarnations are pretty incredible. We’ve given it to three of our dogs when they’ve had cancer, and the short term results are kind of miraculous to watch. However, the drug has some pesky side effects. Arran got me up twice last night because he needed to pee. On the other hand, the drug also stimulates appetite, which Arran actually needs right now. He had gained an undesirable amount of weight over the past couple of years, but has now suddenly lost some. So, eating is good, because I have seen cachexia in dogs, and it’s not pretty. This morning, he eagerly ate a full ration of his usual kibble, which he hasn’t done in a week or so.

But what really impresses me is that I just felt his lymph nodes, which I haven’t been able to bring myself to do in several days. They are noticeably smaller, and probably hurt less. The vet is concerned because Arran’s a little anemic, which apparently isn’t uncommon with canine lymphoma. It may mean he’s further along in his illness than we’d hoped. On the other hand, everything I’ve read online has told me that he should have already died by now. I knew he had lymphoma when I spotted the enlarged lymph nodes, but it took the vets about two weeks to confirm the diagnosis, because the results of the fine needle aspirates each took a week. I suppose we could have taken him straight to Tierklinik Hofheim, which is an actual hospital, and that would have delivered faster results. But, again, we aren’t hoping for miraculous cures, because Arran is already elderly. We just want a little more time… or as long as he can enjoy himself before he inevitably starts to feel like crap again.

I think he’ll be around to greet Bill when he comes home tonight, and that was one of my personal goals. Next week, we’ll get him through another business trip. He’ll have another round of chemo on Thursday. I fully expect him to make it to the appointment, although I am still a realist. Just seeing him feeling better lifts my spirits, though. I truly hate seeing suffering. I would probably make a terrible nurse, because I would get depressed and burned out in a very short period of time.

But anyway, right now he’s parked behind my desk chair, farting away… He farted after his treatment, too. The tech opened a window, because it was pretty rancid.

Moving on… (and a warning that the next two parts are more profane…)

Yesterday, I watched the below video in absolute shock.

I hope the asshole who threw that can at the comedian got arrested!

Once again, I am absolutely flabbergasted by the sheer idiocy of Trump supporters. This comic was doing her routine when she got heckled by some Trump supporting moron. The comedian handled herself beautifully, as the Trumper kept running her mouth, fucking with the comedian’s act. Comedians have to deal with that stuff, of course. It comes with the job. What they should NOT have to deal with, though, is acts of violence against them. The heckler got verbally nastier with the comedian, who refused to be cowed by the Trumper’s unhinged comments and insults. I guess the comedian’s composure was too much for the heckler, because someone suddenly threw a full can of beer at the comedian, narrowly missing her!

Without missing a beat, the comedian completely p’owned the heckler. Watch the video to see what she did. It was pretty epic.

If I were that comedian, I would definitely be pressing charges against that crazy person who doesn’t support free speech or expression and throws things at people who say things they don’t want to hear. But then, I’m not as funny as the comedian is… 😉 I’m also not as young, or as patient. I don’t suffer bullies. Edited to add: CNN reports that it was a man who threw the beer can, as the heckler had already been kicked out of the venue.

I have really had it with Trump supporters, and it’s not because I’m a “leftist”. I just want life to go back to some semblance of normalcy, when there was an expected level of decorum in our country’s leadership. In what world is it okay for someone to attend a comedy show and throw a full can of beer at an entertainer who is performing on stage? On a smaller scale, it’s the same kind of shit that Will Smith did to Chris Rock, and it’s completely UNACCEPTABLE. What that person did is against the law, and he should be punished. And it really upsets me that people have lost so much respect for each other, and for elected officials that they think it’s okay to act like that.

You don’t like someone’s comedy routine? Just get up and leave. You don’t get to be violent because a comedian says things you don’t want to hear. If that beer had hit the comedian, she could have been injured. Fortunately, the Trumper missed, and the comedian had the chance to turn that foolishness around on the stupid bitch. I don’t usually like to namecall, but in this case, I think the situation calls for it. That person obviously doesn’t know how to behave in public and shouldn’t be on the loose. In that way, she’s not unlike her hero, Donald Trump, and his fucking stooge minions, Marjorie Taylor, Lauren Boebert, Greg Abbott, and all the rest of the extremist MAGA fuckwits who want to turn the United States into Gilead.

Edited to add: The comedian’s name is Aerial Elias. CNN also covered this incident, and evidently, the woman who heckled her was escorted out before the beer was hurled by a MAN. Aerial declined to press charges against the guy, but the club is pursuing legal action. I hope he gets NAILED. I am going to do what I can to support her work. She’s got a new fan!

Edited to add again… No charges for the beer thrower. Shameful!

Moving on…

Once again, some Trumper on Amy Klobuchar’s page decided to leave me a comment when I posted that I voted all blue. The guy was more concerned about cheap gas and inflation than human rights, women’s rights to privacy, and basic decency. He claimed that Americans think Biden has turned the USA into a dystopia. I told him to speak for himself. He came back with some tripe about money, and how rising prices was making his life terrible. I was going to respond to him, but I decided that dealing with Arran is stressful enough. If he doesn’t see why having MAGA extremists in power is bad for America, and the world at large, nothing I can say will convince him. So I used my block button again.

I know that very few people care about opinions that don’t match theirs, and I don’t want to deal with strangers who think I need to hear from them, when all they care about is $1.89 gas and $20 extra in their paychecks. As a conservative white male, he doesn’t understand why taking away women’s rights to make private medical choices was a bridge too far for a lot of people, myself included. That’s why I am DONE with Republicans, because how dare they?

I just watched the latest installment of The Handmaid’s Tale. I wasn’t too surprised by what happened at the end, but I did have a flash of recognition as I listened to June talk to Serena Joy about hate and violence in the world, and the wish that their kids would do better. We used to be better than this. The Handmaid’s Tale is scary viewing, not just because it’s so violent and depressing, but because a lot of what’s in that show is frighteningly close to real life… and not just in the United States, either. I hope some people wake the fuck up and vote accordingly.

Standard
complaints, condescending twatbags, controversies, Germany, healthcare, law, Reality TV, true crime, YouTube

Strong women sure do scare weak men…

Sorry about this super long post. I have a lot on my unusually clear mind this week. 😉

The week is grinding on, and I’ve been doing my best to stay occupied as I eagerly wait for Friday, when Bill returns from Stuttgart. As much as I complain when Bill is out of town, I have to admit it’s not all bad. For one thing, it gives me a chance to catch up on shows like My Feet Are Killing Me. I binged a few more episodes of that show last night. Thankfully, none of them gave me nightmares, although some of the issues people present with on that show are heartbreaking. I imagine the pain I’m in when I wear shoes that don’t fit well, knowing that when I take them off, the pain will go away. The people on that show have to deal with excruciating, unrelenting pain. It must be so rewarding for the podiatrists when they see their patients walk with less agony and/or better looking feet.

In some ways, I find My Feet Are Killing Me a less annoying show than Dr. Pimple Popper, because there are several doctors. “Dr. Brad” gets on my nerves, though, because he comes off a bit like a frat boy to me. And, maybe I’m a cranky old broad, but I don’t like it when doctors introduce themselves with their surnames, but call their patients by their first names. I’d blame it on living in Germany for almost 8 years, but I didn’t like it in the States, either. However, I would be preferred to be called by my first name than some cutesy pet name like “hon” or “sweetie”. If I’m going to be paying you out the ass for healthcare, you can call me Ms. or Mrs. And get offa my lawn, while you’re at it.

I’ve also been teetotaling while Bill is away. I usually try not to drink alcohol when he’s not home. There are a few reasons why I do this. The main one is to give my poor old body a break. Another reason is that in case of an emergency, I don’t want to be under the influence of booze. If I had to take one of the dogs to the vet, or had some kind of medical or other emergent issue, I wouldn’t want to be the slightest bit bombed. And finally, I like to remind myself that there are other ways to spend my time. It’s also comforting to know that I can still choose not to drink, given my family’s alcoholic history and my own enjoyment of the “sauce”. 😉

Watching videos of people in the United States getting busted for DWI is one way to remind myself of how things can quickly spin out of control after a drink or two. Germany is stricter about drinking and driving than the US is. The blood alcohol limit is .05 here, and if you get busted, they can and will force you to give a blood sample. There’s also a 500 euro fine for a first offense, and other penalties I won’t get into with this post. I almost never drive, but if I am alone, I might need to go somewhere, and I’d rather not go by bus. At least here, there are a lot of options for those who need a ride. We don’t have train station in our town, but we do have plenty of buses and taxis. However, anywhere I’d go would probably require me to drive, because I’d most likely be taking my dogs.

I spent a good portion of yesterday watching footage of people being arrested. Most of the videos were entertaining enough, but there was one guy who really gave me pause. This guy was a real character– memorable in EVERY way. After watching him interact with the cops incidents in both Vermilion and Lorain, Ohio, all I could do is feel sorry for this man’s family… especially his wife and kids. In fact, his stepson even commented on one of the videos, confirming to everyone that stepdad is a real jackass most of the time, with a few exceptions. Behold, Dorsey Fields…

Bwahahahaha… he’s loud, profane, and just plain embarrassing. Look at that gaping maw!
God help the people who have to deal with him. He’s belligerent, entitled, and probably needs medication other than alcohol.

The video below was actually from an earlier incident in a neighboring town. It happened maybe a month before the above video footage was taken. In the below video, Mr. Fields was busted for impersonating a police officer. As he was being arrested, he protested the officers scratching his 2004 model car. That beard, too… It’s too much.

He must have quite the rap sheet!

As I was watching Dorsey Fields in action, I couldn’t help but think he was naturally entertaining. Under different circumstances, maybe he could have been a character actor. He has a good voice for acting or speaking– it’s clear, distinctive, and doesn’t have a strong accent. He has personality, although it’s not a very pleasant personality, based on these videos. He’s also often hilarious, whether or not he means to be. Throughout his many rants in these videos, I can see glimmers of a gentler person… maybe when he’s totally sober and medicated, he’s even a very nice or otherwise redeemed person. According to his stepchild’s comment, Fields is bipolar. This was posted about 14 months ago or so.

Izzy (2 months ago): This is my step dad, I currently live with him and he acts like this everyday. I just recently turned 18 but ever since I was 11 we always fought. I have no remorse for him. After everything he’s done to degrade me, make me feel like shit and emotionally manipulate our family this is deserved and i’m glad people are seeing how much of an asshole he is. He also knows about the video but refuses to watch it, I read the comments to him but he still doesn’t think he’s a total asshole. Also he doesn’t own any businesses, my mom owns two restaurants that he didn’t contribute to. He isn’t a CEO of anything either and the car isn’t his. He is bipolar but I don’t think that excuses him being an asshole since he’s pretty much always been like this. I hope this video and these comments help him realize he needs serious help.

EDIT: Thank you for all the positive comments, support, and advice. I wasn’t expecting a lot of sympathy, but regardless I deeply appreciate it!! I genuinely hope his mental health, attitude, and behavior improves. Honestly sometimes he’s a cool dude and we have a lot of memories together, but most of the times he’s a total POS which sucks. Hopefully one day we’ll see his positive side more.

Poor Izzy. Wonder what his or her mom sees in Dorsey. She sounds like a very ambitious, hard working person, and she deserves better treatment than what this guy obviously delivers. I have to admit, though, these videos were the highlight of a hot afternoon. Which brings me to my next topic, and the subject of this post. I’ll bet most guys like Dorsey Fields aren’t very nice to their women. Strong women scare weak men. It’s obvious to me, especially in the comment sections of news articles about abortion. I’ll bet ol’ Dorsey is a Republican, too, and he comes from a state that strongly wants to deny women the right to terminate their pregnancies. Honestly, I think the existence of guys like Dorsey Field are one of the main reasons the ability to get abortions should absolutely remain legal.

Last night, I was reading an article in the Washington Post about how Democrats are working to come up with ways to get around Republican oppression regarding women’s health and access to abortions. On Rachel Maddow’s show, I heard about pro choice groups creating bulletproof vans that provide abortion services and can be driven to borders near anti-choice states. I think it’s sad that such a personal procedure might have to be done clandestinely in a motor vehicle, just so people can maintain control over their own reproduction. On the other hand, bravo to those who are not taking this shit lying down and FIGHTING BACK against zealots who want to force women to be pregnant when they don’t want to be.

Oh, but the comments from some of the men are so very telling. On the article I read last night, there was a really nasty character named Max who was leaving disgusting, insulting, and downright racist comments toward an atheist woman from Tunisia who argued for choice. He wasn’t the only one making vile comments to her; there were at least two other guys who were being overbearing, rude, and MEAN to this brave woman who dared to express an opinion. I got so disgusted by Max’s comments that I blocked him, even though I didn’t engage him. I also reported him for racist hate speech. I know I’m not the only one.

I wish Max’s vile commentary against pro-choice women was an anomaly in the wake of the reversal of Roe v Wade, but it isn’t. Every day, I read more insulting comments from MEN who claim to be pro-life and lament about “murdering” babies. But they have no thought whatsoever for the horrible, dehumanizing, demeaning, and cruel comments they deliver to living, breathing, former fetuses. Most of these men also expect women to find them attractive enough to fuck. George Carlin once famously asked his fans if they’d ever noticed that people against abortion are people they wouldn’t want to fuck in the first place. I’m here to tell you, I find most pro-life men utterly repulsive, not because they claim to be against abortion, but because they are usually just mean spirited, insufferable, uncaring dickheads.

Take, for instance, this op-ed that appears in The New York Times today. The piece is called “Please Laugh About My Abortion With Me.” Lots of men are commenting. Most probably didn’t bother to read the article, written by Alison Leiby, who does stand up comedy and has had an abortion. She has a comedy show called “Oh God, a Show About Abortion.”, which she performed the evening of June 24, 2022, which was the day Roe v Wade was overturned and millions of American women lost significant rights to their privacy and bodily autonomy. One wouldn’t think this would be a subject we should laugh about, regardless of how one stands on the abortion issue. Leiby has actually been performing this routine for a few years, having found that writing jokes helped her process the experience of having an abortion.

I’m a big fan of turning trauma into something creative. I do it all the time on my blog. Not everyone enjoys what I do. That’s to be expected, of course. But it is one way of taking back my power, and maintaining my mental health. For example, a few years ago, when our former landlady was driving me batshit crazy, I was writing short stories about her. I figured that was better than doing something violent. Her former tenant, who has since committed suicide, sent me a very shaming private message, mocking me for calling what I do “creative”. That’s the thing about creativity, though. It’s very subjective, and it doesn’t have to be “good” or “popular” to be healing. You don’t have to like someone else’s creative pursuits. Other people might like it and be helped, or even healed by it. The beauty of creative pursuits is that reactions often vary, and as long as the work means something to the creator, it’s worth doing on some level. I thought Alison Leiby’s article on joking about abortion was outstanding. Sadly, a lot of people will comment on it without reading, simply because their minds are firmly closed.

Maybe if the former tenant had been more open to good old fashioned venting in a blog, or turning her trauma into some other form of creativity, she might still be alive today. And it’s not that I don’t empathize with her, either. I’ve felt suicidal many times in my life. I think if I didn’t have a creative spirit fighting to get out, I might have one day done the ultimate anti-life thing, like she did. In fact, when I was suffering from debilitating depression and anxiety in the late 1990s, I studied voice. It helped me stay afloat when I saw no other reason to stay on this shitty planet, where an anti-choice total stranger once told me I should be forced to give birth, as they also called me a fat, murderous, “CUNT”. No lie– someone actually said that to me– and no, I have never been pregnant or needed an abortion. He said it because I’m a woman with an opinion he didn’t like. Why would I want to birth a baby in a world in which my child could possibly come into contact with a hateful, disgusting, rage-filled, disrespectful moron like him? He can’t even restrain himself from calling a perfect stranger a “CUNT”, and he thinks innocent babies should be brought into a world where he is on the loose, ready to hurt them with his vile misogynistic views?

Why is it that the most disgusting, reprehensible, sexist, racist, power hungry men are usually the ones who insist on making women stay pregnant, as they shame the women for getting pregnant and insist that it was a 50/50 decision. You can’t tell these guys that women often give in to men who want sex… or they are FORCED to have sex. And the ones who want to get birth control or even have sterilization procedures, often have to deal with doctors who don’t want to fulfill their requests.

So there I was last night, reading the comments about women’s rights to abortion care in the news. I was bewildered by men who were passionately railing against women who “murder” their babies, yet had no trouble totally trying to destroy and dehumanize the women who disagreed with them. These were already born people– folks who were once fetuses themselves, whom these guys claim they care so much about today. All I can do is imagine these angry, horrible, hateful men cursing out a beautiful baby girl, calling her a slut or a murderer or any other vile name… who someday might be knocked up by one of their grandsons, and might fervently wish to end the pregnancy for whatever reason, that is absolutely none of their business. As long as it’s HER body, it must be HER choice. That’s the way it WILL ultimately be, no matter how much yelling, threatening and cursing these guys do. It would so serve them right if many more women of childbearing age simply stopped having sex with any man who doesn’t embrace her absolute divine right to control her own body.

Anyway… I really liked Alison Leiby’s op-ed. I think people should read it, so this link will take you to her unlocked article. Like George Carlin before her, Alison Leiby has figured out that we really can joke about anything. Sometimes telling jokes can be very healing. Sometimes reading and writing profane rants is healing. Sometimes singing– even if it’s terrible singing– is healing. Dancing can be a wonderful way to relieve stress and make something constructive out of something damaging, as is practicing any form of art, no matter what it is. Yes, you can laugh about abortion if you want to, and it won’t send you straight to Hell. Just open your mind and use it for thinking, instead of judging.

There’s no need to be scared, weak and misogynistic men of the USA. This isn’t your fight; it belongs to women, because women are strong enough to fight for their rights. And in spite of what so many scared, hateful, horrible anti-choice men think, strong women WILL prevail in this fight. I hope some of the women who are married to belligerent drunks who drive while intoxicated will also have the courage to leave… and maybe embrace masturbation or celibacy, while they’re at it.

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communication, complaints, humor, rants

It’s a messy morning for me…

If you’re squeamish about sickness, you might want to skip the first few paragraphs of this post.

So, I think I brought home a souvenir from Belgium. I wasn’t feeling 100 percent yesterday. I had a sore throat and a runny nose. I was sneezing, too. It all culminated last night. I had been really hungry, because we didn’t have much food in the house after our brief trip. I didn’t have much of a lunch. So when Bill made bacon cheeseburgers for dinner, I was all for it.

Just as I finished my burger, my body erupted into a violent coughing fit that nauseated me. I froze, looking horrified, and Bill asked me what was wrong. I said I felt like I was going to vomit. I got up and made a move toward the bathroom.

I didn’t quite make it to the toilet and, let’s just say, it was quite the Technicolor yawn. I spewed puke all over the bathroom and the rug outside the door. It took some time to clean everything up, because everything got doused– the floor, the toilet, the walls, and any items that were in the strike zone. Since this house doesn’t have closets, that meant a few things got sprayed. Bill had to go to the grocery store to buy more sponges and I had to do a sudden load of laundry.

Then, after I got most all of the surfaces cleaned, I got out my steam mop and started to give the floors a once over to get the last residue from my sickness. In the process of doing that, I scalded the fuck out of my toe. Naturally, that led to a lot of cursing and an urge to burst into tears, which I somehow managed to avoid doing.

I would definitely feel better if Bill did this nurse’s routine…

This morning, I woke up after a reasonably decent sleep, but my nose is running and I’m sneezing… This could be my allergies, or it could be a cold. Either way, I don’t feel well. However, I still have my senses of smell and taste, and I don’t feel overly tired or achy. So whatever this is, I’m sure it will pass. I’m still horrified about last night’s vomit fest, though I know it could have been worse. At least I didn’t also have diarrhea. I just have a very sensitive gag reflex and will hurl at the slightest provocation, just like the Maggie Blackamoor on Little Britain.

I relate.

And now that I’ve brought up Little Britain, it’s time to move on to today’s topic… because Little Britain offers a fine segue into what’s on my mind this morning.

A little while ago, I ran across an article in The Atlantic about comedy and comedians. The article, titled “When the Punishment Doesn’t Fit the Joke”, was written by Conor Friedersdorf, is partly about the comedian Dave Chappelle. Mr. Chappelle is no stranger to making jokes that sometimes go over like turds in proverbial punch bowls, as my Aunt Gayle would put it. Personally, I think Chappelle is often funny, but I’m not a super fan of his work. I never saw the Netflix special that got him into hot water, during which he made fun of trans people. Chappelle’s special was pulled from Netflix, and many people were talking about how insensitive and “bullying” he was toward a marginalized group. Some people tried to take it even further, attacking his career, trying to ruin him.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know I’m not a fan of “cancel culture”, especially when it comes to comedians. I may not like every joke I hear, but I am a big proponent of free speech and letting people vote with their wallets and consciences. Also, I like provocative content that makes people think. Sometimes so-called “offensive” humor is thought provoking. Even if a joke is cruel, if it gets people talking, it’s not all bad, in my opinion. Moreover, I enjoy being able to make decisions for myself about what is, and what is not, acceptable humor. I don’t need “help” from the masses.

In his article, Conor Friedersdorf begins by writing about Chappelle, and the performing arts theater at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC. Mr. Chappelle is a former student at the school and has donated a lot of money to it, so the theater was going to be named after him. But then Chappelle got into trouble for his jokes about trans people. The renaming ceremony was postponed, and Chappelle eventually told everyone “that for now, the venue will be named the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression.”

Friedersdorf wrote that his colleague, David Frum, had attended the event and offered an interpretation of what happened.

In sophisticated comedy, comedians play with the tension between formal and informal beliefs, and Chappelle’s is very sophisticated comedy. The function of humor as a release from the forbidden thought explains why some of the most productive sources of jokes are authoritarian societies, because they forbid so much. In the squares of Moscow today, protesters physically reenact an old Soviet joke, demonstrating with blank signs because “Everybody already knows everything I want to say.” That same function of comedy explains why “woke America” is the target of so much satirical humor today, because so much of wokeness aspires to forbid.

When Chappelle deferred adding his name to the theater of the school to which he’d given so much of himself—not only checks, but return appearances—he was not yielding or apologizing. He was challenging the in-school critics: You don’t understand what I do—not my right to do it, but the reason it matters that I exercise that right. Until you do understand, you cannot have my name. Someday you will understand. You may have it then.

The article continued with Friedersdorf’s thoughts on modern comedy and what the role of a comedian is supposed to be. Comedians make jokes and offer humorous positions on any given topic. The great George Carlin once did a bit called “Rape Can Be Funny”. In it, he talked about how comedians run into backlash over “tasteless” jokes all the time, with people who try to tell them what is or isn’t funny, and what can or can’t be joked about. Back in 1990, Carlin said:

I believe you can joke about anything.

It all depends on how you construct the joke. What the exaggeration is. What the exaggeration is.

Because every joke needs one exaggeration. Every joke needs one thing to be way out of proportion.

Now… I want to state right away that, on many occasions, I’ve heard Carlin’s routine about how rape can be funny. I own a copy of the CD it comes from, and have listened to it enough that I can recite it from memory. Personally, I don’t think “Rape Can Be Funny” is Carlin’s best work. He makes some very tone deaf jokes about rape that, to me, just plain miss the mark. Carlin’s rape jokes aren’t funny to me, though, because he seemed to think rape is about sex and sexual attraction. In my view, rape is about people who want to take power over another person. It doesn’t have to be a man who does it, either. Women are capable of raping men. I know this because it happened to my husband during his first marriage. He trusted his ex wife, and she rewarded him by violently assaulting him when he was not capable of defending himself. I don’t think she did it because she was turned on, or wanting to turn him on. She did it because she wanted to hurt him, and show him who was in control. That had nothing to do with love, sex, or bonding. It was an act of violence and, to me, it was definitely NOT funny.

However– even though I don’t agree with Carlin’s opinions about rape, I will admit that he made a very good point in his routine about how anything can be funny to certain people. The most skillful comics can make the most horrifying topics funny. I think Carlin was one of the best comics ever, but sometimes even he flubbed things. I didn’t find his rape routine that funny, but I appreciated the one pearl of wisdom within it, in which his main point is that comedians should be free to tackle all topics. If we don’t like it, we don’t have to laugh. We don’t have to watch the show or buy the album. That would be a fitting consequence of not being funny. Trying to ruin comedians’ careers over one or two bad or offensive jokes may not be a fitting consequence– especially when a certain community presumes to make that decision for everyone.

This is the best part of the routine, in my opinion. The rest of it, not so much. But it would have been a tragedy if George had been canceled for saying this. Because most of the other stuff he said was genius!

As is my habit, I went to the Facebook comment section, just to see what people thought of Conor Friedersdorf’s article. As usual, plenty of people who didn’t read it were chiming in. There were also some virtue signalers in there– mostly white guys– trying very hard to prove to everyone how sensitive and “woke” they are, by calling Chappelle a “bully”.

First off, I don’t think that merely joking about someone or something makes them a bully. In my mind, the term “bullying” connotes abuse and harassment that include threats and intimidation, not merely insults or ridicule. When I think of bullies, I think of people who use their positions of power to control or coerce others. Simply joking about a group, tasteless and mean as the joke may be, isn’t really acting like a bully. Now, if Dave was also trying to force trans people to give him money or property, or threatened to beat them up after the show, that would be more like bullying, in my view.

Secondly, the main virtue signaling offender in the comment section was being very insulting himself. Anyone who disagreed with him was labeled an “asshole”, among other derogatory terms. It seems to me that if one believes comedians should be kinder and gentler, one should be the change they want to see. Name calling those who have a differing viewpoint, especially when you’re pushing the view that people should be pressured/forced into being politically correct, is quite hypocritical. Below are just a few comments made by this guy. I thought about pointing it out to him that his habit of name calling isn’t very PC, but decided I’d rather frost my bush than argue with him.

…life would be better people were nicer to each other and didn’t try to fill the empty voids in their miserable lives by punching down at people more vulnerable than themselves. And it’s okay to call people who do that assholes and say you don’t want to be associated with them.

We’re having that conversation, and a lot of it is “wow, Chapelle really seems to be an asshole who delights in saying hurtful things about marginalized people from atom his giant pile of Netflix money”. But the Atlantic doesn’t like that conversation so they’re trying to shut it down. Fuck that.

…you say “that’s not the world we live in” like this is some divinely ordained state. But it’s a choice. Powerful assholes get away with attacking marginalized communities because others choose to accept it (as long as it’s happening to other people). But we could chose not to just brush off this kind of hate. We could be better.

There was one very sensible woman commenting who brought up that if people in the trans community want to be recognized as “mainstream”, they should be “tough enough” to be made fun of on occasion. One can’t ask to be treated like everyone else, and also demand “special” treatment or membership in a protected class. I totally agree with that notion.

I don’t find all attempts at humor successful, and some jokes really are tasteless, offensive, and too close to the bone, in my opinion. But it’s just MY opinion. Other people have different opinions, and personally I prefer having the right to speak freely over being threatened with being canceled if I express the “wrong” thing or have the “wrong” opinion. And to be clear, I don’t consider refusing to attend a show or buy a DVD to be “canceling” someone. Canceling someone is when a person or group tries to shut someone up or punish them by attempting to ruin their lives. That goes too far, in my view. Especially in a society that is supposed to be “free”, allowing freedom of expression and open exchanges of ideas.

ETA: I had to comment to the virtue signaling guy who was insulting everyone with name calling, as he also called for kindness. I wrote:

“Does it not strike you as slightly hypocritical that you keep labeling people ‘assholes’, as you preach about how we should all be more sensitive and kinder to others? Shouldn’t you start by being the change you want to see? Name calling isn’t the best look if you want to convince people that you’re a good person.”

I just had to do it. This guy seems to think that he should be the one who decides what is– and what is not– appropriate humor, and what jokes we should find acceptable. To quote him, I say “fuck that.” I can make up my own mind about what I find funny, and I can also vote with my wallet, and my feet. Moreover, I don’t respect someone demanding that we treat everyone with kindness and decency as he dehumanizes those who disagree with him by calling them “assholes”. He’ll probably come at me hours from now. Hopefully, I’ll be in an antihistamine induced coma by then.

I will hasten to add that I know I use the word “asshole” a lot myself. The difference is, I try really hard not to presume to “set an example”. I try not to tell people what they should be saying, thinking, or finding funny… or, at least I hope I don’t. I definitely don’t think anyone should necessarily look up to me, or value my opinions… I just like to express myself sometimes. I usually confine my expression to this blog, though, because otherwise, I’ll find myself engaged in a dialogue with someone preaching about being kind to the marginalized, as he calls me an “asshole”. Moreover, simply finding a joke funny– even if it’s vulgar, tasteless, or crass– doesn’t equate to “hate”. I can still laugh at Avenue Q or South Park, after all…

I saw this show in England a few years ago, and was crying at the end of it, it was SO good… it was basically about MY life as a Gen Xer! Should I not have found this funny? Some people might think that. Why don’t I get a vote, too?

As someone who loves humor, I don’t want to see comedians being canceled. I want them to be free to come up with jokes on any topic. I’m smart enough to decide for myself if I think something is funny or not, and I can choose for myself if I want to consume what they’re selling. I don’t need guys like the woke dude above, calling Dave Chappelle an “asshole”, as he condemns his comedy for being too “mean” and marginalizing groups that he deems “at risk”. I want everyone to have a vote, and I want them to be allowed to choose for themselves. That’s freedom, to me. And dammit, I love irreverent humor, even if it sometimes hurts.

Now, if I could only free myself from this runny nose, headache, fatigue, and sneezing, I’d be batting 500…

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book reviews

Repost: A review of This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection by Carol Burnett…

This book review was originally posted on April 15, 2014. I am reposting it here as/is.

Having grown up in the 70s and 80s, I remember The Carol Burnett Showwith great fondness.  For months, I’ve had her book, This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection, on my iPad.  I just finished reading it last night and, I’ve got to say, it’s a delightful book.  Carol Burnett shares heartwarming and funny anecdotes about her family and long career in show business.  She comes off as a genuinely wonderful woman who has stayed true to herself as she’s rubbed elbows with some true Hollywood legends.

I’m not sure what prompted me to download this book.  I’ve seen Carol Burnett in films and of course I’ve seen her show on TV.  I remember her daughter, Carrie Hamilton, from Fame.  I used to love that show in the 80s.  Sadly, Carrie died at age 38 in January 2002.  She had lung cancer.

Carol Burnett used to do a question and answer session on her show and this book is sort of like that, filled with cute stories about meeting everyone from Cary Grant to Joan Collins (who apparently was such a fan of Carol Burnett’s that she got on her knees when they ran into each other at a restaurant) to Barbara Stanwyck, who supposedly had an imaginary leprechaun friend who told her that Burnett would win a court case against a tabloid magazine.

She writes of what it was like working with Vicki Lawrence, who was sort of a Burnett protege after she wrote a fan letter to Burnett and included a photo that showed off how much Lawrence resembled her.  She writes of the hilarious Harvey Korman and Tim Conway and, of course, Lyle Waggoner (though I knew him better from his time with Lynda Carter on Wonder Woman). 

Above all, Carol Burnett comes across as someone with a huge heart.  She writes one story about a little girl named Kathy who had cancer and loved Carol Burnett’s show.  Kathy wrote to Carol, who responded in a very touching way.  I get the sense that though Carol Burnett is a celebrity, she’s someone who is still very grounded, and funny too!  I recommend her book.  I just started another one by her about her relationship with her daughter, Carrie.

As an Amazon Associate, I get a small commission from Amazon on sales made through my site.

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communication, complaints, language, rants

No… Betty White didn’t say that vaginas are tougher than balls are…

A few days ago, I reposted a rant I wrote in 2014. In that rant, which was originally composed on December 30, 2014, I went off about how annoyed I get when people want to “correct” each other’s opinions. At the end of the rant, I included a popular meme that included Betty White’s visage and the quote, “Why do people say “grow some balls”? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.” I also shared the original source(s) of that particular joke, which actually came from two comedians– Sheng Wang is partially credited, but it appears that he “borrowed” the joke from Hal Sparks, who did a hilarious routine on Showtime back in 2010. Have a look.

This guy has some comedic chops. Why don’t I know more about him? And why is his material being attributed to someone who has publicly said that she would never had said such a thing?
From Snopes.

When I reposted that blog entry from 2014, I didn’t know that Betty White would die just two days later on New Year’s Eve, 2021. And in the wake of her death, people are, once again, sharing incarnations of that meme with the misattributed quote about how tough vaginas are. I’ve already seen it a few times, and, well, it bugs me.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you shouldn’t be surprised that the practice of misattributing quotes to celebrities bugs me. It’s especially irksome to me when the person who is being falsely attributed to a quote is dead. When a person is dead, he or she can no longer shield themselves against people who put words in their mouths.

In November 2012, Betty White was interviewed by reporter Michael Cragg for The Guardian. Even back then, the infamous vagina quote was being credited to Betty White. Cragg even begins his story with that quote before setting the record straight:

Why do people say ‘grow some balls’? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.” If you happen to look this quote up, you’ll see it attributed to notoriously sweet 90-year-old TV great Betty White. Only those words never passed her lips, and she’d quite like people to bear that in mind next time they see fit to quote it at her, as I have just done. “That’s what I hate about Facebook and the internet,” she sighs. “They can say you said anything. I never would have said that. I’d never say that in a million years.”

I know many people loved Betty White, and that funny quote sounds like something she could have said. I can practically hear her Golden Girls character, Rose Nylund, saying that. But she didn’t say it, and has said she never would have. She plainly said, “I never would have said that. I’d never say that in a million years.” And yet, ten years later, people still share that quote as a means of “honoring” her. Is it really honoring someone when you pair their visage with someone else’s words? Especially when that person has repeatedly and publicly stated that they’ve been misquoted or misattributed?

Betty White joins a long list of famous people who have been credited improperly for things they’ve neither said nor written. How many times have I seen George Carlin credited for writing The Paradox of Our Time, an essay that sounds a little “Carlin-esque”, but was actually written by Dr. Bob Moorehead? George isn’t the only one who has been wrongly credited with writing that essay. It’s also been credited to the Dalai Lama and an unnamed Columbine student. Obviously, many people think it’s a wise and thought provoking essay; that’s why it continually gets shared. But if people really think it’s such a great piece of writing, why not give credit where credit is due? Credit the real writer, Dr. Bob Moorehead, not George Carlin or the Dalai Lama. Take a minute to double check before you share, too.

Most of us have never met the celebrities we admire so much. I think that’s a good thing, since heroes often don’t live up to their images. I have a feeling Betty White was just as sweet in person as she seemed to be on TV, but I don’t know that for sure. She was an actress, and it was her job to be someone she wasn’t– to convincingly play a part on screen so well that people believed they knew her.

I think it’s important to remember that most of the things Betty White said while playing a character, were things that professional writers wrote for her scripts. She played parts that were initially created by someone else, and brought to life by her talent. So when Rose told a St. Olaf story, that wasn’t just Betty– that was also the person who wrote the script.

Even if that quote about the toughness of vaginas sounds like something Rose Nylund would say, we should remember that Rose Nylund wasn’t, in fact, Betty White. Betty was Betty White… and when she wasn’t playing a part, she was herself. And the vast majority of people who know her name and have seen her work, never actually knew Betty off camera. It probably was annoying to her that so many people assumed they knew her well enough to put words in her mouth, so to speak. But, in the Internet age, I’m afraid that is an occupational hazard, as she noted in her article with Michael Cragg of The Guardian.

I do hope that by sharing this post, maybe a couple of people will reconsider sharing that meme– funny as it is. The lady just died two days ago. I’m sure there are other things she actually said that could be shared instead of the “tough vagina” meme that appears to have been inspired by a couple of somewhat less famous comedians. Why not give Hal Sparks or Sheng Wang the credit? They would probably appreciate it, and since they are presumably still living, they can actually use the associated fame.

Betty White was a wonderful, talented, blessed performer who was with us for so many years. Surely we can find another funny quote that Betty actually said that we can share among our friends on Facebook or other social media. Or, better yet, instead of sharing quotes that famous people said, why not come up with some of your own wisdom? I’ll bet you can do it if you try hard enough. But… then you might have another problem.

Every once in awhile, I’ll say something clever and original, and Bill will laugh and say, “That’s funny. Who said that?”

And I’ll roll my eyes and say, “I did. Why is it that whenever I say something funny or interesting, you automatically assume I’m ripping off someone else?”

And then he laughs and apologizes, then admits that I can be clever and witty in my own right, too. In fact, he’s said that’s one of the things he likes about me.

I’m not sure why people feel the need to share quotes, anyway… I used to have a Facebook friend who almost never posted his own thoughts. He just shared things other people said. I wondered what the point of that was. Is that something people do in their everyday lives? Do people go up to others and say things like, “I don’t know who needs to hear this, but Gordon B. Hinckley said ‘Conflict grows out of ignorance and suspicion.'”?

I have seen many people use wise quotes online, but it’s not something I see out and about in public, not that I go out in public much nowadays. So why do we do it so often on Facebook? I’m sure some people do it to inspire thought, and there’s nothing wrong with occasionally sharing a profound quote… but I’m a lot more impressed by people who share themselves, rather the stale words some famous person said… or didn’t say. But there’s no pressure to be wise, either. Why not just be yourselves? And let famous people be THEMSELVES.

I know this post makes me sound terribly uptight… and, you know what? I’m gonna own that. We all have our little quirks. This is one of mine. Dead people, especially, can’t defend themselves against false attribution. I will keep complaining about it as long as it’s a problem… which means I’ll probably write another rant on this subject at some point. And if you don’t like it, as Eddie Murphy said, while imitating his drunk stepfather…

“It’s my house…” Yes, Eddie said this, while imitating his stepfather… and I completely agree.

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