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.
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.
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…
Special thanks to singer-songwriter Facebooker extraordinaire, Janis Ian, who posted today’s featured photo on her Facebook page a day ago. I follow Janis Ian, but I’m not one to watch her obsessively. I think she’s often funny and thoughtful, but sometimes she’s a little too “woke” for my tastes. I know that comment might annoy some people. I know some people really think it’s cool to be super “woke”. I’m not there yet. I will probably never be there. I am definitely more left leaning than I once was, but I’m never going to be one of those people who is trying to be an “example” to others. Hell, I have enough trouble simply accepting myself as I am.
I do, however, see a lot of wisdom in Janis Ian’s recent “quote of the day” from an unknown source. There have been many times in my life when I’ve been left feeling terrible because of a regrettable exchange with someone. There have been times when I’ve said or done something that has upset or offended someone and have felt terrible about it forever. When that happens, I will self-flagellate, feeling like total shit, and withdraw from others. I think some people get the mistaken impression that I’m being a snob or that I feel like I’m “above” them in some way. That’s really not true at all. I just don’t like to feel like I annoy people. I feel like it’s better to stay home. This COVID-19 lifestyle, in some ways, is a good thing for me. I have a good excuse not to mingle.
From the time when I was a small child, I’ve gotten the message from important people that I wasn’t acceptable or “good”. Now… it IS true that some people love me for exactly who I am. Bill is one of those people. He doesn’t find me annoying at all. He never criticizes my laugh. He doesn’t tell me to lose weight or put on makeup. He doesn’t grouse about the fine layer of dust on the furniture or the fact that I can’t be arsed to get out of my nightgown if I’m not leaving the house. Instead, he’s kind and loving, and he never makes me feel like I’m worthless.
But even though my husband loves me for who I am and that makes me feel good, sometimes I do have trouble with my self-worth. I’ll give you a ridiculous “for instance”. Those of you who have been following me for awhile may know that Bill and I had some real trouble with a previous landlady. This lady seemed to have a real problem with me. She clearly didn’t like me, and seemed to judge me negatively for my lifestyle.
At first, her criticisms were couched in pleasantries and niceties. But, as time went on, she became more hostile and negative. I started to feel badly about myself. I remember feeling anxious, living in her house, as she would come over and I would watch her face as she took in the “appearance” of our house. It’s true, I am not an obsessive housekeeper, but I’m certainly not a filthy person. I don’t spend all of my free time polishing glassware, wiping down baseboards, or using a microfiber dust rag to clean the dust between the pipes on the towel warmer or heaters. I just can’t be bothered to be that detailed. It’s not worth my time. But I do empty the garbage, wipe down the counters, clean the toilets and shower, wash dishes, and do laundry. And I do vacuum, clean up the dog shit, and do other chores as needed.
However, she’s the type of person who would do those extremely anal retentive cleaning chores on a regular basis. I would see her expression darken when she noticed a pile of leaves that was left unswept. One time, I watched her aggressively shovel snow off the driveway. I had made a walkway for the postman, which was what was required, but since I wasn’t going anywhere and was feeling sick, I put off shoveling the whole thing. She came over, unannounced as usual, and got visibly pissed that I hadn’t done the whole driveway. I could feel her radiating disapproval. Naturally, that made me feel bad, because I don’t like to disappoint people. I resolved to make sure the driveway was perfectly shoveled after other snowstorms, even if I was sick.
Another time, she read me the “riot act” when she saw a “dust bunny” consisting of Arran’s hair that was caught in the doorway. She yelled at me that the hair was “encrusted”. Of course it wasn’t, and it took maybe two seconds to wipe it up. I hadn’t noticed it because it really was insignificant, but she saw it and freaked out. Then she screamed at me about it, and even mentioned it in an email to Bill. She asked him at one time if we’d like her to find us a housekeeper, nastily adding “Don’t you want to live in a clean house?”
Wow… I’ll tell you what. The very LAST thing I would want is to hire a housekeeper that she found for us. Especially since it later became very clear that she wasn’t respecting our privacy. Aside from that, she wasn’t living in the house, so I didn’t feel that I needed to keep the house cleaned to her standards. Especially since we were paying her too much for the “privilege” to live there. And also, the house wasn’t that clean when we moved in, but then she and former tenant were “buddies”. I guess she got a pass.
Now, a lot of people might tell me that I should just ignore those comments, but I genuinely felt bad when she’d send Bill emails about my deficiencies as a housekeeper. I felt terrible and, at first, very ashamed, when she would yell at me for things that she felt weren’t “up to snuff”. I didn’t know what her standards were when we moved in. If I had known, we certainly would not have taken that house.
But, at least at first, I really tried to do things more to her standards. I dutifully cleaned the white plastic panels on the new doors she’d had installed. They were exposed to the elements and doomed to become discolored at some point, but I knew she wanted them to look nice, even if no one would care about that but her. She asked me more than once to clean them off regularly, so I did. I would attempt to clean the windows in the living room, so she wouldn’t freak out about the nose prints left by our dogs. I would try to be presentable, at least when I knew she was coming. And I tried to be cordial. For a long time, I was as pleasant as I could be, even when she inconvenienced me by showing up randomly or was intrusive.
One day, she reached the end of my patience by screaming at me in the living room about an awning that had collapsed on my watch. It was seventeen years old. I had pointed it out to her that the thing was leaning. She had her husband “fix” it. It appeared to be repaired, so I used it a few times after he did the work. On one very hot day, a gust of wind blew, and the awning collapsed.
Fortunately, I was not sitting under the awning when it collapsed, although ex landlady claimed that the fact that I wasn’t sitting under it was a sign of my “gross negligence”. She immediately blamed me, and yelled at me in my own home, not just for the awning that she failed to have properly repaired, but also for the fact that one of the electric rolladens was not properly installed and would not go down. She claimed it wasn’t working properly because I didn’t use it often enough, even though a repairman later said it wasn’t installed correctly. She had no thought at all for the fact that I could have been seriously injured or perhaps even killed if that seventeen year old awning that she hadn’t fixed properly had fallen on my head. Instead, I was the one who was “negligent” for using a supposedly “fixed” awning on a hot day and not being able to predict the wind.
It may be hard to believe, but I did feel bad that the awning fell on my watch. I knew money was an object for the landlords. I was sensitive to their not wanting to spend money. I didn’t object when she had her husband fix it instead of a real repairman. But I was not willing to accept the claim of negligence when I used something that was part of the house on a hot day, as she and her husband had actually said was appropriate use. All I did was unroll it. I wasn’t hanging on it or playing on it or anything like that. And sorry, I can’t predict the wind. I don’t think I’m “negligent” for not being under the awning when it suddenly fell. I think I am damned LUCKY. So is she.
After that exchange, Bill asked her not to speak to me about her concerns. That seemed to piss her off even more, since apparently I made for a convenient scapegoat for her frustrations. But she did leave me alone, for the most part, probably because she could tell I was frighteningly close to losing my shit the last time she yelled at me. I think she could also tell that I could easily match her in intensity and nastiness, if I was really pushed to go there.
It may seem hard to believe, but I genuinely felt terrible when things went wrong. By the time I left that house, I really felt pretty awful. She had done a good job making me feel “guilty” about how “terrible” I am. Even though I was LIVID by the way she treated Bill and me– especially me— the truth is, her comments made me feel bad about myself. I wondered if she was right that I’m a shitty housekeeper and a lazy, worthless person. She didn’t actually say those words to me, and yet that was the message I got– repeatedly.
It took weeks in our current home before I finally felt comfortable. I was anxious for so long, expecting her to come over and complain about some aspect of my housekeeping that displeased her. I knew that she was not our landlady anymore, but yet I expected our new landlord to be like her. I dreaded talking to him because of her. She did real psychological damage to both of us. She falsely accused us of theft and trashing her house, and when Bill asked for a fair accounting of why she was keeping most of our security deposit, she became hostile, nasty, and really laid on the shame and guilt in an attempt to get him to back off. It was absolutely infuriating, especially since Bill is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met, and is generous, respectful, and fair to a fault!
I think of so many people whose homes I’ve been in that were genuinely dirty and cluttered far worse than mine ever was. I think of all of the people I know who would have blown up with profanities at ex landlady the first time she yelled at them. I think of the people who would think nothing of paying rent late, or not at all. And then I think to myself… “I’m the worst tenant she’s ever had? Really? She’s been lucky.” Karma will fix that.
What she was doing was egregious bullshit… and I can’t help but wonder if we’d been less “nice” and “kind” about her blatantly disrespectful behavior, maybe she might not have so blatantly tried to take advantage of Bill’s good nature. Like, maybe if I’d given into the instinct to yell back at her, she might have not been so totally horrible to us, and we might not have had to sue her. Even after a settlement was reached, it still took months and a nastygram from our lawyer before she finally gave us our money.
But we were both trained to accept abuse. I have a much lower threshold than Bill does, but I still have the capacity to overlook bad behavior in the interest of keeping the peace. Maybe that’s not a good policy. I have already told Bill that I don’t ever intend to tolerate that kind of living situation again, but the truth is, sometimes you kind of have to… a lot depends on money, doesn’t it?
Now I am mostly recovered from that experience, aside from some residual anger. There are scars, of course, and I think it’s a pretty fair bet that I won’t be forgetting her. But I realize now that her apparently very negative opinions of me don’t necessarily reflect reality, nor do they apply to how others see me. No matter what, I have basic worth, just as everyone does. Even the worst people in the world usually have at least one person in their lives who love them on some level. And that is as true for me as it is for most people.
There have been other instances in my life where I have left a situation feeling awful about myself. I recently wrote about ghosts of traumatic Christmases past. One of the reasons I swore them off is because so many of them left me feeling horrible. I had to detox from the toxicity for days or weeks, ruminating about the dramas that would erupt among so-called loved ones. All I ever wanted was to live in peace, on my own terms, and as my authentic self. If other people can’t stand me, so be it. But so many people want to change their friends and loved ones, not recognizing their worth and uniqueness. If one has a conscience or any sense of shame, this can be devastating to one’s self-esteem and self-image.
I think this is a skill that is essential for living, learning to accept oneself for being a unique person and having basic worth. But, as we’ve seen, especially since the pandemic started, people are really BIG on judging and shaming others. Judging and shaming people, lecturing them, and not trying to empathize with them is a great way to alienate them and cause them to be even more entrenched in their beliefs. A lot of the judging behavior comes from frustration, of course. In terms of the pandemic, we’re all tired of hearing about sickness and death, being subjected to restrictions, rules, and talk of overwhelmed healthcare facilities. Many people are truly frightened, especially those who have lost loved ones and friends to the sickness.
I’ve read so many comments from people who say that they have no more empathy. They have no more patience. And when someone dies of COVID, especially if they were unvaccinated, some of them even LAUGH about it. I guess I can understand why people feel like that and act that way, but I don’t think that attitude does anything to change behavior or inspire cooperation. People tend to focus more on their egos and injured pride than the frustration and despair that drives some of the more judgmental behaviors. I’m as guilty of that as a lot of people are, although I try not to be that way. I just don’t think it helps. We’re all human, though…
I’m even sure that, on some level, our former landlady believed the lies she told herself. Or maybe, from her perspective, we really are filthy, dishonest, thieving, unhygienic people who don’t respect other people’s property. But no one else has ever said that about us. And our current landlord has cheerfully told us we’re welcome to stay as long as we want. That’s a nice vote of confidence.
I felt good yesterday when I fixed the faucet in the downstairs bathroom all by myself. It was easy to do. But as I was doing the work– descaling the tap with white vinegar and removing the calcium buildup that had blocked the spigot– I couldn’t help but think of the way the landlady made comments that were intended to make me feel small, negligent, and incompetent. I know that they weren’t a reflection of reality. It was gaslighting, intended to make me more inclined to accept her abuse and her assessment of me and my “shortcomings”.
Fortunately, I’ve already been through therapy. 😉 It’s hard to believe we paid over $2000 a month for that treatment from the former landlady. We should have “fired” her after the first year. Life is short. Lesson learned.
So… if you take anything valuable from today’s post, I hope it includes the idea that other people’s apparent negative views of you might not be rooted in reality. In fact, they may be their attempts to train you to accept their abuse. Take their comments and opinions for what they’re worth… definitely with a grain of salt. Do what you can to protect yourself, and protect your sense of self-worth. After all, as Janis Ian shares in an unattributed quote, “Your value does not decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth…” Wise words indeed. Don’t forget them.
I am reposting this blog entry from August 31, 2016 because I think it’s a good topic. Gene Wilder died in 2016, though, so please don’t think this is new news. It’s not. I just think the overall subject matter is worth a reshare. Sometimes people don’t think. The screen shot is from a tribute to Gene and Gilda. I have no problem with people memorializing them now, since Gene has been gone for five years. I just thought it was wrong to do it just after his death, when he left a wife behind who had been with him for 25 years.
In case you didn’t know, actor, screenwriter, director and author Gene Wilder died a couple of days ago. He had lived a very full life and was 83 years old at the time of his passing. He’d also suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, which kept him out of the spotlight over the past few years.
I first became familiar with Gene Wilder in the 80s. He was still a fairly prolific actor back then. I still have not seen Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory or Young Frankenstein, but I did see The Woman in Red, Stir Crazy, and Blazing Saddles. I always thought he was funny and charming. I may have to read his novels, too. I bet they were excellent. But I am not writing about Gene Wilder this morning because I want to memorialize him.
Gene Wilder died a married man. His fourth wife, Karen, married him in 1991. That was twenty-five years ago. Karen stuck by him as he aged and got sick. He was married to her longer than he was the three wives before him combined.
But people seem to want to remember him with his third wife, Gilda Radner, the adorably funny comedienne who starred on Saturday Night Live in the 70s. They were married in 1984 in the South of France and their marriage ended tragically five years later, when Gilda got a very aggressive form of ovarian cancer. I read her book, It’s Always Something, when I was in high school. It was published in 1989, the year she died.
I will not dispute that Gene Wilder and Gilda Radner were deeply in love. I remember reading about their love in Gilda’s book. And I’m sure, if there is a Heaven, the two of them embraced and celebrated when he finally reached the Pearly Gates. Maybe they’re rejoicing being together again. I really don’t know.
I get that Gene Wilder is timely news right now. I get that he and Gilda had a special love for each other. But, in my opinion, the media could have waited awhile before they went ahead with this reminder of Gene’s past love life. He has a widow now who is presumably grieving. Where is the deference for her? Couldn’t this reminder of Gene and Gilda have waited until the sheets had gone cold?
What kills me is that most of the comments I’ve read on that one story alone were very positive. They were all about how deeply Gene and Gilda loved each other. Only a few people spared a passing thought for Gene’s fourth wife, Karen, who must have also loved him very much. Most people were writing things like “What a beautiful love story!” “They are together again!” “Such a positive story for a change!” (really?). It just seems kind of thoughtless to me.
This issue is not new, though. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you may already know how I feel about a certain essay that regularly circuits the Internet. It’s called “Paradox of our Time” and it often gets falsely attributed to George Carlin, who read it and thought it was a “sappy load of shit”. The essay was, in fact, written by Dr. Bob Moorehead, a pastor. In fact, this is what Mr. Carlin himself had to say about “Paradox of our Time”.
“PARADOX OF OUR TIME” One of the more embarrassing items making the internet/e-mail rounds is a sappy load of shit called “The Paradox of Our Time.” The main problem I have with it is that as true as some of the expressed sentiments may be, who really gives a shit? Certainly not me.
I figured out years ago that the human species is totally fucked and has been for a long time. I also know that the sick, media-consumer culture in America continues to make this so-called problem worse. But the trick, folks, is not to give a fuck. Like me. I really don’t care. I stopped worrying about all this temporal bullshit a long time ago. It’s meaningless. (See the preface of “Braindroppings.”)
Another problem I have with “Paradox” is that the ideas are all expressed in a sort of pseudo-spiritual, New-Age-y, “Gee-whiz-can’t-we-do-better-than-this” tone of voice. It’s not only bad prose and poetry, it’s weak philosophy. I hope I never sound like that.
But anyway, there is a version of “Paradox of our Time” circulating that adds a bit more to the essay. Some uninformed jerk decided to turn the essay into a love story by adding that Carlin wrote it right after his first wife, Brenda Carlin, died of liver cancer. Then, they add that Carlin quickly followed her to the grave.
Folks, Brenda Carlin died in May 1997 of liver cancer. George Carlin died in June 2008. And guess what? He had remarried! His second wife, Sally Wade, even published a book about their relationship. They were together for about ten years. “Paradox of our Time” was written in 1998, a year after Brenda Carlin died. But it was not inspired by her, nor was it written by George Carlin.
Now… I don’t know Sally Wade. I did read her book about life with George, though, and she strikes me as a pretty tough cookie. Still, I’m sure it was annoying to see her husband not only associated with a piece of writing that he thought was a “sappy load of shit”, but to also see people fabricating a false history. George Carlin did NOT die of a broken heart right after his first wife died, though he did die of heart failure about eleven years later. To fabricate a tall tale about how he “followed Brenda to the grave” is just disrespectful, not just to George, but also to his second wife, Sally.
I understand that people want to admire their heroes. People also love a good story. We’d like to think that love is forever and that when someone’s first true love dies, he or she is waiting for them up in Heaven. And maybe that’s what will happen– or maybe not. But if someone whose first love dies has the good fortune to love again, isn’t it more respectful and kind to pay deference to the person left behind when he or she passes? Maybe Karen came after Gilda and wasn’t as famous as Gilda was, but she stuck around for 25 years and presumably took care of Gene Wilder when he needed her the most.
In the case of Gene and Gilda, I would say it’s fine to write about their relationship at some point. They were genuinely in love with each other and I don’t think it’s wrong to wax poetic about that. But I don’t think it’s appropriate to romanticize Gene and Gilda when Gene hasn’t even been dead 24 hours and has a grieving widow now acutely dealing with his death. It’s just tacky and rude, and shows no consideration for his wife.
But… in the interest of not being a hypocrite, I will not go around flaming the people who do write about Gene and Gilda “together again at last”, even if it does make me shake my head… When it comes down to it, people have the right to express themselves, even if they’re being tacky and rude in the process.
This morning, I find myself with a touch of writer’s block. When that happens, I often go to my original Google version of this blog to find inspiration. I did write a few posts on the old blog that are chestnuts… or evergreen… or whatever. At the very least, I can find book reviews that I can repost, although I’m slowly running out of those.
I am working on reading a book right now, but as usual, I keep falling asleep before I can make too much progress. I probably should invest in a chair for reading, rather than reading in bed. Nowadays, I drop off at the drop of a hat if I’m lying down and comfortable. I have really excellent Comphy sheets on my bed, too, which makes for prime sleeping conditions. I don’t work for the company or get any kickbacks. I just really like the sheets, which I discovered on a visit to a B&B in Goshen, Virginia.
ETA: Many apologies, since I have already bitched about this particular complaint on the new blog… the original re-run repost is not exactly the same as this one, but it does include the same screenshots and basic story. Oh well. Maybe I’ll think of something totally fresh later.
Anyway, I came across a rant I wrote back in the summer of 2017. Looking back, that summer was pretty traumatic for a number of reasons. It wasn’t as bad as the summer of 2014, but it was a pretty tough time. One day, I got irritated because some guy, long gone from my friends list, had shared a fake meme. I wrote a post bitching about it. Note– the post was not specifically about the guy, it was about the practice of sharing falsely attributed memes. A lot of people don’t care that the deep thoughts they share on social media are bullshit. Some have rationalized that it’s the thought that counts, not the person who came up with the thought. Personally, I vehemently disagree. Especially when people falsely attribute things to the late George Carlin, who is one of my idols and whose wisdom has gotten me through some shit.
The guy who had inspired my rant shared the above meme, with the comment “Carlin pulled no punches.” I kept seeing this meme on my timeline and it annoyed me. So I decided to write about it. Former friend read the vent and got pissed off at me. He left a nasty comment on my OH Facebook page and blocked me. Then, he posted the article on his page and I soon had a bunch of right wing mental giants from the Deep South hitting my blog, racking up ad revenue. A mutual friend sent me a private message letting me know that he was riling up all his Trump supporting friends over this vent. From my original post:
Both times I’ve seen this meme featuring George Carlin, I’ve hidden it. Why? Because I am very certain that George Carlin never said this. It pisses me off when people put words in George’s mouth, especially since he’s dead. I loved and respected his work and I’m absolutely sure he never would have said anything like this. Carlin’s comedy celebrated obstruction and fighting the establishment. He was a champion of resistance and bucking authority. It’s wrong to attribute these words to him or to insinuate that he said them by using his picture with someone else’s words.
Even if I agreed wholeheartedly with this meme’s sentiment, which I don’t, I would not agree that it’s okay to claim that these are George Carlin’s words, especially when there is ample evidence that they aren’t.
I went looking to see if Carlin had, indeed, said this. I found evidence that, apparently, GMTA. Morgan Freeman supposedly said it, too.
I went on to explain why this practice irritates me so much. From my old blog:
I’m sure many people think I’m being anal retentive about this issue. They wonder what the harm is, especially since so many folks seem to think this is a good thought. Well, I’ll tell you what the harm is. The harm is that George Carlin and Morgan Freeman are legends, but they are (or were) also people. A person has the right to free expression and freedom from being used to promote someone else’s agenda without their permission. My guess is that people make these memes because they think Carlin or Freeman have the right persona to drive home this particular sentiment. But what right does one person have to use another person like that, even if the person being used is (or was) famous? And even if the person posting the fake meme is simply being a provocateur?
Mr. Carlin is no longer alive to defend himself when someone falsely uses his likeness to express their ideas. And while many people think this quote is excellent, the person who actually came up with it should be the one who gets attributed, not a random famous person who may or may not have even agreed with it.
I continued searching for more evidence of who actually came up with these words. And I found these memes…
And I continued with this idea, which I felt was neither unreasonable nor particularly offensive:
There is nothing wrong with sharing ideas or quotes on Facebook or other social media. I just think that if you’re going to use a meme with a quote, especially when you use a famous person’s image, you should make sure the person pictured is the person who should be attributed. You can still spread an idea by posting something like this…
Maybe your plain meme won’t get as many “likes” or comments, but it will at least be honest and it won’t be stealing someone else’s famous image to promote an idea or agenda. As someone who is camera shy and writes, I know I wouldn’t want my image used with someone else’s words, no matter how profound they are. I’m sure most normal, non-famous people wouldn’t.
I’ll never understand why some people assume that a famous person won’t mind when a stranger thoughtlessly spreads a Facebook meme using their image with someone else’s words. Especially when it’s common for people with financial means to sue when someone uses their likeness without permission. And especially since many famous people make their living by being paid promoters. No one likes to be ripped off, right?
Maybe the above point annoyed the guy. Most famous people aren’t going to bother suing some random Facebook user over sharing a fake meme. Unless they’re like Richard Marx, or something. I understand he’s pretty uptight. Anyway, this post really upset my former friend, who felt like I had insulted him deeply for writing about this phenomenon. I never named him, nor did I specifically invite him to read this post. But he sure got upset about it. The next morning, I found the below photo and an angry comment from him.
So I wrote another post, but that time, I DID call him out, not by his name, but by his behavior, which I thought was really childish:
So… yesterday I wrote a rant about “dishonest memes”. It was inspired by a meme I’ve seen floating around featuring the late, great George Carlin. I mentioned in that rant that I’ve seen that meme at least a couple of times and, when I see it, I hide it. When I saw the meme posted yet again, I felt the need to write about it here on my blog. I figured that would be better than getting into a Facebook argument with the person who posted it. Those can get long and contentious. Not as many people read my blog as they do Facebook.
I will admit that had the person posted the meme featuring Morgan Freeman using the same words, I probably wouldn’t have been as bothered and likely never would have thought to write my rant. George Carlin is kind of sacred to me. He’s helped me get through some rough times.
Anyway, this morning, I awoke to find the person who inspired yesterday’s post had unfriended me. He left me a comment on the link to the rant on my Overeducated Housewife page. It was yet another picture. I like pictures!
Truthfully, this person was not someone I interacted with much anyway. I’ve never met him in person. I suspect we have different political leanings, so we didn’t do much communicating on Facebook. If this person happens to read this follow up, please allow me to apologize for apparently offending you by indirectly calling you out. It’s (almost) never my intention to be hurtful, although I know sometimes I am. But I will not apologize for expressing my thoughts on my blog.
I don’t think I’m necessarily wrong to write about the things that bug me. That’s what blogs are for. Moreover, misusing George Carlin’s memory is annoying and offensive to me. It occurs to me that if we were real friends, you’d know that and actually care.
I get my ideas from all sorts of sources, including friends, family, and anything I see on social media. Most of the time, I try not to name people directly, unless they are famous people, people named in the media, and/or certain relatives. I did not name this person, but he obviously read the rant. I can only assume, based on the above picture comment he left me, that he was annoyed by it… just as I get offended by people who carelessly take liberties with George Carlin’s memory.
It’s okay. We all get butthurt over different things. If someone had vented specifically about me or something I did, I’d probably be annoyed and offended, too. If they were an actual friend, I might care enough to talk to them about it. Or maybe not. It’s clear this person wasn’t an actual friend, though, so it’s probably for the best that he dropped me out of his universe. Moreover, that post was not actually about him, but about the practice of sharing fake memes.
The funny thing is, one thing I do know about this person is that he likes to write. I “met” him on Epinions, which was a place that was full of opinionated people writing product reviews. I didn’t like his Epinions nickname because of my phobia of mushrooms (his name was a play on fungus), but I did like his reviews. In fact, I think he was even on my Web of Trust for a long time. One thing I miss about Epinions is that it was a place where one could make money for being articulate and opinionated.
Anyway… to anyone reading this, if you ever happen to find yourself the subject of this blog, I hope you realize that on some level that you have served as an inspiration to someone. Sometimes people inspire others in a positive way. Sometimes the inspiration is borne out of something negative. Either way, inspiration usually leads to creativity and sometimes creativity leads to genius. I’m certainly not saying anything on this blog falls into the genius category, but writing it does help keep me sane.
As usual, this incident ended up fathering a bunch of posts, including one I wrote on “uppity women”. Not knowing the former Facebook friend that well, I still came up with the idea that perhaps he saw me as “uppity” for daring to bitch about his practice of sharing fake memes and falsely attributed quotes. I did point out that he’s one of many people who do this, and I know that my blog isn’t going to make a significant dent in the problem. And, in fact, in 2021, this is not really a problem worth writing about. We definitely have much bigger issues these days.
But in the third post that was partially inspired by that incident, I wrote this:
A former Facebook friend took issue when I wrote about my dislike of “dishonest memes”. He happened to be the catalyst of that post, although I was not writing specifically about him, per se. That post was about anyone who shares memes or essays wrongly attributed to people. I have written about that phenomenon before; the person who inspired the first post is a female friend who, fortunately, wasn’t upset or threatened by my decision to express myself. We’re still friends today.
I have noticed that in the wake of that post, many people from the Deep South are now stalking my blog. They repeatedly hit the post about Dishonest Memes and the one I wrote yesterday. I’m intrigued by their interest in those two specific posts, which are really not that earth shattering. It appears the posts are being shared among friends and family and these folks are looking for some kind of action on them.
The funny thing is, the person who inspired my post about dishonest memes had originally expressed admiration for George Carlin’s policy of not “pulling any punches”. Many people loved Carlin for telling it like it is and expressing himself. Of course, a lot of people did not like Carlin. My dad was one such person. He found Carlin disrespectful and vulgar, especially when Carlin would denigrate the government, the Republican party, or the military. He would get very offended by Carlin’s use of profanity. Perhaps he thought George Carlin was “uppity”, too. What right did Carlin have to criticize the government? How dare he express his ideas in such vulgar and outspoken terms?
It now occurs to me that by publicly shaming and condemning me for bitching about him and his practice of sharing fake memes, former friend made me bitch even more. I wonder if that was intentional on his part, especially since he sent his friends and family to follow my blog. Their hits probably contributed a few pennies to my Google AdSense account. I continued:
My dad had the same disdain for me whenever he thought I was getting too big for my britches and needed to be taken down a peg. He would tell me that nobody cared about my opinions and that I had no right to say things that he deemed offensive or rude. In short, I needed to be reminded of my station as a lowly female, and not a very attractive one at that… How dare I express myself? In his opinion, I needed to keep my mouth shut and my legs crossed.
I’m baffled as to why it’s okay and even admirable for George Carlin to “pull no punches”, but it’s not okay for me to do it on a little read blog? Is it because I’m not famous? Is it because I don’t have a penis? Is it because my comments are somehow “out of line” or wrong?
My dad, who died in July 2014, put on a uniform every day for over twenty years, in part, to preserve my right to express myself. However, he didn’t appreciate it when I said things he didn’t like. He didn’t want to hear someone like George Carlin or Hillary Clinton be outspoken. I think my dad loved the idea of “free speech and expression”, especially to certain privileged segments of the population, but he didn’t necessarily love the practice of it… unless it was something he wanted to hear. I don’t think that’s necessarily an uncommon position, by the way. I often get angry comments from people who don’t like some of the things I write. I, too, get annoyed when someone says something I don’t like. I fully admit to being a hypocrite. It’s just another one of those things I have to work on in my life.
One of the reasons I love most of George Carlin’s comedy is that he often made a lot of sense. He enjoyed pointing out double standards and hypocrisy and got a huge kick out of pissing off people who take themselves and others a little too seriously. I think we all do that from time to time– myself included.
You folks who are stalking my blog should know that I appreciate the attention and the hits, but there’s really not much to see here. I only expressed my opinion, which I feel very fortunate to be able to do, since I live in a free society.
I don’t know if I come across as “uppity” to everyone… I know a lot of people, especially military and certain southern folks, think I do. My own father thought I did. But anyway, I really am just an “overeducated housewife” and I don’t have much more going on other than writing my blog, making music, doing housework, reading books and looking after my dogs.
So I will keep on writing… though not on this subject. I’m done writing about “dishonest memes” for now, so it may be time for you to move on to your next channel on the Internet. Or stalk me if you must. I profit from the attention.
Of course, now it occurs to me that I lied, since I obviously wasn’t done writing about “dishonest memes”. There I go with the hypocrisy again! I do enjoy bitching about things, though. I suppose I could have bitched about the latest mass shooting in the United States, and maybe I will do that, once I learn more about it. I haven’t gotten around to reading the details yet, though. Don’t want to spoil the whole day with more bad news… which includes the fact that Germany is now going to be locked down until April 18th, because according to Mrs. Merkel, we’re in a “new pandemic”. I’m beginning to think we should all just put ourselves out of my misery. I feel like this is never going to end. At least the TDY from hell is over, and I don’t have to bitch about that anymore.
But now I can bitch about the fact that I spent an hour writing this and I’ve already complained about this before on this blog… right down to the same anecdotes and screenshots. It’s not exactly the same, as the first rerun is shorter and includes some new content. But it’s pretty similar. I do wonder when Facebook was named the place where people feel the need to be inspirational or provide words to live by for other people.
A few months ago, my husband lost a “friend” over his “hatred” for Rush Limbaugh. I put quotes around the words “friend” and “hatred”, because I’m being facetious. Anyone who knows Bill knows that he doesn’t hate anyone. He doesn’t even hate his ex wife, who probably deserves his hatred more than anyone on the planet. The point is, my husband isn’t a hater. But he never liked Rush Limbaugh. Neither did I.
Back in October 2020, Bill was labeled a hater by a former friend because he had noticed that the very organ that had allowed Rush Limbaugh to spread hatred and bigotry toward large groups of marginalized people was also going to be the death of him. Bill had posted his thoughts about Rush’s illness on his Facebook timeline, and some of his friends went freakin’ nuts. One even accused him of being a “bad person” for stating this:
I know what I’m about to say is the result of unskilled thinking, but this appears to be an example of Karmic Justice. The organ used to spew years of hate, vitriol, and self-centeredness will be his undoing.
We weren’t rejoicing in Rush’s illness in October, and we’re not rejoicing in his death now. I don’t generally celebrate when people die, even people I think of as highly contemptible, and worthy of disdain or even outright hatred. I think Rush Limbaugh qualifies as someone who, in life, was highly contemptible. And while I’m not particularly happy that he’s dead, I am relieved that he won’t be spreading his toxic negativity, ignorance, and bigotry anymore. He won’t be saying or writing hurtful things to or about people who aren’t like him and don’t share his opinions.
In the aftermath of Rush’s death, we’ve also seen yet another falsely attributed quote arise from the dead. If you’ve been on Facebook lately, you’ve probably seen people sharing this meme.
I know a lot of people like to share these kinds of cute and clever memes, and many people don’t actually care who said it. I care, though, because I like to give credit where credit is due, and I don’t like false attributions. So where did this quote come from? According to the article from The Atlantic I linked above, no one important actually said or wrote it in that precise manner. Alex Eichler, the person who wrote the article for The Atlantic, writes:
Matt Blum at Wired has the fact-check: the quotation actually comes from Clarence Darrow, the lawyer of Scopes Trial fame. Here’s a fuller version of the quote, which appears in Darrow’s 1932 work The Story of My Life:
All men have an emotion to kill; when they strongly dislike some one they involuntarily wish he was dead. I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction.
I know some people are glad Rush is gone. Some are actually jubilant about it. And I would never tell them they don’t have the right to feel whatever it is they feel. I’m not in a group that Rush openly mocked, unless you want to call me a liberal. I’m not actually that liberal, but I don’t like the way the Republican party has gone in recent years. I think their embrace of both evangelical Christians and Donald Trump is confusing and wrong. And Republicans often say regrettable, heartless things to people who are in trouble and need help.
Case in point. Yesterday, I read about former Colorado City, Texas mayor Tim Boyd, who basically went off on his constituents for begging the government for help. Texas, as you probably know, is in serious trouble right now, thanks to a terrible winter storm that has disrupted the power grid. People are suffering because of power outages. Some people are even dying! They’re either freezing to death, or poisoning themselves with carbon monoxide by doing things like running their cars in closed garages or using barbecue grills indoors to generate heat. But Mr. Boyd, proud Texan conservative he is, had this to say in a poorly written and now deleted Facebook post:
And then he continued with this:
I’ll bet Tim Boyd is sad that Rush is dead. I’ll bet Boyd was a Limbaugh fan. I don’t know for certain that he was, but what he posted is the same kind of hateful, mean-spirited shit that Rush Limbaugh was spewing for YEARS on the airwaves. And ignorant, compassion challenged people who are deeply saddened that the raucous voice of their belief system has died don’t seem to understand that Rush hurt a lot of people with his snarky, hateful rhetoric.
This has been a very difficult year for so many people– from the deaths and illnesses caused by the pandemic, to the many natural disasters, to the massive job losses, and complete upending of of normal life for everyone. It’s really sucked on many levels. And so, when an elected official like Tim Boyd mocks and lectures people for their valid complaints, it stings a bit. Rush Limbaugh was of the same ilk, and people like Tim Boyd looked up to him. He had no compunction about saying awful things to and about anyone, especially people who have historically suffered and been marginalized by privileged people.
Let me remind Rush’s supporters of a few things. Rush Limbaugh mocked Michael J. Fox for having Parkinson’s Disease and accused him of exaggerating his symptoms. Rush Limbaugh called women “sluts”, and referred to Barack Obama as the “magic negro”. And he wouldn’t have thought much of me, either…
Anyway… I’m not glad Rush is dead. I don’t care enough about him to rejoice in his death. Besides, everybody has to die sometime. It was simply his time to go. I’m not going to celebrate his death. But I’m also not going to shame or blame anyone who is glad to see him gone. I figure they have their reasons, and many of those reasons, while perhaps hypocritical, are understandable. We all have our own karma to tend.
In other news, our heating went out last night. It’s not as bad here as it is in Texas, but I am a bit chilled. Hopefully, the landlord will have it fixed soon, so my hands, feet, and nose won’t be so cold. And Bill has to go away for three weeks next Saturday. Hopefully, he won’t bring any COVID-19 viruses back with him. Otherwise, people might be cheering about my death.
So long, Rush… You served a purpose and now your work is done. And, as Folk Uke reminds us, even shit has a purpose.
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