communication, social media

The old American double standard…

The featured photo was shared on Janis Ian’s Facebook page. I think she might want to consider if maybe she, herself, falls into the “easily offended” category… And before anyone comes at me, I hasten to add that I know I can be a bit prickly and easily offended about some things myself. I am human, after all.

Some years ago, I heard George Carlin talk about what he referred to as “the old American double standard”. His exact words were:

It’s the old American Double Standard, ya know: Say one thing, do something different. And of course this country is founded on the double standard, that’s our history! We were founded on a very basic double standard: This country was founded by slave owners who wanted to be free.

As I sit here on a Monday morning, eyes barely cracked open after a busy few days, I’m remembering George’s wise words. In fact, I was talking to Bill about them this morning, as I read a scolding Facebook post by Janis Ian. A few days ago, as I was eating Quiche Lorraine in Ribeauville, I noticed a post Janis put on Facebook. It was a quote. For some reason, even though she is a critically acclaimed songwriter, Janis Ian likes to post quotes by other people. And somehow, when she posts quotes, the comment section goes south, and she ends up chastising someone and/or closing comments in apparent disgust.

One of the contentious posts on Janis Ian’s page. She turned off commenting.

Janis had posted the above quote that some people thought was misattributed. Someone left a comment pointing out that she was “spreading misinformation”. The person’s remark was a little bit rude, and Janis responded in a rather pissy way. I happened to agree with the commenter that people should be more careful about sharing quotes and making sure they are attributed to the right person. In fact, one of my most popular posts is about how people misattributed a quote to Betty White that she specifically stated she never said, and never would say in a million years.

Again, I do think it’s important to get quotes both correct, and credited to the right person. As a highly acclaimed songwriter, it seems to me that Janis Ian would agree. I mean, how would she like it if someone made a meme using a line from “At Seventeen” or “Society’s Child” and attributed it to Carole King, Joni Mitchell, or Janis Joplin? My guess is that she wouldn’t like it… and if someone dared to share it on her page, she would call it out. Below is one of the more civilized exchanges on the post in question. I cut and pasted it, because the poster and I agree that there’s a bit of a double standard going on here…

I didn’t comment on the post myself. I’ve followed Janis’s page long enough to realize that she doesn’t always concede gracefully. I continue to follow her, though, because she’s often funny. I also appreciate that she appears to do her own social media, something I find refreshing and interesting. I like her music. However, I have a feeling we probably wouldn’t get along if we were to meet offline somewhere.

This morning, I was reading her page again, when I noticed this:

Do people really stop to read up on the people whose quotes are shared online? My guess is that most of them don’t… just like they don’t read news articles before commenting on the headlines.

I don’t know anything about H.L. Mencken, but I do know something about Sunday School. I was forced to attend for years. I didn’t find it to be particularly awful, since I grew up in a mainstream Presbyterian church, but I do know that there are a lot of toxic religions out there that do a lot of damage to people. I’ve written about quite a few of them in my blog.

On the above post, I noticed a lot of people were sharing their experiences. Some people were agreeing with the quote from Mencken. Others were apparently offended that Janis Ian was posting about religion. Some pointed out that Ms. Ian is Jewish, so what would she know about Sunday School? I think that could be a valid point. I could also understand why some people felt offended by the quote, since they are, themselves, religious.

I didn’t find the quote offensive, but I do think how people will take it depends on their own perspective, and there are so many of them to consider. And unfortunately, there are a lot of jerks on the Internet who get off on trying to pull “gotchas” on people. On the other hand, sometimes people are simply trying to prevent misinformation. If, for instance, I posted that Dolly Parton wrote the “Star Spangled Banner”, I would expect people to correct me. If I truly believed she wrote it, maybe I’d get a little pissed off by having my pride insulted by a well-deserved correction. But in the long run, it’s better that I know the truth, right? That way, I don’t look foolish later, telling people something that is obviously wrong.

I think there’s a fine line between being a jerk trying to make someone feel small, and honestly trying to give credit where credit is due. And while I agree that some posters were less than gracious in their comments on Janis’s page, I also think that Janis isn’t always as even-keeled as she could be. I’ve noticed that she has a tendency to scold people, sometimes when I don’t think they necessarily did anything to warrant such a response. It’s possible she does this because she’s a sensitive, creative, artistic person. Or maybe she’s a little narcissistic, as narcissists are often the type to shame and scold. Either way, it’s an aspect of her online personality that I don’t particularly like very much. Like I wrote up post, if we were to meet offline, I sense that we wouldn’t like each other. But then, if that turned out to be true, and Janis didn’t like me much, she’d be one of many people. 😉 I’m the kind of person people tend to love or hate. 😀

A recent post by Janis… I see her point, but her point is one of many that could be presented…

Janis Ian often posts quotes by people she apparently admires, even if they weren’t “good people”. I actually applaud her for discouraging the ever popular “cancel culture” that a lot of people think is justice today. People are complicated and complex, and sometimes brilliant people say and do shitty things. It shouldn’t necessarily negate everything else they do in life. On the other hand, if you’re going to post something for public consumption, chances are good that someone is going to be contrary or inappropriate.

If you’re a famous person, it’s even more likely that someone is going to take a dump on your post. I know it’s annoying. It even happens to me sometimes, and I am not famous at all. But one thing I would like to ask Janis is, why is it up to her to decide what should, or should not, offend other people? If someone is offended by Picasso, shouldn’t they be free to state that? Isn’t that how productive discussions in free societies get started? Wouldn’t it be better to just take a breath, validate the person’s viewpoint, and then try to have a civilized chat about it, rather than just dismissing them as being “too easily offended” and scolding them for being “argumentative”? Why post this stuff if it just leads to exasperation and shutting down the comment section?

I will admit that the comment sections on my own blog are set to shut down after a certain time. I don’t do that on the travel blog, because most of the stuff posted there isn’t controversial. I do it on this blog, because sometimes people find old content and try to stir up shit on subjects that are old news. I don’t get enough productive comments from people on old content to justify leaving comment sections open, although I’m always open to re-evaluating my policies. I prefer to let my regular readers be the ones who comment, though, and they usually do so on posts when they’re new. Troublemakers and spammers hit the old stuff.

I try not to be hypocritical, and while it can be hard, when I’m wrong, I do try to admit to it. I’ve been wrong about a lot of things. I’ve also been right about a lot of things. I think it’s best to try to stay open-minded about most topics, although I can agree that sometimes people can be so open-minded their brains can fall out. Or, that’s my opinion, anyway.

I guess my main point is that opinions run the gamut. As my favorite uncle, Brownlee, used to say “Opinions are like assholes. Everybody’s got one.” I know he didn’t come up with that quote, nor did he come up with the follow on… “Opinions are like assholes. Everybody’s got one, and everyone thinks everyone else’s stinks.” I think that’s pretty accurate, don’t you? I just wish people who claim to be open-minded and desirous of discussion would take a moment to examine their own behaviors before pointing out other people’s bad behaviors. Because chances are, the speck you’re trying to remove from someone else’s eye is obscured by the plank in your own. And yes… I know that’s a concept that comes from the Bible.

Maybe I learned something in Sunday School, after all. Praise be!

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family, memories, mental health

WaPo advice column reminds me of mealtime meltdowns of yesteryear…

Today in the Washington Post, I read an advice column in which a letter writer asked if it’s “wrong” to force a child to eat. The writer explained that he or she was born in 1952, and their mother used to compel them to finish everything on their plate. She would either force the person to sit at the table for hours until everything was eaten, or she would use a fifteen minute timer and warn that if the food wasn’t finished, the child would be spanked and sent to bed early. The writer later found out that they have food allergies.

Yes… I think it is very damaging.

The advice columnist, Meghan Leahy, wrote that she thinks the letter writer is traumatized. She points to the level of detail included in the letter, so many years later, and explains that remembering that much about the experiences indicated psychological damage. Leahy comments:

There are three main activities one person cannot force another to do without inflicting some pretty serious harm: sleep, eat and use the toilet. These are driven by deep impulses, and each human runs on their own internal clock. When parents take draconian measures to control their children’s eating, it is about more than just getting them to finish their chicken. The parent is saying or sending messages such as: “I don’t care about your feelings or impulses. I control them.” “You don’t get to say when you eat. I do.” “I will withhold love and affection until you eat.” “Not eating or not making me happy will make me hurt you, physically and emotionally.”

I found myself nodding as I read her comments. Suddenly, I remembered my own traumatic experiences at the dinner table when I was a very young child. My father and I had a difficult relationship. He was an alcoholic who suffered from post traumatic stress disorder. He could be very controlling and demanding at times. Other times, he acted like he didn’t care at all about things. Sometimes, he was even kind and reasonable. Unfortunately, I never knew which version of my dad I was going to get.

When I was very young, I was a rather picky eater. There were, and still are, a lot of things I don’t eat. My mom was a pretty good cook, but she wasn’t above using processed convenience foods. I didn’t mind eating canned things. I loved Franco-American Macaroni and Cheese, for instance. I remember eating a lot of Campbell’s Soup– especially Bean with Bacon or Chicken Noodle. Sometimes I’d have frozen chicken pot pies that, of course, I would heat up before eating. These days, Bill and I make most things from scratch. He doesn’t like eating food from boxes and cans.

But then there were times when my mom would make things I didn’t like. My dad would get on a power trip and try to force me to eat things. I’d sit at the table and cry as he yelled at and threatened me.

The one thing I could never eat under any circumstances was mushrooms. As I have mentioned before in this blog, I have a phobia of them. When I was very young, I was literally petrified of wild mushrooms growing in the yard. I would freeze up and panic when I saw them. I think it stemmed from being told, when I was very young, that they were very poisonous and I must never touch them. I took the directive very seriously. I also had sisters who enjoyed tormenting me by chasing me with the mushrooms or drawing mushrooms with ugly frowns and shark teeth in my coloring books.

So one time, my dad, who was quite exasperated about my phobia, decided he was going to force me to eat a mushroom. My mom had made meat pie, and it had mushrooms in it. I remember him standing over me– I was maybe nine or ten years old– screaming at me to eat the pie. He had to go to choir practice that night, so I was under pressure. I was crying uncontrollably as he demanded that I obey him. I think I did eat some of the pie, but I never forgot that experience… or another one we had at a chain restaurant called Mountain Jack’s. My parents took me there one night and ordered sauteed mushrooms as an appetizer. My dad tried to make me eat one in the restaurant, and I started crying. My mom snarled at him to leave me alone, which he grudgingly did. But he would often get on these control freak power plays, sometimes in public. And yes, it was humiliating and traumatic.

As I read that article about forcing kids to eat things in the WaPo today, I was suddenly reminded of all the times my father bullied, harassed, and belittled me over things like food, body image, or even the way I laugh. Like several of my family members, my dad hated my laugh, and claimed I sounded like a witch. By the time I was eleven, I was very preoccupied with my body image and weight. For years, I struggled with disordered eating, although I never fell into a diagnosable eating disorder. Nowadays, instead of being obsessive about my weight and body image, I drink too much alcohol.

I looked at some of the comments people left on this article. One reader left what I thought was a really good comment. I took a screenshot of it; it was so good.

I wish all commenters were as wise as this person is.

Someone else left this comment, which made me feel really sad…

Eating should be a pleasurable activity. But this person’s mother turned it into a battle.

Below is one rather contentious comment thread on Facebook regarding this advice column. “Mike” obviously thinks that being controlling about food is a good approach to child raising… and now he’s raising his grandchild.

When I was growing up, I could not eat the hot lunches served in the school cafeteria. In those days, the food was actually cooked on site, but the smell of it usually disgusted me. There were certain items that smelled so bad that I would get nauseous if someone sat next to me eating it. I seem to remember being completely revolted by the smell of the vegetable soup, which was always served with a big piece of government cheese. I always wondered how it was that the cafeteria ladies could make ordinary food so unappetizing in appearance and aroma. I used to skip lunch during school, partly because I was always dieting, and partly because the whole experience of eating lunch at school was so traumatizing. I think it must be worse today, as schools now police what children are allowed to eat more than they did in the 80s, and food is not always cooked on site.

I remember practically starving myself in the summer of 1982, when I went to 4-H camp. The food there was even worse than what was served in school. The smell of it turned my stomach. I never went back to 4-H camp, mainly because I could not abide powdered eggs and the other barely edible stuff served there. I was fortunate in the the food served at my college was mostly very good, but I remember going to 4-H Congress at Virginia Tech and being grossed out by the food there, too.

I’ve probably shared this before, but it bears repeating. I agree with George, and his take on “fussy eating” is funnier than this post is. 😉

To this day, there are a lot of foods that some people find wonderful, like cheese, that I don’t enjoy. I don’t eat a lot of cheeses, myself. There are maybe half a dozen I will eat, and they have to be melted. Bill, on the other hand, loves stinky cheeses. He will not think twice about buying cheese that, to me, smells like dirty feet, and enjoying it with wine. I can always smell the cheese through the refrigerator door. On the other hand, I do like fish, which I know a lot of people can’t abide.

I’m sure my dad’s tendency to hypercontrol at the dinner table, back when we ate dinners together, was formulated in part because he was a child of the Depression era. He had eight siblings, and the family wasn’t wealthy at all, so food was a precious commodity. My dad was also an Air Force officer, so sometimes he would use that identity to make demands of his daughters. Sometimes, he could be strict, but his method of punishment was, in my opinion, quite cowardly. He used physical and corporal punishments to get what he wanted. Imagine, being a grown man taking out your frustrations on a little girl by walloping her whenever she challenged you. That was my dad. And, sorry to say, he did traumatize me with that treatment. Maybe that’s why I am so fucked up today. 😉

I did love my dad, when he was still living. I think a lot of his issues stemmed from his own abusive childhood, in which he was the eldest son of a violent alcoholic. I think a lot of the things he said to me were things that he heard from his dad. In fact, although I never knew Pappy, because he died when I was two, I have heard a lot of stories about him. Some of the stories are funny, but most pointed to the fact that he was an angry bully and a tyrant, and he had a biting, sarcastic sense of humor that could be devastating. I know that, on some level, my dad hated his father. He didn’t like to talk about him. When he did, it was usually after he’d been drinking. And sometimes, he told me things that sounded pretty awful.

Anyway… I don’t know what made me fall down this rabbit hole. But reading that advice column today really reminded me of those days when I was younger, and eating was traumatic and stressful. It’s too bad that we couldn’t have peace in those days. And it’s too bad my parents weren’t more careful about making a baby they didn’t really want.

Bill just left to go back to Bavaria for the next few days. It was good that he came home. Arran is doing well on the chemo. He’s eating well, enjoying his walks and snuggles with us, and doesn’t have huge lymph nodes right now. I don’t know how long the chemo will keep him feeling better, but I’m grateful for the extra time. I was very worried about Arran a couple of days ago, and I think if we hadn’t started treatment, we might have had to say goodbye this weekend or soon thereafter. As it stands now, he’s mostly back to normal, save for the rancid farts, need to pee, and increased appetite caused by steroids.

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Bill, Ex, marriage, mental health, relationships

“Quick! Eat this before I give it to an animal!”

Here’s another life lesson, courtesy of the late, great George Carlin… Please keep in mind, this is just one way of looking at things, and it comes from my perspective. Your mileage may vary.

Years ago, when I was still in high school, I bought a bunch of cassette tapes by the late George Carlin. They were mostly his concerts from the 1970s and early 80s. I was a new fan, having been introduced to Carlin by HBO (Home Box Office), which I watched incessantly as a child. That probably explains a lot of the stuff I write about as an adult.

George had a funny routine he did back in 1981 called “Ice Box Man.” It was included on his album, A Place for My Stuff, which I listened to repeatedly on cassette as I drove from Gloucester, Virginia to Williamsburg, on one of my many work assignments there. In that routine, he talked about how it was his job to monitor the refrigerator and freezer. Naturally, that led to him making many nutty observations about humans and their relationship with the food they store in the fridge.

“Close that Goddamn door!”

I was reminded of Mr. Carlin this morning, as Bill and I were discussing a blog post I recently wrote titled “The latest big dream job“. It was yet another post about Ex, and her many elusive dreams. You know the old 80s song, “Don’t Fall in Love With A Dreamer?” Well, it’s sage advice, especially if you want to keep your sanity. Dreams can be a lot of fun, or they can be a distraction. Or, if someone is hellbent on following an unrealistic dream, they can quickly turn into a disastrous nightmare.

As we were talking about the prospect of Ex jetting off to an exotic place with the son she says has severe autism and runs away from home, Bill said he could only imagine what living with her is like these days. She has so many big ideas. Sometimes she tries to implement them, but they are almost always overcome by events, or somehow, her enthusiasm wanes and she loses interest. Often, when he was still married to her, that eventually meant being poorer, but not always wiser. If you’re the type of person who is responsible and likes a little stability in your life, that kind of shit gets old pretty quickly. It would be easy to be caught up in the dream at first… but then, hundreds or thousands of dollars and wasted hours later, when the dream falls apart, it’s not so much fun anymore.

So what has this story got to do with George Carlin and his “Ice Box Man” routine? I’m getting there.

Back in the late 80s, Bill was a young man who wasn’t very sure of himself. He doubted his appeal to women, and had this really low sense of self-worth. We have a few theories as to where this low self-esteem came from, but to make a long story short, it kind of made him a sitting duck for an abuser to exploit. Enter Ex. She spotted him, alone, in his mid 20s, reasonably handsome, and an Army officer. Her first husband was an enlisted guy, and for whatever reason, he wasn’t ringing her chimes anymore. I suspect she saw Bill as someone she could mold and manipulate, someone who would help her follow and achieve her dreams… someone with more earning power.

Well, I’ve written plenty about what happened after that. What I want to focus on today is the moment Bill decided to “eat food that someone was only going to throw away…” That’s where Carlin’s “Ice Box Man” comes into the story.

Carlin says:

...’Cause there’s a bigger responsibility. And that is getting into that refrigerator and deciding which things need to be thrown away. Most people will not take that responsibility. Most people will just go and get what they want, leave everything else alone and say, “Well, someone else wants that. Someone else will eat that” Meanwhile, the thing is getting smaller and smaller and smaller and is, in fact stuck to the rack. Well, I’ve got to go in there and decide when to throw things away.

“Chocolate pudding? Does anyone want this last chocolate pudding? I have just one chocolate pudding left. It’s only pulled away from the side of the dish about three inches all the way around. And there’s a huge fault running through the center of the pudding. Actually, it’s nothing but a ball of skin at this point. Does anyone want a ball of fault ridden chocolate pudding skin? I’m only going to throw it away.

A lot of us have experienced this, haven’t we? Especially those of us who hail from the United States, where we have big refrigerators, and parents or grandparents who lived through the Great Depression. People who have been deprived tend to be very averse to “wasting” things. It doesn’t just apply to food, either. It can apply to inanimate objects or even relationships. As Jim Bob Duggar liked to say, before his family fell from grace, “Buy used and save the difference!” If you have a shitload of kids and not that much money, it makes sense to buy things used, especially if there’s a lot of good use left in the item. It makes sense to eat what you have before buying more food. Or, even better, learning how to garden so you can grow your own food. Waste is not good, is it? Of course, you have to use up the item before it goes bad or falls into disrepair.

But a lot of us aren’t like this, and we pass up things when they are more appealing. As Carlin observes, “Well, someone else wants that. Someone else will eat that.” And no one ever eats it, but they don’t throw out the item that is wasting away in the fridge, shrinking from neglect, turning different colors, growing fur, or whatever. They don’t toss it, because they can’t bear losing the chance to “waste not, want not.” Even if passing on using the item would ultimately be better for them in the long run than trying to use it would be.

At one time, I’m sure that chocolate pudding Carlin speaks of was appetizing and delicious, smooth and creamy and sweet. But after weeks of neglect, it shriveled up into something ugly, unrecognizable, and in fact, potentially dangerous to one’s health. Ahh… but still, even when it’s clear that something is beyond its freshness or not particularly appealing or appetizing, a lot of us still won’t throw it away. Bill recently cleaned out one of our fridges, and he tossed an unopened jar of pickles that we bought when we still lived in Jettingen, four plus years ago! I have lots of over the counter drugs in the house that are two or more years beyond their expiration dates. Last night, I was looking at flea and tick meds for Arran that expired in January 2020. I didn’t use the meds, but I also didn’t throw them away! They’re still in the closet as I type this! I will be tossing them in a few minutes.

Over almost twenty years of marriage, I have often asked Bill what the hell he was thinking when he decided to pursue a relationship with his former wife. Don’t get me wrong. She’s probably the perfect mate for someone. But she was clearly not a good match for Bill, even if she was the most mentally stable person alive. They have very little in common, other than having gone to the same high school. They don’t have similar interests at all. He likes to go to nice restaurants, listen to alternative music, brew beer, read good books, and live within his means– but in style. He likes working for the Army and doesn’t mind the chaotic lifestyle that can come from that. Ex has a lot of interests, but none of them really aligned with Bill’s. Her big dreams never seemed to mesh with Bill’s reality and desire for stability.

According to Bill, once she had him hooked, Ex turned into a different person. Ex often made fun of Bill’s interests. She denigrated him in front of other people, and shamed him when he expressed goals and desires for his own life. She had completely different goals, and would not work with him. In fact, she often sabotaged his efforts to get ahead. Her idea was to be the Queen Bee, and he was expected to be a Worker Bee. So, in her mind, he had no right to make decisions for their life together. That was solely her job.

Some people would find this quality in Ex very attractive, as they don’t know what they want, and it can be comforting to be with someone who doesn’t mind being in charge of everything. But knowing Bill the way I do, I think that the chocolate pudding Ex promised quickly turned into a ball of pudding skin. Still, he held onto that shriveled up pudding skin for almost ten years before he finally decided to “throw it away”… He mistakenly believed she was the only person who would find him attractive. When they got together, he even saw himself as shriveled up chocolate pudding, waiting to be “thrown away”.

Carlin continues:

Do people do that with you? Offer you some food that if you don’t eat it, they’re only going to throw it away. Well, doesn’t that make you feel dandy? “Here’s something to eat, Dave. Hurry up, it’s spoiling!” “Something for you, Angela. Eat quickly, that green part is moving!” “Here, Bob. Eat this before I give it to an animal.”

There was a time in Bill’s life when he had very little confidence, especially around women. Although he’s always been a very pleasant, likable, attractive person, he somehow got the message that he wasn’t appealing to other people. He was shy, and reluctant to approach women. But, like a lot of people, Bill also hoped to marry someday, and have a family. Ex presented him with that possibility when she showed up on his doorstep in Germany with her toddler aged son. She was friendly and charming, and willing to relieve his loneliness. They knew each other from their high school years. In his mid 20s, Bill was watching his contemporaries get married and start families. Ex was offering him that chance, and he wouldn’t have to put himself out there to get it. She was pursuing him, which was flattering and deceptively made starting a family seem “easy”. And… he also felt kind of sorry for her. She told him horror stories (probably false or exaggerated) about her first husband that stimulated the “white knight” rescuing aspect of his personality.

So, even though they weren’t a very comfortable match, Bill decided to marry Ex. In retrospect, it seems kind of crazy–like taking a chance on eating that ball of shriveled up chocolate pudding skin and hoping it doesn’t make him sick or kill him. And yet, people do that all the time, don’t they? They take a chance on that questionable food from the fridge, some of which they may not even be able to identify anymore.

Carlin says:

…Perhaps the worst thing that can happen is to reach into the refrigerator and come out with something that you cannot identify at all. You literally do not know what it is. Could be meat, could be cake. Usually, at a time like that, I’ll bluff. “Honey, is this good?” “Well, what is it?” “I don’t know. I’ve never seen anything like it. It looks like…meatcake!” “Well, smell it.” (snort, sniff) “It has absolutely no smell whatsoever!” “It’s good! Put it back! Somebody is saving it. It’ll turn up in something.” That’s what frightens me. That someone will consider it a challenge and use it just because it’s in there.

“Honey, is this good?”

Then there’s the concept of “leftovers”. I think about how I wound up spending a year of dysfunction in college, because I needed a roommate. I found myself agreeing to live with a woman with whom I was completely incompatible. And, in fairness, she agreed to live with me, and she probably feels about me the same way as I do about her. Yet, we still agreed to be roommates. This wasn’t because we were “simpatico”, but because we both needed a warm body to occupy our dorm room.

It was quite a year. We survived, but not on particularly friendly terms. I guess you could call us “leftovers”. We were two people– not friends– who needed someone to share a room and hadn’t ended our first year of college with a buddy with whom we could bunk. It wasn’t a good match, and I’m sure we were both equally glad when the academic year was over and we didn’t ever have to see each other again. It’s one thing to do that when you temporarily need a roommate. Bill had his share of incompatible roomies, too. But it’s really not a good idea to start a marriage with that mindset, especially when children are in the mix. Marriages are supposed to last most of a lifetime, even if they often don’t.

Carlin says of the food in the fridge:

It’s a leftover. What a sad word that is. Leftover. How would you like to be…a leftover? Well, it wouldn’t be bad if they were taking people out to be shot. I might even volunteer. But, y’know, leftovers make you feel good twice. D’ja ever think about that? When you first put them away, you feel really intelligent- “I’m saving food!” And then, after a month, when hair is growing out of them and you throw them away you feel…really intelligent- “I’m saving my life!”

I have often pointed out to Bill that, while he definitely suffered, having married Ex when he didn’t really love her, Ex also suffered. Because who wants to be the charity project of someone who just feels sorry for them? Ex used to complain to Bill that he didn’t love her enough. Bill would try to show her that she was wrong. Of course that never worked, because she already knew what he didn’t want to admit. He hadn’t married her because he loved her and wanted to be with her. He married her because he’d pitied her, and himself… and he didn’t have enough self-respect to give himself the chance to find someone more compatible. He also didn’t have enough respect for Ex to give her the same opportunity, thus sparing themselves and their children a lot of pain.

Bill had made the mistake of regarding himself as a “leftover”. He also regarded Ex as a “leftover”. And he had decided, with her agreement, that they should try to make it work, even though there were many signs that it was not a good idea. Getting married to another warm body simply because someone is willing and available is not exactly a great way to start a family, is it? I mean, many people have done it… and some may have stayed together for many years. But how many people find happiness that way?

It works in the movies sometimes, but not so much in real life. Like having an ill fitting shoe, or a dental crown that doesn’t quite fit right. Maybe it functions, but it’s not comfortable or pleasing. You end up with blisters or inflammation that makes you miserable. Or maybe, to keep with the food theme, the leftovers take away your hunger and keep you from starving to death, but leave you with diarrhea or heartburn. Not all leftovers go together, you see. Who wants to mix cherry cheesecake with stinky cheese, roast beef, and peanut butter?

There’s more to Carlin’s brilliant “Ice Box Man” routine, and I highly recommend that you listen to it, especially if you haven’t heard it. Carlin was a wise, observant, and brilliant man, who was also very funny! I have learned a lot from him over the years.

As for Bill’s formerly “Ice Box Man” approach to marriage, I would say that not all is lost. He came away from that experience with a lot of wisdom and insight. He has a daughter who has come around after years of estrangement. He’s got three grandchildren. And he has the satisfaction of knowing that he was able to survive some pretty horrifying shit. Now, he’s thriving, and he’s found someone with whom he is very compatible… ME. 😉

God knows, I have often thought of myself of a leftover, too… so I am very happy to have found the right person against tremendous odds. Especially if you know how and where we actually met… but that’s a story for another day.

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condescending twatbags, karma, politicians, politics, Uncategorized

It’s not such a good week for Matt Gaetz…

Years ago, the late comedian George Carlin made me roar with laughter when he mused, “Have you noticed that people who are against abortion are people you wouldn’t want to fuck in the first place? There’s such balance in nature!” A few more years passed, and he used the joke again in a later routine. See below.

This is from 1996, but he used this joke even earlier than that.

I couldn’t help but think of my old hero, George Carlin, when I read the news about vile Florida Republican Representative, Matt Gaetz, who twisted Carlin’s joke. Last weekend, Gaetz was at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit in Tampa, where he reportedly quipped “Why is it that the women with the least likelihood of getting pregnant are the ones most worried about abortions? Nobody wants to impregnate you if you look like a thumb,” Gaetz said to his conservative audience. “These people are odious from the inside out. They’re like 5’2″, 350 pounds, and they’re like ‘Give me my abortions or I’ll get up and march and protest.’” I guess he figures the students at that rally weren’t around when Carlin did that joke much better than he did.

What a disgusting man Gaetz is. This clip has more of what Gaetz actually said, and it’s even worse than I realized.

Um… wow. This is the same guy who is being investigated by the Justice Department over allegations of sex trafficking and prostitution, including involving a minor. Mr. Gaetz also has a mugshot dating from 2008, when he was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. While he was evidently never convicted for DUI, his mugshot is still available online. Gaetz refused the breath test when he was stopped, and for some reason, his driver’s license was not suspended. The refusal to take the breath test was not used against him in court, and the charges were dropped. The officer who arrested him was forced to resign. It may be worth mentioning that Gaetz is the son of a prominent former Florida politician, Don Gaetz. In fact, then 26 year old Matt was driving his daddy’s car when he got pulled over after having spent the evening at a nightclub. The arresting officer smelled booze on Gaetz and noted his disheveled appearance. Gaetz said that the officer harassed and threatened him.

Gaetz now claims that he’s being targeted and harassed over the sex trafficking claim. He said:

“Over the past several weeks my family and I have been victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official seeking $25 million while threatening to smear my name. We have been cooperating with federal authorities in this matter and my father has even been wearing a wire at the FBI’s direction to catch these criminals,”

Yeah, I believe that Matt Gaetz is as pure as the driven snow… NOT. And he did make some really disgusting misogynistic comments at the summit in Tampa, prompting a 19 year old woman named Olivia Julianna to tweet criticisms of Representative Gaetz, a man currently being investigated for sex trafficking, as he calls out so-called “fat and ugly” abortion activists, whom he says need to march and eat more salad. I say “Clean up your own yard, Gaetz”.

In retaliation for Olivia Julianna’s tweets against his disgusting comments about pro-choice women, Gaetz body shamed Olivia Julianna, sharing a picture of her and his awful comments on Twitter. Then he encouraged his followers to harass her, and thousands of them did. Olivia Julianna responded by announcing a fundraiser for Gen Z for Change, a 500 member youth led non-profit group that addresses issues that disproportionately affected young people.

When it became clear that Gaetz’s bullying campaign against her was a big failure, Olivia Julianna tweeted this response.

And she didn’t stop there. Olivia Julianna also wittily tweeted, “Am I not a little too old for you Matt? I know you have a thing for targeting teenagers but 19 is on the cusp don’t you think?” 

In a subsequent tweet, she continued:

Olivia Julianna went on to raise over $1 million for Gen Z for Change. The donated money will be divided among 50 abortion rights funds. She did a pretty good job turning misogynistic hate into something useful.

I love how sassily Olivia Julianna handed Gaetz his ass, posting: “Dear Matt, Although your intentions were hateful, your public shaming of my appearance has done nothing but benefit me,” she wrote after his tweet about her spurred a load of harassment from Gaetz’s Twitter followers — as well as a flood of donations to her reproductive rights advocacy organization. She’s also gained thousands of new Twitter followers, including yours truly.

Why anyone is listening to Matt Gaetz, let alone voting for him, is beyond me. But I guess it’s proof that in the United States, if you’re lucky and hitch your star to the right people, being reprehensible won’t stop you from being successful at something. I think that’s especially true in places where there’s a lot of good old boy cronyism and nepotism going on. It’s especially telling that Gaetz can’t even come up with his own jokes. He has to twist and bastardize a classic joke from George Carlin, a much revered and beloved comedian, who, if he was still living, would have an absolute field day with what’s happening right now.

Gaetz really isn’t having a good week, anyway. At that same summit in Tampa, Gaetz went after Mike Pence, saying:

“Our America is proudly ultra MAGA, not some low energy roadside RINO safari,” said Gaetz, referring to a derogatory term for so-called moderate Republicans. “On that note, let me just say what everyone here knows: Mike Pence will never be president. Nice guy, not a leader.”

Bwahahaha… what Gaetz knows about “nice guys” would fill a thimble. I’m not a fan of Mike Pence’s in any sense, but I do love what, Marc Short, Pence’s former chief of staff said in response:

“Well, I don’t know if Mike Pence will run for president in 2024, but I don’t think Matt Gaetz will have an impact on that. In fact, I’d be surprised if he’s still voting. It’s more likely he’ll be in prison for child trafficking by 2024.

And I’m actually surprised the Florida law enforcement still allows him to speak to teenage conferences like that. So, I’m not too worried what Matt Gaetz thinks.”

Yes, that’s a pretty good burn… However, I am forever disturbed by the fact that reprobates like Matt Gaetz get into power and have political platforms that influence laws for all of us. He’s clearly not a good person. He has no honor. He’s not even nice on the surface. Naturally, he’s probably one of Trump’s favorite guys and biggest sycophants.

Gaetz has been vocal about his opposition to abortion and voted against two bills that would have ensured access to abortion. He’s been criticized for saying that those protesting the overturning of Roe v. Wade are “overeducated, under-loved millennials.” (ahem, I am a member of Gen X, thank you VERY much!) It surprises me that Matt Gaetz is so “pro-life”, yet he has no problem trying to tear down people who have already been born, and have thoughts and feelings that can be affected by what he says. Kudos to Olivia Julianna for having plenty of moxie and a sharp wit. I think she’s going to go far in her heels as she stomps all over Matt Gaetz’s pathetic, privileged, and perverted ass. I look forward to cheering her on!

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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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