condescending twatbags, Dress codes, modern problems

Wanted: The Perfect Nanny…

When I was in the second grade, our class put on a presentation of Mary Poppins. My part was “Narrator #3”. Story of my life. I remember that as we prepared for that play, we learned songs from Mary Poppins. One of the songs we learned was called “The Perfect Nanny”.

“Adorable, well that’s debatable, I’d say…”

Here are the lyrics:

Wanted a nanny for two adorable children
If you want this choice position
Have a cheery disposition
Rosy cheeks, no warts!
Play games, all sort
You must be kind, you must be witty
Very sweet and fairly pretty
Take us on outings, give us treats
Sing songs, bring sweets
Never be cross or cruel
Never give us castor oil or gruel
Love us as a son and daughter
And never smell of barley water
If you won’t scold and dominate us
We will never give you cause to hate us
We won’t hide your spectacles
So you can’t see
Put toads in your bed
Or pepper in your tea
Hurry, Nanny!
Many thanks

Sincerely,
Jane and Michael Banks

It seems like a lot of people are taking it upon themselves to apply for the position of “nanny” these days. And I’m not talking about working with children, either. I’m afraid that being behind a computer screen emboldens a lot of people to lecture others, particularly about their personal choices.

This morning, I read an interesting article about top dressage riders protesting the use of helmets instead of top hats in competition. I was interested in the article, because I used to own and show a horse myself. My discipline was “hunt seat”, which required the use of a hunt cap. In the 1980s, a hunt cap was a hard hat covered in velvet or velveteen. When I first started riding, they didn’t all have chin straps. After a few years, harnesses were required. I pretty much hated them, but eventually got used to them. People who rode Western had cowboy hats with no protection.

Me, a long time ago, showing my horse at the State Fair of Virginia. I wore a velvet hunt cap with a loose fitting harness that I found oppressive at the time. God, I miss having a horse!

These days, riders wear huge bulbous helmets that look more like something you’d see on a motorcycle. I’m sure they have saved people from catastrophic, life altering injuries or death. But they are aesthetically less appealing and may or may not be very comfortable to wear. I don’t know if they are or not. I’ve never tried one on, myself. I do kind of miss the look of the velvet hunt caps, even if they aren’t as safe.

Awesome dressage done in top hat and tails.

In any case, a large number of expert dressage competitors hate the helmets. They don’t want to wear them. They have sent a petition to the powers that be, demanding that they be allowed to keep their top hats for the highest echelons of competition.

And a more recent performance with the rider wearing a helmet.

According to Dressage Today, the petition reads:

“The top international dressage riders would like to make a formal demand to the FEI to keep the option to use the top hat in international competitions for Seniors. There has never been a serious accident at an international dressage competition, and the riders believe there is no reason to change that for senior competitors at CDI4*/5*, Games and championships on Grand Prix level.

“The top hat is an essential part of the identity of dressage. The dresscode makes us unique and we feel very strongly that the top hat remain as optional to use, but only at the highest level of competition. For awards ceremonies, the use of protective headgear can remain mandatory.

“It should be noted that there are other disciplines that are not required to wear helmets, and we feel that this inequality is not warranted. We urgently request that the FEI add this matter to the agenda for the next General Assembly, and change the rule accordingly. We believe it is the right of each individual rider to choose between the use of a top hat or protective headgear. This right cannot be revoked.”

As I have written several times in my blog, I’m not a big fan of people telling others what to do. I hated seatbelts when I was growing up. I’m not too fond of them now, but I comply with the law because it’s easier and because if I don’t, the car and Bill both turn into Pat Boone. I could choose not to comply and probably get the stink eye from Germans… and maybe a stiff fine.

Same thing goes for face masks. I hate them, but I comply with regulations. And I truly hope that either an alternative is designed or the COVID-19 virus is vanquished enough so that they become unnecessary. I find the masks depressing and uncomfortable and I can’t wait to see them gone. I don’t put masks in the same league as seatbelts and helmets. In any case, I don’t presume to tell other adults what to do. Nobody likes a lecture, and lecturing people is mostly a waste of time, anyway. All they do is piss off others.

I had to go read the comments on the Facebook post about the top hats. It was like reading another article about mask protesters. People were saying things like, “Wear the damn helmet!” And the other side came back with, “Don’t tell me what to do!”

I’m sure it makes people feel better to tell off those who aren’t following the rules. Personally, I like to think that adults are capable of making their own decisions. I feel this way about voting, too. I may completely disagree with your choices at the polls, but I figure you have your reasons for voting the way you do. I doubt a lecture from me is going to change your mind, and it’s none of my business anyway. I wouldn’t want you to lecture me about my vote… and as someone who sometimes votes third party, I sure have been on the receiving end of a lot of those kinds of comments.

I can see why dressage riders like their top hats. Maybe someone will come up with a design for a top hat that is safer than the old version, yet provides the same aesthetic. I do miss the velvet hats in hunt seat. They looked very elegant compared to the big helmets of today, although I will admit that the helmets are easier to keep clean and probably last longer because they can withstand the elements better. In that sense, they’re more practical, as well as safer. But I don’t begrudge those who like the old way. They have their reasons for feeling that way, and they should be heard without being ridiculed, insulted, or shamed, as long as they present themselves in a respectful way.

If you’re being rude as you present yourself, then all bets are off when it comes to the response you’ll get. That’s why I felt okay about telling that guy to go fuck himself after he accused Bill of being a “bad person”. If he had not been insulting first, I would not have responded in that manner… or at all, for that matter.

Just like Jane and Michael sing in their song about the “perfect nanny”, people don’t like to be scolded and dominated, nor do they like to be force-fed things that are unpleasant, even if it’s “for their own good.” I think it’s best to let people draw their own conclusions and hope they’ll make the smart choice.

Time for breakfast…

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rants

God forbid I say that out loud…

Today’s post is a bona-fide rant. And no, I’m not “mad”. I’m irritated and annoyed, as usual. This is just a vent.

This morning, I read a very depressing (to me) article about how to train children to wear face masks. The tips were in The New York Times, and they were accompanied by pictures of adults trying to coax little kids into tolerating masks at school. Even though I don’t have children, and thus, have no skin in the game, I read the article and looked at the pictures. Then, against my better judgment, I left a comment on the Facebook page for the New York Times. I wrote “How depressing.”

It is depressing to me that small children have to worry about coronavirus at a time when they should be free to explore their environments, interact with their peers, and learn lots of new things using all of their senses. It is depressing to me that many very young children are going to be taught to fear germs before they even know how to count or recite the alphabet. Some of them will still lose friends and loved ones to the virus even though they wear masks, wash their hands, and eschew playdates. To me, that’s sad, even if I understand why children are being forced to “mask up” and can’t freely go play with their pals on the swings.

But God forbid I should mention that out loud. I knew that when I posted, and sure enough, along comes a busybody to remind me of what’s “important”, because we all need a member of the thought police to slap us upside the head and remind us of how “wrong” our thoughts are…

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I get it. We have to remind ourselves of the doom and gloom that is happening daily right now, thanks to COVID-19. Thank GOD for masks. They will save us all. And thank God for the lady who set me straight. Thanks, I needed that. /sarcasm

If there’s anything I can’t stand, it’s some all-knower who can’t simply let people make a statement without adding some obnoxious one-upping, thought policing, virtue-signaling comment of their own. And it’s not just the issue of masks that get this treatment, either.

For example, today happens to be the one year anniversary that we learned that our sweet, loving, amazing dog, Zane, had lymphoma. I remember how I felt one year ago, when Bill took Zane to our local vet because I had felt swellings where his lymph nodes were under his jaw. I hoped it was an infection, but knew deep down that it was cancer. And Bill brought Zane home to tell me the news. I knew that Zane would be dead very soon. I commented on Facebook that I was very upset and my life “sucked”.

Sure enough, I got lots of responses from people telling me that my life doesn’t suck. One person argued with me about my statement. Another person told me to “buck up”. Still another said I should “get a grip”. After a few comments such as those, I posted this:

This was my admittedly snippy response. That was a legitimately AWFUL weekend.

I seem to remember that the evening that we learned about Zane’s cancer, we also spent responding to a truly ridiculous letter from our former landlady’s lawyer. Precious time that we could have spent with Zane was spent with Bill writing in German that, “no”, we didn’t steal a refrigerator from the ex landlady and we can prove it. And “no”, Americans don’t routinely clog up toilets with toilet paper. Hers was the only toilet I’ve used in my 48 years of shitting that has ever routinely clogged up, and I have taken dumps in MANY countries. It is sad that we had to spend an evening on that bullshit instead of enjoying sweet Zane’s company. But God forbid I say that out loud, either.

One week after I posted the above status, Bill and I drove Zane to the vet for the last time. Sometime during the night, he started bleeding internally. I don’t know for certain, but I think he had tumors in his spleen that had ruptured. When we awoke on August 31st of last year, Zane looked like he had grown teats. They were full of blood. I do take comfort that his last week was relatively pleasant, as cancer deaths go. He spent the week enjoying the outside, agreeable temperatures, sunshine, eating what he wanted, and being with his people. But losing him hurt me a lot. I still think of him every day. This is the first time I’ve lost a dog and not replaced him soon afterwards. Some of you will remember that a few months ago, we did try to give a new dog a home as the COVID crisis was beginning. Our attempt to take in a dog ended in senseless tragedy. Guess I should “buck up”, though, because things aren’t so bad.

Dealing with COVID-19, a year after losing Zane, is depressing for different reasons. The world has changed so much in such a short span of time. I think people want and need to talk about it. Many aspects of the pandemic world are, indeed, very depressing. But if you dare mention it out loud, you run the risk of some asshole reminding you of what’s “really important” (in their minds). If you acknowledge that small children wearing face masks is abnormal, you have to brace yourself for an upbraiding by self-important twits who have to contradict you. You know what? Fuck those people. I have about had my fill of dealing with them.

I have a feeling the one person who “laughed” at my comment to the busybody did so because he’s also sick of dealing with this type of person who can’t just let people just express a thought without correcting them. Honestly, I think people like the woman who retorted to me are the reason we have people like Trump in charge. Most folks don’t want to be lectured to or told what is “right” by holier-than-thou people. And, as much as I now identify as more of a liberal type, I also understand that sometimes preachy liberal types are “insufferable” and tiresome. I can understand why that makes a loudmouthed cretin like Donald Trump seem refreshing to certain people.

I remember sometime last year, I wanted to issue a complaint to USAA about their two-factor authentication system. I would have done so privately, but was unable to find an email where I could send my feedback. So I posted my comment on their Facebook page. Sure enough, someone had to come along and contradict me. She couldn’t just let a fellow customer voice a valid complaint. She had to discount my comment by praising USAA, and reprimanding me for daring to make it in the first place, even though I’m a paying customer, too, and have a right to voice my concerns.

I know people don’t like complainers, but there has to be room for criticism in every situation. Nay-sayers provide information about what could be improved about something. Take the face masks, for instance. Lots of people are just fine with them. They happily strap them on before they do anything, from shopping to having sex. Some are even expressing delight in how they can make them fashionable and how the masks might help them avoid getting sick as they also hide their resting bitch faces. They actually enjoy smelling their own breath. They probably enjoy the smell of their own farts, too. And you know what? That’s fine and dandy for them.

But there are other people who have legitimate issues with wearing face masks. For instance, there are people who have trouble wearing them because they wear hearing aids and the ear loops on most masks knock the hearing aids out of their ears. Some people feel claustrophobic or super anxious when they wear them. Some people need to be able to read lips and can’t because of the masks. Some people make their living or just really enjoy playing woodwind instruments or singing. And some people literally lack ears! I’ve actually known a couple of people in that situation. One was a guy whose ears were deformed due to years of wrestling and being grabbed by his ears. Another was a man who’d lost part of his ears at war. Yes, there are masks available that tie in the back, but in the case of the war veteran, that was also problematic because he also had arthritis in his hands.

These people have needs that should be considered. They don’t need to be shut up by self-righteous dipshits who can’t simply let people have their say without a virtue-signaling, “one size fits all” rebuttal. People have a right to point out why masks are problematic for some folks and should strictly be a TEMPORARY measure. If no one complains, what incentive do we have to make things better for everyone— not just the cheerful, super responsible, self-righteous types who revere the masks?

It’s not normal, natural, or fun for most children to be forced to wear face masks. Really young children are just starting out in the world, learning how to socialize and communicate with other people. I do think it’s depressing that they have to be “trained” to wear a mask, which will hinder their ability to communicate, instead of being allowed to interact with others the way generations of people before them have been allowed to. I can make that statement without failing to realize why the masks are currently necessary and needing a fucking lecture from some stranger about how people are getting sick and dying of COVID-19. DUH. I’ve gotten the news. It’s on EVERY channel.

I can also make a statement about being really upset about my dog dying and my life temporarily sucking without some twit reminding me of how good I have it (especially since most of the people making those comments have NO IDEA what my life is actually like– they can only make assumptions).

People need to let people say their piece without contradicting them with their own virtue-signaling bullshit. Although to be fair, there’s a reason why I rarely bother posting comments on newspaper articles. It’s mainly because I hate dealing with people like the woman who corrected me this morning with her parental wisdom. Thanks, lady. You sure set me straight. I learned something new from you and am suitably chastened. Now run along, pick out your favorite mask for today, and let me go back to being my cranky self.

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Memes, social media

Social Media Evangelists…

I’m in a writing mood today. I have a couple of topics in mind, neither of which are particularly fun subjects. Nevertheless, both are on my mind, and since I don’t have a shrink anymore, I’m going to spill my guts. So here goes…

I’ve noticed that there are a lot of “preachers” on social media. Some people can’t help themselves. They like to get up on their soap boxes and spread their messages. Sometimes the messages are useful, reasonable, and sensible. Sometimes, they’re the same thing over and over again, which is irritating, even if the message makes sense. Many times, the messages are sanctimonious in nature, and more likely to piss people off than get them to change their behaviors.

I realize that in writing a blog, often with subjects about my own pet peeves, I kind of do the same thing. I mostly try to limit my preaching to the blog. That way, people can choose whether or not they want to read it. I think this technique also works better for me because a lot of times, what I want to communicate won’t fit on a pithy meme. Most of the time, people who take the time to read a blog post are already in agreement with me, but sometimes they’re not. That’s okay, of course, as long as the discussion is respectful. Most of the time, at least on my blog, it is. On Facebook, however, the comments can get pretty shitty in a hurry.

I remember before Facebook became a part of my life, way back in August 2008, I wasn’t constantly bombarded by preachy messages from my friends. Somehow, I was blissfully unaware of how much other people were watching everything their neighbors do and coming up with cute memes with which to shame and criticize them. Every day, there’s something out there from someone– a mini lecture on how we should all be living our lives boiled down to the fun “meme-size” that doesn’t quite encompass all of the facts of a situation.

Until COVID-19 struck, the most common “social media evangelism” was often about children. I’d see posts about pregnant women who drink booze and how absolutely wrong that is under all circumstances. Or– guaranteed– if someone posted a picture of a child in a car, there would be at least half a dozen critiques on if or how the child was strapped into a carseat. It seems like everyone is an expert on every subject, and everyone feels entitled to share their opinions as if they were facts or judge other people for their personal choices, even though they rarely have the whole story.

This has been floating around Facebook recently. I cringe every time I see it. Snopes agrees with me, too. It sounds good and seems reasonable, but the truth is, the efficacy of face masks against the spread of COVID-19 is currently unknown. A lot probably has to do with the quality of the masks being worn, the behavior and hygiene of the wearer and the other person, and plain old luck.

Right now, the hottest subject for social media preaching is the wearing of face masks. Face mask donning is currently a controversial subject. Over the past few weeks, the official advice has rapidly gone from not wearing them unless you’re sick or working with sick people, to maybe wearing them, to everybody MUST wear them (although there are some exceptions and a lot depends on the country). I have been watching this progression with interest, especially since public health is a pet subject of mine. I spent a couple of years studying it in graduate school and used to work as a technical writer in the field of epidemiology.

As of Monday of this week, face masks became mandatory in Germany if you’re in an area where “social distancing” isn’t possible. The rules and consequences of not obeying the new face mask rules vary depending on the state. At this point, Bavaria, which has been hardest hit by the virus, is the strictest about the face masks. Berlin’s rules are comparatively lax in comparison.

I’m just gonna say it. I find the prospect of being forced to wear a face mask depressing and oppressive. They kind of remind me of gags. I know they’re not gags, but they look like them, and I hate the idea that people will be expected to wear them from now on– for an indefinite length of time. The masks obscure people’s faces and make communication more challenging and, for some reason, that makes me feel anxious and depressed. They’re hot, uncomfortable, inconvenient, and make breathing more difficult, although I’ll admit that breathing is surely easier when wearing a mask than when one is sick with COVID-19. It bugs me that face masks have now become a “fashion accessory”, especially when a lot of them are just that, and offer little in the way of real protection from germs.

Look at this flimsy piece of shit. I assume it would be acceptable to shop in this, but the idea of going through the summer wearing this on my face when it’s 90 degrees out isn’t very pleasant.

I hate the idea of having to sit on a long haul flight while wearing a face mask, especially when I know that airplanes are filthy and have been for years. Flights are already uncomfortable and unpleasant enough without adding face masks and flight attendants in PPE suits to the mix. It’s also pretty much impossible to do things like eat or drink while wearing a mask. Since those are things I like to do when I’m in public and with other people, that pretty much means I’m going to just stay home, and that is a depressing prospect for me.

No matter how many times my well meaning friends share pictures and diagrams of how the viruses might be stopped by masks, I know that viruses are unbelievably tiny and can stay airborne for at least a couple of hours. And if you have fogged up glasses and the sides of your mask are gaping, that means that something is getting out from behind it– something tiny and airborne. The masks will probably stop large balls of spittle and mucus that have viruses attached to them, but they certainly don’t stop everything. Given that so many of the masks are homemade, there’s a wide variety of materials being used to make them by people of varying skill, and they are of varying efficacy in stopping the spread of germs. Maybe the masks are better than nothing; but then again, maybe they’re not. Especially if people aren’t laundering them properly or trying to avoid touching them while they’re wearing them.

I have a friend who crocheted her mask, which left the face covering with sizable holes in it. When one of her other friends asked her if she planned to put a lining in the mask, she said her intention was simply to comply with the law of wearing a face covering in public. This friend is a scientist and, like me, has her doubts that the masks are much more than a measure to comfort the masses and make it look like something is being done to stop the spread of the disease. I saw her get into an argument with a face mask “Nazi”, who was adamant that the coverings were/are absolutely essential in all cases and must be mandatory (for how long?). It reminded me a lot of the arguments I’ve seen among “friends” on Facebook, lecturing others about whether or not someone else’s child should be wearing a jacket outside, or whether or not someone was disabled enough to use a handicapped parking space, even if the person had a legitimate placard and a hidden medical condition that was no one else’s business.

I have noticed that some people feel quite fine in lecturing the masses about wearing face masks, the same way they might lecture a mother about how to strap her child into a carseat or whether or not she should allow her child to be alone outside. I’ve also noticed that when a person does experience a negative consequence for not following the popular advice, people are quick to cheer about their misfortune. Someone posts about coronavirus being overblown and then gets sick? Cue the cheerleaders who crow about karma and laugh with glee. Someone lets their child play in the yard and the child is kidnapped? There will always be a contingent of people who think the parents deserved to have their child abducted. They lose sight of the real culprit of suffering and blame the victim.

Many of the people sharing their opinions have only been informed by the media and memes that are being spread on social media. They haven’t taken the time to read up on the subject in legitimate scientific publications or read opposing viewpoints among people whose business it is to deal with communicable diseases, nor do they even know all there is to know about the other person’s unique situation. They assume the person is just ignorant or being stubborn, and sharing one more pissy or directive face mask meme or “efficacy chart” is going to change their minds and/or behaviors. Or worse, they take the attitude that the face mask is the silver bullet and don’t try to stay home or do a better job of washing their hands.

Some folks are also using ridiculous comparisons to make their points.

I’ve seen the above meme shared in English and German. I don’t think it’s a very good comparison to our current situation. Whether or not you even have the ability to pee on someone has a lot to do with the equipment you have. I don’t know about you, but as a woman, I’m not able to aim my piss at other people. And most people aren’t running around peeing on people, anyway. That’s generally the kind of thing one must do on purpose. The virus is invisible to the naked eye and spreads through the air and on surfaces. It’s very hard to control the spread of it. Pee, on the other hand, can generally be controlled… at least by those who aren’t incontinent. Moreover, getting someone else’s pee on you, while certainly gross, probably isn’t going to make you deathly ill the way COVID-19 might. I also don’t like the rude, derisive tone of the above meme. I don’t think it does much more than insult other people who may not agree with wearing masks. Things are tough enough as it is right now. We don’t need to add to the stress by calling people “dummies”. Especially when legitimate scientists agree that maybe the people who aren’t on the face mask bandwagon aren’t actually dummies.

George made a lot of sense with this bit… I really miss him.

Because I don’t want to get sick, nor do I want others to fear me making them sick, I’m simply going to try to stay in my home as much as possible for as long as it takes. This mostly works for me, since I spend a lot of time alone anyway. Staying at home is the very best way to avoid catching or spreading the virus. I just hope I don’t develop agoraphobia or some other mental health problem by staying isolated. This is a bonafide side effect to social distancing. Some people have become despondent and yes, there have been suicides. God help the person who needs to speak to someone and be reassured during this time. Maybe they can score a Zoom session with a therapist, but that human touch will be missing.

There have also been suicides among healthcare professionals who face the daunting task of trying to help people who are extremely sick with COVID-19. Frankly, I can understand why some people are feeling anxious enough to consider suicide right now, especially those who were already suffering from social anxiety disorder before this virus hit. The idea of being forced to live this way for an indefinite length of time is scary and upsetting. Lecturing people about whether or not they wear a mask isn’t helpful, especially if you present them with “facts” you got via memes from Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and nowhere else.

My personal feelings about the face masks don’t mean I won’t wear a mask if it’s required by law. It just means that I personally don’t believe that they’ll necessarily do a lot of good. This is just my opinion, and I could certainly be wrong. I often am. And if it turns out that masks really are helpful and it’s been proven and peer reviewed by scientists, I’ll admit I was wrong. But I’ll wear a mask only because I don’t want to be fined, harassed, or lectured, not because I’m jumping on the social media bandwagon. And if I’m going to have to wear one every time I go out in public, I think I’d rather exit this existence anyway. It’s no way to live, and makes me really glad I never had children.

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