mental health, movies, musings

Shut up before we really give you something to cry about!

For years, I’ve heard people mention the campy 1968 sci-fi flick, Barbarella. Jane Fonda was the star of that movie, which I finally watched last night. It was another cheap download from iTunes. I’d never seen it, but heard references to it. I decided last night, I’d find out what the hubbub was all about. I watched it and found it rather hilariously weird. I wished I had some pot. I think marijuana would have made watching it even more bizarre.

I was born in 1972, so the first movie I ever saw starring Jane Fonda was 9 to 5. I actually saw that one in the movie theater when I was about eight years old. I saw it countless times on HBO when I was growing up, and later bought a download of it, because I love watching movies from the 80s… especially when I’m bored or stressed out. The last few weeks have been boring and stressful.

This is a WEIRD film.

To be honest, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the plot for Barbarella. It reminded me a lot of some of the soft porn flicks that used to be aired on The Movie Channel during the late 80s and early 90s. The Movie Channel was a lot more liberal about what they aired than HBO was, and in those days, there weren’t multiple cable movie channels like there are now. In a way, I’m kind of glad I was a kid in those days, when things were simpler. I’m glad my childhood was pretty normal and free range, and I got to do a lot of things that young people today can’t do… things I think are pretty essential to becoming a functioning adult, like going to the store by myself at a young age.

Today’s youngsters have an especially raw deal. This past year has really sucked. It’s sucked for everyone, but it’s sucked worse for some people than others. My year hasn’t been that bad compared to some people’s years. But, for sure, I am glad I’m not a teenager these days. So many of the things that make life worth living aren’t allowed right now. And when you’re a teenager, things probably seem a lot more important than they really are. All of the stuff that makes being a teen fun are on hold. Or they have to be done while masked and socially distanced.

Even those who are lucky enough to be able to have team sports sometimes have to contend with assholes who ruin the fun. Case in point, this jackass announcer who uttered racist and derogatory comments because some of the players at a high school game decided to kneel when “The Star Spangled Banner” was played. When the announcer, name of Matt Rowan, was rightfully called out for his disgraceful comments caught on a hot mike, he blamed it on a sugar spike caused by his Type 1 diabetes. I feel sorry for the youngsters who had to hear that. It was totally uncalled for, especially at a high school game.

Friday, I watched Pretty in Pink, which was released when I was in the 8th grade. Just a few months after it came out, I entered my freshman year of high school, which was kind of a mind blower. Back then, there was no Internet, but we had some really cool music and interesting fashions. It was just before everything went online– kind of the fetal phase of the Internet. I had a nerdy friend at that time who ran up huge phone bills using her modem to chat with guys in Ohio, even though we lived in Virginia. She posted on bulletin boards and developed this whole social life that was so mysterious to me. And look at us now. Where would we be without the Internet? Hard to tell…

In some ways, the Internet made things better. I can keep in touch with some old friends who are still fun to be friends with. On the other hand, some people you’d rather not be in touch with anymore and being online makes it easy for them to find you. And thanks to the Internet, people can still kind of function, which can be good or bad, depending on your perspective. Some people are thriving. I would be fine with distance working or learning. Others need to be in an office with others… or working in groups. They hate being stuck at home and aren’t as productive there. And some people, who ordinarily would never be home because of work and are enjoying the family time they’re getting, would rather things not go back to “normal”.

I don’t know when we’ll get the vaccine. Germany has been very slow rolling it out, and I doubt we’d be able to get it here anyway, until more citizens have gotten it. The U.S. military has also been really slow with roll out… and I heard some gossip indicating that some powers that be are not being fair about its distribution. If we were in Hawaii, Japan, or Korea we’d probably be inoculated by now. I don’t necessarily look forward to getting the shot(s) or their potential side effects, but I do look forward to ditching this lifestyle. Everything is so gloomy. Good thing we have guys like Randy Rainbow to make us smile…

Too right, as the Aussies say.

But it’s hard to keep smiling, especially when you’re subscribed to periodicals like The Atlantic and they keep posting depressing articles with even more depressing headlines. Twice, I’ve seen them post an article about mourning our “normal” lives and accepting that things will basically suck from now on. There are endless articles about how awful everything is. As a matter of fact, here’s a list of fifteen of the articles featured on their Facebook page right now:

  • Modern Life Has Made It Easier For Serial Killers to Thrive
  • Your Professional Decline Is Coming (Much) Sooner Than You Think
  • The Relentlessness of Black Grief
  • High School Wasn’t Supposed to Be Like This
  • 3 Miles from Martha’s Vineyard is an Island Full of Bombs
  • People Are Keeping Their Vaccines Secret
  • Renting is Terrible. Owning is Worse.
  • Texas’s Disaster is Over. The Fallout is Just Beginning.
  • When Postpartum Depression Doesn’t Go Away
  • Giraffes Edge Closer to Extinction
  • The Republican Party Isn’t Going Anywhere
  • The Pandemic Has Given Women a New Kind of Rage
  • Why Do So Many Men Watch Lesbian Porn?
  • Cone Snails are Liars and Murderers
  • We Have To Grieve Our Last Good Days

These articles have been run over the past couple of days. I feel like I need to take a prophylactic antidepressant before I look at their Facebook page. There have been a few that weren’t depressing, but on the whole, it seems like The Atlantic is in a depression and wants to share the wealth. Add in the headlines from other papers, and it does seem like spring is going to be bleak, even though it’s traditionally when things come back to life. I hope I’m wrong. I hope the vaccine works to slow the spread of the disease. The latest South Park, which hilariously shows elderly people living it up while the rest of us hide away at home, shows how weird things are… I’d almost feel like I’m Barbarella myself, minus Jane Fonda’s smokin’ hot body circa 1968 and the sexual pleasure machine.

I got bored the other day and ended up on a porn site. It was an interesting place… it included videos that were homemade as well as a few that were cheesy professional ones. I get a kick out of some kinds of porn. It’s definitely not a genre for the high minded. Sometimes people upload clips from kinky mainstream TV shows and movies. I clicked on one that was in a foreign language… and I realized that I understood some of what was being said. It turned out someone had uploaded a clip from an Armenian soap opera or movie. The environment was weirdly familiar, too. I was hoping we could have visited Armenia by now, but the pandemic messed up those plans.

I ended up watching the whole clip from the Armenian show. I had a good laugh and was pleasantly surprised, because it was relatively well done compared to what was available when I lived there in the 90s. There was really nothing particularly pornographic about the clip. I mean, it was totally PG mainstream, something you might see on prime time television. I could post it here and not be embarrassed or ashamed. I just thought it was funny that I randomly clicked on a video on a porn site that happened to be from Armenia. I doubt the same could be said for the German clips that get uploaded.

I don’t usually watch whole porn clips, because I find them way too cringey. Some of it is just too raw for me. I don’t like looking at nudity or violence. I don’t like bad acting. Watching people having sex is boring– especially when it’s porn sex, which has no element of reality to it whatsoever. I’d rather read something fascinating and a little kinky rather than watch it. But when you’ve been alone for weeks, sometimes you get desperate for entertainment. I think the Sims should make an R or even X rated version of the game for old people like me.

My parents had this album on 8 Track. That’s how old and obscure it is. I uploaded it a few years ago, since I don’t think anyone else had at the time. Glen Campbell was very accomplished on the bagpipes. He should have made more music on them.

At least there’s music… like this gorgeous bagpipe arrangement played by the late Glen Campbell (incidentally, a distant cousin of Bill’s). I suspect I’ll be listening to a lot of music today, as I pass the historically dullest day of the week… Sunday. In Germany, Sunday is even duller, since everything is closed. But everything is closed anyway, so it’s like everyday is Sunday. Actually, that’s not quite true. The grocery stores, flower shops, hair salons, and book shops are open. I think you can buy garden supplies. And maybe in two weeks, more stuff will open up.

Anyway… just a few more days until Bill comes home. Until then, I’ll keep watching old movies, the odd porn clips, and listening to obscure music. Maybe I’ll come up with something interesting to write about. Maybe I’ll even resort to writing fiction. Perhaps now is the time to start a fiction blog, now that the stalker has finally fucked off. Or… put it this way… I no longer care what she reads. Legal remedy is complete… for now.

Gentle Bill turned me on to The Bloodhound Gang.

Perhaps there really is something to that old saying, “Shut up before we really give you something to cry about.” I used to hear that a lot when I was growing up. And I often ended up crying, anyway, either because my feelings were hurt or my ass was sore and smarting from a “spanking” (which was more like an enraged beating). I don’t cry much anymore, though. Don’t have the hormones or the tear ducts anymore. LOL… funny enough, I wouldn’t mind getting a spanking today. As long as it was Bill who delivered it. He’s gentle and I’m bored and frustrated… and a trifle kinky. But not kinky enough to cry while I give someone a lapdance. And the world heaves a collective sigh of relief…

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condescending twatbags, politics, poor judgment, true crime

File this under winning stupid prizes…

I probably should have written about the latest insurrectionist dumbfuck yesterday, but I felt too compelled to write about that Missouri pastor who think women need to “pretty up” for their fat-assed, sexist, evangelical Christian, Trump loving husbands who smell like week old smegma. But now that I’ve written about Pastor Stewart-Allen Clark and gotten all of that out of my system, I need to move on to another Republican shithead. You know who I’m talking about…

And before I get too cranked up, I want to apologize in advance for the cursing and name calling that will happen in this post. I’m highly irritable right now, for a number of reasons… and people who think they need to be cut a break when they’ve clearly been in the wrong are people who are not getting much of my patience or sympathy these days. But I don’t like hypocrisy, even when I’m guilty of it. I often preach about civility in my blog, but this guy just makes me feel decidedly uncivilized…

Damn… I love the way Rachel Maddow talks about these assloaves…

Remember January 6th? That was the day thousands of Trump supporting chuckleheads showed up in Washington, DC, prepared to storm the Capitol. These idiots came wearing red MAGA hats, bearing weapons, and sporting bad attitudes as they forced their way into one of our nation’s most venerable and recognizable buildings. They were intent on disrupting Congressional proceedings to oust their orange hero out of office and stop his maniacal assault on the United States and its allies.

Among those morons was a sixty year old man from Gravette, Arkansas named Richard Barnett. You’d think a 60 year old man would know better, right? But no, Richard Barnett was full of piss and vinegar on January 6th. And he invaded Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s office while wearing a cattle prod-like stun gun, sat in her chair, and put his fucking feet up on her desk. He stole her mail, took selfies, and basically acted like a fucking jackass, then shared his dumbassery with the world.

Well, now Barnett is sitting in jail cell. He’s really pissed off about it. And a couple of days ago, he had a virtual court hearing regarding his case. Mr. Barnett is apparently not so tough anymore, having sat behind bars for awhile. The moment he was taken into custody, Mr. Barnett campaigned to be released on bond. At this point, he’s been unsuccessful in his bid to be freed, if only temporarily. And when he had his hearing with Judge Christopher Cooper, a federal judge in Washington, DC, he lost his temper and had a full on tantrum! That’s right– a sixty year old man with balls big enough to storm the Capitol can’t hack being in prison. He says “it’s not fair”, because other people who were involved in the attack have been released.

Judge Cooper seems to have been quite polite and respectful in his dealings with Mr. Barnett, at least based on the way Rachel Maddow describes it. He says “please” and “thank you” and is courteous toward Barnett, who is in the process of replacing his attorneys. The judge says he would like a continuance until May 4th. Barnett then unmutes himself and has a bonafide fit! He screams that he’s been in jail for a month! And it’s NOT FAIR! According to The Daily Beast:

“They’re dragging this out. They’re letting everyone else out,” Richard “Bigo” Barnett yelled during his Thursday court hearing, insisting that “it’s not fair” that he is still in jail while a slew of his fellow rioters have been released pending trial.

“This has been a bunch of crap,” he added. (um… yes, crap that you could have easily avoided by not raiding the Capitol, you racist fuck.)

Barnett could end up going to prison for years for what he did. I would suggest he learn to deal with his situation. As it stands today, Barnett is facing several charges, including theft. He proudly posed for an infamous photo in Pelosi’s office, shared it publicly, and armed himself with a stun gun as his fellow MAGA morons attacked the Capitol while Congress met to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

It’s true that Barnett was one of the first of at least 300 people to be arrested for participating in the riots, and is among the few to remain in jail. But what the hell does he expect? There’s no question about his guilt. This man took it upon himself to go to Washington, DC armed and dangerous. What was he going to do with that stun gun? How would he like it if someone broke into his place of business and took selfies of themselves violating his work place? Barnett bought a 950,000-volt stun gun walking stick at a Bass Pro Shop in Arkansas five days before he traveled to Washington. That was proven by prosecutors who did some checking. What would a 950,000-volt stun gun to do a human being? I don’t want to find out.

Barnett was also bitching about how others had been let out– mainly because they were not being accused of violent offenses and judges deemed their offenses unworthy of incarceration. I don’t think Barnett was planning to be peaceful. If he was, he wouldn’t have brought a stun gun with him. Originally, the Magistrate Judge wanted to put Barnett on home confinement, but prosecutors rightly objected because Barnett was seen carrying a stun gun. They successfully argued that he might be dangerous.

Screenshot of Richard Barnett in Nancy Pelosi’s office. He ain’t smilin’ anymore, folks.

Barnett has also referred to himself as a “white nationalist”, and in another photo, was shown with an envelope addressed to Nancy Pelosi. Barnett took the envelope from her office. According to The Daily Beast, he explained himself thusly:

“I did not steal it. I bled on it because they were macing me and I couldn’t fucking see so I figured I am in her office. I got blood on her office. I put a quarter on her desk even though she ain’t fucking worth it,” Barnett told one news outlet, according to the complaint. “And I left her a note on her desk that says, ‘Nancy, Bigo was here, you bitch.’”

A couple of months ago, I was willing to cut Skylar Mack a break for breaking the law in the Cayman Islands. Skylar has youth on her side, and she owned up to what she did while sincerely apologizing. Richard Barnett is just a spoiled brat who doesn’t want to face the very real consequences for breaking the law. Consider the man is 60 years old, acting like a toddler. You would have thought he would have been raised better. Play stupid games. Win stupid prizes. Enjoy your time in the big house, Barnett. You earned it. Oh… and FUCK YOU.

Weird Wilbur, who probably would like Richard Barnett fine, has words of wisdom for him…
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tragedies, true crime, Trump

Twitter bans Trump…

And it’s about time, isn’t it? It’s about fucking time someone cut off Trump’s mouthpiece. People are still defending Donald Trump, in spite of all of the evidence that he’s a threat to democracy. I wish they’d done it— cut off his Twitter mouthpiece—years ago. Now that there’s talk of impeaching Trump a second time, I realize that my worst fears from four years have come to pass. In fact, they have been surpassed. I never thought it would get this crazy… but lo and behold, it has. DC was overrun by wingnuts galore, intent on destroying democracy and trampling on the will of the people. It’s sheer madness.

Five people died as a result of Wednesday’s melee in Washington, DC. Most of the people who died were people who were there to cause a ruckus. One guy, an Alabaman named Kevin Greeson, reportedly had a heart attack thanks to all of the excitement. He was also carrying a Taser, which some people have said went off in his balls. I’m serious. And he’s just one of the mental giants who thought he could come to Washington, DC, raise hell, and live to tell about it unscathed. This man was supposedly a devoted husband and father. He was described as a loving person who loved his job, his motorcycles, and his co-workers. And yet, despite being “loving”, he encouraged people on Parler to spend all of their money on guns and ammunition and take to the streets. Quoted from an article about Greeson:

In November, Greeson wrote on Parler, “All males over the age of 18 join a group.. be ready to defend our country!! Spend your money on guns and ammo… It’s time to stop this shit!!!!!” “I don’t give two f**ks about COVID.. we have a coup going on in our goddamn country.! These motherfuckering demos are going to make COVID look like a runny nose! They’re goin to f*ck this county up!” he wrote in December. “Let’s take this f**king Country BACK!! Load your guns and take to the streets!” he posted days later.

Yep… sounds like a real upstanding citizen. And now he’s dead. I’ll be honest. My first instinct was to laugh about Greeson’s Taser reportedly going off and shocking him in the balls (which is now reported as false info). But then I realized that it’s really not funny at all. Now his wife has lost a husband and his kids have lost their dad.

What a way to go.

Another widely reported casualty of Wednesday’s hell raising is a woman named Ashli Babbitt, who was shot by police while trying to breach the Capitol building. Babbitt, who spent years in the Air Force, Air National Guard, and the Air Force Reserves, and was deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, and the United Arab Emirates, was deeply committed to Donald Trump’s agenda. She came to DC from California, wearing a Trump flag as a cape as she yelled at cops and tried to break in to a government building. She was killed as a couple of rioters hoisted her up.

I suppose I feel a little sad for her… that she was so radicalized that she felt the need to go to such extreme measures to try to force her will on the rest of us… It was a foolish plan that was doomed to failure.

I want to feel sorry for Ashli Babbitt, but everything I’ve read about her paints her as a very troubled woman. She was married twice. Her second husband’s ex girlfriend took out a restraining order on Babbitt for ramming her car three times on a roadway. The ex said Babbitt was screaming at her and verbally threatening her with violence. Also, Babbitt’s rank at the time she left military service is telling. She was in for fourteen years, yet department the Air Force as a senior airman. After that much time in service, most people opt to stay in so they can collect a retirement. And yet Ashli Babbitt didn’t… or couldn’t. And now she’s made a name for herself as a nut who tried to overthrow the government so her criminal hero, Donald Trump, could stay in office.

“No the fuck you will not!” Ashli Babbitt replied to [Kamala Harris on Twitter]. “No masks, no you, no Biden the kid raper, no vaccines…sit your fraudulent ass down…we the ppl bitch!”

Charming… perhaps it’s good that she’s been put out of her misery. Obviously, she was very agitated about something. And I find it funny that Trump supporters call Joe Biden a “kid raper” when their hero was a regular at Jeffrey Epstein’s private island of debauchery and was, himself, accused of raping teenaged girls who resembled his daughter.

Why wasn’t Ashli Babbitt outraged about this story?

There were three others who died, including Benjamin Philips, a 50 year old man who shared teenaged sons with his ex wife, Nicole Mun, whom he divorced in 2004. Philips had a stroke while enjoying the “festivities”. Before he died, Philips founded and ran a site for Trump supporters called Trumparoo. He organized rides to the Capitol for Trump supporters. And now his kids have lost their dad, all because he couldn’t accept that Donald Trump was voted out of office.

Whom did these people die for? A man who was partying, listening to Laura Branigan’s 80s era hit, “Gloria”, while they were all out in the streets, screaming, yelling, threatening, breaking things, and smearing blood and shit on one of our nation’s most beautiful and venerated buildings and its priceless works of art. A man who did his best to bully Georgia election officials into overturning the results of a fair election. A man who inspires ordinary people to act like terrorists and thugs, harassing people who aren’t like them as they try to walk home from work. A man who brags about hurting and molesting people. This morning, I read about Democrat Representative, Andy Kim, literally cleaning up the mess left by these marauding Trump loving thugs in the Capitol. I suspect he will be helping to clean up their mess figuratively, too, as the sane government officials do what they can to unravel Trump’s governmental Gordian knots.

Trump has already been impeached once. He has just eleven days left in office, and he’s very likely to be impeached again, or be subjected to the 25th Amendment. And he’s been banned from Twitter, while Apple and Google Play are banning the Parler app because of the hatred and vitriol spewed there. There’s no doubt, people were spun up by the negative energy of the Parler application– supposedly where conservatives can speak freely. Well… they can speak freely as long as they make money for the app’s developer and other companies. When they become a liability, the privilege of speaking freely disappears.

It always surprises me to read some of the bluster from Trump supporters screaming about freedom. They want to deny freedom to everyone else by claiming that the election was stolen, even though it clearly wasn’t. They don’t understand how other people could possibly vote against Donald Trump, their hero. Anyone who didn’t vote for Trump was obviously voting illegitimately. Well, I think those of us who still have sense all know that’s bullshit.

And now, there’s a good chance there will be more violence until Inauguration Day and possibly beyond then, which Trump has wisely vowed to skip. Nice going, Trumpers. You sure made America… well, not so great. This is not a great look. It’s shameful and embarrassing. The chaos needs to stop.

“Trump or war. Today. That simple.”

“If you don’t know how to shoot: You need to learn. NOW.”

“we will storm the government buildings, kill cops, kill security guards, kill federal employees and agents, and demand a recount.”

“Trump WILL be sworn in for a second term on January 20th!!,” said a commenter on thedonald.win, a pro-Trump online forum, on Thursday, the day after the siege. “We must not let the communists win. Even if we have to burn DC to the ground. Tomorrow we take back DC and take back our country!!”

Are these really the words of people who love freedom? I don’t think so. Meanwhile, their hero is being abandoned in droves and losing his honorary degrees… not unlike fellow womanizing narcissist Bill Cosby. Hopefully, he’ll end up behind bars like Cosby did, too. Fuck Donald Trump and his followers. They are a disgrace! I hope Nancy Pelosi and her colleagues throw the book at him.

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social media

Well… that didn’t last long.

A couple of days ago, a friend invited me to join a group for military spouses against racism. I hesitated for about a day before I accepted the invite. It’s not that I’m against fighting racism. I do think it’s a serious problem and I am always open to learning new ways to be a better person. I like being in groups where resources are shared and people can discuss things openly and calmly. At first, it looked like that group might turn into something useful and good.

Nevertheless, I still hesitated joining. I was right to hesitate. In my experience, Facebook groups, especially those involving the U.S. military, tend to degrade very quickly. In the past, I have hung on in those types of groups for much longer than I should have, trying to take what was good and leaving the rest. But I am now at a point in my life at which I don’t want to waste any time on bullshit. While that group started out pretty well, this morning I could see that it was rapidly turning into a shitstorm. 2020 is one big shitstorm on its own. I don’t need any more thrown at me on social media.

In this case, the shitstorm was prompted when an admin posted that the word “picnic” is a derogatory, racist term. I was a bit perplexed by that revelation. I had never heard of “picnic” being offensive. It’s used a lot in Germany. It’s generally a term used to describe dining al fresco, often while sitting on a blanket with a basket full of food.

There’s even a play called Picnic, that I remember being performed at my college when I was a freshman. Longwood University, then called Longwood College, has a long history in the fight against racism. It’s located in the town of Farmville in Prince Edward County, Virginia, the location of one of the worst resistances of massive integration in U.S. history. Prince Edward County is also the location of a well-known fight for civil rights. From the link:

During the 20th century, Prince Edward was the center both of one of America’s worst episodes of massive resistance and one of the bravest moments of the Civil Rights struggle. In 1951, the student-led strike at Moton High School, organized by then-16 year old Barbara Johns, produced the majority of plaintiffs in Brown v. Board of Education. The public schools, however, were closed for five years beginning in 1959 rather than integrated. And yet it was here also, four decades later, that a majority of voters opted to make Douglas Wilder the first African-American to be elected governor in any state in all of American history – yes, that happened in Virginia.

I couldn’t imagine my racially conscious college putting on a play called Picnic if the word “picnic” is racist. I decided to look up the history of the word to find out if it was, in fact, derogatory. What I found out is that for the past twenty years or so, there’s been an urban legend going around the Internet claiming that “picnic” is a racist term. However, the story about “picnic” being offensive is false. The word was first used in France in the late 1600s. It was first used in English in 1748, and in those days, it had no racial connotations whatsoever.

So how did this rumor get started? Well, it seems that back in the days when lynchings were completely acceptable, some white people would have a picnic while they watched. It was entertaining for them to watch black people being lynched. They’d eat, drink, and be merry. At some point, the word was supposedly bastardized to mean “pic-a-nig”, or so I learned as I read that thread, which eventually swelled to over 250 comments before I finally decided to leave the group. Because some people “picnicked” while lynching people, somehow there were people who felt that the term “picnic” should always refer to the practice of white people having an outdoor gathering involving food while watching black people being murdered in the most horrifying ways.

Some people correctly pointed out that the word “picnic” isn’t a racist term. They provided the usual links to proof– and the links were good ones, from legitimate academic sources, as well as popular and reputable sites like Snopes.com and Politifact. But the person who started the thread soon became very agitated and, though she was an “admin” for the group, sank into name calling. She repeatedly called one articulate poster a “Karen” (and if you read this blog, you probably already know how I feel about that) and accused her of being “passive aggressive”, a term which I have a feeling she can’t accurately define. I watched her escalate the situation more and more with some concern. Other posters were calling her out for being immature, but she insisted that she was just calling people out for being “racially insensitive” because people were refusing to agree with her that the word “picnic” is triggering and they didn’t want one more word to be considered “bad” due to racism. It seems like people who are against racism would want to see fewer offensive words rather than more words– but here they were, arguing over whether an innocuous word should be deemed “offensive” due to what some people did during lynchings.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you might also know how I feel about burying language and symbols. I understand why people think it’s the right thing to do. It’s certainly easier to ban words and symbols than it is to reclaim them and encourage people to change their attitudes and enlighten themselves. However, it’s been my experience that when people ban words and symbols, new ones tend to crop up. Moreover, by banning a so-called “offensive” word, you still haven’t dealt with the negative attitude that led up to its creation. It’s more like an “out of sight, out of mind” solution that only hides the problem instead of fixing it.

On my original blog, I once wrote a post about an argument I got into with a guy who insisted to me that it’s offensive to use a word like “niggardly” when describing one’s money habits. Niggardly, by the way, is NOT at all a racist term. It has nothing to do with racism, doesn’t have the same etymology as the racist term “nigger”, nor is it even spelled like the racist epithet. The guy who was arguing with me is a teacher, and he has a habit of being very overbearing with his views. I don’t like overbearing people, probably due to my own personality quirks. His “style” was not making me want to change my opinions, yet he kept hammering away at me, insisting that people have the right to be offended by the word “niggardly” because it sounds like a racist epithet. And rather than encouraging people to educate themselves so they won’t be offended when no offense is intended, he thinks we all should just quit using that word. I didn’t appreciate his heavy handed approach. I found it disrespectful and disdainful. It didn’t make me inclined to listen to or consider his viewpoint.

I will grant that there are other words that mean the same as niggardly does. We could all just say “stingy” or “miserly”. It basically means that a person is tight with their money, and there are other ways to say that without using a word that sounds so close to an insult. And frankly, if I were a teacher, I would absolutely encourage my students to choose a less controversial word simply because it’s better to avoid an unnecessary fight with someone who has a less developed vocabulary. However, I would also want them all to know that the word is not akin to the “n bomb”, and that if they see or hear it, they should not take offense if it’s being used properly. It’s not an insulting word, even if it does sound like a word that is very insulting.

I feel the same way about the term “picnic”. If you feel better calling an outdoor gathering involving food a barbecue or a cookout, by all means, call it by those terms. But I also want people to know that if the word “picnic” is considered racist by some people, it’s because it was wrongly hijacked. Its original meaning had nothing to do with racism. And I don’t think it’s right to give bad people the power to change language in that way. Why should we? It’s not the word that’s “bad”. It’s the asshole who is using language to be hurtful and demeaning that is “bad”. Words are neutral.

I’m still with George. It’s best not to hurt people with words, but the words themselves are neutral. It’s the asshole who is saying them that needs to be dealt with, and that’s a lot harder than banning “bad words”. It’s the CONTEXT that makes them good or bad.

I didn’t like the way the admin, who by the time I left the group had been stripped of her admin powers, was insulting and berating people. I also noticed that she wasn’t the only one engaging in that behavior. The attacking and uncivilized behavior was distasteful to me, and some of it seemed like it would cause more problems than it solved. I felt my stress levels rise just reading everything and seeing all of the visuals… and I wasn’t even involved in 99% of what was being shared in there.

For instance, I noticed one member had posted screenshots of an American man who works in a German military town. The guy has responsibilities in a major military facility, but his personal views are on naked display. He used monkeys to make his point– the old “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” illustration, which commonly uses “three wise monkeys”, a concept that originated in Japan. Someone in the group determined that the mere use of monkeys was inherently racist and people were talking about trying to get him fired. While I personally disagreed with what I saw on his page, I also think there’s a fine line between calling out racism and ruining people’s lives by threatening their livelihoods.

There are real costs associated with call out culture and mob mentality. The aftereffects of publicly shaming people and making them infamous don’t always just affect the perpetrators; they also harm people associated with them, some of whom are completely innocent, and cause the problem to get worse. Imagine if the guy they were discussing so fervently has young children. These women go after this guy’s job by making an “ICE” complaint. The many complaints cause the man to lose his job, and his family eventually spirals into poverty that leads to other serious family issues like divorce or alcoholism. The young children grow up in that bad environment, and hear about how it happened. How do you think that might affect how they view military wives, particularly those of color? Will they be grateful that someone took a stand and made the guy pay for posting the three wise monkey emojis, even if what he wrote wasn’t particularly racist in nature? Or will they be angry that a group targeted their father and caused his life to go south, thereby causing their lives to go south, too?

I think most people respond better to kindness, reasonableness, and understanding than they do shaming, insulting, threatening, and attacking. I was hoping that group would be a place where people could have intelligent discussions without fear of being attacked or insulted. Unfortunately, I saw evidence that what was originally intended to be a place for sharing ideas and understanding had turned into the usual military wives Facebook group, with lots of people immediately adopting an adversarial tone rather than taking a moment to collect themselves and giving people the benefit of the doubt. And frankly, I’m just too old, crotchety, and impatient for those kinds of groups anymore. So I will continue to do my best to educate myself outside of that group. It’s probably better for my mental health. Maybe I am a “Karen” after all.

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musings

The c-word… or, the honeymoon is over.

I’m not gonna write about it today. I am saturated with news about the c-word, and I want to focus on something else. So I won’t mention it. Instead, I think I’ll write about something non-sensical that happened at the breakfast table this morning.

My husband, Bill, is a wonderful guy who loves to take care of me. When he’s home, he does the cooking, which is funny, because I am a pretty good cook myself. In fact, my cooking skills were one of the things he liked most about me when we were just dating. There was a time in my life when I was actually paid to cook. I even wrote a cookbook when I was in the Peace Corps.

Because Bill is working from home on account of the c-word, he made us breakfast. Today, it was hard boiled eggs, a piece of fruit (strawberries for him and a banana for me) and a piece of bread that he made himself. As I sipped coffee, I looked over at Bill, who was talking about current events. I tried to focus on his face, but I was distracted by a really long eyebrow hair that sprouted just over the brow line of his right eye. It was probably half an inch long, and sort of cocked to the side.

I said, “Baby, I highly recommend that you go upstairs and pluck that wild ass ‘horn’ growing from your brow.”

He gave me an embarrassed look, so I said, “I’m sorry, but every time I try to listen to you and make eye contact, I notice that long hair and it distracts me. Blame my dad. I never used to notice these things until he made me pluck his eyebrows for him.”

It’s true. When I was in high school, my dad often asked me to do that bit of personal grooming for him. He said his eyesight wasn’t good enough to rid himself of those “wild hairs”, which I know he could see when he wore his glasses, but maybe couldn’t see when he took them off. My dad, being a military man himself, was always concerned about his personal grooming standards, even if he wasn’t always very fashion forward. I do recall some very unfortunate clothing choices he made at times.

I remember being 17 years old, armed with tweezers, plucking mutant eyebrows from my dad’s face. I hated to do it, but you know how it is. He brought me into the world…

Anyway, ever since then, I notice things like long hairs growing from ears, noses, chins, and eyebrows. They drive me nuts.

After one or two more grimaces from Bill after I apologized for embarrassing him, he finally went upstairs and did the deed. I had told him that he really needed to get rid of that one hair, but I recommended that he get rid of a few more while he was at it. When he came back down, he was looking better. He gave me a mischievous grin and said, “I got rid of a really long white hair, too.”

That’s my boy. I had noticed the white hair, but in the interest of being less of a shrew, I didn’t say anything about it. I’m glad he took care of it, because I know my patience would have eventually worn out and I would have threatened to whack it myself.

Scenarios like these are kind of akin to talking to someone with a really big booger hanging out of their nose. It’s distracting and embarrassing, and you know that the person would be embarrassed to be seen with such a large “bear in the cave”. But I often hesitate to mention these things to others, since people have a tendency to shoot the messenger in these situations. Bill’s mother is smart about it. She always taught Bill to accept a tissue or a breath mint whenever anyone offers. Maybe it’s their way of telling him something. But what do you do when you’re in a situation where there are no mints or tissues?

Think about it. Would you rather someone tell you your fly is down, you have toilet paper stuck to your shoe, lipstick on your teeth, or you have a big snot in your nose? Or would you prefer to be oblivious, walking around like that for the rest of the day… or at least until you visit a restroom? Personally, I’d want to know, even if it’s very embarrassing. If I know, then at least I can do something, right? But one hopes that the bearer of bad news will be kind, considerate, and polite about it. I always try to be… even though I know it’s not news anyone wants to hear, including me. I do have empathy.

I’m very lucky that my husband is such a good hearted, reasonable, and kind man. And although the c-word is severely cramping our style and has already caused us loss and heartbreak, there’s a silver lining in every situation. It’s a blessing to get to spend so much time with Bill. Were it not for the c-word, he would probably be TDY and I’d be sitting here alone again… naturally. We’re also very lucky because while we’re husband and wife, and we are attracted to each other, we’re also best friends. I can say and do almost anything– short of going on a murderous rampage– and he’ll understand and support me. And the same goes for him– I will love and support him through almost any travail, short of one in which he purposely hurts others. Having known Bill for as long as I have, I don’t think that will ever happen in our lifetimes.

I realize how lucky I am to enjoy such a love, especially since I’ve never thought of myself as being the type of person to attract someone so perfect for me. It’s not like anyone wanted to date me when I was single.

So… although the c-word has changed so much about life —and despite what Trump says, it will change life for some time to come— I realize things could be much, much worse than they are. And I’m glad that if I have to stay cooped up, I can do it with a man like Bill.

On another note–

Last night, I was reminiscing about high school with a friend. She and I met when we were eight years old, way back in 1980. We were in the same third grade class, and eventually went on to graduate from the same high school ten years later.

As we were lamenting about how stupid and selfish Trump is, I told her about how I remember talking about Trump in Spanish class. A well-known and popular classmate of ours named Sally complained about how much money Trump had made in 1988.

Another well-known and popular classmate quipped in a matter-of-fact tone, “Sally’s a socialist!”

Even back then– or maybe especially back then– our hometown was deep red with conservatism. I recall that after the Trump quip, we started talking about how Geraldo Rivera got his nose broken on his talk show. He’d invited a bunch of skinheads on to talk about why they were so racist. One of them called a black guest an “Uncle Tom”, and that started a brawl, which of course was filmed and aired. Geraldo was shown holding his busted nose at the end of the program.

The same guy who said, “Sally’s a socialist!” said of Geraldo, “Someone is going to get him!” Wow… what I wouldn’t give to go back to a time when the tackiest, most obnoxious, and outrageous things were said on Geraldo’s show.

Such innocence we had in 1988!

Anyway… no more talk of the c-word. It’s caused us loss and pain and I get depressed when I think about what life is going to look like for the foreseeable future. But… at least if I have to stay inside, I can do it with the sweetest and most wonderful man I’ve ever known.

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