Category Archives: Media Makes Me Angry

And Again and Again….

Fifty lives lost.  Fifty more injured.  Countless family members and friends and loved ones breaking in half, never to see their loved ones again.  Hundreds of people who said goodbye, have fun, call me later, see you tomorrow without a thought in their head that was the last time they’d ever hear their person speak.  That they’d never hear their laugh again, or see their smile.  Hundreds of people who walked into a bar Saturday night, happy, laughing, dancing, looking forward to the night, with no way of knowing that walking through that door would irreversibly change their life, if they were lucky enough to make it out.  Plans for Sunday barbecues that turned into horrific planning of funerals.

Again.

How is this still happening again?  When the massacre at Sandy Hook happened a few years ago, when those poor babies lost their lives at the hands and mind of a madman, as a country we were up in arms.  We were demanding answers.  How could this happen?  We were resolved in our fight against this monster – This cannot happen again.  We need changes!  We need reform!  These lives cannot be taken for granted!!

So what happened, exactly?  What were those answers?  Because from where I’m sitting, it sure doesn’t look like a hell of a lot has changed.  But this time, the aftermath is even worse.  Because where we stood together before, we have splintered apart now.  We want to blame someone.  It’s left vs. right, Republicans vs. Democrats, liberal vs. conservatives and we’re all so desperate to place blame, so frantically pointing fingers that we’ve lost sight of what’s important.  That fifty people are dead.  Fifty.  That around fifty more are fighting for their lives.

Make no mistake – this was a crime of hate.  Religion didn’t do this.  Gun control didn’t do this.  Obama didn’t do this.  Hillary didn’t do this.  Even Trump didn’t do this, although I’m sure plenty of people assume I would lay the blame at his feet.   Hate did this.  Hate, and fear, and confusion, and a crazy person did this.  And instead of banding together, instead of Congress standing on the steps of Capitol Hill in solidarity, pledging to work together to start implementing some real changes, ones that might actually make a difference, our country’s leaders are getting into fucking TWITTER wars, slinging mud at each other and the other side.  Using this tragedy to further their own agenda and boast that their platform is the correct one to be standing on  – election year, after all – and it’s revolting, and childish, and downright embarrassing for this country.

Here’s what we should have seen on social media today.  Picture after picture of the victims; stories about their lives.  Links to the stories of the hundreds of people who waited in line to donate blood.  Articles about the doctors and first responders and medical personnel and police who did their jobs under horrific circumstances, likely saving hundreds more lives.  Interviews with friends and family, remembering these people, these innocent people who are now dead because of who they were, who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Instead it was full of memes – fucking MEMES – from both sides of the spectrum, boasting and explaining why they’re correct and why the blame lies on the other party.  Articles depicting tweets from ignorant people who still believe that because this happened at a gay bar, the victims got what they deserved.  (Do yourself a favor and don’t look that up if you haven’t seen it yet.  It about turned my stomach inside out.)  There’s no hand holding or unity or pledge to fight this, just a nasty stampede to prove that someone else’s agenda is or isn’t to blame.

I don’t know a lot about guns.  I’ve never been a fan, one, because they scare the hell out of me and two, because I’m way too uncoordinated and like vodka too much to responsible enough to have one.  But I do believe that law-abiding citizens should have the right to have them.  However, I do not understand the reason that any civilian should ever have access to an assault rifle.  Actually,  I was corrected several times today that the weapon used wasn’t an assault rifle; that the media made that term up.  I didn’t know that.  To me, a non-gun owner, a weapon that is made and used for the sole purpose of mass destruction and loss of life, is an assault weapon.  But terminology aside,  what I do know is that 100 people were shot in a very short amount of time Saturday night.  I also know that another 42 were shot right here in my city over the weekend, and that wasn’t even a blip on the news because it happens every weekend here.  So in just two cities, in the United States of America, which should be the best country in the world, in the span of less than 72 hours, nearly 150 people were shot with guns, and three quarters of those people were shot with the same gun.  That’s not right.  You can call it whatever you want, but I’m calling it a problem.  A very big, complex, and scary problem that NEEDS to be dealt with.  For real – what else needs to happen?  How many more people have to die before we address this giant elephant in the room, so to speak?  How many more lives have to be shattered before we wake up?

We are in a very scary time in this country.  A tragedy like this, the worst attack on our soil in fifteen years, should unite us, not splinter us further into more hate and fear.  Our leaders need to get the fuck off of Twitter and start talking to each other, because one party – either party – on its own cannot fix this.  This is America; home of the free, land of the brave.  And we have to be better.  From where I’m sitting, we’re just spiraling further and further out of control and it needs to stop.  This has to be the catalyst to make. this. stop.  Before it happens yet again.

Stay strong, Orlando.  My heart and thoughts are with the victims of this senseless violence.  May you all rest in peace.

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You Don’t Have to Understand

I don’t understand transgender people.  There, I said it.  I am a straight, white, privileged female, and I cannot understand how someone is born a female but identifies as a male, or vice versa.  I can’t wrap my brain around it.  Never, in my life, have I questioned myself in that regard.  I had my first crush in kindergarten, (Bobby Rossi, thank you very much,) and my first real crush in the fifth grade.  (Oh, Danny Andreeff, how you broke my permed hair with an overbite awkward heart.) It was always boys.  There wasn’t a question, never a real curiosity.  I didn’t have to think about it.  I was a girl, girls like boys, that was pretty much it.

But bear with me here.  Because there are a lot of things I don’t understand.  They include, but are not limited to, the following:

* Being a cat.
* Having a penis.
* Being African-American.
* How gravity really works.
* Being really rich.
* Being truly poor.
* Not having family that loves me.
* Why Kim Kardashian is famous.
* Tumblr.
* Why my cats are assholes.
* How a man walked on the moon.
* Why children get cancer.
* How ten minutes when I’m in a spin class can feel like eternity, but ten minutes before my alarm goes off is a nanosecond.
* Why McDonald’s diet coke is far superior to any other diet coke.
* That people actually believe Donald Trump could lead a country. (Sorry.  Had to throw it in there.)
* How a parent can harm their own child.
* Where the extra socks go to live after they’re put into the washer, never to be seen again.
* How the internet works.
* How the telephone works.
* Really, how anything electronic works.
* Being disabled.

The list could go on and on and on and on.  But here’s the thing.  All of those things?  Happen.  They are real.  They are true.  Some people understand them.  Some people make them their life’s work.  They EXIST.  They are reality.  Just because we don’t understand something doesn’t make it untrue.  It doesn’t make things not happen.

We used to think the world was flat.  We used to think women weren’t capable of voting.  We used to think it was okay to enslave an entire race based on skin color.  We used to believe that we were untouchable, that no one could ever use our own planes and training against us.  We used to think only gay people got AIDS.  Guess what?  We were very, very, wrong. 

To denounce something because we don’t understand it – is that not the absolute height of all arrogance?  “Well, that doesn’t make sense to me, therefore, it’s impossible.  Case closed.”  That’s like insisting two plus two equals five, or that Mars isn’t a planet.

So no, I don’t understand being transgender, any more than I understand standing up to pee.  And I’m not going to lie, I’m glad for it.  I’ve never had to defend being who I am, defend who I love and have to explain why.  I can’t imagine having to do so. 

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But that doesn’t mean that population doesn’t exist.  It doesn’t make them less real, or less than anyone else.  People are people.  And most people?  Are good.  Even the ones you don’t understand.

And they all deserve to go to the damn bathroom in peace. 

I’ve Been Shamed!!!

I love the internet.  All of it.  I love Facebook, I love blogs, I love Huffington Post, I love Twitter wars even though I still haven’t quite grasped the concept.  I love the memes and the emoticons and all of that shit.  I’m a part of a couple of separate groups on the book face and love the sense of community.  I spend a lot of time perusing online and interacting with people I haven’t met in real life.  (Yet.)  That being said, with this significant amount of screen time, there’s a lot of things that drive me crazy about the online community.  Some of the words/phrases/taglines which are now a normal part of our lexicon that started out on the internet make me nuts, and sometimes I’ve found myself literally sitting on my hands trying not to comment on a Facebook post about politics that I know no good will come of.

Most of it, I’ve learned to just ignore.  For instance, I now know better than to read the comments on any story that could be considered remotely polarizing.  If it has to do with race, religion, politics, or how to raise a child, I steer clear of the comment section.  Mostly for my own sanity, because if anything makes you question your faith in the human race, it’s the comments section on an article about at what age it’s safe to leave your child at home alone (never is the correct answer, according to most.)  On a side note to this, I don’t know how you parents do it.  If I had kids I think I would have to turn off the internet forever.  According to the internet, you are ALWAYS doing something wrong.  I’m already steeling for the next election, as I’ve learned that politics bring out the stupid in everyone on both sides and really, there’s no point in engaging.  No one wins these arguments; the chances of someone changing their entire belief system based on my Facebook comment are pretty low.  And yet the temptation is still high.

But nothing – NOTHING – gets me more crazy than the “shaming.”  You know what I’m talking about.  Fat shaming, slut shaming, clothes shaming, blond shaming, etc., everyone and everything can be shamed on the internet.  Hell, we do it to our cats and dogs.  Any action or reaction can be considered shaming.  Got laughed at on the beach?  Fat shamed.  Got smirked at wearing a short skirt?  Slut shamed.  Didn’t have a date to a wedding and someone remarked upon it?  Single shamed.

I don’t believe anyone should be shamed for being themselves.  Hey, you want to wear a bikini but don’t have the “perfect” body for it?  Fucking go for it.  Love short skirts?  Wear ’em.  Everywhere.  Big fan of 40’s style dresses in the middle of winter?  Do you, man, and don’t let anyone tell you not to.  But understand me – if someone side-eyes your out of this world outfit, or raises an eyebrow at your miniskirt, or points at your bathing suit – you’re not being shamed.  You’re probably being laughed at.  It’s not nice, and sure, in my world, none of this would happen.  But not everything is being shamed.  Sometimes? People are just making fun of you.  And that’s okay.  It happens to me all the time. 

Look, no one in the world wants a society where everyone is accepting of each other and happy with themselves more than me.  Ask anyone I know – I will defend anyone and everyone’s right to be themselves and be happy with it.  And certainly, the terms above exist and happen.  I’m not making light of that.  What I have a problem with is every time I turn on my tablet, I see another article about how someone was “shamed,” in some way or another, and it’s getting out of control.  I brought examples and everything.  See below.

Teacher Lunch Shames Mom for Sending Kid to School with Oreos.
Lunch shamed??  Are you even kidding me right now?  You were LUNCH SHAMED??  No.  This is not a real thing.  Your kid’s teacher sent home a note questioning your choices.  While I personally disagree with said teacher and would certainly be sending my child to school the rest of the week with nothing but Snickers and Doritos covered in fudge sauce in their lunch box, this is not shaming. Lunch shamed.  Seriously.  Look at that.  Look at it again.  Lunch shamed.  Does that actually sound like a thing to you?

I Was Gluten Shamed in the Liquor Store
Yeah, read that one again.  Look, I get the whole gluten-free movement, and anyone suffering from Celiac disease has my sympathy because it’s a giant pain in the ass to try and eat gluten free, and yeah, I’m sure you get a lot of shit from people who are tired of dealing with people like myself who stay away from gluten because it’s the trendy thing to do.  I get that.  But no.  You weren’t “gluten shamed.”  BECAUSE THAT ISN’T A THING.  Someone was a dick when you asked for gluten-free beer.  Does it suck?  Sure.  Were you gluten shamed?  Again, no, because that’s fucking ridiculous. Gluten shamed?  Are you fucking kidding me?

I have more.  There’s a blog post I read recently about a girl going without a bra for a year.  Apparently people at her work and social circles pointed it out, and this was deemed slut shaming.  I’m sorry, but it’s not.  I respect and agree with the fact that any woman should be able to wear whatever she wants if she’s happy with it.  But if you decide to conduct an experiment with the sole intention of gauging people’s reactions, please don’t be surprised when they react exactly as you would expect.  If you’re swinging around double D’s without a bra – and seriously, how physically uncomfortable was this girl for an entire year? I have to put on a bra to walk into the living room- it’s not a shock that those around you notice it.  That’s not slut shaming.  That’s  “wow, wouldn’t you be more comfortable with a bra??”

If all of the above were real things, I’ve been shamed many times this week.  I was beer shamed when I asked where the Miller Lite was at the super hipster organic, IPA-filled store next to my gym.  Speaking of the gym, I was gym shamed when I tripped getting on the elliptical and the guy next to me laughed.  I was cat shamed when my mom told me – again – that my cat should be set free because he’s a dick.  I was bus shamed when I asked someone to move their bag so I could sit down. 

We need to stop whining.  Seriously.  People get made fun of, people point and laugh at the out of the ordinary.  And yes, in a perfect world, that wouldn’t happen.  We’d all be happy and singing songs holding hands around a campfire, and sure, I’d love that.  But it isn’t going to happen.  So instead of crying, “FOR SHAME,” at everything we don’t like, let’s concentrate on being okay with our own decisions and outfits and Lunchables, all right?  Like I said before – do you.  Be happy.  Stop making mountains out of molehills. We’re all going to be okay. 

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Gluten Shamed. I Just Can't.

It’s Too Cold for This Shit.

And by this shit, I mean absolutely everything.  Seriously.  I usually try and embrace all of the seasons and take them in stride,  “Hey, it’s winter, pretty soon we’ll be complaining about how hot it is!”  I  even believe myself most of the time.  After today, though, when I waited a cumulative 47 minutes outside in subzero wind chills for the CTA, after I slipped going down the stairs, after my I got my stupid coat sleeve wet trying to wash my hands, after I was pushed out of the way by a full grown man for a bus seat, after I dropped my glove and bus card onto the disgusting floor, after I stepped off the bus into a pile of slush up to my ankle, I surrender.  This is a big, huge, miserable bucket of suck and I would give my yet-to-be-conceived firstborn for a single afternoon swimming in Lake Michigan.  Taking a shower in the morning is the happiest part of my day because it is the only ten minutes of the day I’m actually warm.

  • It is too cold to go to the grocery store.  I will make a meal out of zucchini and cream cheese if I have to.
  • It is too cold for that stupid Erin Andrews probiotics commercial.
  • It is too cold to talk about anything other than how cold it is and how much worse next week is going to be.
  • It is too cold for every single living soul to turn into an amateur weatherman.  Today I heard everything from six inches of snow to 40 degrees tomorrow.
  • It is too cold to mop the floors a-fucking-gain.
  • It is too cold to listen to one more word about Justin Bieber and the fact that he acts very similar to 70% of 19-year-olds in the United States and it is too cold to scroll through the hundred or so memes that have already been created and are running rampant on Facebook.   Two things about this: One, if he was a well-loved superstar to adults instead of teenagers here on a Visa and we were making jokes about deportation, the country would be up in arms. He’s not selling government secrets; he’s an idiot teenager    Two, one of the most popular memes thus far is a split-shot of the Biebs and a tough looking criminal with a caption along the lines of “Oh, I’m gonna love you!”  Wait, so rape jokes are okay if we don’t like someone’s music or attitude?  Come on.
  • It is too cold to watch one more fluffed up weatherperson – who is almost always a perky little girl – standing outside in frigid temperatures telling us how cold it is.  WE KNOW.  WHY DO YOU HAVE TO MAKE HER STAND OUTSIDE??
  • It is too cold to remove the plastic Christmas decorations from my front yard because their cords have been frozen to the ground for three weeks.
  • It is too cold to get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night because no matter how high the heat is, the toilet seat is like fucking ice.
  • It is definitely too cold for this idiot, Republican GOP candidate Susanne Atanus, who believes “God controls the weather and that tornadoes, autism and dementia are his punishments for the gay rights movement and abortions.”  In other news, Santa Claus really does travel the entire world in one night giving gifts to good, deserving (heterosexual) children and the Easter Bunny is totally real.
  • It is too cold to even enjoy the beautifulness that is Harry Connick Jr. on American Idol because J-Lo is wearing a dress without a snowsuit over it and it makes me mutter incomprehensible things like, “I bet SHE didn’t almost freeze to the front gate trying to get in.  I bet her stupid front door wasn’t frozen shut.”  (True story.  That was when it was actually 20 below as opposed to balmy 7 degrees we’re enjoying right now.)
  • It is too cold for Captain and Tenille to get divorced.  WTF???
  • It is too cold to be sitting at the laptop with two fur-covered animals just staring at me instead of keeping my feet warm.
  • It is too cold to not have a fireplace.
  • It is too cold to not be dressed like Randy from a Christmas Story and I hate scarves.
  • It is too cold to drive a car.
  • It is too cold to enjoy national media pointing out how miserable it is here.  Jimmy Fallon has polar vortex songs and I can’t even be happy about them.

I am declaring this weekend Summer in January.  The heat’s going up to 80, static electricity be damned – hey, the ensuing fire will only create more heat!!! – we’re getting beach cocktails, spreading out a blanket on the floor, and only playing Jimmy Buffett for 24 hours.  Who’s with me??

Four short months ago.

Four short months ago.

Ten Signs the Chicago Winter Has Beaten You Senseless.

One year, I had tickets to both the Bears and Cubs home opener.  The day of the football game, it was 105 degrees on the field.  The baseball game?  Was snowed out.  We know the weather is bipolar in Chicago, but somehow we are continuously surprised by it.  “I don’t remember it sucking this much last year.  Was it this hot last year?”  “Remember last year on this day, when we went to the beach?  Why is it snowing?  WHY???”  We have approximately seven days a year of perfect weather, and generally even those are marred by the impending bitchfit we know Mother Nature is brewing.  Oh, are you enjoying this unseasonably warm day in March?  Opened up all of the windows and pulled out the grill in anticipation of an early spring, didja?  I have two words for you, losers.  WINTRY MIX.  What?  You’re surprised?  Don’t worry.  I’ve got a tornado I’m working on for next week that’s going to make this miserable shit seem like rainbows and sunshine. 

That being said, this winter has been particularly brutal.  Snowstorm in January?  Not surprising.  Wind chills of negative 40?  That’s new.  And being that it’s only January 9th and we’ve already had nearly two feet of snow and several days in which Alaska was enjoying temperatures 30 degrees higher than here, I think we have a legitimate argument that spring should probably start next week.  Here’s a couple of signs the weather is winning.

You Have Worn More Than One Pair of Pants.  To Work.

I don’t generally even pull out a coat until it dips below 25 or so.  This year?  I had seven outfits on at the same time.  Once arriving at work, it was like the unsexiest strip show ever –  and I wasn’t alone.  The whole office was like a graveyard of outerwear.  Boots strewn about, sweatshirts laid out on desks, extra socks under desks; coats, scarves, and hats ripped off haphazardly to counteract the 80 degree difference in temperature between the ground floor and the 29th.

Every Single Person You Know Has a Cold.

Coughing, sneezing, sniffing, that gross clearing of the throat and sound of snot in Kleenex – these are your days now.  The only place I’ve found to be comfortable is in a sweatshirt, yoga pants, thermal socks and slippers on the bathroom floor with the shower running full stop to create my own personal sauna.  Sometimes I bring whiskey to make it a party.

If You See That Post About How Beautiful Chicago Looks Under Ice Posted One More Time, You’re Going to Punch Someone.

So many of my social media friends – currently not in sub-zero temps but instead in places with reasonable weather like California and the South Pole – posted this article this week.  Yes, it IS beautiful.  Unless, perchance, you happen to be attempting to walk through it.  Then, you can’t stop to admire the beauty.  You know why?  Because YOU’LL FREEZE TO THAT SPOT FOREVER if you stop moving for even a second.

Ditto to the “Chiberia” Folks.

Just, ugh.  Fucking stop it already.  That’s worse than “Chiraq.”  Sometimes I hate Twitter.

Your Kitchen Floor Looks Like This.

"There's only so much I can do!!!!!"  cried the mop.

“There’s only so much I can do!!!!!” cried the mop.

You’re About to Spontaneously Combust At Just About Any Second.

It’s so dry in your house/apartment/workplace due to the constantly running heat that shuffling along the floor on carpet is a deadly game of Russian roulette – the next thing you touch might be your last.

You’ve Developed a Love-Hate Relationship with Your Mode of Transportation.

I can’t speak to those of you poor souls trying to drive in this nonsense.  But those of us taking the CTA have developed a drug-dealer-like dependency on our bus drivers.  “Please, please, please, be on time, you miserable f-ing piece of garbage.  Please.  I’ll be nice.  Please just show up.  Please don’t make me wait out here longer than three minutes, you f-ing jerks.”

You Forgot How to Walk Like a Normal Person.

Anyone who has thought that they were walking on innocent snow or slush who has violently found the black ice underneath is terrified of it happening again.  So we all walk gingerly, which, in boots, is more of a slow uncoordinated clompstomp across the street.  Walking the full block and a half from the El to work becomes a terrified mantra of “Don’t fall don’t fall don’t fall don’t fall WATCH OUT SEWER COVER don’t fall don’t fall don’t fall please please don’t fall.”

You’ve Done This.  Or At Least Watched a Video of One of Your Friends Doing This.

For those of you lucky souls who aren’t currently dealing with Mars-like temperatures, this is what happens when you throw a pot of boiling water into the air when it’s 14 below.  (Also, yes, I am considering a second career as a cinematographer, how did you know?)

Gray, Dirty, and Wet is the New Clean, Shiny, and New.

Nothing you own will ever be the same.  The slush alone is enough to ruin the best of pants and shoes, no matter how hard you try.  Just let it go.  You need all of your strength just to not fall on your fucking head and break every bone in your body. Everything is ruined.  We’ll start again next year.

So thanks, Polar Vortex.  For making us appreciate this so very much more.

SEVEN MORE MONTHS!  SEVEN MORE MONTHS!

SEVEN MORE MONTHS! SEVEN MORE MONTHS!

Freedom of Speech is a Species?

So Phil Robertson doesn’t agree with homosexuality.  He thinks it’s a sin.  He thinks bestiality and sexual promiscuity morphs from homosexuality.  He’s not alone in his beliefs, if the public outcry is any indication..  And it doesn’t necessarily make him a bad person.  From what we’ve seen on television – which is clearly an excellent, clear perspective on his entire family life and belief system, because if we’ve learned anything, it’s that reality TV is totally like real life – he appears to be a family man in love with his wife.  He has an opinion based on his beliefs and he is certainly allowed to voice said opinion. Just as his employers are allowed to suspend him for doing so.

People.  We can agree or disagree with his opinion; we can agree or disagree with A&E’s decision.  You know why?  Because we have FREEDOM OF SPEECH.   No one is throwing the man in jail.  No one is calling for his arrest.  No one is shutting down GQ for publishing his words.  No one is threatening the journalist.  No one is cancelling “Duck Dynasty,” in fact, I’d wager every single cent I have that the next show they have has the highest ratings of their entire tenure. Phil Robertson got suspended from work for saying something that wasn’t in line with his private employer’s beliefs.  That’s all.

I’m much more concerned that someone who was nearly the Vice President of the United States posted this sentence, “Free speech is an endangered species. Those “intolerants” hatin’ and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us,” on her Facebook page.

  1. Free speech is not a species.  It’s the First Amendment to the Constitution and you should probably take another look at the definition.
  2. “Intolerants” is not a word.  “Intolerance,” however, is a word, as in, “The American public should develop an intolerance to Sarah Palin jumping onto every bandwagon photo-op.”
  3. “Hatin'” is a word better suited to teenagers than an *ahem* respected politician, as in, “Awe, Ma, why you hatin’ on me?” when they get grounded.

In my opinion, there is a plethora of other reasons that this has become such a hot button issue that involve religion, beliefs, politics, censorship, exploiting sexuality on television, etc., and those are always worthy of discussion.  But this is not an issue of freedom of speech.  People have died for their right to freedom of speech, they have been imprisoned fighting for their right to it, they have dedicated their careers to preserving it.

A man who makes whistles for a living being suspended from his job as a reality TV star is not even on the same planet.

freedom of speech

 

 

 

 

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

Have you ever been reading through Facebook and come across a story, eagerly clicking a story only to be disappointed when you realize it’s actually a fake headline from “The Onion?”  This week has been the opposite of that.

MICHIGAN ‘RAPE INSURANCE’ BILL PASSES INTO LAW

TEEN WHO KILLED FOUR DRIVING DRUNK SPARED JAIL BECAUSE HIS RICH PARENTS SPOILED HIM

SIX-YEAR-OLD WHO KISSED CLASSMATE GETS SEXUAL HARASSMENT SUSPENSION

There is so much wrong with this bill in Michigan I don’t even know where to start, but I’ll try.  The gist of it is that abortion will not be covered by any private health-care plan unless it threatens the life of the mother.  This includes cases of rape.  In black and white and at its worst, this means that if you live in the state of Michigan and become pregnant due to rape, if you do not have the additional rider your state government so generously offered you, your health care will not cover or even subsidize an abortion.  So now, aside from dealing with the trauma of sexual assault, and aside from dealing with the physicality of becoming pregnant, and aside from dealing with the stigma that already comes with being raped, if you are strong enough to still stand up and demand an abortion, you have some more difficult decisions to make.  There’s basically three options for you here: go to a back-alley doctor that you can afford, have the child and give it up for adoption – because you certainly need more mental anguish and pain at this point, or have the child and try to deal with it.  Sounds great, right?  Certainly a decision someone in a fragile mental state who has just been violated in the most personal of ways should have to make.

Of course, supporters are all bent out of shape that it’s being called “rape insurance,” saying that’s not what it is, it’s simply not covering a procedure that not everyone believes in.  Untrue.  Rape insurance is exactly what it is.  That is telling a woman that has become pregnant due to rape that she should have had the foresight to purchase said rider.  That is telling women everywhere that, when deciding on their health-care coverage, they need to think about just how likely it is that they’ll be sexually assaulted and how they would respond should the unthinkable happen.  That is telling mothers and fathers that when deciding on what coverage their young daughter needs, there is a price on their body should it be violated.  This is blaming the victim at its very definition, and you aren’t going to convince me otherwise.  “Oh, not every woman wanting an abortion is a rape victim!”  This is correct.  And not every sixty-year old with a Viagra prescription is banging his secretary, either.  But plenty of them are – should we start questioning their motives for needing it?

Moving on.  Is there a bigger piece of shit than defense attorney Scott Brown, who successfully argued his client out of a 20-year jail sentence for killing four people while drunk, other than possibly the judge or this kid’s father?  I don’t really think so.  If you haven’t seen this yet, the short version of this story is that Ethan Couch, a wealthy teen in Texas, robbed a Wal-Mart, got wasted to more than twice the legal limit, went out driving in his truck looking for more booze, and killed four innocent people, injuring and paralyzing several others.  His attorneys used the defense of “affluenza,” arguing that he was too privileged, overindulged, not taught that there are consequences to actions because his parents did not instill these values in him.

I’m not even lending credence to the fact that this was an allowable argument.  To me, this is a pretty clear case of mommy and daddy have money, paid off the judge and psychologist and hired a brilliant attorney.  (I said he was a piece of shit.  I stand by that.  However, he did his job, and certainly did it well.)  If Ethan had been a poor child with a crackhead for a mother who had been exposed to drugs, violence, and rage his whole life; if he had been left to fend for himself from a young age because his father wasn’t around to teach him right from wrong and went out and shot and killed someone, does that mean he gets a free pass as well?  What’s the difference?  How should he have known better when Ethan Couch couldn’t have?  I bet there are an awful lot of gangbangers down in Cook County that would like to know.  This decision is more than proving the argument that money fixes everything, but that isn’t the biggest issue.  The biggest issue here is that this ruling sets a precedent that allows the defense, “I didn’t know any better.”  It opens up a whole new world of loopholes and defense attorneys arguing that there are logical reasons for breaking the law.  I’m not saying that money bought Ethan Couch a happy life or that he doesn’t have problems.  But he is NOT a child that doesn’t know right from wrong.

Which brings me to my next point.  Little Hunter Yelton in Colorado – him, we expect to understand that there is apparently a fine line between being a child and being a sexual predator.  A six-year-old boy who kissed his “girlfriend,” on the hand during class was not only suspended, but suspended under the reason of sexual harassment.  How heartbreaking, on so many levels.  One, that this child, expressing his affection for a little girl, now has to be taught what sexual harassment is; his mother now has the fun task of explaining sex to a six-year old who probably has only been using the big boy toilet for a couple of years.  Two, that we made this happen.  We did.  Everyone is coming down on the school district – how dare they?  What were they thinking?  It was an innocent little kiss, how could they label him like that?  Folks?  The school district did exactly what they had to do.  We tie their hands in matters like this.  Same as the children who get suspended for pointing a finger like a gun, who innocently bring a knife that their grandfather gave them to show and tell, who get suspended for picking up a drunk friend because it violates school policy.  We have forced our schools to adopt a zero-tolerance policy, and then when a situation arises that showcases the ridiculousness of said policy, we turn around and blame the people that we are insisting enforce it.

I remember my first crush – I was in kindergarten.  His name was Bobby Rossi.  I don’t remember much about him other than he had brownish hair and I think he wore a plaid shirt. Did he ever kiss me on the hand?  I have no idea.  I was five and my memory of that time is pretty much limited to riding my bike and having a Cabbage Patch doll.   But I do remember Danny and Scott and Joey and Jeff when I was in elementary school; I remember giggling like only little girls can and teasing (or, let’s be honest, I’m sure I was the one being teased,) about kissing a boy.  How do we teach our kids about healthy relationships between boys and girls?  We don’t allow for innocence anymore.  If parents today could see some of the “love letters,” that were passed around in my elementary school, we’d probably all be hauled down to the counselor.  Not because they were overly sexual – I’m pretty sure I was at least 13 before I completely understood how sex actually worked, and even then I was a little cloudy about the logistics – but because they were outright professions of affection.  “I love Joey and when I grow up he’s going to be my boyfriend forever and ever like my mommy and daddy.”  What do teachers today do with that note?  Is it a conference?  Do we have to tell Joey’s parents that there’s a little girl bound and determined to trap him into wedlock?  Do we tell the little girl she needs to find another way to be happy and that boys aren’t always the answer?  One thing is pretty clear – we’re not going to leave it to the kids to figure it out.  We’re too suspicious; we’re too focused on the underlying meaning.  We don’t consider that children are children, and at the core, they don’t have ulterior motives.  They say and do what they think and feel.  That’s it.

One thing is clear.  For all of our intelligence, we live in one fucked up country. In one week, we’ve set women’s rights back about thirty years, let a murderer go free because he’s rich, and slapped a first grader with the label of sex offender for simply acting like a child.  One week.  Let’s make the next one better, shall we?

I bet what they have to say makes more sense than the shit we put up this week.

I bet what they have to say makes more sense than the shit we put up this week.

Politically Correct and Stupid

You know how sometimes you hear or read something, and something about it just sticks with you for awhile?  You’re not sure what it is or why, but it just keeps rolling around in your subconscious until you have to do something about it, like Google it or ask a friend, “Hey, I know this sounds stupid, but have you ever heard of insert your own weird thought because it’s driving me crazy?” You know what I mean?  You’re watching TV and someone uses some off-the-wall phrase like “cattywhompus,” and wham, you’re thinking about second grade for two weeks before you connect the dots that the lunch lady at your elementary school used to say that all the time.  Or you can’t get a song out of your head for six days and don’t know why until you realize it’s because the singer pronounced something incorrectly and NOW it’s really driving you crazy.

That’s been me this week.  I read an article the other day – which I can’t find, and for that I am sorry to not give proper credit to what I’m sure is a great organization – regarding a group that is raising money and donating meals to those in need this holiday season.  I haven’t been able to get it out of my head all week, and I couldn’t figure out why.  While I’d like to say it was an epiphany about helping the less fortunate, some guiding force telling me to stop whining about taking the bus and instead focus on giving, that’s not it.  I try and give when I can, whether it’s a coffee to my homeless buddy Kevin at the blue line or a buck to the Streetwise guy on the corner, and while that certainly isn’t winning me any philanthropy awards, I knew it wasn’t guilt about not contributing more than I do.  Nope, it was something different.  Why couldn’t I get this damn article out of my head?

“Food Insecure.”

My brain finally caught up with my subconscious and realized it wasn’t about the article or the organization; it was stuck on one little phrase that didn’t fully register.  And when it did, I thought, “What the fuck?  Food insecure??  That’s what we’re saying now?”  Then I did some Google searching and apparently this isn’t new.  This is the actual term that the USDA uses to describe those who are unable to put food on their table.  Hunger is apparently not a problem anymore.  No one is going hungry.  They are simply food insecure.

Does this ring like a sack of BS to anyone else? It makes poverty sound so patronizingly trivial, “Oh, you’re not hungry.  You’re food insecure.”  Just the word insecure takes away the significance.  You’re insecure about your looks, about your talent, about your job, about measuring up to someone else’s standards.  Being insecure is a personal issue, a feeling that one has.  If I heard the term “food insecure,” outside of this context, I would assume it was being applied to a person who is uncomfortable with what they eat, who is worried about what food they put in their mouth.  The first definition that comes up in Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary for the word “insecure,” is as follows: “Not confident about yourself or your ability to do things well.”  Well, that’s nice.  Now you’re hungry AND being judged for it.  That certainly gives off a bunch of good feels, doesn’t it?

Here’s the thing.  There’s a difference between being worried about feeding your family on a short budget for a week and being hungry.  I would wager that a good portion of middle-class families whom we wouldn’t normally consider “hungry,” have gotten their paycheck, looked at their bills, and thought, “Shit.  How am I going to stretch a hundred dollars to feed us for the next two weeks?”  That’s worrisome.  That’s not being comfortable with your situation.  That’s buying whatever meat is on sale and skipping take-out and eliminating morning coffee; it’s eating pasta when you want a steak and leftovers instead of a sandwich from the deli.  And that sucks.  It does.  But that’s not being hungry.  Literally coming home to nothing in the refrigerator or pantry, going to work on an empty stomach – that’s not insecure.  That’s hungry.

I don’t know why this struck such a chord with me – I’m certainly not in danger of going hungry.  If anything, I am a little *too* secure with my food, as in, “Well, of course I can eat all of these mashed potatoes tonight, I can make more tomorrow!”  It just seems that by changing the definition, by using the politically correct term instead of the word that defines the problem of hunger, we dehumanize it.  Think about it.  Take a picture of an average-looking man with the caption, “I am food insecure.”  Then take the exact same picture of the exact same man and change the caption to “I am hungry.”  Which one gets your attention??

There’s many, many terms in our lexicon that we don’t use – at least in polite company – anymore, instead opting for the PC term.  These are usually terms that can be construed as insulting, demeaning, downright mean or ignorant. Hungry isn’t one of them.  Hunger is hunger, and to call it something else simply does a disservice to an entire population that didn’t get dinner tonight.

Insecurity.  A million strong and growing.

Insecurity. A million strong and growing.

****All jokes and ranting aside – if you’re in Chicago and would like to help, please visit No 1 Goes Hungry to see how you can provide for a family this holiday season****

Blame the Media! Blame the Media!

I saw this video yesterday entitled “How the Media Failed Women in 2013,” and it confused the hell out of me.  It’s only about three minutes long, take a look.

Am I the only one that thinks the message got a little lost here?  Don’t get me wrong, overall, I think The Representation Project, which produced the video, has a great mission and anyone striving to make the world a better and fairer place should be commended.  But this particular video completely missed the mark to me for a couple of reasons.

One, women did a lot of great things this year.  The first part of the video supposedly focuses on this, but I lost the plot.  How is the Hunger Games and Gravity  breaking box-office records a win for women?  Because it’s a strong female lead?  That’s great and all, but we can’t just skim over the fact that two stunning, Oscar-winning actresses starred in said movies and that just *might* have had something to do with it.  Malala Yousafzai being named one of TIME magazine’s most influential people?  Yes.  GoDaddy veering away from the sexual in their multi-million dollar Super Bowl ad and sticking with humor?  NO.  Not the same thing.  Not even close.  Aside from the fact that one is fighting for women’s rights in a war-torn country at an age where most American girls are still getting a allowance and one is changing their advertising – the real reason they’re not doing those commercials is because they were stupid, awful commercials, despite the pretty and talented women involved.  I promise you they’re not changing their tune out of respect to women. It’s simply a poor example.  What is being celebrated here is a lack of perceived sexism as opposed to actual accomplishments, and it defeats the purpose.

Which brings me to the second part of the video, where we start to see how far we have to go.  In this segment, there’s several clips of current advertisements, music videos, and performances all portraying women in a sexual manner.  There’s Rihanna in her own music video, Miley Cyrus in a performance she helped design – and seriously, we all just need to get the fuck over that one – Megan Fox on a magazine cover.  To say that they are being sexualized and exploited is ridiculous.  These are grown women who are using their sexuality and talent to make money and achieve celebrity and there is nothing wrong with that.  They aren’t the victims we somehow we want them to be.  But by victimizing them, we make them into poor misguided little girls who don’t know up from down or left from right instead of the strong, confident women they are.  Which only perpetuates the stereotype that women are easily confused and will blindly go along with whatever the media tells them they should.  We live in a world where sex and beauty sells.  What do you want them to do – put on their sweats and recite math problems onstage to prove a point?

Also, since when are we offended that attractive people are being cast in commercials to sell products?  This part of the video targets commercials showing attractive women in bikinis because again, this can only be perceived as exploitative and misogynistic.  Untrue.  Why don’t they show average looking people in their commercials?  I’ll tell you.  Because one wants to see me chowing a giant Carl’s Jr. cheeseburger in a bikini.  TRUST.  I certainly don’t want to.  Here’s the thing.  What do we want to happen differently here?  What should a commercial for Axe Body Spray be?  Explain it to me.  Don’t use anyone who fits society’s standard of beauty, male or female, and make it interesting and suggestive to the prospective buyer.  It’s for Axe freaking Body Spray.  Why are we placing one iota of importance on their commercial?

The last portion of the video has nothing to do with the sexualization of women, nor is it exploitative.  To me, it’s a hundred times more terrifying than seeing a woman in weird bikini dancing with a foam finger.  Why?  Because it’s not commercials, it’s not advertising, it’s not music videos.  Nor, to be clear, is it a misrepresentation of women.  It is actual comments from men, both elected officials and media personalities alike, in regards to women in positions of power.  Comments like, “Well, you can’t do that, to be fair…women just haven’t done that much.”  Men lamenting the fact that the changing the hats the military wears to something more unisex actually has a headline that reads, “Military switching to girly hats.”  Fox News, “We only have the prostate, the women have the breasts, the ovaries, the uterus,” in regards to women paying more for health care due to having more working parts, apparently.  Fox News again, “I’m not saying she deserved to be raped, but…” which is a sentence that has no possible acceptable ending.  Fox News yet again, “Know your role, and shut your mouth,” to the lone female on the panel.  Perhaps the most frightening, a headline from the New York Post that reads, “No Wonder Bill’s Afraid!” next to a picture of Hillary Clinton.  Why is this the worst, you ask?  Because Hillary Clinton was the fucking Secretary of State at the time, furious regarding one of the most maligned operations of the United States and somehow this headline tried to  reduce her to a hysterical female and elevate her husband – who held no office at the time – as the more important party to the story.

Let’s pick our battles, shall we?  Let’s concentrate on getting ignorance – both male and female – out of office and making our decisions.  I don’t know about you, but I’m much more concerned that an elected official in the United States of America believes that women have super abilities which make their bodies able to distinguish rape from consensual sex than I am about what Robin Thicke’s backup dancers are wearing. I’m much more worried about the fact that people like Rush Limbaugh still have a following than I am about the fact that Flo-Rida’s latest video has half-dressed girls in it.

The fact remains that WE are the ones watching this.  WE are the ones demanding it.  We can’t keep blaming the media for clamoring to provide exactly what we’re asking for.  They aren’t going to change their content until we change the channel.

Yeah, I feel really fucking sorry for this girl.

Yeah, I feel really fucking sorry for this girl.