Sunday, November 23, 2014

An Incredible Lack of Empathy

I was reading the USAToday.com this morning, and the headline was that Marion Barry had died.  He was 78, and not in good health, but all the same, it was unexpected, and I am sure that his loved ones and family are feeling pretty sad right now. So imagine my surprise when I scrolled down to the comments, expecting condolences, and saw the following:

“Good riddance! Now come back and take some more undesirables with you, like Obama, Biden, Reid, Pelosi, Sharpton.”

“Thank goodness he’s gone.  He surely won’t be missed.”

“The world is now a little bit better without that crook.”

“I hope this is a good start.  Next up: the Clintons.”

And on and on and on.  Now, I know that I have bemoaned the utter assholery of USAToday comment posters before, but sadly, this merely echoes what I see on Facebook, Twitter, read in the news, and hear in conversation.  And it’s ugly, and it’s heartless, and it is a blatant rejection of empathy. 

Here is another example: you know those poor parents who lost their child in Ferguson?  The Browns?  Well, the mayor of St. Louis invited them to take part in a tradition of handing out Thanksgiving turkeys to those who can’t afford it.  Mr. Brown said that it was healing for him to help others, especially since so many others had supported him in his grieving.  Here were some of the comments:

“His biggest turkey is pushing up daisies.”

“How about they give back to the store owner the college bound baby robbed?”

“FREE food for future RIOTERS???”

(This next one from a poster who purports to be from Columbia University) “He should do something to give back. UM, robbery with a gun or a dead son who robbed. Son robbed the store and the turkey got plucked. the father used his turkey son and robbed us and we got F*********”

And on and on.  Now, just a reminder, these are PARENTS who lost their SON, and who are HANDING OUT TURKEYS.  TURKEYS!!!!  The absolute lack of empathy is deafening. 

And I guess this is what I don’t understand: what is the benefit of being so obtuse, so small, so hateful?  Who is it helping?  What feeling do people have in their soul that can only be satisfied by this kind of callousness?  If I only saw this shit from strangers, then I would figure it was just a fringe segment of the human race, using to full advantage their ability to speak to a broader public.  But I see this shit from people I know:  Women who get raped should know better than to dress like that.  Deport all the illegals.  Arm yourself against the Ferguson protesters, because, God knows, black people are dangerous.  Fuck the poor who dare to want healthcare.  Bomb the Middle East back to the Stone Age, because it’s not like they have children or non-terrorists there.

This lack of empathy is a sickness.  But it’s a sickness with a cure.  Anyone can learn empathy.  It just takes imagining how other people might feel.  Give it a try.    

And rest in peace, Mr. Barry. 




Monday, November 17, 2014

How to Lose Your Woman

Someone posted this article, titled, “How to Lose the Woman You Love for Good” on Facebook the other day, and it made me want to vomit.  It should be titled, “What Stereotypical Women Want.”  Listen, I don’t believe that women and men are the exact same thing, but I also don’t think that women are so fucking simple.  Here are five suggestions from this article, along with some gems in quotes, along with my response:

1. Stop doing the little things like holding her hand and looking into her eyes “Touching her hair, letting distractions pass when she’s talking, and kissing her goodbye are the golden moments she lingers over in her mind’s eye when you’re away.”   Golden moments she lingers over?  No.  You know, it’s possible that the golden moments she lingers over are her own successes and accomplishments, or good conversations or fun times you’ve had together.  I’ve never met a woman who said, “Thank God my man touches my hair, it really lets me know he cares.”

2. Don’t ask her questions or get to know herFor a short period of time, you might be able to hold her attention through flattery of her physical appearance, but women are smart and they’ll eventually sense the emptiness of your connection.”  Incorrect.  Please flatter my physical appearance a lot.  Also: I know I’m smart, and you being physically attracted to me does not lessen that.  It’s not an either/or.  Again, continue with the flattery. 

3. Don’t listen to her when she talks to you or even better yet, interrupt when she’s sharing her heart with corrections to her thinking and answers for her problems - Women solve problems and soothe their own stress by talking to someone that will listen. If you don’t hear her out, she will talk faster and faster repeating herself over and over again, getting louder and more emotional until she just finally stops trying.”  Getting louder and more emotional?  Is that, perhaps, because you’re having a robust dialogue?  As noted above, “women are smart,” and can totally take someone challenging our thinking.  We’re also smart enough to start a sentence this way, “I just want you to listen here, not offer suggestions,” if that’s what we want.  As far as this, “soothe their own stress by talking,” that is a gross supposition to apply that to all women.  You want to know how I soothe my own stress?  I hit the fucking treadmill, hard.  God. 

4. Don’t allow her to feel safe and relax into your love“When a woman is falling deeper into love with you she will push back a bit, test you and question your actions, words and motives to see if you’re the real deal.”  Barf.  Oh, the women, we need to set up the tests.  Because, you know, we’re women, and we can’t just say what we want or feel.  And what does that even mean, “relax into your love?” You want me to relax?  Don’t be a dick.  Period.

5. Don’t make her special or allow her to relax into knowing she’s your womanBy keeping the doorway open to many others through Facebook flirts and cute little text, you’ll ensure that there’s nothing special between the two of you other than sex.”  Actually, I am a secure goddamn woman, and I can take it if you want to, you know, have friends who are women.  And I’m also smart enough to know that a man who’s going to take up with another woman is going to do so whether I am a loser who doesn’t even want him to so much as text another woman, or I let him do whatever he wants.  And again, what’s with the “relax into?”  Wait, there’s more: I am my own woman, not anybody else’s.  I don’t need to be labeled as someone else’s belonging to feel okay.  Really. 

Bottom line: Women are not fragile flowers, constantly in a state of anxiety, and unable to articulate our actual thoughts and feelings. This kind of “women are sensitive and mercurial creatures” writing does nothing to emphasize that women are strong people, capable of managing ourselves and speaking our minds exactly as well as the boys. 

 







Saturday, November 8, 2014

#Pointergate

There is this thing happening in Minneapolis right now, called Pointergate.  Google it; I’m telling the truth.  So, here’s what happened:

The Mayor of Minneapolis, Betsy Hodges, who looks exactly like a middle-school PTO mom who runs half-marathons, went over to a get-out-the-vote event, held, or at least supported, by a group called Neighborhoods Organizing for Change.  With me so far?

One of the employees of Neighborhoods Organizing for Change was a man who had a perspective that was probably helpful to the organization, in that he was a guy who had been a criminal, and had done time in the pokey.  This man, Navell Gordon, and the Mayor posed for a photo op (after all, this guy is an example of someone turning his fucking life around.  He can’t even vote, but he is trying to get others who have that right to use it), and in the photo op, the two pointed at each other like so.  I think I have several pictures of myself like that.  This is still not the problem.

But in case you’re not following along so good, allow me to recap:

Mayor visiting get-out-the-vote effort – totally okay
Get-out-the-vote effort – totally okay
Convict doing time and being released from prison – okay + Constitutional
Former convict getting job – totally okay and even desirable
Former convict and mayor posing for picture together – okay!
Former convict and mayor using goofy hand gesture – sure, totally okay

HERE is the problem: this FUCKING ASSHOLE by the name of Jay Kolls, who works for Minneapolis TV station KSTP, decided to spin the story with this lead-in:

“5 Eyewitness News has obtained a photo of Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges posing with a convicted felon while flashing a known gang sign.” 

I shit you not, that’s the way this was spun.  A known gang sign.  Did you see the picture?  Look at it again.  Does this look like a gang sign?  Do you think the intent was to “flash” a “known” gang sign?  What message was the mayor trying to send?  Gangs, come to Minneapolis for the Jucy Lucy and stay for the vibrant gang scene?  That she, herself is part of a gang?  That she condones gang behavior?  And what of the young man, who was WORKING TO SERVE ONE OF THE CORNERSTONES OF OUR GREAT NATION, despite the fact that, as a convicted felon, his right to vote was stripped from him? 

This story was not about journalism.  It was about journalists and a news organization who have completely lost the thread.  This video shows the actual work that Mayor Hodges and Navell Gordon did.  What KSTP did was foment fear and suspicion, which was absolutely not their job. 

However, on the off-chance that they were correct, I’d like to make you aware of a bunch of other people throwing known gang signs: Here’s Minneapolis native Prince, known gangsta Garth Brooks, this criminal baby, these creeps, known leader of the "Gang of Twelve",  no one should be surprised by this guy, but also this guy and this guy, and, of course, this guy.  Damn.  Maybe we should be worried.  

 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Calm the Hell Down

Fact: you probably suck at washing your hands.  In fact, I’m almost certain that you do.  A proper hand-washing involves scrubbing your hands as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday To You twice.  That’s a long time, and you’re probably not investing it, you dirty dirtbag. 

I say that only because I am tired of hearing you freak your shit out about how an ASYMPTOMATIC nurse in Maine (where you most likely don’t live and perhaps have not even visited) is probably going to give you Ebola, when you, yourself, are a contaminated germ factory, hell-bent on spreading your own grody germs wherever you go.

Here’s the background: Kaci Hickox, who has an unfortunate name, but who is in other respects a SELFLESS HUMANITARIAN went to Sierra Leone, aka, not the Hyatt in Miami Beach, to treat Ebola patients.  In other words, she was merely living the words of Matthew 25:40: Whatever you did for the least of my brothers, you did for me.   So this SELFLESS HUMANITARIAN followed that call and did what you weren’t doing.  I’m pretty sure you were eating a hamburger instead.  While in Sierra Leone, this SELFLESS HUMANITARIAN did NOT contract Ebola. She tested negative for the disease, and like all people who DO NOT HAVE A DISEASE, she was allowed to move through the world.  Because that’s what disease-free people do. 

Sadly, she returned to the United States, where, in addition to being a SELFLESS HUMANITARIAN, she is also a citizen, with rights under the Constitution.  Which happens to have a rule about taking away peoples’ rights without due process. 

Now, to recap so far, this SELFLESS HUMANITARIAN followed protocol and did not contract Ebola.  She returned to the United States, where she is a citizen with full rights under the Constitution.  From there, she was isolated, and told she would have to remain under quarantine for 21 days.  Oh, and lies were spread about her being symptomatic, spread by an irresponsible, yelly Governor.  Now, you may think to yourself, “What’s the big deal?  Twenty one days isn’t that long.”  Really.  You can’t even stand at a sink for the time it takes to sing TWO RENDITIONS OF THE HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU SONG TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF DISEASE and you’re saying that this woman, who’s been doing Bible-quality shit in a goddamn third-world country because she is a SELFLESS HUMANITARIAN should remain in lockup, despite the fact that she is symptom free, and has a clear self-interest in monitoring her own health?  Give me a fucking break.


Fact: YOU are more dangerous than Kaci Hickox.  As noted above, you suck at washing your hands, and are, thus, a walking contaminant.  Despite that fact, you get to walk around all day, every day, spreading colds, flu, athlete’s foot, and whatever else disgusting shit you’ve got going on in your body.  It’s possible that you’re also one of those morons who can’t take five minutes of inconvenience to get a flu shot, which, by the way, not only protects YOU, but also protects old people and those with compromised immune systems from contracting something that could kill them.  You don’t give a shit if you kill someone with your dirty hands and your icky flu, but God forbid Kaci Hickox, a SELFLESS HUMANITARIAN who is ASYMPTOMATIC is able to go home.  Calm the hell down and just wash your hands. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Change A Letter, Ruin A...

Twitter is great for a lot of things. Silly things. In terms of actual news, while it hits the mark on quantity, the quality is often lacking. Unless Bono really does have Ebola. In that case, I take back everything. There was a hashtag making the rounds a couple of weeks ago that cracked the hell out of me: #Changealetterruinatvshow. Well, let me tell you, I rocked at that. My personal favorites: America’s Toe Model, The Love Goat, and The Biggest Loner. All, as you can see, appropriately ruined. I’ve now applied that concept to movies. Here goes:

Kids of the Spider Woman – Hundreds, to be exact

Apocalypse, Wow! – A hilarious romp through the jungles of Vietnam

2 Angry Men – Specifically Statler and Waldorf from the Muppet Show

The Humper Games – Dogs getting distracted at an obstacle course

The Love Ranger – Johnny Depp, being weird as usual

Kind Kong – The nicest ape in town

Snakes on a Plant – Okay, they’re just worms

Steal Magnolias – Thieves with a flair for what makes a home beautiful take over a small southern town

Sawing Private Ryan – Magic tricks gone awry

Desperately Seeking Sudan – Madonna knows it’s in Africa, but where?

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Sucrets – He has a sore throat

The Lizard of Oz – Run!!!!!

It’s a Wonderful Lime – See just how versatile this often unheralded citrus fruit is

Norma Rat – The chilling tale of exactly what happens when rodents organize

The Lord of the Rinds – A gamer sits in his parent’s basement, eating pork snacks

Flee Willy – The Orca’s on the loose!

Hannah and Her Misters – She’s a bit of a whore

Bag – Tom Hanks plays a grocery store bagger. Just because.

Bard On A Wire – Shakespeare uses a telephone!

Saturday: Light Fever – A suspenseful tale about the Ebola incubation period

A Few Gold Men – A behind-the-scenes look at the Oscars race for best picture

Citizen Kale – A man, obsessed with leafy greens

96 Candles – Sam’s parents forgot her 96th birthday

A Fee, Good Men – The life and times of a polite tollbooth worker

Muriel’s Weeding – An Australian lady gardens

The Silence of the Limbs –A psychopathic murderer holds the cure for restless leg syndrome

The Frying Game – The knives fly on this realistic look at competitive cooking shows

Gone With the Wine – We’ve all been there

(Alternately) Gene With the Wind – When he’ll blow by, nobody knows