10
Sep
21

Isn’t Applauding Ethnicity (Alone) Still Racism?

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I keep hearing and seeing these “historical moments” in which people of any ethnicity other than “Caucasian” get a standing ovation for being featured in something other than an “extra” role in film and television. [Books will come later. Though, there have been authors of various ethnicities for a long time; no one seems to care about this point.] Most recently, Asian film leads are getting plenty of buzz. And, before that revolution, coincidentally after recent history with violence against Asian folks, there was a strong “black” movement in film/television. If you see enough commercials, you see plenty more African-American folks and fewer Caucasian folks.

Cultural diversity is just fine. I get it. Caucasians have been dominant in America for so long, regardless if that dominance includes Caucasians of various nationalities. [No one’s making a fuss about Germans or Irish folks getting more exposure and fame than Polish or Italian folks; are they?] It’s about time someone from a different culture, an immigrant (other than all the other immigrants that have come and gone), achieved some status in the USA, restoring some luster to that old chestnut, the “American dream.” It’s time we discarded the stereotypes of the 1960s and 70s, in which many “black” and Asian folks are in servant roles.

But…ain’t that America?

I mean…if we drop in on China or Japan, you’re not going to see many–if any–Caucasian storytellers or leads in movies. You’re going to see Chinese and Japanese folks. That’s their people. [Of course, you probably won’t see “white” or “black” folks in servant roles, either. Maybe you’ll see some “white” folks looking/acting stupid…but that’s about it. Just sample some Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee films.]

[And, on that note, Jackie Chan has been leading in his films for a long time. And, that’s not just as special or worth applauding? He’s become a star in places other than his own native land without much focus on his ethnicity. What’s special about any other Asian person being a lead actor when you consider someone like him, the somewhat charming stuntman-star? Now…let’s not all go out and do our own stunts; okay? It’s not worth the punishment to the body.]

Is anyone not native to China or Japan going there and making a big, public fuss about being slighted? I probably would fuss if I felt that pressure and scrutiny. I have yet to get there; you tell me.

If a “white” man heads a business or is the most famous actor in some Asian country, that’s news to me. He probably came with a ton of money and investors and bought up the place. Google wasn’t started by a “black” or Asian guy; neither was Amazon.

I am almost certain that MAKING a non-Caucasian person the head of some prominent company in the USA is not going to overturn or end racism. If that individual doesn’t rightfully earn the position, it’s fabricated status. It’s like getting a “participation trophy” or tournament title someone on your team earned for you (because, truthfully, you did nothing). If you apply gold paint to an incompetent laborer, they’re still going to be an incompetent laborer.

[HOWEVER, if you are of a non-Caucasian culture and are DENIED status (or a high-paid position of status) with even the slightest reason being…you’re not “white”…THEN we have a problem that needs to be addressed. And, giving a few “participation” trophies to non-white individuals or rewriting stories about “white” characters isn’t going to solve it.]

I’d like that same concern and respect applied to all nations. But, let’s be honest, again; what are the odds of a “white” man (or woman) easing into some place like Iraq or South Korea and becoming the next big corporate head?…or even the most favored actor (or actress) of that nation? Wouldn’t the “majority” culture of that nation want to represent itself?

Crucial question break. What makes a nation a nation other than it’s native population? [Of course, in the case of “America,” the native population is more like a skid mark left on the roads than a prominent representation of the people. But, that’s an argument for another day. Enjoy your turkeys stuffed with lies.]

If you take away the native population, the founding population, and replace it with a rainbow of cultures, what defines the boundaries or makeup of that nation? If every nation looks like the USA, with every culture on display, what separates that OTHER nation from the USA, good and bad? Wouldn’t all nations lose their importance if we took away cultural significance, cultural distinction? [And, I leave it to you, readers, to figure out if that’s a good or bad thing. Maybe, when we finally get rid of national borders, we might all share ALL of the land, equally? What a crazy, daring notion. It boggles the mind.]

Just…IMAGINE…the recent Tokyo Olympics with all “white” or “black” people running the show. If there had been no natives in kimonos, no kabuki actors or shockingly big and beautiful drums on display, would you even know it was Japan hosting? How can you represent a culture and its history by featuring those who are not of that culture and history?

The Magnificent Seven was originally a story about seven samurai. It was re-written to be a Western, starring Yul Brenner (of all people to play a cowboy). It’s been re-re-written as a Western not that long ago. [Because, in the USA, there’s nothing better than a remake of a remake…… Spoiler alert. Sarcasm!]

While I applaud writers for being creative and turning a samurai story into a Western, I could complain about twisting what was already a good cultural story. But, I’m pretty sure other cultures have turned stories written by non-native people into stories featuring their own ethnicity. I know, for a fact, there’s a Japanese Alice in Wonderland out there (but the protagonist isn’t trying to be THE Alice). At least, the filmmakers of The Magnificent Seven didn’t cast “white” guys to play seven samurai.

The USA just happens to have a Caucasian majority and has brought in people of other nations/cultures. And, that causes no concern…until someone decides to feel slighted or say, “Hey! What about those people? Don’t they deserve something? Where’s their fair share?”

What’s so special about being any ethnicity other than “white” if that’s all there is to the story? And, why not acknowledge what makes the individual special–not including their nationality–if we hope to conquer racism? Isn’t that the goal of ending racism?…recognizing the value of each and every person, regardless of ethnicity? If we spotlight someone for being Asian or “black,” aren’t we contributing to the problem?

Help me define this. Is racism the mistreatment of people sparked by an irrational resentment toward that people (typically a biproduct of simply fearing the unknown, someone or something we have yet to experience and/or understand) or simply the angry rant of someone from a particular ethnicity for being slighted?

Disney didn’t have a bunch of pasty “white” princesses because of some Nazi agenda. And, you can’t tell a story about a poor German girl if she’s not a poor German girl. Sorry if Snow White being a very pale Caucasian woman bothers you; I’d rather not bleach someone to look that white. [I dare anyone to rewrite THAT story with an African-American lead. That’s just ridiculous.]

It becomes a different story when you change the character. Sure, the events might be similar (or even seemingly identical)…regardless if that’s realistic. I get the feeling authors and movie makers are still more concerned about including a cultural face than accurately representing a culture. And, when they are not, the effort to represent a culture washes away the story; we become focused on “this is what it’s like to be a person of the ___ culture” instead of “this is a story about a person named ___.”

[I’ve ranted about this, before. Instead of re-writing previous stories and making a dozen remakes just to satisfy a few people of other cultures who wish to be part of that story, can’t we encourage more creativity and write just as good or better stories that are more original? Can’t we herald someone for that instead of just spending a fortune on repainting something that’s already been done? If not, how long before we don’t even bother reading or watching movies because the stories are all the same, just with different faces?]

When trying to become a famous author, you might hear people say, “Write what you know.” Stan Lee, at Timely/Marvel Comics, helped create a number of Caucasian heroes and heroines before he ever dared to try an African American or Asian one. He also struggled with anything scientific…because he really didn’t know much about the matter! He wrote what he knew and then daringly tried to include other subjects. He could have been heckled and lost his job for trying to properly represent someone of another ethnicity. Surely, mobs could have assembled to complain about the lack of realistic portrayals and returned shredded comic books in crates of excelsior. [See what I did there?]

There are people “out there” who feel a need to give every culture the chance to be everything imaginable. And, that’s fine. But, can’t it be one’s imagination that gets them there? Isn’t imagination a key component to creativity? Aren’t some of the greatest heroes born out of deficiency, lacking something but rising from “nothing” to become great?

I know I don’t look like any of the characters I’ve come to admire, characters I’d dress up as for Halloween. It’s fairly humiliating to dress up as someone with plenty of muscle and a skimpy costume when you typically cover up your pasty, lanky body with loose clothing. It’s silly. But, it’s my imagination that lets me make and don that costume and feel some measure of amusement in it. I can pretend to be the character. I don’t have to be “black” to dress up as the Black Panther, from Marvel Comics, or from the Far East to pretend I have the skills of Bruce Lee. [Coincidentally, I did wear a black cat costume, once. And, now and then, I pretend to be a sort of Bruce Lee, usually making a fool of myself.]

Do I need someone to put MY face or physique on a TV or movie screen to feel accepted?…to feel special? I’m sure it would have an impact. But, I’d probably feel better if I could just interact with people without feeling inadequate or bullied. I don’t think a movie about a guy like me is going to change that. I don’t think starring in a movie is going to suddenly make anyone treat me better–other than the whole “celebrity factor”–or change how people treat guys like me, including me. Especially, under current conditions, with so many shaking their fingers at “the white man.” With such importance placed on hiring and representing people of other cultures, suddenly being the “white guy on the totem pole” is more challenging than ever. Is that ending racism? [Or, am I just the next victim?] Do we all have to become “famous” to find acceptance and be treated nicely?

If we herald someone just for being a different skin tone or gender choice, I think we do as much to cultivate racism as we do to counter it. Only when we acknowledge some value beyond the surface do we ignore and get past it. If we recognize people for their merits and wits, not their appearance, we let racism disappear. It’s easier to lose/forget something when you stop thinking about it, when it’s no longer in your face or discussed at your table.

08
Sep
21

Just a Squirrel Trying to Get His Nut

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Here’s my little comic strip for the day.  Enjoy.

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08
Sep
21

Response to Wife of Intolerant Husband Who Hates Pixie Haircuts

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Response to (Anonymous) Wife of Intolerant Husband Who Hates Pixie Haircuts

Original column titled: Husband says he can’t be sexually attracted to spouse with pixie haircut (by Carolyn Hax)

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[You can find my other responses to various advice columns by clicking the page link/tab above.  Normally, I’d go through the process of adding this to that list.  But, right now, it’s not a top priority.  But, I’ll still post these as they spring from my emotional core.]

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The Anonymous wife says she doesn’t know what to do about her husband’s demanding behavior, regarding her own hair. She wants to vary its length to help cope with changing seasons/temperatures. Her otherwise long hair is too hot in summer months. Her husband blatantly refuses to be intimate with her when/while she has short hair, claiming it’s not an attractive look on her. The couple has already dealt with a previous threat of divorce and therapy, with a strong focus on the dispute over the wife’s hair.

Carolyn Hax analyzes contexts of dialogue, including a possible concern for feminism. But, specifically, in this woman’s case, the options for action are not made clear. She ends with suggesting the wife should simply say she is uncomfortable with the situation.

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Carolyn! Carolyn! What are you even saying?! I thought I was getting knee-deep in Shakespeare. I’m not sure if you are looking for a legal (lawsuit) angle or trying to gauge the wife’s need for a divorce. You go to great lengths to say very little and leave me fairly confused. I’d say you were scrambling to fill space. [You could have stopped at “We either accept it or leave.” That, I fear, is how this case resolves if friendship and/or love between two spirits isn’t sufficient.]

How is the wife supposed to decode all of that? I sure cannot. And, I don’t think anyone needs “sweet sorrow” in this or any case. Juliet is having hot flashes and wants to cut her hair. Romeo is being hard-nosed about his affections and holding a dagger etched with the word DIVORCE. Why does this have to become a courtroom thing or some psychological textbook?

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Oh, fair anonymous wife with no clue what to do about her husband. Fair thee well to your long hair. Cut it as you will…with the understanding that sir husband will not be intimate with you until it returns to a longer length (that is if he can wait). Accept his conditional love and your freedom to do with your hair as you feel right in doing. Surely, a loveless season can still be enjoyed as a couple who truly loves each other. Love is not just sex.

If that is not possible…if he threatens to divorce over the hair, then I question the nature and roots of this relationship. Do you mean to say you never had short hair all the time you were with this man before marriage? [Just to be clear, I said BEFORE marriage. I know you mentioned a previous divorce/therapy situation DURING the marriage.] If you did, how did he not make it clear, then, that he didn’t accept it? Did you just laugh and dismiss his disapproval? How did he agree to marry or propose, knowing he had a fussy outlook on your hair?

Keep this in mind, regardless what you may read or do. If he is this upset over short hair, what would he do if you had to shave your head or lost some of that lovely long hair? If you had a certain scary illness and had to lose your hair, would that send him running, never to return? If he cannot be a loving husband with you as a bald woman, then, I guess, the marriage needs to be ended. The previous divorce threat was not resolved; it was just suppressed.

I like to say…a true evaluation of marriage potential is to ask yourself a number of questions regarding how your partner might change and if you could accept those changes/differences. I’ve heard people mention trying to imagine your partner’s worse flaw being ten times worse than it is now as the true test of one’s feelings. I’d say it’s good to work through some of those BEFORE marriage. In the case of a someone’s hair, when you are “dating,” have the person alter their hairstyle a few ways to see how that affects your feelings.

In my case, does the woman I am with look as nice with her hair up and down? If it’s so much of a concern, should I still be with this woman? Perhaps, instead, I need to ask myself if my love runs deeper than the woman’s appearance. Do I love her spirit, her soul, more than I care about her appearance?

That’s the true measure, the scales, of love.

[I suppose I’d personally find this uncomfortable if pressured to do so; I’m rather sensitive about my thinning hair (and the condition/quality of my hair, in general). So, I suggest a more suggestive or wait-and-see approach than coming right out and telling someone to shave their head.]

Also, ask yourself this question. What about HIS hair? Are you, in any way, affected by the condition of his hair? Are you just as content with him fully haired, balding or bald?

[Maybe you two should both shave your heads and have a little bald-couple therapy (session).]

[And, perish the thought, what if even intimacy was disabled? What if conventional sex was no longer an option because of some accident/handicap? Would that ice the love you two should be sharing?]

Let me share a few personal memories/examples.

I once had a female friend who became very close to me at a very young age. I truly wish I had the chance to marry her; but that didn’t happen. When I first met her, she had some of the most beautiful, long, brown hair (and a twinkling smile that could ignite any heart). Not many years later, she had it all cut off, leaving her with an unattractive shrub-cut. Now, keep in mind, I was only 8 or 9, having this reaction. And, I put up with the lousy haircut for a number of years because I truly loved the girl (though I could never say it, due to peer pressure). When we graduated elementary school together, she had finally adopted a change of styles, one I favored and thought was so mature for her. Alas, she began dating someone else, told me we were “just friends” one last time and drifted away. [Well, at least, it became too difficult for me to remain friends with someone dating someone else–when my feelings for her ran so deep–among other changes that happened. When she stopped contacting me; I stopped trying to contact her.]

At a previous job, I met and fell in love with a sassy, witty woman who had dazzling, pale blonde hair; I assumed it was natural and adored the cut and length. A few years later, she cut it horribly short. I did not approve but did my best to accept her decision. We were not in a relationship and not exactly close; but I wished we were (closer). One thing that kept us apart was her smoking. [I cannot hope to marry someone who is a smoker; it’s a family curse/burden.] Another was her concern over the age difference; she felt too old for me. Ironically, she gave up the smoking soon after agreeing to marry some other guy.

In either case, had we been in the relationship I desired, I would have put up with the short hair; but I would be clear that my attraction is affected. I would not be as inclined to be sexually intimate with her while she displayed the shorter, unattractive hair. [I’d still be intimate with sharing my feelings and doing my best to be a supportive friend/partner.] I am not sure that would come to divorce proceedings, though. Instead, I’d look for activities we could still share that would, potentially, improve our mood or crack the walls of my disapproval, so we still could be intimate if the spark reappeared. I’d discuss other possible hairstyles which might be just as short but more appealing (and outfits to pair with the short hairdo that would perk my interest/mood). I’ve been known to apply humor where and when I can; sometimes you can still have fun with another person, even though you’re not exactly “in the mood” all of the time. [Remember, even in marriage, love isn’t just passion; it’s the best of friendships and teamwork.]

I recall a third woman I once met online, who looked great with her hair down. …Buuuut, when she wore it in a ponytail or bun, suddenly I noticed her ears and something inexplicably strange about her face. I was less attracted, based upon the arrangement of her hair (and the haunting image of a former nemesis seen in her face), leaving me concerned about pursuing the relationship. I cringed at the thought of telling her what was stopping me (and, thus, never said anything). I guess it was safer for me to see the sign(s) and move away than get involved and deal with the consequences. Yet, I let her appearance get in the way of learning enough about her as a person. Maybe, had I tried harder, I would have discovered her friendship was more precious than her varying looks.

A fourth (coincidental) case involves a woman I met online who first showed me a picture of herself with a pixie haircut. My first response was to say she looked like Harry Potter. That…didn’t go over well. I admitted I am not fond of short haircuts…at least, not often. [Face matters; hair, though a big attraction, merely complements the face. And, I am partial to women with lush, long hair.] But, the more time I spent communicating with the foreigner, the more I liked her. Eventually, I didn’t care much what sort of hair she had, as long as she didn’t do something shockingly unnatural and we were happy together. [Talk of plastic surgery and diet extremes were quickly shunned.] Unfortunately, events unfolded which eroded my feelings and eventually took her from me, spoiling any chance of a lasting relationship. But, because of her, I began developing a new appreciation for women with short hair and sorting out what styles were more or less attractive, figuring out what appeals to and what repels me. [And, that brought me back to the importance of the face and the spirit within, which should radiate from the face.]

Now, if I wanted to cut down my slant on Carolyn’s advice to the shortest of texts, I’d simply say divorce seems likely. And, yes, the crust of the case is superficial, quite possibly implying that your husband married a photograph, a centerfold; not a spirit he cherished.

Though I don’t know you two well enough, what seems clear is that this haircut decision is not intended to irk the man. You are not cutting your hair to “poke the hornet nest.” Right? It is for your well-being, not vanity or spite. He should understand your discomfort and how greater comfort would make being intimate easier on you both…unless he gets some strange arousal out of you being sweaty and miserable.

[I once told a woman not to get a breast reduction because she was blessed with…well, an amazing bosom. I applauded nature and thought I was being respectful instead of vain and/or superficial. I was also concerned how the operation might fail or scar her…and if subsequent operations would be requested when/if she felt the first was insufficient. She felt–for whatever reason–uncomfortable with her chest, though she proceed to flaunt and mess with my mind; she is the sort who asks for consent and then does something, anyway, even if anyone objects. I applaud her audacity/tenacity, but it didn’t improve our relationship, which never fully blossomed.]

If there is any hope of retaining the relationship, you two SHOULD be able to reach a compromise that doesn’t feel like a jail sentence. The situation should not be tense or require a paperwork handshake. If you feel like you might need to call a crisis hotline, then I suspect the situation is very tense.

Is there ANY chance you two could enjoy doing things together that would not necessarily be intimate but just as enjoyable in more friendly way? If you’re not couch potatoes, GET OUTSIDE! Embrace nature. Fool around at the beach or in a forest/park setting. Retreat to your youth, rejuvenate and recall what it’s like to just have fun together, again. [You two DO know how to have fun together; right? Not just bump body parts and get overheated?]

And, is there ANY chance you could make your husband understand that your hair will vary in length and style to suit your needs (not just his) while still being the same supportive, loving, fun person he married x-number of years ago? [I know it might seem like a pointless question…but I’ll ask it, again, if necessary, to get back to the roots of the matter.] Could you page through a selection of short hairstyles, compare opinions and come to a happy compromise, finding one you both accept and can enjoy?

[I have a sister who has had some lousy short haircuts over the years. She used to have such nice long hair. I only wish I had a suggestion for her; but, in my family, countering one’s decision is too often the recipe for painful dispute. So, I must just “grin and bear it” when I am with her, rather than ruin the precious time we get to spend together.]

If not, then you know the painful deed that must be done. There’s no use putting a bandage on it and waiting more years to deal with it. You never needed an advice columnist’s opinion (or mine). We don’t know you two well enough to make a better assessment than you already have. You just need a sympathetic friend to hold you steady as you make the seemingly difficult move.

08
Sep
21

The Covid-19 Auction 2021

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auction-sendittonumber802-3

Hi! Welcome to the Covid 19 Auction 2021. I’m your host, Lazy Spender. The auction has already started. I can hear a few people coughing and sneezing. Most of the bidders are seated apart at the recommended distance. I see two gentlemen with oxygen tanks. Not everyone is wearing a mask. AAAnd, someone just puked in that corner. Let’s check out what’s up for bid…

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Auctioneer: Our next item up for bid is a dose of the latest vaccine. It is NOT guaranteed to make you immune to the latest deadly variant. But, it will likely spare you from a large hospital bill.

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Lazy: Now, for those of you who are new to this venue, bidders voice offers they are willing to accept if they are granted the item up for bid. Auctioneers begin the bidding with the first offer provided by a particular sponsor who is prodding bidders to take the deal. The actual number of items available to distribute to the bidders remains unclear. Let’s get down to the action.

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Bidder 1: I’ll take a free donut–No! Wait! $100 and my *free* shot!

Bidder 3: Pfft! That’s pathetic. I’ll take a Subway gift card and let my barber give me the shot when I get my next haircut!

Bidder 5: Good luck. Like I’d trust a barber to give me the vaccine, while other customers sit around you in a cramped barber shop. I’ll take a Toyota Rav 4 and my shot!

Bidder 7: Are you here for the Oprah Auction?

Bidder 5: Yeah. Why?

Bidder 7: That’s in the other warehouse. Number 25.

Bidder 5: Oh! Whoops! Gotta go. Twenty-fiiive…

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Lazy: It looks like there are plenty of shots to go around. This could go on for a while. But, there are other tables with items up for bid. Let’s move to the next one where it appears jobs are being offered to the unemployed, including those who were hastily stripped of their sole source of minimal income when quarantine began. Any bidder who accepts the offer is welcome to claim their prize…because these companies are getting desperate for staffing.

auction-computerbank-room-2

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Auctioneer: I have a low-rank warehouse job with the promise of steady hours, insurance buying options, minimal sick-leave pay, vacation time to those who survive a trial period and a starting wage of $10 per hour.

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Bidder 9: *Cough*

Bidder 11: *Sniffle* *Cough* [Clears her throat.]

Bidder 13: …… [Cracks his neck.]

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Auctioneer: Uuuuh, I have the same job but with a starting wage of $16 per hour and a signing bonus of $500. Of course, with gas prices on the rise from devasting storms and warfare…and the remote location of the warehouse, there will be a bit of a drive, getting to work. I’m sorry, affordable electric cars are not yet a thing in this world.

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Bidder 15 (whispering to her neighbor, a fellow single mother): Is he serious?!

Bidder 17 (the other single mother, sitting with her brother from another mother): I wonder how much he’s being paid to run this thing. And, why isn’t HE wearing a mask?

Bidder 19: Unless it’s a posh Google job with a company car, I’m not budging. I heard someone got a job at McDonald’s with a free trip to college. Hmm! I’d say sign me up if I wasn’t sure I’d die from wearing a mask while working over a hot grill. And, NO one wants a burger made by someone who might be a carrier. Mmm-mmm. No, sir, ma’am or the other.

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Auctioneer: Alright, forget that one, for now. I-I have a position at Google…(looks directly at the bidder who said she wanted such a job, because there is no privacy at this auction)…with a starting wage of $25 per hour, access to a free workout room, cafeteria pass and use of a company car. It looks like someone just lost this cubicle when the quarantine of 2020 began. So, it hasn’t been certified as sterilized. But, we can look into that for you.

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Bidder 19 (projecting beams of hot red light from her eyes at the auctioneer): …..Still not good enough. I’m not boxing myself in a place like that when I don’t know if the fifty other people in the room aren’t fully vaccinated and wearing masks. And, even if they are vaccinated, there’s no guarantee I’m safe from getting terribly ill. Also, I don’t like needles. So, I’m tellin’ you all, right now. I haven’t gotten the shot. Not one, two or the other. So!

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Lazy: I-It looks like we have a tough crowd. And, bidding is stonewalled by a lousy healthcare system. Well, we’ve run out of time. If there IS a next time, join us, here, at the Covid 19 Auction 2021. Thanks for watching. Even if you didn’t enjoy this program, be sure to hit the LIKE button, below, on your screen. I’m your host, Lazy Spender. Goodnight and get vaccinated. Don’t wait.

(whispers to camera operator Glen) Cut the camera! Get me OUT of here. I haven’t gotten MY shot. And, this place is making me SICK!

Camera operator Glen: Uuuh. How do you turn this thing off, again?

Lazy: It’s a smartphone, Glen! It shouldn’t be that–! *groan* Here. Give me the damn–!

Pfft! [TEST PATTERN AND SILENCE, FOLLOWED BY A NUMBER OF GIF VIDEO LINKS TO OTHER LAZY SPENDER APPEARANCES, INCLUDING A PIE THROWN IN HER FACE AND A SUPPOSED SWIMSUIT MODELING SESSION, ACCORDING TO THE CAPTION, THOUGH THE IMAGE ONLY SHOWS GLIMPSES OF HER FACE FROM DIFFERENT ANGLES.]

gas pump restoration auction

gas pump restoration auction

08
Sep
21

Join the Cancel Culture Club!

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Have you heard? It’s the latest hip thing to groove your generation. And, if you’re down with sacking the kings of mountains (or queens of the Stone Age), you’ll be top of the crap heap or just another brick in the wall in no time.

It’s the Cancel Culture Club! And, unlike the Culture Club of the 1980s, this one is headed by Chief Boi R and D; that’s Research of online history and Development of public scandal. Ain’t it cool? Ain’t it cool to be nosy and rat on rolling stones?

Don’t know what I’m sayin’? Well, catch this, faze-ing beach bois and manly valley girls.

“This ain’t a scene; it’s a god-damned arms race.” ~Fall Out Boy

“It’s interesting when people die; give us dirty laundry.

Dirty little secrets; dirty little lies.
We got our pretty little fingers in everybody’s pie.
We like to cut you down to size.
We love dirty laundry.” ~Don Henley

Someone says or writes something etched on a tiny piece of internet territory. Celebrities are practically encouraged to rant as an alternative to professional therapy; anything to stay famous if the price is right. Maybe no one says anything, in response. Maybe they do, but it gets swept under a rug.

You know how it is. You blog, and, if you’re lucky, some rare soul leaves a comment. Or, you pour your furious heart out on the screen, and all you get is dead silence and shady “follows” from people who might just be covers for secretive, spy-like organizations or websites looking to make a dime off you (possibly by involving your internet space in a scam). [I’ve looked into a few “followers” and found empty spaces and a few 404s. Surprisingly, not that many 420s. They seem to be swarming to arenas like Rocket League.]

Years roll by, and the thought just sits there, collecting cyber-dust. Then, out of the blue, someone pulls the pin on a tabloid grenade and blows up your claim to fame or just a sustainable lifestyle. Boom. Down goes your career and all you cherish. You’re public enemy number one and will be joined on the firing line by a dozen other similar saps wishing they were in a witness-protection program.

[So much for The Great Escape, Boys Love Girls.]

Welcome to the Cancel Culture Club, where the drinks are free but the price of admission will take you by surprise. You don’t get drunk here. You get SUNK…as in cement boots of shame and a cold farewell.

What? You thought it was just an innocent explosion of your temper? You were under pressure and venting steam? Oh, I understand. But, the trending majority do not and are too eager to pull the trigger that ends your comfortable life.

Sure. Some unpleasant crimes hidden away in a deceptive past may finally see justice served. [If you were raped at a younger age or drugged on a date, you have every right to shed light on the monster.] But, just as likely, the white paint will go too far and wipe out some colorful characters who merely cast a brief shadow on the immaculate world so many wish was their utopia. There seems to be no such thing as a small crime or little slip, anymore. The oppressed are rising up like The Planet of the Apes and taking down anyone who gets in their mad way, big fish or small fry.

[My skills at getting the dirt on people could use some honing. It’s no good to kick up a fuss without sufficient evidence. And, back when I was in school, there was no internet, just tiny bits of film you could magnify in a library, clippings of old news articles and whatnot. I suppose it could cause the same scandal if you put in the effort to research, but you’d have to buy air time on TV versus taking the convenient YouTube/Vimeo route you have today.]

Well, wake up mouseketeers. If you get sucked into the dark pleasure of tattling, it’s only a matter of time before we all go down in flames. You think you’re innocent, now. But, you just try to paint yourself as the next Mother Theresa. Good luck. The writing is on the movie screen.

Now, I’m not saying we should all throw away our conscience and/or morals, if we have any left. I’m not giving everyone a license to be rude (all of the time). But, I understand how events can boil and cause some otherwise innocent souls to be bent to the side of darkness.

Right now, you might not have an axe to grind. Tomorrow, someone does something to threaten your pleasant outlook on life, and you feel the burning prod of revenge. If you lash out, your action might be justified. [Well, maybe not in this present age of turning every little thing into a crime.] You’re only truly a monster if you make a habit of it and take pleasure in your torture. A one-time rapist can still atone. A serial or habitual rapist needs more help (and maybe some jail time).

[Then again, Cain only had one brother and put an end to that rather quickly. I guess there wasn’t much room for atonement there…unless he started a Big Brother organization for counseling troubled youths with annoying siblings. Ha. Can you imagine? The guy who murders his own brother managing a company that counsels youths lacking proper emotional support and discipline.]

Maybe, as a kid, you stole something from someone or a store, just because you couldn’t resist the desire to have one of your own. If you were still a good little kid, you might have returned what you stole (and golden if you apologized). Even if you kept the stolen good(s), as long as you don’t take up a life of crime, you can, at least, seek forgiveness, even if the victim doesn’t forgive you. You can redeem yourself.

Cripes; even Luke Skywalker wasn’t a whiney bitch all of the time. He had his light and dark force moments, like his father before him. Did he join the Sith? Nope. He turned his semi-robotic life around and shed some light on the universe. Just imagine if he’d been cast out of the rebel alliance or struck down faster than that prune-faced emperor guy. Your box set would probably be a fraction of the size it is now. [I think I heard a stand-up comic recite this bit, once.]

Let karma (or a higher power) sort the criminals from the innocent (if you can’t trust the police or government). Don’t be the internet troll unless you want to abolish free speech, forgiveness, atonement and privacy, along with your long list of tiny crimes. Be the internet muse or the internet counselor. No one needs a troll. [Sorry, actual trolls who might just be nice creatures living under bridges. I’m just…I-I should come up with a better term for the type.]

As The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus says…

“A pebble in the water makes a ripple effect.
Every action in this world will bear a consequence.
If you wade around forever, you will surely drown.
I see what’s going down.”

So, either mind every little thing you say and do in life (because someone seems to be watching and privacy just might be endangered) or take your chances and pray you don’t take the fall. Eventually, even the rats get eaten, when there’s nothing else left to call food or target practice.

Thanks, Internet. You’re the bad gift that just keeps giving, like “smartphones,” your ugly cousins who suck the enjoyment out of every live experience because they can’t stop filming and scrolling. Like Jurassic Park, you were the dream of a man seeking a free circus, and you spare no expense. You let us in and made us feel fairly comfortable with all of the ice cream and toys before the dinosaurs broke out of their cages and started tearing us all apart.

If you’re looking for me, I’ll just be sneaking around the heaps of ankylosaur feces, peeing in can of shaving cream. You know, ankylosaurs, the dinosaurs who knows how to CLUB.

I won’t likely be joining. I’ve never been a good “joiner” (or reader). Knowing me, I’ll be too blind to see the hammer coming. But, I’m not that blind, yet. And, I’m just too cynical and bitter at my age to shut my mouth. ‘Doesn’t make me a fill-in-the-blank-ist. I’m not a mobster; I typically operate solo. If I hurt anyone, they probably had it coming and ignored the warnings.

Party on, rebels.

08
Sep
21

Emotional Support, NOT Mental Health

****

I’m watching an old Jackie Chan film, for the N-teenth time, and I see this gorgeous Asian actress who supposedly ended her own life. And, I think…how could she do that? She is…was…just stunning and witty. What was so bad that she had to die? What is driving so many to suicide? [And, why am I having that strange “deja vu” feeling, again?]

There are a growing number of people exhibiting upsetting levels of emotional distress; myself included. It may be classified as “PTSD” or “poor mental health” or written off as “a kid with ADD.” But, the truth is not as simple as Type A, B or C. And, despite their reluctance to believe or accept it, parents and other adults placed in responsible positions are to blame far more than the “afflicted” who may carry some of the blame. But, I am fairly certain the guilt of the latter is, at least, in part, a reflection of what they receive from others, not their own personal choices, habits or actions. And, most of the time, the “afflicted” are suffering from being under the authority of others, not suffering from being themselves, which many of–if not all of us–are often reminded to be, even though the “status quo” and corporate numbers don’t agree. [That’s a wordy way of saying the “conventional world” prefers you to follow trends and fads rather than be unique.]

Let me just get one little terminology matter sorted out, right here. The crisis is NOT “mental health.” That makes the afflicted feel sick in the head and a variety of inadequacies no one needs.

If you put “mental health” on a dating profile, you’re flashing a neon sign for rejection. [Or, if you are unusually lucky, someone will think of you like a sad lap dog in need of pity, and that won’t last.] At the very least, “emotional health” evokes an urgency for compassion. “Mental health” evokes images of frightful institutions with stained white walls, scary electric devices and confining clothing.

When I was at my lowest of lows in my teens, I became suicidal. I cracked under the pressure of trying to be the best student I could be (because people told me I was “smart” and “could do anything” I wanted if I just “believed” in myself). Guess what. My belief must be flawed, like so many other aspects of my being, and, becoming aware of that flaw, I broke and nearly ended my own life by starving. I didn’t have an eating disorder or a desire to “cut.”

[Ew. Bleh. I do NOT care to see blood or use sharp objects. I like the craftsmanship of swords but am not likely to use one in combat unless my life depends upon it; and, even then, I could not imagine drawing blood without vomiting.]

I just could no longer live the life I was told I had to live. I quickly fell into the belief that I was mentally ill and needed medical help. I took whatever I could receive with the limited resources my parents could provide, and it nearly killed me. The professional help I sought took away my most expensive possession and provided me with pills that nearly caused a heart attack.

When I learned this, luckily before the tragic event could occur, I developed a temper like this world has probably not seen since Adolph Hitler. I knew then, no matter how “ill” I was, I was not getting the help I needed…from anyone. Not my family. Not any professional my parents could afford. I felt a strange urge to fight for my life (and, later, my faith, after becoming very angry with “God” for not responding to my prayers). How I am still alive remains a mystery.

Fighting to stay alive did not and does not solve the remaining problem. I shouldn’t have to fight, at all. I should be living comfortably and within my means, without concern for perfection, wealth or the “status quo.” Instead, I continued (and continue) to suffer from lacking emotional support.

Emotional support involves people of any age being able to speak openly about anything experienced which evokes feeling and, now and then, share some sign of affection, a hug or handshake, for examples. Emotional support is knowing you don’t have to be alone with any mental or emotional difficulty/challenge; you can reach out and feel relieved when you make contact with a caring individual. Emotional support comes with good friendships and healthy family relations, not quarreling every day or slamming doors in the faces of emotional uncertainties.

And, while many are steered toward professional therapy, sadly, professional psychology isn’t the same as a good friend or counseling parent. [If you are fortunate enough to know a good therapist, congratulations; I hope it works out for you. I remain skeptical and bitter.] Why should an “educated professional” giving individual hours to a number of troubled individuals be expected to replace everyone’s emotional support system? If you cannot be emotionally supportive to one other person or a group of children, how can you expect some stranger to invest their life energy into your problems. If daycare services had to include sorting out emotional difficulties, I suspect the management (and any other employees under their authority) would turn gray and consider pushing a panic/eject button.

Heck. Just look at the typical nursing home. How many cases do we hear about elderly family members being force-fed pills until they can no longer think straight and die in their wheel chairs? Families who can no longer care for those individuals rely on outside help, and the outside help is lucky if they can be the dying person’s friend for a short time before it’s too late. How many in that field are truly supportive and compassionate? Compare that number to the number of employees (and, probably, management) who show little to no care, for whatever reason. Maybe the staff are lacking emotional support, too; and that’s why they work there instead of some other place that requires daily smiles to countless customers.

Well…that’s not good. That’s not being nice to your elders. But, it’s okay. You just couldn’t do any more for them. And, if paid strangers can do no better, well, I guess that’s just life. On we go. Right? Enjoy the unpleasant funerals, eat more and more cake and coffee and keep going.

With professional therapy, you pay this stranger to help you sort out your problems. And, from my experience, as a minor, you get textbook answers and the expectation that someone in your life should be able to help with some of what’s troubling you. [My parents were expected to understand, but they were far from understanding anything and part of my problem.] When the therapist is out of answers, medication is prescribed (or, like me, you are handed over to someone else who handles the legal details of medication distribution, sparing the previous therapy service provider from lawsuits). Or, you may get steered toward a number of other service providers to help with assimilating into modern adult society. But, I doubt you’ll FEEL better, other than maybe a temporary relief for having connected some dots to get something done. And, when you feel a sudden need to be emotional with someone, you may not be able to reach out to that therapist who has many other clients and limited time. Imagine if your own parents said they had other children to attend and to make an appointment. Could you wait two weeks to get a hug or chat with your parents when your emotional distress is at a peak?

Emotional support isn’t passing through an airport terminal. You don’t check your baggage, partake in a strip search, fill out some paperwork and pass through a scanner to make sure you’re not hiding anything dangerous. Oh. Wait, that’s what my therapy experience entailed, along with a few unfriendly individuals who coldly told me to “dry up” instead of trying to improve my mood or guide my attention toward something more productive without sounding like boot-camp instructors, making me feel like I had no privacy and robbing me of sleep.

A large enough number of young individuals with this problem have insufficient parents who are too consumed with what they call work and their own personal “release mechanisms” to give their children adequate time and attention.

[Case in point; my own sister has kids and is lucky if she can talk with them without losing her temper after a “stressful day of work.” The father of the children, who does not come from the most socially gifted of families and typically only talks about food or sports or gambling, will quickly pull out his “smartphone,” plunk on a couch and tune out the world when he’s not “at work.” And, if you “poke the bear,” you get mauled. You might wonder why one child has uncontrollable physical “tics” and why another refuses to discuss anything that might be troubling him. Those kids don’t feel comfortable sharing anything about their emotional concerns.]

[Now, take my own parents. Please. Ha. Heck. Take my whole family branch of the tree (myself included on an off day). If you confront one twig and question their behavior, they will deny any responsibility and point fingers. My mother likes to say her parents could do nothing for her. She won’t go on at length with talk of blaming or shaming her parents. But, it’s fairly clear; my grandparents did not supply enough emotional support. It might explain why my mother was the oldest but last to marry among her siblings; why it seems she had to be forced out of the house in a “fixed-up” marriage (meaning she married the guy her “friend” fixed her up with for a rare date). And, on that note, if anyone offers to “fix me up” with someone, I will Taylor-Swift-ly refuse.]

I used to think my parents were good people. I used to have–no, I cannot even bring myself to say it, anymore. It makes me nauseous. I know I hate when people think I think I am better than them, but that’s how I felt about my parents as a little boy. At least, they made me feel as if they were better parents than those who were not home to cook or “be around” while I was watching TV, my main friend for many years, when other friends seemed scarce or too discouraged to call/visit. But, they weren’t the good sort of parents I’d hope to have. No matter what my one sister thinks, they didn’t read me bedtime stories beyond the age of maybe five. I was told to read myself a story, always to occupy myself while my mother and/or father did whatever they had to do to remain sane every day; and they wonder why I have little interest in reading. How I became a good, dedicated student remains a mystery.

My parents never had “the talk” with me; so, when school decided to teach my class about the “birds and bees,” I was petrified and could no longer feel comfortable in the presence of a pretty girl (or even a not-so-pretty girl). I was suddenly Adam in the Garden of Eden, stripped of my innocence by someone who didn’t give me much more emotional support than I received from my own parents, covering my “parts” and looking for the exit door.

And, if I asked my parents any questions or presented any concern with weighted emotions, I was handed a sign that should have read “CLOSED.” My parents had no service to offer. Their dusty computer-less brains could not compute explaining sex of any kind to a minor…or, probably, people of any age. This “small” failing on their part has contributed to SO much social anxiety and difficulty in my adult life.

Find me a parent who can say they spend at least an hour out of every week having a heart-to-heart chat with their children, and I will feel more assured that the children are doing okay (unless the parent is lying).

But, children are not the only ones suffering. Adults are cracking under the pressure, too. I could run off a list of famous names, some people my age, including a former classmate and the lead singer of a favored band. I suffer a small heart attack every time someone I value ends their life or when I hear someone “like me” does the grim deed. Oh, I’m just like that guy; he’s funny and zany…and he just ended his own life. Why? Why must I be like all of these troubled individuals who never find the happiness they desire and leave this life in a horrible, unnatural way? How many accounts must I hear/bear before I can take no more?

Adults are less likely to be saved before they kill themselves. Kids often get caught, somehow, leaving trails to their plots of demise. I shake my head at any news story about some teen shooting people at his or her school and the family admitting no awareness of the problem’s development; someone’s fibbing and/or not adequately speaking with the troubled teen. [Or, there is a dark force at work, here, and no one is talking about that X-File.]

Adults may exhibit self-destructive tendencies/habits, like drinking or other addictions. Yet, when an adult ends their own life, it’s too often discovered after the deed is done. Too many people flock to the scene to say something about how they “had no idea” or expected as much (but could do nothing to stop the suicide), leaving the blame on the afflicted, the one suffering. [Well, they are no longer suffering if they are now dead. Right?]

[Let me just stop right here to briefly discuss “misconceptions.” Misunderstandings are probably the number two problem in establishing emotional support, second to a lack of comfortable communication. And, if anyone misunderstands my writing here as a suicide note or red flag, they are sorely mistaken. But, thanks, if you are concerned. If you reach out, I’ll respond.]

[Maybe if I did not hold onto a thread of faith–if I did not retain some expectation for a god to be supervising everything that I imagine exists for some reason–I might be more at ease with what others claim is a dead-end life. Maybe then killing myself would be easy enough. But, nothing is that simple for me. And, whatever the reason, suicide scares me as much as living in this increasingly distressing world. My fears of dying could melt your face off the skull. Yet, death, I realize or hope, would be a relief. And, I’ve come close so many times without trying to end my own life, leaving me to wonder…is a “higher power” keeping me alive for some purpose? Am I here to be someone’s guardian angel or counselor?]

Right now, my own lack of emotional support is taking a devastating toll on my physical health. That I won’t deny. [I’m lucky I can eat any solid food, right now.] I have just as much inclination to blame “the world” as I realize my own lack of self-control over emotions. My anxiety, depression and other forms of distress are running wild like solar flares or volcanic eruptions. I cannot talk to anyone about my troubles without getting countered or slighted by some casual defense. People I know are “too busy” or dealing with their own lives. I’m a burden to them. They have no answers. I’ve been advised to take relaxing not-the-most-legal drugs. And, the moment I get emotional, I’m “too much.” The phone call is abruptly ended. The email gets an unpleasant response. Lights go out. Good feelings pop (vanish) like bubbles. Cracks form and streams of distress flow through my body, wreaking havoc where they will.

[On a side note, my mother is terrible with friendships. She has a “friend” who has been calling, at least, once a year. And, if that friend is lucky, my mother will call her back, once, after a day or more, when she “feels up to the challenge.” There is no regular interaction or emotional support. This friend has known my mother since they were young adults, probably before my mother was married. And, somehow, this friend has stayed in touch, reaching out to my mother, all these years. Sure; this friend calls with her share of emotional burdens and rarely has anything pleasant to share. But…that’s her life! That’s her problem. She needs a friend; she needs emotional support. But, my own mother cannot be that friend. And, clearly, no matter how many times she calls me a cute name to suggest she’s my friend, she’s not my friend, not at all. She’s an obstruction and hypocrite.]

This is my life. And, it’s not much different from the life I had as a teen, when I was suicidal and very confused, before I had the temper and cynical outlook I have now.

Is nothing going to change? Is nothing going to improve? How can or will it?

Of course, there are things I am not doing. But, beyond myself, reaching out, I expect to cross paths with other people. And, beyond “professional” or “business” behavior, what can I expect or hope to achieve? Good friendships and other emotionally satisfying relationships seem out of reach. If I step outside my comfort zone or take action that isn’t “normal,” I’m a “freak.” No one seems to approve of passing notes or making friends with the medical staff who call you their patient. Anyone else in my shoes would probably become even more deviant or give up the opposite sex…if that’s even a thing, anymore, considering people are CHOOSING to be “sexless” or attempt to alter their DNA so they might be happier to look in a mirror. [Yet, most likely, they still have some form of deviant sexual intercourse.]

[If I’m as bad off as those other folks who killed themselves, I should be dead. I don’t need heart medication to prolong my miserable life just to add questionable side effects. I’d rather die naturally…even if it pains me to say it, literally.]

Forget climate change. If the climate goes south, humans are to blame. If humans get wiped out, we’re still worse than the dinosaurs who did not use nuclear power or fossil fuels to sell a lie amounting to more money than I can put into words, time and time again, generation after generation.

…..But, I bet you or I would be less tense and less likely to be careless with the environment if we weren’t making excuses for our lacking emotional support. If the problem persists, I fear solving climate change won’t be a permanent solution. It’ll just be another diversion that costs too many people more than they should have to pay, simply because someone tries to play god. A few decades later, someone else will try to sell your descendants a bill of goods, try to make you pay more taxes and fees to keep nature from killing you. And, those still living under the “safe, manufactured climate of control” will still likely be suffering from lousy relationships. Sooo, we’re just prolonging the misery by trying to control the atmosphere?

Climate concerns won’t be resolved today, tomorrow or the next day. And, neither will problems caused by lacking emotional support. But, if we open one door today, that’s one less door we have to open tomorrow.

Do YOU know someone who might need your emotional support?

03
Sep
21

The Social Solar System

*****

We humans all float around in what might be called a SOCIAL SOLAR SYSTEM, a swirling display of interaction driven by some somewhat invisible gravitational force or influences we never fully grasp or understand. You may think you have it all figured out, but none of us truly do (I think). Even as I write this, I am not entirely sure I can properly convey the concept to be understood by a sufficient number of minds.

Some of us…well, not US…not anyone who actually writes their thoughts into the internet and wanders among the disenchanted lost souls, dissatisfied couplings, single parents, black sheep and other similar beings. But, some humans hold prominent positions, like the famous planets of our generally understood, scientifically explained solar system, like Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and the rest. We see the richest, the most athletically gifted (or manufactured in some cases) and other variations of “wealth” because media sources (which we seem unable to go without) shine them in our faces; our faces, we the rest of the objects occupying the same SOCIAL SOLAR SYSTEM.

Others, not often if ever seen by the naked eye, exhibit similar powerful influences; they are not famous but apparently god-like in their sway over the rest of the universe. We who read and write in this space are most likely not among them. Such tedious labor is below anyone in possession of significant influence.

[My experience in “the workforce” has shed some light on this dynamic. As a “lowly worker,” I responded to a supervisor, who, in turn, complied with orders given by a manager, who, in turn, took orders from the boss of the building, who, in turn, received demands from “corporate”…who, I’m sure, had orders given to him/her by some other powerful being who likely controlled more than one company under some “umbrella.” And, if I dared to question the dynamic, dared to question my “orders,” I’d get a brief and hasty response which essentially suggested someone “higher up” was shaking a finger and casting ripples of influence down the pyramid of control. What I was receiving as my “assignment” was not from my supervisor; it that was merely the end of the “telephone” message, potentially distorted along the way by any number of complications, from a “higher power.” Similarly, in a SOCIAL SOLAR SYSTEM, the “star” at the center compels those individuals in their orbit to follow some sort of order(s); the “star” is the stimulus of the system’s behavior.]

Those of “us” who don’t hold prominent positions other than in our own little “circles,” or orbits, go about our lives merely making the best of being “less than” someone else. Thanks to the internet and outlets like YouTube, many of “us” compete as if we’re in the Hunger Games to attain some sense of fame, to shine like the sun or reflect that greatness like the noted planets in orbit; we try to get picked up by some telescope and added to the logs of infamy. Sometimes that fame isn’t even registered by our consciousness. We seek it instinctively, reflexively, compelled by influences we unintentionally absorb.

So, there’s your first basic model of the SOCIAL SOLAR SYSTEM. You have the famous faces, the shadowy giants of influence and all the rest of the “unknowns” who orbit around them and feel some kind of compulsion to become active, like gravity. Who is the sun? I guess that’s up to you. For some, it might be a god. Others might think George Clooney, Bill Gates or Tyra Banks is the sun. You figure it out.

Now, think a little smaller. Think about your time in school. Can you see them? The smaller SOCIAL SOLAR SYSTEMS? If you watch enough TV and/or movies, you see them. You have your “popular” kids and the “outcasts.” The most “popular” kids are stars with a seemingly amassing number of other bodies drawn into their orbit. Often enough, these “stars” maintain between two and five “planets” in their “circle.” The “stars” are clearly the prettiest (or most handsome), richest and generally most gifted (or well-fed) among us. And, those in orbit are “less than” in some way, tragically, silently wishing to be as “powerful” as the stars. Anyone not in the “system” can see the differences.

But, don’t dismiss everyone outside the spotlight as just “outcasts.” Even some of the less-gifted or less-endowed have SOCIAL SOLAR SYSTEMS. You might notice some quiet mice talking in a corner, salivating like slime monsters, failing to hide their dental nightmares and handicaps. Who? Them? They are not significant, not popular. No. But, there are still “gods” among the “nerds.” Surely, Bill Gates (nor Thomas Alva Edison) wasn’t the Malfoy of his class, toting minions at his sides. No. He was the Harry Potter who didn’t garner fame and attention until he swallowed the golden something-or-other and rose to power, to influence in his own modest way, with “brilliant” inventions. Harry–er, Bill–doesn’t seek to rule the world, but others put him up on their shoulders and applaud him as they take his creations and run with them to, supposedly, make money (as he supposedly makes lots and lots of money).

After many years, wandering this planet we call Earth, searching for stable companionship and purpose, I’m fairly certain I lack a SOCIAL SOLAR SYSTEM. Or, rather, I don’t occupy a favorable one; nor do I hold a favorable position. I think I am an ASTEROID, floating in “space,” occasionally feeling some sort of magnetic pull toward another object or being of whatever kind, occasionally falling into some kind of orbit but never quite belonging to any prominent position in the system, never achieving any status other than being…me.

It makes sense; me being an asteroid. I think back to those old Atari video games; there was one even called Asteroids in which a tiny triangular ship was sent on a mission to mindlessly destroy countless wandering rocks with the smallest of lasers and some strange flashing explosives. That game was compelling countless players to be the bullies who would strive to eliminate people like me, just one of the many floating rocks with no clear sense of direction or purpose. In school, if I ever attracted anyone, it was either a brief encounter or the wrong sort of attraction, resulting in me being hounded by some bully or the lowest of the low life forms who saw me as some sort of food source. Even though teachers and others would praise me for some sort of talents, my creativity, my wit and my “intelligence,” I was (am) leech food.

I’ve heard it too often, already. People who have, supposedly, already found a happy, sustainable existence say, “Surround yourself with good people.” I’ve read a few “self-help” books written by people I imagine acting like gods in convention centers, waving their arms over crowds of worshippers who are seeking deliverance from boredom while drowning in a sea of swaying spotlights and droning sedative music. [“YES! WE CAN! SAY IT WITH ME, PEOPLE!”] And, a number of these “wealthy” individuals who have found happiness confess they weren’t always so smart and had (or have) some rather bad habits.

[How is that possible? How can people who do things I was “trained” to avoid rise to such “power” and boast not just happiness but wealth and sway? If you ask me, I’d say people with money stick their hands in certain pockets and make certain individuals “famous;” the “stars” don’t always if ever rais themselves to such status. Someone tips the scales to provide a favorable illusion.]

People also too often tell me, “Forget about what other people think. You should only be concerned about what YOU think.” [And, that touches on something I wrote in a previous post about the LOGIC CIRCLE (or CIRCLE OF LOGIC); as if everything you ever experience should only make sense to you, alone.]

If I believe such talk, then nothing in this world or life would matter. It’s not my creation. I didn’t get here, first. I came after someone else. What I encounter are not my thoughts or other output. I merely bump into the creations of others and attempt to find space to create my own. [Some enjoy destroying creations; I am not one of them.] If only cared about what I thought, I’d probably consume myself in misery. I’d become extremely isolated and probably so full of myself that I’d alienate every living thing in the universe (as if I’m not already tragically lonely). Where would concepts like empathy and compassion be if everyone only cared about what they individually thought? Feeling isn’t even quite the same classification as thought (depending upon what philosophy or science you follow). People have already, too often pointed fingers at me and pointed out my “flaws,” including “worrying about what others think of me”…including the people who are telling me to stop worrying about what others think of me…and thinking I am better than them (as if I consciously do that).

Often enough, in recent years, I’ve begun feeling that way, simply because I’ve grown tired of dealing with people who fail to work well with me. I know I am better at holding my breath, restraining my temper (and, before the age of forty, my bladder), making an effort to reach out to people outside my comfort zone when and where I find suitable methods of making contact and crafting metaphors and thinking outside the box…among other skills…than the average person I meet. But, brushing all family issues of inherited “judgy” attitude aside, I don’t often think I am better at anything than anyone until I have had sufficient experience to confirm such a notion; I’m just…different. Even a trophy or medal would no longer confirm I am the best at anything. I just don’t believe in such things, anymore. Sure, I might win a race; but that doesn’t make me the best at the sport. I was just the best in moment.

So, if I was to only care about what I thought, either I’d be somewhat content to not bother with competitions for medals and trophies and luxurious retirement packages…or I’d be so convinced that I was superior and in my right to act out and not give a damn what I did or said to anyone around me, like any human who squashes a bug simply because it crossed the giant’s path.

I’ve discussed him in previous posts. How did Adolph Hitler amass so much influence to become what many classify as a monster? Talk about a SOCIAL SOLAR SYSTEM. The little lap dog of an artist, who never found sufficient support/approval from those closest to him, turned ever so dark and bitter and starting barking loud enough to make countless others whimper and bow to him. Forget the “Catcher” and whatever rye patch from which he came; his rebellious candle cannot compete with the Nazi flame. Adolph Hitler turned police dogs into savage killing machines. And, some of those machines built other machines to assist with the killing. And, all of that was to get the message across that little Adolph Hitler was furious and wanted people to respect his outlook on everything.

Now, if you really think about how such an “outcast” could still achieve a powerful SOCIAL SOLAR SYSTEM, either even I don’t fully understand the potential or some other “power” had a hand in the matter. Adolph Hitler wasn’t the typical “star.” Nor was he surrounded by “good people.” He was surrounded by “lesser” people who caved and bent themselves to his flaming will, his fury.

[I have been known to exhibit plenty of fury, after all these years of discontent as an artist, explorer and philosopher, and even I don’t seem able to gather an army like that guy. But, I also would (hopefully) not “sign an evil contract” to get such power and kill ANYONE, either. I may not like most people I encounter, but brutally slaughtering them isn’t going to “surround me with good people,” either. I’d just find myself among those who think they understand me until I realize they don’t and start pecking at them until I’m back to being all alone. It all seems like one of those history lessons no one seems to learn, even though its recorded in books and taught in schools. Is education worth anything, these days? I wonder.]

Regardless of how the stars are created, they occupy the centers of SOCIAL SOLAR SYSTEMS. And, regardless of how self-centered someone may call you, if you don’t see people moving around you, seeking to be like you, trying to feed off of your “influence” (or gifts), you do not have a SOCIAL SOLAR SYSTEM. You are an asteroid or some other solitary object, like me.

And, if you have any sense of humor, at all, you should join me in a game of bouncing around an otherwise empty room, dressed as colorful (foam rubber?) rocks, waiting for someone to blast us to bits so we can end this game of life (and ignore the flashing “high scores”).

[Oh, wait. The player has more quarters. I guess he’s going to want another game after this one. So…maybe we just keep regenerating and getting blasted to bits for no sensible purpose?…unless the dark entertainment, the sinister pleasure of the “blaster” is, somehow, sensible?]

*****

[I wrote this about a week ago when the notion came to me.  It’s lost some “steam” over time and may not be as complete as intended.]

20
Aug
21

Big Brother USA 2021; Current Outlook

*****

My “guilty pleasure” show is already in its semi-final stage, when the remaining players are ready to join “jury.”  I have missed a few episodes, but that’s…okay.  I will live without my (married) Julie Chen.  😛

Normally, around this time, I am disappointed because one of the people I root for has been eliminated.  That is not the case this year.  However, a few of the nicer people have been, WHITE folks (in a house clearly dominated by the “cookout” folks).  The final outcome seems obvious.  [An African American will win for the first time, after many years of being eliminated quickly in a house dominated by white folks from southern “confederate” states, many from California and/or Texas.  You do the math.]

My personal vote goes to the prettiest and most noble of the “cookout.”  That would be the lovely Azah.  Yesterday, she proved she had more honor than her teammates by voting in favor of the white mushroom, Britini, a rapping school teacher who made a bad deal with Kyland (cool name for a guy who cannot be trusted).  Azah gave the only vote against her teammate (and cried repeatedly about Britini and, probably, the harsh social situation she now inhabits).  [People keep telling themselves “it’s just a game” but keep crumbling when their humanity clashes with their injected desire for wealth.  It’s the Hunger Games without anyone dying.]

[If you are unfamiliar with the show/game, most of the time, if someone is targeted to be “evicted from the house,” the majority of “house guests” vote the same way to avoid earning a target on their back for going against the “head of house.”  It’s a cowardly move, but most comply and make the whole thing a bore.  Would you risk your chances of winning by being the only person to disagree with the majority?  It’s sad, either way, especially if you show any warmth to the person you “sadly” vote to evict, before or after the decision is announced.  How crappy is that to say you did everything you could to save someone and give them affection all the time you are outside the voting booth, where you fold and give into the enemy, anyway?]

Sadly, Azah appears to be the “pretty floater” of the group, the person who cannot win any competitions and is easily made emotional.  But, all weaknesses aside, she has the most integrity and has earned my support.  So, if there is any justice, she will have a darn good chance of winning this whole thing…but it’s not fair to those who CAN win competitions (if she wins the whole game).  If there was a separate prize for the most respectable competitor, she wins; hands down.  [And, I would easily pick her as a “ride or die” partner…even though I’d wish she could be a better competitor to help win a few things.]

Anyone else watching?  What are your thoughts on the game?

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19
Aug
21

The Logic Circle; Where Only the Involved Understand

*****

Have you ever partially tuned into a conversation between two people and found yourself completely clueless, unable to understand the terminology and/or context of what they are saying?  Congrats on finding yourself OUTSIDE the LOGIC CIRCLE.

INSIDE the circle, everything should make perfect sense.  You and your companion are discussing a shared interest.  So, even if you find your mind drifting into space, you’re still understood and understanding.

OUTSIDE the circle, those INSIDE appear like insects or other animals, speaking a foreign language.

Vulcans are typically OUTSIDE the circle, probably because they are hesitant to being emotional.

spock-illogical-demotivationposter-1

Well, you can put your stubborn criticism in a box, mister!

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This may not be a new or novel concept to you, but I have become more aware of its existence in recent months, particularly in quarantine, noticing how matters make more sense when I am speaking with someone sharing my interest and/or outlook and less when I am with someone confrontational.  It’s not simply a disagreement or willingness to understand; it is not denial of logic.  It is a special space in which the matter at hand is logical and concepts can be perceived more clearly.

Here’s another good example.  Have you ever been exposed to the multitude of random, quick “tic tock” videos of anything?  Well, to the person who captured the video, the subject matter is amusing or worth sharing.  You, the viewer, however, might look and wrinkle your brow, trying to understand why the video needed to be shared.  You are OUTSIDE the LOGIC CIRCLE.  The inane owners of all those cellphone cameras are INSIDE their own LOGIC CIRCLES.  [Seriously; why are so many of these videos being made and shared with the world when only those INSIDE the LOGIC CIRCLE understand them?][And, why are cats scared of cucumbers?  Cucumbers do not look like snakes.  There has to be some ancient myth to the fear.]

18
Aug
21

Arigato, Tokyo…for Your “Wooden” Olympics

*****

So…that happened; the Tokyo 2021 (2020) Summer Olympics.  As I write this, a little later than anticipated, the Paralympics should be starting or has just started.  The *first* closing ceremony aired some days ago…about a week, ago?  My memory sucks, lately, and I am not one who rapidly looks things up online…even though I am online, now……anyway.  As usual, the Olympics fly by faster than I can breathe or think, and I am left wanting more.

Unfortunately, local broadcast television just cannot “cut it.”  There is not a good enough showcase of all the different events.  Cable TV is better, but, still, I cannot juggle the stations to get enough of what I want to see.  I cannot schedule the Olympics around my lackluster life.  Though I could record most events aired, I’d still not make the time to watch all of them before the closing ceremony.  I want too much from every Olympics…plain and simple.  I am full-on Olympic-spirited and cannot get enough in the two-week time slot, just like I cannot limit myself in Pokémon games; my boxes are FULL!  [Help me.]

Also, unfortunately, the closing ceremony–aside from a lovely showcase of cultural costumes….the kimonos and that one drummer’s outfit, not the “rag-tag troupe” costumes those “park” people were wearing–was lacking.  Most of the performers looked like they shopped out of a dumpster and slapped scraps together.  But, the kimono variety was delicious; I particularly liked the silvery/foil one and the blue-and-white butterfly ones with the red obi sashes.

Where was I?  I got hypnotized by the lovely singer with tassel earrings.  Oh.

The best moment of the closing ceremony had to be the opening light show.  The merging of light energies to form the Olympic rings was a powerful scene which could have summed up the entire show.  The rest was secondary.  The ending felt more like The Sound of Music than Japan saying sayonara (or “arigato” in this case).  If you saw the first five minutes, you are good.  If Tokyo offers the kimono showcase in some online shopping venue, that would also be great, though I didn’t really see any kimonos I, a man, would appreciate.  The women, as usual, just look…great.

I just feel like Japan has SO much to offer, including advanced technology and the roots of many video games.  I am rather disappointed there wasn’t some appearance of the mascots–which, to be fair, are not the best characters (I’ve seen)–and/or familiar cartoon/video-game characters.  There could have been better use of video and computer screens.  Empty seats could have been filled the way they’ve recently done with WWE wrestling shows, having a “live” PC-screen audience.  It still would have been tidy and safe…just a bit more expensive, I suppose.

All disappointment aside, I am MOST grateful to have seen such a WOODEN Olympics.  Even though it had to happen during the worst time in my lifetime (let’s hope), I was personally awed by the prominent presence of wooden elements in the games.  Yes, world, Tokyo gave us all wood…in abundance.

Domo arigato, beloved Tokyo.  I cherish your culture.  It wasn’t your best.  But, I am thankful, all the same.   [You’ll knock everyone’s socks off…next time.]

OLYMPI~2OLYMPI~3OLYMPI~4OLDF98~1




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