Thursday, September 30, 2010

The One About Right, Left, and That Place In the Middle

 Well, we're gearing up for yet another election season and the fur has begun to fly. This side did that, the other side did that thing, and by God that new party is filled with racist troglodytes! It brings me to the question is this really the best we can do? 

We're failing here folks. Failing badly. And worst of all, we're not listening to any of the conversations. We're too busy asserting ourselves and then, by virtue of the assertion, we're too busy defending ourselves. Productive no?

I met a man from somewhere else not too long ago. As we sat around and chatted, the conversation turned to politics. He said something that's stuck with me "Americans never get anything done because they're too busy taking sides."

I though the comment was arrogant at the time. After-all, I'm an American and we get things done. We right wrongs, fight injustice, blah, blah, blah... but in a sense, he's right. We don't get things done, not lately... We just take sides.

It got me thinking about talking, listening, politics, and people. Do we really "hear" what the discussion is? Are we "hearing" what others want? Do we "hear" the solutions in the conversations?  Or do we just regurgitate the  sound bytes from the "side" we identify with??

I miss the thinkers in this life, I meet too few these days. I meet a lot of folks who have plenty of things to say, but nothing that they've put their own thought into the topic.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The One About What Wasn't Done

I'm a bad blogger, I'll admit it. I intend on writing many things, but sometimes life gets in the way and it just doesn't get done. That doesn't mean that I'm a bad blog reader though. Part of my morning ritual is to read the 30 or so blogs that show up in my reader. I love observation, I love peeking into other lives, I love words.

So this morning, I did the usual. Made the coffee, sat down in front of the glowing screen and started down the list. The list is always smaller on Saturdays, I get that. But today....

Himself and I shared coffee while we watched the morning news.  Of course this morning's news was a rerun of news that we all were glued to  nine years ago. We watched quietly, both of us remembering exactly where we were, what we were doing, and the tempest that carried us through the days that followed. We thought of those who were lost, those who lost loved ones, and those who pitched in and touched the lives of so many.

We moved on with our day. I turned my attention back to the screen in front of me, and noticed something odd. Not one of the posts in my reader included anything about what happened nine years ago. After years of bloggers contributing to projects about 9/11 victims, after years of bloggers telling their own 9/11 stories, there was not one damn thing in my reader that made this Saturday different from any other Saturday.

I am ashamed. 

I am ashamed that I admired some of these people.

I am ashamed that I contributed anything (however small) to their causes or careers.

I am ashamed that remembrance must be fashionable to be "done".

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The One About Legalities and Sensitivities

So, apparently, there's a little church somewhere in the wilds of Florida, that has decided it would be a smashing idea to have a bonfire with copies of the Quran on the anniversary of September 11th. The pastor seems to believe that somehow, this makes a statement against radical Islam. I shall not discuss radical Christians or the fact that this act makes you exactly the same as the people you're making a "statement" against. That, of course, would be foolish.
What I will discuss, or mull over as it were, is the fact that this Pastor and his congregation have every right to roast marshmallows over any book they choose. Including, but not limited to, the Quran. It's not the most sensitive or intelligent thing to do, but it is their right to do so. Period.

What I'm struck by here, is not that people are all over this tiny little church but that people are screaming "insensitivity!" all around town. The same people by the way, who were screaming that it's a right to build a mosque at Ground Zero. Because sensitivity should never trump a constitutional right.... right?? Because after all, if you put sensitivity ahead of a persons right you must be anti something. After all, you're infringing on somebody's right . That's un-American after all.... right? You've got to be discriminating...right? 

So not right. Let me be perfectly clear here. I do not agree with the actions of this Florida church. I don't think anyone of any persuasion is going to listen to what you say after you kick them in the shin. That being said, I will defend their right to have a bonfire with whatever they want to. It is their right as Americans.

It's fascinating to me that rights only apply to the cause of the day. It's also fascinating to me that the very same people who wave the flag, and cloak themselves in the title of American will defend the right of one group to act insensitively and yet decry the insensitivity of another as they exercise their own right. 

Hypocrisy never healed a damn thing.

Monday, September 06, 2010

 The One About What You Are 

My four year old daughter is obsessed with pea soup. Specifically, my pea soup. For some odd reason, she asks for it constantly. She can name almost all of the ingredients and her face lights up at the mere suggestion of the steamy green stuff. Yesterday, she announced to Himself that "Mommy's a good chef" while she sang the praises of the blessed pea soup. I said thank you, we all laughed and we moved on with our day. But it stuck with me... at least the word "chef" did.

See, I'm not a chef. I'm a pretty good cook and I can adjust just about any recipe for may family's tastes, but I cannot walk to my pantry, whip out a few ingredients and "create" a meal. You will never find me with a jar of capers, a can of tuna and an original idea all at the same time. Just not who I am...

So it got me thinking. About labels, about the internet, about blogging, writing... about  CREATING. Making things, being original, originality in general, fact, fiction, wishes, actions, presentation, truth, lies, and the stuff in between...

(Yep, that's my brain. It's gets all different kinds of busy up in here)

Awhile ago, the great big blogging community had a great big kerfluffle about the term "writer", specifically, "real writers" and what exactly makes a "real writer". The definition of the word "writer" basically says that if you can form words, you're a writer. So every semi-literate person out there who puts pen to paper or fingers to keyboard is technically a writer, myself included. But is that fair? Especially out here in the vast web-o-sphere?

It appears that everyone would like to label themselves as something out here. Mommy blogger, Design Blogger, Daddy Blogger, Travel Blogger, Food Blogger, Political Blogger...etc. Almost all of them label themselves as "writers". But are they? Is the term valid if you're earning a living from it? Or is it about exposure? What about actual print? Is that more or less valid than the internet itself?

My definition of "writer" has always contained the term "create". Along with the word "original". If you've created something original in words, in my view, you're a writer. It seems that I'm the minority. Out of the 30 or so blogs that I read regularly, maybe 2 or 3 of them are actual writers. All of them purport to "be" writers, but few actually are. Few actually exhibit an original thought. It doesn't mean that they're not interesting, it just means that they're not "original".

But it's all in the marketing isn't it? Call yourself something and therefore, that must be what you are. Say it often enough and loud enough and someone, somewhere will believe it. Call yourself something, re-write some copy, and viola! You suddenly are what you wished you were all along.

But is that who you are???

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The One About Black and White
Several weeks ago, Himself was outside with the Eggroll. Our neighborhood is ripe with little kids and there was a small group of them playing across the street. The Eggroll, being the social little kid that she is, wanted to play with the other kids and as she started across the street, one of the kids yelled "You can't come over here because you're black and white". 
I think time may have stopped for Himself. The Eggroll stated that she is in fact NOT black and white, she's Chinese. She returned to her father and shortly thereafter they both came into the house.

When he told me the story, I was a little put off, but not nearly as upset as he was. I told him that I was going to see the offending child's mother at a function, and if I had an opportunity, I would speak to her about it. The function came and went and although she was there and we spoke, the time to bring up something such as that just never arose. Himself was disappointed but not particularly upset.

Several days ago, I caught the Mom on the street. We chatted for a few minutes and since we were alone, I decided that the time was right for a difficult topic. As I relayed the story, I didn't flat out tell her that it was HER child that had uttered the phrase. I just said that one of the kids did it and that I thought she should be aware. She apologized profusely for the incident and I told her that it certainly didn't bother us, but it certainly might not be received well in other company. 

Situation resolved....

When I told Himself about the conversation, he was disappointed that I had not pointed out to her that it was her kid. He felt as though I let her off the hook. I told him that no matter how you word that one, no one is going be open and receptive when you accuse their kid of any kind of racism. It's calling them a racist by proxy...just not going to work....

And then, a half an hour later ...

"Oh Shit!" (he's watching the baseball game)

"Whassamatter? They give up another run?"

"No, no. Oh shit!"

"What is your issue?"

"The White Sox dammit!"


"The White Sox, Nyt... their slogan.."

"What about their slogan?"

"Their slogan is "it's black and white" and we've had so many conversations with those parents about who's a Sox fan and who's a Cub's fan..."

"Oh shit...indeed"
Situation not exactly resolved.....