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Archive for December, 2013

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© 2013 Eliza Murdock

FA LA LA
LA LA LA
LA LA LA

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year
to all the straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, asexual, questioning,
brown, Asian, black, white, multi-ethnic,
middle-aged, teenaged, old, young,
religious, atheist, agnostic,
people out there!
Sing we joyous all together
Fa la la, la la la, la la la

Except the assholes.

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This isn’t even a joke.  Okay, I mean it is, but it isn’t.

So we’re expecting snow tomorrow in the greater Seattle area, and I was just thinking, I hope the snow plows are out nice and early so I can get to work… and I had to add “too” at the end, there, because well, first I won’t be the only one trying to get to work, but in order for me to get to work those drivers have to have already been at work for quite a while.

Which got me seriously thinking, how do they get to work when the snow is really bad?  I’ve seen street trucks with plows on the front, maybe that’s how?  But yeah, it’s amazing how often we don’t think about who else has to do their part so we can accomplish something.

And what’s worse, we’re getting more and more selfish about making sure we get ours and not caring who has to sacrifice what for it.

We want stores not just open first thing dark and early on the day after Thanksgiving, now we want stores open on Thanksgiving itself!  Never mind that the people having to work are being denied their holiday with family and dinners (at least, I hope that’s what they’d be doing otherwise), we want our stuff and we want it now and nobody had better inconvenience us by *closing* on holidays!

I’ve had people pass me, while I was in the left turn late, heading into oncoming traffic, because wherever it was they had to be was more important to them than considering the accident they might have caused by their impatience and reckless driving.

I’ve heard people talk about a bank who denied them loans as “not giving me my money!”  But it wasn’t their money!  This idea that someone else is denying you access to *their* money is now equated with being denied access to *your* money. (And no, I’m not going to get into the actual details of that not even being the bank’s money, that money was created out of thin air from nothing at all… that’s a different rant.  Being denied a loan for prejudiced reasons is also a different rant, but that happens, too.)

But in general, we’ve become very self-centered, spoiled, and entitled.  We don’t care about lifting up one another, only ourselves.  We don’t care who is denied something, so long as *we* aren’t denied something.  We aren’t grateful for what we have, we’re indignant that we don’t have more.

I suppose it could be the country going through it’s terrible two-hundreds…  (not that it was all that good in the first place) but wouldn’t it be nice if people remembered we’re all in this together?  You can’t climb a latter if you keep sawing off the rungs because they’re “in your way”.

Take a minute today and think of who around you helps you ‘get where you’re going’, either literally or metaphorically.  Think about the janitor (or maybe the family member!) who replaces the toilet paper rolls so you can… ehem.  Think about the person working at the check-out counter so you can buy your things.  Think about the snow plow driver who has to get to their work so you can get to yours.

Just… take a moment and think about others.

And Merry Christmas.

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This is likely going to cause the wrong kind of controversy.  Let me say up front this is NOT a post which is suggesting anyone has to ‘get over’ anything, or that anyone is wrong in viewing the world the way they do.  This is about sharing my view.

There is a real and justified cry about the lack of “people who look like me” on TV.  “Me” in this case being anyone not white.  What I disagree with, however, is the argument that the television is therefore full of people who look like me; me in this case being actually me.

Just because she’s white doesn’t mean she looks like me.  Especially if you consider the level of make-up and even Photoshop involved in many ads these days, she probably doesn’t even look like herself!

Just because I’m white doesn’t mean I look at the TV or movies and see it filled with representations of me.  I don’t.  I see beautiful, skinny, wealthy women who wear short skirts and high heels who feel incomplete without a man.   They don’t represent me.   They don’t look like me.  They don’t act like me.

The very, very rare time that a woman is depicted as anything other than skinny and beautiful, she is usually heavy and beautiful, and her sole purpose is to prove that the heavy girl can still get the guy.  Which is great, except it’s limited to roles where the story plot *is* the heavy girl can get the guy.  The average woman on TV is still skinny and beautiful as the default.

Because of the difference in how culture views each of us, there is also a difference in how we view the culture, and how we interact with it.  They say giving a white doll to a black girl lowers her self-esteem, but giving a black doll to a white girl raises her empathy.   I think this is sort of the same idea.  Any two groups might have very different interactions and reactions to what is otherwise seen as the same catalyst.

When black people see black people on TV or in the movies or other media, they see themselves – because of the general lack of it.  But when white people see white people on TV or in the movies or other media, we don’t necessarily see ourselves.  We often feel worse about ourselves because of what we see.  It fuels our insecurities rather than building our esteem.  It’s like the opposite of the dolls.

The irony is, both groups look at today’s media and see someone other than us.  So it’s entirely accurate to say that everyone who isn’t white isn’t properly represented in media, but that doesn’t mean everyone who is white is.  It’s an oxymoron, but it’s true.

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Wearing high heels is like drinking until you throw up.

There are many reasons you do it: peer pressure, an attempt to fit in, maybe you just think you like doing it… but it always ends the same, face down in the toilet swearing to yourself you’ll never, ever do this again.

And then a little bit of time passes… the headache goes away and the nausea subsides and you can eat normal food again.  And a bit more time passes and you sort of forget how bad it was.  And then you find yourself toying with the idea of doing it again.

Only to end up remembering – when it’s far too late – exactly why it is you promised yourself last time you were never going to do it again.

Wearing heels is like that.

There’s the pressure to be ‘fashionable’, or maybe to add height, or you just like the ‘click-clack’ sound of walking on linoleum flooring in them.

The day wears on, and you’re walking a little slower, a little more gingerly.  And soon you realize your little toe has that really painful blister forming on it, and you have to run hobble to the first aid kit to get a bandage.

By half-past lunch you’re cursing whoever made these shoes and wondering what possessed you put them on that morning, and why on earth didn’t you think to bring a simple pair of flats to change into after that big meeting?

And yet what happens?  You go home, and kick them off and oooohh it feels so good, and maybe you give yourself a foot bath and drink a glass of wine and even as you swear you’ll never wear them again, you find you’ve put those shoes back into your closet… where they’ll lie in wait, lurking for the next time you forget, and slip them on…

Tonight when I get home, these things are going in the ‘donate’ box for the local thrift store!

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