society

sorry about this

I’m not one to write about celebrity crap, but I’ve been spending more time than usual on Tumblr and my dashboard is filled with photoshopped wrecking balls and a topless Miley Cyrus.  I have seen endless text posts of women and girls bitching about Miley’s turbulent lifestyle, how she’s being exploited, how she’s become a slut or whatever else they find offensive about someone who has no direct impact on their lives.
All I have to say regarding that is BRAVO to whoever is marketing this girl because I struggle to name a single pop song of that last decade, but I know more about her than I do about our president.
My opinion (as if it really matters) on the controversy over Miley Cyrus is that this and this are totally different:
aaa
They may be in the same ballpark, but Spears fell into a dark, black hole from which she will never return, while Cyrus just turned in to white trash.
I think the most entertaining aspect of the entire pop star worship thing is that people feel so personally offended by her actions (and her haircut) that when they write or talk about her (or anyone of equal celebrity status), they are filled with (an awkward, questionable) passion.
Our culture has become so incredibly mesmerized by the lives of beautiful people and it’s no wonder, they’re absolutely EVERYWHERE!
They’re right in front of us every day in every form of publicity possible and social networking is like a church of fellow worshipers.  Can you really blame young girls (and boys) for feeling personally attached to these people?
These people have become part of their everyday lives.  It’s truly mind blowing if you thinking about it.

To be fair, in black and white, it’s really no different than getting angry at politicians or feeling your heart melt when you read about something Pope Francis has said or done  (I really do like that man), however, these people have societal impacts whether you pay attention to them or not.

I won’t lie though, I’m a sucker for looking at the magazines they line the grocery store impulse shelves while I wait in line, however that fascination does not extend past my transaction and Amanda Bynes throwing a bong out the window does not make a single difference in my life.

I guess my point is this: who gives a shit?

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What the Hell is Happening?

At what point in social evolution did men get the idea that women actually gave a fuck what they thought about them?  It’s no secret that we lather ourselves in cosmetics, and pull, tease and dye our hair in hopes to become, somehow, more attractive, but if you for one second think this is all for you, it’s not.   Women desire to be just as attractive to other women.  If we spend $30 on a dress and don’t receive a compliment from another woman we deem even semi-fashionable, that $30 suddenly feels like $300 and we’re devastated.  Women live their life on a stage whether they admit it to themselves or not.   And most of the time, we’re out to make other women jealous of our makeup, hair or fashion abilities because it makes us feel better or somehow accomplished in some simple aspect of our lives.

There is an ad on the talk radio station I listen to and the host, of whatever advertized program, plays an audio clip from some author who says “We see a woman and when we first meet her, we immediately think ‘I would do her’ or ‘I would not do her’ and if you fall in to the ‘I would do her’ category, the only way you can get out of that zone is if you are such a horrible person or gain a lot of weight to the point where you become, somehow, physically unattractive to him.”
I have no problem accepting this, it’s not news that men think this way and that’s fine, but why do we need actual books about this shit?  The only people who would read garbage like that are other men, and they wouldn’t waste the money because they already know how men think.   In American society, women already suffer severe self-esteem issues, so there’s no market there.
So basically, the only reason for a man to write a book of this nature would be to brag about how shallow men are capable of being or just to see his thoughts printed between book binds and marked for sale in the clearance section at Barnes and Noble.
I am so tired of hearing men’s thoughts on what they think is some sort of  ground-breaking streak of brutal honesty when they talk about the physical aspect of women as if we’re just dying to take our self-esteem down a notch.  We know you’re emotionally callow and we know you don’t like cellulite or fat chicks.  So what?  Who cares?  The same goes to women who talk about small dicks and thinning hairlines – shut the fuck up about it.  It’s sad that that’s how we “fight” back.
Any woman with a half a brain whether she’s beautiful, fat, skinny, ugly or whatever superficial label fits her – would ever, ever date or sleep with a man who brags about the negative aspects of his interior being.  Unless, of course, she was drunk , high or at rock bottom and needed the self-esteem boost.

Cutting through all of the bullshit though, out of stupid people come stupid children who create stupider children and as each generation is slowly deteriorating, the smart people are beginning to feel somewhat hopeless because they are smart enough to recognize the decline in morale and common sense and everyone else is so god damn stupid that unless there is an emotional sting to a statement, it can’t be fully processed.
At what point did manners become some obscure part of the past?  I am pro-honesty, I have always appreciated brutally honest friends and constructive criticism, but honesty should have positive benefits, never damaging ones.
This generation is shit and it terrifies me that the yolo generation will run this country one day.
I’d just like to end this with saying that there is a reason we are capable of having private thoughts and I urge the majority of the population to exploit that ability to no end.

Family Time

We all have that side of the family.   For me, it’s my mother’s side of the family.  Rural Texas folks just trying to make a dishonest living.   Just to give you a peek at the level of dysfunction in which I grew up; my aunt and uncle are con artists, and bad ones at that.  My cousin is a meth addict that’s been in and out of jail for the past 4-5 years.  She has six kids between three different men and in court, stood up and said her first son belonged to her stepfather, to which he jumped up and yelled “Ya’ll take my blood, ya’ll take it right now!” which resulted in her being charged with perjury.  A few years ago, she gave up custody of her children to pursue a dream of theft and meth addiction.
Mary-Elizabeth-Hillis-Brown-mugshot-23059512.400x800This is my favorite mugshot (she has more than one). She is currently serving a short sentence in jail.

Trust me when I saw that this is only the tip of the tip of the iceberg.  The majority of my mother’s family remained in small towns or little “big towns” that don’t really provide people with successful opportunities.
A lot of people will argue that it’s up to a person to decide, but anyone who knows anything about small towns knows that they’re black holes.  How my mother escaped, I will never know, but each time I see my family (who I do love very much), I am extremely grateful for the choices she made.

That being said, I’d like to tell you about my cousin David.  David is my grandmother’s nephew.   He is the youngest of three children – only one of which turned out normal.  David is ginger as fuck.  The last time I saw him was at my grandmother’s funeral a year and a half ago, his teeth were black and his hair showed signs of whitening at the sides.  I didn’t talk to him that long, but the first thing that came to my mind was the time he kidnapped himself.

Yep, you read that right.  He kidnapped himself.  I was talking to my mother the other day and we were talking about how incredibly fucked-up our family is and I brought up David.
I was always under the impression that he did it because he was broke, but it turns out I was wrong.

The story is; one day he disappeared no phone call, no note – nothing.  A couple of days later, someone received a ransom note (either his parents or his boss) asking for x amount or he was going to die.   However it came about, the receiver threw the note away knowing that it was David.

Getting no response from the first note, he wrote a second one.  Finally, I guess he gave up and turned up a few days later saying he chewed his way through ropes and broke free.  Even took the liberty of bruising himself up for effect.  It was shortly after that that he was turned over to the state hospital.
Again, I always thought it was because he was broke, but after talking to my mother, I learned that it was because he didn’t want to go to work.

I have spent quite a bit of time thinking of ways to get out of work, but I can’t even fathom how kidnapping could even makes it way to a list of options.  Granted, he’s bat shit crazy, but “kidnapping” yourself to get out of work is an entire realm of fuckedness that I can’t comprehend.
Even worse that that shit runs in my family, leaving me open to a world of possible mental-illnesses.  However, when I saw him at the funeral, he seemed pretty normal.  But that shit doesn’t just go away, oh no, it’s the herpes of the mind, and I am more than ready for the next flareup.

Unfortunately, I’m not ashamed of how trashy my family is.  I’m so completely entertained by it that I feel it’s 100%  necessary to tell anyone who will listen and it generally opens doors for sharing.
My favorite documentary is The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia because it  reminds me so much of my family.  I made my mother swear to watch it and after she did, she said the exact same thing.  While only a few family members have developed drug addictions, at least 75% of them are plagued with mental illnesses that stretch out beautifully over decades of rural country life.  And there is little I’m more proud of than having a front row seat to the best shit show around.

Buy REAL Books!

Anyone who really knows me, knows that I’m a pretty big conspiracy theorist.  We’re talking Illuminati and HAARP status, okay?  For your benefit, I will spare you on all the details of what I think the internet is all about and all of this gun-control hosh-posh and we’ll just move right along.  The whole idea of a Kindle or whatever other devices used to read, scares the shit out of me.  Not because of people’s fascination with touch-screens and technology, but because of what reading tablets actually mean to achieve.  You’ve all read or at least heard of “Fahrenheit 451” by the wonderful Mr. Bradbury?  You know, the temperature at which books burn???  Well why burn when you can just erase?

Call it what you like or deny it all you want but billions of dollars a year are pumped in to technology — to steer us in to a complete technologically-dependent society which is lazier than the current (it’s totally possible) one. Everything is attempting to become digital for “our convenience”.  Sure, it’s fun and interesting and it’s still new and it’s become a part of everyday life.  Smartphones, FaceBook and even blogging.  Technology is a major part of most people’s lives and we’re already heavily dependent on it.   Music, films and books have all gone digital.  Three majorly influential forms of art, completely capable of being erased without a hint as to their existence.

My mother is an avid reader.  Always had a book in her hand for as far back as I can remember.  She got the new Kindle about 6 months ago and honestly, she hates reading on it (go Mom!) because she likes holding books and turning pages and the smell and all the same nerdy shit I love books for.   However, in order to appease my stepfather (who is a penny pincher), she feels she needs to read books on it.  When she bought a 99 cent book at Half-Price Books he asked her why she bought it when she had the Kindle.  He’s not an asshole or anything, just an Engineer (oooooh).
So now my mother will feel it’s necessary to buy books on her Kindle even though she doesn’t really enjoy reading on it (she mostly plays Words With Friends).   The whole situation just seems unusual when you look at it from that perspective, doesn’t it?

Kindles are meant for reading, yes, but they have tons of other features and if you find you don’t enjoy reading on them, it’s a bit drastic to say it was money wasted.  But, like most consumers, we need to get that bang for our buck, so, instead of actually buying books in the form that she prefers them, my mother has been pressured in to downloading them.   Not that she reads anything entirely worthwhile — she reads crap and she admits it, but that’s not the point.  The point is, a book-loving woman who reads at least 3-4 books a month, who picks up old books and smells them, who likes the way the print slants on some pages — she has been pressured in to giving up something she actually LOVES to please someone who has no interest in reading for pleasure, only for squeezing $200 worth of a piece of technology.

And this, I fear is happening under different circumstances throughout households across America.  Books, music and films are all cheaper when you download them.  Not having a cellphone has become a “dangerous” thing.  Our psyche is being tampered with and most people are too dumb to realize it.  It doesn’t take a genius to fit the pieces together, it just takes someone willing to accept that they’re part of it.  Because once you accept that you’ve been victimized by the whole thing, only then can you actually find footing around it and work forward.  It’s taken me about seven years to accept certain things and they were difficult things to accept.  There are still plenty of things to come to terms with but my life is not devoted to exposing the real masterminds.  Not because I wouldn’t enjoy it but because people aren’t ready for it.  Everyone, even my George Bush loving mother knows the government is fucked up and secretive,  but it’s just become widely-accepted with no thoughts of action against it, because “that’s just how it is”.

So, like my dear role-model Maude (Harold and Maude), I make small differences in my own, little way.   I buy books.  Real, bind-cracking  books with slanted words and musky smells and bent covers.  New, used — doesn’t matter.   I don’t watch television, I write, I play my own music and I quit reading the news that purposely clouded my vision of society.  I may be bound to my financial responsibilities, but that’s the only place they’ve got me.  Everything else is mine.

I Feel Like This Is One Of Those Awful Orientation Videos You Have To Watch For A New Job

Ladies, we all use the terms “creep,” “stalker” and, “psycho” to refer to men that make us uncomfortable. And we all know the signs of a man that is about to earn that term when we see them.

Sirs, if a girl does not make eye contact or keeps fidgeting with something in her purse, her hands or her phone; she does not want to talk to you.

When we show signs of discomfort, we’re praying the creep will just take the hint and walk away.   The men who recognize the fact that you are uninterested are thinking something along the lines of “bitch” or “prude” or some other derogatory term.  While some will give up, others keep pressing and even go as far as to ask for a phone number, regardless if you tell them you’re in a relationship.  I’m not a feminist and you won’t see many topics like this on my blog, but I firmly believe that while women maybe be (seemingly) treated as equals, we’re still not viewed as equals.  I know this because when I buy a philosophy, psychology or even a poetry book, I’m more likely to purchase a book on the subject written by a man. I have avoided buying philosophy books written by women because I feel they’re generally derived more from emotion than logic.  Which is actually very hypocritical of me considering I am constantly struggling to separate the two in my own life.

Back to the subject; I would like to make clear that not all men make women uncomfortable.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with flirting with a woman, complimenting her or even sitting next to her to talk.  There is, however, a problem with men who assume that touching a woman on her arm, leg or lower-back is completely acceptable.  It’s not.  While some women have no problem letting you know they don’t approve, a majority of them are not comfortable saying anything.  The reasons as to why women prefer to say nothing are deeply embedded in the standards of our society and how certain things are portrayed.  Women have been made to feel guilty when they feel or think certain things; we’re easy targets because we’re emotional and are constantly at battle with our heads and hearts.
However, I could talk forever on the subject, so I’ll move along.
The following is a chart of all documented Sexual Harassment charges within the last 14 years.  If you’ll look, I have highlighted a few rows (click image to enlarge):

These numbers actually shocked me.  Granted, many of these are probably circumstantial and yes, the Merit Resolutions seem to stay somewhat steady throughout the years and even manage to surpass the Administrative Closures (which, thankfully, have slowly declined over the years).  But nearly half of all the cases are filed under No Reasonable Cause which grew to half in 2010 and exceeded more than half in 2011.   Even more shocking are the percentages for Reasonable Cause.

What truly bothers me is that some people will look at this and automatically assume either:

a) The woman was lying and wanted attention
b) She misunderstood her harasser
c) She wanted money

I don’t doubt myself that some of these charges were probably the work of con-artists and sure, some woman need drama in their lives, but you can’t tell me that out of nearly 206,000 lawsuits, nearly half of which were found unreasonable, that all of those women were guilty of one of the aforementioned assumptions.   And while some may see the decline of recipients as a positive thing, I see it as a growing number of women uncomfortable with speaking out.
I’m not writing this to form a battalion of angry women and encourage them to sue their boss for maintaining eye contact too long.  I’m writing this because I work with a man who is married, knows I’ve been in a relationship for over 10 years but thinks it’s okay to touch my thigh, my lower back and sit uncomfortably close to me.

Other’s I work with have even mentioned that he follows me around and sits next to me at any opportunity.   He sends me text messages throughout the day, sits in my office for twenty minutes at a time and mentions things to me about my body.  I have politely let him know I don’t appreciate being touched, I’ve asked him to leave my office before and yet, he still persists.

However, I’m uncomfortable mentioning anything to my boss because “it’s not extreme enough” and “he’s not hurting me”.  No one has personally said these things to me, but even mentioning some things that have made me uncomfortable to the other men I work; they just laugh and say “yeah, he’s weird”.  They’re not bad guys and they wouldn’t say anything that they thought personally offended me, but like the majority of people, they don’t see it as a serious problem because it hasn’t advanced to a certain level.  Even I feel burdened by a certain standard and keep telling myself, “no, it hasn’t reached that point yet”.

But honestly, it has reached that point.  The company I work for has two separate locations.  Some days, I don’t work with him at all, but the days I do are awful.  When he calls my name out to say hello, I immediately want to hide, when he comes near my office, I pretend I’m on the phone (and he still lingers until I ‘hang-up’ sometimes), it doesn’t matter what he’s doing, his presence makes me terribly uncomfortable.   I was partnered with him one day to clean things around the building and he kept finding ways to touch me the entire 5 hours we worked together.  Each time he’d reach his hand near me, I’d jump away and tell him I didn’t like being touched — he laughed.  I’m genuinely a very laid-back person, and my sense of humor is absolutely filthy.  But, I only make jokes, in confidence, with people I’m comfortable around.  This invitation has never been extended to him and I’m always careful to watch what I saw when I’m around him.  However, the day we worked together, he constantly made jokes about me giving him blow jobs; “Oh, why are your knees dirty, you’ve been on the floor with me”  “Look at those dirty knees” “Oh, I see white knees, good thing no one else is around”.

Even with all of the situations combined, I feel like calling it sexual harassment could be overkill even though I know that’s exactly what it is.  Some would say that I prolong the discomfort, and yes, they are correct to a certain degree.  But instead of pointing the finger at the person who isn’t saying anything, maybe it’s time to question why we’re too uncomfortable saying anything.  The solution does not lie solely on the person who doesn’t speak out, the solution rests on the shoulders of all of us.

With that, I would like to, at least, encourage men to think about their actions.  Just because a woman doesn’t outright tell you she isn’t comfortable with something, doesn’t mean she isn’t.  Read the body language, notice her short answers, notice she probably doesn’t make eye contact.  And lastly, never put your hands on a woman who displays any of the previously mentioned signs.