My Dog the Racist. My dog growled at a pedestrian walking up the block the other day. He then proceeded to bark two more times at the individual. The pedestrian was a black kid. Now you may say that my dog does not have the cognitive ability to be racist, but ignorance of the law is no excuse. You might believe that my dog doesn’t know the difference between a black kid, and any other kid, but I do. I know that any dog unfamiliar with the warnings of George Orwell needs to be taught that in their world, the black kid needs to be considered a non-person, as far as my dog is concerned. It does not reflect well on me, his owner, if he barks at anyone other than white males. I know barking at black people is tantamount to racial profiling, and that based upon my dog’s ignorant behavior he and I need to have an inter-species conversation on race if we don’t want to be considered cowards. In this inter-species conversation on race, I would tell my dog that it is not enough to say that some of the anuses you sniff are black dogs. Those are the excuses of scoundrels seeking a get-out-of-jail-free card on racial sensitivities. I would tell him that his barking could do great damage to that black kid’s self-esteem, and I would tell him that any future barking would be considered a hate-crime regardless of his intentions and motives, and that it could carry with it hate-crime punishments. I also know that no matter how confused my dog may be at a scolding, he will not be doing anything like this again in my home any time soon.
Haloed Hollywood. A fawning Hollywood article fawned over the “Over forty!” bodies of some celebrities. The article focused its fawning on the bodies of Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry, and Jane Fonda. One would think that a true feminist would read such an article and think that if these women worked half as hard on their minds, it would do a great deal to further the idealized image of a strong woman for those young females that look up to them. These same, young women will learn that if these women took that time to focus on cultivating their intellect, at the expense of their figures, fawning Hollywood writers wouldn’t care what they thought.
Those impish impoverished. It seems almost innate that those who receive some sort of government assistance despise those that assist them. Is this based on pride, or is it that if the assisted let up on the pressure, those who assist them won’t feel the need to assist them more?
Superior Inferiors. Why is it that if an individual is struggling with a contraption, nine out of ten people would rather laugh than help the struggler in anyway? As an individual who has had more than his share of embarrassing moments struggling with contraptions, I’ve always considered it important to assist those that struggle in a manner I deem appropriate to the situation. The best thing I’ve come up with is to offer communal condemnation of the product:
“Those things are real sons a bitches,” I will say.
This subtle form of empathy seems to help the struggling individual far more than any physical assistance will, for most men don’t want physical assistance. It often furthers their humiliation for someone to step in and fix the contraption for them in a manner that makes it look easy. My little subtle form of empathy not only lessens their feelings of public humiliation, but it keeps the hyenas —looking for any reason to start the laughing— at bay.
If that subtle form of empathy isn’t appropriate for the given situation, I will say:
“Hey, just to let you know, I could not have done that any better myself.”
The old adage: “Treat others the way you want to be treated” comes into play in situations like these for me. Others —the nine out of ten— get a lot of mileage out of watching another struggle … This is the case, more often, if the laughing hyena don’t like you in ways they won’t admit.
On that note, most find it more enjoyable to laugh at those they consider superior. Most people won’t laugh at an individual they consider inferior. It may increase their feelings of superiority to laugh at the inferior, but they often wait till later to laugh about it. If an individual is superior, in some ways, and they are struggling with a contraption, it is deemed acceptable at the time to laugh at them during their struggle. They can take it, the hyena thinks, they have an ego that might need to be diminished a little, and if they don’t, well, they’ll get over it. An inferior individual gains sympathy from onlookers for their difficulties not laughter.
Ah Hole Arrogance. It’s easy to spot arrogant, Ah holes in life, but what about the soft and squishy Ah holes? They’re out there. They just know how to conceal their nature better than arrogant types.
“Please call me Ernie,” they’ll say when they greet you in a formal setting.
‘Well, I wouldn’t be calling you Mr. Brubaker if it wasn’t my job to do so,’ I want to say. I don’t say this, but to their utter frustration, I continue to call them Mr. Brubaker.
“Why do you continue to call him Mr. Brubaker,” fellow associates will ask me. “He said he prefers to be called Ernie?”
I can’t help but think that there is some kind of game being played here. I can’t help but think my fellow associates are either excited that Ernie has allowed them to see themselves as an equal, or that they can’t wait until they have achieved Ernie’s stature in life, so they can copy his formula when they run into one they can deem subservient.
Whatever the case, Ernie is not trying to make you feel better about yourself so much as he is trying to lift his own stature by being ‘one hell of a good guy’ that decrees that you are permitted to be more casual around them … even if you’re not permitted to be by your boss. It makes Ernie-types feel like a wonderful person to allow you this privilege, but it makes those that will call him “Ernie” look like a court jester that has just received permission to look the king in the eyes. At least arrogant Ah holes are in your face with their arrogance.
The Confused Mind of a Cool Celebrity: We’re all fascinated with the lives and thoughts of celebrities. After achieving some fame in the group No Doubt, Gwen Stefani went back to her hometown in Orange County, the “OC”, California. At one point in the concert, she shouted something along the lines of: “We’re happy to be back in the OC!” The crowd all leapt to their feet. After allowing that applause to continue for a while, she said: “Settle down, it’s not that cool.” It was funny, in a nihilistic, apathetic manner, and the apathetic, cool kids in the crowd might have considered her off the charts cool for doing this, but I wonder how many of these kids had their minds changed by what Ms. Stefani said. We’re all striving to be cool, and we don’t care who we have to diminish to get there.
I knew young people from Orange County, and while they were just as apathetic about their hometown as every other teen, they lived with this belief that, at least, they were cooler than all of those nerds from Omaha, Pocatello, and Morgantown. They lived with the belief that they were somehow superior, because they grew up in the hometown of the Beverly Hills 90210 and the “OC” television shows. They had L.A. and Laguna Beach, they were Hollywood, metropolitan, and they believed they knew things that hayseeds and hicks from the sticks could never know. So, like every teen, they had mixed and confused thoughts on the matter, but they told me that they were from the O.C. with a mixed measure of pride. So, when Ms. Stefani said this —in an obvious attempt to appear cooler than Orange County and all of its residents in a attendance— did she change any minds that night?
Most clear, rational thinkers know that Ms. Stefani is nothing more than a mindless celebrity who has a team of people around her that write songs, or complete the lyrics of those songs that she’s written, so that they come off as cool. She might be perceived as brilliant in some small corners of this society, but few of those outside the very young demographic would consider her to be an esteemed social commentator. Those that do, do so based on the fact that she’s so good looking, and we all want to know what it takes to be that good looking. She then takes advantage of this pedestal by crushing all of those that believe they have that affinity people feel being from the same locale. She rips them for believing that being from somewhere means anything, especially if you derive some sort of pride from it.
The import of Ms. Stefani’s message is that it’s not a hometown that makes a person cool is a good one, as it suggests that you’re going to have to work your tail off to create a niche. I believe that Ms. Stefani took this one step further, suggesting that ‘you’re never going to be as cool as I am, just because you’re from the same place’. I don’t know if Ms. Stefani is insecure in her status, if she feels a need to remind her fans that they are beneath her, or if she simply had some bad bacon that morning, but if she was able to convince a bunch of mindless twits that their hometown wasn’t as cool as they thought it was, how much of a reach would it be for these same people to vote for the person Gwen Stefani tells them to, based on the fact that the other guy isn’t cool? Before you say, “That’s a ridiculous leap,” scroll up and look at a photo of her again. She’s slender and very good looking.