Beating The Dead Horse Over And Over

Beating The Dead Horse Over And Over

Unless you have been hibernating since fall, the only thing that America and the world can’t stop tweeting, Facebooking, or talking about is the guy who is in charge.

I’ll save you the agony of not mentioning the name. I don’t really care what you think, but there is something to what content marketer and author Christoph Trappe tweeted above.

You can keep telling the same story, but that story will stop resonating to people. You can spin it, recycle it, and add more to it. But at this point, it’s starting to fall on deaf ears.

What is striking is that once people have a narrative that everyone else has or are using, the less relevant it becomes.

When you keep beating the dead horse into the ground, there isn’t anything else to say or do.

Time to get a new narrative.

It becomes an echo chamber that no one wants to leave. We don’t want to give up the narrative.

Let me save you wasting your time with this:  you’re telling me something already know. Tell me a different story. I’m tired of hearing the same thing day in and day out. It has lost its relevance. I’ve moved on.

I’ll leave you with this from Tully Corcoran from The Big Lead. The crux is that everyone is saying the same thing, but we’re not saying much either about what we already know.

Inside the echo chamber, that is. Outside of it, these words barely even register as interesting, much less persuasive.

The rub is not that (name redacted) voters haven’t realized (name redacted) is cynical and selfish. They know that. Every American has known that for 30 years. The rub is that the temperament of the president is not among their political priorities. Neither Gregg Popovich nor anybody else is going to convince them it should be by grumbling it into a set of microphones just so he doesn’t have to answer another stupid question about momentum, no matter how gold the halo the sports media paints over his silver head.

Popovich is shouting into an echo chamber, and he’s not even shouting anything interesting. The president is a jerk. We get it. Now what?  

We get it. Now what? The story is old.

You’re not going to change anyone’s mind about it.

Tell me something new, or stop telling the narrative. That ship sailed months ago.

And I’m not a Democrat or a Republican. You can keep that hot garbage in your pocket.

Mary Richards Wasn’t Alone…

Mary Richards Wasn’t Alone…

Actress Mary Tyler Moore passed away on January 25th at age 80. Moore was synonymous with two character roles that cemented her place into television history: Laura Petrie from “The Dick Van Dyke Show”, and the iconic fictional WJM-TV producer Mary Richards in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (MTMS), both were on CBS.

Moore’s role as Mary Richards has been lauded for opening doors for women during a very important era in American history. The role of women in the 1970’s was starting to evolve from housewife to living independently, taking on non-stereotypical careers, and having a larger role in society.

As important as she was, whether on television or in real life as a role model, Mary Richards wasn’t alone during the era of the 70’s as it relates to influential and groundbreaking TV female characters.

Ever heard of Alice Hyatt, Maude Findlay, or Julia Baker?

You should.

mtm2
Cloris Leachman, the late Mary Tyler Moore, and Valerie Harper.

Let’s start with the supporting cast on MTMS. Des Moines, Iowa’s own Cloris Leachman was Phyllis Lindstrom, Mary’s snobbish landlady, Valerie Harper played Rhoda Morgenstern, Mary’s best friend and neighbor, the amazing Betty White as the sharp-tongued man-hungry Sue Ann Nivins, and Georgia Engel as Georgette Franklin, the loyal girlfriend (and later wife) of dim-witted and vain weatherman Ted Baxter.

MTMS made Harper, Leachman, Engel, McLeod, Anser, and Ted Knight superstars. MTMS was one of the first television series with an ensemble cast that was as talented as they come, and was one  of the first series to create successful spin-offs series for Rhoda, Phyllis, and Lou Grant (character played by Ed Anser).

MTMS wasn’t the only show that featured a female as a star and living a life that was unconventional during that time.

“Early to rise, early to bed, and in between I’ve cook and cleaned and went out of my head, going through life with blinders on is tough to see, I had to get up, get out from under and look for me…” – lyric to “Alice”(version 1) sung by Linda Lavin

“Alice” was another significant series, in my mind, as it relates to the changing roles of women.

Linda Lavin played Alice Hyatt, a widowed mother who moves from New Jersey to Phoenix to start her life over again with her son while she pursues a singing career.

She takes a job as a waitress at Mel’s Diner, working for Mel (Vic Tayback), a grouchy bombastic owner and cook. She works alongside shy and awkward Vera (Beth Howland), and Polly Holliday as the sassy whip-smart Flo (of “Kiss my grits!” fame). Diane Ladd later joined the cast as Belle Dupree and Cecila Watson played Jolene Hunnicutt. Alice produced a spin-off for Holliday, titled (of course) “Flo”.

alice
How do you keep Mel in line?  Flo had the answer:  “Kiss my grits!”

“Alice” was important because she was “starting over” after a tragedy by moving away from home to pursue her dreams and a better life for her son Tommy and her. Along the way, Flo, Belle, and Alice helped Vera grow from an awkward and less-confident person to one who could stand up for herself during one of Mel’s put-downs and then falling in love and getting married to police officer Elliott. They met when Elliott gave Vera a ticket for jaywalking.

If Mary Tyler Moore was the gold standard, then “Maude” was not far behind. Bea Arthur played the “uncompromising, enterprising, anything but tranquilizer” Maude Findlay, an older woman who was never shy to speak her mind, much to the consternation and admiration of her fourth husband Walter (Bill Macy). “Maude”  was groundbreaking in several ways. The series tackled topics such as “women’s lib”, abortion, and the clash of cultures.

The abortion episode is worth watching (Part I and Part II) if you want to see how Maude and Walter handled Maude’s pregancy.

Maude” was spun off from “All in the Family” where Maude clashed with Archie Bunker and driving her conservative neighbors the Harmons (Conrad Bain and Rue McClanahan) crazy with her liberal viewpoint. Arthur and McClanahan would reunite nearly a decade later, with Betty White, to do “The Golden Girls”.

Her relationship with African-American housekeeper Florida Evans (Esther Rolle) was insightful in that she clumsily tries to show how liberal and open-minded she is when interacting with Florida, to which Florida usually gets the last laugh at Maude’s expense.

maude
As progressive as Maude Findlay was, Florida Evans suffered no fools and got the last laugh at the expense of Maude.

Florida ended up having a spin-off series of her own:  “Good Times”.

I could go on, but I’ll stop here. There are other shows below that, along with “MTMS”, “Alice”, and “Maude”, were shows, in my opinion, that showed women in starring roles and in turn becoming role models during the 70’s for women through television.

The Liver Birds: British series about two single women living on their own in Liverpool, England during the 70’s. Carla Lane and Myra Taylor, two Liverpool housewives created and wrote the series. (Sidenote: the alternative theme song is catchy.

 

“Julia”: Diahann Carroll stars as a widowed nurse Julia Baker. The series was one of the first to cast an African-American in a white-collar professional role.

 

“Laverne and Shirley”: We all know about these two. They were the American version of “The Liver Birds”. Schlemiel! Schlimazel!

“The Partridge Family”: Shirley Jones is persuaded by her five children to quit as a bank teller to form a band. Yes, we have the theme song.

Unpopular Opinions

Unpopular Opinions
img_2483
“Duuuude, I have an unpopular opinion. Is it cool to say it here?”

It is a scary proposition when you offer an unpopular opinion (or UPO on this blog going forward). For one, you worry about the instant reaction of people (who don’t read the “why”), and two you worry about how your interaction with people will go moving forward.

There are far too many folks carrying grudges, past and present, that will ultimately kill them. Karma has a way of doing that.

There are those who, agree or disagree with you, who are willing to let you offer your opinion and your rationale, without getting pissy about it. For me, I will give an opinion and I drop it after that. I said what I needed to say and I move on.

It’s called civil discourse. Sadly, way too many people doesn’t think that being civil does anything. I disagree with that. It depends on the individual and how they respond to it.

If you interact with an overly emotional person, they will talk with their hearts. With an irrational person, they will be all over place. A person who will think about it without haste and offer a salient observation, might offer some points that you may not think of.

As a way to get back into my writing mode (and start rebuilding content), I will offer some unpopular opinions and a reason for them.

Remember, you don’t have to read them, if you don’t like them. There are plenty of other blogs and written materials you can read. Or, you can write your own blog.

UPO #1: Pseduo-celebrities like Mr. Sulu (George Takei), Matt Walsh, D.L. Hughley, Henry Rollins , Shaun King, and other who feel the need to offer an opinion on everything. Chill with the Facebook posts, fellas. It’s alright to take a “topic” off once in awhile…or maybe a few more.

UPO #2: I’ve never watched Jon Stewart, Bill O’Reilly, Bill Maher, Keith Olbermann (post-ESPN) or Stephen Colbert. It doesn’t make me a conservative nor a liberal. I was never interested in them, just as much as I was not interested in “Friends”, reality television shows, and various people and things.

An observation came to mind: are there viewers like me that are tired of hearing middle-aged white men (on both sides of the ideological aisles) bloviating to no end about how the world should look like in their own eyes?

UPO #3: Award shows for entertainers. It has become social media troll fodder for people who aspire to be Siskel and Ebert, but they tweet more like Waldorf and Stadler.

UPO #4: Barack Obama isn’t the greatest President we ever had, and I’m not a fan of the incessant lovefest.  Each president is just a guy who was elected to keep us from being one step closer to going nuts as a nation. History will determine Obama’s tenure in about a decade. To add, the presidents, in my view, are just humans. Not perfect, not completely flawed. I only vote for the person who I view can do the best job, not who’s more “presidential” based on looks and presence.

Best Presidents: Washington (he was the first, so he had to set a precedent), Lincoln (for the Civil War, freedom of slaves), Franklin D. Roosevelt (WWII, WPA, and Great Depression), and John F. Kennedy (NASA, and introducing a new generation to public service).

UPO #5: This isn’t “Trump’s America” Cut that shit out. This is AMERICA. We’ve been through wars, tragedies, bad decisions, and everything else since our existence.

We will get through this. If you doubt that, then you doubt yourself.

I feel better now. Okay, on to other stuff that isn’t political, divisive, and tiresome.

Wait…I sort of lied. I need to get this off of my topic pile.

Colin Cowherd, who is notorious for “hot sports takes”, from time to time will offer something about his profession that can be considered as “ugly truth”. He laid out something that most Americans are too lazy to figure out, especially when it comes to political and sports shows: it’s not about information. It’s about being “interesting”. Saying something outrageous turns more heads than a sabermetrics geek talking baseball numbers and a policy wonk explaining nuances of a bill. Viewers only care to see what you will say next, and if it’s more outlandish than the next.

The idea of substantive and nuanced discussion with subject matter experts certainly exists, but doesn’t work as well as selling certainty and hot takes to a droll mainstream audience clamoring for more buffoonery.

Clemson being a fraud (or any team getting that label) is what the audience wants to hear. People tweet it, post it on message boards, and talk about it in their social circles and on talk radio. It reverberates. Agree or disagree, it’s something to talk about, and regardless if he’s wrong, you’re going to keep coming back if you like this particular flavor of hot take.

The idea of him (Cowherd) and others saying something like “Clemson has had an up and down and year and I think they’re going to have problems against Ohio State or Alabama. I don’t know, we’ll see……should be a good game”, does not payoff in the sports media world. – Ben Koo, Awful Announcing, Jan 10, 2017

As Koo pointed out, sports isn’t the only place where this tactic takes place.

Politics is loaded with this. Koo finished with this line in his column, “Until people opt to tune out personalities and shows that make noise for the sake of making noise, this is what you get.”

Several years ago, I wrote suggesting that people “tune out” Iowa congressional representative Steve King. A good number of Democrats thought my suggestion was dumb. “WE HAVE TO MAKE PEOPLE NOTICE ABOUT  HIM!!”

How’s that going, Democrats, RAYGUN, and everyone else?  He’s still in Congress, so your efforts to “bring light” about his antics backfired.

It’s Psychology 101: the less attention you give to an attention-seeker, the less relevant that person becomes, because people will stop listening.

If the story of Senator Joe McCarthy doesn’t ring a bell….Google it up. Read what happens when attorney Joseph Welch calls McCarthy out over the Communism “blacklist” hearings. No one paid attention to McCarthy after that.

That’s how you handle an attention-seeker. Not printing t-shirts with catchy slogans, jumping on social media and retweeting statements.

But telling that to a Democrat or a Republican is like talking to a…ahem…wall. They’re too obsessed to let go from a mental aspect.

But, what do I know? No one’s going to read this blog post anyway. I write about topics that no one is “interested” in.

Pretty much the case with any blogs.

 

Being A Voter Doesn’t Give You The Civic Duty to Be A Jerk

Being A Voter Doesn’t Give You The Civic Duty to Be A Jerk

Being “a self-important clown” isn’t something that most people will like to hear, but as someone who spends time observing and evolving, your views do shift.

As in the case of the election last week. One of the common themes about voting is that if you don’t vote, then you should not have a voice or an avenue to talk about the issues.

This is a clown. A "self-important clown" is someone who think and act like they're better than anyone else. When it comes to voters, we tend to act like elite jerks, all in the name of "civic duty."
This is a clown. A “self-important clown” is someone who think and act like they’re better than anyone else. When it comes to voters, we tend to act like elite jerks, all in the name of “civic duty.”

I used to be one of those people, as this post in 2010 can attest to.

Therefore, I am a “self-important clown”, and I deserved it.

We love to point fingers at people, when we should be pointing the finger at ourselves. Isn’t that what a hypocrite does? I’m guilty of it too. At least, for this post, I’m admitting that.

Hence, here is my “mea culpa”.

Over the past 10 months, my view has changed with regards to how we treat and dismiss people who are do not follow politics and do not vote, and when they speak out about issues that are important, voters dismiss them for not doing their “civic duty.”

This took shape over the past week when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (Kaep for short) announced that he did not vote because he had deep reservations about both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, alluding to the “systemic oppression” that continues to be prevalent in the United States with respects to African-Americans.

Kaepernick has been critical of both candidates for months. “You have Hillary [Clinton], who has called black teens or black kids super predators,” he said in August. “You have Donald Trump, who is openly racist.”

“I’ve been very disconnected from the systematic oppression as a whole,” he told reporters. “So, for me, it’s another face that’s going to be the face of that system of oppression.

“And to me, it didn’t really matter who went in there (to be elected), the system still remains intact that oppresses people of color,” he added.

-Michael Sebastian, Esquire Magazine, November 10, 2016

Colin Kaepernick. (Jake Roth, USA Today)
Colin Kaepernick. (Jake Roth, USA Today)

The reaction, no surprise, was one of furor…by voters.

Stephen A. Smith, ESPN’s resident loud-mouthed “hot take” troll, spent nearly 13 minutes calling Kaepernick a ‘hypocrite”, because he did not vote. Ironically, Kaepernick is on the forefront of speaking about the escalating and long-running issue of race and police brutality.

That is when it struck me. Here is a dude who felt compelled to take a knee to protest and elicit conversation about the current treatment of African-Americans in this country, and the people who supported him are admonish him for not voting.

Several days later, Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Mike Evans sat down during the national anthem to protest the election of Trump.  When asked if he voted, Evans said no, citing that he is not a political person. On the following day, he apologized for sitting down and offered to find another way to address the situation.

Evans received the same vitriol that Kaepernick received.

Evans and Kaepernick are individuals who are not political or follow politics by any means. And yet, they were chastised for not voting by people who did vote.

“If you don’t vote, don’t complain.” 

That is the stupidest line ever uttered.

Voters, including me, are the ultimate hypocrites.

I’ve written this in the past about my perspective on politics and viewpoints: I don’t tell people how or who to vote for. Anyone who does that, isn’t a very confident person and uses bullying to get their way.

I will amend this with the following: if someone is not interested in politics, they should not have to vote for the sake of voting.

That is what nearly 47% of the nation did….not vote. They’re fed up with the state of affairs in this country. That was their protest vote, if that’s how you want to spin it.

Mike Evans of Tampa Bay. Evans didn't get the attention that Kaepernick received, but it didn't go unnoticed with some, like ESPN's Bomani Jones. (Athletes Speakers)
Mike Evans of Tampa Bay. Evans didn’t get the attention that Kaepernick received, but it didn’t go unnoticed with some, like ESPN’s Bomani Jones. (Athletes Speakers)

Clinton and Trump had way too much baggage and their actions speak for themselves.

But, of course, what do I know? No one wants to read what I’m writing. And I’m not a Democrat or a Republican. Both groups are grandstanding jackasses.

What Kaep said drove home the point: it didn’t matter who was elected, it was going to be business as usual, and neither Clinton or Trump was going to seriously address racial relations.

Bomani Jones of ESPN talked about the Evans story on Monday afternoon and debunked the so-called narrative about the importance of voting as it relates to someone having an opinion.

The monologue begins around the 10:20 mark.

Voting gives people the false sense that they are making a difference, when they are really not, as Jones pointed out (and rightfully so). Putting on a “I Voted!” sticker, to show people how “patriotic” we are and our obligation to perform a civic duty, and then flaunting in the face of others reeks of elitism and hubris.

When did having a “vote” gives you the authority to tell people who didn’t vote that they shouldn’t complain or say anything that they see as an issue?  

It is not a civic duty. It is a choice.

If it is such a civic duty, then why do we vote, if there is no interest to vote for two candidates that America was unhappy about?

So we can get a sticker and feel individually empowered without any guilt? Does voting empower us to act like raving lunatics and lose our shit over an election?

If that is the case, then all of us are fear mongers.

What does that prove?

If given a choice, who would you not see vote? A conspiracy theorist, a racist, or a misogynist? Someone who leans toward a third party candidates, or someone who is not political or well-informed about the issues and yet have an opinion?

Many of you would prefer that all of them don’t vote.

Bomani Jones of ESPN. An underrated rational voice of reason. (ESPN)
Bomani Jones of ESPN. An underrated rational voice of reason. (ESPN)

But…they do vote. If you try to keep them from voting, you are in fact suppressing them from voting. Jones’ argument is that voters go out of their way to dismiss the view of those who are not political, by using the “did you vote?” rationale as an excuse.

Liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans love to use that “card” to show how “great” they are.

Assholes. All of them.

There is a lot of places around in America that are trying to suppress voters these days. You will talk about that, but we ignore our level of suppression towards those who may vote for someone who you oppose, or doesn’t vote at all.

Just because we vote, it does not and should not make us feel entitled and privileged to tell those who chose not to vote that their opinion and their causes do not matter.

We, the voters, are suppressing people’s voices, all in the name of a “civic duty” that we are “obligated” to do.

That’s being a hypocrite.

We live in America, where we are free to make choices. Third world citizens would do anything to live here and be free to live however they choose.

To tell them that they have to vote for the sake of voting, is hollow.

If people do not see any reason to be politically active or take part in something they are not crazy about, then they are free to do what they want.

They pay taxes too.

I will no longer dismiss anyone who are interested and concern about the issues that are important to them, without holding a pithy obligation to perform a civic duty over their heads.

Oh, and voters, stop being assholes (including me).

But what do I know…no one is going to read this anyway.

 

No Hall Passes for “Hot Teacher”

No Hall Passes for “Hot Teacher”

When the internet was just starting to gain a digital footprint in the world (aka I was in my late 20’s), I used to frequent a website called “Badjocks.com“. Badjocks was a site where stories of teachers or coaches getting caught having sex with students became daily fodder for those who love discussing such tawdry tales.

Stephannie Figueroa, 21, is charged with child abuse for texting nude photos to an 11-year old boy. (Orlando Sentinel)
Stephannie Figueroa, 21, is charged with child abuse for texting nude photos to an 11-year old boy. (Orlando Sentinel)

What stood out to me was the unusual number of females teachers and coaches being arrested for having sex with underage male or female students.

Most (male) readers would chuckle and say to themselves “I wished I was that kid!” The fantasy dream of shacking up with the “hot teacher” continues to be the norm.

Badjocks.com came to mind as I was driving home from treatment Wednesday morning. Miami Herald columnist and ESPN provocateur/court jester Dan Le Batard talked about two stories.

The first story was a Florida female karate instructor arrested for texting nude photos of herself to an 11-year old male student of hers. The other was a 33-year old California female physical education teacher who was sentenced to 120 days in jail and given probation for having a threesome with two young males students under the age of 18.

The "hot teacher"fantasy is what it is:a fantasy. Sadly, a troubling number of female teachers or females in general has taken that fantasy to criminal levels by messing around with underage students.
The “hot teacher”fantasy is what it is…a fantasy. Sadly, a troubling number of female teachers or females in general has taken that fantasy to criminal levels by messing around with underage students.

When reading the P.E. teacher’s story on the air, LeBatard questioned the sentence given to the P.E. teacher. Linsday Himmelspach received 4 months of jail time and had her probation extended. If both of the accused were males, a stiffer penalty would have been given.

Does that remind you of a story from a few weeks ago?  The one that everyone was up in arms about???

LeBatard asked why do females who are accused and found guilty of sexual assault receives lighter sentences and not being treated with the same disdain as their male counterparts, and how is the national media and society turns a blind eye at it?

I agree with LeBatard. With all of the firestorm about the sexual assault trial of the Stanford University male swimmer, it is disturbing that adult women who commit similar heinous acts (rape, sex with minors, etc.) are not punished the same way as men do.

The only difference is the sex of the aggressors. The idea that women are not considered to be sexual predators when breaking the law is one of mere astonishment.

When I researched Badjocks.com today to see if there were any changes to the trend of female teachers and coaches illegally having sex with minors or accused of rape in some states, I was not surprised.

Out of the first 9 stories under Badjocks’ “Naughty Coaches” section, five of them were stories about females, in an authority of power, being busted for sex acts with minors.

If it's not Debra Lafave, Mary Kay Letourneau, or a male, stories like these on sites like Badjocks.com doesn't get as much attention as it should.
If it’s not Debra Lafave, Mary Kay Letourneau, or a male, stories like these on sites like Badjocks.com doesn’t get as much attention as it should.

And yet, these stories are usually ignored unless it becomes a NBC “Dateline”exclusive featuring those like Mary Kay Letourneau and Debra Lafave, only for the lurid accounts that took place.

If Brock Turner is a rapist, so to is Stephannie Figueroa, Lindsay Himmelspach, and Letourneau, who set the gold standard for statutory rape.

To treat those cases otherwise is foolish and irresponsible.

According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), about 3% of American men—or 1 in 33—have experienced an attempted or completed sexual violence in their lifetime. In a 2014 Slate report, a National Crime Victimization Survey uncovered that 38 percent of men have been sexually assaulted.

Priests and men are not the only groups that rape women and men. Women do as well, however we treat that as atypical and usually blame the male victim and his raging hormones for achieving a “fantasy”. Whether these young males want to admit it or not, they are victims. Being considered as human prey by those we place our trust in to be adults…not searching for the next “Lolita.”

Adult women should be held accountable and responsible when they commit rape or assault.  They are sex offenders.

Just like men.

“We Were Going to Get Here Anyway”

“We Were Going to Get Here Anyway”
We have a hard time accepting and practicing this term.
We have a hard time accepting and practicing this term.

By definition, the word “patience” is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.

For most of my generation, patience means little. In my 30’s, I learned that not everything will happen when you demand it, and on your time.

The recent events over the past week has proven again on why “patience” can be irritating and beneficial.

Let’s start with the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision last Friday striking down the ruling that same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. I laugh when I see people react like fools on both sides of the issue: pastors setting themselves on fire, people changing their Facebook profile to show their picture in the colors of the rainbow, which is the universal symbol for the LGBT community.

I’m not surprised.  That’s why we’re humans. We behave in ways that I shake my head in disbelief.

Whatever happen to people like me who saw the news and said “I may agree (or disagree) with it, but I can live with it.”

I said this in 2013 in reference to NBA player Jason Collins: we will come to a point where no one cares about an individual’s sexual preference. The same can be applied to different forms of marriages.

I learn how to adapt, accept it, and go about my day. It’s time for it to happen.

We would going to get to this point anyway, whether we liked it or not.

But let the social media mob run roughshod on just about anything, and you want to quit Facebook to get away from the silliness.

When asked for my opinion of the ruling, I calmly said “That’s nice.”

“What do you mean, ‘That’s nice?!?’ Are you happy about it? What IS YOUR OPINION OF IT?!?!?!”

“I’m cool with it. If you expect me to jump up and down about it, you’re talking to the wrong guy.”

“You mean, you’re not surprised about this? How can you be so calm and passive about this?  This is a big deal!!”

“Why in the hell should I be? We were going to get here (with this news) anyway.”

That person wasn’t sure if I was a fire-breathing religious conservative or a bleeding-heart liberal.

It doesn’t matter if I like or reject the ruling. What is important is that I follow the rules, adhere to them, and live my life.

Sadly, for many people I know on Facebook, Twitter, or in real life, that’s not a good enough response from me. They wanted more of my “reaction” to the SCOTUS ruling.

Nice try. That’s my response and I’m sticking to it: calm, sensible, and practical.

I’ve long since stopped making a fuss about many topics, including same-sex issues. I had mentally “accepted” years ago that same-sex marriages should be legal. After all, interfaith marriages and interracial marriages happen everyday. And there are people, liberal or conservative, who are not fans of either of those types of marriages as well.

We were going to get here anyway.

Moderates, like me, witness historical events and we’re going to roll with it. For better or for worse. Democrats and Republicans lose their proverbial shit about anything that moves on Twitter.

If you let a political party dictate how you feel, I can’t help you there.

We’ve been down this societal road before: smoking, civil rights for minorities, and other events.

Nothing is going to be perfect. Never have…never will, so let’s stop with the Pollyanna narrative as it relates to Friday’s ruling. Same sex couples will divorce, bicker, and go through domestic violence  just like heterosexual couples.

Not all marriages are perfect. They take work and patience.

Which brings up the Dixie (Confederate) flag. Now, let me address the shootings in Charleston first. I think it is lazy of us to treat the shooting deaths of nine individuals in a historical African-American church as a secondary item, so we can spend most of our time debating about a flag. The very same flag that was a symbol that we ignored for so long, it’s pretty embarrassing and hypocritical.  The shootings and the flag are two vastly separate issues in my opinion. Let’s treat them as such with common sense.

It doesn’t erase the fact that a deranged person who had very dark and sinister racial attitudes walked into a church and opened fire.

Now, how many of us knew why the LGBT pride flag is a rainbow flag? You learn something new every day.
Now, how many of us knew why the LGBT pride flag is a rainbow flag? You learn something new every day.

Those who quickly brought up the flag moments after the shooting, clearly had an agenda to propagate: get rid of the flag, because it cause the shooter to kill innocent victims.

The flag didn’t cause that individual to kill people. He had his mind set on harming people because he chose to do so.

My take is this: the flag should not be used in a public setting (government buildings, post offices, et cetera). Yes, people are going to display it on their own personal terms. Much like those who will display the Nazi flag, any offensive materials (racist, sexist, juvenile, to name a few), and yes the LGBT flag, along with an Iowa Hawkeyes or ISU Cyclones flag.

We can’t completely eliminate its use. You can thank the 1st Amendment for that.

That’s the way it is. If you want to fly the LGBT flag, you have a right to do that. So does someone who wants to fly a Dixie flag…on their own property.

If anything, negative symbols should remind us of our history and the impact it has caused. This country has a history of great and very ugly moments. To wipe clean of the ugly, is to deny the fact that it happened.

We can’t change the past…but do we really learn from it?

The answer is no, because we hate to learn from history. History doesn’t “wow” us. It’s boring.

History is relevant to how we face moments like now: with clarity or with irrationality.  If we don’t learn from history, we’re screwed.

The Civil Rights bill got a lot people talking and taking sides 51 years ago this summer. What happened? People accepted it and moved on, whether they agreed with it or not.
The Civil Rights bill got a lot people talking and taking sides 51 years ago this summer. What happened? People accepted it and moved on, whether they agreed with it or not.

How did America react when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964? There were some knuckleheads for sure on both sides, but overall, the majority of Americans knew that it was going to happen. When it did, we accepted it the best way we knew how and we moved on.

The same here with Friday’s ruling: we’ll accept it, like or hate it, but we move on.

The hashtag “love wins” has been used by everyone who is in favor of the ruling. But, I have to ask philosophically, why are we still so hateful towards (immigrants, homeless, handicapped, atheists, etc.) others? It’s pathetic.  “Love wins” when it’s for one group, and not all humans. Something is wrong with that. Doesn’t “love” incorporate everyone, including those you disagree with?

Hypocrisy…all of us are guilty of this.

Did #lovewins move the needle? Or do we still need to really work on that?
Did love really did “win”? We still have to work on that before we finally say that “love wins.”

Love only won the battle. It hasn’t won the war.

For every person who wag their scornful finger at the South for continuing to fly the Dixie flag, are they the same people who blindly ignore the various forms of de facto discrimination like housing, employment and institutional racism in the North?

How many minorities live in Beaverdale?

Why are residents who live downtown against having low-income residents living in their buildings? Are they afraid that these “poor people” are going to “trash” these high-end luxury condos? Low-income or restricted-income residents are not always the ones who trash homes and places, driving the property value down.

When we brag about how progressive we are in Des Moines, why does it feel that we continue to ignore and not include certain groups and neighborhoods?

Just when you think you know what SCOTUS will rule on...yeah, keep guessing.
Just when you think you know what SCOTUS will rule on…yeah, keep guessing.

Everyone’s happy that same-sex marriages are legal, and yet we can’t seem to get our shit together. People are ecstatic about same-sex marriages but we give the evil eye to interracial and interfaith marriages.

It has been an interesting week, but I’m not celebrating or booing about the news. I knew that, eventually, it would happen. It was only a matter of time and circumstances.

It was being patient. It can be irritating and yet beneficial.

We were going to get here anyway.

Baker’s Dozen: Most Insightful Stories of 2014

Baker’s Dozen: Most Insightful Stories of 2014

I have not done a considerable amount of writing in 2014 (21 blogs to be exact) for me to pleased about. Life does get in the way. It was a good and bad thing. The good is that I’m not using my laptop excessively. The bad is that I missed some opportunities to write about something.

My goal for 2015 is to write more. That’s a personal goal of mine, and I hope none of it is about Skip Bayless.

I didn’t have the desire to write about all of the stories that took place in 2014. Social media has a large role in my decision. It is hard, at times, to have a voice, ask questions that no one else will ask, offer a perspective laced with facts and experience, only for it to fall into the “noise” machine.

Trust me when I say this: I’m not alone with that sentiment.

As I start re-focusing my priority to this blog , I have a Baker’s dozen list of selected long-reads (columns, articles, or stories) that I have archived throughout 2014. Regardless if I agreed or disagreed with what was written, these pieces gave me insight into topics and perspectives that I wanted to know more about.

The format is set up in this manner: a synopsis of each story and a quote from the pieces are in bold italic.

Without further ado…

Bruce_Braley_photo
Bruce Braley is a nice guy, but he’s no Tom Harkin, and that’s why he lost, according to Michael Gartner.

1. Michael Gartner held nothing back in his weekly commentary in Cityview’s “Civic Skinny” column about the Iowa U.S. Senate race between Bruce Braley and Joni Ernst. Gartner, a staunch Democrat, didn’t resort to blaming Ernst for Braley losing, like many liberals did. He blames Bruce Braley for losing the race himself. “…while Harkin was disciplined, Braley went off on his “merry way”. And unfortunately for Democrats, that “merry way” led back to Waterloo.”

2a. Jamie Kilstein and Allison Kilkenny (Salon) with a strong piece on  the day when Jon Stewart “quit” and The Daily Show became irrelevant when it comes to activism. “Real activism doesn’t work that way. You can’t appoint a progressive messiah and listen to him snipe through your flat screen and expect for things to magically get better.”

2b. If that didn’t help Stewart, his comments on Election Day, didn’t do him justice either, according to Zachary Goldfarb of the Washington Post. “While there’s no denying that a surge of support for Republicans was going to make this a nasty election for liberals like Stewart, his viewers are part of the problem. We’re talking about young voters, who sat out the election and helped cost Democrats votes.”

Ben Bradlee presided over a golden era of the Washington Post, which included Watergate, and bring in talented writers like Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodard, Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon.
Ben Bradlee presided over a golden era of the Washington Post, which included Watergate, and bring in talented writers like Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodard, Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon.

3. Rachel Jones of Voice of America remembering the late great Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee. Bradlee was larger than life, but as Jones wrote, Bradlee used his authority and power to empower and take Jones under his wing at the Post. “There is a magic that is potent beyond human understanding when someone in a position of power extends him or herself on your behalf, based on nothing more that a belief in your potential…And that moment when Ben Bradlee took the time to act as my personal career counselor sealed my fate.”

4. Rob Havilla of The Concourse with a great long read about Craig Ferguson‘s tenure on CBS’ “The Late Late Show” and why the show and Ferguson was a perfect match. “He (Ferguson) has a very silly but somehow also calm, comforting, genuine-feeling rapport with a very specific genus of up-and-coming actress; some may outgrow him, fame-wise (think Anna Kendrick, maybe), but many refuse to abandon him.”

BenMilne_headshot
The startup community in Des Moines continues to push boundaries and evolve, thanks to those like Ben Milne and Dwolla, Geoff Wood, and many others. Expect that to continue in 2015.

 

5. Dwolla’s Ben Milne on being an entrepreneur and the emotional toll of being away from home while building a  startup and a dream. “It’s time for me to go home & that’s ok. When it’s time for you to go home… Don’t lie to yourself and convince yourself it’s not ok.”

6. Credit to SI’s Richard Deitsch for this story by N.R. Kleinfield of the New York Times. A man faces his phobia of water and makes “the leap” into the pool to conquer it.   A lesson about how we have to work on conquering our fears, be it big or small.

7. Blogger Batty Mamzelle took issue with feminists who use racism when their efforts to slut-shame women and other feminists (notably Beyonce and Nicki Minaj) falls flat. “…our feminisms will differ depending on our intersections, and that’s okay. It is perfectly acceptable to acknowledge that different women have different needs. But the constant gatekeeping of mainstream feminism reveals the deeply entrenched racism within the movement.”

8. David Carr, the stellar media reporter, for the New York Times, on how the Washington media whiffed on Congressman Eric Cantor’s loss and their propensity to be blinded by all things in the beltway.

9. Derek Thompson of The Atlantic writes about a personal pet peeve of mine: people who say they want hard news, but really don’t. “Ask audiences what they want, and they’ll tell you vegetables. Watch them quietly, and they’ll mostly eat candy…Audiences are liars, and the media organizations who listen to them without measuring them are dupes.”

10. Carl E. Esbeck writes an opinion for Christianity Today on the Supreme Court ruling in favor of allowing prayer in public meetings, based on the case of Town of Greece vs. Galloway. Esbeck said that while most evangelicals call it a victory, he cautions that not all Christians are exuberant about the ruling, because it’ll open a door to a lot more trouble. “Already this is occurring in the Town of Greece, where a Wiccan priestess has offered up prayers to Athena and Apollo. An atheist has also petitioned, by appealing to “inclusion,” that she be allowed to take a turn at rendering the invocation. She did so, not because she wanted to pray, to protest the city policy by rendering it absurd. The Supreme Court’s ruling means we will be seeing more of this mischief.”

Mara Wilson (of Mrs. Doubtfire and Matilda fame) didn't fall into the proverbial traps and pitfalls of being a child star.
Mara Wilson (of Mrs. Doubtfire and Matilda fame) didn’t fall into the proverbial traps and pitfalls of being a child star.

11. This column is from 2013, but it is so good, everyone should read it. Former child actress Mara Wilson (“Mrs. Doubtfire”, “Matilda”) pens a guest column for Cracked of her experience of being a child star and her perspective on how child stars go crazy and self-destruct. “Years of adulation and money and things quickly become normal, and then, just as they get used to it all, they hit puberty — which is a serious job hazard when your job is being cute.”

12. The Daily Beast’s David Freelander on the growing rift between Democrats and EMILY, an organization that supports female candidates that are pro-choice. Most liberals are claiming that EMILY is on the wrong side of the political divide. ““I think EMILY’s List has really lost their way,”…“Here in Hawaii they seem to not understand the politics. Brian Schatz has been a 100 percent down the line supporter of women’s issues. I understand their rule is that they only endorse women, but they don’t have to endorse at all when they have a champion running who is a man.””

The New Republic 's owner Chris Hughes (left), and editor Franklin Foer (right). The union between owner and editor deteriorated over time, with Foer being fired and most TNR's writers leaving en masse.
The New Republic ‘s owner Chris Hughes (left), and editor Franklin Foer (right). The union between owner and editor deteriorated over time, with Foer being fired and most TNR’s writers leaving en masse.

13. Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker on the epic downfall of The New Republic, which is one of the best I’ve read this year. “(Franklin) Foer wanted to hire someone with a strong background in magazine publishing, but (Chris) Hughes overruled him, selecting Guy Vidra for the job. In a press release announcing that he’d been hired, Vidra described T.N.R. as a “storied brand,” a corporate phrase that rankled some writers there. The release made no mention of Foer and suggested that Vidra now had editorial control of the magazine.”

That’s a lot of stories to cover. There are a few more, but I’ll stop here.

The takeaway is that it we think we know the story, but we really don’t, until the entire story is told.