Tuesday, January 20, 2015

In The Middle

Note to the Reader: I have had a LOT of off-brand Mucinex and am just cold medicine stoned enough that my cousin, Shawn, says I may not make sense.  So bear that in mind - if I'm not making sense, I'm not drunk.  I'm high. On cold medicine.

As you guys may know (or may not know... I'm not sure because, as I may have mentioned, I'm pretty stoned), I really hate this idea of the middle. The notion that there's some middle area between radical sides is the most toxic myth of the modern age.  Well, second most toxic after the one about how Reaganomics were behind a robust economic recovery.  Well, third most toxic after the one about how Reagan caused the fall of the iron curtain.  Well, fourth most... You know what: let's just nutshell it as most toxic aside from any part of the current tea party Reagan mythos.

So it's weird when I find myself wanting to take a middle part anywhere. I like the radical sides.  But I'm gonna move to the middle here; and, like all people who claim the middle, I'm going to feel very smug and self-satisfied about how reasonable and rational I am.

Side One says, "I left the house, jumped on my bike without a helmet and rode around all day and didn't come home until supper and I am so much better of a grown-up than your dumbass helicoptered kids are gonna be."  Side Two says, "Oh my god, that 12 year old is in the car with the windows rolled up in July.  I should probably call the cops."

Look, can't we agree that it's probably a net positive that our babies come home from the hospital in car seats instead of on their mothers laps?  Childhood mortality has gone down quite a bit since the halcyon days of my youth when (this is a true story) a kid broke her arm on the playground in the midst of a P.E. class where we were playing (I swear to the FSM this is true) "Smear the Queer" and the P.E. teacher shook the broken arm and said (just to reiterate: I am not making this up), "You're ok. Walk it off."  It's probably better now that our kids have those rubbery soft things under the jungle gyms and knee pads, etc.  This is a net positive.  This is a good thing.

On the other hand, it's OK for our kids to walk home from school despite the increasingly alarmist news stories about child abductions.  The world is safer now than it was when we were kids.  There's not a boogie man around every corner waiting to snatch our babies away.  And if you think the world is more dangerous now than it was when you were a kid, this is probably because the world always feels safer to a child than it does to a grown-up.

There.  The Middle.  Now that I've written this down it all seems painfully obvious.  But you guys will forgive me because, you know, I have a cold!  The "Smear the Queer" story was pretty good, though, right? I'm pretty sure that it's true.  To be honest, it was 35 years ago and I'm high.  But this is how I remember it.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Blogpost About Privilege, Made Palatable Via Addition of Dreamboat Gifs

I think we can all safely agree that people are weird.  That's OK, though:

But sometimes a particular subsection of the general populace engages in a kind of weirdness that is disheartening and annoying.

For example, there is a disheartening and annoyingly pervasive reaction to any discussion involving privilege.  I know. It's a tiresome word.  

But I still want to talk a little about it.  Here's the thing: privilege isn't a choice.  Privilege exists entirely outside of your control.  So when discussions of it arise and you go all:

It makes me go all:


Even worse, when examples of institutional sexism or racism arise and you go all:

Then all sensible people go:

Privilege isn't some kind of rhetorical, weaponized guilt dispenser: 

  It's just a real thing that exists and that we should all be aware of.

Because the only way to fix a flawed system is for the folks within the system, especially the folks for whom the system is, uh, systemically advantageous, to be aware of the flaw.   Got it?

I know you'd get it.  You're so smart.  Also:

Monday, January 5, 2015

Me Before I

I come here tonight in defense of the word "me."  "Me" is too often maligned; tossed aside imperiously in favor of its cousin "I."  Let's all stop doing that.

I suspect that in your youth you were frequently admonished against beginning your sentences with the word "me." You'd say, "Me and Johnny are going to the playground."  And your mom would say,  "Johnny and I are going to the playground." And you'd say, "Well, can I come too?"  And your mom would laugh because you were such an endearing little scamp.  But her lesson was internalized.  People who say "me" are like this:

You would prefer to be like this:

And so whenever you feel the need to refer to yourself via a pronoun, you opt for "I."  This may lead you to say things like "Will you drive Johnny and I to the playground?"  Or "Between you and I, Johnny is a little old to be hanging out at the playground."  

This is not proper grammar.  It is the grammatical equivalent of this:

It is likely to result in reactions like this:

The word "me" is a wonderful word.  It is not "I"'s poor relation.  "Me" is quite sophisticated in its own right.  "Me" has earned its place at the table and will comport itself with manners and decorum.  Do not fear "me."  

Nay, I say! It is not "me" that you should be leery of; rather cast a suspicious eye at "I."  "I" is a Manchurian Candidate.  "I" tends to finagle sentence position it has not earned.  "I" can be kind of a pretentious asshole.  

And while I'm steering you clear of hifalutin misfires - you know the wine blend Meritage?  That's an American wine blend.  Pronounce accordingly.

Now go off to your fancy dinner parties, you paragon of grammatical and oenophilic sophistication!   I'll stay here in my pajamas farting around on the internet. But there's no need to thank me.