10 hours of being a white man in NYC.
This one is as funny as the last one was creepy.
If you haven’t seen it, here is the viral video taking The Intertubes by storm. It’s a compilation of the street harassment one woman receives in one day.
The response has been as expected. Women go, “Yep.” Some men go, “What?! This happens?!” And other men lose their damn minds and attack the woman, the video, the organization behind the video, the “racism” in the video, anything they can grasp as a way of discrediting the message.
Among the less-psycho, less-misogynist responses has been, “They were just saying hello! What’s so awful about telling a lady she is pretty?!” The men who offer this as a response usually say something like, “I would love a woman to come up to me and ask me out!”
And that is the root of all misunderstanding here.
Guys, when you imagine yourself in this video, the point is not that you are being approached by hot women you’d love to fuck. Instead, picture yourself in this video being spoken at presumptuously by another man. Physically larger than you to the extent that you know he could take you with a punch or two. A man you do not know but who somehow thinks he has a right to your time and attention simply because he’s got something to say. Ask yourself honestly if you would be all, “oh, he’s just being friendly!” if a guy walked next to you for 5 full minutes, staring at you. I guarantee it wouldn’t get to Minute 2 before some kind of “what the fuck is your problem?” exchange occurred. Right? And why? BECAUSE THIS IS NOT NORMAL BEHAVIOR!
But because I’m a woman and some guy I don’t know feels compelled to say something to me, I owe him my time? My politeness? My phone number? I don’t owe a random man on the street anything that you don’t. And that’s the bottom line. This is gross behavior. It is often threatening behavior. If you disagree, please replace the woman in this video with your wife or daughter. Then tell her to lighten up. After all, a strange man twice her size talking about her sweet ass is just being friendly! That guy following her for 10 blocks because he feels entitled to a response from her? Son in Law material! That guy telling her she should “acknowledge me” because he is telling her she’s beautiful? OF COURSE your daughter should acknowledge him. After all, he is a man and he is saying something. This automatically deserves a woman’s “acknowledgement.” Irrelevant that they don’t know each other. Irrelevant that she has no interest in his opinion of her beauty. It’s all irrelevant. He is a man and he is talking. Who does she think she is to ignore him? Well, she’s every bit the human YOU are as a man. Do you feel like you owe some random strange guy your “acknowledgment” just because he’s talking? Do you feel like you owe some random strange guy a “smile” or a “thank you” because he has decided to say something to you? OF COURSE YOU DON’T. And yet, we have normalized this expectation towards women.
A ton of guys get it. And yet the reticence to speak out against it seems to stem from a binary sense that it’s either this continues unabated OR no guy can ever compliment a girl ever. DERP! You know the difference, guys. YOU KNOW THE DIFFERENCE. And it has to do with context and consent. YOU KNOW how you’d like a man to speak to your daughter, and I guaran-damn-tee that it ain’t, ‘Giiiiiirrrllll! Sweet ass!” as she walks down a street alone. YOU KNOW how you’d like a man to approach your daughter. And it ain’t walking next to her silently staring for 5 full minutes because he thinks she owes him something. If you’ve ever tried to attract a woman, YOU KNOW THE DIFFERENCE between randomly harassing some strange lady on the street and offering a genuine compliment to a woman you find attractive in a social setting. We all know the difference. Even the men in this video know the difference. And if you doubt me on that, I simply refer you to the existence of exactly ZERO videos of men catcalling a woman accompanied by her giant, ass-kicking military boyfriend.
I recently responded to a call for submissions to support my local world-renowned cancer center. It asked people to write in about their experiences there and to talk briefly about what the place means to us. So I wrote 6 sentences, listing the four reasons I believe I am alive after my stem cell transplant. 1. My donor, 2. My doctor, 3. My nurses, 4. My family
This is about the LEAST controversial list of beliefs one can imagine creating. Right?
Because within 15 minutes of this organization posting my blurb (blurb being the operative word here. Not a thesis, not an oeuvre, not even an executive summary), I had comments lecturing me on the following:
You are alive because of God
You forgot to thank God in whom all things are possible
Why did you leave out God?!
Well, since you don’t know me and since I didn’t ask for your opinion, Allow me to respond:
1. Please note the Call For Submissions above. You sound like you have a story! Involving God. You can submit that story and glorify the name of your Almighty all you want. From YOUR page. With YOUR story.In which you can mention God until your pen runs out of ink. Have at it. With my blessing. Note again: the organization is actively seeking stories. In the time it took you to find fault with mine, you could have written and submitted your own. But something tells me that is less smugly self-satisfying, isn’t it?
2. While I’m sure God appreciates your stalwart support, I don’t know that he’d encourage you to lecture other people (especially those you do not know anything about), haranguing them about what they should be grateful for and in what order.
3. Once again: this is MY story. MY submission. MY experience in surviving a life-threatening situation. I will thank whomever the &%^# I choose. In what alternate reality do you feel that it is YOUR role to correct me? Everyone else here managed to write nice, supportive comments like, “Great news!” “Lovely family!” “Be well!” “What a great institution X cancer center is!” You, the religious, the “Godly” can only offer criticism and negativity. Please show me the passage in your Bible that allows you to piss on another person’s parade in order to exalt God. Please show me the Word of God that commands you to look at a pic of a happy survivor family thanking the medical institution involved and decrees that you must CRITIQUE that gratitude.
4. Tell me about your almighty God who apparently is so weak, so feeble, so small that he must be inserted into even the tiniest, most-unrelated SIX SENTENCE article by rude, negative, presumptuous force. Your God who will not survive if some random lady you do not know and never will meet doesn’t mention him in a way you feel she should. Your poor, lame, ineffectual God who needs YOU to champion him when it is neither appropriate nor kind. Yes, please tell me about this God. Because I’ll bet he’s really proud to have you as his messenger.
5. To repeat; YOU DO NOT KNOW ME. YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT ME. You don’t get to tell me how to feel about my transplant. You don’t get to tell me whom to thank. You don’t get to tell me what I’ve “forgotten” in my hierarchy of gratitude. You don’t get to do any of this because you have not earned the right. Simply putting GOD! in capital letters on my story does not, in fact, introduce God to my story. But it certainly introduces YOU, doesn’t it? And I simply invite you to take a moment to ask yourself this question:
If you love God so much why do you behave so rudely, meanly and presumptuously toward his other children?
If you love God so much, why are you taking it upon yourself to speak for him? If you love God so much, why is your first reaction to a photo of a living mom and her family to criticize and correct, rather than to have your heart simply open up and say what many other commenters said, “So happy for you.”
Yes indeed. If you love God so much, you will stop embarrassing him in the name of promoting and defending him. Something tells me that God will survive a snub from some lady on a cancer center web site, but in the long term, He won’t survive people like you being nasty in His name.
So much to dissect and discuss this week. All under the title, “Euphemisms.”
For instance, Sayreville, NJ. Previously known to me only as the hometown of the forever-gorgeous and lovely Jon Bon Jovi. Now known as the place where 7 high school boys were sexually assaulted by other members of their football team. The place where these incidents are being referred to as “hazing.” Hazing?! Hazing is swallowing goldfish or drinking 12 beers or wearing stupid clothing. This is not hazing. Being held down in a darkened locker room while some upperclassman forces his fingers up your anus is not hazing; it is sexual assault. Legally and morally. If you don’t agree, please leave your address in the comments and, at a time of my choosing, I’ll send a couple of large guys to your house to “haze” you by surprise. It’ll all be in good, harmless, male-bonding fun.
As if the town could not look worse, there are of course parents who are outraged that the football season has been cancelled as a result. Well, perhaps you can use the now-free time to teach your children how to not behave like animals. And maybe take a long, hard look at yourself too. How, once again, small-town sports contributes to rape culture in this society. Now even your sons are not safe from it. When you create a culture wherein adolescent boys are afforded special treatment and power because they can throw a ball, you create a whole lot of opportunities for them to abuse that power. It’s a goddamn mess, and it’s not “hazing.”
Next up is the “nude photo scandal” involving actresses such as Jennifer Lawrence from a few weeks back. Her account was hacked and nude photos she had taken for her boyfriend of four years were released by the hackers and posted on various web sites. In the upcoming Vanity Fair, Ms. Lawrence refers to what occurred as a “sex crime.” And she is correct. There is no “scandal” here, unless you count our society’s prevailing view that famous people are not human, are somehow owned by us, and have no right to privacy. Her boyfriend did not release these pics. She did not get naked in public. This woman’s personal bodily integrity was violated via hacking. The people who should apologize are the hackers and the web sites who made money off this clear violation of her privacy. Our laws need to catch up to our technology; to recognize that this woman’s personal property was STOLEN. And disseminated. She was sexually violated via technology. And it is wrong. It’s not a scandal. It’s a crime.
And finally, on a lighter note, there is this: http://jezebel.com/american-horror-story-in-real-life-creepy-clowns-stalk-1645289423?utm_campaign=socialflow_jezebel_facebook&utm_source=jezebel_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow
As a person who quite rightly views clowns as sinister, malevolent, ghoulish incarnations of evil, I submit to you that we stop calling this a “prank” and instead call it what it is: terrorism. Domestic terrorism most foul. We should pray for the residents of Wasco while hunting down these perpetrators, searching every henhouse, outhouse, doghouse and funhouse until they are caught. Let none of us rest until the scourge of clowning is erased from this great land.
Finally, finally, I leave you with this palate-cleansing photo, which I hope will encourage you to vote on November 4th. Because, while we can euphemistically call this woman “artsy-craftsy” or “freedom-loving” or what Sarah Palin termed “a real American,” I think we should go with the obvious: “dumb as fucking dirt.” I mean, she writes “bisexual” like it’s a bad thing! This lady will be voting. Make sure you will be too.
Settle down, everybody.
Believe me when I say that you do not now have nor will you soon contract Ebola. You can trust me because you will recall that I am the Canary in the Coalmine. Whatever community-acquired disease is out there, I get. So if I’m not afraid of getting Ebola, YOU don’t need to be afraid of getting Ebola.
You are not going to get Ebola. Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to scare you for their own nefarious reasons. I find it richly ironic that the same individuals/”news” channels that were tut-tutting those poor backward Africans for allowing superstition and distrust to prevent them from seeking treatment are now the very ones peddling those same notions here in the U.S….after ONE case. One!
Obama is allowing Ebola into the US as payback for slavery. The CDC is hiding the fact that it can go airborne. The big pharma companies have a cure but only for white people. Do we hear ourselves? When in doubt, folks, your best bet is to trust in science. In evidence-based research. The stuff that tells you important, verifiable information such as: you are not going to get Ebola. Unless you are in the habit of directly handling the blood, vomit, sweat, semen or feces of an actively-infected person. Which sounds like hell on earth beyond just the risk of freakin Ebola. But if you don’t usually dabble in the bio hazardous bodily-fluids game, then feel free to go about your business safe in the knowledge that this is one global disease outbreak that’s gonna pass you by.
Your mother is a Dirty Whore.
You heard me.
A Dirty, Stanky Whore.
What?! You’re offended?
Why are you being so oversensitive? It’s a statement of respect and honor!
Dirty Whore refers to the noble traditions of those women who give love freely to all.
It’s a compliment. An homage!
You still don’t want me to call her that name?
But you don’t understand.
I have the best intentions. I consider the name Dirty Whore to be the highest honor I can convey.
In fact, 90% of the Dirty Whores I polled said they don’t mind that name at all. So why are you resisting the honor?
I get that you and your mom don’t like that name and have asked me to stop.
I get that you somehow think you know more about what should honor your mom and family than I do.
This mystifies me.
I have determined that calling your mom a Dirty Whore should not bother you for all of the reasons I have already repeatedly enumerated.
Why would the fact that, according to you, Dirty Whore is hurtful to your family, at all dissuade me from using that name?
*I* am telling YOU how you should feel about your family being called Dirty Whores.
How YOU feel about being the child of a Dirty Whore is irrelevant. I am telling you how you should feel about it.
Please stop being so sensitive.
In fact, you know what? You are now infringing on MY rights, on MY traditions!
YOU are being the jerk here! Bestowing the honor of DIrty Whoredom Is something I want to pass to my children as a point of family pride. My father was a proponent of Dirty Whores. His father was a proponent of Dirty Whores. We call ourselves Dirty Whores with pride! Every Saturday our family got together, ate some barbecue, put on our Dirty Whore t-shirts, and did our Dirty Whore dance (the one where we imitate what we imagine your mom does while being a whore). Respect! Your mom should therefore be delighted to be numbered among the Dirty Whores so honored.
Hail To The Dirty Whores!
Moral of this farcical tale? Change the name of your team, Daniel Snyder.
Be a man. Be a mensch. Because, right now, you are a Jew Behaving Badly. You are making us look bad. And you are a disgrace. It is truly distressing to witness Jews and African-Americans rally behind the current team name. Two groups of people who have NO BUSINESS telling another minority group how to feel about a slur upon their culture, how they are oversensitive, how they need to get over it. But you know what’s worse than that? Everyone else who isn’t taking a stand. Acquiescing. As our own Elie Weisel said, ” The opposite of love is not hate; it is indifference.” Standing by and allowing this name to continue, when we all know some of us would be first in the outrage line if some group of athletes were called the Washington K*kes or the Washington N***ers, is wrong. You can pretty it up, diminish it, gloss it over however you like in order to not feel like an asshole hypocrite. But the truth–and you know it–is that this team’s name is a moral transgression, Because if you substitute any other ethnic group for the Native Americans, what you have is an obvious outrage.
It is time for those of us in the majority to stop telling minorities what they are allowed to be upset about. To stop, as in the example above, deciding what various symbols and words mean to us and declaring all who disagree oversensitive or uneducated in the finer points of said symbols.
We recently had a play date at a house that had a life-sized lawn jockey in the entrance foyer. You read that correctly: a lawn jockey. In 2014. In America. In a seemingly-regular person’s home. I could not get my kids out of there fast enough. My 5th grader was like, “what in the woooorrrrllldddd?!?!” I replied, “never mind.” She continued, “No really. Why is there a cartoonish black person statue in that house?” I have no freakin idea. Clueless? Willfully ignorant? I have no idea. But a location my kids will never enter again? Believe it. I’m not saying the people are racist, but I am absolutely saying that their statue is. As I researched lawn jockeys I found all manner of attempts to elevate the item from racist artifact (found nowadays in The Museum Of Racist Memorabilia) to noble symbol of African-American bravery. Bullshit bullshit bullshit. If black people tell you that lawn jockeys are offensive, you don’t get to overrule them based on some apocryphal piece of wishful thinking. You say My Bad and you remove it.
What if I’d walked into a non-Jew’s house that was full of swastikas? Not to worry! These are Sanskrit symbols of plenty and auspiciousness!! Yes yes, Nazis blah blah. But the meaning *I* prefer is the Sanskrit one. I’m sorry if you interpret my swastikas negatively. Jews are so sensitive! I mean no harm with my swastika collection. I am even 1/12 Jewish, so how can you say this is not appropriate?! I am telling YOU what the swastika should mean to you, even though I have no experiences related to its negative associations. Geez! It’s just a few wall hangings. A couple of swastikas and everyone gets all politically correct…
You see my point. Non-Jews do not get to tell me to settle down about swastikas. Whites do not get to tell Blacks to settle down about lawn jockeys. None of us gets to tell Native Americans to settle down about ethnic slurs on t-shirts and flags and in a national athletic league. It’s basic decency. It’s basic Golden Rule. Treat others as you would like to be treated. You don’t want the symbol for the genocide of your people to be common and accepted? You don’t want crass racial caricatures of your people kept as home decor? You don’t want a hurtful slur printed on products and chanted by people who cannot even begin to understand your historical experience? Then don’t do it to others. Don’t stand idly by watching it happen. Don’t financially support that enterprise. And, most importantly, don’t think you can support a team named with a slur and think you won’t be judged. It’s wrong it’s wrong it’s wrong. You can pretend it’s not. You can probably even pretty capably convince yourself it’s not. You can even reach the height of douchebaggery and OWN the team and make word-like noises that sound like justifications telling people it’s not. But it is still wrong. It’s still wrong.
Hail To The Right Thing: Change the name.
This is my country,
The land that begat me.
These windy spaces
Are surely my own.
And those who here toil
In the sweat of their faces
Are flesh of my flesh,
And bone of my bone.
–Scotland, Sir Alexander Gray
Today is the day. The referendum on Scottish independence. Many of you have asked me how I would vote on this issue, and my answer is……..snare drum roll, please!….
It doesn’t matter.
I was born Scottish by the grace of God. But we moved to the USA and I am now American. I have less than zero business telling anyone in Scotland how they should be voting on an issue of such tremendous import.
But I will say this.
To those who say that a free Scotland would struggle economically: you are probably right. But it has always struggled economically as part of the UK. That struggle is precisely why my family moved to the US when British Steel went tits up. Things were bad and not looking to get better; thank you, Mrs. Thatcher.
To those who say that the disentangling of these nations would be immeasurably complicated: you are probably right. What about the currency?! What about the EU?! What about the oil and gas?! The mind boggles at the details. But just because something is difficult doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done.
To those who say that this entire independence movement is based on emotion: OF COURSE IT IS. For the love of all that is good and holy, OF COURSE the independence movement is emotional. Has any independence movement ever been anything but? But why does that make it any less credible?
The answer is that there is no easy answer.
My sense is that NO will win.
My sense is that Scotland will persevere regardless.
Scotland, as nations go, is a tough old broad. People love to quote that Alexander Gray poem, but never in it’s entirety. They should:
Here in the Uplands
The soil is ungrateful;
The fields, red with sorrel,
Are stony and bare.
A few trees, wind-twisted –
Or are they but bushes? –
Stand stubbornly guarding
A home here and there.
Scooped out like a saucer,
The land lies before me;
The waters, once scattered,
Flow orderly now
Through fields where the ghosts
Of the marsh and the moorland
Still ride the old marches,
Despising the plough.
The marsh and the moorland
Are not to be banished;
The bracken and heather,
The glory of broom,
Usurp all the balks
And the fields’ broken fringes,
And claim from the sower
Their portion of room.
This is my country,
The land that begat me.
These windy spaces
Are surely my own.
And those who here toil
In the sweat of their faces
Are flesh of my flesh,
And bone of my bone.
Hard is the day’s task –
Scotland, stern Mother –
Wherewith at all times
Thy sons have been faced:
Labour by day,
And scant rest in the gloaming,
With Want an attendant,
Not lightly outpaced.
Yet do thy children
Honour and love thee.
Harsh is thy schooling,
Yet great is the gain:
True hearts and strong limbs,
The beauty of faces,
Kissed by the wind
And caressed by the rain.
It describes a place that has historically been hard to live in and hard on the people who love her anyway. It captures the essence of Scottish-hood: a love of country borne of struggle. A terrain at once mesmerizingly beautiful and mercilessly unforgiving. A history at once profoundly inspiring and relentlessly heartbreaking. A culture and a people who always have been and always will be unique and powerful and inimitable.
With or without their sovereignty.
*msybe yes, maybe no