Friday, November 1, 2013

No Woman, No Drive, No Racism, No Fat Shaming

So, last night was Halloween.  Or "Hallowe'en," as I used to type in my more pretentious days. My boy went dressed as "Heimskr," a monk from Skyrim:

While his father tossed together a last-minute/stuff-laying-about-the-house Abe Lincoln (yes, we do have the gear around the house to make a fair Abe Lincoln):

And me?  I went as the photographer.  Or maybe I was "The Invisible Mom."  I'm not much for having my picture taken, and last time I put on Halloween makeup to hand out candy, I scared kids.  Felt really bad about it.

Anyway, a lot of cute costumes last night, but one "set" I found really troubling.  Understand, I live in a very racially diverse area--in fact, while whites do make up the largest group, we are not the majority.  We have Puerto Ricans, Brazilians, Nigerians, Mexicans, Indians, Egyptians, Argentinians, Pakistanis, Lebanese, African Americans, and Italians just in our little neighborhood.  So when a little WHITE girl shows up dressed as Scarlett O'Hara, surrounded by her little WHITE friends in BLACK FACE?  Spouting lines from Gone With the Wind like "As GOD is my witness, I'll never be hungry again!"


Creative?  Manipulated by parents?  Or just bad, bad form?  Is there a difference between "black-facing" a generic "I'm a black person" and "black-facing" a specific character?  In other words, is there a difference between treating a race as a costume and dressing up as particular character or person?

I think maybe there is a difference, though it just occurred to me today, and I haven't had a lot of time to think about it.  Deep thoughts for so early.


Ooh!  Speaking of deep thoughts, I've been meaning to post this for a few days now:

Steer clear of the comments section--for all the big promises of improved comments and abuse control, fact is, Youtube comments are still a cesspool of stupid and hate.  Between the hateful threatening and the "don't comprehend satire" contingent, the comments are particularly bad.

Anyway, comments aside, this is brilliant.  What a brave guy--does a great Marley, too.  I've known a number of Arab men in my life (been married to one, in fact), and a few of those guys have been Saudi.  There was a disconnect in those Saudi men I've known--there had to be. Because, while going to college in the States, they had American girlfriends who drove their cars and drank their beer and lived with them in what could only be considered astoundingly "sinful" situations.  I say "disconnect" because these guys didn't stay in the U.S. and marry their girlfriends. They didn't go back to Saudi champions of change, tireless heroes pursuing freedom for their wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters.  No, they went back and drifted with the tide of Saudi normality without, it appeared, a second thought.

So this guy, this Hisham Fageeh, appears to have spent a lot of years here in the states.  And he appears to have gone back to Saudi with an idea or two in his head about what's needing a change.  He's a comedian/actor, but he's certainly gotten himself a crossover political satire hit on his hands with this one.  I don't know that I'd call him an "activist"--that's probably not his intent.  But I would call him a smart guy with a sharp eye for the ridiculous and the courage to poke fun at it.

I hope it doesn't land him in hot water.  He's a funny guy.


And now, to the other extreme--young folks with no readily apparent redeeming qualities whatsoever:

The above images?  A young woman by the name of Rachael Sacks.  A wealthy young woman whose sole contribution to this world appears to be self-aggrandizing snobbery.  Here's her dissertation on self-love and superiority:

Astounding.  It's the sense of entitlement borne of someone else's labors that really galls.  She comes across as a spoiled, shallow, low-on-talent creature who expects to be cared for by daddy while she uses her shocking snobbery as an "in" to a writing career she's clearly not talented enough to pursue.  Not yet, anyway--maybe a few more years in school will polish up that rocky presentation.

Or at least that's the impression she gives with her writing.  Perhaps it was all satire and we completely missed the joke.  Were she my child, she'd be figuring out how to finish school on her own dime waiting tables evenings and racking up the student loan debt from her crappy studio apartment.  Like real people do.  

Yeah, I said it.  Like "REAL" people.  Because she's not real--she's a caricature.  A joke.  A doll representing every crappy stereotype.  She gives the racists all the ammo they need, and she almost certainly doesn't grasp that.  I'm all for giving kids a good childhood and all the advantages possible, but clearly this girl's been given too much for too long.    


One last thing, hopping back to Halloween.  Some woman.  Some mean, awful, stupid, judgmental, jeering, fat-shaming woman in Fargo, North Dakota was threatening to hand out the following letters to kids she deemed overweight:

Okay, let's get this out of the way right off--this isn't about "helping" children who may (or may not) have weight problems.  Not even a little.  It's about a lot of things, which I'll go into, but it's not about sincerely wishing to be helpful.  What is it about?
  • Control:  by handing this out, this Halloween Hag holds, in her hand, control over the children who come to her door, their parents, and, quite literally, their holiday experience.
  • Self-image:  by passing judgment on (and putting down, let's face it) children she deems inferior, she can feel better about herself.  It's an time-honored tradition--wanna feel better about yourself?  View another group as inferior to yours, and act accordingly.
  • Meanness:  yes, just plain, old fashioned cruelty.  No explanation required.
  • Self-aggrandizing:  appointing herself the arbiter of who is and isn't acceptable, she increases her own perceived importance and authority.
  • Did I mention just plain meanness?
So this note is for the Wicked Witch of Fargo, North Dakota:


Ah, shoot--one more "one more last thing."  I started to post it on Facebook, but didn't feel like possibly offending someone whose friend had just committed this very offense, so I'll post it here:

You know, akin to "Vaguebooking" is the hyper-self-righteous "Snarkbooking," which is that sideways, judge-y, ultimately deniable way of dressing someone down for something without actually having the stones to do it honestly. You know, like I post "Hey, folks, I'm really desperate for a good poultry dish!" and someone responds with a Tofurkey recipe or starts squealing about "animal rights" and the cruelty that goes into a good roasted chicken (yes, honey, that one's for you)?  Or I post that I'm in desperate need of a good, yet affordable, new plasma TV and someone posts, "Why not get a library card instead?  Works for me, I haven't watched TV in 324 years!"  Yeah, I'm glad it works for you, Snotty McSnotface, but that's not what I asked for--if I'd been in the market for bean-curd-meat-mimicry, paperbacks, or whatever else, that's what I would have asked about.  I get how satisfying it can be to condescend and push lifestyle choices masked as helpfulness, but when I ask about a particular brand of spark plug for my car, don't post a link to the local shop peddling solar-powered Vespas.  Seriously.  Just save it--I promise, you don't sound anywhere near as cool as you think you do, and you're not being even a little bit helpful.  Thanks.

And that, my friends, is that.  I hope you had a wonderful Halloween!

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