Thoughts & Observations on Life, Society, and the Times by Al E.

Archive for October, 2011|Monthly archive page

Offensive or Hysterical – Let’s get real!

In Politically Correct or Just TOO Sensitive? on Monday, October 31st, 2011 at 6:10 PM
Recently my wife and I got this joke in a Halloween email.  We laughed until we cried we thought it was soooooo funny.  Then, as my blog says, …I was just thinking… and well – you decide –
A bald man with a wooden leg gets invited to a Halloween Party. He doesn’t know what costume to wear to hide his head and his leg, So he writes to a costume company to explain his problem.
A few days later he received a parcel with the following note:

Dear Sir,
Please find enclosed a pirate’s outfit. The spotted handkerchief will cover your bald head and, with your wooden leg, you will be just right as a pirate.

Very truly yours,
Acme Costume Co.

The man thinks this is terrible because they have emphasized his wooden leg and so he writes a letter of complaint.  A week goes by and he receives another parcel and a note, which says:

Dear Sir,
Please find enclosed a monk’s costume. The long robe will cover your Wooden leg and, with your bald head, you should really look the part.

Very truly yours,
Acme Costume Co.

Now the man is really upset since they have gone from emphasizing his wooden leg to emphasizing his bald head, so again he writes the Company another nasty letter of complaint.  The next day he gets a small Parcel and a note, which reads:

Dear Sir,
We have TRIED our very BEST.
Please find enclosed a bottle of molasses and a bag of crushed nuts.
Pour the molasses over your bald head, pat on crushed nuts, stick your Wooden Leg up your ass and go as a caramel apple.

Very truly yours,
Acme Costume Co.

The very next day we received another “URGENT” email with the Subject: Please read! from the same friend:   “Hi Albert; Love your blog!!!  yes, it was the Halloween email that I was referring to, because I don’t think of Mary as being a “limb survivor” or what ever the political correct wording is I thought you would enjoy it. .  I only see people for who they are, not what their physical makeup is. Love you guys !!”
Even-though she knows us, my wife and I, for many years, and is herself a very compassionate, sensitive and caring person she realized – remembered – my wife, Mary, is a below the knee amputee.  She, our friend, was beside herself that she had inadvertently offended, insulted or in some way destroyed our friendship or our opinion or respect for her.  Nothing could be further from the truth!!  Believe me neither Mary or I gave this joke a second thought, and certainly NOTHING along the lines of an offense, insult, or any disrespect.  Really!!!!
In fact, this is the email I sent back to her, “Please Read – URGENT” email:

“No you did NOT send us any email that we would have found offensive.  IF you’re referring to the “Man with the wooden leg” we laughed like HELL!!!  We aren’t at all like that and Mary’s situation is what it is – so we just deal with it.  We appreciate your concern, and are aware that in this day and age people may find it “offensive”.  To them I/We say – GET THE F**K OVER IT!!!!”

As any of the regular readers of this blog knows I honestly can’t abide with all this Politically Correct – Over sensitive Bull-Shit!  (Please see/re-read my earlier post – (fill-in-the-blank)…Challenged).  While I agree, appreciate and respect not deliberately hurting, offending or ridiculing anyone with a disability or malady, life is what it is and it’s NOT fair.

I completely sympathize with and understand the problems, restrictions and limitations those with a handicap or disability face – my wife and I have dealt with it for the past several years.  But, not talking about it, sugar-coating it or being overly sensitive about it doesn’t change the facts, and the facts are the facts.  Deal with what is dealt and make the best of it.  It could be a whole lot worse.  Just take a look around you – you can ALWAYS find someone in a worse situation.

If you think I’m naïve or insensitive and you don’t or can’t find anyone worse off or with more problems than you – make a visit to a Cancer Ward – a Children’s Cancer Ward then we can talk.  Or, if your still not sure there are worse problems than yours take a walk in the Cemetery.  Ask any of the residents if they would like to Trade Places – I guarantee you’ll have several takers!

One more note about another message I got from the “joke.”  Considering all the effort the Acme Costume Co. made this typical Mr. John Q Public STILL WASN’T SATISFIED!!! in fact he was offended by their WELL INTENDED efforts!

Get real people – Life is too short to waste it on nonsense!  Put half the effort into helping, respecting and appreciating each gift, person and day we’re given rather than bitching, moaning, criticizing and screwing each other – we’ll all be better for the effort.

Bullied or just a Wimp?

In How did I get this old?, This makes me nuts!! on Friday, October 28th, 2011 at 6:48 PM

Before you get your ass all up and out of joint over the title, give me a minute to express some thoughts and make some points and explanations from a different time and place.

First and foremost NO, I do NOT condone or in any way justify true, relentless, vicious bullying, harassment, or tormenting!  I know they’re out there – the bullies – and their victims, who are real and hurting.  To the victims I say hang tough, seek help, support and relief.  It’s out there, but you need to speak up, find it, ask for it and put any shame or fear behind you in order to benefit.   While I do appreciate that it may be hard or scary, and you may feel any effort is hopeless, don’t give up.  If you do – the bullies win!

Now my thoughts from another prospective, a different point of view, regarding, bullying.  It is a fact of life.  It’s been around forever and in all likely hood will be around for a long, long, long time to come.  It’s NOT right but it’s a reality.  Any real effective change is not going to be made by a campaign to “Stomp It Out,” any more than the “War on Drugs” has ended crime and addiction.  To be effective any plan, campaign, action must be based on facts as to what are the basis or roots of the problems.  What causes the situations or circumstances that result in a bully’s NEED to bully?  That should be the thrust of the questions, campaigns or efforts toward solving the bullying problem.   If we don’t start at, or fix the causes of bullying, no amount of  legislation, rules, policies or penalties will have any long-term benefit, or be truly effective in minimizing if not eliminating bullying.

As with any social or cultural flaw – Education is the key.  Rather than invoke knee-jerk policies, mandates or initiatives, and impose  inequitable, unjust or unenforceable consequences on the bullies society MUST look to understanding and resolving the base issues and causes that drive the bully.  Only then can effective, productive progress be made to end this blight on our civilization.

At the risk of being labeled a lunatic, insensitive or a bully myself, I feel that, to some degree, there are some positive aspects to bullying.  Again, a moment please and allow me to elaborate.

In this day and age it seems everyone feels that our children need constant coddling, reassurance and praise – less their “self-esteem” be dashed – sentencing them to a life of feeling inadequate, inferior or a failure.  This over-protective, no negative, everything is always fair, equal and rosie, philosophy is contributing to bullying as it is giving our kids a distorted view of reality and works to creating and sustaining an inherent weakness.  The lack of accountability, consequences or punishment for unacceptable behavior further fuels this flaw. Could it be that if the truth be told, bullying is no more prevalent today that it has always been, but rather given all the coddling, bullying SEEMS worse, more intense or frequent?

If  you stop and think about it, in reality, some degree of bullying could and has had a positive effect.

Bullying in small,  accountable doses could be beneficial toward building character and a tolerance toward: disappointment, frustration and weakness; developing and strengthening self-respect, and thus how NOT to treat someone else.  If you don’t like the way a bully treats you – and you know how it makes YOU feel, than you shouldn’t do things to make someone else feel that way – right?

When I was growing up bullying existed.  Yes, we did tell our parents and teachers and they did respond.  However, it was usually with advice to the victim.  They often suggested to avoid the bully and “don’t let them see that they can get to you.”  While they did watch the situation to be sure it didn’t escalate, we were encouraged to toughen up, stand up to the bully, don’t just whine, moan, whimper and bellyache.  Do something.  Grow up.  Our parents and teachers tended to let us work out our issues ourselves.  They didn’t fight our battles, we did.  As a result we learned what was acceptable and what wasn’t.  We paid the consequences for our actions and were none the worse for ware.  Suicide – not an option!   The real word is tough so deal with it!

I appreciate that many may still disagree with my thoughts on bullying.  Perhaps you would be more comfortable, find it more acceptable, if I substituted the words rude or disrespectful for the word bullied.  In fact that is a major part of the issue – rampant rudeness and disrespect – two behaviors that would NOT have been tolerated when I was growing up.

Today so many parents not only tolerate blatant rudeness or disrespect from their child, toward themselves or anyone else, but they will often defend it.  It is not unusual for a parent to turn around and not hesitate to be rude, themselves, to a teacher, another adult or another child who is trying to correct or defuse a confrontation, all the while not expecting their child to view this behavior as “acceptable”  Yes, I realize bullying can go beyond disrespect or rudeness, but isn’t that the basis for bullying – a total lack of respect or the ultimate rudeness and disregard for another’s position, situation, property or feelings?

If we are to truly quell this bullying epidemic we need to foster a renewed emphasis on RESPECT.  However, Respect is NOT a right – it is EARNED.  We need to give respect and demand respect; for each other, our parents, teachers, police, animals, property: public, private and personal, the environment, and the world in general.  We need to let kids be kids, work out their issues and ensure they learn and appreciate respect.  The best way to teach is by example and it MUST start with parents.  So what say you parents and adults in general – step-up and show some RESPECT.  Start with your parents, if you’re lucky enough to still have them.  Then respect yourself and stop taking shit from your kids or any other kid.  Then respect the kids, their teachers, your neighbors and fellow humans.  You’d be surprised how the world will follow your lead.

 

(fill-in-the-blank)…Challanged

In Politically Correct or Just TOO Sensitive?, This makes me nuts!! on Friday, October 14th, 2011 at 4:45 PM

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting really sick of the fixation with being “politically correct.” The excessive anguish everyone seems to suffer over whether or not they’re offending someone, any one, has become tiresome.  Now I am not proposing that we should abandon all reason or sensitivity, or that some of the changes and concerns aren’t legitimate.  I’m all for respecting someone’s feelings and concerns; about not causing undue, unnecessary pain, discomfort or destroying self-esteem.  What does concern me is that, like most things today, we’ve carried it a bit too far!

I was recently at a seminar when the instructor, in the middle of her presentation, referenced the flip-chart summarizing pertinent points of her lecture.  She paused and apologized to group, there were about 14 in the class, commenting that we should refer to the easel displaying her points in summary.  Curious as to what the apology was for I asked her.  She said that recently there had been quite a stir in the education department and that all the instructors had been advised that “flip” was a derogatory reference to Filipinos and thus they could no longer refer to those long-standing staples of lectures – flip-charts – as such, rather they should refer to them as easels, or display reference material, etc. NOT flip-charts, to insure our Filipino friends wouldn’t be offended.  I mean really!!!

I’d more or less forgotten about this nonsensical episode until yesterday when an even more ridicules situation came to light.  We were at my wife’s doctor for an appointment.  At some point in the preliminary information phase – weight, blood-pressure, temperature my wife commented that she was an amputee.  The “medical assistant” formally known as nurse corrected my wife, saying the correct term was “lost-limb challenged survivor.”  My wife, who for the most part shares my logic and opinion about “correctness” said, “yes, I’m an amputee.”  The medical assistant, male nurse – sorry – (correction I misspoke, a medical assistant is not anywhere near a nurse), smiled and politely informed her that he worked at a local rehab facility, and was very active in the limb loss community and the Correct term is now – Lost-Limb Challenged Survivor!

I just couldn’t take it.  Not only was this pompous ass arrogant, I felt he had no respect for the patient, my wife – no matter how “politely” he stressed his position as to political correctness.  I, as politely as I could, not my strong suit, said: “No, she’s an amputee!  And by the way, I’m NOT weight challenged – I’m FAT; I’m NOT height challenged – I’m SHORT; I’m NOT age challenged – I’m OLD!!  And all this Political Correctness is nothing but B/S and a big part of what’s wrong with the country.  Every one is just too sensitive.”

Needless to say he wasn’t happy.  Rather, he was a bit flustered – made some lame comment that I was just making a “… politically correct joke…” and left us to wait for the doctor.  Oh well, sorry if I offended the moron – sorry – intelligence challenged medical ass-istant.

Seriously.  Let me ask, what is soooooo offensive about being an amputee, fat, short, old, or any of the myriad of physical, social or other human and social disorders?  Does taking two, three or four words to describe or name a trait or characteristic make it any less real, any less factual, any less burdensome, any less difficult??  Does Political Correctness correct the defect, solve the issue, cure the aliment, right the injustice?  Personally I find it insulting and an affront to my intelligence to attempt to sugar coat or minimize a problem or condition, and not show compassion, concern or empathy toward the person.

Isn’t there a rather famous quote – something about “…a Rose by any other name ….” that really sums it all up.  Let’s get back to reality.  Deal with the issues and not worry so much about what we call them or who may be offended.  Because I’m offended that you’re feelings take precedence over real issues and potential solutions.

Is there a cure for “Stupid”?

In This makes me nuts!! on Friday, October 14th, 2011 at 12:54 PM

I know “stupid” is one of the growing list of no-no words we – the, oh so politically correct – don’t use any more.  It’s demeaning, demoralizing, belittling, and shows my crassness and lack of sensitivity.  Well to those pompous, self-righteous, arrogant, judgmental morons – ops there’s another one – I say stop reading here!!  You won’t get the concept of Common Sense, so no sense taxing your brain with wisdom.  You go right back to being spoon-feed what, how and when you should think.  But, if you are even the slightest bit curious as to a different point of view, and a return to sanity – read on.  BUT don’t say you weren’t warned!!!

I don’t fancy myself an authority, a genius or even an intellectual by any standard.  I don’t hold my self up as someone with all the answers.  However, I do believe I have Common Sense.

Any one out there remember what it is, (was)?  For those of you who aren’t sure,or may not even be aware of the concept, it is, (was) basically a functioning brain, operating with a cognitive thought process and based on taking facts, applying  reason, logic, good judgment and experience to reach, a sound conclusion.  One that anyone else with even minimal intelligence, basic good judgment and life experience, given the same set of facts, applying logic, reason and judgment, would come to a very similar, if not the exact same conclusion(s).

What happened??  Where did we go wrong??  Let me elaborate on why I think, feel, believe Common Sense is a lost art.

The MEDIA is one very influential contributor.  They get a grip on a story – often just that, a story – not necessarily a factual, accurate or truthful account of a situation, circumstance or event – just a sensational rendition – and they don’t let it go.  They beat it, rehash it, dramatize it and repeat it until you can recite it back by rote.  Then, once it’s out there – it takes on a life if its own.  “It MUST be true, it’s everywhere and I saw it on TV!”  No one dare question the “story” for fear of ridicule, humiliation, being labeled a radical, crazy, insensitive.  There is almost never further information, a follow-up, a clarification or revelation of new information or facts because they’re on to the next.

There’s another culprit that no one is willing to take a stand against or speak contrary to – Public Opinion.  If enough people believe something, anything, no matter how outrageous or extreme it rises above question or scrutiny.  Once “Public Opinion” is set – it’s set! – Period!  The problem is that Public Opinion is usually based on the spoon-fed, dramatic, inaccuracies perpetrated by the media and the beat goes on – the vicious circle of life.

Finally there’s the lawyers.  These necessary, but unfortunately, mindless bottom-feeders are the gasoline that fuels the fires.  They have little regard for the truth, the social good or morals.  They twist the facts to suit their client’s position and feed us, the public, via the media what, how, why we should think, act, and support or not – each cause, issue, position.  In reality all they care about is the status, yes the recognition, the power, the influence they can wield and of course the money – show them the money!

I don’t see this scenario changing.  I don’t see the media missing the “scoop” to check facts and get it right.  I don’t see the lawyers refusing cases or working to get the bad guys off the streets, the cheats and liars what they deserve, or the truly evil stopped.  It won’t change unless we change it.

Yes, we the people can – we MUST – change it.  We must exercise Common Sense.  We must start questioning – everything.  We must stop and think – does that make sense?  Apply logic and experience.  Is that what I would do, or how I’d want my wife, husband, boss, son, daughter, mother, father, friend to react, to treat ME?

You know there’s an old saying that really makes sense and has been, I think, for the most part forgotten that advises:  Believe only HALF of what you see – and NOTHING of what you hear.  Common Sense.  Wise words and a start to fixing our mess.

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