Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Can We All Agree That "The N-Word" Is Ridiculous?

President Obama said it.  He said "the N-word", only he didn't say "the N-word", he said "nigger".  Bring on the backlash for me, a white woman, having written the word "nigger".  I don't say "nigger", nor do I use the term "the N-word", because that is idiodic.  Why make the listener do the work?  When you say "the N-word", the other person has to stop and say, oh, you mean "nigger"?  If you mean nigger, say nigger.

The gay community long ago realized that if you take away a word's power, it loses its ability to hurt.  "Queer" was once the go-to insult, but now we have television series called the "Queer Eye" and "Queer as Folk".  Calling someone "queer" no longer has the sting it once did, because homosexuals reappropriated the word.  We're here, we're queer, get used to it.

Bitch isn't the affront it once was, either, thanks in part to shows called "Don't Trust the B**** in Apt 23" (the asterisks are the show's, not mine) and "GCB", which stands for Good Christian Bitches.  Now, despite the fact that I think these titles represent a coarsening of our culture, and neither show seems worthwhile, I am not personally offended by the term.

Redneck ignorance, plain and simple.
George Carlin's most memorable bit is his "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" routine.  Nigger, bitch and queer are not on this list, meaning the ultra-conservative FCC does not find these words obscene, vulgar or profane.  Do people take offense at these words?  Of course, as well as plenty of others.  It is their right, but I think it is a mistake to have such a thin skin.  I have not seen President Obama make a misstep in his days in office, especially verbally; he's been measured and diplomatic in every thing he says, and I respect him for using the actual word, rather than the cop-out.  I think it was calculated, and I think he was right; he started the process of removing the effectiveness this slur holds.

Now, the confederate flag?  That ignorance needs to come down.  Geesh!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Mermaid Costume Tutorial

This was a lot of work for very little payoff, but I guess that's the theme song of my life.  Originally, in the grandiose, what-was-I-thinking phase of the birthday planning, I imagined Tootie Pie wearing this at her 2-hour party (one hour of which was spent in the pool) and photographing her with each of her party guests.  Ya know, so each thank you card could be personalized?  Because, the only thing more tedious than dusting off my never-that-great-to-begin-with Photoshop "skills" to make a thank you card is making twenty different thank you cards.  So, that's not what happened.
 What did happen is, after many an unhappy fitting, and glitter everywhere, we used this costume exactly once, for her thank you card.  Oh, and the backdrop was used the same number of times, but that is now "art" in our basement stairs.   

All you need for this project is sequinned stretch fabric and tulle.  I followed this tutorial for the skirt.  I love the speech bubbles on the photo where her daughter was complaining that her arms were too tired.  Adorable.  For the top, I used the pattern here and followed the tutorial here.  Rather than sew it to a leotard, I sewed elastic to it, since it was not intended to be worn long nor in public.

In the photos, she is wearing a Strawberry Shortcake wig, bedazzled with a purchased pressed paper starfish that I added dimension to with a glue gun, and then dry brush painted it with gold paint.

In the card, I added waves using Photoshop, and some text.  All in all, I think the end result came out quite nice.

I Need a Pencil: Pencil Entitlement


“What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.” ― Brené Brown

In my twelve years of teaching, I've never been asked for a pencil.  Now, that doesn't mean that every student has always come prepared for class, nor that these entitled children haven't tried, in their privileged way, to obtain one from me.  Remember when you would ask your teacher "Can I go to the bathroom?" and the reply would always be "May I go to the bathroom."  Not once have I had occasion to use that most famous teacher line.  That's because kids today no longer ask for things, they demand it.  Rather than ask "Can I have a pencil?", they, without fail, state "I need a pencil", to which I respond, "Yes, everyone needs a pencil." or, "I know, everyday!" or sometimes, "I need a million dollars and a maid."  I simply respond to a statement of fact, not a request.  What's interesting is that in their mind, they think that they did ask for it; I've overheard more than one student complaining that "She won't give me a pencil when I ask for one."

It comes down to entitlement.  Children have been put on par with adults, but their lack of understanding about the adult world leads them to think that things are a given.  For instance, at a communion service that I attended, the priest's sermon dealt with love, and ways that parents show love.  He asked the children how their parents show their love, and each one could only come up with "by buying us toys."  Putting up with an idiot boss, getting up at the crack of dawn, getting jostled on the train or aggravated in traffic, all to put a roof over their heads, food on the table, heat, electricity to charge that cell phone, transportation, those nameplate gold hoop earrings or designer sneakers - to say nothing about not throwing them out the window - in children's minds, none of that is love.  What's interesting is that the entitled child used to be a pampered, overindulged rich brat, like Veruca Salt, but today, it is the well-to-do, the solidly middle class, as well as the poor and needy  Why?

It is learned.  It is taught when a child witnesses a parent bullying a teacher to get what they want.  Your child is watching when you display misplaced outrage at rules that you feel shouldn't apply in your case.  When you shout obscenities at a driver that shares the road but doesn't share your same driving goals, you're showing how to act like society's anoited.  A parent that tells a teacher "You will move my son!", (and, not surprisingly, later tells an administrator how she asked for her son to be moved), is demonstrating how to be an entitled, ungrateful adult.  Short term win?  Sure.  Long term gain, no.  You're modeling vulgar, crass behavior.  Not epic.

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