I want to be as nasty as Kamala Harris

Also if sleeping your way to the top is possible how can I do it because I am tired of being at the bottom

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And it starts. The sexist attacks on Kamala Harris.

Are we surprised?

No. No we are not.

This is the way it goes – the way insecure, pathetic, weak men discredit women and yes, I am talking to you, Mr President, who has very very small hands that his own wife doesn’t even want to hold, and you, Rush Limbaugh, who called Harris a “hoe,” and any man who thinks that the fact that he has a penis makes him superior to a woman and makes him fit to run the world.

We are shrill. We are emotional. (Because anger is not an emotion so therefore men do not get emotional.) We have hormones and you know what that means.

And we use sex to get what we want.

(How does that even work? How does a person – a woman – even use sex to get ahead at work? Do you write a contract? How does the quid pro quo get established? Do you discuss the terms before the sex? Or is it just understood? Why isn’t there a handbook for this? Why have I done my whole life wrong? WHY WASN’T THERE A CLASS ON THIS AT BUSINESS SCHOOL? UT-AUSTIN YOU FAILED ME.)

A person I used to respect sent me a link to a story from January 2019 claiming that Harris had “slept her way to the top.” This was his triumphant proof that Harris is not qualified to be vice president.

I will save you the trouble of reading it. It says that Harris dated Willie Brown, who was the mayor of San Francisco, for a short while, when she was in her late 20s. He appointed her to two state commissions.

This is “sleeping your way to the top.”

My acquaintance thinks Trump is the epitome of brilliance and accomplishment and that Harris, who got into and graduated from Howard and got into and graduated from Hastings and was elected San Francisco DA and was elected California AG (twice) and was elected California senator and won huge court cases as a prosecutor, is the person who has done nothing on her own merits.

How many people did she have to sleep with to accomplish all that LORD HAVE MERCY SHE MUST BE EXHAUSTED.

So Trump, who didn’t take his own SATs, whose admission to Penn was facilitated by personal connections and a bribe, who inherited his money and has never accomplished anything on his own except drive businesses and an entire country into the ground, is the standard by which we should measure success?

But Harris, who has a resume that is so bright I need to wear sunglasses to look at it, is the loser who parlayed a few dates with Willie Brown into membership on two state commissions into a brilliant career but IT’S ALL BECAUSE SHE SLEPT WITH WILLIE BROWN?

She must be amazing in bed is all I have to say./sarcasm

Also – I have been on a city commission and I was just appointed to another one. Trust me when I say commissions are not the route to power. You serve on a city commission because you care deeply about the issue, not because you value your free time, not because you enjoy sitting in a windowless room until 11 p.m. on a work night listening to citizens testify in two-minute increments about a deeply controversial issue as they glare at you and imply that you are in favor of disemboweling kittens and puppies when the real situation is that the city just doesn’t have $15 million in spare cash lying around and you personally also do not have that in your checking account.

Commissions are work. That is all. They do not benefit the members personally. We do it as a labor of love because we care about our communities.

So.

  1. Sex is currency that can result in career advancement
  2. There must be rules somewhere
  3. That I have never known about
  4. Commissions are a pain in the ass

Which means that the commissions are a smokescreen and it was all the sex Harris must have had with Brown only he didn’t control the juries or the voters and I AM SO CONFUSED.

But the real takeaway is that very powerful men are scared of Harris and that? Is a very good thing.

Rock on Kamala. We are with you.

 

 

 

 

Who died and made men the default for everything?

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“Of the 100 statues in Statuary Hall (in Congress), two from each state, only seven are of women (and yes, the states could replace statues if they wanted to). A marble statue celebrating the suffragettes was gifted to the U.S. Capitol by the National Woman’s Party in 1921, only to be moved underground to “The Crypt,” where it remained until 1997, when Congress voted to move it back to the Rotunda.”

And another thing that has me so, so angry about how that guy treated AOC and how her response to him was analyzed – even the analysis is sexist.

Warning – this post is kind of a mess because I am writing it in bits and pieces throughout the week. I sort of have a point but this is not one of those thesis/three supporting paragraphs/restatement of thesis posts. It’s rambling. Forgive me.

Here’s a quotation from The Cut’s analysis of the sexism in the Times’ piece:

As the Times put it: “Republicans have long labored to cast Ms. Ocasio-Cortez as an avatar of the evils of the Democratic Party, a move that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has used to bolster her own cheeky, suffer-no-fools reputation.”

She’s “cheeky?” When is the last time a male politician was described as “cheeky?”

And another quotation, this one pointing out that it’s unusual for women to challenge men. Which – isn’t that what the entire women’s movement has been about? For the past few centuries?

The Times’ story on the speech bore the headline “A.O.C. Unleashes a Viral Condemnation of Sexism in Congress” and kicked off by noting that Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman in Congress, who arrived there in 2019, “has upended traditions.” It called her speech on Thursday “norm-shattering” and described supporting speeches made by her colleagues — including one in which Pramila Jayapal recalled being referred to as a “young lady” who did not “know a damn thing” by Alaska representative Don Young — as a moment of “cultural upheaval.

All these words somehow cast Ocasio-Cortez and her female colleagues as the disruptive and chaotic forces unleashed in this scenario, suggesting that they shattered norms in a way that Representative Yoho’s original, profane outburst apparently did not. (Perhaps Yoho’s words weren’t understood as eruptive and norm-shattering because calling women nasty names, in your head or with your friends or on the steps of your workplace, is much more of a norm than most want to acknowledge).

You know what this reminds me of? This idea that AOC is shattering the status quo?

(Which – considering they didn’t have a women’s restroom in the Senate building until the early ’90s OMG don’t even get me started on women’s restrooms – maybe she is. )

The cover article that Time magazine ran in the early ’90s called, “Why Are Women Different?”

And now when I google the article, I find that it was called, “Why Are Men and Women Different?”

But I could have sworn when the story was published, it was called, “Why Are Women Different?”

There was a huge backlash – we were so angry.

(I am almost positive it was called, “Why Are Women Different?”)

And men didn’t even understand why.

Fish don’t see the water.

We were angry for the same reason I get annoyed that only non-white characters in a story have their ethnicity identified. How often do you read a description that includes that someone is white?

(And what is it that Black men are so often characterized as “dignified” and Black women are “sassy?” Isn’t that a bit stereotypical? Not to mention bad writing? Show, not tell, people.)

That I get annoyed that it’s only when the person is a woman that her sex is defined: a female judge/pilot/detective/coroner.

The default is assumed to be male.

The default is assumed to be white.

If you don’t know the sex and color of the person in question, the default is white male.

The Times story (did they change the title of the story? WE WERE FURIOUS) – or at least the title – implied that men are the standard against which women are measured.

And white male power – or, as it’s called in the piece in The Cut, “power” – is looked at the same way. It’s the standard against which other power is measured and it’s the power pie from which others (not white, not men) take it.

White male power is so assumed as to be wholly indistinguishable from what we simply recognize as “power,”

I mean, we know men are the standard to which the world is built. Thank you, Caroline Criado-Perez for writing that amazing book, Invisible Women, where she shows us how – where she confirms what we already knew! – that the world, including furniture, seating in public transportation, gym equipment, temperatures in public spaces, medication, medical research, and pretty much everything else is designed for men and not for women.

We know it’s true.

It’s just that we are so tired of being reminded about it and having to fight it.

 

Same old sexist crap as always

1910 circa Ole Johnson with daughter, Aga
How dare a woman chastise a man? How dare she?

I was gone for a while and I come back and the world is not better.

You guys.

This crap is getting so, so old.

A man calls Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a “f*ing bitch” and “out of [her] freaking mind.”

He disagrees with her opinion.

Instead of countering her opinion with facts, he goes straight to ad hominem attacks that include a sex-based insult and an assertion that she is not sane.

This tactic of not countering a statement with facts is so, so common. That one I can almost overlook. I frequently get facebook comments claiming that what I have posted is not truthful.

I ignore those comments. The links I post lay out clear arguments with data. If the commenters (soon to be ex friends) think they are not the truth, they may respond with facts that disprove the argument. It is not on me to convince people who cannot even construct a decent argument.

And this tactic of sex-based insults is also so common that I don’t even notice it anymore.

Except now I do.

And it makes me angry.

The only thing he left out was questioning whether she was on her period and telling her not to be so emotional. (Except you know – she wasn’t the emotional one – he was.)

We women have been discredited for millennia. Women who dared to speak their minds have been called crazy and burned at the stake and committed to mental institutions against our will.

In 1893, police admitted Agnes to a local mental institution because of complaints from her neighbours. It seems she told them that people were plotting to steal her money and she ‘believed her life to be in danger’. This led to a diagnosis of paranoia. Increasingly angry and ‘non-compliant’ with her incarceration, she was transferred in 1895 to Hubertusberg Psychiatric Institution near Dresden.

[Question: Who among us would not be “angry and non-compliant” at being unjustly imprisoned? Who among us does not get angry when reading a news story about police brutality related to someone “resisting arrest.” WHO AMONG US WOULD NOT RESIST AN UNJUST ARREST?]

Women are called shrill and emotional. Our hormones make us unstable.

Men tell little boys, “You throw like a girl!” (Instead of just, you know, teaching girls how to throw a baseball properly.) When men want to insult another man, they call him a “p*ssy.” One of the very worst words you can use on a woman in the US is a word I won’t even type out but it’s a term that has caused me to gasp when I have heard it on a TV show.

The very fact that being called anything related to femaleness is considered derogatory – why? Why is it so so bad to be a woman? Why do some men hate us so much?

Ted Yoho went straight to the “but I have daughters” argument.

Which – dude? That makes it worse as far as I am concerned.

But then, it shouldn’t matter! It should not matter that he has daughters.

And I say this as someone who has used this same argument against a man and am only now seeing how wrong it was.

When I was 19, I worked as a waitress in a bar over Christmas break one year. One night, as I was leaning over a table, wiping it off, a man grabbed my butt.

I was so shocked that I said nothing. I didn’t know what to say. This had never happened to me before.

But a few minutes later, I figured it out.

I marched over to him and said, “Don’t touch me.”

His eyes flew open. “But your butt was so cute!”

“Don’t touch me!”

He laughed.

Which – also Step One of How to Infuriate a Woman: Discredit Her Emotions by Laughing at Them.

“How would you feel,” I hissed at him, “if someone treated your daughter like that?”

(Did I not mention he was old? Like at least 40?)

He shrugged. “I don’t have a daughter.”

I was undeterred. “Well IF YOU DID.”

But now, I realize this was the wrong argument.

The argument is not that men should treat women with respect only because they want other men to treat their own daughters with respect. They should not treat us with respect out of fear that some other man might mistreat their daughters.

They should treat us with respect because we are human beings.

Sheesh.

It should not be that complicated.

But that’s the argument that Yoho resorted to. Sort of. Except not really.

He just implied that because he has daughters, he is incapable of sex-based insults.

“Having been married for 45 years with two daughters, I’m very cognizant of my language,” Yoho had said, in a speech in which he did not mention Ocasio-Cortez’s name, and in which he nonsensically refused to “apologize for my passion, or for loving my God, my family, and my country.”

You guys, I am so tired of this crap. I am so tired of these men. I am so done with them.

Love, life, and death in the time of COVID-19 or anytime, really

How do you say goodbye to a friend who is dying?

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My dad as a little boy. Who knew he would get only 62 years and two months? Thanks, Agent Orange.

I just got off the phone with my friend Doc T. His wife, L, was my first friend when I moved to Milwaukee. I met her at the Y in body pump. I admired her haircut, got the name of her stylist, Carol (who became my stylist and remained my stylist and Mr T’s stylist until she retired last fall), and voila we were friends.

L is dying.

She has had cancer for a few years now.

They are done. There is no more treatment they can do.

L is direct. Last week, she had her daughter post for her on facebook that she had spent a week in the hospital and was coming home to go into home hospice. “Thanks to COVID there are not currently plans for a service.”

I asked Doc T if L was in any pain.

No, she’s not, he told me.

At least there’s that.

“It’s going to be a slow process,” he said.

What do you say to that?

He continued. “But that gives me more time with her.”

Why don’t the jerks get cancer? Why is it the nice people who suffer? I have a whole list of people we could do without in this world.

My friend is not one of them. She is a nice person. Doc T had finally retired and they were going to do retiree stuff – travel, see the world, enjoy their grandchildren.

And now that won’t happen.

I am working on a project for my city’s anti-racism group. I have an intern who is 19. Last week, on Thursday, I had asked if she could meet on Friday, July 3.

She hesitated. Her family was taking a short weekend vacation, leaving Friday morning.

“But I might have some downtime where I can work on the project the rest of the weekend!” she said.

Nonononono I told her. No. No.

You spend your time with your family while you can.

Work is never more important than your family. Never.

I didn’t want to tell her that I would give anything to spend time with my dad again. That I treasure my memories of our family vacations and time just hanging out on the porch with him. That I still think about the sound of his voice when he would tell us stories when I was a kid. That when he was in hospice, we prayed and prayed for a miracle but the only miracle we got was that the two-pound bag of peanut M&Ms in his room remained unopened and untouched for an entire week.

I didn’t want to warn her that the people you love can be taken from you. That you are not guaranteed a long time with anyone. That fathers can die at 62, an age I now really realize is absurdly young. That friends can die or go into hospice at 67, which is also – it’s way too young.

I just told her to enjoy her weekend – that the work would wait. Work will always be there. Your loved ones will not.

 

 

Grooming in the time of COVID-19

Did you know hair gets shorter as it dries? Mine does I know that now

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Last week, my friend Leigh messaged me.

Leigh: I just cut my own hair. First time ever. And it looks pretty good. I even got the “teen approval check” from S—–. I feel so liberated. I NEVER would have tried this if I were going to the office. But now I think I can do this regularly for quite a while!

Me: That’s wonderful! my stylist retired last Sept so I was kinda lost anyhow so I am just pulling it back into a ponytail and someday, I will go to Supercuts

Leigh: I just used a YouTube video on how to cut long layers. I watched two of them and picked out the one I felt most comfortable with. Then I went to Walgreens and got sharp hair cutting scissors. Then I watched the video a few more times as I did it myself. I figured if I erred on the side of leaving it longer then it could be fixed if I messed it up too much.

Then we stopped messaging and I can’t remember why. I went on my merry way.

With my hair that has not been cut since February.

Mr T got a haircut last month, when the hairdressers opened again.

He had complained repeatedly about his hair getting too long.

I had offered repeatedly to cut his hair.

I used to cut hair in college.

I wasn’t any good at it, but – college students don’t care. Or at least they didn’t care back then.

My attitude was, High school dropouts do it so how hard can it be?

May I say that is an ugly attitude that has come back to bite me in the butt many many times?

I offered to cut Mr T’s hair, but said that he would have to sign a contract first. Our bonus son in law, Brian, a lawyer, agreed to write the contract for us.

Mr T declined.

Mr T is a chicken.

Honestly, what’s the worst that can happen with a haircut?

You get a bad haircut and your hair either has to be cut some more or it has to grow out?

IT’S NOT LIKE ANYONE IS SEEING US THESE DAYS ANYHOW.

That is, nobody but the people at the grocery store or at the food bank where we volunteer (socially distanced, with masks and gloves) once a week.

We are not among civilized people these days.

Well. We are not among any people these days.

It’s the 4th of July and we are in our house, bored. We should be at Summerfest and fireworks but this year, there is neither.

The only good thing about all of this quarantining is that in addition to not having to spend money on cutting my hair, I have also not wasted money on highlighting my hair. Or on painting my toenails. Or on makeup.

(That’s an item that keeps coming into the food bank, where Mr T and I have been processing inbound donations. Lots of unsold makeup coming back in for processing.

Also, and totally off topic: M&M Mars insists on having their candy returned to them rather than donating it to the food pantries. So any unsold M&M Mars products do not get processed for donation but for return to M&M instead. Which is just mean. IT’S MEAN.)

I have not wasted money on makeup. I have not wasted money on new clothes. I have not wasted money on deodorant.

Basically, I am a pioneer woman except with all the comforts of elastic and electricity and with none of the work.

I am an unmake-uped, un-deodoranted (it does not get that hot here, OK? and it’s sure not like I do anything that requires physical exertion), gym clothes clad (for the elastic, not for actual exercise) very natural woman.

But as much joy as it brings me not to have to put any effort whatsoever into my appearance, having my hair hit my shoulders was really starting to bother me.

It’s annoying! I don’t like having long hair.

I could mostly solve the problem by just putting my hair in a ponytail, but then I realized it was actually taking me longer to wash my hair than usual.

Yes! It takes longer to wash long hair than it does to wash short hair!

Not that I have anything to do, being an unemployed person, but washing my hair is boring.

A few days after Leigh told me that she had cut her own hair, I was in the shower, getting more and more annoyed at how much extra time I was wasting washing those extra inches of hair.

I thought, “I am going to ask Leigh what brand of scissors she got. Then I’m going to walk to Walgreen’s and get a pair for myself and then I am going to cut my hair.”

Let me back up here and say that I have cut my own hair many many times.

Let me back up here and say not only have I cut my own hair many many times but also that IT HAS NEVER ENDED WELL.

Let me say here that apparently the only thing I learn from history is that I do not learn from history.

By the time I got out of the shower, my plan had changed from, “Go to Walgreen’s for the Good Scissors and then really think about how to cut hair properly” to, “Grab old scissors from the junk drawer and hack off chunks of wet hair in 2.5″ increments. Without using anything other than the main bathroom mirror. Or any other guide for length.”

Which is the plan I executed.

Which – well – is how I remembered that

  • my hair gets shorter as it dries
  • my hair gets a lot shorter as it dries
  • it’s really hard to cut the hair in the back
  • especially when you can’t see it
  • and if you are just doing it in clumps instead of carefully pinning hair up in sections the way professional stylists WHO TAKE SO LONG do
  • because I guess scissors slip on big chunks of hair?
  • and then you get really uneven sections
  • that you still can’t see
  • which means you can’t fix them yourself

But nobody sees me so – whatever. My too-short, uneven hair. What. Ever.

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Shades of privilege are still white privilege

Nobody asks me if I am looking for someone when I am in my own front yard

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Sort of on topic. When I was in South America, I didn’t see anyone who looked like me washing clothes by hand by the train tracks.

I live in a middle-class suburb of mostly white people. My neighbor a few houses up is black. He is an engineer. His mother is a professor. He grew up in not only more affluent but also more sophisticated surroundings than I did. You would probably say he has more privilege than I do, or that he had more privilege growing up than I did.

For instance. I did not know until I read the book, The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students, by Anthony Abraham Jack, that I didn’t really know what office hours were.

I read that book this year.

I finished college in 1985.

Mr T, whose father was a college professor, was flabbergasted. “Why didn’t you just ask?” he asked.

Because I didn’t know that I didn’t know.

I thought office hours were the hours that the professor worked. Yeah, I had no idea what a professor did. I didn’t know that office hours were when professors  were available for students to ask questions.

Why would I ask a professor for help? That wasn’t the professor’s job! It was my job to figure things out. The professor lectured. I took notes. I had the textbook. If I couldn’t figure it out, well, I guess I was too stupid to be there, then.

When I would see a professor in his or her office and it wasn’t office hours, I was always very confused. Why were they even there?

When I read The Privileged Poor, I discovered that not only were office hours time set aside for students but also that some students knew enough that they would use that time to just hang out with the professors.

Which is how you get to know your professors.

Which is how you get the good recommendations for grad school and internships.

Which – I had no idea.

  1. As I said, I didn’t even know what office hours were.
  2. I didn’t know I didn’t know.
  3. Even if I had known, I would never have just gone to hang out with a professor. NEVER. They were old. They were adults. How would I even dare impose on their time like that? What would I even have said? What would we have talked about?

This is something rich kids know how to do. This is something Anthony Abraham Jack talks about in his book: that kids raised in privilege know these things because their parents teach them. They know how to develop relationships with adults so they can gain the benefits that come from those relationships later.

I asked a professor for a recommendation a year after I was out of college. I had been very involved in my residential college (kind of like the Harry Potter house) and the professor who was in charge of our residential college knew me, I thought.

He refused to write me a recommendation, telling me he didn’t remember me.

My bad. I didn’t know how it worked. I thought that showing up and doing the job was enough. It’s not.

You find similar ideas in the book, Limbo: Blue-Collar Roots, White-Collar Dreams, by Alfred Lubrano. Lubrano talks about how white collar kids are taught to shake hands and talk to adults and how to negotiate professional office norms.

These things are a mystery to people who don’t grow up in white collar backgrounds. We don’t even know we don’t know. We just know that something always feels wrong – like there’s a game being played and we don’t know what the rules are.

Off-topic story

Lubrano also, in my favorite example, cites how professors’ kids work differently from blue-collar kids.

Mr T’s dad was a professor, mine was an aircraft mechanic. Both of our fathers went to college and were the first ones in their families to go, but my dad had more of a blue collar, practical view of life. His job was life or death, so he was focused and pragmatic. Mr T’s dad taught English, which, although worthy, doesn’t cause death if it’s not done properly.

Mr T and I each absorbed our respective father’s approach and I saw that in this example from the book.

Lubrano talks about an experiment where a group of professors’ kids and a group of blue-collar workers’ kids were each given a task.

The group of professors’ children argued about the best theoretical way to approach the task.

The group of blue-collar worker’ kids calmly defined the objective, chose a leader, figured out a plan, and completed the task. While the professors’ kids were still arguing.

This is how Mr T and I work. He wants to discuss in great detail the theory of everything and I just want to complete the task.

For example. We were on our way to the airport and traffic was backed up to get onto the highway.

He started complaining about the traffic and asking, “But how can there be traffic on a SATURDAY?”

I got onto my phone to find an alternative route. “Just go this way,” I told him.

He ignored me as he continued to question the presence of traffic ON A SATURDAY.

Back to the topic at hand, which is varying levels of privilege within whiteness

So those middle-class and rich kids learn how to negotiate this world. They know what office hours are. They are comfortable calling adults by their first names, something I had to be told to do in my first job out of college.

Yes. I was working for an insurance company and I was calling all the adults “Mister” and “Miz” whatever because THEY WERE OLD PEOPLE AND I KNEW THE RULES.

One day, a VP took me aside and said kindly, “We’re on a first-name basis here.” Even though he was my father’s age. Which meant he was old. At least 48.

Rich kids know this stuff. They know how to talk to people and they have the connections.

Here’s an interesting aside. Do you know what the key success factor is for entrepreneurs?

Guess.

Rich parents. Rich parents and/or connections to other rich people. (From inc.com)

What really sets entrepreneurs apart from everyone else? It’s not their resourcefulness, imagination, ability to foresee trends, or their belief in their own ideas, according to a recent piece on Quartz. It’s the mouthful of silver spoon they were born with. “The most common trait among entrepreneurs is access to financial capital,” the piece notes, citing a wide range of research.

Are you wondering, “Why is she telling me all this? Isn’t this kind of like saying, ‘Did you know the sun rises in the east?’ Doesn’t everyone know that rich kids have it easier?”

I am saying all this because I do have a point.

And the point is that even though my neighbor was raised in a sophisticated home, with a mother who was a college professor (I don’t know what his dad does), even though my neighbor grew up in an affluent suburb, even though my neighbor undoubtedly knew what office hours were before he went to college, even though my neighbor knew how to talk to adults comfortably and didn’t have to be told in his first job out of college to call his co-workers by their first name, even though my neighbor is an engineer who works at a respected employer, even though my neighbor is married with two little kids, even though he is a stable citizen,

his black skin is all some people see:

Our house was egged soon after we moved in. Standing in my front yard, I’ve been asked by “Helpersons” if I was looking for something. My family is ignored by parents we see almost daily at our kids’ schools. And I recognize the difference between genuine and forced smiles.

My house has not been egged.

Nobody has ever asked me if I was looking for something when I have been standing in my own yard.

And I, too, know what a forced smile looks like. And the only person who has given me one in the recent past is Mr T’s mother.

The only difference between my neighbor and me to strangers is that his skin is black and mine is white.

That is what white privilege is.

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Being bored but not bored enough in the time of COVID-19

I thought I was bored enough to watch stupid movies but I was wrong

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A beautiful woman in Spain who probably would not have fallen for the crap from some rich tech guy.

In the beginning, I couldn’t watch TV or movies or read books at all.

All I could do was watch the deathmeter on the Johns Hopkins site and read the news and try to convince my mom that no she should not go out not even to church not even to the grocery store.

Now I am getting numb to death. It’s Memorial Day weekend as I write this and we are about to hit 100,000 deaths in the US. The president of this country is playing the violin happily as we are about to hit 100,000 deaths.

And I?

I am numb.

I don’t watch the deathmeter anymore.

I stay inside.

I read the paper.

I apply for jobs when I see actual jobs posted.

Mr T is surprised that I continue to be disappointed that I am not asked to interview. That I actually expect something to happen when I apply for work.

Maybe he’s right.

Maybe I need to lower my expectations to nothing.

Maybe applying for a job during a pandemic is nothing more than a weird kind of performance art.

I could just tilt at windmills instead.

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I don’t have any windmill photos, but this is a photo of Spain so there you go.

And the library has started curbside pickup, so I have been getting movies to watch.

NO WE DO NOT HAVE NETFLIX. NO JOBS NO NETFLIX OK?

And – what we have learned is that I have become too lazy to look up IMDB ratings and now trust previews and DO NOT DO THAT.

PREVIEWS LIE.

I am cranky because I just wasted an hour on The Age of Adaline, which would have been an hour and a half, but if you click the fast forward button once, you can watch the movie a little bit fast and don’t have to put up with all the slow talking.

I am not even going to get into how Adaline got into her state of not aging. Mr T wanted me to explain it to him and I told him it was not relevant – that he needed to just accept it as the premise. But he insisted and I told him and he said, “But that’s STUPID!” and I said, “I told you so” and that was that.

Take it as given that she does not age.

And then think of all you could do with that premise: a woman who has lived more than 100 years but whose body is still 29?

Sadly, the writers didn’t do much with it except show that Adaline outlives all of her dogs, which actually did make me very sad, as Mr T and I regularly become quite sad thinking of the day when our cats will leave us.

But more than sad at the lost opportunity for exploring this great premise, I am ticked off at how badly – and yet how predictably – the writers handled The Cute Meet.

Which was so clearly written by men.

(Thank goodness though because if there’s one thing that’s missing in cinema it’s a man’s point of view, especially in a story about a woman.)

Adaline meets Ellis. He asks her out, asks for her phone number, etc, etc.

She tells him no.

End of story, right?

No means no.

Nonetheless he persisted.

He shows up at her work – the San Francisco library or archives or something – with a huge donation.

And says he will make this donation only if he can be photographed giving it to her.

She says no, it’s not her job and besides, she does not like to be photographed.

End of story, right?

No means no.

Nonetheless he persisted.

Then he says, OK, he will still make this huge tech millionaire donation if she will go out with him.

She says no.

End of story, right?

No means no.

Nonetheless he persisted.

Her co-workers are no help.

She says yes.

And I am yelling at the TV DO NOT GO OUT WITH HIM THIS IS EXTORTION.

This is when I pause the movie to look up the writers and of course they are men. They are men writing out the male fantasy of if they had a ton of money they too would force someone who looks like Blake Lively who is indeed stunningly beautiful to go out with them.

(Oh yeah – and later of course they write that she is a huge baseball fan who knows all the players and their stats – because this is a men’s movie written by men.)

And then some things happen and then they do go out and then he shows up at her apartment and she asks, “HOW DID YOU FIND OUT WHERE I LIVE?”

And he tells her that the library told him to which I am yelling, OH NO THEY DIDN’T! NOT IN REAL LIFE! HAVE THESE SCRIPTWRITERS NEVER HAD A REAL JOB WITH AN HR DEPARTMENT?

Adaline is freaking out because THIS GUY IS STALKING HER.

And he’s all, “But dude I’m a tech gajillionaire don’t I get to have whatever I want? I donated a ton of money to the library and now I own them!”

She tells him to leave her alone – she’s moving.

And I think FINALLY GIRLFRIEND YOU GOT A BACKBONE.

But. No.

Her daughter tells her she needs to be open to love blah blah blah and I’m thinking, “But he’s STALKING her!”

And Adaline is all, Well he was good in bed even though he played jazz music.

And so she goes to his work the next day and begs some guy to call him down so she can apologize and I just want to slap her silly through the screen because Adaline?

You could do better.

You could do better than a man who extorts you into going out with him and who uses his power to get your personal information that your employer never should have given out about you.

And I don’t even think he’s that good looking.

And she has her own money.

He’s shown a clear disregard for her wishes.

Why is she doing this?

She could have anyone.

But she picks the pushy jerk who thinks he should get what he wants because – because he’s rich?

I am telling you true life shows us that rich guys who think they should have what they want just because they are rich is not a good thing.

 

White privilege – it might not be what you think it is

1954_Nov_29,__Lloyd,_packing_to_leave__boot_camp
I didn’t even know until recently that the GI Bill, which is how my dad was able to go to college, was not available to black veterans. I did not know what a sundown town was. I did not know that in some places, including my own neighborhood, it was illegal to sell a home to a black person.

I used to get really bothered when people would talk about this so-called “white privilege.” I would huff to myself that being white had never brought any privilege to me, thankyouverymuch. That I was not the beneficiary of the internships and the connections and the jobs and all the things that I have heard about but have never experienced.

I even used to think these benefits were fiction until I started seeing them happening for my friends’ kids: The nice summer job at the cool company. The phone call to the admissions officer at the college. But I still took this as a rich people thing, not a white people thing.

Nobody had ever done that kind of thing for me, but then my parents did not have wealthy friends. I have never gotten a job through connections. I have never been admitted to a college because my parents are friends with the admissions officer. My whiteness has never benefited me in any way.

I thought.

And then I started thinking about things I have noticed that don’t seem quite right.

When I lived in Austin in the late ’80s and early ’90s, I saw white fraternity men get charged with crimes that would have put black and Mexican men from the east side of town in prison. There was at least one hazing incident that resulted in a death. The fraternity men who hazed the dead guy were charged but they did not go to prison. They went free.

Just last week, I read a story in Texas Monthly about a school shooting in 1978. A white kid shot and killed his teacher. The kid did not go to prison. He is free today. I am pretty sure that if he had been black or Mexican, he would still be in prison. (The question of what to do with juvenile offenders is not what I want to talk about here – just the disparity in how people of different colors are treated.)

And then I thought about when I traveled back from Chile to the US. After I finished my Peace Corps stint, I came home over land, traveling through Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Mexico.

In every single one of those countries, I didn’t think twice about walking into a fancy hotel to use the bathroom.

Nobody questioned me.

Even when I was a raggedy Peace Corps volunteer, I was a white, blue-eyed, blonde raggedy person.

Nobody questions a white, blue-eyed, blonde woman, even when she is hauling a backpack and hasn’t had a haircut in a while.

Nobody.

We can walk into any fancy hotel and nobody will bat an eye.

And that’s when I realized that’s what white privilege is. It means that I don’t worry about someone being suspicious of me because of the color of my skin. It means that I have never once thought, “I wonder if I can walk into this hotel to use the bathroom without someone hassling me.”

Wait. I have thought about it and my answer to myself has always been, “Of course I can! Nobody is going to question me, especially in Latin America, where the color hierarchy is so clear!”

But this rule holds in the US and in Europe as well. Nobody challenges a blue-eyed blonde white woman. Nobody.

And that is privilege.

I know that’s a simple example, but you get the idea. Because of my skin color, I do not face challenges that other people face. It means I don’t worry that someone will follow me in a store because they think I am about to shoplift. It means I don’t worry that my resume will be overlooked because my name doesn’t sound “white.” It means I don’t worry every time my black child goes to the store for Skittles. It means I don’t keep a teddy bear in the back seat of my car so that if I do get pulled over, the cop will somehow associate me with “family man” instead of “criminal.”  It means I don’t ever get The Look – that people are not surprised when they see me doing something that requires intelligence, competence, and education. It means that I don’t, like my former boss, Herman, who is black, get shocked looks when people meet me in person after talking to me on the phone. It means I don’t have to teach my children special rules for how to interact with the police.

In the past 75 years, having white skin has meant I could join a union, buy a house in whatever neighborhood I wanted, get an FHA loan, get the GI Bill, attend whichever school I wanted, stay in any hotel, eat at any restaurant, get a lighter sentence for a crime, have a better chance of surviving childbirth (this one is still true), get more pain medication from physicians, be expelled from school less, and have fewer chances of being killed by the police.

Having white skin doesn’t mean my life is easy or that things are given to me or that I have never had a hard time finding a job. But it does mean that my skin color is not making things harder.

 

 

 

 

Justified anger and injustice in the time of COVID-19 and forever

George Floyd had a knee on his neck for probably three times as long as it will take you to read this

kneeling

I am in a sad, angry mood because I am writing this a few days after George Floyd was murdered and I can’t think about anything else except how this man did not deserve – no man – no human – deserves this – did not deserve to have an agent of the country of which he was a citizen kneel on his neck for nine minutes – NINE MINUTES – while he pleaded for his life.

How do you even do that? How do you kneel on someone’s neck while he tells you he cannot breathe?

How do you do that? How do you not move your knee? How do you continue with an action that you know is causing someone pain? And then refuse to render aid?

I am angry. I am furious. I am sad. I am lost. I am convinced that if we did not have the current president that George Floyd would be alive. The current president has given license to certain people to rip off the masks they had been hiding behind and show their horrible, hateful racist selves.

I cry for my country. I fear for our democracy – that this man is in the White House. And that despite the evidence of the past few years, there are people who continue to support him. Despite his ugliness and pettiness and meanness and lack of honor and integrity, people will vote for him.

I know not everyone who voted for the president is racist. I know not everyone who voted for him wants this. And they have a chance to adjust in November. I hope they do. I hope they look at what has been going on and say, “This cannot stand.” I hope enough people are horrified at this new information that they say, “ENOUGH.”

But this is where we have been going. This is where things have been.

This is what I came here to write, before Mr Floyd was murdered. Last week, we were discussing online something the president said – a quotation in a story in the Washington Post.

I don’t even remember which stupid thing it was – there are so, so many stupid things and they all run together and I can’t even keep track. If I tried to keep track of every single stupid thing that the president of the United States said, I would not have time to do anything else, including eating, sleeping, or even breathing. It’s a full time job for probably 4,000 people.

Yes, he is that stupid.

Anyhow, John B told me, “your a idiot if you believe everything you hear.”

I answered that I usually find the Washington Post to be a reliable source (especially when they are giving me a direct quotation).

That’s when John B posted this sizzling riposte to me (with a very cute little girl): “Texan – are you stupid or something?”

To which I answered (truthfully), “Nope. I’m not.”

And I thought that was going to be the end of it because – well, I’m not stupid.

I say that with the same assurance that I say I am not tall and I am not thin and I don’t have brown eyes and I am not a good tennis player. I know what I am and I know what I am not.

I am not stupid. I’m not.

Before I get to John B’s brilliant response, let me talk a little more about what’s been going on with facebook and me lately.

I usually don’t talk about politics online.

But in the past few months, I have come out.

This is where I have taken my stand. I have seen such idiocy that I have had to say something. I used to worry about making other people mad.

I. Don’t. Care. Anymore.

They should worry about making me mad.

I wrote about something in March and a former friend started to get obnoxious. When I challenged him, he said ugly things to me – insinuating that I have spent the past decades mocking him.

I was so confused. Honestly, I never even thought about him. He is the husband of a friend of mine.

Then he said something ugly to one of my friends.

Wait. I found the initial post.

Samantha

Ex friend: Such a hateful comment. What’s wrong with liberals?

Me:  Oh I am perfectly happy to call out a president who wants to prioritize the stock market over lives.

Kelly: THAT’s Hateful?! OMG! Have you listened to every damn thing that’s come out of the president’s mouth? “Nazis are nice people.”

Liz: Since when has Texan been a liberal? 😂

Ex friend: I was directing that to Samatha Bee. But you are an uber liberal. You have all the trappings – condescending, negative, … You own it:)

Me: Seriously? You’ve known me for decades and that’s your opinion of me?

Kelly: Unfriend and block. That is ridiculous to say about a friend!

Ex friend: you are changing the subject. Because I say Bee is hateful that’s an endorsement of the president? You’re reaction shows your colors. I’m not a fan of trump and do my share of cringing but I don’t wish his death.

Ex friend: Kelly, someone disagrees with you and you unfriend and block? Are you easily triggered? 

Me: You are calling me names. What’s going on? I do not mind calm discussion about issues on my page, but I do not expect name calling and ad-hominem attacks from my friends.

Kelly: Ex friend, I did not get personal with you, but you ask am I easily triggered, after you personally insult Texan? I’m not easily triggered, thank you for being so kind as to ask. Neither would I be willing to have friends who don’t apologize for being obnoxious. Also, it’s your not you’re reaction.

Ex friend: Texan, I don’t know what you are mad about? Liberal? I did not say socialist. Condescending? negative? i thought that’s what you were going for with the Bernice and Leopardo comments. And you witty posts about conversations with Mr T. You act like your from Wisconsin. You’re better than that. I’m surprised. But your friend Kelly needs to worry about herself. You’re a big, powerful, capable woman. You don’t need a defender.

That’s when I unfriended him.

I am done. I am done with shit from men. I am done with people who cannot be decent and civil and who cannot accept a different point of view.

And also – I am so confused. If I were going for condescending and negative, I would have copy edited his posts. And if he hated me so much, then why has he even been reading my posts? I have been a guest in his home. His wife was one of my best friends in high school. This is just weird.

But – I am done. Done. I am not insulted that he called me liberal. I am insulted that he doesn’t get my humor and that he attacked my friends.

(And for the record, I used to vote for conservative candidates until the current president. Now I am done. I couldn’t bring myself to vote for him. So I don’t know where that leaves me politically but for now, it’s anyone but him. ANYONE.)

Back to the current conversation with John B. He asked if I was stupid.

Dumber

I told him I was not.

He answered: yes. Your

And then, you will see in the image above, he gave himself a laughy face for the comment. Because he thought he was so funny.

Then he realized that oops – he had it wrong. So he corrected it.

To “youre.”

So. QED.

dumber2