Monday, February 22, 2016

Where Were You?

When Kennedy was shot? November 22, 1963
I wasn't born yet. My own mother was only 14 years old.

When Elvis died? August 16, 1977
This I do remember. I was staying at my grandmother's, and she was trying to get me to try sour cream on my baked potato, but I was wary of any dairy product that actually admitted to being 'sour', since that was obviously a bad thing. While trying to keep rotten cream off my potato, it came on the tv that Elvis had died.

The eruption of Mount St Helens- May 18, 1980This was the age when I really started noticing things on the news. Footage of the eruption, triggered by an earthquake, was caught on film, and was replayed for days. My science teacher discontinued our regular lesson and devoted all class time to the discussion of Mount St. Helens.

When the Iran Hostages came home? January 21, 1981

66 Americans were held hostage for 444 days- Nov 4 1979 to Jan 20, 1981.

My parents said that "Ronald Reagan brought the hostages home.", since they were released minutes after he was sworn in. One of my teachers suggested that Reagan somehow bribed Iran to hold on to the hostages and not release them until he was sworn in so that it would look like he was responsible for their release. What I remember most- Yellow Ribbons galore!
The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster- January 28, 1986
It was a snow day, so I was home from school, and ironing my clothes. As I ironed, I watched the launch of the space shuttle mainly because there was a teacher, Christa McAuliffe, on board as part of a "Teachers in Space" program. As I watched the space shuttle break apart, "Obviously a major malfunction", the iron was forgotten, and my shirt burned. To this day, the smell of scorched fabric reminds me of the space shuttle Challenger disaster.



The fall of the Berlin Wall- November 9, 1989
This was watched, beginning to end, on MTV. Yeah, MTV.
Everything I knew about the Berlin Wall up to that point I'd learned from the 1985 movie Gotcha!.

Oklahoma City Bombing-
April 19, 1995
I saw this on the news, and what I most remember is a yellow Ryder truck, and a firefighter carrying a dying baby. What struck me most was a photo of a hand-painted sign attached to a chain-link fence that read, "We Forgive You" less than a week after the attack. I wasn't so ready to forgive, and wondered about people who were so eager to forgive such a terrible act.

When Princess Diana died- August 31, 1997

I was in a restaurant with my in-laws in Weston, WV, and my mother-in-law leaned over the table and said, "Did you hear that Princess Diana was in a car wreck?"
Thinking it was a joke, I leaned forward to hear the punchline, "No, what happened?"
"She died."
Some punchline!
Then someone left W.H. Auden's poem "Funeral Blues" (which I knew from the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral) on the impromptu memorial, and a newscaster read it on the air, and no one fact-checked to learn it was not original. Instead, they read it over and over, and lamented that they may never know the wonderful poet who had written it. Idiots, the lot of them.

Columbine High School Massacre- April 20, 1999

This one was the hardest to take. My regular tv show was interrupted to bring the breaking story of a couple kids with guns going into the school and shooting teachers and students.
I watched the story in horror, and later when Ron got home, I left the kids with him and went to the grocery store as I had planned earlier. I didn't realize how much the story impacted me until I found myself standing in the soup aisle crying my eyes out.
These days, people hardly take notice when there is yet another school shooting, but that first one hit us hard.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

So Someome Told You to Eat a Cheeseburger?

The only time I'm ever represented in womens' magazines is as a "before" picture.
So I stopped reading them.
At the end of every clickbait article are ads "lose belly fat by eating this one weird food", "doctors hate her", and "new skinny pill that works too well".
 Tabloids are constantly screaming "Celebrity beach bods! You won't believe who has let themselves go!" and "new diet gets you bikini ready in 6 weeks!".
In the snack section of any store, I see Weight Watchers, Skinny Cow, fat-free this and that.
Every stoplight has a billboard advertising a local liposuction clinic, with before and after pics.
Every restaurant commercial on tv shows men, women, children, black, white, Asian, young, old... but never fat people. "When you're here, you're family. And everyone in our family is thin." No fast food ad features fat people. They would never want you to associate their food with getting/ being fat. If you believed their commercials, you'd think only thin people go to McDonald's.
Only thin people buy and drive cars, trucks, and motorcycles.
Only thin people book vacations and cruises.
So I turned my tv off.
The message is literally everywhere I look, from my morning cereal box, to weight loss clinic ads on the front of the phone book, to the radio ads offering free "get ready for summer!" trial gym memberships, to songs about "dimes, tens, hotties". Everywhere I look, every store I enter, every doctors office, every errand I run has some message that being fat is ugly, horrible, the worst you can be.
A thin woman recently complained that her sister-in-law tells her to "eat a cheeseburger", so that means thin women get picked on, too!
Two people, same age, education, and experience interview for a job, one is thin, the other is fat. The thin person gets hired, every time- unless there is something seriously wrong with them. When asked, hiring managers answer that fat people seem lazy, out of control, disorganized, and unable to control their bodies, so it's a safer bet to go with the thinner applicant.
I once entered a clothing store that was popular with teens, to buy someone a gift card. I browsed a couple racks on my way to the register. The exceptionally thin sales girl approached me not to ask if I was finding everything ok, but to tell me, "I'm sorry, we don't carry extended sizes at this time." I replied that it was ok, I was shopping for someone else. She said, "You might have better luck at Dress Barn. Some of their stuff is really cute!"
Dress Barn. Yes, maybe I should get out of your hip skinny store before anyone sees me, and go buy my clothes from a store that is named for the farm structure that houses cows, horses, and other large animals.

My guess is you probably said something about a cupcake you were about to eat going straight to your size 6 thighs. You were probably wearing short shorts, maybe a halter top, because you are within the magic size range that society "allows" to wear those type of cute clothes. (Society only allows us to wear capris, flowing blouses with lots of smocking, large floral prints, embroidery, and color-blocking, lest we find our well-meaning friends and family have signed us up for a What Not To Wear intervention.)
And that's why your SIL told you to eat a cheeseburger.

Unless you are in it, you really don't see it.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Today's SCOTUS Ruling on Gay Marriage

I'm seeing a lot of "christian outrage", and people in my newsfeed saying the Supreme Court ruling is a "sad day for christians", and a "sad day for christian marriage", and "evidence of the persecution of christians".
So... this ruling means that christians can no longer marry?
And already-married christians have to split up and get gay married now? Because the supreme court says?
They can no longer marry the person they love in the service/ house of worship they choose?
Instead, christian couples are being persecuted, forced apart, and allowed to only marry a person of the same sex?
If this is correct, I share your outrage.
No wonder christians are so upset by this ruling and feel it has everything to do with them.

Making gay marriage "a thing" doesn't make being gay "a thing". Being gay is already a thing. Denying gays to marry won't make gay go away. All they will do is live together, in sin, if you will, and remain unmarried. The way straight people would do if being married was no longer an option. Falling in love would still happen, being together would still happen, sex would still happen, being a family would still happen, and even nasty break-ups would still happen. Marriage doesn't cause or prevent any of those.
Perhaps since some christian people don't allow couples to have sex or live together before marriage, they assume subconsciously that denying gay people the right to marry will prevent them from having sex or living together. And that's almost the same as making the gay go away, right? Because according to most of the "love the sinner, hate the sin" bullshit on my facebook wall, it's ok to be gay, as long as you don't act on it and have gay sex. Gay people are supposed to pray urgently every day for the strength to resist gay sex, gay fantasies, and masturbating with gay thoughts. After a while, I bet Jesus (or Mary, if she's your style) would start looking pretty hot, if they were all you were permitted to think about when you got horny.
The real christian outrage with marriage equality, is they lose that long-enjoyed ability to discriminate against gays without looking like assholes to the rest of society.
Your sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters have been afraid to come out to you, having grown up hearing every little remark, every time you made that noise, that sound of disgust when someone gay was on tv, or someone in the small town you live in 'turned out' gay. They heard you clucking with the other hens your disapproval. They heard you grunt dismissively and call the paperboy a 'sissy' and 'little faggot' because you saw him doing something in your eyes that was not manly enough. They heard you preach about the 'end times' being near because gays were being tolerated. They listened at the church you took them to about how god doesn't make mistakes and he loves everyone, except how he hates homosexuals, and they will go straight to hell for their ungodly lust. (What is godly lust, by the way? Is that like a priest fetish?)
Your sons and daughters won't come out to you. They are afraid to. And you like it that way. 
What all this christian outrage against the marriage equality ruling really means is you are afraid a legally gay  couple will move in next door and there will nothing you can do about it, or your child might announce they are legally gay  and registered at Target.