Friday, September 30, 2011


If you have something to say, something you absolutely and honestly believe, then say it.

Don't try to dress it up in a flag and tri-cornered hat and call it patriotism.

Don't sample various explanations to see which get the loudest applause and then go with that one.

Don't say that you didn't hear the booing.

Don't try to distract folks with a long list of things that you think people want to hear so that the thing you know they don't want to hear is less out in the daylight.

And don't say or do something clearly intended to be shocking and controversial and then express your dismay that people are shocked or find what you're doing controversial.

This all started when I read about a GOP student group at Berkeley who held what they claimed was a satirical race-based bake sale to protest a bill that would allow California's university system to consider race, ethnicity and gender in admissions decisions.

The cost of baked goods for "Whites/Caucasian" was $2.00. "Asian/Asian American" pricing was $1.50. Separate pricing was also offered for Latinos and Native Americans with a discount for women as well.

The student GOP group was then, reportedly, shocked that people found what they had done to be racist. 

Of course, given that the group posted on a Facebook page about the event: "Hope to see you all there! If you don't come, you're a racist!" I'm going to say that they knew exactly what they were doing.

But stepping up and saying that they were engaged in an activist protest against what they see as the mistreatment of "Caucasian/White" students by the university system is risky. After all, making a case for the oppression of individuals who identify themselves as "White/Caucasian" (1) is a difficult side to argue and, at a school like Berkeley, hardly a popular stance to take.

It's also kind of laughable.

So, instead of taking ownership, they did what a lot of folks are doing. They claimed to have been misunderstood.

Which means that I went beyond having little respect for the position that they are taking and having no respect for them as an organization.

It's a list that seems to be getting longer every day.

1. I keep putting this in quotes because this is the phrasing they used on their bake sale sign. I can't even get into the issues involved in the breakdowns.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

ch-ch-ch-ch..oh, forget it.

The saying goes, "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

I do not like change.

Or, in the past I have not liked change.

Now I find it's the things that are the same that are getting to me a bit.

Or, more precisely, the fact that the more things change, the more they really do stay the same.

And no, writing it out in French would not make a difference.

It would still be saying the same thing.

Just in French.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Status symbols.

So, the other day I was reading a review of I Don't Know How She Does It, a movie based on a book that would, by my reading, really, really like to be the next Devil Wears Prada.

Based on the review, and every other review I've read, I don't think that's going to happen.

But here's what struck me.


This is, apparently, the word used to describe the stay-at-home moms who do all the things that the harried working mom does not. They bake. They volunteer. They are, if we are to buy the shorthand, the enemy of the working mother.

Which is why, as she begins to wrap her review, writer Ella Taylor makes the point of offering that "...we working mothers should be grateful to stay-at-home moms who work their unpaid tails off raising funds for school arts programs and who, when called upon by women working late for emergency child pickups, quietly say, 'No problem, take your time, she can eat with us.'"

Which made me wonder if that's really what the divide, the divide between those who stay-at-home and those who work in an office, really is about. Is it really that stay-at-home moms are unappreciated by those who depend on their ability to jump into the void and lend a hand or that stay-at-home parents (1) spend their evenings scoffing at store-bought cookies working folks bring to the PTA potluck?

Or, is it that tale as old as time, with the grass being greener on the other side?

Or, is it Facebook?

Before the Facebook, the world of daytime was largely secretive. It happened behind closed doors after everyone else headed to work and school. The day of the stay-at-home parent was a mystery generally distilled into a list of completed chores and a meal on the table.

Now, those folks who spend their days in an office see ongoing threads of Facebook posts about trips to the park, afternoon walks and rainy day movie marathons. Even laundry is made lighter when distilled through the Mary Poppins-like lens of watching life at home unfold through chirpy social media.

"Too much laundry! Hope to get it finished soon so we can take advantage of the beautiful day outside!"

And that unbridled online cheerfulness is compounded by the choice factor. The choice of being able to work or not work is not really a choice for some...I would actually say it's not a choice for most, but I've not really got any hardcore statistics to back that one up.

"I need a break! Heading to Starbuck's with the kiddos for a little time out of the house!"

Which means that mid-afternoon Starbuck's outing with the kids is not simply a trip to get an overpriced  cup of coffee, it's the ability to stand up, put on a jacket and do whatever you want to do for a few hours while it is still daylight.

So, maybe it's not really a war between the office and the momsters and their male counterparts. Maybe it's just Facebook, transforming the ability to stay-at-home into a "status" symbol.

1. Because it's not just moms who are staying home to raise just seems that no one has taken the time to come up with the male equivalent of "momster" or the ever popular "stepmonster". 

First, there's this.

So, I'm in the middle of writing a different post but here's what happened.

Often times, when I'm struggling to come up with a book cover to illustrate what I'm writing, I'll scroll through a few of the design sites that collect great book covers or some online book reviews to see what's out there.

Other times, when those fail, I hit Amazombie and go through their best seller lists or do a keyword search or three.

Today, coming up empty on all fronts, I decided to do a search and used the word "office".

And what did I get back?

Guides for how to use various office products. Which is not particularly surprising.

Mixed in, however, with all those dry "ctrl/alt/delete" textbooks was a surprising number of flowery romance novels placed in office environments.

Which is not particularly strange, I guess, except that the other romance novel trend that I seem to keep tripping over is that category made up of what some have dubbed "bonnet rippers". These are romance novels that involve Amish people.

All of which means that the "recommended based on your past searches" list on my Amazombie home page looks really, really strange.