Coffee Rhetoric: foolery
Showing posts with label foolery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label foolery. Show all posts

April 20, 2012

So I Creep: Men Who Don't Like Being Called Creepy


According to an article at the site Jezebel, men’s rights activists (or MRA); a movement that surfaced in the 1970s to address inequities in reproductive rights, divorce settlements, domestic violence laws, sexual harassment laws, education, fathers’ rights, health care, and genital integrity among other issues-including ensuring that their entitlements stay intact by challenging the tenets of feminism – don’t like us women, hurling the word “creepy” at them in response to what is deemed, (more times than not) legitimately shifty behavior while in our presence and/or space. 
Apparently the ability to“creep shame” is a special power men seem to think women have; used to ostracize them in the worst way, because earth, wind, and fire forbid we have the unmitigated gall to exercise the right to say “no”, “I’m not interested”, shut down in response to elevated levels of unwanted attention, or even change our minds about wanting to date somebody for whatever reason.  

Writer Jeremy Paul Gordon wrote of creepiness in a 2010 article for The Hairpin;  
“Without a doubt, creepy is the worst casual insult that can be tossed at a guy. A guy can publicly scoff at something you say and be a “douchebag;" sleep with your best friend, never call her back and become an “asshole;" cry while listening to Neutral Milk Hotel and forever be a “pussy.” But creepy is not that simple. It doesn’t relate to someone’s appearance, actions, or behavior. More accurately, creepy is a vibe. You can’t define it — you just know it. It’s when a guy looks at a girl for a little too long, when he friends her on Facebook a little too quickly, when he doesn’t understand that no actually means no, not “Try harder.” It’s a tag that isn’t easily dispelled.” 
In any event, the Anti-Creep Shaming Brigade’s shoddy attempts at advocating against women who use their instincts to protect themselves against douche-like behavior, is an exercise in futility. And it's an unfair demand, to expect women to pacify the male id, particularly if she's protecting herself. But at least allows me the opportunity to share this excerpt from novelist, Phaedra Starling’s 2009 guest blog post, originally featured on the (now defunct) site"Shapely Prose", Schrödinger’s Rapist: or a guy’s guide to approaching strange women without being maced. (Which I was fortunate enough to come across via writer and cultural critic, Son of Baldwin's  Facebook page).
You want to say Hi to the cute girl on the subway. How will she react? Fortunately, I can tell you with some certainty, because she’s already sending messages to you. Looking out the window, reading a book, working on a computer, arms folded across chest, body away from you = do not disturb. So, y’know, don’t disturb her. Really. Even to say that you like her hair, shoes, or book. A compliment is not always a reason for women to smile and say thank you. You are a threat, remember? You are Schrödinger’s Rapist. Don’t assume that whatever you have to say will win her over with charm or flattery. Believe what she’s signaling, and back off.

If you speak, and she responds in a monosyllabic way without looking at you, she’s saying, “I don’t want to be rude, but please leave me alone.” You don’t know why. It could be “Please leave me alone because I am trying to memorize Beowulf.” It could be “Please leave me alone because you are a scary, scary man with breath like a water buffalo.” It could be “Please leave me alone because I am planning my assassination of a major geopolitical figure and I will have to kill you if you are able to recognize me and blow my cover.”

On the other hand, if she is turned towards you, making eye contact, and she responds in a friendly and talkative manner when you speak to her, you are getting a green light. You can continue the conversation until you start getting signals to back off.


August 22, 2011

Uncivilized Afros and Slave Earrings

Twitter... My timeline makes me cry with laughter, furrow my brow in consideration, and mutter "hell no" whenever anyone re-tweets a link to something questionable or highly inappropriate. The latest marketing and media missteps caused me to exclaim just that when this past week, several re-tweets exposed skincare brand Nivea running afoul of folks with their Look Like You Give a Damn campaign geared towards men. The featured ad that ran in the September issue of Esquire Magazine presented a clean-cut Black man gripping a scraggly, brown rubber mask, with an unkempt beard and Afro with the tagline: RE-CIVILIZE YOURSELF. The general consensus was that the ad was racially insensitive, particularly since people of the African diaspora have historically been judged as being uncivilized and not entirely human. Twitter's Black community took Nivea to task, prompting the company to issue an apology, in which they admitted: "After realizing that this ad is misleading, it was immediately withdrawn." The company further reinforced Nivea as a company that promotes diversity and tolerance. "This ad was inappropriate and offensive. It was never our intention to offend anyone, and for this we are deeply sorry. This ad will never be used again." They promised.
While Nivea quickly retreated back to the drawing board for a more presentable, less contentious marketing campaign, Vogue Italia incited the Twitter masses to chorus again with their online editorial titled: "Slave Earrings."   
"If the name brings to the mind the decorative traditions of the women of colour who were brought to the southern United States during the slave trade, the latest interpretation is pure freedom." They advise. 
Apparently the Trans-Atlantic slave trade featured a ship packed with sexy, flirty, and fashion forward folk sporting killer hoop earrings. While some people want to push "post-racial" propaganda as a way to trivialize and not have to deal with racism and bigotry while whining that we're becoming a society that's riddled with excessive political-correctness, it seems that racially insensitive quips are on the rise. Political pundits want to glorify the good ol' days and regale the masses with tales of how wonderful slavery and racial oppression supposedly was and marketing heads seem to not have at least one or two people on their staff with some semblance of common sense, before putting ads out. People can't help but react when their communities are still... in 2011... being marginalized and exploited and then told to stfu, stop over-reacting and just deal with it. 
Vogue Italia could have taken a different approach in explaining the decorative customs of women from the African Diaspora and how tribal jewelry has influenced today's versions of hoop earrings... and NOT title the feature Slave Earrings. I can't help but have an impending  feeling of dread now, when I consider which pair of large, funky hoops to wear. I think we co-exist in an age where people are (or should be anyway) highly-evolved enough to have gotten a clue about respecting people's differences and understanding the fundamentals of what's acceptable versus what isn't, regardless of how far-removed they may be from how the rest of society lives or how politically correct they think we're becoming. It's not about stifling speech, forcing folks to like something about somebody, or thinking how much a group of people are overreacting... but about reaching a place where we actually consider someone's feelings when we tackle certain aspects of their culture and truly understand what place we're coming from before we engage in discourse about their lifestyle or history. 
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March 26, 2011

Attack of The Social Networking Whingers

Histrionic Personality Disorder: Histrionic personality disorder is a condition in which people act in a very emotional and dramatic way that draws attention to themselves... This personality defect seems to affect a lot of users of social networking sites; especially Twitter and Facebook. Unhappy and angry at the world, and used to barreling their way through life with a dark cloud hovering over their heads... causing torrential downpours o'er top of others', the wonders and immediacy of social media has accelerated the impact in which many Negative Nellies and Neds can offend and annoy... almost ruining the experience for others simply trying to utilize the medium to connect, network, and just enjoy themselves. 
I've only recently started enjoying my Twitter timeline all over again, after avoiding my feed due to a number of assholes, narcissists, and jerks. They were at the top of the timeline... always... and the frequency of their vitriol seemed to saturate my feed, overriding the ones I actually enjoy reading. Their sanctimonious indignation as they criticized other people's updates or Tweets, notwithstanding the ridiculous randomness of their own. This post was a looong time coming, because quite frankly I'm fed up. 
The Whingers are projectors... whining at a rate faster than the speed of light. Perhaps they desire more followers and wish to be @'ed with more consistency, so rather than asking for more followers, simply deleting "friends" or unfollowing someone, they practically hold a press conference, complete with the pomp and circumstance of it all... ANNOUNCING how unworthy the social media masses are, of their rhetoric... perhaps hoping some poor soul will beg and plead not to be one of the ones on the chopping block... "Oh, I hope you won't unfollow me. I thought we were cool!" one misguided soul will probably try to reason, not seeing the public announcement for what it is... a cry for attention and validation, because anybody just looking to scale back will just do it
The Whingers rail against other people on their Facebook status updates for not showering them with praise and adoration or for not stopping what they're in the middle of doing to answer their instant messages, not keeping in mind that people may have a small window of opportunity to jump on quickly and then off before getting on with life... and so Whingers will make more idle threats but not before mentioning how brilliant they think they are or how they "keep it real" while everyone else is fake for not engaging their foolery and insults.    
Look, enough already! Social media, if used with enough savvy, can be a fun, beneficial, and enjoyable forum to utilize. I understand people are passionate about certain things and need to vent out loud. However, if you hate life and are just looking for attention, to bully and/or insult people because you're insecure, don't want to read what other people have to say because you think your word is the only one that's born, or to be a play-play celebrity/mover-n-shaker in your own mind, then you should probably abstain and stop making it an unpleasant experience for others. If you're a Whinger, love dishing it out sans being able to take it; keep in mind, you don't have the right to antagonize people using this medium just because you can't get a grasp on life. Perhaps a therapist's couch would be more fitting, just put a fork in it already and avoid collecting followers and other Facebookers if they annoy you so much. Just Tweet/update your Facebook status into an abyss of nothingness.  
That is all.           

January 17, 2011

Taxi Tales: The Return of Eubanks ...

The weather here on the northeast has been absolutely dreadful. We got slammed with snow... beyond belief. Even by New England standards it was massive. I suppose it was finally our time this year. In any event, there was one particular afternoon due to piss poor plowing efforts I found myself needing the services of the Yellow Cab Company. A day where I couldn't fathom traveling via public transportation and just needed to get to where I needed to go, without standing out in the frigid air. I just was not in the mood. The snow accumulation was overwhelming and trudging through it proved to be an annoying hindrance to my mobility as it was.
This time around, a yellow van bearing the YELLOW CAB logo, rumbled in front of me. A larger vehicle seemed very fitting considering the elements. I hopped in, grateful to be out of the cold and in spite of the strong smell of onions and spicy ground meat. I reiterated my destination to the driver. He turned around, mouth full of Jamaican beef patty... orange, flaky crust crumbs in the corners of his mouth and said, "I'll take you wherever you need to go!" Suddenly, recognition crossed his face... "I remember you! Yup! Remember I dropped you off someplace, umm... where was it... I remember because I recall you getting called at the last minute, to go there for a meeting... at the um... Where was it??" 
I frowned, perplexed, because I had no recollection as to who he was... when suddenly I got hit with a horrible dose of recollection... I groaned inaudibly... for dear Goddess it was Eubanks!!! Keeper of lucrative corporate secrets. I rolled my eyes and hurriedly scrambled to put on my large, dark shades... hoping to mask the dismay in my eyes (I like a relatively silent ride). 
"Oh. Right." I said dryly. 
Eubanks immediately started in on the opaque, round-about theories and rhetoric... picking up where he left off from before. 
"Yes, I remember you said you were a writer..." he continued. 
"Um, yeah... right" I answered reluctantly. 
"Yeah, because I have all of these ideas, but I don't really know how to reach the people at the top!" He said... gobbling the last of his Jamaican beef patty. My stomach grumbled as he crumpled the wax paper sleeve in his hand... 
"I need a sweet, nice woman... with a good manner about her... to write letters for me and make phone calls for me. I need someone who can get passed the secretaries, because I can't ever seem to get beyond that point!" 
"Hmm. Interesting." I answered ... disinterested and not up to the task. 
"Well... I need... Well, I don't like to tell too much of my business and plans. I'm not sure if you're like me. And I don't want to give too much away, especially to them CEO's, because that's how they make their money... that's how they get rich. Know what I mean?" Eubanks said. 
"Right. They steal ideas." I answered half-heartedly. 
"Right!" He exclaimed. "What I need is a nice young woman, with a sweet voice, who can talk her way passed the secretaries and appeal to the CEO's. I don't want to reveal too much because the ideas I have could make you millions." 
I sighed, then suggested, "Yes. It's best that you don't reveal any of this stuff to me. I don't know a thing about how corporate America works... or even how to navigate it. I've been working for non-profits for most of my work history. So go ahead and keep it to yourself... Ummm... what route are you taking exactly? This ride seems awful longer than necessary." 
"Yes, but you can write, and you seem like you can sweet talk your way with CEO's. I need someone to write letters..." 
I interrupted Eubanks, and reminded him... once more that I know virtually nothing about CEO types... "I'm really not that sweet." I said emphatically. I'm guessing the same, dry monotone I speak in most of the time was lost on him. 
"OK, I'll tell you the companies specifically trying to reach... You know, I'm not just a cab driver. I hold a lot of secrets and info..." He continued on with his proposal...
"Right." I answered. Unfazed. 
"The two companies I'm interested in cracking are Chrysler and American Airlines." 
"Hm. Never heard of those places. Don't ring a bell. Sorry." I lied.
"Information is not free nowadays." Eubanks just kept proposing... emphatically... "You have to pay for information these days." 
"Google costs nothing. I'll be if you punched the name of those foreign sounding companies, I've never heard of in my life, you'd find contact info." I shot back.
"Yeah. Right." Eubanks answered. 
The rest of the ride was silent. I arrived at my destination... and thrust cash at him, and scrambled out... 
"What time you coming out of that building?" Eubanks asked.
"I'll probably be there all day and late into the evening." I lied. 
"You sure you don't need me to drive around another way? You're the Queen of Sheba. You call the shots." 
Without hesitation I answered, "Nope," and got out... but not before Eubanks handed me a small stack of YELLOW CAB cards...
"Call me if you get out early." 
I accepted the cards... but not before letting a couple of them flutter inconspicuously to the floor of the cab. 
I have a feeling this Eubanks chapter is to be continued...