Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday ~ the Coke, Sex Abuse, Discarded Lunches and Ignored Bullying Edition

You guys. There is a lot to cover this week, made infinitely more complicated by the fact that I'm not at all in the mood to rant and rage this morning. The reason? I wrote a post yesterday about Philip Seymour Hoffman. Well, it was sort of about him, but it was more about how he is just the most recent public face of addiction. The post quite literally wrote itself, and I put it up not having any idea what to expect.

It went viral. Unlike the last time I had a post do this, the response has been quieter. I haven't been dealing so much with random strangers yelling at me and telling me what I stupid asshole I am. I've had a few critical comments, all obviously from people who love someone with an addiction they can't kick. I expected far more people to tell me that I'm completely off base, but almost everyone has been grateful for my words. I've received a ton of messages from addicts, those in recovery, family members and friends who thanked me for getting it and for actually writing it down.

In light of that, I might be a little less edgy today. A little more soft around the edges. A lot more teary and emotional.

I'm super pissed at my douchebag neighbor, so I will channel that rage instead. He shoveled the street right in front of his house, throwing the snow into the middle of the street...where my car is currently stuck. Asshole.

Off we go.


Have a Coke and get over yourself
There is a commercial that Coke aired during the Superbowl featuring the song America the Beautiful sung first in English, then in several other languages, all spoken within the boundaries of this country. Then the internet exploded, full of outrage that our national anthem would be sung in foreign languages, full of vitriol towards Coke at their audacity to include anything but our national language, full of angry people frustrated that their country is full of  _________, _________ & ________. I'm not writing what people said on purpose. If you want to see the comments, they aren't hard to find.

Anyhow, here's the thing.

- America the Beautiful isn't our national anthem. The Star Spangled Banner is. *bangs head on wall*

- America the Beautiful was written by Katherine Lee Bates, who happens to be a lesbian who left the Republican party after being disgusted with the growing xenophobia in the party. *how do ya like them apples*

- There is no national language of the United States. Never has been. *bangs head on wall again*

- The US is a country composed almost entirely of immigrants. Europeans weren't the first ones here.

- If you want to get technical with a "we were here first so we get to decide what language everyone will speak", we should be speaking one of the indigenous languages spoken by the native population, not English.

I thought the commercial was beautiful. Diversity is a beautiful thing. I've never understood why it threatens people so much.


I believe Dylan Farrow and by the way, why is disbelieving her even a thing?
Dylan Farrow, the daughter of Mia Farrow, came forward and wrote, in her own words, about the sexual abuse she suffered as a child at the hands of Woody Allen.

Her story is disturbing to say the least, and one that has been the subject of lawsuits, media fodder and speculation for decades. She chastised Hollywood for celebrating this monster of a man and felt like it was finally time to share her story after being sickened by the praise lauded over him in recent weeks.

Allen's lawyers immediately took to the press denying her claims. It wasn't just his attorneys doing the denying though, as some celebrities had to throw their comments into the universe. The most mystifying one from Alec Baldwin, who seemed to discount her statement then simultaneously claim that it is no one's business when he tweeted this, "What the f&@% is wrong w u that u think we all need to b commenting on this family's personal struggle?"  Then again, he's not been known for tact or for treating his own children well, so we'll just chalk that up to the wonder of Alec.

I have to wonder why anyone doubts the validity of her story. The abuse allegations were part of a custody fight decades ago and are not new claims. Dylan stands to gain nothing from telling her story and yet people are doubting her. Why?

Why do we live in a society where we refuse to believe allegations of child molestation? Why do we care what a woman was wearing when she was raped? Why? 

I believe her. If you don't, you need to ask yourself why you don't. 

Throwing away food won't fix anything, nor will shaming kids who can't pay
Last week a story hit the news that made me so angry I couldn't even see straight. Lunch workers in an elementary school took lunches from children with account deficits and threw them in the trash before they could be eaten in front of the entire cafeteria. They claim it is district policy. People were outraged, and rightfully so, particularly since the food was already in the hands of the hungry kids and throwing it away was nothing more than a waste. The children were publicly shamed for financial issues that aren't within their control. 

The problem though is that this is not an isolated incident. School districts all over the country have rules like this in place, though some give more leeway to elementary student accounts. These were young children, not high schoolers, that had their food taken.

There is a story here locally that is similar, of a principal who was fired recently. She alleges that her firing was not because of lack of performance, but because she refused to comply with a district policy that required stamping the hands of children with negative lunch accounts. She did not want the children to be shamed.

The school claims she was not fired over the issue, but has stopped the stamping since she went public with the story.

What the hell is wrong with us? I wish that all these people making these policy decisions, all inevitably based on bottom lines and dollar signs, were forced to go without food for a few days before they voted. For some of these kids, school is the only place they are going to get a meal on any given day. For many of them, their parents are too ashamed to apply for free or reduced lunch programs. The answer isn't to starve the kids. That can't be ever be allowed to be the answer.

The bullying the media ignores
Just in the past few hours, some larger media outlets have begun to pick up the story of Michael Morones, an 11 year old boy who attempted suicide by hanging himself because he couldn't live with being bullied anymore. He is on life support in North Carolina, and it is feared that he may have permanent brain damage if he survives.

The reason he was being bullied? He is a Brony.

Is it possible that is also the reason the media isn't covering the story? I'd certainly make the argument it is. He attempted well over a week ago, and stories like his usually hit the news right away. This time though, crickets. I didn't even hear about it until a fellow blogger, Portrait of an Adoption, wrote about it earlier this week.

It hurts my heart to know that this little boy felt so helpless. It hurts my heart to see bullying in any form, to see children ridiculed for what they love, to see a society look the other way when the bullying is for something most people don't understand.

You can contribute to a fund set up in his honor here if you are interested.


My love and support to you and your family, Michael. All the Bronies and Pegasisters in the world are rooting for you right now.

12 comments:

  1. we've talked about all of this elsewhere but I just wanted to type "I agree with every word".

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  2. I am so glad I found this blog! We are cut from the same cloth! So look forward to following you and your thoughtful, passionate words!

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  3. I just got finished with reading tons of hateful comments regarding a Coke commercial meme. It made me sad that there's so much hate, fear, and misunderstanding or misinformation going around. Reading your posts definitely makes me feel less alone on my own views. A agree with everything here... as usual. :)

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  4. I am confused by how angry people are over the Coke commercial. I read Dylan Farrows piece and found it so sad and disturbing. I am done with Woody Allen. Shaming kids for not having money for food? Despicable. The little boy on life support is heartbreaking.

    Our world is a mess.

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  5. I just stumbled upon your blog, and boy am i glad i did! I like your heart, mindset and spunk. Keep up the great writing. The world needs more voices like yours. <3

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  6. Finally a blog worth reading. Brave, honest and refreshing to see there are others out there who dare to expect more from others...thank you!

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  7. Hmmm, your blog seems awesome. Nice work! Not sure about the Dylan Farrow bit though. I've researched thoroughly and there is ample evidence, which is why he was never charged, fyi, that the story was fabricated to support Mia's need for revenge. Allen is a weird dude, no doubt, but there were too many holes in the story for him to be tried. This says something to to me. And sadly, in messy separations, like Mia and Woody's, children are often used to help the "adults" get even. Why she is coming out with this story now, also seems like a red flag to me. Needless to said, I read what she has to say and think it doesn't matter if it's true. She obviously is traumatized...even if it's not for the reasons she is claiming.

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  8. What in Gods name is a brony?

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  9. Very lengthy article. Yes everyday people are addicts, celebrities get more notoriety because more people know of them and that makes sense. No one can sit many addicts down and say, hey what's really bothering you that made you want to shoot up or drink, most addicts are good liars, if they were so willing to open up on issues and seek out mental health advice, for some, it might have kept them clean.. but not likely. Addicts need that excuse or issues to justify to themselves why they reach for heroine instead of reaching out for counseling. Others in the addicts life have to unfortunately, watch their user family and friends and watch for dangerous lows in their lives.

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  10. Thank you! Keep up the good work.

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  11. A boy who likes my little ponies.

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  12. I stumbled upon you after seeing your addiction piece on facebook. You and I are a match made in heaven. Thank you for writing what you do with passion and eloquence. I am a fan. Also, as a former child sexual assault therapist and current addictions therapist, you have hit the nail on the head completely.

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