Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday ~ the fake news-biggest loser-grape soda-racist-we don't really know anything-you go Michael Sam edition

Okay you guys, there is a lot to cover this week, so I won't bother with an introduction. Off we go.

News That Isn't News
Welcome to the USA, land of fluffy stories on television cleverly disguised as news. I won't say which network it is, but one of the locals has started running an ad that says something along the lines of bringing you the news that you want to see. 

Well. Um. That's not news. News is news, actual reporting of events and stories and relevance. It is the good, the bad and ugly, even if the people at home get uncomfortable. The role of the news isn't to make us happy, to keep us content and complacent, to tell us what we want to hear. It is supposed to provide us with information we can't get anywhere else.

Instead, these days, to get the actual news stories that are important, not just locally but on a global level, we have to actively seek it out. I can't count on the networks, any of them, to do solid objective reporting anymore. It seems that everything is spun and then either sugarcoated or sensationalized, depending on whether this news channel just wants to make us feel better or wants to get us riled up.

That isn't news. What the hell happened?

I shouldn't have to watch BBC to get real news.

The Biggest Loser Drama
I'll preface what I am about to say by telling you all (again) that I avoid almost every reality show currently being produced. I like writing and scripts and can't stand the genre of reality shows for the most part. The Biggest Loser has always been my least favorite of them all for the simple fact that weight shouldn't be a game show.

We have a nation with issues when it comes to weight and nutrition and exercise at both ends of the spectrum. Rising obesity rates, recess and physical education being cut at school, increasing rates of preventable disease on one hand, eating disorders on the other. I've been on both ends. It's not fun either way, let me tell you.

The show, in my opinion, has always sent the wrong message. It shames the obese, embarrasses them on public television, tempts them with bountiful spreads of unhealthy food, forces them to workout for hours on end, then weighs them weekly to see whether they get to stay on the show or not. It's sick, honestly, and gives people the wrong idea about what healthy weight loss is supposed to be like. Most people don't have staffs preparing food, have personal trainers screaming at them, have entire teams rooting for or against them or are subjected to weekly humiliation.

Granted, contestants sign up for it, but most of them do it out of desperation having tried to lose the weight for years. That isn't exactly my definition of total consent. But I digress. I hate the show. But that isn't why I'm talking about it. I'm talking about it because of Rachel Frederickson, you know, the contestant who lost "too" much according to most of the commentary out there.

Here's the thing, America...isn't she exactly what the show is supposed to hold out as the example? If we are going to be pissed about people judging her when she was 260 pounds, then we can't hate on her when she is 105 either. Is she healthy now? Was she healthy then? I don't know, and quite honestly it is none of my business. I'm not her doctor. I'm not her.

We should be worrying about one thing when it comes to diet and exercise: health. When I say that we should be worrying about health, that includes mental health as well. Along those lines, we should recognize the truth that far more people in this country tie their value as human beings to the number on that scale and shows like this one only feed that beast, and that's not healthy at all, regardless of what the number is.

Leave her alone. While you are at it, leave the fat people alone too. Seriously.

The Worst Parents Ever?
You guys know that I'm not one for judging other people. I literally spend time every day reminding myself not to do it. Then a case like this one floats past my eyes online and I can't fight it anymore.

Alexa Linbloom died after being removed from life support last month. Her cause of death was acute water/fluid intoxication. She was five, and had been forced by her father and stepmother to consume more than two liters of grape soda and water in less than two hours as a punishment for taking her stepmother's soda.

Her body, literally, couldn't hold all the fluid. Her brain swelled too much and she died. They have both been arrested and charged with first degree murder, neglect and abuse. 

The Racist Olympic Cauldron Lighter
Here's something super fun! Just kidding.

So, the woman who lit the cauldron for the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics is named Irina Rodnina. She's won the gold medal three times and is a member of the public chamber in Russia. She also tweeted this insanely racist picture of President Obama in September.

She removed it almost immediately, but never apologized, instead claiming freedom of speech.

Please tell me you are laughing ironically right now.

Because the freedom of speech absolutely protects writers there, or protesters, or anyone who has a public opinion about equal rights, or anyone who is fighting against oppression. (please tell me you know I am being sarcastic. Please.)

Speaking of Russia, there is so much about it that we are oblivious to here. A friend shared this post from a native Russian about how misguided the media is, obsessing about the conditions in the village but ignoring the real issues present every day for the people who live there. It is most definitely worth a read.

It'll Be News When An Athlete Comes Out Until It Isn't Anymore. Period.
Michael Sam came out in a press conference Sunday. The defensive lineman from the University of Missouri has entered into the NFL draft this year. He is set to be the first openly gay man drafted in the league.

Why is this news? Because it is. The NFL is one of the last bastions of homophobia in our society, one of the places where you aren't supposed to be gay, you aren't supposed to talk about it, and god forbid, you aren't supposed to bring it into the locker room. Gasp!

As soon as the news came out and stories started to roll out, the comments started to pour in.

"When will it be newsworthy that I am white and straight?"

"This is news why?"

"He needs to read the Bible. Being gay is a sin."

This is news because he's doing it when he doesn't have to, when many of the reporters and teammates already knew. He is taking a huge risk and a huge leap of faith with a statement like this publicly going into the draft, because like it or not, this will probably affect which teams want him now. It's news because he's the first one to go into the draft as an openly gay player. It's news because he is breaking down barriers.

It will stop being news when it's not news anymore.

It will stop being news when people of all sexual orientations are accepted and don't have to feel compelled to come out anymore.

It will stop being news when sexual orientation isn't used as a basis to discriminate against people or deny rights to them.

It will stop being news when people are judged on their abilities alone, not who they love.

It will stop being news when it's not news anymore, and not one second before that moment.

Deal with it.



  1. I am pissed today that it is still so cold here. That I haven't been able to move to Az. yet. I am pissed that I have to go to work today instead of laying in my cozy bed watching the destination truth marathon. I am really pissed that illegal drugs exist! I am pissed people who do nothing for 'We the people" make way more money than I'll ever see. I am extremely pissed that I am getting older, that my grandparents are older yet and time is so precious yet there is never enough of it. I am pissed that my van doors were frozen shut this morning when I went out to take the kids to school. That really pissed me off!!! Ok now that I am worked up I have to go get ready for work....geesh that pisses me off!!!!!

  2. I'm totally with you on the news thing. I can't find real news easily anymore. I'm sure that all this bull that the networks puts out just keeps folks in the dark that there's some real explosive situations out there. I'm appalled that we now, especially on social media, consider memes an acceptable way to communicate important ideas.

  3. Um, the "affluenza" case is making me sick to my stomach and furious all at once!!!

    1. I wrote about that on Lefty Pop this week. It was so awful, it deserved its own post. http://www.leftypop.com/2014/02/10/teenager-affluenza-defense-case-ordered-rehab/


Some of My Most Popular Posts