Roseanne, Samantha and Free Speech

 

Critique does not come easy for me.  I try to be careful but truthful with my words.  I don’t like to be rude.  I don’t want to hurt anyone.  I consider myself a moderate in many things.  I prefer to look at both sides of an issue, as I know that circumstances can appear different to each of us. We all have experiences that color our perception of the world around us.  I’m one of those who believes in “being nice to someone no matter what because you don’t know what they’ve been through.”  When there is a bizarre statement trending on social media, I try to look it up before I pass judgment or share inaccurate or misleading information.  I have voted for political candidates on both sides of the aisle, taking into consideration which person I feel is best for the job. That being said, when push comes to shove, I lean to the left.  My reasons?  That’s for another blog post-stay tuned.

Today let’s talk First Amendment, specifically regarding Freedom of Speech, Roseanne Barr, Samantha Bee and Colin Kaepernick.  I have never been a fan of Roseanne Barr or Samantha Bee, and I have had a passionate dislike for reality television since its inception.  I don’t care much for professional sports where the tickets are financially out of reach for the average family.  In my opinion, both women are the type of comedian who does or say anything outrageous just for laughs.  Reality stars are a peculiar bunch whose behavior is motivated less by real emotion than by the drive to affect the ratings and stand out from the rest by being dramatic or outlandish.

Samantha Bee’s statement about Ivanka Trump falls into the comedic arts category.  I think there were other ways she could have addressed Ms. Trump’s apparent lack of empathy for the families separated at the border.  The offensive word Samantha Bee used was not funny and did not advance her message, but the “wow factor” did get her media attention.  Should she have been fired? I suppose some might argue that foul language and off-color remarks are acceptable as part of a comedy routine. In the general population, some people use swear words like others use punctuation marks.  I have been known to unnecessarily spice up my language to make a point, but I am never in favor of anyone using disparaging statements to describe another person or to lash out at someone. 

Roseanne Barr, also a comedian, woke up in the middle of the night, sent out a racist tweet and tried to backpedal by saying she was under the influence of prescribed medication. There is an old expression that says, “a drunken man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts.”   Is that comparable to a woman on Ambien?  I called out a colleague at work once for a scornful comment he made. He apologized saying that he said it without thinking; this admission on his part told me that derogatory thoughts were part of his belief system.  Had he been thinking, he would have filtered his words. I don’t believe medication, alcohol or Bipolar Disorder makes a person racist.  It is something taught early in life, and some people never learn anything else.  Should Roseanne Barr have been fired?  I’m sure she is not the only racist in Hollywood, but because she does not hold political office, she does not have the right to call people apes or fat or ugly or cowards or losers or sons-of-bitches. Ms. Barr doesn’t have the right to change the facts or make fun of disabled people or ethnic groups or even to say white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups are made up of good people.  Although she is a celebrity, she is not the President of the United States and does not have the same rights sanctioned by conservative groups that the President has.  Instead, Roseanne Barr is an actor who worked for a family oriented business, and an angry racist is not kind of image Disney wants to be associated with their brand.

Since some in the media have linked Roseanne Barr, Samantha Bee, and Colin Kaepernick, in the same First Amendment debate, I will address it here as well.  Colin Kaepernick, a young athlete of African-American descent, decided to use his position, his celebrity status if you will, to advocate for change in the justice system, specifically concerning racial profiling and use excessive force often leading to death.  We teach our children that one person; one small act can make a difference.  One NFL player “took a knee” to bring awareness to an ongoing problem in our country. He lost his job and was blacklisted from the sport.

According to a Snopes fact-check published September 28, 2017, former Green Beret and NFL player Nate Boyer, educated and advised Kaepernick and former teammate, Eric Reid to “take a knee” instead of sitting out the National Anthem in objection to current civil liberty violations.  The three agreed this was more respectful,  “Soldiers take a knee in front of a fallen brother’s grave, you know, to show respect…”  Eric Reid is quoted as saying “We chose to kneel because it’s a respectful gesture. I remember thinking our posture was like a flag flown at half-mast to mark a tragedy.”  The “take a knee” demonstration was a thoughtful form of silent protest.  It is protesting social injustice, not the flag, not the military or the country or whatever other theories are out there in the media. 

Divisive politics and fear-mongering have tried to skew the facts and turn the story around to question the integrity or validity of the complaint; to question the patriotism of protests in general. It is sad to me that the government has stepped in to coerce private companies to make employees behave in a way that is acceptable to the Administration’s agenda.   The NFL’s new policy about the etiquette during the national anthem is an example of this.  Last year it was indirectly suggested that perhaps the Administration should look into the tax breaks the NFL teams were getting since they were disrespectful to the flag and country.  Why these teams need “tax breaks” is beyond me, but that’s a topic for another post.  The point is the suggestive language worked.

According to Britanica.com “In the broadest sense, totalitarianism is characterized by strong central rule that attempts to control and direct all aspects of individual life through coercion and repression.”   I find it upsetting to think this is happening in our country.  People complained about political correctness, an idea that attempted to invoke fairness and open-mindedness but what I see now; is an agenda to make sure everyone is behaving and thinking in the same way.  This plan is based on one group’s interpretation of Judeo-Christian traditions or the Constitution or whatever else they can use to manipulate the masses.   

How does this change?  It changes when everyone takes an interest in being well informed and challenging the ideas that limit our freedoms.  It is disheartening to know that a significant number of people in this country stop at the headlines they see in social media. They don’t read entire articles nor do they cross-reference sources.  That’s why it is easy for foreign powers to influence our politics or how we look at the world around us.   It changes when citizens of this great nation stand-up and give a damn to research the candidates beyond the sound bites.  It changes when well-informed citizens get out to vote. 

Day Twelve: Critique a Piece of Work or Write an Opinion Piece   #everydayinspiration

If we were having coffee right now

two brown and black ceramic teacups filled on black saucers
Photo by Jana on Pexels.com

If we were having coffee right now, it would indeed be a special event.  You see I consider myself a social drinker.  I don’t drink coffee on a regular basis, only on occasion.  Every morning I drink hot black tea in round bags with boiled water from my teapot.  I let it sit for several minutes so that the caffeine is extracted and then I add a drop or two of milk.  During the day I reach for green tea –hot or cold, sometimes I pop in some raspberries for a different flavor. 

If we were having coffee right now, I would have been tempted by the rich aroma of the Arabica beans filling the air.  I love the smell of coffee brewing, especially the espresso method that seems to squeeze out every bit of flavor from the finely ground beans.  Coffee fills my senses and reminds me of home; of my mother and both grandmothers who sometimes had sweet bread or pastry with coffee or café con leche in the afternoon. 

If we were having coffee right now, we would be sitting in your kitchen as we had many years before.  We would catch up with stories about our children, siblings and rest of the family.  You would have shown me that you’ve started working on your garden after the harsh winter. I would tell you I’m still trying to get my orchid to bloom after all these years.  We would reminisce about the fun times we had as a group of women getting together to laugh and share our personal philosophies of faith, love and the quest for happiness in our lives.  How I’ve missed that camaraderie with like-minded women!  I consider it one of the blessings in my life to have you all when in time of need. 

If we were having coffee right now, we would talk about our busy week.  You would tell me about your travels and the interesting people you’ve met.  I would tell you that I’m writing a blog for fun and sharing of ideas.  It’s a journal sprinkled with creative writing, poetry, and essays.  You’ll tell me you’re working on another book about the program you’ve developed with your longtime colleague at the Institute.  It will undoubtedly be just as successful as the first one.  I still have my autographed copy.

If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you that I’ve started going to town meetings and focus groups in preparation for the coming elections in August and November.  I have found people and politics so different in my new city in the southeastern part of the country.  We would both agree that it is never too early to start examining the candidates, there is too much at stake.  You would get me up to date on the issues in your city, which in large part have not changed much since I was here.  Politics usually leads us to religion.  It’s so refreshing to talk to someone with the same values and level of empathy for our fellow compatriots.   

If we were having coffee right now, I would treasure the moment and file the memory like a snapshot in my mind.  I would save it and document it until we can make it a reality again.   Social media, phone calls, and emails can’t replace the joy of sitting to have coffee with an old friend. 

Day Eleven: A Cup of Coffee   #everydayinspiration

Beach after the Storm

Beach and rain
a hint of sunlight in the distance in an otherwise gray and dismal day.

Even though we have had severe weather warnings and plenty of rain, I decided to take the scenic route this afternoon. Rather than go a short ride up the Interstate, I decided to drive along the shore to one of the only beaches in the area where I can go with my Baby Girl. She’s not a fan of the beach or too much sun and heat. It doesn’t matter that she was just groomed and her hair is short. She hates getting her feet wet or walking for too long on the hardened sand that still manages to get in between her toes and stuck to her.

Eliza chillin' in the shade@ Honeymoon Island

I have to excuse her; she is a mixed-breed, and her identified ancestral lineages were designed and destined to be lap dogs for royalty. She likes to play catch and tug-of-war, but she is perfectly content if she is cuddling with a human on the couch or in bed. I don’t usually take her to the beach, but if the weather is right, she doesn’t mind the outdoors and is happy to sit quietly with me to people watch.

We saw the black clouds hanging in the sky at a distance as we crossed the bridge to the island. It’s always a treat to look over the bay and inlets as we drive over. We noticed that water was starting to accumulate on some of the front lawns and gardens. I was wondering if any streets were going to be a problem, although it was probably too soon for any roads to be underwater. I was hoping we were driving just behind the rainstorm so that we could stop in at the beach and sit for a bit. We opened the windows to smell the ocean air and minimize the wet-dog smell.

The beach was gray today. On the far end of the shore, the clouds parted to let the sun peek through, but here the sky and the water, even the sand took on the gray tinge. The wind was steady and strong; it seemed to have rummaged through the depths of the sea to bring up the pungent smells of musty seaweed and briny marine life. My Baby Girl didn’t like that either; she squinted her eyes when the wind picked up around her and sniffed the air. Not far away another dog barked excitedly when he saw her, but she prefers to play with people. She looked up but ignored him and continued on her way examining all the smells along the shoreline as we walked.

Except for the wind and crashing waves of the unusually turbulent surf, the beach was quiet. Snowbird season is over, lawn furniture was put away, and many houses looked vacant. There were people sprinkled about on blankets and a few walkers near the water. There was not the usual laughter, the noisy buzzing of conversations or music playing. A group of young people talked among themselves trying to decide if it was worth it to put up the volleyball net. They seemed to have decided it was. Baby Girl and I sat on a bench for a little bit longer but she was getting restless, and it was getting late. We could hear the traffic start to form on the road, so we packed our things and headed home.

Day Ten: Let the Scene Write Itself   #everydayinspiration
Please remember that I am looking for ideas for my assignment #15. What do you think I should write about and how? Add a comment to this post or go to Contact Me at the top of the page. Thanks, much appreciated.

My life while writing – what life?

pexels-photo-756017.jpeg
Brown Pelicans fishing -Wordpress

I admit that it seems that since I started writing a couple of months ago, I’ve done nothing else. I’ve taken courses at Blogging U and joined a twenty-six-day writing challenge, all with the sole purpose to get me to write every day. Between writing, editing and reading other blogs, this has become my life. I do get out to socialize a bit or to club meetings, and of course to spend time with family but I have been extremely pre-occupied; afraid to fall off the writing wagon again.

Over the past few days, I have been giving thought to structuring my days differently to make room for things I enjoy. I know daily posting is not something I can sustain indefinitely. I have great sensory awareness; I write best when I am directly affected by life around me. I need to get out to experience different things first hand. I need the smells, the visuals, the sounds to transport me to another time and place when I write. I like to feel a connection to a story.

I know I need to get back to the walks on the beach in the early morning where I can stop to watch the pelicans fishing. Getting back to yoga and the gym would be nice for health reasons. I also want to laugh with friends at karaoke or a comedy club or a movie. I’d like to people watch at outdoor festivals while listening to a cover band. I like to dance like no one is watching, think Elaine Benes on Seinfeld. I am aware that I need to live to write about life. A personal challenge for me in a new city is to get out there, “just do it.”

P. S.- Please remember that I need I ideas from my readers for my Day Fifteen assignment. Please let me know what you think I should write about. What type of post would you like to see me write; poem, an essay? Is there a particular topic you would like me to address? Please share your ideas in the comment section of this post, or you can go to my Contact Me page. https://rosalind.life/contact-me/

I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for your help.

Day Nine: Writing and Not Writing     #everydayinspiration

Let Social Media Inspire You

“I can’t decide if procrastination kills creativity or is essential to it.”                                           Grant Snider@grantdraws  Twitter

Today is the test. Has procrastination murdered my creativity?  I’ve been putting off completing this assignment all day.   I don’t know why, but maybe the very essence of the word procrastination is enough to make me fall off the wagon.  I think I’m doing pretty well since I decided to make my blog a priority.   I knew keeping up with a consistent writing routine was going to be a test of dedication to my craft.   I’ve joined Writing Challenges and participated in courses at Blogging U just to make sure that something would stimulate me or hold me accountable to get to the computer to write.

writing muse
Photo by Fröken Fokus on Pexels.com

In the past, when a project was due, I was one that pondered, ruminated and at the final hour moved forward with all my might to catch up. I have found though that if I have a thought, an idea or an inspiration, I need to grab it and run with it at that moment.  If the sentiment passes, it goes up like a cloud of smoke, and it’s much harder to be creative because one can’t force the arts.  I can understand when someone cries that the muse is gone and with it the intention to be fresh and original.  

I’ve said before that I have learned that I am a binge writer as explained by Kara Daly from Brevity’s Nonfiction Blog.  https://brevity.wordpress.com/2018/03/26/staying-out-of-the-headlights-on-finding-my-own-writing-process/.   I need my imagination stirred; I need a catalyst to start churning ideas in my mind.  When I feel it moving, thoughts start flowing, and I write; it may be poems, essays, sometimes it’s a story without end, and I need to find a wrap-up.  Lately, I’ve been better about jotting the random thoughts that come about as well.  I may not use all of the material that flows, but then I have something in the pipeline for when the muses don’t stop by.

In short to respond to the tweet by Grant Snider@grantdraws; Procrastination kills creativity for me because if I wait until the last minute, I am stressed and worried about the time.  Procrastination may be alright in other areas but not when I want my creative juices flowing. 

Please remember that I need your help too with ideas of what you want to see me write about for the final lessons.  You can put suggestions in the comments section of this blog post or go to the Contact Me page on the menu section at the top of the page. Thanks.

Day Seven: Let Social Media Inspire You  #everydayinspiration

Writing Space

Most days I enjoy writing in the quiet of my room, up away from the street noise and TVs.  I have a small computer desk where I perch my laptop on its stand and pull out the keyboard from the tray.  I’ve got a table with a couple of notebooks and pens for jotting ideas or taking notes and always a glass of ice water.  I love a bright sunny day when I can write without lamps and open the window for fresh air.  

My ideal space would be a loft on the second floor of a Spanish colonial townhome on the edge of the Old San Juan historic district; with a view of San Juan Bay.  I would also be satisfied with a loft apartment in the same place but now over a Spanish style bakery with the aroma of fresh Mallorca and expresso spiraling up through the open doors on the balcony which overlooks the cobblestone streets.  Who am I kidding?  Neither one of these would be conducive to productivity.   I would spend hours daydreaming or people watching or maybe not indoors at all.   In that case, I will stay in my own little corner, twirling in my office chair, in front of my computer desk. 

Some of you may have noticed I am working in a group to continue to improve my writing.  Photo by 85Fifteen on UnsplashFor the past few days, at the end of each post, I have identified the task for the corresponding day.   Today’s assignment has a part two.  We have been asked to collect post ideas from our readers that we can refer to in the future.  What would you like to see me write about?  We are to gather ideas that will in some way be integrated with our Day 15 assignment.  I would certainly appreciate your help.   You can leave an idea in the comments section or go to my Contact Me page from the blog menu.  

Here is the link to Contact Me —-  It should be fun. 

I look forward to hearing from you.   Contact Me

Day Six – A Space to Write  #everydayinspiration

Happiness Is Like a Butterfly

Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. Author unknown, printed in “The Literary American,” 1848. (Credit- Quote Investigator)

brown butterfly perched on pink flower
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I have difficulty finding a favorite quote to share because I have many.  I store bits wisdom from a variety of people and sources.  First and foremost I often quote my parents and grandparents, especially to my younger generation. Its the Wisdom of the Elders.

Through the years I’ve memorized quotes from the Bible and preachers; from educators and authors – even quotes from “the mouth of babes.”  As we know kids say the truth no one else dares to. 

These quotes and special thoughts are put away in seemingly random places in my mind, but they are usually available when I need them. I often sprinkle them among the sentences in my writings to endorse a point or a statement of my own.  The particular quote above, I got from my daughter many years ago, as she explained the tattoo on playing peek-a-boo on her hip, but that’s a story for another day.

The quest for happiness seems an obsession of the human race since the beginning of time.  People don’t realize that happiness is not something that can be measured by the pound or the yard and you can’t keep it in your pocket or on a shelf.  It means different things to different people.  Happiness is more of a state of being. I have seen people strive for one thing or another, thinking that it would lead to happiness only to be sorely disappointed. “I thought, once I didn’t have to worry about money … or when I lose weight… or once I was married or finished my education…”  It’s sad that along the way they rushed by and possibly missed those moments that would have made them happy.  

All those aspirations and dreams are worth the effort, but we must remember to keep our eyes, ears and above all our hearts opened to the showers of blessings that fall upon us when we least expect it.  An old friend left me with a thought that I always remember, a simple truth, a quote I’ve used often – a lesson learned.  “Enjoy each great moment as it comes, you don’t know when the opportunity will come again.” 

I leave you with this, when you think happiness is out of reach, sit for a moment in the quietness of gratitude and fill your heart with the sweet moments you have lived.  A smile from a stranger, a hug from a friend, the wonders around you like a butterfly on your shoulder; those memories will sustain you to continue your journey until you reach your destination because they help you remember there is good in the world. 

Day Five: Hook ’Em With a Quote’    #everydayinspiration

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