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Social Media Civility

Drinking Poison

Another shooting.  Another hate crime.  Another day of watching popular blogs push up their click-through traffic with a photo of an odd-looking man-child on their front page.  Glamorizing the words Spree Killer!  Racist!  Murderer!  Another day of watching my facebook wall explode into a digital lynch mob.  Watching fingers pointed at one another, at society, at the law.  Watching people repost imperfect analogies to rage/shame support to their belief.  I watch the world fall apart in anger, rage, and misery.  I watch the name and face of a man-child become burned into my laptop screen simply because there is no way to escape his face, his name, his instant celebrity.

I’m not going to post a photo, or speak his name, I won’t give him that power.  I’m not going to write about race.  I won’t write about what should or should not be done about the law.  I’m not going to feign authority on gun violence by using a story from my past.

I’m going to introduce you to a man whose story changed my thoughts on how we process grief, Hector Black.

I was fortunate enough to see Mr. Black perform this story at a Moth event at UCLA, and how he forgave the man who murdered his adopted daughter.

He expresses, with a voice thinned by age and and years of struggle, what forgiveness means or CAN mean to a person forgiven.  And more importantly, to the person who grants forgiveness.  I felt that those years of struggle on stage with Mr. Black through his retelling of his story, and I saw that same struggle today in the eyes of families who had just needlessly lost those closest to them.

I’m not posting this as an analogue to the events splashed across the media, both popular and underground, I’m posting it as a thought experiment about how we CAN behave in the wake of tragedy.  Perhaps as an alternative to the digital lynch mob that has occupied our collective consciousness since the dawn of social media.

Hector illuminates how the unseen fingers of emotional debt can strangle those who have been wronged, choking the spark of life from the eyes of the living for the rest of their days.  He also illustrates beautifully how difficult forgiveness can be to understand, even to the person granting it, and how forgiving is never synonymous with forgetting.

Unfortunately the performance I witnessed, one that had all eighteen hundred seats Royce Hall at UCLA breathlessly silent for nearly twenty minutes, is not available.  So I’m posting two other retellings of his tale.  I’m posting two, because each has elements of the story he told to us.  To me. Different Moth Event, and RadioLab Interview.

I highly recommend you listen to them both.

In all of his harrowing tale, one line always sticks out for me, and I’m trying my damnedest to hold it close to both my heart and my head.  “When you hate, you drink poison and expect the other person to die.”

I don’t know that I could ever have Hector’s compassion in the same situation, and I certainly don’t ever want to find out. But knowing that there are men and women alive like Hector and the families I saw today gives me hope for myself, and for each of us, the righteous and villainous alike.

I wish Hector, and all families brutalized by inexcusable violence, everlasting peace.

Photo by Eli Goldstein. Used without permission. I hope Eli forgives me.

Photo by Eli Goldstein.  Used without permission.
 I hope Eli forgives me.

Hay Hemorrhoid?

Hay Hemorrhoid?

What is a hay hemorrhoid?

Can hay get hemorrhoids?

We asked the ScienceWerks and they said hemorrhoids are vascular bodies along the anus that assist the excretory system with stool control that become a real pain in the ass when irritated. They told us, through a number of slides and graphs that made us giggle, that hay has neither the proper vascular system, nor a systemic excretory system to facilitate a need for hemorrhoidal structures.

So no, you may not have hay hemorrhoids. But “vascular structures that assist the excretory system with stool control that become a real pain in the ass when irritated” sounds a lot like something the current political system could use, so yes! We will be your political hemorrhoids America.

Now let’s keep your shit under control before you irritate us.

Can’t Help But Wonder…

When will it become a penalized offense for our elected officials to engage in ‘pithy’ sound-bite friendly name calling best suited for internet trolls or tweens in a school yard.

  • You are an elected official.
  • You make more money than your average constituent
  • You have your pension guaranteed
  • You are who the public looks toward for a symbol of excellence and decorum
  • I am entrusting you with the decisions that shape our country

Please show the maturity assumed of educated statesmen and women, and not media whores.

The more I see politicians taking pot shots at one another on any side of the political spectrum, the more I see our entire government as a gallery of Courtney Stoddenesque children.  And the more Simpson/Hemstead starts feeling like a realistic choice for elected office.

Why are we tolerating this sort of behavior from those we have given such power?  Why do we allow subversive, slanderous name calling within the ranks of our government?  To give the republican horde sound bites declaring the ineffective leadership of the democrats?  To give the democratic horde sound bites declaring the republican lack of connection to the common man?

Stop allowing these people to pander to your “oh snap” gene.  Demand maturity and decorum from your elected officials.  Expect, and tolerate no less.

They won’t always make the right decisions, they won’t always make the most popular decisions, and they might have inhaled at some point in their lives; but dammit, they will represent the country like statesmen and stateswomen.

Tell them enough is enough.

This Is Your Fault, America

Americans Dissatisfied with WA/DC

You could have voted Simpson/Hemstead.  But you didn’t.  Hemstead, you could have voted Simpson/Hemstead but you didn’t.  Sigh.  Sometimes I feel like the right hand is sabotaging the left hand.

Well, at least another election is coming up, you can get it right I suppose.

We had two votes last election, maybe we can get it up to 8 by the next one.  When can Chloe and Jenny vote?

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