Friday, December 8, 2017

The Bethany Storyline on Coronation Street

Every so often I come across a piece of literature or media that makes me wish I had magical powers, so I could force almost everyone in the world to watch or read it. 

For me, lately, that's the Bethany storyline on Coronation Street.

I finished watching it yesterday.

Bethany Platt (Lucy Fallon) is a typical soap opera teenager. She's dealt with bullying, an eating disorder, crushes on older men, her mother's depression, and a dead drug dealer buried under her family's home.

During one of her times of extreme turmoil, she meets up with Nathan (Christopher Harper), a man in his thirties. Nathan showers Bethany with praise and attention. Since she is in great need of validation, AND has a thing for older men, Bethany falls easily to...a predator.

But Bethany doesn't see Nathan as a predator. She sees him as her very romantic boyfriend. 

Nathan is a manipulative, evil piece of shit. And that's putting it kindly. He finds and manipulates young girls; then turns them into his sex workers.  He has a whole sex ring.

With Bethany, he transforms her from trainee to worker by setting her up to think she is the cause of expensive video equipment being stolen.  He uses guilt and shame, and gets her to believe that the only way she can find redemption is by being flirty with the Neil (Ben Cartwright), the man who owned the equipment.     

Well, it turns out flirty is a bit of an understatement.  It actually turns into sex.  Bethany waits for Nathan to barge into the room and rescue her, but it never happen.  Later, to her surprise, Nathan actually seems pleased that Bethany has had sex with his friends.  Nathan is such a brilliant manipulator that he's able to convince Bethany that men sharing their girlfriend sexually with their friends is totally cool and normal.

Yeah.

I won't blab on about the whole story.  I did enough of that already, really.

I'll just say that eventually, Bethany sees the light and escapes (sort of) mentally and physically from Nathan.  She finally realizes she was the victim of a predator rather than an incompetent girlfriend of a cool older man.

Yesterday I watched the court scenes. They were brilliant, cathartic, and nerve-wracking.

The whole thing reminded me of gaslighting...kind of on a symbolic level.

What I imagine is this. The jury is the mind of the gaslighting victim. 

The prosecution lawyer is what goes on in the mind of the gaslighting victim when they have realized they've been wronged. 

On Coronation Street,  Bethany is questioned and we hear the story we have already seen. 

When the defense lawyer questioned the witnesses, and when Nathan took the stand, it reminded me of what goes on in the mind of a gaslighting victim as soon as the gaslighter stops talking.

I found the defense team very convincing even though I KNEW Bethany was the one telling the truth.

In the defense's version of events, Bethany wasn't the victim. She was the perpetrator against Nathan.  She was a disturbed teenager with a very troubled and violent family.  She had major jealousy issues, and when she became jealous about Nathan's ex-girlfriend, she slept with other men to make Nathan jealous.

The time that Nathan tried to kidnap Bethany and hide her away in Belgium?  No, that was kidnapping. Nathan had been trying to SAVE Bethany.

A clever defense team came convince a jury that the criminal is the victim.

A clever gaslighter can make us believe that A) we weren't really wronged B) There is something inherently wrong with us C) We are actually the ones who have done a bad thing.

So I guess that's one of the reasons I'd want people to watch the Bethany storyline.  It shines some light on gaslighting.

Also, it shines a lot on manipulation in general.  There are manipulated people out there who might not know they are being manipulated.  It might help break them out of that particular prison.

Maybe it might also diminish the deeds of manipulators.  In some rare cases, a person might realize they actually don't want to be awful like that.  They might not have understood they were doing a bad thing, and once they know, maybe they might try to change.   In other cases, maybe a person won't give a shit about the harm their manipulation causes, but if they realize there's a lot of public awareness about it, maybe they'll feel it won't be so easy to get the results they desire. 

In terms of sex crimes, I think the storyline illustrated very important issues. One of these was victim shaming.  Does sexual abuse become okay when the victim has a troubled past?  What if she has a troubled family?  What if she has had crushes on older men?  Does any of that matter?

For a rape victim to receive full public sympathy do they need to dress a certain way, come from a happy, wholesome family, and have no past mental health issues? 

If a woman once posed for Playboy, does that make raping her or harassing her a little less wrong?

The other issue, in terms of sexual abuse, I think the storyline brings up is family support.  Sometimes a story teaches us by having the characters do the wrong thing.  In the Bethany storyline, we're taught by showing the very right thing.

Bethany has a really messed up family, but they are so there for her during her time of need...especially her mother, Sarah (Tina O'Brien)

Recently I've thought about parenting and decided that parents can be divided into not-perfect parents, toxic parents, and abusive parents. 

Perfect parents exist only in picture books and preschool TV shows. But if Sarah was such a parent, Bethany would never have gotten herself entangled with Nathan in the first place.

If Sarah was a toxic parent, she'd probably either blame Bethany for what happened or she'd convince Bethany that Nathan wasn't such a bad guy, really. Well, he's a really handsome guy.  And he's bought you those expensive gifts.  I think you should count your blessings.  You'll be happier in life if you stop being so sensitive and dramatic.  

If Sarah was an abusive parent, she'd probably be part of the whole sex ring.  She would have probably SOLD Bethany to Nathan.

But no.  Sarah is a beautiful, Not Perfect parent.  She struggles to support her daughter, be there for her, even though Bethany is dating a man she doesn't approve of. 

Of course, Sarah feels a ton of guilt when she realizes the creepy, asshole boyfriend is actually a dangerous criminal. 

But you know...while watching Sarah, I always felt empathy for her.  There was never a moment where I thought, You could have just done this. Or you should have just done that.  Okay. Well, thinking about it. Actually there was probably one time I thought that. But I was probably wrong.  It was probably a case of the audience knowing what the character does not.  

Sarah was in an impossible parenting situation, and she handled it the best I imagine any Not Perfect parent could. 

Sarah never put any blame on Bethany. She never shamed her for making the wrong choices. She always made it known that Bethany was 100% the victim.  Sarah showered Bethany with love and support.  Her behavior was admirable and inspiring.

Well, I can't make the whole world watch Coronation Street, and some people wouldn't be able to easily watch it even if they wanted to.  But I AM very glad that I had the opportunity to see it.  I

Thursday, December 7, 2017

I'm Kind of Guilty of Sexual Harassment

Three times I have sexually harrassed men in my life.

I feel guilty about it.

With each incident, it was a total (100%) accident and then there was joking around about it. Some of the joking came from me. Some of the joking came from other people. Some of the jokes came from my victims.

I don't feel guilty about the actual incidents, because they were accidents. I didn't do anything on purpose. 

I probably shouldn't feel guilty about the joking, because it was mostly about trying to make an awkward situation feel less awkward.  And what if there had been no jokes?  The guys might have felt I was trying to make a move on them.  Since the three of them are married...or at least common-lawed, AND I'm married, this wouldn't be a good thing.  

What I do feel guilty about is...

A) assuming that the men were okay, and maybe not giving a genuine apology.  They SEEMED to think it was all funny, but what if they secretly didn't?  What if, like many female victims we're hearing about, they were pretending to be amused, but were really not?  No, I don't hold a lot of power over these men, but I can imagine men are very pressured to be okay with these kinds of things.

B) Trying to justify my behavior by saying it's okay because it happened to a particular type of person.  One of the men has a history of being a bit of a womanizer, goes to Hooters a lot, etc. So I tried to tell myself it was totally okay that I accidentally harrassed him and then joked about it.  But is it?   It's not that I could have stopped my action from happening, and I think it was probably okay that I made a joke about it.  But I should have stopped and considered that despite his past behavior and personality, he still might not have been okay with what happened.

C) the knowledge that things might be very different if I was a man and if I was powerful.  What I did was, tickle a man's foot (hard to explain how that was accidental, but it really was. Try to believe me); almost groped a man's genitals while playing Pin the Tail on a Donkey; and fell on top of a man while trying to transfer from a boat to the attached raft.  

I think since I'm a woman and have no power over these men, it was all seen as comedic.  

What if, though, I was a male senator and a woman later came forward to tell these stories?  What if I was an actor?  Would I be seen as an innocent person who made an honest mistake, or would I be seen as a predator who needs to lose their job?  

We all have accidents and awkward moments.

We can't change that.

Sometimes joking about the moments minimizes the tension.  Sometimes it might not. I think we just have to keep in mind that someone might feel worse about it than they are letting on.  We need to have empathy.

Along with the laughing, I HOPE I apologized to these men. I probably did, but I'm not sure.

I'm usually a believer in retrograde apologies, but in this case, I worry if I hadn't caused torment in the past, I feel I might be adding it if I brought up the subject and apologized.  Maybe if it's brought up in another way, I'll blurt out an apology.  

I don't know....

I'm haunted by all this.  

The main thing I feel is we should not do sexual harassment things on purpose.  If we do something on accident, who knows how we should act?  I don't.  But at the very least, we shouldn't assume the victim is okay with it all.  

I'm Okay With Supporting but Not Okay with Defending

The main villain in the currently huge story of Too-Many-Men-Are-Assholes are the men who have done bad things to women and other men.  

But there are other people in the story who add to the shit of the drama.  This includes the women who speak out publicly in support of the accused men.

Women from Saturday Night Live did it.

Lena Dunham did it.

A Gossip Girl actress did it.

I'm sure there have been others. But those are the ones I've noticed.

When I see these women defending these men, I feel slapped across the face...and I'm not even one of the women who have been victimized by those men.  

I just imagine how these hurt women might feel, I guess.

What do women imply when they speak out in defense of a man who has hurt others?

In some cases, it might imply that they believe the woman is lying. Let's throw BELIEVE ALL WOMEN out window.  Or let's say, believe all women except for cases where they accuse a guy I like or admire.

If the victims are believed, the defense statements might imply something just as sinister.  Well...sorry he did things to make you feel violated, but with us, he was a perfect gentlemen.  Maybe I'm going too far here, but it kind of feels like the women are saying that they are deserving of better treatment than the victims.  

I don't know. Maybe I AM going too far. I'm not sure.

Maybe it's more a feeling of, Sorry you had a bad time with him, but we didn't! He was awesome with us!  You know, it's nice that things were better for you,  but do you have to rub it in the victim's faces...publicly?  

Now I have enough pity for all the predators and perverts.  I even still kind of like some of them...maybe.  I don't like to imagine them hated by every member of humanity.  I don't like imagining them completely depressed and abandoned. I'd like to think that they have friends and family supporting them.  But I feel this should be a private thing.  There's a difference between saying, I think what you are accused of doing is horrible, but I still plan on being your friend...no matter what; and shouting out to the world that you think the accused is a good man.  

Or if we're a fan, maybe we can keep following the celebrity on Instagram, Twitter, etc. but refrain from speaking out in defense of them.  

I think the mistake people make is believing that they can judge a man by the personal time they have spent with him.

The thing is, people don't show us all sides of their personality.

That hot, awesome guy who stopped to help you when you were in a car accident?  He might sexually harass his coworkers.

That guy at work who has never done anything appropriate to you?  He might have raped his niece at the last family holiday party.  

The super friendly actor who acted excited to take a selfie with you?  He might masturbate in front of actresses.  

The doctor who saved your life and actually has a fantastic bedside manner?  He might be spending his free evenings raping his wife.  

I don't think we should get to the point where we immediately 100% believe the first person who comes forward against a man.  But I do think we should listen and make the guess that unfortunately it's quite likely she is telling the truth.  We should try hard not to let our political orientations, fandoms, or personal experiences cloud our judgment.  


Good Jews

Every Jew probably has their own idea of what makes a Jew a good Jew vs a bad Jew.

Well...I'm not saying we explicitly decide this and then write it down somewhere. 

Many of us probably don't think about it much.

But if we were asked, I bet we could come up with an opinion.

I came up with my opinion this week.  No one asked me, actually. I just thought of it.

So....

To me, it's not whether you celebrate the Sabbath or not.

It's not whether you believe in God or are an atheist.

It's not whether you have a living room sans Christmas tree and avoid having Christmas lights.

It's not whether you marry a Jew or marry outside the religion.

It's not whether you were born Jewish or converted. 

It's not whether you love Gefilte Fish or want to scream when you just glance at the jar.

It's not whether you spell the Chanukah with or without the c in the beginning.

It's not whether you fast on Yom Kippur or not. 

For me...it comes down to one thing.

When a Jewish person says something like Not Again when referring to the Holocaust, are they saying we must not let Jews be hurt again, or are they saying, We must not let bad things happen to anyone...whether they are Jewish or not.

If Jewish person cares only about Jews not experiencing mistreatment and genocide, to me, they are bad Jews. 

If a Jewish person doesn't care what happens to Muslims, Mexicans, black people, gay people, sick people, transgender people, etc...to me, they are bad Jews.

If someone accepts and/or tolerates all the shit that Trump is doing to people, because they see him as being a friend to Israel, I think of that person as a bad Jew. 

Now I'm not saying I necessarily think these bad Jews are bad people.  They might be good people in other ways.  I'm just saying that for me personally, they pass the good Jew test.

AND...on the other side.  There are probably plenty of people I'd label as being good Jews, but they're really shitty in other ways.  

Happy But Also Envious

It's wonderful that Australia has legalized gay marriage.

I love looking at Mike Bower's Instagram photos of what's been happening in Parliament. 

It took a lot of time and a lot of drama, but now Australia has made itself even better than it was before. 

I'm a little envious, though. 

I see members of The Liberal party in support of gay marriage.  One Liberal even proposed to his boyfriend in Parliament. 

It seems quite fantastic to me that Australia legalized gay marriage WHILE their right wing party was in power.

I miss the days when America's right wing party was more moderate.  I miss the days when I thought they were assholes, but not totally evil assholes.

I know. Australia has a right wing party that's not so moderate.  But the difference is, Australia hasn't put Pauline Hanson in the throne...yet.  PLEASE don't. 

One day I was talking to Tim, and I decided America has become a certain type of country.  When someone is bitching about their government and the quality of life in their country, I think sometimes people will try to shut them up by talking about countries that are so much worse. 

I think we're that country now for people.  Australians probably sit there bitching about Malcolm Turnbull.  Then they can cheer themselves up by thinking, Wait! At least he's not Donald Trump!  At least we have decent healthcare. At least we don't have all those gun massacres. 

The US does have gay marriage, and that's fantastic.  Hopefully that will stay.  I can't say I feel 100% secure about that.

Almost every day, we get bad news here.

It's like our country is being run by a comic book villain. 

Life is scary for us here...and scary for all of you not here...since Trump seems to really enjoy nuclear war games. 

HOPEFULLY Trump is just a really shitty glitch in our history, and after he's gone, we'll go back to joining the world in taking steps forward rather than backwards. 


Monday, December 4, 2017

What is Cute?

Last night I dreamed:

I'm with Australians and learn that Australians don't use the word "cute". Nor do they know what it means.  I try to explain it. Then I try to figure out what they use instead of the word "cute".  It seems what they do is just say "awwww".

I don't know why I dreamed that.

Well...

It could be because I've been watching Crash Course philosophy, and this week I watched episodes about language. 

Now I'm wondering, how would we explain the concept of cute if we didn't have something like Google translate available.  Or what if a culture didn't have a word like that?

I'd probably skip trying to define it, and instead maybe give examples.  Baby animals might do the trick.  But then again, they might think we're trying to talk about youth...or wildlife. 

Revisiting the Dark Tower World

At one point, in this blog, I wrote about boycotting Stephen King.  It was kind of a sacrifice for me, because he's one of my favorite authors. On the other hand...not a huge sacrifice because there are so many other authors to choose from. 

My boycott ended eventually.  I still didn't like how he had acted, but decided his level of rudeness was one that deserved a Dina-boycott that lasted a few months or years, not multiple decades. 

Note: Just in case anyone is wondering/expecting. His behavior didn't involve groping, penis displaying, or raping. 

Now I'm actually doing the opposite of a boycott.  I don't know if there's a proper name for it.  I guess we could call it a concentration?  I'm reading ONLY Stephen King books.  I started in June or July.  My plan is to reread The Dark Tower series, and the connecting novels and short stories. 

The reason I'm doing this? 

Reading The Dark Tower series was one of the best experiences of my life.  But for some strange reason, I can barely remember any of it.  I remember bits and pieces—mostly from the last book.  For the most part, it's like trying to remember an old dream.  I get flashes, but nothing coherent enough that I can put into words. 

Whenever I saw mentions of The Dark Tower. For example: the movie.  I felt a twinge of regret. It was like a reminder of something I had lost.

SO...I eventually decided to remedy it.

Well, one of the reasons is because I read three or four novels in a row from other authors that I didn't like.  I started to feel quite discouraged, and decided that, for awhile, I'd read something I already knew I'd like.

Or it could be more like I DIDN'T start rereading the Dark Tower, because I felt there were so many other books out there that I hadn't read yet.  Why waste time rereading books when it's already impossible to catch up with all the not-yet-read books?  Maybe reading three or four books in a row that I didn't like made me rethink that mindset.

So far, I'm having mixed feelings in my Stephen King revisiting adventure.  I loved The Stand as I did in the past.  I liked Eyes of the Dragon, but didn't really get into it.  I enjoyed it, but had a lack of emotional involvement.  I wasn't very fond of The Talisman.  It's funny.  It's the third time I've read that book.  I didn't like it the first time. I liked it the second time. I didn't like it much the third time.

I liked Black House, as I did in the past.

I didn't really enjoy The Gunslinger, which is the first book in the actual Dark Tower series.  I was very confused and disheartened by this.  First of all, why the hell did I like it the first time I read it?  Have I changed that much?  And did I really want to reread the seven other books in the series?  It' might be kind of torture to get through all that.

I decided to Google to get some insights into other people's feelings about the book.  There I learned that a) It's not entirely rare to have problems with The Gunslinger b) It's not Stephen King's usual style of writing c) It's different than the other books in The Dark Tower series.  One online writer even suggested skipping The Gunslinger and started with the second book.  It's kind of like the warning I've given to people about Harry Potter.  I think, for some reason, the first chapter is hard to get through.  Just get through that, and you'll probably be rewarded with one of the biggest gifts of your life.  Although now JK Rowling is kind of on my shit list, but that's another story

I'm wondering how I felt about The Gunslinger in the past.  Did I read somewhere that I should force myself through it, because I'd be likely to enjoy the other books in the series?  Was my mind in some kind of unusual state at the time, one that led me to actually liking the book?

I have no idea.

I hope I like the next book.

No. I hope I LOVE the next book.

That's actually another Dark Tower mystery in my life.  I own only two copies of books from the series.  I guess I borrowed the others from the library?  But what's strange is it's two copies of the same book—The Drawing of the Three.

Why and how did this happen?  Maybe I loved it so much, I decided to get another copy?

Maybe one copy is missing pages, so I bought another one.

Maybe I meant to buy the third book and accidentally re-bought the second book.  Actually, that's a possibility, because in the recent past I've seen the book on the shelf and assumed it was the third book.  I guess I didn't carefully read the title, and just saw the three.

The other Dark Tower thing I want to talk about is the movie.  I guess I sort of remembered enough of the book to see the trailer and feel that it wasn't a faithful adaption.  I think I was looking for Susannah, who I DID sort of remember, and didn't see her.  OR maybe I read a review that told me it wasn't a faithful adaption?  Actually, I think it was a mix of both things. 

I assumed the movie was going to be crap. 

BUT then I learned something.  The Dark Tower is actually not an adaption of the book series, or the first book.  It's a sequel to the series.  But it also IS kind of an adaption of the books.  I remember enough of the book series for that to make sense to me.  So...now it all sounds kind of awesome.  I think after I read the series...if I end up loving it again.  I'll see the movie too. 


Saturday, December 2, 2017

Penises

From what I'm read from people who study these kind of things, men take their penis out from where it should be hidden, because of some kind of psychological issue.  It's an act of pathetic aggression.

I do wonder, though, if sometimes the bad behavior is due to a misunderstanding.

I don't know if this applies to all heterosexual men, but I THINK most heterosexual men love seeing breasts.  Although that could be a myth, and maybe many straight men dislike seeing breasts, and/or couldn't care less, but they've been pressured to pretend they're really into it. I don't know.  I'm writing this, though, with the assumption that straight men truly enjoy seeing breasts.

I think maybe men assume that, as they like seeing breasts, women must have an equal desire to view a penis in all its glory.  So men do things like send photos of their penis or whip it out in the middle of an office meeting.

I'm sure there ARE some women who find the penis to be aesthetically pleasing.  But I'm going to go out on a limb and say most women probably prefer a man's eyes, mouth, chest, ass, arms, legs, back...pretty much anything else.  

Recently I read what Seth Meyers had to say about men and their penises. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if your face isn’t pulling in the babes, your penis isn’t going to make the difference,”
“Everybody’s penis is 100 percent less attractive than they’re face,
Women don’t love the penis, if they love the man, they’ll tolerate the penis.

I love that.

So...yeah.  In some cases, I think men are sexually harassing women out of a misguided notion that they are actually doing woman a favor.  It's like, Sorry. You don't have one of these yourselves.  You know...that whole penis envy thing.  But I'm a nice guy!  We can share mine. You can look, and even touch it if you want!  I'm generous that way.

In other cases, I think the men are just disgusting, evil, selfish, controlling fucks who are on a power trip.

I'm very glad that power is being stripped away from these men.  I do pity them in some ways, but for the most part I enjoy knowing how much the fall is hurting them.  And I also like imagining the fear and anxiety that's going on inside the heads of men who have not yet been pulled out of their cushy, powerful hiding space.

As for the men who may have simply misunderstood how women, in general, feel about penises.  I hope they'll start to think differently, and make some major changes.  They can love their own penis, and be happy they have it.  But they can stop acting as if it's some kind of treasure they need to bring out for show-and-tell. 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Changing The Name of My Blog Again

I've changed the name of my blog again.

This will be the third time.

In the beginning I was The Girl Who Wished She Was Australian.  Then, though I continued to be obsessed with Australia, I no longer had a huge need to move there and obtain citizenship.  SO, I became The Weird American Who's Obsessed with Australia.

I still love Australia and am quite interested in it, but I can't say honestly that I'm still obsessed.  So now I'm just going to name this blog, Dina's Blog.  It's very blah and original.  On the plus side, I don't think I'll have to ever change it, because I'm probably not going to change my own first name.

I really actually hate it, though.

Maybe I will end up changing it again...when I think of something more clever. 

Wait. I think I got something.  I'm trying out I'm No Longer Obsessed With Australia But I Still Want a Blog.

It's honest, but a bit long.  Also, it's another thing that could change down the line. What I I become re-obsessed with Australia? 

I want something that's more permanent.

Okay. I think I got something: The Blog that's Not Always About Australia.

I like that...for now.  I might change my mind in ten minutes. 

The thing is, the new title is accurate now. It will be accurate in the future, and it is actually accurate for the past.  I often have written things that are not quite Australia-related.  I felt pressured to link things, I wanted to talk about, to Australia, and that was a bit of a pain.  It also felt kind of dishonest...maybe also silly and somewhat manipulative. 

No, manipulative it is the wrong word.  It's more like....

I don't know, actually. 

I can't think of the word I want.

Maybe no such word exists.

In other my-blog news, I've taken away comments.  For now.  Since I already took away my email address some time ago, basically I'm cutting out two way communication between myself and the rare people who come to read my crap. 

I DO appreciate the rare interesting, kind, and relevant comments I've received.  If you left some, thank you.  But all in all, the bad and mediocre I've experienced with two way communication, via my blog, has greatly outweighed the positive. 

If reading something on my blog compels you to want to say something, text a friend, write it on your own blog, Tweet it, post it on Facebook, tell your cat, etc.   Seeing that I rarely get comments in the first place, I don't think these actions are going to be often needed.  You're probably more likely to want to talk to your cat about other things...like marijuana legalization or whether each popular food needs it's own day of recognition/celebration.  

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Falsely Accused Trope

I've been watching season three of All Saints lately. Today I'm watching the episode, A Fine Balance.

In this episode, Amy, a young patient (Kate Sherman) accuses Dr. Stevens (Eric Thomson) of molesting her.  As far as the viewer is shown, this is a false accusation.

I'm pretty sure this isn't the first time All Saints has had a storyline about false accusations.  I vaguely remember an episode featuring Bridie Carter.  I think I actually wrote a blog post about it.  I'll go search for it later.

I also remember a storyline I saw a few years ago on Home and Away.  I think I wrote about that too.

And I know I've seen such storylines on TV shows from the US, and other places.

I'm wondering why these storylines seem to be so prevalent.  More importantly, do real life occurrences of false accussations match their prevalence in fiction?

I'm also wondering if they make it more difficult for real women victims to be believed.  Have our novels, TV shows, movies, etc. led us to automatically question if a woman is telling the truth when she talks about being attacked?

The thing about real life prevalence is, I think it would be hard to get an accurate measurement.  In many cases, the only people who know for sure that an attack happened or didn't happen is the victim and the accused.  If a woman takes back her accusation, it might not be because the attack didn't happen.  It could be that she was convinced and/or pressured to retract the accusation.  Maybe she was led to feel it was her fault. Maybe she was led to believe it wasn't that big of a deal.  Maybe she was led to feel that the authorities aren't going to believe her. Maybe she was led to believe that speaking out against her crime is going to cost her career and her reputation.

Some people could claim that they have a friend or family member that was falsely accused.  I know my brother wouldn't do that. He's a GOOD man. 

But we can't know anything about a person 100%.  We can have doubts that someone committed an act of abuse.  We can't ever be fully sure.  People have sides to themselves that they hide.

And sometimes it's a case of denial.  Well, yeah. He's a bit of a creepy pervert sometimes.  But I can't imagine he'd ever actually rape anyone.  Then you add the...Plus, she's a bit of a slut. And she's loves being the center of attention.  I'm pretty sure she's just making it up.

Anyway....I'm going to look at my old posts. I'm wondering WHAT I felt about the scenes.  I have a feeling I wasn't bothered by the trope.  I probably was more frightened by it, and angry at the characters doing the false accusing.

Here's the Bridie Carter post.   In it I say,  I think that's something that really scares me. What if one day I get accused of a horrible crime I didn't commit? What if it happens to someone I love? And worse...what if, because of the accusations, I start to doubt this person? Maybe it's different when you know someone and you can have some amount of faith that they're innocent. But then you can never know for sure. We might think we know someone, and maybe they hide their darkest parts from us.

Some of it is similar to what I'm saying today—close to three years later.

But I think back then I was as worried about being false accused of something as I was about not being believed.  Were my fears valid?  Is there a good chance of being false accused of a crime.  Or it it mostly a myth perpetrated by fiction and real perpetrators who passionately deny their wrongdoings?

The thing I'm noticing about some famous accused shitheads lately is they don't just deny their crime. They try to turn themselves into the victim.

I just had to pause my writing to take care of some feline child/human child stuff.  And I had to pee. During all that, I started wondering if I was being unfair.  If I'm going to believe people who are victims, shouldn't I also give the benefit of the doubt to people who are victims of being falsely accused?

Maybe.  I think I did in the past.  And I probably do a tiny bit still these days.

The thing that makes me less likely to do it lately is I'm seeing a sort of pattern with men who are accused.  First it's, I definitely did not do it. Then when there's enough evidence to the contrary, okay I did it. Oops sorry.

It reminds me of this narcissist prayer I saw online.  That didn't happen. And if it did, it wasn't that bad. And if it was, that's not a big deal. And if it is, that's not my fault. And if it was, I didn't mean it. And if I did, you deserved it.  

As I said earlier, though, it's not just about denying the abuse and/or crime happened. It's about the asshole turning himself into the victim. They cry out about their reputation being ruined. They cry out about how this will hurt their family. They threaten to sue their accusers. If evidence mounts against them, they may slow down their denials, but still paint themselves as the victim. Now they're no longer victims of false accusations. They're victims of growing up in the wrong time period or they're victims of some kind of deficiency. But if we give them a chance. If we give them our support and love, they will rise from the ashes.  They continue to paint themselves as the protagonist in the story rather than the antagonist.

I just went to search for the other post about false accusations.  Back then I wrote, Hated Billie (Tessa de Josselin) and thought there should be a special hell for people who make false sexual assault allegations. Not only do they hurt the man they've accused, but they hurt the women and men who truly are attacked.

While searching for the post, I started to remember and understand why I had such strong feelings about false accusations.

It sort of happened to me.  It wasn't a sexual abuse thing, though.  Thankfully.

It happened when I wrote a response to a young adult's harsh blog post about obesity.  My response was pointed, but civil.  The response to my response was extremely harsh.  My response was also deleted, so people couldn't see what I had actually written.  Then the mother of the young adult (labeled as mother bear), and her friend, could paint me out to be someone who deserves to be verbally shit upon.

I've also encountered people online who've invented cancer storylines for themselves.

So yeah. There ARE awful, manipulative people who lie and/or exaggerate to bring attention to themselves, or to perpetuate some kind of persecution fantasy.

Are these problems more prevalent than the problem of hurt people not being believed?  Is one problem worse than another?

I'm not sure.  It was horrible having people hate me and gang up on me for simply writing a civil, disagreeing comment.  I've also had the horrible feeling of having a problem and not being believed.

I'm reading more of my blog post.  One of the other things I wrote is, Thought it would be cruel for a family member not to believe a family member about being attacked, but if there's a strong history of lying and manipulation, there needs to be some reasonable doubt.

And I wrote,  Wanted to say that I also feel bad for people who are attacked and not believed. Nate is well-loved and respected in town. What if he HAD attacked Billie? Would anyone have believed it? Even if she wasn't a manipulative cow, there's a fair chance they wouldn't. I think there are highly-respected people who do bad things, and their victims are not believed.

What I'm starting to understand is that these confusing, conflicting thoughts I'm having today are nothing new for me.  It turns out I had the same thoughts on April 18, 2016.

I didn't have any answers then, really. I don't have them now.

Today when I saw Dr. Stevens being accused I felt annoyed.  Obviously, this comes from all the stuff I've read in the news...and Twitter...and remembering my own experiences of being dismissed and not believed.  I was bothered by the trope and felt it might add to the chances of an abused person not getting the comfort and justice they need and deserve.

I don't necessarily disagree with what I was feeling when I first started writing this post.  The trope might very well be overused and an exaggeration of what happens in real life.  But I'm feeling a little more sympathy for the other side of the story.  No, I don't have any sympathy for the many shitheads who do shitty things and then have the nerve to lie about it and paint themselves as the victim.  I do have sympathy for people who are innocent and are hated for something they didn't really do.

In some ways, All Saints does a fair job of painting how fucked up the situation is.  Though I've already seen two storylines about men being falsely accused of sex crimes, I've also seen two storylines where a woman is really attacked.  One of them happened a few episodes ago.  Terri (Georgie Parker) was attacked by her stalker.  In the episode I watched today, she defends Dr. Stevens against the accusations.  So even a victim of a sex crime might not believe other victims of a sex crime.

With a TV show it's easy.  The viewers are usually given the answers. This character is a bad person and this character is a good person who has been falsely accused.

In real life, it's much harder to know what is truth and what is not.  When you have twenty women coming forward with similar accusations against the same man, it's easier to see who is lying and who is being honest. When there is only one woman, it's much harder.  Then we have to decide between making a woman feel a million times worse about what happened to her or helping to destroy the life of an innocent person.  

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Our Self-righteousness Aint Going to Help This World

I remember reading, a few years, back this book or article that talked about how sometimes Australians get so interested in American civil rights issues that they ignore the shit that happens in their own country.

And of course Americans do the same....in the rare occasions that we actually pay attention to Australia.

I think we humans tend to do this a lot.

We avoid our own sins by finding those that are worse than us, or finding villains that we imagine are worse than us.

Israel is another example that I often think about in terms of country issues.  How many Americans, Australians, and other non-Middle Eastern folk label Palestine/Israel as an occupied territory?  How many of these people get passionately angry about that?  How many of them participate in boycotts and protests?  Now out of these people, how many are also living in an occupied country...as part of the oppressor group?  Isn't Australia an occupied country?  Isn't the United States one?  If I'm going to shoot dirty looks at Israeli's, should I not do the same to myself?

Two of the big things on my mind lately are sexism and racism.

In my family, we talk a lot about white supremacy. We hate Donald Trump, We hate Richard Spencer. We hate Steve Bannon and Jeff Sessions.  We enjoy hating them, and they deserve our hate.  

But we can't improve the world by simply hating, and fighting against, the worst racists.

I believe we have to also look inward and try to change.

I know I have stereotypes and prejudices about ethnic groups that are systematically oppressed.  Thoughts creep into my head and I feel really awful...ashamed.  

I could look at Richard Spencer and think, well...I don't need to worry.  I'm not as bad as him.  

I'm not even close to being as bad as him.  Still. Comparing myself to Spencer and feeling smug about my superiority helps no one.  I think it's better for us to examine our own weaknesses, and spend our lifetime trying to improve them.

I've been obsessively following the Harvey Weinstein story lately.  The MeToo campaign fucked with my head a bit.  I've never been raped or assaulted.  I don't remember being horribly harrassed in a way that made me nervous about my career.  There were Tweets, though, that declared that pretty much every woman is included in MeToo.  A part of me wondered what the fuck made me so different? Another part of me wondered if I actually could be included.  I started thinking of stuff in my life that made me feel hurt, embarrassed, angry, stressed, pressured, a failure, discriminated against, etc.  I wondered whether or not that counted.  

Well....I still wonder.

A part of me thinks yes, of course they do.  It all matters...big or small.  And small stuff can add up.

Another part of me feels weird adding myself to the same list that includes women who have been violently raped multiple times.

Still....

You know...if a black man is stared at with contempt while walking through a predominantly white neighborhood.  If the experience makes him feel sad, should we dismiss his feelings because at least he hasn't been shot by a police officer?  Or hey, at least he's not a slave!

I think we need to find a healthy balance of realizing there are those worse off than us while at the same time NOT dismissing our own problems.  I have struggled with this my whole damn life.

My biggest MeToo story is this.  When I was in my late teens or early twenties, a relative (won't mention names) took videos that made me feel violated and embarrassed.  I didn't know it was happening when the videos were taken. No, there wasn't a secret camera hidden somewhere.  It was more like this person was zooming in on certain parts of my body without me knowing.  I didn't find out until later when we all watched the video.  I don't feel it was a sexual thing...more of a body-shaming thing. 

Some other women may not have been bothered by the incident. But I was very self-conscious back then.  *-see footnote below.

I told my best friend about it, and he laughed.  LAUGHED.  He seemed to think it was hilarious.

We grew apart years ago, and I've often regretted that.  But after this whole MeToo campaign, I've started to change my feelings of regret.  Now I'm thinking more along the lines of, Good Riddance.

Though that's probably not fair.  My friend was young.  I could hope that's he's grown up a bit.  

I wonder if he remember what I told him.  I wonder if he remembers that he laughed. I wonder if he feels regret.  I wonder if he looks at Harvey Weinstein and thinks, What an ass. I'm so much better than that.  

I actually didn't think much about the video incident through the years.  It's not that I'm a peaceful, forgiving, let-bygones be bygones person.  It's more that my head is crowded with so many other grievances.

But I thought about it after the Donald Trump harassment stories, and I thought again about it with Weinstein and the MeToo campaign.  

 I've tried talking about it, and again feel dismissed. It's not rape. It's not assault.  So...does it really matter all that much?  During these conversations, I end up feeling like I'm making mountains out of molehills.  I'm made to feel that I'm selfish for having these feelings because OTHER women have been raped.  

I feel this post is a confused mess.  

Sorry about that.

I guess the underlying theme...I HOPE it's somewhat apparent... is that we should be not be dismissive— of our own sins and our own problems and bad memories.  

If the men in my life are dismissive of the sexism and body shaming I've encountered, are they also dismissive and/or ignorant of what they have perpetrated towards myself and other women?

What do they think when they look at Weinstein and Trump.  Do they think, what an asshole. I'm so much better than them.  Or, The women in my life are lucky to have me.  They could have it so much worse!  

I really hope they're not thinking stuff like that.

I hope they're reading about Weinstein this week and having some uncomfortable feelings...similar to the uncomfortable feelings that I have when I try to confront my own racism.  I hope they're not feeling too smug that they haven't done big bad things.  I hope they're spending more time feeling guilty for doing small bad things, and I hope they're working on changing.  























*-I think another confusing aspect of the MeToo campaign is there is a wide opinion of what is bothersome and what is not.  I think this needs to be examined and respected.  As I said above, some teenagers might not have minded being videotaped in the way I was videotaped. They might have thought it was funny. Or they might have found it mildly annoying, but nothing to lose their shit over.

I'm not sure if I've ever been catcalled. I can't remember.  It doesn't seem like something that would hurt me.  In some circumstances, I might even be flattered.  But I totally respect that other women might be very hurt and bothered by this.  Their feelings are very valid even if I don't feel the same. 

I've encountered sexually explicit conversations online.  I can't say I find them entertaining, but I'm also not really bothered by them.  One thing I will say is, I HAVE felt like a prude for not being entertained, so all this MeToo stuff has made me realize it's okay that I'm not into that kind of stuff.

That's the other thing.  I've allowed myself many times to feel like a prude because I haven't been amused by certain things. I haven't wanted to do certain things.  I haven't lived up to expectations promoted in women's magazines, etc.  I need to teach myself to accept myself and not label myself as a prude.  At the same time, I need to respect women who like all this provocative/sexual stuff more than me and also respect women who like it even less than me.   

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Lost Australians

I've been re-watching the first season of Lost, and am realizing that the show doesn't exactly put Australians in a good light.

Warning: Spoilers below.




In "Tabula Rasa", an Australian betrays Kate by calling the police on her.  He needed the offered reward.  To his credit, though, he did seem to feel bad about it all.

In "Walkabout", an Australian discriminates against Locke.  Despite being in a wheelchair, Locke wanted to go on a grueling tour. The Australian refuses to let him.  As sad as the scene was, I'm not sure the tour guide was wrong in saying no.  I think probably Locke was at fault for not disclosing his disability early on. If he did this, maybe they could have had ways to prepare so he could be accommodated.   Then again, Locke is a smart guy, and probably understood all his limitations.  He probably COULD have handled the walkabout tour.  But I can't blame the tour guide for his skepticism.  Still...he didn't come off looking like a nice guy.

In "Raised by Another" a fake or real Australian psychic manipulates Clair into getting on the doomed flight.  The show might have revealed later if he was real, fake, working for Jacob and The Others, etc. I can't remember.  But still.  I'm pretty sure he tricked her into getting on that flight.  He was also a bit stalkerish.  Or actually...a lot stalkerish. 

Oh! And also in that episode, there's Claire's Aussie boyfriend. He convinces pregnant Claire to play happy family. Then when she starts doing that, he gets scared and abruptly dumps her.

Now I'm watching "Hearts and Minds".  Boone is trying to get help for his stepsister who is being abused by her Australian boyfriend.  The Australian police won't help. 

So...what's the deal?  Why was the show shitting on Australians?

Or am I looking at things the wrong way?

There are also plenty of Americans who aren't lovely on the show.  For example, Jack's father killed a patient because he was intoxicated while operating.  Then he tried to manipulate Jack into keeping quiet about it. 

There's the American bank robber who was ready to turn the crime scene into a murder, and would have if Kate hadn't stopped him. 

And there are plenty more examples of Americans acting badly on the show.

I think the difference is there is more good-American to counteract the bad-American.

It makes me think of The Walking Dead, and the idea that black men are treated extremely unkindly by the zombie apocalypse.   It seems like every time there's a black man on the show, he dies...sometimes after a few episodes; sometimes after a season or two. 

I think, though, that just as many (or more) white people have died on The Walking Dead.  The difference is there are more white people on the show in general, and there's not this feeling that one actor is being fired so he can be replaced by another actor of the same ethnicity. 

I'm NOT saying this is what happens. I don't think The Walking Dead literally has some kind of quota.  It just feels like it sometimes. 

It's probably all some kind of coincidence.  Or it could be subconscious on the writer's part.  If it is subconscious, it might not be racist.  It might actually be sympathetic and symbolic for what black people have to endure in America.  Life on earth isn't safe, but it's especially unsafe if you're not white. 

So, what's up with Lost?  Did one of the creators of the show have a personal grievance against Australia?  Was it just coincidence?  Was it the fact that each of the characters needed a pre-island conflict, and since their journey began in Australia, the conflict was likely to involve Australians? 

The other thing I wonder about Lost and Australians, is why were there not more Australian survivors on the plane.  I have a feeling I've complained about this before on the blog.  I'm not sure, and I'm too lazy to search.  So...sorry (sort of) if I'm repeating myself.

I would think, though, that most flights have a pretty even mix of people leaving their hometown and people leaving their temporary destination. 

We could assume that there were many more Australians on the flight. They just weren't lucky enough to survive. 

Or maybe they did survive, but they're not part of the elite club that gets to talk and have storylines. 

I was thinking that maybe they just couldn't find enough Australian actors to fill a full-time role on the show.  But that can't be true. The show is filmed in Hawaii.  It's probably just as difficult to get mainland American actors there as it is to get actors from Australia....or Australian actors living on the American mainland.

I'm not saying Lost needed to have an even number of Australians and Americans.  But I definitely think they should have had more than just one. 

On the plus side, they did have four other characters that are not American—two Koreans, an Iraqi, and an English guy.  And that's just in season one.  I know later an African shows up.  Maybe others?

How often do non-Australians/non-Americans take flights from Sydney to LAX compared to Australians flying from LAX to Sydney?  Though I doubt the former is rare, I think the latter would be more common.

Anyway, I shall stop worrying about it, I suppose.  Whatever happened, happened.  For the sake of fictional Australians, I shall hope there were not many on the flight rather than they were on the flight and all (except one) died tragically. 

OR...maybe they survived and got lost on the island somewhere.  Maybe THEY will be the focus of the reboot series.  Maybe in that show, it will be Americans who are shitty and causing pre-island conflicts for the Australians.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Maybe I Will Write No More Biography Posts

I was going to write a biography post today.  Instead I am now writing a post about not writing biography posts.

What happened is....

I was going to wait until after our upcoming Disney trip to write more biography posts.  But then Annie (the cat) is getting spayed today, and I thought writing a post might help my mind stay occupied.  BUT then I started worrying that what it really was is me taking advantage of Annie's absence to get some writing done.

I went back and forth on the whole thing.  Am I an okay person for writing when my cat is surgery, or am I a cold-hearted, selfish person?

I guess I decided it was maybe okay to do a blog post.

I started writing one.  I used Random.org to pick my person... It was a filmmaker named Rosemary Myers.

Wait. Back up....

Before I started writing, I had gone downstairs to get a snack.  I had smelled gas.  Tim told me to return in ten minutes to see if I still smelled it.  I decided I'd start the post and then go downstairs for a sniff.

Well, after about writing for ten minutes, Tim announced that we needed to vacate the house.  The main thing I was thinking at this point, is that if this had to happen, good that it happened while Annie was gone.  That would have been a pain to get her out of the house.  Well, getting her out of the house would be easy.  Unlike our past kitties, she gets into the carrier quite easily.  (that might change after her surgery).  But I'm not sure what we would have done with her in the carrier.  That would have made the drama a bit more complicated.

Anyway, the other thing I thought of was that this was probably not a good day to do a biography post.  I think I took it as a sort of sign from the heavens. I quickly deleted my post...before vacating the house.  Now I'm thinking that I was really quick to read that as a sign, and it probably means I hadn't really wanted to write the post in the first place.

I thought I wanted to get back into biography posts.  I thought wrong.

Sometimes I think I want to quit writing posts all together.  That often ends up being wrong.  I usually just need a break...sometimes a long break.

I think I'll just go back to writing infrequent posts when I see something Australian-related that gives me strong opinions and feelings.  This will probably usually be TV show related.

As for our today-dramas....

 The gas company came, and by that time, the smell had disappeared.  The gas guy used some device to detect danger and didn't find anything.  Jack and I had walked to the park, and we smelled the same smell there.  SO...I don't know what's up with that.

I haven't heard back about Annie yet.  I'm a little worried.  I'll probably start getting to be a lot worried in a few hours if we still haven't heard anything.

When we dropped her off, I felt sad for her...and worried.  But I also felt this kind of gladness to get a break.  I'm a horrible mom.  The thing is, now she's been gone for four hours, and I miss her so much. She's needy for attention and that's time-consuming, but the attention she needs is actually a lot of fun and wonderfulness.  She's a very fun and sweet cat.  


Saturday, August 26, 2017

You're Fine. Come on. Let's Talk about Something Else!

I'm watching an episode of Packed to the Rafters now, and it's filling my head with confusion and doubt.

In the episode, Ted (Michael Caton) has been having symptoms of dementia. He's gone to a doctor for testing, and things don't look so good for him.  For the last few episodes. he has kept his condition secret from his family.  At the end of the last episode, he told his daughter Julie (Rebecca Gibney).  In the episode I'm watching now, we get to see her reaction.  She's in total denial. She refuses to believe anything is wrong with her father. She's very reluctant to discuss it.

It makes me wonder about my own life.

I have major issues with the way people in my life deal with my health concerns. This has been going on for the last ten years or so, and it keeps getting worse.

I feel most members of my family are usually dismissive when I talk about my health concerns.  I feel they don't believe me.  I feel they're not interested in my worries. I feel they see me as a hypochondriac.  I feel they don't want the conversation to turn to my problems because it takes time away from them talking about their problems.

Now seeing Julie and her father, it's making me question things.

Could it be that my family is dismissive because they love me so damn much and they can't stand the thought of something bad happening to me?

Maybe.

I have a lot of doubts, though.  

I think it would be easier to believe in the super-love thing if my family didn't talk so much about their own health problems and the health problems of others.  There are people who are scared of health issues in general and want to change the subject whenever that comes up. If I was among those type of folks, I'd still be annoyed by their dismissiveness but probably more understanding.

But if people talk a lot about their own health, and then say things to make you feel you're turning molehills into mountains when you talk about your health....

Well then...

It's hard for me to believe that's a loved-scared thing rather than a self-centered thing...OR a we-take-you-for-granted-thing.  Yeah. If this was happening to someone else, we'd totally be freaking out!  But since it's happening to you...ah, no big deal.  I'm sure you'll be fine.

I mean really. What would Ted think if Julie had previously freaked out about herself having dementia, but then when Ted had symptoms, she was dismissive? That would be quite a different story.

I could sort of relate to Ted keeping his issue a secret for awhile.  I did that too.  He did it because he didn't want people to worry.  That was part of the reason I did it.  From what I've experienced in the past, I didn't think it was likely that I'd see much worrying from my family.  But it did bother me to imagine them worrying too much—being overly sad or anxious.

The main reason, though, that it took me awhile to tell people is I worried they'd be dismissive, and I worried I'd end up feeling stupid. I also worried that if people were dismissive, I'd be even less likely to go to a doctor if needed.  I hate going to doctors in the first place, because of THEIR dismissiveness and the high financial cost.  But it's even harder for me to want to go when I get it in my mind that I'm the only one who truly thinks I have a problem and everyone else thinks I'm being ridiculous.

I did tell people in my family eventually...one at a time.

 The first person I told did seem to worry, not too much, but in a reasonable manner.  Then later, it seemed like she decided it was not a big deal after all.  And in the following weeks, it felt to me like she had forgotten about the subject all together.  The second person I told seemed barely interested at all. Actually, I might have the first and second person confused in terms of which came first.

Anyway....

Certain other people I avoided telling because I THINK I wanted to postpone it and keep up the fantasy in my head that they'd care a lot.  I imagined them saying, Oh my God. Why did you take so long to tell us? You should have told us sooner! 

When I did tell them, they acted like it was no big deal at all, and pretty much dropped the subject. They didn't ask any questions. They didn't seem to want to know more than the tiny amount I had told them. When the subject was brought up again the next day, by someone else, one of the certain people kept changing the subject to their own health.

Really. How do you know when someone's bad behavior is caused by love and concern rather than self-centeredness, disinterest, and callousness?

If I was a nicer person, I'd probably just give people the benefit of the doubt. But my gut instinct and past experiences tell me to do otherwise.

I guess the farthest I can go at this point is have some small amount of faith that people can change—that people can reduce their self-centeredness, disinterest, and callousness to the point that they do one day show a reasonable and loving amount of concern.  If they do this out of real love and not as a way to humor me or stop me from complaining, (and without any gaslighting!) that would be incredibly wonderful.

The sad thing is, though, hope and second chances don't often go as well as we'd wish them to. Plus, there's the inconvenient fact that life has made me very skeptical, so even if their concern did become real, I might not easily believe them.  Then again, convincing-faked concern is better than a lot of what I've received in the past.  So I'd try to be at least a little bit appreciative.  


Edited to Add:

1. Now that I think more about it, the second (or first?) person I told did act concerned for about 45 seconds.  Then they seemed to forget the whole thing.  I was wrong in saying they seemed barely interested.  Though they acted much less interested than I think I would have acted if I had heard the same information.

2. I should add that the third person I told did actually act concerned to a level that I appreciate. Well...the person acted the way I'd want people to act in this situation.  They asked questions, showed interest, and brought it up on later occasions...which indicated to me that the information hadn't go in one ear and out the other.  Note: I'm being extra symbolic with the ear thing, because I actually told them through email.  So it would really be in through one eye and out the other eye.  Ouch. That sounds painful.

3. Finishing that episode of Packed to the Rafters made me realize that denial about someone else's medical condition is shitty even if it does come out of love.

Julie is being very unsupportive.  She refuses to believe that her dad has memory problems.  She treats him like he's totally overreacting, and it's all in his imagination.

I could kind of understand if Ted was much younger. Let's say he was in his thirties or forties.  It's pretty rare for someone that age to have dementia.  But Ted's pretty up there in age.  It's not too far-fetched to imagine he has serious memory issues.

4. The moral of the story is if someone has a medical concern, we're not helping them at all by pushing the idea that they're fine and there's nothing to worry about.  At best, they MIGHT be fine...physically, but we're making their emotional strain that much worse.  In a worse case scenario, if there is something wrong and we convince them nothing is wrong, that might be medically dangerous.  This happened on a British show I watched— Outnumbered.  One of the characters tried to tell a coworker in distress that no, he (the coworker) wasn't having a heart attack. He was fine. And then...the coworker died.  Oops.    

Sharon Bird

I wasn't sure if I wanted to do another biography post, because the last one turned out awful.  The thing is, I also don't want to leave a bad biography post as the last post on my blog.  Not that it's for sure that I'd never write another blog post. But it's...possible.

I'm also writing another post in hopes that this one ends up being decent. And I have a small bit of hope that I'll get back to writing biography posts in general.

I used Random.org to pick Sharon Bird's name from a list of 36 other names.

I'm not sure who she is.  I shall soon find out.

Okay. I just Googled.

Lord Wiki says Sharon Bird is a politician.

She's a member of the Labor Party and is the Shadow Minister for Vocational Education.

The area of Australia she represents is the Division of Cunningham.  It's in New South Wales and includes Wollongong and some parts of Southern Sydney.

Lord Wiki says Bird has been the MP from there since 2004. That's a pretty long time.

It seems the area is pretty left-leaning.  It's almost always been represented by the Labor party, except from 2002-2004. And in those years, it wasn't the Liberal Party in charge. It was the Green Party.  And the Green Party is even more left than the Labor Party.

Now I'm reading some basic biographical stuff about Bird.

She was born in Wollongong. So, she's representing her birth place.

Before getting into politics, she was a TAFE teacher and a high school teacher.  I think TAFE is vocational school. Right?  So it's kind of nice that Bird is actually a Minister for something she has expertise in.  It seems to me that sometimes politicians are given leadership roles in areas where they have no experience.  This is definitely so in the Trump administration, but I'm pretty sure I've seen it happen in other instances as well.

Bird did some other government type work before becoming a MP. This includes being a project manager New South Wales Department of Juvenile Justice.  I wonder if she worked with the youth.  Maybe she did educational things with them?

Though Bird has been a MP since 2004, she wasn't a Minister until 2013.  Her first Ministry job was Higher Education and Skills. Then later she was Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Regional Communication, and Minister for Road Safety.  I think I might be making it sound like she was all those three things at the same time.  But no.  I think it would have probably happened one at a time.

But the Minister for Road Safety thing?  That might be an example of what I was talking about earlier.  Is there something in Bird's life that made her a great choice for being in charge of road safety?  Or did the Labor Party need both someone to fill that position and a Minister job for Sharon Bird?

It could have been a situation where they said something like, Hey Bird. Do you have any experience with road safety?  

Then she might have replied, Well. Yeah. I do drive to work everyday.  And I'm pretty safe about it.  I never text while in the car.  I did check Instagram once, but I was at a stop light. And it was one of those really long stop lights. 

Or....she could have had more substantial road safety experience.

The last thing Lord Wiki says about Sharon Bird is that she supports gay marriage. That's good!

I know Australia is currently in the midst of voting for that now.  I'm not sure when the vote ends.  I hope we get some good news from Australia.  If it's bad news, that's almost as embarrassing as us having Trump as president.  It's probably equally sad and pathetic...maybe, though, a little less dangerous.

There's a fair chance that Trump might actually end human civilization.  If Australia doesn't have gay marriage in 2017?  Civilization will be stained and hindered, but it probably won't implode. And also, I have firm hope if Australia doesn't legalize gay marriage now, it will do so soon.  Maybe 2018 or 2019.

Now I'm on Sharon Bird's official website. There's a big picture of her smiling along with a bunch of smiling school children.  All the kids, except one, seem to be from the same grade and school. They're around the same size, and they wear the same uniform.  Then there's a much younger child not wearing a uniform.  I wonder who he is.  Maybe Bird's son?  Maybe a younger sibling of one of the school kids?

I just looked closer and realized I'm totally wrong. The kids are not the same size.  There are two girls in the back who look a bit older than the others.  They might from different grades at the same school.  Or they could be from the same grade, and it's just an example of kids growing at different rates.

Anyway, they're doing some kind of gardening project.

Bird has a page called Hot Topics.  It lists various issues ranging from marriage equality, Indigenous issues, and ABC (the TV thing).  There's also something called Adani.  What's that?

Reading....

It's a coal mine.

I don't really understand it completely, but I'm getting that it's a economic vs. environment issue.  Or actually, I think what Bird is saying is that it's not good for the environment, but it's also not great for economics.  Turnbull's government wants to put money towards the mines, and the Labor Party doesn't agree with that plan.  I think.  I might not be understanding it correctly.

Now I'm reading what Bird has to say about Live Exports.  For those who don't know, this is when animals are shipped to other countries while they're still alive.  They're not traveling premium economy for a holiday in Bali.  They're traveling to their deaths.  That's sad enough, but they end up traveling in very horrible conditions.

Bird talks about how the Labor Government developed regulatory systems to try to make sure the animals were treated better.  She complains that the Turnbull government is not doing enough to help with that.

Bird doesn't want to stop Live Exports. She thinks it's important to Australia's economy, and she feels that if Australia stops the practice, countries who treat animals even worse will fill the gap.

I can kind of see her point. It might be better to improve the system rather than get rid of it all together.

Probably the best way to improve the system is having people in the system who love and care about animals. Then they'll do their best to make sure the animal are treated as well as possible.  I say, well as possible, because these animals are eventually going to be used for food.  But even if you are going to be killed and eaten, it would be nice if you're treated with love and care before that.

I was going to say the problem is, most people who love animals are vegetarians.  But that's not true.  I think there are a lot of folks who give adoration to cows and other farm creatures; then go home and happily gobble down hamburgers, pork chops, etc.

Then there are people who have cold hearts, and it wouldn't bother them to watch an animal suffer. There are also people who are sadists and go out of their way to cause pain to an animal.  If those types of people are kept out of careers involving animals, life might be a lot better.

Bird's website has copies of her speeches.  I'll read a couple of those.

I often like reading the first speech that MP's make to Parliament.  Maybe I'll do that first.

Well...just saw that the first speech is not on the site, as far as I can see.  I'll look for that later...elsewhere.

For now, maybe I'll read a recent speech from her site.

Here's a speech that Bird made on June 22.  I'm guessing she did the speech in Parliament.

The speech is about autism, and something offensive that Pauline Hanson said about autism.

What did Pauline Hanson say?  I vaguely remember seeing something on Twitter about it.

The speech quotes Hanson as saying, we need to get rid of these people because you want everyone to feel good about themselves.  

That sounds awful.  What the hell did she mean by that?  What was the context?

I'm looking at an article in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Hanson wants a segregated education system.  She believes that autistic kids are holding the other kids back.  She said, We can't afford to hold our kids back: we have the rest of the world and other kids in other countries who are going ahead [in] leaps and bounds ahead of us.

That doesn't sound like someone who cares about autistic kids or neurotypical ones.  It sounds like someone who is obsessed with competition.  I wish we cared more about having happy, well-adjusted, healthy kids all over the world rather than having kids in our country be the smartest and most successful.

I will say as someone who was a teacher for a short time that I do think having a child with extra needs can be hard on the teacher and other students.  I also say this as someone who had some extra needs as a child AND I say it as a mother of a child who had some extra needs when he was younger.

I don't feel children with autism should be shipped off to another school.  I just feel there needs to be resources for teachers—something like an extra assistant or shadow.

I'm also wondering if I'm really against the opposite of inclusion.  My nieces and nephew all go to the same school, one that's specifically for learning differences.  The school seems to be doing well by them.  Is it bad that they're not going to a regular school?

Well....

I have mixed feelings actually.

I like that they have this school.

On the other hand, I don't like that some of their previous schools were unable or unwilling to educate them.

I guess my main feeling about all this is, parents should have a decent choice.  They shouldn't have to homeschool because there are no other viable, affordable options.  They shouldn't have to send their kids to a special school because their other private school couldn't handle their extra needs.

I wish all parents could say something like, Well we could homeschool Annie and that sounds wonderful. We could send her to a regular school. They have a great resource program there.  Or we could send her to this special school for kids with autism. It gets fantastic reviews.

Now I'm going to read a 2016 Bird speech about vocational education.  I think I'm actually very pro-vocational education, though, I don't know much about it.

I just think society pushes too hard for the usual college degree, and then a lot of times graduates are left a bit aimless and jobless.

Most of the speech seems to be about the opposition government cutting funds to education.  And it kind of goes over my head.  It's funding stuff, for the most part.  I'm not really into it.

I think I'm going to try to find Bird's maiden speech.

Here we go. There's an Australian politics website that has it.

She made the speech at 1:19 PM.

I wonder how often these speeches are made.

I guess they happen after elections, and new MP's are created.  Do they have a week or two where each day there is a speech?  Are there days where multiple speeches are heard?   I would probably get tired if I had to listen to multiple speeches in one day.  But that's probably the main part of a MP's job—listening to other people talk.

In the beginning of her speech, Bird honors both the previous Labor MP, and the Green MP that came immediately before her.  That's nice.

Bird praises a company in the area that makes catamarans.  What's that?  It does sound familar to me.

Googled....

It's a boat.

I was kind of picturing something along those lines.

Bird says Wollongong is officially titled, City of Innovation.  I didn't know that. I imagine it's a title that most cities wished applied to them.

Bird says her family has worked in the mining industry since the early 1900's.  Wow.

I'm glad to see that Bird is pro-migration.  She's pro that and pro-gay-marriage.  She's my kind of person.

I'm reading through the speech, seeing if anything inspires me to babble on and on about things.  There's not much so far.  Bird kind of jumps from subject to subject.  I mean not in a bad way.  The speech isn't disjointed or anything.  It's probably much more coherent than my blog.  But it covers a lot of issues, and I'm not reading anything that is new and exciting to me.  It's kind of the same stuff that we hear a lot. We need more help with mental health issues. We need less poverty. We need more jobs for young people, etc.

Now I'm seeing towards the end of the speech that Bird talks about her work with The Department of Juvenile Justice.  Bird says, We were privileged to work with a truly innovative and successful piece of legislation introduced by the Carr government, which established restorative justice practices for juvenile offenders—a true success story.

The problem is, I don't think she provides enough information about this success story. Maybe I would like her speech more if she stuck to one or two issues and then went into more detail about them.  Or maybe she needs more personal stories?  I'm not sure.

Bird thanks a lot of family members—cousins, uncles, parents, sibling, former husband and his family, etc.  I can't remember if this is typical of new MP's.  It's sweet, though.

She ends her speech by mentioning her sons.  I like that.

I'm going to watch a short video on YouTube of Bird speaking up for Korean truckies in Parliament.

No. Wait. That didn't come out right.  It's not Korean truckies who are IN Parliament.  I mean Bird is in Parliament talking about Korean truckies.

I'm guessing truckies are truck drivers.

Why Korean ones?  And are they Korean-Australian, or Korean-Korean?

There's hardly anyone in the Parliament room.

OR...maybe it's not Parliament.  Maybe it's another meeting room.

The speech is about safety and overworked drivers.

Yeah. I'm definitely against overworked, tired drivers.  It's not good for the drivers and it's not good for anything else on the road.

Now I'm seeing that she's talking about Korean-Koreans, not Koreans who are Australian.  She's talking about truck drivers actually in Korea.  She's condemning unfair practices as an international observer.

I found another video.  It's of Bird on Q and A, answering a question about workers being paid more for working on Saturday and Sunday.

No. Wait I got it wrong. It's about workers getting paid more to work on Sunday.

Is it a Church-related question?  Are people paid more to refrain from Church and work instead?   Or...there are a lot of people who don't go to church.  Are they being rewarded for not being religious-Christians?

If a Jewish person works on Christmas day and gets paid extra, is that discriminating against Christians?

They're talking about something called penalty rates.  I'm guessing that's referring to being paid extra for working on days that many other people prefer not to work.

Googled.  Lord Wiki says I'm right.  And he says it's an Australian term.

I guess here, it's what we call overtime.

Bird reminds the audience that when people are paid more at their jobs, they have more money to spend at other companies.  It's helping businesses in general. And that's a good thing.

An online commenter mentions that more work hours equals less time with family.  That's true.  It's sad if a family doesn't have a weekend together...if they don't even have a Sunday together.  On the other hand, what if they have another day together? A Tuesday? Thursday?  If the family is a homeschooling family, they can have that day together.

What's sad is when someone has to work ALL days of the week just so they can afford fairly basic needs and wants.

I don't really understand the big deal about working on Saturday and Sunday. A lot of people do it. Otherwise, all restaurants, shops, hospitals, etc. would be closed.  Do we want the world to shut down on the weekend?

I think it's best if we have a system where everyone gets days off, but not everyone gets the same days off.

Now I'm going to look at Sharon Bird's Twitter.  Her most recent Tweet is a Retweet from a guy named Roy Rogers.  He's the CEO of a company called the Flagstaff Group.  He says that Bird supports NDIS.  What's that?

Googled.  It's for families with disabilities.

It makes sense for Roy Rogers to mention this, because his company's purpose is to find meaningful employment for people with disabilities.

Bird also has Tweets and Retweets about TAFE and the gay marriage vote.

Bird's Twitter is made up of mostly Retweets.

A person pointed out recently that my Twitter bio says that I don't like people who only Retweet, yet most of my own Twitter is Retweets.  He is right in that I do Retweet a lot.  But my Twitter also has a lot of conversations.  I actually interact with people.

Some people, like Bird, have less conversation and a whole lot of Retweets.  I actually don't mind her predominance of Retweeting because it doesn't seem random.  She seems to be Retweeting things that are important to her.

The Retweeting I strongly dislike is the type where the Twitterer seems to be randomly Retweeting whatever they end up seeing.  There's no rhyme or reason.  It seems to me they're just doing it to fill their profile with content.  Or they're doing it to kiss the ass of the original Tweeters.

I saw this type of thing when I was first trying to promote my novel.  There were a few people who Retweeted something about it.  That would be awesome if they actually read my novel and cared about it.  But no...it's just a...

I don't know what it is really.  I think they imagine they're being helpful and I appreciate that.  But I don't think it IS helpful.  If you have someone on your newsfeed who just Retweets any old thing...and it seems random and meaningless, are you going to pay attention to their Tweets?  I wouldn't.  And I probably would stop following them.  I'd see their Tweets as spam, pretty much.

Yeah. Now that I think of it. Maybe that's the best way to describe it.  There are meaningful Retweets, and there are spam Retweets.

One way to know the difference...if you're the one Tweeting.  Did you actually read the article or watch the video that you're Retweeting?  If you didn't...you're probably just spamming.

Hopefully, Sharon Bird read the articles that she's Retweeting.  I imagine she did.

Now I'm seeing that Bird Retweeted the same article multiple times. She Retweeted various people who had posted the article.  That's kind of excessive and annoying.

Anyway...I think I shall end this here.

I don't know if it's a good post, but I think it was at least better than the last one.


 








Saturday, August 5, 2017

New Biography Post

Today I'm going to write a biography post.

I'm a bit nervous for various reasons, one of them being that I haven't written such a post in quite awhile.

But...hopefully it will all work out okay.

Well, actually it will likely turn out to be a shitty, rambling mess.  But I think some people are okay with that, which is pretty cool.  If not, my future self tends to enjoy reading them.  Although even she often wishes that I had been much less wordy.  Every morning I read a past post, and I'm always a bit happy when the morning's post is a particularly short one.

Anyway...

I'm going to use Random.org to pick a name from my list.

There are 37 names right now.  Let's see who I get....

It is...

Malcolm Turnbull!

No, I'm joking.

I already wrote about him...years ago, before he was Prime Minister.

The real subject of my post is Elana Kats-Chernin.

I was just thinking, shit. All this suspense is going to be ruined by the fact that she's named in the title of my post.  But then I decided I'll just not put her in the title.

If I decide, though, to do more biography posts, I'll play Random.org before I start writing.

So...let's get on to Elana Kats-Chernin.  I'm guessing she's a politician, mainly because I don't easily recognize her name.  It IS mildly familar since I'm the one who added her to the list...not too long ago.  But I'm more familar with actor names than politician names.

I just Googled and saw Elana Katz-Chernin is NOT a politician. She's a composer!  That's very cool. Not that politicians aren't sometimes cool, but I'm personally maybe more impressed with composers.

Lord Wiki says that Elana Katz-Chernin is from part of the former Soviet Union (Now Uzbekistan). As an American talking about that part of the world, I feel compelled to make a joke about Trump. But I'm not clever enough for that...at least not right now. Maybe something will come to me later.

Chernin was born on November 4, 1957.  She migrated to Australia in in 1975.  She would have been about eighteen then.

She had studied music in the Soviet Union, and then continued her studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Lord Wiki says she also hung out in the whole Darlinghurst underground Theatre scene.  So I guess she did theater and music.  Or maybe she did music FOR the theater.

Chernin wasn't just not Australia-born, she also rushed off to Europe for thirteen years.  I'm starting to feel she's barely Australian.  But that's unfair of me.

She did return to Australia in 1994, and has maybe been here since. Well, I'm sure she's had a few journeys here and there. But maybe she's been Australia-focused for the last twenty or so years?

Now I'm starting to rethink my idea of preferring composers over politician.  Lord Wiki has details about Chernin's music career, and I'm kind of dreading reading it.  It doesn't seem interesting to me.

But I'll try....

Chernin has written operas.

She composed music for the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

She wrote some silent film soundtracks.  I guess people are still making those.

Here's something that's a bit more interesting to me.  Chernin wrote a Ragtime piece of music that was used in the New York scenes of the film Mary and Max.  We saw that movie, and if I remember correctly...we liked it.

I kind of feel like I made a mistake in adding Chernin to my list.  I probably assumed she was a film/television composter, which DOES interest me.  But for the most part, it looks like she's not that sort of composer.

I AM going to try to listen to some of her music.  Though her career doesn't really interest me, I think I might actually like her music.

First I'm listening to Chernin's "Chamber of Horrors".   I shall probably play with Annie the cat while I listen.  Annie needs a lot of love and attention, so I have to multitask a bit.

I'm not really liking the music.  It might, though, be because this recording is performed on a harp.  I'm not sure I'm a harp kind of person.  Listening to it makes me feel like I'm a child at a Mother's Day brunch, wearing itchy tights and waiting too long to get my food.

I'm going to try something else.

Here's "Slipped Back Tango", performed on a violin.  I think I usually like violin.

I might actually be okay with the harp as well.  I'm not sure, really.  I'm not sure if it's the harp I didn't like with "Chamber of Horrors" or the composition itself.

OR I might like it, but I just need time to let it grow on me.  I often don't enjoy a piece of music the first time I hear it.

So far, I'm liking "Slipped Back Tango" much more than "Chamber of Horrors".  It's fun...in a tango-like way.

Now I'm going to listen to two cellists perform a piece called "Phoenix Story".  I am quite sure that I like cellos, so if I don't like this one, it will be the composition I dislike.

Listening...Yes, I'm liking it so far.

The song reminds me of something that would be in a dramatic scene in a movie starring Judy Davis.

I'm going to now read an interview with Chernin.  It's on a blog written by a piano teacher.

Chernin says she started learning piano when she was four.  It started with her watching her older sister's piano lessons.  I wonder if her older sister became a musician/composer as well.

Chernin says, that when she was a child, she had technique issues, and because of this, her hands would tire easily.

Chernin has pleasant memories of working with a teacher in the Soviet Union who was strict.  But Chernin appreciates the strictness, and she also appreciates the cups of teas they drank together. That's sweet.

Chernin lives a busy life that is sometimes disorganized. At times, she misplaces compositions she's working on.  Yeah.  Those kind of things happen sometimes.

I'm kind of picking through the interview for stuff that's interesting to me as someone who's NOT a piano teacher.  There's not much.  Most of the stuff is going to be more interesting to people who are into pianos, composing, orchestras, etc.  If you're one of those people, I suggest you quit reading this blog and go straight to the interview.

Well, I think this biography post is going to be much shorter than usual.  Sorry about that.  Although I'm not sure who I'm apologizing too.  My future self will be grateful for the short post, and I'm sure other people will be as well.

Actually, I CAN guess who will be displeased...FANS of Elana Kats-Chernin.  They will likely think that I have cheated Chernin, and that I'm awful for not being more interested in musical compositions.  So to THEM...if they find my blog, I give my apologies.