Parentwin
Journalism isn’t dead…it’s a zombie.

My mom just sent me an email that listed journalism as one of the worst three jobs. Ever. Like, there’s no quantifier in there. Just one of the worst three jobs. This is by Daily Briefing, who uses Bureau of Labor statistics and runs them through a snazzy algorithm, weighing stuff like satisfaction, health risk, stress levels, etc.

You know what the other two worst jobs are, guys?

Enlisted military and lumberjacks.

"One of these things is not like the other…one of these things just doesn’t belong…"

But, seriously, let’s take a look at those two. I mean, it’s pretty obvious that one might be dissatisfied in these jobs because they’re never home with their loved ones, or because it’s really loud and strenuous all the time, and most likely because you make one mistake and you’ve lost a limb. Like a literal piece of your body. There are legitimate reasons these jobs are considered the worst.

How is journalism even remotely comparable to jobs where if you sneeze you could lose an arm?

First off, I’m absolutely sure the algorithm they used vastly over-accounted for the danger in a journalist’s job. Are there reporters who have to put their lives on the line daily to get a story out? Yes. And in those cases, the danger is (or at least can be) as great as a combatant or a lumberjack.

But let’s be real. That is not like 99 percent of journalists. For every one person risking their hide for a story, there are 200 more back at home, typing it up, making it pretty, calling “officials” etc. And it’s actually that 99 percent that puts journalism on this list.

In no other line of work is the expectation of what you will be doing so very far from what you will actually be doing.

Think about the people who “become journalists.” They’re young, creative, idealistic, adventurous kids who get into this racket to be young, creative, idealistic and adventurous. And they’re sold a false bag of goods.

People go into journalism to be this:


Bernstein and Woodward as dramatized by Hoffman and Redford.

And this:


Fictional hero of journalists everywhere.
I mean, we go in to find the good stuff on the bad guys, give no fucks, write it up with no shit from management because it’s an important story and come and go as we please, fighting the good fight. We want to meet witnesses in bars, and buy coffee for corrupt police officers. We want to hide in the back of a truck bed, scribbling notes as a stolen bunch of paintings whizzes out of state. We want to find the exciting shit and grab on for the ride, stopping only when it’s freaking over to type our fingers to the bone while swigging freaking beer and talking to our best friends about the coolest shit ever that just freaking happened, oh my God. And we want to tell the truth and change the world. We want to expose the faults and get them fixed. And we want to do it our way, on our time, with no used-up authority figure telling us we have to “tone it down” or we can’t use a fantastic quote because “the police/government/our own corporation won’t like it.”

Nah, dude. We journalists. We gettin’ this shit done.

Sure, your Jskool prof tells you in his steely, tired voice that you’ll be eating bologna sandwiches for the rest of your life, and your ear will be attached to the phone, and you’ll never, EVER, get paid any money. But do you listen?

NO!

You are a journalist. No negative nelly is going to stop you in your unquenchable thirst for justice and truth! Plus, you are a kid. You’re convinced that old prof just ‘did it wrong.’ You’ll do it right.

Womp womp womp.

So, unsurprisinglly, after your 3000th stupid town meeting and between your 500th and your 800th politely worded obituary, it’s no wonder you lose your way. Journalists have to pay dues, apparently. (Which is dumb, btw). And those dues pretty much never end these days. There is no exciting story to be covered and if there ever were one, the corporations in control of the newsrooms would sap the life out of it as quickly as they sapped the life out of your immediate supervisor.

I mean, let’s not forget about that guy, right? So, not only do you drag your ass to work every day to phone the town council president to talk about petunia growth in your town square while trying not to stab out your own eyeballs with the pencil you keep for taking very quick, important notes (that you’ve never even had to use one time), you also have to do that for eight hours straight with that guy staring right at you, waves of animosity just rolling off him.

Don’t get me wrong. There are a million awesome people in journalism. They’re tired, and broken, and disappointed, and sad (for the most part), but awesome. Then there are these guys. These guys who are just sure that your mere existence is a threat to them. You’re going to take their scoop (on what, dude? The pony parade coming to town? Because that’s all your corporate head lets you report anyway), or their validation (he really needed that ‘you should have been nominated for a webby’ comment, okay?), or worst of all, they think you’ll take their job.

That’s a legit concern, by the way, and it rounds out our ways in which journalism is the worst of the worst of jobs. There is no job security at all. Like AT ALL. Take news directors in broadcast, for example. On average, they last 18 months. These are the top dogs, people. Any further up the line and you’re corporate. ON AVERAGE, they last 18 months. Fuck me typing if a producer or reporter is going to last that long unless they become the perfect yesman.

Journalist. Pusher of truth. The perfect yesman.

"One of these things is not like the other…one of these things just doesn’t belong…"

So, yeah, what this messed-up recipe yields is a whole lot of burned out, bitter, poor, automatons, saying yes to every stupid-assed decision and every ethically questionable agenda that comes their way for fear of losing the job they do for PENNIES, because they’re supposedly in it for the love of it.

We say in mass comm grad school that journalism is dead, a lot. We’re talking, of course, about the outmoded newspaper model. But it’s so much more than that. And we’re not even going to go into the blatant sexism and bullshit that goes on.Or how about how everyone not only hates us, but also thinks they can do our job. Like, everyone thinks they can just write. It is infuriating, no? That’s another couple of posts.

The internet didn’t kill journalism. It’s been dead for a long time. Journalism is a zombie.

But!

There is hope.

One of you suckers out there in internet-land is going to come up with a new model that turns everything completely on its head because in internet-land, we are no longer beholden to hours, and yeses, and phone calls to petty officials and bosses, and bullshit. Someone out there is going to break this shit. And they’re going to put up something else. And I will be on that bandwagon.

Because I’m in journalism to be Fletch, dammit.

And no amount of firing me, telling me I’m a piece of shit, or making me rewrite a 20-second voice over about a car crash with no injuries that happened three days ago is going to stop me. And I know I’m not alone.

So, let’s do this, journalists. Let’s JOURNALISM.

Equal Pay Day Controversy

So, Tuesday was equal pay day. For those of you who somehow don’t know about this, it represents the day women have to work up to before they’ve made as much as men made the previous year.

At 77 cents to the dollar, we have to work an extra 98 days.

Anyway, if you want more information about how this came about or what it actually measures, click on the link above, because what I’m doing in this post is taking on these two bullshit questions from this post over here.

Question 1:

Do women go into lower-paying sectors because they prefer them, or because employers discriminate against them? 

I don’t know about you, but I don’t know too many people in general who look at themselves and think, you know what I’m worth? Very little money.
There are more women in teaching and administrative work than men, and you know what, when asking many of them, they’d say they do enjoy the work. They are where they want to be. Great! Let’s pay them more.
The women workforce also has a lot more part-time workers, which apparently messes up the average? They’re working part time usually because they have a family at home, right? And daycare is incredibly expensive…more expensive than college.
And having families is something that people do, don’t you know. And our society is still set up in such a way where the responsibility usually falls on the woman to care for the child, and if alternate care is used, the woman actually has to be making some money. However, since she only makes 77 cents to a man’s dollar, she often saves money by not going to work.
Not to mention that we are constantly saying we need more women in science, yet to be in science you need a PhD and to get a PhD plus some experience, you need to not have kids until about your mid-30s.
In fact Freeman Dyson, the world-renowned mathematical physicist who helped found quantum electrodynamics thinks academia is bunk:

"I’m very proud of not having a Ph.D. I think the Ph.D. system is an abomination. It was invented as a system for educating German professors in the 19th century, and it works well under those conditions. It’s good for a very small number of people who are going to spend their lives being professors. But it has become now a kind of union card that you have to have in order to have a job, whether it’s being a professor or other things, and it’s quite inappropriate for that. It forces people to waste years and years of their lives sort of pretending to do research for which they’re not at all well-suited. In the end, they have this piece of paper which says they’re qualified, but it really doesn’t mean anything. The Ph.D. takes far too long and discourages women from becoming scientists, which I consider a great tragedy. So I have opposed it all my life without any success at all."

Question 2:

Do women stay home with the kids because of cultural norms, or because of the way parental leave policies are set up? 

I don’t understand this question. I mean, both? First of all, don’t kid yourself, we don’t have any parental leave in this country so there is no “way it is set up” because it does not exist. Secondly, yeah, there are definitely cultural norms still in place that need to go away because they are annoying and they make people feel bad. Not to mention that they perpetuate stereotypes that women cannot hold positions of power because “they won’t give as much to the company” or women “choose not to make as much” because they “chose to have children.”

Okay, well, since we’re the only ones who can have children, how about you help us out and not put us through those shitty choices.

The long and short of it is that women are still struggling to be seen as a serious force in the workplace because of outmoded ideas of family, cost of childcare, and doucheheads who think if a woman chose to birth a child, she decided she didn’t want to work for a lot of money so she should shut up.

We need future people, right? And to get them to the adult stage, we need to feed them. And if we’re going to feed them and teach them healthy things about the world, we deserve a livable wage for doing something we have been trained in.

And if a woman works as hard as a man in her profession, she should make as much money as he does. Period.

As my friend on Facebook said:


" If you are too much of a goddamn pithy simple-minded asshole to see the structural problem with putting a tax on working women of as much as $1000/month per child, there’s nothing anyone can say to talk you to a place of reason.

I never want another person coming at me about the “personal choice” of mothers to take low-paying jobs who doesn’t have a solution to this nightmare of a decision-making process we put women through.”
Pay equity. Because we’re effing worth it. And so are our kids.
How to Be Okay with You

We are all broken. But we are all beautiful. And no one in the world is better than you are. Who you are, right now, in this very moment, as you read this, is beautiful. You belong here. And you deserve things. Good things. Even if you hate yourself right now, or hate what you’ve have done in the past, or hate what you will do in the future, or hate what you are doing right now, that does not mean you do not deserve the best of everything in this world, and the sooner you recognize that you are special, unique and giving this world a great gift just by existing, the sooner you’ll be able to walk away from the Land Of Bad Decisions (tm).

Everyone has been there. The intensity of the situations are different, and our ability to withstand different intensities are different. But we are, in essence, very similar. We all fall, we all feel like fakes, we all struggle with hidden demons.

Your demons are just as important as that guy’s over there. And you  are just as deserving as he is.

You can’t keep on keeping on if you feel like you are undeserving of life, love and happiness. It’s not you. It’s a thing. It’s a thing that’s near you. It’s a thing that’s not you. You are not your failures. You are not even your actions. You are defined by you and you alone. You get to make up that definition. Make it good. You are strong. A warrior just like me, just like everyone. You will not let your loved ones down. They are more forgiving than you are. You are not the past. The past is not real. It is shadows. Shadows we must confront and conquer, but not our reality this day, this moment. You are not what happened to you. You don’t owe anyone anything, especially at the expense of yourself. You are beautiful and you can let that show. Those who would disparage it are wrong. You can, day by day, moment by moment, take control of your life. And you deserve it.

Here are some things to do:

1) Accept blame for what is yours. But don’t wallow in it. Don’t allow your past to become you. Own up to your actions, understand your motivations for them, and from there, make changes so that you don’t find yourself in that position again.

2) Allow yourself mistakes. You are going to mess up. A lot. This doesn’t prove that you are a bad person. It just proves that you are a person. It doesn’t prove that you can’t change. It proves that change is a journey, not a destination.

3) Forgive yourself. I don’t care how bad it is, if you can’t forgive yourself, you stop yourself from moving forward. Forcing yourself to live in your old shoes as punishments for your misdeeds is poisoning. You have control over this moment, and the next one, and then the next, but only one moment at a time. And when you mess up, if you dwell on it, taking it as indicative of your nature, you are missing out on all the next moments you could control. You are worth forgiveness.

4) Forgive others. Some people have hurt you worse than others. Some people have tortured you, some knowingly, some unknowingly. Some people are still trying to hurt you now. Forgive them so that you can walk away from them. Because emotion binds us. And you don’t want to be a part of that.

5) Walk away. Cut ties with toxic people. You do not owe them anything. You forgave them foryou. Forgiveness doesn’t mean willingness to subject yourself to more pain.

6) Be proud. Sometimes it will be hard to do this. So look outside yourself if you must. Just find one little thing each day that you did that you can be proud of. And when you find it, do not find a way to displace ownership of that thing. Do not assign yourself ulterior motives. Do not doubt that one tiny thing you chose to be proud of. Start very small. Move to bigger things from there. You must accept that you are worthy of praise.

7) Stop hiding. I know it’s scary. Try showing yourself for just a few minutes at a time until you can build your resistance up.

8) Be kind to yourself. That thing in you that hates you? That likes to tell you you’re a piece of shit. It’s wrong. Experiment with telling it to shut the hell up. It will feel silly at first, but it separates your masochistic tendencies from who you are in a way nonverbal communication doesn’t quite reach. Realize that sometimes you do things just so you can tell yourself ‘I told you so.’ Experiment with not  telling yourself ‘I told you so’ when you make a bad decision. Remember, the only one around to police you is yourself. Be a good cop.

9) Own it. You are who you are and you can do what you can do. You do not owe anyone anything. Practice being direct. It is scary. You don’t want to displease people. But, in all reality, they don’t care as much as you think they do. And even if they think they care at the time, you are only a minor player in their life movie. They’ll adjust. They’ll figure it out. You are only the main character in your own book. Read your book.

10) Do it. Branching off of number 9, be honest in everything you do. When everything mounts against you, and you want to hide, or lie, or couch the truth, or spare yourself what you feel certain will be other people’s scorn and hate, try to buck that instead and simply state the truth. Don’t allow yourself to be paralyzed on the cliff of anxiety where action is impossible and going back is equally impossible. Go forward. The sooner you move, the sooner it will all be over.

Be your authentic self. That person is awesome. Give her a chance. Hell, no one else did, right? Doesn’t she deserve it? You be the first. Give you a chance.

You are worth everything.

Important Things My Kids Say

If you’ve been around for more than five minutes,you probably know I’m pretty straightforward. My best friend of 26 years would tell you that, a new friend I just made last week would tell you that. And they’d both be putting it nicely. I have no time for couching words, or passive aggressiveness, or any confusion whatsoever. Is it a positive? Is it a negative? I don’t know. Depends on the situation, I guess. I’ll let you know statistically in about 50 years.

However, being straightforward, and as incredibly word dependent as I am (how can you not love words, seriously? They are EVERYTHING.) now that my children are old enough to articulate what they want and need from me, they do. Directly. This is amazing, and while I just dumb-lucked into it like I do everything in my life, I highly highly recommend doing it.

How? I don’t know, really. I think it’s because I am so direct about how I feel, what my anger means, when it’s a bad time to talk to me, what makes me feel emotion of any kind, and I’ve constantly talked at them since birth using all the adult vocabulary I have.

I have very emotional kids. They require absolute presence and lots of patience, neither of which I have, unfortunately. But I’m learning. I’m trying for them. And I’m trying to teach them how to request those things in a way in which they’ll receive their desired outcome. And I’m trying to teach them how to appropriately deal with disappointment when they don’t get what they want,especially when they ought to get it.

I think it’s going well.

I really love these kids.

So, the most important things they are saying to me currently:

"My tummy feels different." 1) I’m hungry, 2) I’m nervous or dissatisfied.

"I want a hug." I need a hug.

"I don’t know what you mean." I am not able to picture the simple process you are describing and this is frustrating to me, indicating not only a breakdown in communication, but a chasm of self-doubt as I berate myself for not understanding you. I will need a hug in two minutes.

"You don’t know what I mean." I am utterly frustrated with your complete inability to given me what I am asking for, not only in terms of what I am physically saying, but also in terms of my bodily cues. I have expectations about how this situation should be going currently, and I cannot articulate them without changing how I feel the situation should be going and further confusing myself. I need you to do your best to magically figure out exactly what I need, or somehow push me past the boundary of this mattering so very much.

"Can I do it again later?" I hate what I’ve just done, but I know you want to move on, and I now know you hate it when I tantrum about perfection and I will always lose this battle. Will you allow me to think I will be able to go back to this and fix it to my liking later, so that I can move on knowing that everything will be okay at the end? (They never go back to it).

"Do we have more?" I will forgo the pleasure of this treat if it is limited in quantity. I need to see the exact specs of my situation to feel comfortable here.

"I’m just going to run away and cry." I have absolutely no idea how to handle the emotion I am feeling in this moment, and I would prefer to lose control without your judgment. I feel alone and unwanted. (I never let them run away and cry, btw. These turn into long hug sessions.)

"Why aren’t we talking about me?" I brought up something that you thought was general, but actually I need validation and support that my identity and strengths are valued here. You’ve misread what is going on. Please support me.

"I think you care more about Lilly/Dulce than me." You are giving my twin a lot more attention right now probably for a very valid reason that I don’t care about at all. I need to be assured that I am also desired and loved and that I don’t have to be sick/hurt/crying to be so.

"I love you." I love you.

And the best thing that they say?

Every single time I say, “Hey girls, guess what?” They reply, “You love me.”

If that’s the only message I ever get through to them, I will be happy.

Disney Cage Match: Frozen vs. Brave vs. Tangled

Yesterday, on Facebook, I found out just how serious we all are about our modern Disney movies. While the older cartoons get ALL of the free passes, our developing society now requires more social conscience in our films, and we are absolutely right to demand it. In that vein, Disney has come out with several kickass princesses in the past few years. Could they do even better? Sure! Is it nice to take Merida, though, and compare her to Cinderella to pat ourselves on the back about how far we’ve come? Yes, let’s do it. No problems detected.

That said, when you get into the nitty-gritty of which modern movie we all like the best, things can get…ugly. Like really ugly. I mean, sometimes you prefer Tangled and then someone comes along and calls you an abusive parent or says you hate Disney. (JUST KIDDING, I KNOW YOU DIDN’T MEAN IT LIKE THAT.) But still, tempers really, really flare.

Do Not Mess With The Modern Favorites.

So, let’s put these films to the test, shall we? Let’s take Frozen, Brave and Tangled, and gauge them component by component to get at the real winner in all this. Preferences are fine and all, but don’t we really need to examine which of the three feminist princesses is THE BEST ONE. It’s not like we can all get along, right?



The Main Character:

Frozen:


Anna and Elsa: Anna is really the main character, but you could argue that Elsa makes the storyline. Or is Elsa really the main character and Anna is just filler learning a few side lessons while Elsa figures herself out behind closed doors? Either way, they need each other and we need them both. They do it alone, without anyone else.

Brave:


Merida has had enough of your bullshit. She’s headstrong, free-spirited and, well, brave. She makes some pretty serious, I’m-a-spoiled-princess mistakes (like feeding her poor mom that damn cake), but it’s not like her mom is even trying to understand how awesome she is, so forgiven.


Tangled:

Rapunzel is totally rad. She’s utterly optimistic at every turn. She sees the best in absolutely everything. Her friendly and naive demeanor don’t really make her nearly as kickass as the other three heroines, but she’s willing to give anything a try, and she goes for anything she wants.

WINNER: TANGLED

Okay, okay, REMEMBER these are all my opinions. You make your own winners. I know most of you will pick Anna/Elsa. It’s okay. Keep going through. Maybe you’ll even agree with me once or twice, who knows!

Anyway, I chose Rapunzel because she’s scared but happy, does what she wants but thinks of other people, and saves the prince like the badass she is. She does all these things without doing anything too petulant.


The Mom:

Frozen:

She never even speaks. Come on, Disney. If I were that mom (and I know, I know, I’m not), Iprobably would have been like, yo, king, dude. Could we go back to the trolls and get some more info on this whole powers thing? I’m not feeling locking my kid up for a decade.

Brave:

She’s stubborn, she doesn’t listen to what her daughter needs, she projects her problems onto her daughter, she’s a traditionalist because she was forced to be so and therefore others should be, too, she’s unbending, can’t talk to her kid, and frequently gets angry in ways that are not productive.

She’s also the raddest motherfucker ever. She learns from her mistakes, and she totally forgives her kid for turning her into a gd bear. Plus, everything she does in that paragraph up there she does out of a deep love. It’s just a bit misguided, that’s all.

Tangled:

I really find it hard to believe that they searched all over the kingdom and never thought to check that tower, but Flynn Rider just ran from a horse and climbed it, nbd.

WINNER: BRAVE

The Dad:

Frozen:

There is grave disagreement here, and many people feel I’m a cruel-hearted SOB for my opinion, but I think Anna and Elsa’s dad is abusive. Full stop. You don’t lock your kid up in a room for a decade to “protect her”. Sure, do it for a week while you research other things to do, and go in there to constantly reassure her that you’re working to help her, but just handing her some thicker gloves every five years, and basically being like, peace out and also never talk to your sister again? Because we love you? Nope.

Brave:

Is this guy the best ever or what? He’s just the best ever. I can’t even with his happy, constructive, protective demeanor and his obvious love for his family and his life.

Tangled:

Same as mom. You’re just going to light lanterns and hope the princess finds her way home? Okay.

WINNER: BRAVE

The Bad Guy:

Frozen:


This is a tough one because Hans isn’t really the bad guy so much as he’s just an ahole. Elsa isn’t the bad guy because Disney changed her tune and made her awesome instead. In Frozen, one of the messages is that the bad guy is fear, the bad guy is ourselves, the bad guy is quick decisions driven by emotion bereft of critical thinking.

That’s a pretty important bad guy, guys.


Brave:


Mordu, y’all. Mor-fucking-du. You can’t. I can’t. I mean. I was pissed when we saw this in theaters, because why didn’t anyone tell me about the damn bear fight, omg my toddlers!

Anyway, the awesome thing about Mordu is that he represents what the mother could have become if she gave up on love and family. Instead she fought that off. People need each other, families need each other, and sometimes being right isn’t as important as being, well, good. Well done.

Tangled:


I love Mother Gothel. She is the most hilarious abusive pos I’ve ever laid eyes on. The manipulative games she plays with poor Rapunzel would have made me cry if they weren’t so obvious, overdone and meant to make me laugh instead. “Mother Knows Best” is a pretty singable song, tbh, and the narcissistic tones of her badness really underscore the mental damage she is inflicting.

WINNER: FROZEN

(But, damm, that was a tough choice. These bad guys all rock hard.)

The Lovable Sidekick:

Frozen:


Okay, okay, I’m happy for you, and I’mma let you finish, but Olaf is the best sidekick of all time.

Everything he says is fucking wonderful. He single-handedly saves Frozen for me. What can I say? I’m a total sucker for childlike optimism in the face of all odds. Plus, I really fucking like warm hugs.

Brave:


Tricky one here. Merida doesn’t have a legit sidekick. She rides alone, yo. But her little brothers are damn cute. Other than that cleavage scene, though.

Tangled:



Is there any way to not love a horse with moral fiber of steel and a heart of gold? I think not.

WINNER: FROZEN

Yeah, why?


The Music:

Frozen:

Okay, so Frozen had some MAMMOTH songs. Do You Want to Build a Snowman can plunge me into a depressive state the likes of which I’ve never previously known, and Let It Go is a power ballad to end all power ballads. It speaks to deep, entrenched issues within people themselves. Tough stuff. In Summer is a cute sidekick song, and even the prince / Anna song is pretty cute. But they’re not well spaced, and they don’t really work together as a whole ensemble.

Brave:

No music because Pixar does what it wants. So there.

Tangled:

I love the songs and the distribution of songs in Tangled. They’re not as deep or nearly as powerful as those in Frozen, but they work for the story, they accentuate each character in good form, and they bring the piece together. Flynn even remarks about the damn silliness of everyone breaking out into song all the time, because seriously wth.

WINNER: TANGLED

I don’t like crying the ugly tears down my face, and I love enormous piles of money. Sue me. Yes, I totally know this is the wrong answer. w/e

The Primary Message:

Frozen:

You don’t have to shut yourself away just because you are different. Fear is the enemy. You have the power to make a change in your own life

Brave:


Tradition is not always right, love is not always prescribed, you deserve to make your own way and find your own happiness and you are strong enough to do it.

Tangled:

Follow your dreams because the life you know now may not be at all what you think it is. Don’t let anyone else hold you back from what you need in life.

WINNER: TANGLED

Another contentious one. I realize this may not be a popular choice.

The Conflict:

Frozen: 

Girl grows up isolated and in fear of herself, shuts herself off to the world, while the other sister tries to break through. Has to learn to treat herself with the kindness and respect she deserves.

Brave:

Girl stands up for herself when confronted with having to get married. Has to learn about compromise and love.

Tangled:

Girl grows up isolated in a freaking tower, has to break free of what has been a “normal” life for her thus far and venture out into a new world to pursue her dream.

WINNER: FROZEN (since I gave the last one to Tangled).

The “Prince”:

Frozen:

Honestly? He’s nice and everything, but just an outline of a character. Meh.

Brave:


Winning. Don’t need no suitor.


Tangled:

I love Flynn Rider, I love everything about him. EVERYTHING. I. Love. Him. He might be one of my favorite Disney characters of all time.

WINNER: TANGLED

I almost want to give this to Brave, because it is so important for girls to know that they do not need a boy to be happy. ACTUALLY, I change my answer. NEW WINNER: BRAVE

In Tangled, though, our runner up, it is important to note that you can’t judge someone by their reputation alone, and that trust is very important in life, when given due reason.

This also isn’t to discount Kristoff. Of all the Disney men so far, he GETS consent and politeness and feminism. Rad.

The Weapon:

Frozen:


Ice Powers. Um, that is all need be said.

Brave:


Fantastic bow and arrow.


Tangled:


Frying pan.

WINNER: BRAVE

The bow and arrow is something Merida worked hard at her entire life, and more importantly, when it came right down to the fight scene, you saw that even her years of dedication and practice couldn’t fell such an evil beast. She needed to come together with her loved ones, and use her wits to conquer.

The Ice Powers and the Frying Pan are both close runners up, though.

Elsa has to learn to use and wield those powers similar to how Merida used the bow, and simply looking at these three, having Ice Powers clearly beats every-freaking-other-thing. But yeah, they’re no good if you don’t know how to use them.

The frying pan is the opposite of the Ice Powers. Rapunzel has no skills, no powers, has never practiced any form of defense, and yet she uses what is on hand to best her opponent. Not bad.


The Sequence:

Frozen:

Too much emotion at the beginning without enough backstory, too many songs in a row, and after Let It Go there is not much to hold a viewer’s interest.

Brave:

Better than Frozen in terms of pacing, but it lags in some places, and sometimes the sad feels are too close to the other feels to make a clean transition.

Tangled:

 Perfect. Good pacing, good layout. Unfortunately, of the three it is the weakest in content. But we’re grading sequence here, so that doesn’t matter.

WINNER: TANGLED

The Most Important Relationship:

Frozen:

Sister-sister

Brave:

Mother-daughter

Tangled:

Romantic

WINNER: BRAVE

Sorry, guys, I’m just feeling the mom-daughter relationship more than I feel the sister-sister. I think it was much better development, better paced, and more involved. It required fewer assumptions and was explicit in its growth throughout the movie.


The Advisor:

Frozen:


What a jerk, amirite? This guy is truly the reason for all the trouble in this whole movie. You’ve got time to sing a whole stupid song about fixer uppers, but can’t give the KING better advice than ‘she’s dangerous, but fear is your enemy’? No thanks.


Brave:



Only MILDLY above the troll king in terms of overall douchiness. She’s a teenager. Give a girl some direction, eh? At least, though, the Bear Witch tries to help in her way.



Tangled:


He’s bland and a bit boring, but aren’t all consciences?

WINNER: TANGLED

By default, though. The other two were just horrific.


So, okay, if we tally these up…


Looks like, by my count, we’ve got five for Brave, five for Tangled, and three for Frozen.

But if you weigh in the overall message girls in particular should take with them going forward, that gives Frozen a few extra points.

LEAVING US WITH A TIE, GUYS, OKAY?

All that work, just to tell you these movies are tied for awesomeness on the point scale.


HOWEVER.

Tangled for life, yo.

Don’t ever mess with Frozen (but Tangled 4lyfe, though)

I do a lot of things wrong every single day, as a parent and a person. Lest you think my days ever go any different, I thought I’d break this one down for you. AHEM. Things I did wrong today:


1) I made the girls make their own beds. (Like they do every damn day. Not sure why today it made me the meanest mommy, but there you have it.)

2) I wasted my time driving 20 minutes to campus and 20 minutes back for a 20 minute meeting with a professor that gave me no insight as to how to run a focus group. This also cost me $20 for a babysitter. I guess 20 is the magic fail number. (Should have gone with a list of specific questions, for sure.)

3) While I was there, I accidentally reminded him that the assignment for the paper due today wasn’t open. (SORRY GRAD CLASS, I TOTALLY DIDN’T MEAN TO DO THAT.)

4) I didn’t have any red or orange Tootsie pops when I got home. The scandal.

5) I had to write an entire paper meaning that 1) I couldn’t play with the girls as much as they NEEDED RIGHT THIS SECOND and 2) I couldn’t let them play the Doge game.

6) I introduced them to the Doge game (technically yesterday’s mistake, but damn if I didn’t feel it today.)

7) My lap is too small for two five year olds.

8) I made one ice cream cone “wider” than another ice cream cone.

9) I dared to talk to another adult in the presence of the twins.

10) I handed my paper in late. (Also, it’s the worst paper I’ve written this semester. Oh well.)

11) I gave one twin two more pieces of popcorn than the other twin. They know because they meticulously counted each five different times.

12) I forgot to defrost the dinner meat. Again.

Ordinary flowers by day…EMERGENCY DEFROST WEIGHT by night.

















13) I bought the sausage that has too much gristle again.

14) I let my kids stay up until 10 p.m. watching Full House.  I did this because:

15) I posted on FB that I preferred Tangled to Frozen. Which resulted in this:

16)


 Because for fuck’s sake, DON’T mess with Frozen.


Oops.

What They Don’t Tell You About Anxiety

When “demons” are depicted in scripts or drawings, they tend to follow the same trope. You’ve got your protagonist, seemingly fine, walking along, and following her, there are these entities. Sometimes these are actually drawn beings to personalize the “demons”, sometimes they are simply words trailing the protagonist. Things that sometimes don’t reach the ears, but sometimes catch up, and take hold.



This image is incorrect (for me). Anxiety can be far trickier than this. While I understand the benefits of drawing it like this, since it indicates the anxiety is not you but instead something that hinders you,  in reality it’s not a physical entity (even an imaginary one.) It’s not even a voice. It’s not words. God, that it were words. I can beat the shit out of words. I do words. But no. For me, anyway, it’s not messages following me around only to jump onto my back from behind a tree at random points.

It is inside of me. It is feelings. It has no drawable, relatable comparison. Which is  interesting because you cannot conquer something like that. Which leads to anxiety about anxiety. Awesome.

It’s taken me a very long time to even accept that I have anxiety. Since it doesn’t seem to me like a voice or demon following me around, but instead seems like, well, me, I’ve been very strict my whole life about kicking its ass. About kicking my own ass. When I feel like this, I don’t shut down. I run harder. Because I hate weakness, and this is weak.  (Keep in mind, this is before I knew what it was.) To me, it didn’t seem like something affecting me, like something paralyzing me. It felt like me doing that to myself. And fuck that, I am stronger than that. I ignore my stupid-ass self, because, no. I just will not give in to this fucking nonsense. So that I never look like this:


…because I just tell myself to shut up. And if you can just tell yourself to shut up and continue to function normally, even though (and the bottom panel is pretty spot on) there is some shit literally vomiting on your head, then you can’t have anxiety, right? I mean, look at how much I do in a day? I do so much. There is a reason. If I’m still moving, I won’t stop. If I stop, those feelings, that me, myself, those nerves welling up in my chest like a volcano of I-don’t-even-know-what-the-fuck-it-is because I’m too afraid to stop and listen to it, well, they’ll all get bigger, and harder, and seem important. To me, the only thing to do is to continue to tell yourself these feelings are bullshit and not important.

And that works for a little while. Until you throw up. Until you get migraines so unbearable strong that even you, the girl who stops for nothing, cannot move. Until you lose who you are entirely, and are just surrounded by dark.



So, perhaps, then, not the best solution…

And sometimes, in a twist so unfair it can make you cry, your children inherit this bullshit you’ve never given any thought to, and never tried to straighten out because you’re just so strong, guys. Look. No problem here.
I have a daughter who is pretty anxious. And I’m giving her my coping mechanisms. My shitty-beyond-belief, non-working, coping mechanisms. And I’m angry. And I’m scared. I’m angry at myself for giving this to her, even though I had no control over it. I feel like it is my fault. I’m so angry, it’s hard to explain. It’s just like one more hugely important way I failed. And this time, I didn’t fail me. I failed my child. Just by having a genetic code. How’s that one for you? I’m scared because I don’t know how to handle it. I want to make it go away, but I don’t want to be cruel to my child the way I’m cruel to myself. I don’t want to teach her to be cruel to herself, either. And yet, it’s already started.
It’s already started because I do not know what else to do. These things just fall out of my mouth because it is the way of the world, the way of me, and my kid is only five, and Jesus, what am I going to do?
In this comic, I am the squirrel. She is the bird.

"We don’t have time for this. Suck it up for right now, and deal with your wall later."

That’s fine when I’m talking to myself. I either take a bulldozer to the damn wall, or push it aside “for later” then never come back to it, until it comes up my esophagus in a fit of physical rage over not being dealt with. No biggie. It is what it is.

But, I mean, just this morning, my daughter was having trouble leaving the house for our walk to school. She’d either imagined or actually seen a spider blocking her path, and couldn’t move. She tried to tell me about the spider. My response? “We don’t have time for this. There is no spider, and if there is, it’s not going to bother us. LET’S GO, ALREADY.” And I pushed her along out the door, and she cried for the first part of our walk.

So, way to go, mom. Awesome job. We got to school on time (barely), but at what cost? And how often do I tell her to ignore her anxieties or that her thoughts are not important? Do I realize them all? Probably not. I’m basically ruining my own child every minute of the day.

Do you see those “demons” in the above paragraphs? They’re not voices following me around. They are feelings without names, worries without cause. And they’re not vocal. I can’t hear them as if they are talking to me. They are me. It just is what it is what it is. This is reality, not something from which you could run, You can’t detach it, or stop it. Because if you stopped it, you would stop life. This is life.

Another wonderful part of this is that I am on high alert all the time. You know how when something really intense is happening and your fight-or-flight kicks in? That’s me from the second I wake up to the second I fall asleep. This made me a great fit for the newsroom. Do you have any idea how nervous news producers are? I looked like a beacon of calm. Or at the very least, I looked normal. And since there was ostensibly a reason for this stress (you’re live in five minutes, your show is 2.5 minutes over, half your video isn’t cut and your sat shot isn’t up yet). In the newsroom, you don’t have to explain why you’re so intense. And even in real life, people seem to understand that deadline work requires a certain ethic and they respect your quirks due to that. In essence, the way you are is validated. Not so much as a stay at home mom. Without the reasonto be nervous, you lose your base. It becomes something you need to think about because it doesn’t fit your lifestyle.

And being constantly on high alert frays your nerves and patience. My reactions are too strong for real life. So that when I interact with my children, I come on too strong. And the anxious one? She is so sensitive and perceptive, she can pick up on cues I don’t even know I’m giving off. It’s a horrid cycle.

I combat this by controlling everything I do, packing everything in, being as efficient as possible. I keep thinking maybe if I could succeed at something, anything, maybe then I could calm down, get off my own back. But, unfortunately, I’m learning that’s not how this works.

Very dishearteningly, I came across this:


If that’s true, I’m in a lot of trouble. Controlling the world had been one of my main coping mechanisms.

One final thing, thinking about this, trying to fix it, makes it worse (hopefully in the short term?!). I’m only allowing this analysis because of my child. I want better for her.

Maria Kang Redux

Guys, I’m so sick of us. Aren’t you sick of us? Here we write, day in and day out. Someone writes one thing, another person disagrees with it and writes his or her response, then another, then another ad nauseum.

And if any of us are ever good enough, sometimes we’ll get recognized for our polemics, but does it ever do anything. Does it ever help anyone other than our own egos? And I am a huge offender, don’t get me wrong. I will respond the shit out of each and every opinionated blog post and movement I come across. Because it’s what I do. I see something, it makes me angry, and I have a platform on which I can yell about it. So I do and I will continue to do so. And I also get that awareness is important. I’m a huge proponent of using language precisely and correctly and fighting the little fights as hard as we fight the big ones, for human rights in all forms. In fact, right now, I have a list of about twenty things that happened recently that I have to write up, because God forbid the internet not have my opinion on it.

But gosh, isn’t it so tiring, though?

Let’s run through the process:
Write a thing.
Write lots more things.
People share some of those things.
Some of the things that were shared get picked up on aggregates.
People write responses to those things picked up.
People write responses to those responses.

Every single point of view is thoroughly explored with lots of feels and capital letters, and very little research. Journalism is dead. It’s all feelingism now, and while I love that because it means I don’t even have to do much work, I can just vomit emotion all over the page, I also hate it because it’s boring, it brings nothing new to the table, it convinces no one, and honestly, it’s not even any good.

Take Maria KangMy favorite.

It was back in the early fall of 2013 that she went viral. And I wrote at the time a pretty popular response to her patent nonsense. There were response pictures, blogs, people defending themselves, people defending Maria, you name it. She got on the news, and on the talk shows, and kicked off facebook and the whole bit. Because even legitimate news organizations no longer understand what news is. It’s all about clicks. And she gets clicks, so rock on.

Only now it’s March of 2014. And being intelligent, she’s done what any person would have done with the attention, and she’s marketed. Well, no kidding. How is this news? If I were her, I would be doing the exact same thing. So, okay, she’s pretty much a jerk who refuses to see the harmful implications of “What’s your Excuse?” Do we really need to hash through all that again? We REALLY need to go over the link between psychological wellbeing and health again? We need to yell at her some more, or defend her some more?

Worst of all, we need people like this lady using the whole thing to piggyback to online mom bullying line, again?

I mean, honestly, since MK’s decided to insert herself into the news, I’ve seen the countless new articles. I’ve read about her new stuff. It’s not new. I’d write a response, but all I have to do is link to my old one. There is nothing new here.

And the only person who stands to make a buck or a name off Maria Kang is Maria Kang. So can everyone just stop trying? I am so bored with it.

You know what I’m not bored with? Action. We need to take all this pent-up angst we use to poop on each other with, and do something with it.

In this particular case, I’ve turned We Don’t Need an Excuse into my thesis. I’m doing research right now to help concretely tie the psychological effects of this campaign to health negatives. Because as I’ve said before, it isn’t about Maria. It is about the messages we send to people. And about the types of people who subscribe to those messages and what it does to them.

I’m not saying we all need to be out on the ground doing volunteer work or whatever. Blogging is great, it’s fine, it’s good. Let’s go at it. You all know I do. I’m just saying, can we get some new material, though? We already had this fight, and I haven’t heard one new thing about it. Let’s figure out where we go from here, not stomp all over where we’ve already been.

the copyverse

the copyverse

MaryAnne

MaryAnne