Tuesday, 21 December 2010

the monsters we have created

       For the past 24 or so hours there has been an uprising among my friends and others through Facebook, blogs and other virtual battlefields.  It all comes from a most disturbing display of "humour" through a set homemade greeting cards that are listed for sale on Etsy.  Now, I like Etsy.  Some of my friends have their beautifully crafted handwork on there.  There is nothing better than spending an evening browsing the stores of jewelry, home decor, clothing and other fun stuff.  Etsy offers a wonderful service for these creative souls to display and sell their works of art.
       Yesterday I saw the UGLY of Etsy.  There is an individual that has decided that his contribution to this great sales space is greeting cards that he believes are funny for awkward situations.  Situations like finding out you have breast cancer, having a child with Down's Syndrome, or getting raped.  Yea, really funny.  He also has decided that Jesus Christ is another worthwhile target to mock.  
       My first reaction to this was the usual one for me... freak out.  I wanted this guy stopped and brought to justice...boycott, email campaign, media outrage...whatever it would take.  I have read hundreds of comments, letters and opinions - on both sides of the debate.   From this I have come to one conclusion...

we have created a monster

       If you watch tv or movies - especially comedies - you can rarely find one that doesn't offend a culture, disability, faith, or sex.  It seems to be believed by the masses that if the outcome is a smile, giggle or laugh - then it's okay to be offensive or mean.  That makes me so very very sad. 
      But we let it happen.  Someone commented on the Etsy Facebook site that things like the sentiments on the card are regular occurrences on shows like Family Guy and Southpark.  Even Glee has recently contained some things that I have had to stop and say "wait a minute - that's not right".  We are becoming more and more de-sensitized to the mean-ness going on all around us.  Then today - when something is so blatantly offensive - the reaction is huge.  But why don't we react to the more subtle instances of nastiness.  
        I don't stand against comments from ignorant people.  I'm not comfortable with confrontation of mean-ness in others. I'm definitely not comfortable with confrontation of mean-ness in myself.  I would rather ignore it because it doesn't hurt me.  Now I have found out differently.  It has hurt me.  It has hurt our whole society.  We are a nasty human race.  Sure at Christmas we are all about the good cheer and happy holidays - but come Boxing Day - we go back to every man for himself.   (...actually I found that yesterday in the Bower Mall parking lot there was very little good cheer)
I'm not sure how to change that.  Have we gone so far that we can't bring back politeness and respect for people?  Is there any way that common decency and courtesy can come back into fashion to replace the ugliness that has taken over our world?

Something to think about... 

Friday, 10 December 2010

A New Challenge for an Old Broad

As you may have noticed, my blog has taken on the theme of aging - which I suppose demonstrates where my head is at these days.  I have never been affected by my advancing years, but for some reason, this milestone has crept into my thoughts more and more.  It isn't that I'm fighting the inevitable.  It's just that I am amazed at how fast 50 years sped by and I'm kind of reflecting on what I've done that has made a difference in this world.  I know that I keep a busy and full life, but I have not been very good at celebrating those things.

I have a friend that turned 40 this past April.  She is one of my heroes.  She is beautiful and smart and brave and just plain fabulous (and she has GREAT shoes).  At the start of 2010 - the year she turned 40 - she decided to start documenting her "Year of Celebrating".  Every day her Facebook status was a statement of celebration.  No complaints or b!tc#ing about traffic, work or bad hair days.  Instead she finds things in the ordinary that truly bring joy.  Now, you might think that wouldn't be too hard.  For most of us, no it wouldn't - but for some reason, God decided to send her the trials of Job this past year.  She found a dream job, lost that dream job, watched her sweet mom suffer with cancer until her last breath, - and to top it all off - moved to Saudi Arabia to teach Saudi princesses.  (okay, that last one wasn't a trial - but definitely a challenge!)  I was inspired by her lack of defeat throughout all of these and many other difficult moments, hours and days.  I'm pretty sure that many of those days held little to celebrate, and yet, she did it.

I want to face my 50th year that way.  I want to be that kind of an Old Broad.  I love parties so what better way to hit this milestone than to celebrate something every day for a whole year.  So, with the permission of my dear friend - I am going to plagiarize her incredible idea.  I want to only post celebratory moments, every day - even in the crappiest situations.  I want to find the moments to commemorate as times of joy.  I've asked Dan for a new camera for Christmas, so I would like to pictorially document some of those times.  Then, on the 18th of every month of 2011 - I will have a party of some kind.  As I look through the calender and see some of the pre-existing appointments on there, I can see that some of those celebrations will be pretty cool - like one in Bogota, Colombia in February, or one at post-production of Guys & Dolls in April.  I can hardly wait.  Then there are the things that only God knows that aren't on my calender that I can't plan on.  Things like pain, and loss and change and disappointments.   Those I'm not so psyched about - but I want to be able to find glimpses of joy in those things too.

Let the celebrations begin!

(Thanks Sandra, for inspiring me to live my life celebrating.  Here's to your last month of the "year of fabulousness"...  Love you!)