Shit that Pissed me off – 9/19

Almost Everything About the Adrian Peterson Story

First, I’m upset that this entire story is turning into a question of what parents are “allowed” to do to discipline their child.

Look, it doesn’t matter.  Peterson hit a four year old with a switch until the kid needed to go to the hospital.  That is beyond discipline.

Also, the kid is four.  Cognitively he doesn’t have the ability to fully connect the beating with the behavior that caused it. He may understand that he is being punished for something but he doesn’t know what caused the punishment.  So he wasn’t “disciplined,” he was just “punished.”  And in his mind the punishment was basically for the simple act of existing.

Then you have people like this guy writing articles about how spanking their kid is A-OK and, in fact, common sense (it isn’t).  This is not a case of simple spanking.  I don’t agree with him in any case (and my friend Levi Weinhagen makes good arguments as to why) but it isn’t the same thing so why even write the article?

Peterson’s mom says that the discipline used on Peterson must have been OK because look how he turned out.

Look!  He's smiling!  If being beaten by a switch as a child had any harmful effect, he wouldn't be able to smile!  Ever!

Look! He’s smiling! If being beaten by a switch as a child had any harmful effect, he wouldn’t be able to smile! Ever!

Yeah, he turned out to be a great running back.  Who has fathered several children by several different mothers and allegedly beat the crap out of (at least) one of those kids.  If you think your discipline choices didn’t have a negative impact on your son, lady, you might need a better idea of what “negative impact” means.

And of course you have the NFL and the Vikings, who only suspended Peterson when he became more of a PR liability than he had previously been a benefit.

They shouldn’t be waiting to see how the public will react.  They should be anticipating that reaction.  In the wake of the Ray Rice video, it shouldn’t have been too difficult to figure out what was going to happen.

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Shit that Pissed me off – 9/12

Ray Rice and the NFL

Even if you don’t follow sports, you probably know about the video that shows Ray Rice hitting his then fiancée and knocking her unconscious.  Lots of people have offered their opinion, including Keith Olbermann, John Stewart, and Peter King.

What is messed up is the idea that the NFL, which is one of the most powerful corporate entities in the world, somehow didn’t get a copy of the video first.  I don’t even understand how that is possible.  Admitting such a thing means they are either lying or they didn’t really give a shit about what was on the video.

If they gave a shit about what happened to Janay Rice, they wouldn’t have interviewed her about the incident while she was sitting next to the man who had hit her.

If they understood anything about the mental state of an abuse victim, they would have recognized the behavior of someone who has probably been struck more than once.  They would have interviewed her on her own, hopefully with a counselor present.  Not only didn’t they understand, they didn’t care.

Just forget about it and watch football, folks!  Nothing to see here!

Just forget about it and watch football, folks! Nothing to see here!

That’s the crux of all of this.  They don’t give a shit about the abuse.  They give a shit about their image.  So long as we didn’t have video showing the actual punch that knocked Janay Rice out, the NFL thought they could get away with a two game penalty because the public would be too focused on the game to think about domestic violence

The failure here was caused by a bunch of people who cared more about their business than anything else.  Keep that in mind as this situation continues to unfold.  Any decision they make will not be governed by what is best for Janay Rice.  Or even Ray Rice.

It will be governed by what is best for the NFL.

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Shit that Pissed me off – 9/5

The Whole Jennifer Lawrence Nude Photo Thing

The problem is that there is a dialogue focused on whether or not Lawrence (and other celebrities) are to blame for the theft of their personal pictures.

Well let’s stop and think about this for a mom…NO!

I am writing this blog post on a laptop computer that is valuable.  Now you, the reader, know I have a laptop computer you could sell for money.  If you came over to my house, broke in and stole my computer would it be my fault because I made you aware that I owned it?

It looks a little bit like this

It looks a little bit like this

NO! That’s what we call theft!  There are all sorts of laws about that shit.

It is not my fault for owning a computer any more that it is Lawrence’s fault that she owned nude photographs of herself (if indeed those are photographs of her – which she denies).

Theft is a crime.  Owning things people want to steal is not.

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Shit that Pissed Me Off – 8/29

Swimwear Company Massively Photoshops a Model’s Body and Gets Caught

I think we all get that standards of attractiveness/beauty are messed up in the fashion world.  Here, you can see how much work went into taking someone who looked fine and creating a lie about her body.

What is most upsetting is the company’s apology.  In essence they used the “everybody does it” argument.  They took down the photoshopped picture but they didn’t put up the original picture to replace it.

OMG!!  Look at her fail to swell swimwear because she's not thin enough!!!!

OMG!! Look at her fail to sell swimwear because she’s not thin enough!!!!

Then they admitted that they made the changes to sell a product.

Well that’s honest, I guess.  What they fail to recognize is the product they are selling when they do something like that.

They are no longer selling swimwear.  They are selling body image.  They are telling young women who look like Meghan Kausman that they aren’t thin enough to wear this product.  Their apology indicates that they are completely OK with that.

I know (and I hope most of us do) that advertising is inherently dishonest.  Fruit Loops have never been a healthy addition to a balanced breakfast.  Pick up trucks don’t have great gas mileage.  Ever.

Things are getting out of hand, though, when a size 8 is too fat to sell a swimsuit.

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Putting it Together – Where’s that Line?

Top GunI’ve been writing a bunch of things lately and fell far behind on my blog projects.  If you were reading and missed my posts, I’m sorry.  If you weren’t reading, I don’t know why I brought it up.

Today, I’m re-starting my Putting it Together blog.  I’ve been using this blog series to share thoughts that arise from creative projects, like the Fringe Festival.

For the Minnesota Fringe this year, I wrote a show called “Top Gun: The Musical.”  The show was very successful and my writing got an amazing assist from a talented cast, great choreography, and really good music co-written with Chad Dutton.  Most of the feedback was positive and I felt like the audience really enjoyed what we put on stage.

When I was writing the show, I spent a lot of time watching the film and as I watched, I was taken with all of the homoerotic subtext.  I mean, there are dozens of Youtube videos on the topic but I hadn’t watched any of them.  Yet.  To me, the romance between Maverick and Charlie was not at all interesting and there seemed to be more chemistry between Maverick and Iceman.

When I wrote the script, I wrote it with those thoughts in mind.  I told the actors that as far as I was concerned, every pilot in the show was a closeted gay man.

The serious subtext was the idea that in the 80’s, you couldn’t be an openly gay man in the military.  It was hard to be an openly gay man at all.  It is remarkable how far we’ve come in such a short time.

Now the show wasn’t at all serious and the idea that these characters were in the closet was played for laughs.  That made me nervous.

Because while I wanted to make fun of the fact these characters were in the 80’s closet, I didn’t want it to come off as making fun of the fact that they were gay.  I wanted it to be very clear that it was OK they were gay.

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The Stars are Finite

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Photo by Peter Verrant

Last night, word reached me that a friend died suddenly over the weekend.  I’ve known Robert Schug ever since he and his partner Steven joined the Renaissance Festival cast.  Like many of my friends, I’ve seen them far less frequently than I would have liked in the last few years.

Robert was exuberant, proud, and generous.  When a fire devastated part of the festival several years ago, he was instrumental in creating the Phoenix project, which helped crafters rebuild their booths.

Many people have referred to Robert as being a member of the fops and that isn’t correct.  He and Steven were their royal highnesses Prince Puph and Phluph from the realm of materialism.  As he himself put it, Robert was the fluffy one.  They received the Cracked Cup for rookie of the year and as a member of the group that voted for awards that year, I’ve never had an easier decision to make.

Note: My point is not to suggest that Steven and Robert were better or worse than the Fops.  Rather, I think it is important to remember that they were different.

Robert had his faults, as we all do.  I can’t for the life of me recall what they were and it isn’t as if they matter.

He was filled with joy and life and he is gone.

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Shit that Pissed Me Off – 8/22

Canadian School Board Candidate Wants Creationism Taught in Schools

Her picture looks adorable.  I’m sure she’s twenty.  Maybe.

She is firmly of the opinion that they should teach the controversy (that doesn’t exist).  She also says that schools should focus on the “basics” of education.

Like evolution, right?

No no no no no no no no!

Well, she thinks it should be taught in science classrooms alongside creationism.  She also thinks sex education should be abstinence only because that is also “basic.”

As basic as Abstinence-Bible-Contraceptives are tools of the Devil!

As basic as Abstinence-Bible-Contraceptives are tools of the Devil!

Is this barely not-teenager going to be elected? I doubt it.

And yet I’m tired of living in a world where people continue to believe that creationism should be given the same amount of time in the classroom.  And I’m tired of living in a world where we continue to argue about abstinence-only sex education when the evidence clearly shows it is inadequate.

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