Shithole Countries

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Shithole Countries

“Shit is the tofu of cursing and can be molded to whichever condition the speaker desires. Hot as shit. Windy as shit. I myself was confounded as shit…” David Sedaris

In case you missed it, President Trump used the word shithole in an immigration discussion behind closed doors. Someone walked out of the meeting and quoted it to a reporter.

I spent that evening watching many different newscasters and assorted panelists on different channels, repeat the word. It is blasted across the screen. Two newscasters mentioned that their children were watching but this is what the President said so they had to repeat it…and repeat it and repeat it. The words hit the air hard and fast. They go right to the emotional center of the brain and get a reaction. Profanity arouses strong feelings. Repeating these word are destructive because “they really are built to offend, to cause harm, to divide and to denigrate,”

I was a late curser. No one cursed in my house growing up. Son of gun and dirty rotten lice were as bad as it got. There were some questionable words floating around in Yiddish but I never heard the English equivalent.

I started dating a curser when I was in college. i still remember  the first time that I cursed. It was an early spring afternoon and we were walking through campus. I was wearing blue elephant bell bottoms and a short rust colored sweater. It was the perfect combination of trendy and stylish. He stopped to say hello to some friends and I fell off my very high platform shoes. The adrenalin rush of cursing definitely masked the pain and embarrassment. He thought it was cute and out of character for me. Obscenity was my final childhood rebellion. I married into a family of cursers. The words quickly shifted from taboo to normal. They can be used as any part of speech and work well as adjectives.

Kids love them because they know they are taking a risk and will use any opportunity to say them in front of you. When my daughter was three and my son was six, we were in the car stuck in traffic. My three-year old daughter said “Why aren’t we moving?” I said. “Traffic.” She said “Just say asshole and go around.” Hmm. I wonder where she learned that asshole meant stopped car. They are like sponges. My son knowing that was not ok, managed to use the word asshole twenty times in five minutes while admonishing her not to use the word asshole.

It was very emotionally potent for me to see a profanity across the screen. I never knew how that one was spelled. Was it one word or two? I know now. I visualized my deceased parents reaction to this. They believed that using profanity was a sign of a lack of education and knowledge. Every night before we went to bed we had to say what new word we  had learned and what it meant. I often had to look one up in the dictionary five minutes before. I think the plan was to have a rich vocabulary or at least good SAT scores.

I pictured all the kids watching at home. “Mom, the president just said shithole. I mean the newscaster said shithole because the president said shithole. It says shithole on the screen. Why does it say shithole? Why is the president saying shithole? Look I changed the channel. It still says shithole. If the president says shithole, can I say shithole? What about if Anderson Cooper says shithole?” My son would have said it as much as possible.

Are parents responding with something like what my parents said when I tried out a curse word on them? “Your language is a reflection of you. Maybe the president’s friends make him think that cursing is cool. Maybe the newscasters think that repeating it over and over is the right thing to do. The reality is that cursing a lot is not classy or intelligent Was that the best word you could come up with?.” Hopefully they remind their kids of this when they are sending their language out on social network and online communities.

He is not the first president to use profanity. He spoke this way about immigration during the campaign. He has made racist remarks throughout his presidency and has said that there were some good Nazis. He wants to cause chaos. This is not breaking news.  It is a dirty, f–king job.

Fly safe,

JAZ

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It Is Like Your Mom’s Facebook Page

It is Like Your Mom’s Facebook Page

“Can we go back to using Facebook for what it was originally for – looking up exes to see how fat they got?” Bill Maher

I heard two twenty-somethings having this conversation I didn’t hear the question but the answer was, “You know, it’s like your mom’s Facebook page.“

Hmmm. They couldn’t be talking about me. I’m totally cool and of course, you are too if you are reading this. I’m a parent and I love parents. But Facebook does broadcast our lives across the internet. Here are some things that might be bothering your kids.

1.The good news is that your parents have actually learned how to work a computer. As soon as we get on Facebook, our first friend request is always our kids. Your kids grudgingly accept because they have no choice. How do you not accept your mom’s friend request? Mine had rules. “Do not like or comment on my page.” Without those rules, I would have commented on every one of their Facebook statuses and retagged their photos on friends and relatives pages.  I would have left embarrassing personal messages for everyone to see. That is what they believe. Then we add their friends who also don’t really want to say yes but do.

2. There are parents who post way too many pictures of their kids. I get it. B being a parent is life-changing. I have flooded social media with many photos of L and K at different stages of their lives. Moving brought out a ton of the old photos. I have no ground to stand on. When I’m not posting my kids, I’m posting my dog because you know the internet needs more cute dog photos.

3.There is always an alarmist in every group of parents. Giving overprotective parents who don’t use Snopes a social media platform is a disaster of misinformation. “If you don’t post this legal copywrite, Facebook can steal your photos”. I mean don’t you think they can do that anyway?

4.Bragging on social media is part of the deal. “Look at my son’s cute Harvard sweatshirt.” “Really, fifth grade already?” “I love our family matching outfits.” “My son in law has another song out.”Everyone has a perfect life on social media.

5. And then there is commenting which could be worse than bragging. “Oh, your son or grandson is walking at one year. Mine walked at eight months. All kids are different.” “Where are you getting married? My daughter got married in Africa but everyone is different.” “Your daughter is a comedian, that is so cool. My son is working at Google and has great insurance’ ”Oh, you traveled to New Zealand alone? Here is a photo of me with my family in New Zealand.”

6. Facebook is a safe place for parents to vent their frustration about their kids. “Anyone else sitting in the emergency room at 11pm because their son decided to climb out the window?” “Here is a photo of my son driving cross-country on his motorbike.” “Here is my daughter crying on her first day of camp.” “Anyone else’s kid’s college dorm room look like this?”  We don’t want advice from other parents. We just want to vent about our kids who are also on social media. 

7. Hipster parents and ”cool” parents (There is no such thing’) Hipster parents are always showing photos without kids. Here we are in Cabo or Vegas, having dinner at Nobu, at yoga, training for the marathon etc. If they do pose with their kids, everyone is hipster dressed. Older parents are always doing something cool. Here I am at a rock concert, climbing a glacier, at Hamilton (everyone posts that photo-including me finall),, at the Vanity Fair party, in Hawaii, Paris or on Safari.

9. Perfect Facebook Families. They have beautiful houses, smiling faces and luxury cars. They travel all over the world together. Their children are flawless and brilliant at school or in their careers.  They either look like supermodels or haven’t aged or gained a pound since they had kids or became grandparents. They have beautiful family dinners and holidays.  No one has ever seen them fight or worry about anything.

The reality is once we started joining in large numbers, Facebook stopped being cool. I guess like your mom’s Facebook page is not a compliment. I believe that this has been the downfall of Facebook and why the teens and twenty-somethings have moved to Instagram, Twitter and Snap Chat. These are things that many of us have not mastered yet though I love Instagram. When you are in high school, parents are the least cool people imaginable.  We stay on Facebook because it is a comfort zone and most of our friends aren’t on Twitter or Snap Chat.  Parental embarrassment on Facebook is becoming less of an issue because everything is always changing on the internet. 

Fly safe,

JAZ

Can You Blame Your Parents If You Turn Out To Be A Terrorist?

Can You Blame Your Parents If You Turn Out to Be A Terrorist?

“Honestly, if you’re given the choice between Armageddon or tea, you don’t say ‘what kind of tea?” Neil Gaiman

Parenting is the one job that anyone can do. There is no age requirement, training or qualifications necessary. As human beings, we bring our pasts, fears and our baggage into our children’s lives. We give up our dreams, desires and independence and put our children’s needs before our own. We try our best to shelter them from harm and point them in the direction of morality and compassion.

We can only steer them toward the good and hope they don’t get caught up in the bad. We wish that they will find their path. I think we do the best we can with the resources we have. Whether it is nature, nurture, hard work, inherited, genetic or environmental,  most of us just get on with the job of being parents.

There are many people walking around with diagnosed and undiagnosed mental illness. When a teenager or young adult commits a horrifying act many times on themselves as well, it does not always turn out to be a kid from divorce, single parents, violence or abuse.  All parents have moments where they lose their tempers, say things they regret, and create unloving situations that they want forgiven. There are some evil parent stories out there but most are not like this. Are kids just born hardwired? Or were they good and something just set them off?

Every one of us has the capacity to make good and bad choices. Do you love and protect your child no matter what or do you take a harder line when you see them acting out?Times change people. I believe we are all hardwired.  Dysfunctional, abusive and broken families always make a kid with problems worse. Our choices are ultimately who we become. When I see a teenager/young adult open fire on a school or mall, a suicide bomber or a terrorist, I always think, “that’s somebody’s kid.”

Fly safe,

JAZ