Friday, October 28, 2011

Making Fun Of Someone's Suicide, How Low Can A Company Go!

Hello Sylvia...She was one of America's most talented poets. She became and an exile to England and married a Ted Hughes, one of the most pathetically talentless poets to roam the earth.

His philandering combined with her struggle with her mental health led her to kill herself by taping a room shut and filling it with gas.

Near his death, Ted Hughes published one of the most pathetic and horrible books of poetry ever and it this book he exploits Plath again. He was not just a philandering man, but one who abandoned his own children to pursue other women. Now this company dares to sell this on a t-shirt.

As one who has read all of her work and even tried to read her journals, though they were so indicative of her mental illness I could not finish them, I find this just despicable and indicative of how far the culture has not come in understanding neurobiological disorders.

Had Ms. Plath had the medications we have today and a support system to help her realize Ted Hughes was nothing more than philandering bastard with one-tenth her talent, we would not have lost her nor her work. She was only thirty at the time of her death. She left behind two children.
sylvia plath
Sylvia Plath on a brighter day in her life with her children.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Debris Headed To The Washington Coast From Japan

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ringed with the auzure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

Into a Nike shoe his foot rots;
A shoe made in a factory by little tots,
Underpaid non-union slaves
Pieces of feet upon the waves.

-Tennyson in the modern age

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The New York Times To Cut 100 Positions

I went to The News Tribune lobby in Tacoma this week. It's a nice place. Despite the earthquake unfriendly sculpture in the lobby and instructions to run to that part of the building during a disaster, I suggested that plan be revised. Hide under your desks, reporting team. I don't think it's a conspiracy your publisher wants that sculpture to hit you, I suspect they don't even know it is there.

An editor and I talked about how the news business has changed. When I got my first job in Colorado on a daily, smoking was still allowed in the newsoom. People think reporters make a lot of money. That is just not true. People also think newspapers do a bad job of reporting stories. However, with staffs slashed to next to nothing, it's a dying business.

I am not the true reporter in the family. That title belongs to my brother who has received so many awards for his writing I don't even think he knows where they are. He's not a trophy display case kind of person. My experience was rather limited after the daily I worked for was bought out by a rival daily. After that, I refused to move all over the country working for newspapers in a threatening line of probable actual tornadoes. In other words, the middle of the country sounded about as appealing to me as eating sandpaper.

I did actually spend one semester in the middle of the country. I enrolled at The University of Nebraska Lincon school of journalism. The instructor was a cynical man who also chain smoked. It was still legal to smoke in classrooms at that time. He said in his scratchy probable early stage of lung cancer, "You are all picking a very hard profession. Most of you will end up being alcoholics." After informing us of this, he just sucked down some more cigarette smoke.

I've never received an "F" on any single assignment in my life except in his class. I think all of us got at least one "F" from him. My final grade was a "B" but that "F" stung. I had been a "A" or "B" student all of my life. I was mostly a "B" student, and that was okay with me. I had a life outside of studying actually. It may not have been the most exciting life since it did not involve alcohol, but it was a life nonetheless.

I left the middle of the country after a math instructor at the same college challenged me one day. I had entered the classroom on a day snow was falling down quite hard. I announced, "I love it when it snows!" This instructor looked at me and said, "You love the snow? You do? Then you go home and tell your child you love him? Then the child does not know you love him more than the snow!" I laughed. He was not joking. I decided right then and there to flee the middle of the country. However, the truth is, there is no fleeing flat out weird.

It's odd to me print journalism is dying out. People complain about the shrinking size of the newspapers that land on their porches. I suspect younger generations will never know what it is like to have newsprint on your fingers in the morning. People will not curse when they spill coffee on their newspaper. A hundred people in New York City are now out seeking jobs. Are there any jobs for writers anymore? I don't think there are many. In fact, if I live long enough, I suspect young people will be speaking in text or 140 characters because of twitter. Or they won't be speaking at all because they will just be texting one another while dining, dancing, showering or doing anything actually. -Alison Whiteman

Friday, October 21, 2011

One Lawyer For Approximately Every 250 Residents Of The USA

How Many Lawyers 2 Tile Coaster
A lawyer was surprised this year when I informed him the Americans With Disabilities Act and the subsequent battles since the 1990s
is a civil rights movment. Another lawyer asked me what PTSD is. She is a family lawyer. Oh great. A family lawyer with no background in psychology. We need nurses, doctors, teachers, social workers, engineers, high tech workers, construction workers, and people who can actually do stuff. I don't think I am alone in feeling that lawyers have become quite useless. And considering how many of them are unemployed, perhaps they ought to consider a real job.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How Our Culture Destroys The Confidence Of Girls

Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein

Admittedly I have not read this book. I have read books like them. I had a roommate in college who majored in feminist studies. Her thesis to graduate with her bachelor's degree includes an in-depth look at Seventeen Magazine. I subscribed to that magazine as a teenager. I don't think was good for me or any young teenage girl.

Teenagers without strong female models in their lives don't seem to comprehend that pictures in magazines are air brushed and fake. The pressure for girls to look perfect starts so young it really is pathological and rampant in our culture. The most beautiful young teens and women I talk to often put themselves down for not being pretty.

I can't watch television shows where little girls are paraded around like objects. The mothers who do this to their little girls really ought to be forced into therapy for projecting their own unexamined issues about appearance onto their daughters. The indie film "Little Miss Sunshine" fully and appropriately addresses this issue. By the end of the film, the eccentric family comes to the realization of what really matters to girls.

We need to encourage girls to read, develop their minds, and not base their self-esteem or sense of power on appearance. Our culture pathologically demands women fix their noses, get facials weekly it seems, have their nails done perfectly, apply makeup or never leave the house, adhere to constantly changing hairstyles, and wear the right clothes. It's all about consumption. If women buy into this culture of lies eventually they have an extreme amount of credit card debt, attract a man who only cares about appearance and dumps her for a younger model if he can.

If women don't collectively stop buying into the culture of appearance pressure, plastic surgeons win. Men who treat us like objects win. We will continue to earn seventy cents for every dollar a man earns. Any woman who informs me she has had some procedure done to her face cannot fool me into thinking she is a strong woman. She is not. She has not embraced herself as she is nor has she examined the culture of lies. I object to little girls and these horrible pictures of them in makeup and clothing and the moms that take them to beauty pageants. I always will. The fact that the mainstream television shows promote this makes me want to toss my television out of the window. However, I do like to watch the BBC news and other news stations so I guess I will keep that noise box and continue to flip pass the pathologically ill stations promoting pure lies. -Alison Whiteman

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Fire, A Melted Kitchen Aide, And A Cold December Night

What can one think about when you are driving happily to a destination and when you get there the house is gone? I mean, the house was gone. It was burned to the ground gone. The only thing remaining were firefighters and the bricks where the fireplace remained like a semi towering remnant of happier times.

It was late December and my friend had failed to inform me her stepfather had been threatening to burn her house down. I am not sure if anyone reading this has ever arrived at the scene of a total disaster of this magnitude, but the brain does strange things.

At first, I thought it was odd a fire could get so hot it would melt a Kitchen Aide. I mean, those things are heavy! They are made for the serious cook, not the lighthearted pansy cook! I was searching for the thing. It was gone, baby, gone.

After the shock set in, the two of us began singing fire related songs. You know, "Burning down the house" by The Talking Heads. We remembered the song about "someone burned my underwear" that kids sing. I remembered a church camp song about how it only takes a spark to get a fire going and how that relates to the love of God. The firefighters suggested after several hours of us behaving like this that neither one of us drive anywhere. But we did. We arrived at Albertson's at about 4a.m. My friend bought essentials: a toothbrush, floss, paste, powder, deodorant, etc. The clerk then said, "Is there anything else you need?" I am not making that up. That is exactly what he said. We completely lost it laughing. "YES! WE NEED AN ENTIRE HOUSE!"

Needless to say, the entire event was not very funny at all. Losing everything you own is not a small loss. My friend coped by becoming quite anti-materialistic. She didn't like Nordstrom's anymore. Despite this, she thumbed through magazines with pictures of living rooms and bedrooms in them. She became a minimalist. Her stepfather was never charged or convicted of arson. He claimed the bag of fertilizer sitting too close to the furnace was an accident. He had cleverly planned it to be a fire only versus the murder of anyone by making certain no one would be home that evening.

I did what any friend would do. I gave her some clean underwear. Nothing was the same after that. Nothing. -Alison Whiteman

Monday, October 3, 2011

Time With Friends And Family Versus Television

When I lived alone, I gave away my television. It was not a very big television and none of the places I lived in prior to moving into the house I currently live in were very large.

I liked not having a television. It's a noise box with weird shows on it. I think the shows are getting increasingly weird. It could be my age, no, the shows really are weird. I think they reflect total social breakdown and the demise of the family.

As a culture we celebrate shallow appearances (Keeping Up With the K's), pregnant teenagers (Teen Mom and Sixteen And Pregnant), the prison industry (Locked Up in various states), COPS (almost constantly on our television), violence (so many violent shows I cannot name them all), compulsive shopping (QVC runs all day long and all night long), An addiction to drama (The Lifetime Channel for Women implies all men are stalkers and sociopaths new to town  and female teachers are diabolical), and we insist that appearances mean everything as dictated by adherence to current fashion trends (What Not To Wear).

I say toss the television or watch far less television and return to a time of outdoor games with kids, board games, walking in the woods, walking in general, anything but hours spent in front of the box. In addition to all the shows I have named, television has been proven to make structural changes in the brain and cause addiction much like alcohol or drugs. In Sweden, the television is not even on for as many hours a day as children in this country watch it. -Alison Whiteman

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Thank You Andy Rooney

File:AndyRooney (cropped).jpgAndy, your topics were things I never would have thought about. You made anything interesting.

Per your request, if I am ever in New York City and see you having dinner or just walking around, I will neither ask for your autograph nor speak to you. Nor should anyone else either. In, fact, I probably should not even make this post on my blog. -AW