Friday, November 26, 2004

Glorious American Exploitation

I have a sister who is nine. She's adorable, she's hilarious, she's very smart. She rocks.

I also have a Dad (not just as a biological necessity). My Dad is a chaplain in the army. A few months ago he got back from a year in Iraq. He built hospitals and schools and helped free muslims who had been wrongfully imprisoned by our own government. He also was there to be a spiritual guide to many men and women, much younger than he, who were confused and frightened by the war.

My sister's taste in media is that of a nine year old. Obviously. She loves the show "American Dreams". I'm really not a fan of it. The one episode I had watched with her before this weekend was trite and saccharin. Not awful, just really mediocre. There are worse things she could be watching.

My Dad typically likes the show because of the "American Bandstand" clips from when he was a kid. Like when my husband and I watch "I Love The 80's".

This weekend, I was at my parent's house. My sister wanted to watch "American Dreams". Before the show began the network mentioned that Ford was presenting the episode free of commercials. That made me instantly skeptical, figuring there would be some kind of gross product placement. There was a scene where, after JJ returns from Vietnam, his father gives him a car, and it is, of course, a Ford. You barely saw the logo. No big deal. It was bearable.

Afterwards, however, we saw something that made us want to vomit. Ford ran a five minute commercial after the show ended, depicting a young man returning from Iraq, home to his family, and the "emotional" father son bonding moment is...his Dad giving him a brand new, 2005 mustang. The camera ran over the car, the paint, the chrome. The son is glowing with joy. There's a second where his father asks him how he's adjusting. The son makes a vague reference to difficulty, the father makes an equally vague (Vietnam supposedly) reference. Then of course, the focus returns to the car.

I thought my father was going to cry with rage. He was so offended he got up and paced around the room a couple of times. He felt hurt and exploited and I wanted to throttle the people at Ford, and at NBC for doing this.

I know capitalism rules in this country, but you would hope that they would at least try subtlety.

It’s times like these that I feel like pleading with my husband about moving to Sweden.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

I Suck At Titles.

Sunday I spoke with my mother about the recent election. I asked her her opinion on the outcome. She told me that she feels that things are going to get better. She is not a supporter of Bush, yet she feels that this term will be different. Now he will not have to be reelected. Now he can grow more moderate, growing away from those who lean far to the right, and, though not necessarily healing our country, not making things worse. She is not idealistic, my mother is a pragmatist. But she does have hope.

Yesterday I spoke to a friend who is roughly my age. His opinion was vastly different. He sees things getting much worse over the next four years. There is moving to have Roe. v. Wade overturned, and a constitutional ban on gay marriage will be proposed, if not passed. The next four years will be horrible for this country. He sees himself not as a pessimist, he’s rational and realistic. There is no hope.

I rest between the two of them. I have run the gamut of emotions over this, from feeling hopeful, to crazy depressed. I have felt determined to stick it out and make the best of it, and have also thought about moving to Canada. Or Sweden. You get great maternity leave in Sweden. Really, who doesn’t love lutefisk? Mmmmmm.

I have no idea what the future holds. I think the administration is in error in pretty much everything that they do. I don’t think Roe v. Wade will get overturned. Public outcry will be too great for that. I hope and pray that there will be no bigoted change to the Constitution, but honestly, I never thought any states would outlaw it, so I don’t know what to think there. I am not nearly as optimistic as my mother about the next four years. I wish I could be. Neither do I look on it with as much foreboding as my friend.

My mother is a shrink. She has seen so much that is so appalling, that for her to have no hope about anything (I’m not just talking politics...humanity in general) is refreshing. But then again, she is twice my age. She has lived through the last 50 years and has seen the ruin of our country predicted, and not come to pass. Something she says is that if we can survive Nixon, we can survive anything.

My friend has two years on me. He’s a writer, a former journalist, a very brilliant man, and his opinion of the world around us in one based on intelligent sources and research, and yet...

I would say that my unwillingness to accept his viewpoint, and await the doom is purely emotional...and yet...with the loss of hope do we lose our ability to change?

This is one of the worst things I have ever has no conclusion at all, run on sentences and is very scatty.

Not to mention the lack of title.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Some Answers

I have been asking people for whom I have a great deal of respect what their definition of intelligence is.

It has taught me that I know some silly people.

But, they also had some neat answers. Here are a few:

"Intelligence is being able to tell the difference between a "squatty
potty" and a bath for babies."

"...very sexy".

"Intelligence is not to be confused with an overabundance of wit".

"Intelligence is not as important as health".

"Generally subdivided into two groups by modern psychologists, EQ and IQ".

'Intelligence is held in great quantity by Jon Stewart who, in combining it with wit, insight, and understanding, manages to convert it to "funny". One could say he is an intelligence alchemist. Only a modern alchemist, however, and one who can't turn lead into gold. Well, actually, Al Gore was pretty leaden and Jon Stewart turned that into comedic gold. So maybe he's both an old-school alchemist and a modern-day alchemist. Huh."

This last one was my favorite, and the most curious:

"A poor and overused measure of the ability of employees'.

I asked my friend to explain. He did.

"A lot of people (employers) look at raw IQ, or intelligence, as a measure of how good an employee will be. But that's not the case at all. You need to look at work ethic, EQ ("common sense"), experience, dedication, whether or not they are able to work as a team toward a common goal, etc. In fact, in many cases I think EQ and experience vastly outweigh intelligence...intelligence is just one component that makes up overall ability or capability".