Archive for February, 2014

FILE UNDER: Cosmetic Surgery Martyrdom

Friday, February 28th, 2014

The Narcissist Richter Scale doesn’t measure this far off the chart

Blondie Bennet Pic via TwitterBlondie Bennett, a long-obsessed Barbie weirdo from California, is using online hypnotherapy lessons to reduce what she’s being told is her IQ level in hopes of becoming less human, more doll-like, and –if it’s an option– “completely plastic.” She reports she’s “super happy” and that the sessions must be working since she’s becoming “forgetful and brainless.”

These sessions follow body alterations, facial do-overs, and breast enlargement surgeries that rival Lexus dealership up-sells. Bennett wears footwear made for a mule deer and her applied tan looks just like the one Mattel sprays on its signature toy.

She says she’s pleased to be achieving her goal (never mind that doing so may pose future challenges, like forgetting not to brush her teeth with gasoline; her online sugar daddies look out for her). The unemployed Bennett’s many procedures are funded in exchange for one-on-one time (yeesh), webcam antics, surgery footage, and pictures of Bennett wearing Barbie-inspired garments.

But don’t worry, Blondie doesn’t feel exploited. She told an interviewer, “When people ask why I want to be Barbie, I think, ‘Who wouldn’t want to be?’ She has the best life. All she does is shop and make herself look pretty. She doesn’t worry about anything.”

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When There Are No More Holocaust Survivors

Monday, February 24th, 2014

None of us know life without living, breathing Holocaust survivors  

Alice Herz-Sommer_The Lady in Number 6I’m far from a historian — or even all that well educated — but I don’t need a degree to wonder how the tools and materials used to teach people about the Holocaust will change when no survivors remain to tell their stories.

The easy answer is film, video, family, Shoah Foundation histories, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, but none of these can match the power of personal interaction with a death camp survivor. There is no experience in the world like simply being in the same room with someone who has lived and breathed such a range of human nature, who has faced such evil incarnate and, well, survived.

While you yourself may never have gone out of your way to speak or even listen to a Holocaust survivor, until now we’ve all at least lived with the ability to do so. Taking advantage of the opportunity doesn’t make us better people, but it is an addition to one’s soul. And now our chances to interact with survivors are narrowing – too quickly.

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Restore Voting Rights and Re-Enfranchise!

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Restore Voting Rights - Re-Enfranchise_Where Excuses Go to DieMy restored voting rights remind me I’ve paid my debt to society.

It shouldn’t matter that my right to vote was taken away because I was sent to prison. What should matter –and what matters to me– is that I earned it back. I’m proud of that.

My right to vote does a lot for me, too, starting with being a happy reminder that the state of California and I have settled our differences amicably. I tend to think less of slackers who come up with excuses not to vote, which can be a dialogue-friendly counterbalance to feeling “less than” because of the criminal record stigma I’ll always have.

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The Racist Tree – Part II

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

But the tree did not actually like Hitler_Where Excuses Go to DieAdditional thoughts on an entry from 2012 that has stayed with me.

The Racist Tree is a simple little poem by Onion writer Alexander Blechman that packs a punch despite the fact it was probably written in fifteen minutes for fun. Lark it or not, I remain intrigued. It’s the epitome of get character or become one.As you’ll see, the consequences of the tree’s poor choices go beyond a label when it’s deeper beliefs, latent virtues, and intentions are rendered irrelevant.

The poem rips conditional social justice, but its subject is securely tethered to the writer’s sense of humor. So on this casual Sunday, enjoy. And consider discussing with someone 20 years younger, a teen screw-up you may know, a teacher, or a parent.

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When Clarence Thomas Talks, People Groan

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

February is the wrong month to excuse American racial insensitivity

Clarence and Stephan_Where Excuses Go to Die

Speaking this week at Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida, African-American Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas bemoaned what he believes to be today’s oversensitivity to issues of race and differences among us. Thomas may have been aiming his criticism at the deterioration of personal responsibility (as in, I’m a victim, you’re a victim, wouldn’t you like to be a victim too?), but if he was referring to entitlement and victim culture instead of mitigating racism, perhaps those are the words he should have used. ‘Cause the controversy his arguably broad statements set loose won’t be going away any time soon.

The good news is we’ve been given fresh meat dialog regarding how we process our racial differences. And when better than Black History month to offer such a gift to society (besides every other day)? (more…)

“With a Needle in His Arm”

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

This week’s media drumbeat: “Found dead with a needle in his arm.”

It’s bad enough he died alone with the only disease on earth that convinces its host it’s not there.

ACEHalfway through the first full day of Philip Seymour Hoffman media coverage I knew that “with a needle in his arm” had entered our cultural zeitgeist. Ever since, it’s been a week of the phrase, over and over again.

Yes, we know why – it’s a lurid, gritty and vulgar journalistic standard, but this has hit such a level of capitalization, it’s almost as though it’s been sexualized, as if media outlets can’t cover Hoffman’s death without worming it in, right upfront.

As the week has progressed, in fact, I’ve been hearing ever more creative insertions and timing of the phrase in broadcast media. News readers both local and national threw it out there immediately at first, but now it’s hangin’ back by a sentence or two. By next week it’ll be a paragraph, but only because the story has turned toward the Somali Pirate Chechnya Warlord Taliban drug dealers who might’a sold a beloved fat white guy a truckload of smack.

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