Bossy liberal feminists have just invented another ridiculous reason to be offended

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If I were to name the four most irritating things on planet Earth, the list would look something like this (in no particular order):

-The modern leftist obsession with manipulating language, subjectivizing words, arbitrarily declaring certain terms to be offensive/racist/sexist/homophobic, and then working to ban them, stigmatize them, and bully everyone else into adopting their interpretations of these newly vulgar phrases.

-The modern leftist obsession with creating cultural problems where they don’t exist, ignoring them where they do, and using completely fabricated statistical data to steer the conversation in their favor.

-The modern leftist obsession with encouraging self-esteem in our kids even to the point of embracing and excusing arrogance and self-absorption.

-Ventriloquists.

Now imagine the sudden onset migraine I’m experiencing after coming across a news story that incorporates at least three of the items on this list, all at once.

Sheryl Sandberg, a Facebook executive, has partnered with the likes of the Girl Scouts, Condoleezza Rice, Beyoncé, Jennifer Gardner, and Google to promote the “Ban Bossy” campaign. Calling it the new “B-word,” Ms. Sandberg claims that women — especially young girls — are typically dismissed as “bossy” when they attempt to take charge and assert themselves, whereas men and boys are praised as leaders.

She says that “bossy” has a specifically female connotation, and the word is partly responsible for holding women back and making them feel timid and self-conscience.

Now, as much as I appreciate Ms. Sandberg, Beyoncé, and the Girl Scouts chiming in to tell us all what we mean when we say things (kind of bossy of them, actually), I still prefer to consult the dictionary on these matters.

According to that old misogynistic book of lies, bossy means “given to ordering people around, highhanded, domineering, overly authoritative, dictatorial, abrasive.” 

Hmmm. Could it be that girls are called bossy when they’re… well, bossy?

Could it be that boys are also called bossy for the same reason?

Indeed, through my investigation of the etymology of this word, I have not found even one slight bit of evidence to support the idea that “bossy” is or ever was an insult used exclusively against females.

And it’s patently foolish to pretend that males are always admired for their assertiveness. On the contrary, often people like Ms. Sandberg will call them “angry,” “chauvinistic,” “paternalistic,” “abusive,” “hostile.” The real problem is the precise opposite of what Ban Bossy supposes. The real problem is the continued emasculation of men, and the dedicated effort to eradicate every aggressive tendency in boys, even to the point of psychiatric medication.

Besides, do these women have any proof that assertive girls are more likely to be unfairly labeled as bossy, while assertive boys are more likely to be lauded as leaders? Of course not.

This is a maneuver right out of page 1 in the Progressive Playbook. It’s a very simple play, really.

It goes like this: make things up.

Want to prove your point? Easy, just come up with a thing that you want to be true, and pretend that is true. Then, when someone comes along and says, “hey, that isn’t true,” just call them sexist or racist. See? Simple as pie.

Specifically, simple as a pie baked by either gender, because women aren’t anymore likely to bake pies than men, you sexist pig.

Speaking of which, Ms. Sandberg builds her case by citing some startling figures:

“If you look at the world, women do 66 percent of the work in the world. Woman produce 50 percent of the food. Women make 10 percent of the income and women own 1 percent of the property. We are 50 percent of the population. We are 5 percent of the Fortune 500 CEOs.”

Wait, women do 66 percent of the work in the world? Of all the work that is done, 66 percent is done by women? What does that even mean? What qualifies as “work”? I assume we aren’t just talking about paid positions here, particularly if we’re including poor countries where few people have jobs at all. So we must be referring to work in the general sense, which means “effort or exertion directed to producing or accomplishing something.”

So, out of all the exertions directed at accomplishing things in the entire world, 66 percent of it is done by women? Which means only about 34 percent of the men in the world are doing any sort of work? Fascinating. Out of the roughly 3.4 billion men on the planet, according to this figure, about 544 MILLION of them aren’t doing ANYTHING.

Two questions: how in God’s name did she come up with these figures, and why have I missed out on this sweet deal that so many of my fellow bros are apparently enjoying? How can you even calculate, down to exact percentages, something as broad as “work” done anywhere on the globe in any particular day?

Why am I harping on this? Because I’m tired of people just pulling numbers out of thin air, presenting them as fact, and using it to enforce some new progressive cultural dictate they dreamed up at a cocktail party one evening.

Oh, but she isn’t done.

On the Ban Bossy website, we’re told that the “confidence gap” between girls and boys “starts early.” Then they hit us with this statistic: between elementary school and high school, a girl’s “self-esteem drops 3.5 times more than boys’.”

Hold on. WHAT? How can you possibly quantify some immaterial psychological concept like “self-esteem,” measure it, and then compare it, not just between two individuals, but between genders? What does it mean to say that one person has “more” self-esteem than another, and how can you assign numerical quantities to that perceived difference?

This is nonsense. Complete and total nonsense that cannot be supported, proven, shown, or demonstrated.

On the other hand, I’ll tell you one statistic we can measure: suicide.

If boys generally feel better about themselves, why do they commit suicide in astronomically higher numbers? Depending on where you look, US males kill themselves at a rate between 3 and 10 times higher than females.

I’m not saying women have it easy, but I am saying that, in this country, men kill themselves more frequently, end up in jail more often, and die sooner.

But, hey, at least nobody calls us bossy.

Except when people, you know, call us bossy. Which they do, just as often, along with a host of other unpleasant adjectives.

As far as I can tell, kids are called bossy when they behave in a dictatorial and domineering fashion. They’re called bossy when they try to order people around and refuse to listen to authority figures.

Here’s a suggestion: instead of telling us not to refer to them as bossy, why don’t we teach them not to be bossy? We concentrate so much on eradicating negative words while forgetting to address the behavior that the words describe.

Ms. Sandberg tells the harrowing tale of being labeled as bossy by a teacher in ninth grade. She says this experience damaged her emotionally and caused her immense grief. Poor thing.

A very tragic incident, no doubt, but one thought occurs to me: what if the teacher called her bossy because she was pompous, arrogant, and pushy? After all, this is the woman who would grow up and attempt to ban innocuous phrases from our vocabulary. It would appear, ironically, that her teacher has been vindicated.

Really contemplate the arrogance here. The propagators of Ban Bossy have universally declared, without a shred of proof or coherent reasoning, that the word “bossy” is sexist, and that it’s only used against girls, and that it causes self-esteem issues, and that it has some connection to the lack of female CEOs at Fortune 500 companies, and that the behavior typically described as bossy is heretofore considered acceptable and admirable, and that nobody is allowed to feel otherwise.

This is hubris so extreme it dances close to lunacy.

Finally, there’s one more idea that I can’t seem to shake.

I’m warning you, this one is bad.

Sexist.

Chauvinistic.

Offensive.

Turn back now. I wouldn’t want to hurt your feelings and send you into a mental tornado of anguish that eventually ends with you becoming a chief operating officer at Facebook.

Still with me?

Brace yourself.

Ms. Sandberg cited the lack of female CEOs and politicians. She blamed this on girls having their self-esteem damaged by misogynistic words like “bossy.” Maybe she’s right. But maybe there’s another factor at work.

What if — and this is a big if — what if there are fewer women CEOs and politicians because fewer women want to be CEOs and politicians? Is it possible? Could this have, perhaps, something to do with the disparity? What if fewer women meet that particular end because fewer women choose a path that will lead to that end?

And what if — again, HUGE if — what if women are less likely to be outwardly aggressive because that’s just not a personality trait some women possess?

And what if — remember, massive, enormous if — what if we are all called to be leaders in some fashion, but there are different types of leaders? What if it’s actually a really horrible idea to try and force everyone to be Alpha dog, Type A personality, take-charge head honchos?

What if it’s insulting to women to label the scarcity of female CEOs as some kind of objective evil because it implies that becoming a CEO is a superior goal to which all people should strive? What if you’re not only criticizing society for erecting imaginary barriers to keep women out of the corner offices with the nice desks and the big windows, but you’re also insinuating that women who don’t want those things are somehow selling themselves short or shamefully submitting to the paternalistic structure of our male-dominated society?

And what if women are called bossy more often (if that’s even the case) because other women are the ones most likely to unfairly wield that term? What if the lion’s share of negativity towards women comes from women themselves?

What if the campaign to “Ban Bossy” succeeds in rationalizing the narcissistic attitudes of bossy people while also, yet again, shoving everyone into a certain box and telling them what sort of personality traits they ought to exhibit?

What if I’m at my wit’s end and I seriously can’t take another PC progressive assault on reason and vocabulary?

And, Dear Lord, what if Jeff Dunham jumps on board with this campaign? The four most annoying things in the universe, converged together to create an Apocalypse of Irritation, just as the prophecies foretold.

I shudder at the thought.

But I can’t tell anyone to stop trying to ban bossy.

That would be pretty bossy of me.

*****

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The Great Homeschool Convention is coming up in two weeks

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Just a reminder that the Great Homeschool Convention is coming up March 20-22 in South Carolina.

Find the website here.

I’ll be speaking on Saturday, and I’ll also be at the conventions in Ohio and California.

Each convention features an enormous Homeschool Curriculum Exhibit Hall along with hundreds of homeschooling workshops. And if you’re new to this, or just considering the possibility of homeschooling, there will be plenty of resources and networking opportunities for you.

Homeschooling is, in my mind, the ultimate expression of parental rights and individual liberty. A homeschooling family seizes control from the government and exercises their God-given right to educate and teach their own children. It’s a beautiful thing, and so I’m excited to be a part of an event like this.

Also exciting: the list of speakers. Mike Gallagher, Michael Medved, John Rosemond, and Ben Carson, just to name a few. If you saw Carson’s speech at CPAC, you know he can bring it. I guess that’s to be expected from the greatest living medical professional of our time.

It’s not to late to register for tickets.

See you there.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 25 Comments

Forget all the Christian charities and hospitals, let’s talk about their bad tipping habits

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I am going to write about Christians here. Although I am a Christian, I am not writing about myself.

Personally, I do not measure up to the generosity and selflessness of so many of my brothers and sisters in the Faith.

I could do more. Much more.

I could be a better man. Much better

Please understand that I am defending Christians in general, but not myself specifically. I try to make a habit of only defending defensible things.

With that said, I’ve noticed all the people on Facebook linking to stories about this new website called “Sundays are the Worst.” The site, started by a “pastor” a few weeks ago, provides a forum for waiters and waitresses to whine about, as the website’s “about” section explains, “rude” Christian customers who leave “bad tips” and “complain.”

It’s nice to see that this pastor, Chad Roberts, is fulfilling  Christ’s most important command. For, as He famously exhorted, we must “spread the Gospel… and make sure to give voice to anonymous bellyachers who wish to offer dubious and unverifiable anecdotes slandering [His] followers.” I think that’s in Matthew, or was it Luke? In any case, Pastor Chad is doing fine work.

Of course liberal blogs and news outlets have trumpeted Mr. Roberts’ attempt to revolutionize the internet by using it as a staging ground for faceless negativity against Christians. The old “Christians are stingy, non-charitable hypocrites” trope has been once more trotted out, and popular prejudices have yet again been rationalized and vindicated.

Still, I can’t help but feel a little uncomfortable with this whole thing, for three substantive reasons:

1) Christians aren’t bad tippers. According to a 2010 Cornell study, Christians typically give about 17.5 percent — right in line with what’s conventionally considered “normal.” It might be true that some people in the service industry have bad experiences with customers on Sunday, but this does not reflect any sort of trend among Christians in general. Besides, how do you know the religious leanings of your rude customers? Speaking of which…

2) There’s absolutely no way to verify the accusations made by these waiters and waitresses. And what about the other side of the story? Every time a server complains of bad tips we can not immediately assume that he or she was the victim in the situation.

I happen to be a proponent of generous tipping. I wrote about it once before, but I was a little disturbed by some of the responses. Many folks in the service industry chimed in with such unrelenting venom and animosity towards “bad tippers” that it made me wonder if that hostility perhaps leaks into their interactions with customers, thereby leading to poor tips, which leads to more animosity, which leads to more poor tips, and so on, etc. I think this side of the coin can be best encapsulated by three sentences in one email I received from a particularly disgruntled waiter:

“I don’t care if they didn’t like the service. F**k them. Tip anyway.” 

How many of these people bemoaning bad Christian tippers are actually from the “f**k them, tip anyway” school of thought?

Again: I believe wholeheartedly in tipping. However, if your attitude is that unbelievably rotten and poisonous, you don’t deserve a tip. You don’t even deserve a paycheck, frankly. Christians are called to give to the needy, but they are not called to be bullied into handing over their cash to entitled, snide brats. Sorry.

3) The real issue goes beyond some “pastor” attempting to suck-up to mainstream society and capitalize on a cultural meme by bashing Christians. The real issue is the unfair and damaging stereotype that this site erroneously enforces: the notion that Christians are selfish and uncharitable frauds who largely ignore the Bible edicts to give to the poor and serve the less fortunate.

It’s bad enough when atheists and secularists peddle this garbage, but it’s utterly scandalous when Christians do it themselves. And why do they do it? Not because it’s true. It isn’t. They do it because they want to score points and win friends. They want to get a collective head nod and a high-five from the cool kids.

And, in doing so, they succeed in scaring more people away from the Faith while simultaneously undermining all of the inspiring, courageous and selfless work done by BILLIONS of Christians today and throughout history.

Certainly, Christians are not perfect. They could do more, give more, and serve more. Nobody would deny this. If you would like an example of a Christian who is too wrapped up in materialism and consumerism, look no further than yours truly. My TV is too big, my clothes too expensive, my house too full of junk, my mind too full of worldly anxieties. I give less to the needy and keep more for myself and my family, too concerned about having savings and contingents for every possible expenditure that might come along. I am your Christian hypocrite. If you’d like proof that not all Christians follow the Gospel perfectly, or even adequately, here I am.

But there’s a vast canyon-like difference between exhorting someone such as myself to be more generous, and painting all Christians with a broad accusatory brush. The problem is that those brush strokes have succeeded — in the minds of many, anyway — in coloring the entire mass of faithful. The countless good works of multitudes of Christians have been all but obliterated from the public conscience. None of it is happening. None of it ever happened. The light of their love and goodness is buried both by secular propagandists and their Christian sycophants.

Meanwhile, a quarter of the 100 best non-profits in America are Christian.

Take a look at the Forbes list of the 200 largest charities in the country and you will find one Christian organization after another.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that the most charitable states in America are also the most religious, despite being less wealthy than the less charitable states. The anti-Christian crowd will point out that Christians give more to religious charities, but secular groups receive donations equally from religious and non-religious alike. This is true, but it’s also true that the best charities in the world are religious.

The Catholic Church, by far and without contest the largest and most prolific charitable organization on Earth, runs a quarter of the health care facilities in the entire world. This includes about 1200 hospitals and another 1200 orphanages in some of the most destitute regions of Africa. Catholic health and social services organizations have been serving the needy in this nation since before this was a nation.

While internet commenters make sweeping generalizations about the selfishness of Christians, people of faith are stationed in Guatemala, providing food and medicine to the oppressed and impoverished. Christians are healing and serving disabled children at CURE International in Ethiopia. The faithful risk life and limb to offer education in Sudan or food and water in Somalia. They help the victims of earthquakes and droughts. They go to places where they are not wanted, they travel to areas that the world forsakes. They are murdered and persecuted, but still they serve more sick, comfort more children, feed more hungry, and perform more charitable acts than anyone.

Instead of starting a website to compile baseless allegations about stingy Christian tippers, why not tell the world stories of people like the monks of Tibhirine? These men lived in a monastery in an Albanian Muslim town. They served the Islamic inhabitants, and their service was not contingent on conversion (it never is, by the way). When a militant Islamist group showed up and told them to leave, they refused. They knew they would likely die, but they decided to embrace that fate rather than abandon the people who needed them. Sure enough, the group eventually took them prisoner. They were never seen again.

Or why not tell stories like the one about the Christians in Texas who rallied to raise money for an outspoken atheist after he was diagnosed with a devastating medical condition? He had antagonized them and filed lawsuits against them for years, but when he needed charity, they did not turn their backs. Many would, but they did not.

Christians are out there in the muck, in the dirt, in the real world, doing real things. But enemies of the faith are desperate to hide their deeds, which is why they’ve even taken to slandering Mother Teresa, and dismissing the good works of Christ’s followers as nothing but the charitable person’s selfish attempt to rack up brownie points and get to heaven.

Yet the attacks on Mother Teresa, or the smarmy discounting of Christian charity, or the broad stereotypes about bad Christian tippers, always seem to emanate from the shallow waters of Western apathy and luxury. These people aren’t out in the deep end, risking everything to give everything to people who can’t give anything in return. Their criticisms are hollow, but loud enough to distract many of us.

Yes, we Christians can improve. Of course we can. So can you, whoever you are and whatever ideology you profess. But if you only ever speak of the failures of Christianity while never breathing a word of its enormous triumphs, then your motivations are dishonest and your intentions are evil.

Dishonest and evil. Maybe more “pastors” like my friend Chad ought to weed out the really sinister forces in our society, rather than sitting off on the sidelines chucking rocks at boogeymen.

Many of us — myself included – are not acting with the kindness, selflessness and heroism of these Christians. For God’s sake, the least we can do is tell about them.

******

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Posted in Uncategorized | 218 Comments

Dear society: kids cry, deal with it. Dear parents: kids cry, stop bringing them to grown-up movies

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Alright, everyone. I know we can’t agree on everything. Or most things. Or anything. I know this world is full of strife and contention, controversy and division. I get it.

This is what it means to live on a mortal planet populated by the fallen hordes of sinful, prideful, vengeful beings. We argue, it’s what we do. And, honestly, I guess that’s good for business. I make a living writing about ‘controversial’ topics. What would I do if I lived in a land where nobody argued about anything? The good news is that if I found myself in a place of that sort, I’d presumably be in Heaven. But the bad news is that I’d be really hard up for blogging topics.

In any case, as much as I appreciate a good ol’ fashioned, knock ‘em down, drag ‘em out online cyber-brawl, I think it’s time we retire a few of these debates.

One in particular: whether or not parents should bring crying children into public places.

Enough of this already.

Can’t we reach a compromise here? Can’t we exercise a modicum of consideration for our fellow man? Can’t we all exhibit a shred of common sense?

I am not known to be the sort of guy who seeks the middle ground, so if I’m asking for a compromise that ought to tell you something.

Perhaps you’ve read the latest viral post on this subject. If not, I’ll sum it up for you: some guy runs a blog called ‘Dad on the Run.’ His sister apparently went to a ski resort recently with her young child and her husband. The child screamed and cried in fits for two nights straight. After the second night, their neighbor in the next room left an angry note under the door, scolding them for bringing a baby to a ski resort and ruining everyone else’s relaxing time. Sis showed the letter to bro, bro took to his blog and scolded the letter writer for scolding his sister.

Next, commenters and other bloggers proceeded to scold the brother for scolding the letter-writer for scolding the sister.

Now you probably think I’m going to scold the scolders for scolding the scolder of the scolder, don’t you?

Not quite.

Look, there’s no doubt that it’s absurd for anyone to suggest that you shouldn’t bring your kid on vacation. From what I understand, this was a family resort. Families, I’m told, often include children. According to some studies, before a child is older he must be younger. This is the way it works for most — if not all – people.

Should we, parents of young children, never check into a hotel? Daytrips only, until the youngest is 14, should that be the rule? Should we pass up an opportunity to enjoy some quality family time because we wouldn’t want to upset the cranky stranger with sensitive eardrums? Should other adults be entitled to utter and complete peace and quiet everywhere they go? Should babies be shunned from society entirely?

No, emphatically, on all counts.

You might remember that I’ve waded into this debate in the past. I wrote of an encounter I had with a young man who made judgmental, vulgar remarks about a poor mother in a grocery store as she struggled to calm her tantruming toddler.

That was a clear-cut case. The dude was a jerk, plain and simple. Parents have to shop for groceries. Sometimes they have to bring their kids. Sometimes the kid cries. Nobody should have an expectation of silence and tranquility in the aisles of a supermarket. If they do — that’s their problem. It’s not anyone’s responsibility to protect their delusion that they’re living in a Children of Men utopia, where babies and children don’t exist.

As for the letter — whoever wrote it went about it the wrong way. They could have switched rooms. They could have gone to an adults-only resort in the first place. The letter was petty, immature, and unhelpful.

That said, I can’t blame them for being upset after two sleepless nights listening to someone else’s kid fuss and cry. It’s frustrating enough to be kept awake by your own kids – but someone else’s? On vacation? That’s tough. That’s annoying.

I have ten-month-old twins, and I’d be annoyed. I’d especially be annoyed if my wife and I were able to escape for a night or two, only to find our babies’ crying replaced with another baby’s crying. What a cruel, cosmic joke. It’s like Groundhog’s Day, but without the ground hog or the Bill Murray.

Of course, kids are great. I love kids. A lot of people love kids. People who have kids love kids (hopefully), and even people who don’t have kids might love kids. But no matter how much anyone loves kids, nobody loves listening to them whine and shriek. We are all bound by — if nothing else — our severe distaste for such sounds.

Still, these noises are part of life, to some degree or another. Nobody gets to be completely shielded from it. And anyone with such an expectation obviously suffers from a severe case of Entitlement Syndrome.

My kids cry in public sometimes. We don’t like it, we’re embarrassed, but it happens. We don’t need you to enjoy listening to it, but you are going to have to tolerate it on occasion. We can’t roll them around in a sound proof bubble (not opposed to the idea, just not aware that the technology exists), and we can’t always leave them at home.

Sometimes there isn’t anyone around to watch them. Sometimes — gasp — we want to go out and do things as a family. Yes, we don’t necessarily need to bring our children into your vicinity, but we want to. We like being together, if you can imagine such a thing.

We don’t need anyone’s permission, nor do we require their blessing, nor do we particularly care if we’re interfering with anyone’s attempt to live out an existence completely devoid of noise, energy, and youth.

But I promised a compromise, and here it is:

Although nobody is entitled to absolute uninterrupted silence and tranquility, there are some places that society — if not the law itself — has deemed ‘childfree.’ It’s important for the integrity of these areas to be preserved, particularly for the sake of parents who themselves would like to perhaps enjoy a few fleeting moments insulated from the precious twang of a young child’s temper tantrum.

So, while everyone else needs to deal with the random crying-fit at the grocery store, or on a plane, or at a hotel, we parents of young kids need to stop doing insane things like bringing babies into grown-up movies at the theater. There is no excuse for this. It is pure selfishness, through and through.

Since my kids were born, I’ve been to one movie. One. And guess who else made it to the showing? An infant. Infants can only do two things — cry and poop — and this one did both throughout the duration of the film.

Knock that off, parents. We aren’t the only ones who get to demand consideration and empathy from strangers. They can expect it from us every once in awhile. My wife and I don’t go to movies very often precisely because we wouldn’t want to disrupt everyone else. I’d say 95 percent of parents make the same sacrifice. Why do the 5 percent think they’re a special case?

We should also stop bringing small children to fancy restaurants at night. I don’t even understand the inclination here. Who wants to spend 37 bucks on an entrée when you can’t even enjoy the meal because you’re joined at the table by fidgety, fussy munchkins? We should knock that off, too.

If we’re at a place where people go to read, study, learn, or pray — like church or a bookstore or a museum or a Himalayan Buddhist monastery  – it’s our responsibility to remove our kids if they’re making too much noise. We don’t have to leave church and go home, but take them to the back, take them out until they calm down. Do something, for God’s sake.

If we’re out at a social gathering and our children have breezed through naptime and are now in full-on Stage 4 nuclear meltdown mode, it’s probably time to bring them home.

If we’re at a wedding or a celebration of some kind, and our tots are interrupting adult conversations, crying, screaming, fussing, acting out, etc., we need to calm them, take them outside, or take them home.

This stuff is obvious so I hesitate to write it, but we’ve all met parents who are in serious need of this reminder.

These are the sorts of sacrifices we consented to when we signed up for this parenting gig.

In the end, our kids are our problem, and we should be uncomfortable with allowing them to be everyone else’s.

Meanwhile, everyone else should have a little patience and understanding, and never throw condescension and insults at a parent who’s in the midst of a difficult parenting moment.

This, also, should be obvious.

And there you go.

Problem solved.

Compromise reached.

Now we can get onto arguing about other things.

*******

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The four harsh truths that everyone in my generation needs to accept

I’m a young person.

A ‘young adult,’ supposedly. I’m married with two kids and back problems, so I don’t necessarily feel like it all the time, but I do fall into that coveted 18-34 demographic.

As a young person, I take special note of all the bad press we tend to get. I’m sure you heard about the 18-year-old woman (not kid, not child, not teenager — woman) who sued her parents to force them to pay for her college tuition. She lost the first round in court, but you can bet that we haven’t read the last of this sordid tale.

I’m sure you’ve also heard about the various studies and reports, released every few months it seems, confirming and reconfirming and confirming again that people in my generation are very reluctant to move out of mom and dad’s house. A report this past summer found that over 21 million millennials are still sharing a mailing address with their parents.

And, of course, there are the statistics on millennial unemployment, and millennial drug abuse, and millennial alcoholism. Millennials afraid to get married, afraid to start families, afraid to move out, afraid to do anything. Millennials in hibernation and stagnation; standing still while the world speeds by.

We get the picture. It’s not always a fair picture, either. Many of us do not deserve this humiliating reputation. And every person who ‘lives at home’ isn’t necessarily an apathetic loser hiding from work and responsibility, although some fit the bill.

Still, extended adolescence is a very real epidemic in my generation (it’s a problem amongst the Boomers, too, but that’s a subject for a different post). I don’t need any study or statistic to tell me that; I see it with my own eyes every single day. It is a disease that afflicts many in my age group.

So I’d like to speak to my fellow young people for a moment. I’d like to share with them four absolute truths that we must all accept if we ever wish to find success and fulfillment in this world. These are the things that I’ve discovered in my eight years of independence and self-sufficiency.

The cure to perpetual adolescence can be found in these four realities.

Embrace them, and embrace growth.

Here they are:

The Four Harsh Truths That Everyone In My Generation Needs to Accept

1) Nobody owes us anything.

Literally. Figuratively. Metaphorically. Physically. In the material, in the abstract. In every conceivable way – we are owed nothing. We are entitled to nothing. Maybe it’s been said so many times that the words just whizz right past us, but we really ought to stop and reflect upon this reality.

We are not children. Nobody has to give us anything anymore. We can go hungry, and feel pain, and live without – we will, in fact. And this will be no great injustice because it isn’t anyone’s job to shield us from discomfort in the first place. Nobody promised us a life of ease and pleasure, and if they did they lied.

We have no place to be outraged when we are made to experience some small measure of suffering or sacrifice. This is what it means to exist as a separate, distinct, mature human being. This is what it means be alive. The world has left bumps and bruises on everyone, why should we be the exception? Even if we can think of a reason, it doesn’t matter. We won’t be the exception. Why would we even want to be?

2) We have to work.

I know people slightly younger than me who’ve never had a fulltime job. Ever. They mutter things about ‘the economy’ and ‘the tough job market,’ but the groove on the couch and the glossy look in their eyes tells me that video games and lethargy are much bigger factors in their current predicament. The lazy, video-game-playing manchild is a stereotype, but it’s a stereotype for a reason.

Here’s a thought. If you don’t have a job, you shouldn’t be playing with toys. A revolutionary idea, I realize, but it’s something to consider.

There is work to be done in this country, and there is no reason why we shouldn’t be the ones doing it. Can’t find a cushy, high paying job with competitive benefits and three weeks paid vacation every year? Join the club, your Highness. Now go flip a burger, dig a ditch, mop a floor. Something. ANYTHING.

There is absolutely no excuse for a young person to turn down any job offer. How is it possible that fast food joints across the country go understaffed while 24-year-olds sit around at home, complaining that there aren’t any jobs available? Stop whining. Put on your business casual, walk in there, shake the manager’s hand, ask for an application, get the gig, work hard, operate with enthusiasm and competence. In 6 months you’ll be running the place.

We cannot claim that there aren’t any opportunities. If we’re willing to humble ourselves and put in the work, there are opportunities aplenty.

As I’ve previously explained, I recently decided to go into business for myself, using the success of this website as my platform. There aren’t very many one-person opinion blogs that get more traffic than mine. I earned that. None of this happened by accident. But if this whole thing comes crashing down tomorrow, if my uniques plummet and my readership disappears and my ad revenue dries up (and it could, the internet is a fickle beast), do you know what I’d do?

I’d become a trash collector. I’d be a janitor at the school down the street. I’d get a job moving boxes, or clearing brush, or mowing lawns, or cleaning dishes. I’d do whatever I needed to do, and I’d spend my free time crafting my long range plans. I wouldn’t give up on my dreams, but I’d forge a new path. And I’d never stop working.

Whatever the case, here’s what I know I wouldn’t do: nothing. Nothing is not an option.

3) We’ll never be successful if we don’t take risks.

I’m talking about smart risks; not guzzling 9 beers and going for a drive at 2AM type of risks. I’m talking about bold but calculated risks.

It causes me actual, real pain when I run into young people afraid of risks — afraid to strike out on their own because it ‘might not work out.’

Might not work out?

OF COURSE it won’t ‘work out’ at first. That’s part of the fun.

OK, maybe not fun, per se. But it’s part of the adventure.

What, we refuse to get on with our lives until we’re guaranteed safe passage and smooth travels? Well, I guess our lives will go unlived, because trust me, we will never be afforded such a guarantee.

When you’re young — particularly when you don’t yet have a family of your own — you can do anything. You can go anywhere. You can chase any dream. You can move across the country. You can work four jobs at once. You can live out of your car or under a bridge or in a tent. You can go all in. Swing for the fences. Toss up Hail Marys. Whatever overused sports metaphor you prefer — that’s what you can do.

You are untethered and unburdened. You are mobile. You can carve out your niche. You can make radical decisions. You can walk out on that ledge in pursuit of bigger things. You can take risks, because there isn’t that much at stake. Not yet, anyway.

4) Nobody cares about our excuses.

Notice I didn’t say that ‘we can’t make excuses’ or ‘there aren’t any good excuses.’ We can and there are. For every personal failure, there are thousands of perfectly reasonable excuses and rationalizations.

There are valid excuses to explain your shortcomings — but nobody cares. It’s that simple: nobody cares.

Out here, standing on the cold, unforgiving ground of solid reality, our worth is inexorably connected to our ability to get things done.

We all have inherent value as human beings. But if we want people to value our opinions, our efforts, and our time — especially if we want someone to pay us for it – we have to get things done. If we don’t, the reasons won’t matter. Good reasons, bad reasons, it makes no difference.

So maybe we’re sick, maybe we’re tired, maybe our dog just died, maybe our lives are hard, maybe nobody understands our struggles. Fine. Millions of people are sick and tired. Millions of people’s dogs just died. Millions are struggling. Nobody understands anyone else’s pain and suffering. Everyone’s life is hard. Everyone. Nobody on this planet has an easy life. That simply isn’t in the cards for anyone. No sense in bemoaning the fact. We might as well just get up and get on with it.

We might think our excuses are better because our hardships are greater, but they aren’t because they aren’t. Our excuses are about as valid as everyone else’s.

It’s not that successful people don’t have excuses — it’s just that they don’t use them. Hence the success.

And that’s the truth.

These are all truths.

And here’s the good news: we — all of us — have indescribable potential. A young person with ambition, character, courage; a young person willing to work and sacrifice and take risks; a young person who thinks outside of the pop culture, video game, gossip magazine cage; a young person willing to scratch and claw and fight and dig and learn and grow, is an absolutely unstoppable force. A world-beater. This is a person with the power to unlock the universe and bring out its beauty, and truth, and joy.

History might be written by the old, but it’s made by the young. Just look at Thomas Jefferson, or Alexander the Great, or William Wallace, or Joan of Arc, or Beethoven, or Frederick Douglas, or Martin Luther King Jr. Young pioneers, all of them. Conquerors, artists, heroes. Martyrs.

That’s our destiny — to be the people who change the paradigm. Not vassals and slaves and mindless, shallow, lackadaisical sloths.

There is so much we can do, so much that must be done, but it starts with accepting the reality of the world in which we live.

This is that reality.

It really isn’t so bad once you get used to it.

 

********

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Twitter: @MattWalshRadio

Posted in Uncategorized | 346 Comments

I am afraid of this indisputable pro-choice argument

I took the bait.

I couldn’t help but open an email with the subject line: “You’re afraid of this pro-choice argument”

Afraid? I’m afraid of a lot of things. Actually, five things: spiders, asteroids, ghosts, head lice, and malaria. But arguments? Especially pro-abortion arguments? Definitely not on the list.

I might be frustrated by them; annoyed, angered, even disturbed, but afraid? I don’t think so.

Here’s Rachel, trying to strike fear into my heart:

Dear Matt, ever since I first read your blog I knew you were a cowardly fake. It wasn’t until I started reading some of your anti-choice articles that my suspicions were truly confirmed. You spend a lot of time picking the low hanging fruit. You attack the weakest abortion rights arguments while ignoring the glaring weaknesses in your own position.

If you had the guts or the brains you’d try to respond to the most important abortion rights argument… bodily autonomy or bodily integrity. This means that we have the final jurisdiction over our own bodies. Nobody can claim a right to our body that goes above our own right. Nobody can use our bodies without consent. We cannot be forced to donate organs or blood to someone else. A fetus must survive on a woman’s body so the woman has a right to withdrawal her consent and her body at any time.

This is the pro-choice argument that no anti-choice fanatic… especially one as stubborn and simpleminded as you… could ever possibly dispute. If you still don’t understand, try to imagine this hypothetical…

Imagine that you wake up one morning in a hospital bed. In the bed next to you is a famous singer. He is unconscious and all of these tubes are connected from him to you. A doctor comes in and explains that the singer became sick and you are the only person with the right blood type to match his. They need you to remain hooked up to him until he recovers… they tell you it should only take nine months. Until then, he needs to use all of your organs… your kidneys, liver, lungs, everything… just to survive. If you unplug yourself, he will die. So do you think you are obligated to stay plugged in? Does he have a right to live off of you like this? Should you be FORCED to stay connected to him?

That’s what situation the pregnant woman is in. Instead of harping on all of these irrelevant issues, I wish you’d be brave enough to address it from this angle. It is immoral to require a woman to sustain a fetus and it is moral for a woman to make a decision with her body based on what is right for her. How can you argue against this?

But I guess your blog is more about preaching to the choir than actually being intelligent and bold in your writing. What a shame.

-Rachel

Here’s my answer:

Dear Rachel,

You’re right. You win. I have no response. I can’t think of any reason why you’re wrong about any of the points you raised.

Well, I can’t think of any reason — except for, like, ten reasons. So I’ll start with five reasons why that hypothetical is flawed, and move on to five additional reasons why your overall argument is flawed.

Here we go:

1. Your analogy is flawed because it presupposes that the relationship between mother and child is no more significant, and carries with it no more responsibility, than the relationship between a person and some random stranger in a hospital bed.

This is absurd. If we’re trying to make this hypothetical as close to pregnancy as possible, shouldn’t the sick singer (or violinist, according to the original iteration of this hypothetical) at least be your child? Your argument doesn’t work because the fact that your child is your child, and not some strange adult from across town, is precisely the point. Hidden cleverly in this hypothetical is the insinuation that one cannot agree that an unborn child has a right to his mother’s body, without agreeing that anyone in the entire world, in any context, for any reason, at any point, for any period of time, has a right to a woman’s body.

Nice try, Rachel.

Just because a mother is expected to be a mother doesn’t mean she’s also expected to be a slave, a prostitute, and a forced organ donor to talented musical artists. Indeed, the extent of our responsibility to a person hinges in many ways on our relationship to them. You would, I assume, agree that you have a responsibility to your born children, wouldn’t you? And your responsibility to them extends far beyond your responsibility to your neighbor, or your plumber, or your trash collector, doesn’t it? The relationship matters. Your hypothetical fails because it pretends that relationships are irrelevant.

2. Your analogy is flawed because it leaves out an important detail: how did the singer become ill in the first place?

Aside from cases of rape, a child is only conceived because two people intentionally committed a particular act which has, literally billions of times, resulted in the conception of a human life.

This singer came down with a terrible sickness. You might feel pity for him, but you didn’t cause him to be sick. You didn’t put him in this state. You had absolutely nothing to do with it. The same cannot be said when a child is conceived.

3. Your analogy is flawed because, when framed properly, it doesn’t strengthen your moral position — it defeats it.

The hypothetical should be this: your own child becomes very sick because of something you did. He needs a blood transfusion and you are the only match. Would you refuse to give him your blood because it infringes on your bodily autonomy? Could this be morally justified? You put your kid in the hospital and now you will choose to watch him die because he ‘doesn’t have a right to your blood.’ THIS scenario would be the closest to abortion. And, if you are consistent in your affinity for ‘bodily autonomy,’ you could not criticize parents who’d rather let their child die than be inconvenienced by a blood transfusion.

4. But, no matter how you frame the hypothetical, it is still flawed because it ignores one crucial thing: natural order.

An unborn child is exactly where he is supposed to be. He couldn’t possibly be anywhere else. This is the fundamental difference between two people hooked up to machines on a hospital bed, and a ‘fetus’ connected to his mother insider her womb. The former represents unnatural and extraordinary measures, while the latter represents something natural and ordinary. The unborn child is where Nature (or God, as I call Him) intends it to be.

The unborn child is not, in any scientific or medical sense, an intruder or a parasite. These words have meanings, and unborn babies do not fit the bill. They are where they are supposed to be. They are where they belong. A fish belongs in water, just as an unborn child belongs in his mother’s womb.

5. Beyond all of these points, the analogy is flawed because abortion is not the same as ‘unplugging’ a person from medical equipment.

It might be quite sanitary and pleasant to refer to abortion as a woman ‘withdrawing support’ from her child, but the procedure goes beyond this. During a ‘termination,’ the baby is actively killed. It is crushed, dismembered, poisoned, or torn apart. It is killed. It is actively, actually, purposefully, intentionally killed.

In fact, even in the original hypothetical — where you’re hooked up to a singer in a hospital bed — while it would be acceptable to unplug yourself, it would NOT be morally or legally permissible to shoot the poor guy in the head. A person’s physical reliance on you does not give you the moral (or legal, usually) right to murder them. ‘Withdrawing support’ is precisely what an abortion isn’t. If it was, then the baby would be delivered and left to die in the corner of the room. Of course, this is how some abortionists conduct business, but it’s illegal. If they’re caught, they go to jail.

6. But the bodily autonomy argument is flawed in ways that go beyond that utterly fallacious and misleading hypothetical. It’s flawed because nobody is crazy enough to consistently apply it to pregnant women.

According to bodily autonomy, a mother could not be judged harshly for smoking, drinking, doing coke, and going skydiving (hopefully not all in the same day) while 6 months pregnant. If you really believe that a woman’s body is autonomous — that she has absolute jurisdiction over it — then you must defend a mother who does things that could seriously harm her unborn child, even if she hasn’t chosen to abort it. This is not a slippery slope argument; this is a reasonable and inevitable application of your principle.

7. The bodily autonomy argument is flawed because it requires you to support abortion at every stage of development.

I’m throwing this in here because most pro-aborts will not (vocally) defend abortion at 8 or 9 months. But — if bodily autonomy is your claim — you must. Is a woman’s body less autonomous when she’s been pregnant for 35 weeks? There is no way around it: bodily autonomy means that it is moral to kill a fully formed baby, at seven months, or eight months, or nine months.

8. The bodily autonomy argument is flawed because you can’t limit it to pregnant women.

You say that our bodies cannot be ‘used’ without our ‘consent.’ Why should this apply only to pregnancy and organ donations? Children, at any age, create profound demands on their parents’ bodies. Whether it’s waking up in the middle of the night for the crying baby, working long hours to pay for their food and clothing, carrying them around when they cannot walk, staying home when you’d like to go out, going out (to bring them to the doctor, or school, or soccer practice) when you’d like to stay in, etc, etc, etc, and so forth. An argument for absolute bodily autonomy means that it can’t be illegal, or considered immoral, for a parent to decline to do any of these things, so long as their decision was made in the name of bodily autonomy.

9. The bodily autonomy argument is flawed because it necessarily justifies things like public masturbation.

If I can ‘do what I want with my body,’ then it becomes very difficult to launch a salient moral or legal attack against a man who chooses to sit in a playground in front of children and pleasure his own body.

10. Finally, the bodily autonomy argument is flawed because our bodies are not autonomous.

I’m often accused of oversimplifying, but I’ve never oversimplified to the extent of you bodily autonomy proponents. Once we’ve considered every complexity and nuance, we can rightly say that our bodies are autonomous in some ways, and in some circumstances, but not in others. We cannot say that they are absolutely autonomous, and I find it hard to believe that anyone truly thinks that.

Any claim or responsibility placed on me, automatically includes a claim and responsibility on my body. Everything I do involves my body. I am my body. CS Lewis would say that I am my soul and I have a body. I agree with him, but for our purposes in this discussion, leaving souls and spirits aside, we are our bodies. Whether we are expected to pay taxes or drive the speed limit or provide a safe and sanitary home for our children, we are using our bodies to meet these expectations. We experience and participate in life with our bodies. Absolute bodily autonomy is inexorably linked with personal autonomy. If my body is autonomous, my person must be autonomous, and if my person is autonomous, then my very existence is autonomous, and if my very existence is autonomous, then it is simply unacceptable and (by your logic) immoral for anyone to expect me to do anything for anyone at any point for any reason.

If you concede that we ought to be expected or even required to do certain things, then you are placing limits on our bodily autonomy. If you place limits on our bodily autonomy, then you are admitting that limits can be placed on our bodily autonomy. If you are admitting that limits can be placed on our bodily autonomy, then you must consider whether abortion falls within or outside of those limits. And here’s the rub: if you contend that abortion falls within the limits on bodily autonomy, you must justify that belief beyond simply reasserting our right to bodily autonomy.

Personally, I think that abortion goes well beyond the limits on bodily autonomy, for all of the reasons I’ve previously stipulated.

There’s your answer, Rachel.

But, except for the ten reasons why you’re wrong, you’re right on the money.

And, except for the ten answers I’ve provided, I have no answers for you.

I guess you win.

Thanks for writing.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1,790 Comments

Dear America, you’re too smart to listen to Beyonce

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Dear America,

Lately, we’ve become very health conscious. We don’t want to put bad things into our bodies. We stay away from trans-fat and regular fat and gluten and sugar and red meat and ranch dressing. We don’t smoke. We even embrace laws that ban other people from smoking anywhere within 3 million square miles of us.

We’re getting into organic foods. We don’t want to ingest any chemicals (even though “chemicals” are a pretty broad category, but I know what we mean). We drink soy milk. We’re cutting out the carbs. We take our vitamins.

I’m not trying to talk us out of these habits. I think we take it a little too far, and I think we have a largely unhealthy fear of our own mortality, but at least it sometimes drives us to pass up the processed foods and go for a jog.

Fantastic. I’m proud of us.

Now, why don’t we take it a step further? We are, after all, human beings. Our bodies are more than just physical entities. We have minds, we have souls; we have identities that transcend mere skin and blood and bones. At the core of our being is something intangible and eternal. Our core cannot gain weight or develop a gluten intolerance, but it is still vulnerable to whatever we feed it.

Maybe it’s time we start being a little more discerning about those things — the things we put into our minds and souls. For all the energy we spend monitoring our waistlines and cholesterol levels, perhaps we should make a small effort to guard the spirit contained inside these mortal vessels of ours.

On that note, maybe you’ve heard about the controversy surrounding the Obama family’s favorite “role model.” Beyoncé apparently released a “song” called “Partition.”

Why is it called “Partition”? Well, because the singer offers a profound insight into the ways in which modern humans — though subscribing to a largely collectivist philosophy, and even spending much of our days congregated in close quarters with one another in our schools and our places of employment  – still erect barriers (partitions, if you will) which render meaningful communication and intimate human connections impossible.

Just kidding.

It’s actually called “Partition” because she asks the driver to raise the partition before she performs oral sex in the back of the limo.

Here’s a sample lyric (warning: graphic content):

Driver roll up the partition please
I don’t need you seeing Yonce on her  knees … 
Oh he so horny, yeah he want to  f— 
He popped all my buttons, and he ripped my blouse 
He Monica Lewinsky-ed all on my gown 

I just wanna be the girl you like, the girl you like

 Truly poetic, but perhaps not quite as romantic and imaginative as the lyrics to her song “Drunk in Love.” That’s the one she performed at the Grammy’s, while desperately overcompensating for a lack of artistic ability by writhing and thrusting and sexually degrading herself.

Here’s a quick look at a snippet of that masterpiece:

We woke up in the kitchen saying,
“How the hell did this sh-t happen?”
Oh baby, drunk in love we be all night
Last thing I remember is our beautiful bodies grinding up in the club

…No complaints from my body, so fluorescent under these lights
Boy, I’m drinking,
Park it in my lot 7-11
I’m rubbing on it, rub-rubbing, if you scared, call that reverend

Park it in my lot, 7-11. Get it? GET IT? SEX. See it yet? Do you see the SEX? SEX. SEX. SEE HOW IT’S ABOUT SEX? ISN’T THAT HIP AND COOL? SEX. LOOK I’M TALKING ABOUT SEX. SEXUAL CONTENT. THE CONTENT IS SEXUAL. SEE? IMPRESSED YET? SEX.

That’s the general impression I come away with anytime I get a whiff of most modern pop music. Not only are these people sex-obsessed, but they aren’t nearly smart enough or clever enough to be subtle about it.

And that’s what leads me to my point, America.

These songs are obviously hypersexual. But, honestly, my greater concern is the fact that they’re hyperstupid.

Really, really stupid.

So stupid that it makes you stupid when you come in contact with it. It renders you stupid by proxy. Secondhand stupid.

Even if you won’t boycott pop music for morality’s sake, at least give it up for your brain’s sake. You gave up artificial sugar because you don’t want diabetes. Now give up Beyonce (and those like her) because you don’t want to be stupid.

Yes, the music is inappropriate, degrading, and offensive, but it’s also incredibly, awfully, outrageously, aggressively stupid. I’m not talking about stupid in a fun-loving, slapstick kind of way; I’m talking about stupid in a bland, pathetic, makes-your-brain-cells-commit-suicide kind of way.

This is the only reason why I’m hesitant to jump on the Miley Cyrus/Beyonce/Katy Perry/whoever outrage bandwagon. We act as though these people are artist provocateurs; intentionally jabbing at society’s taboos in order to make a bold, anarchic statement.

But Picasso they ain’t.

These pop-products have no vision. They have no critique to levy or declaration to make. They’re empty shells. They’re carefully constructed corporate constructions, singing and behaving with the wisdom and maturity of 7th graders because that’s what sells.

I know I’m not the first person to call this music stupid. But I want you to know, America, that I don’t say it as some generic insult. I want you to really reflect on this. This nonsense lessens you. It eats away at the creative capacities in your mind. It poisons your head with a deadening fog.

Worst of all: it makes us less capable of appreciating real beauty and feeling real joy.

Beauty. Remember beauty? Remember joy? There is no room for beauty and joy in a mind that’s filled with songs about women performing oral sex in the back of a limo.

We are humans. Art speaks to us. Art matters. Nowadays, we like to put a utilitarian, materialist spin on music (and movies and TV). We say, “well it’s just a song — what’s the big deal?” Yes, and the Pieta is just a hunk of marble. Yet, through the great mystery of art, emanating from that chunk of rock is something so filled with beauty and pain, tragedy and triumphant, that it could easily reduce you to tears — tears of joy and sadness, all at once.

And those audio vibrations comprising that “just a song” communicate something to us. We are changed by it. We are impacted. And, in this case, what exactly is impacting us? Clumsy, juvenile lyrics, pathetically overt sexuality, and unadulterated stupidity.

Let’s stop it. All of us. Let’s stop it together. Let’s expect more of our art.

You know, it is possible to communicate love and sensuality in a way that’s perhaps a bit more eloquent than “oh baby, drunk in love we be all night.”

Here’s an example. This is the excerpt from the Song of Solomon that we read at our wedding:

Hark! my lover–here he comes
springing across the mountains,
leaping across the hills.
My lover is like a gazelle
or a young stag.
Here he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
peering through the lattices.
My lover speaks; he says to me,
“Arise, my beloved, my dove, my beautiful one, and come!
“O my dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the secret recesses of the cliff,
Let me see you,
let me hear your voice,
for your voice is sweet,
and you are lovely.”
My lover belongs to me and I to him.
He says to me:
“Set me as a seal on your heart,
as a seal on your arm;
For stern as death is love,
relentless as the nether world is devotion;
its flames are a blazing fire.
Deep waters cannot quench love,
nor floods sweep it away.”

Set me as a seal on your heart. As a seal on your arm. For stern as death is love.

Chilling. Powerful. Love and death brought together. The pain of it, the finality of it. Incredible.

Now compare that to how Beyonce tackles the subject:

No complaints from my body, so fluorescent under these lights
Boy, I’m drinking,
Park it in my lot 7-11
I’m rubbing on it, rub-rubbing, if you scared, call that reverend

Ridiculous. Boorish. Incoherent.

Stupid.

Just plain stupid.

We’re too good for this, America. We’re too smart.

Let’s stop listening to it.

Just stop.

Thanks for your attention to this matter.

Love,

Matt

*****

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Posted in Uncategorized | 875 Comments