A plea to Ted Nugent (and all the other demagogues of the world)

Dear Ted Nugent,

I’ll admit it. I grew up admiring you. You were a drug-free artist who came from a small town and was thought of as crazy. I was a drug free artist who was thought of as creepily smart, possibly on drugs (for my odd behavior) and as an  “odd one”.1545098_10151929481037297_351251612_n

Besides you had long hair, which is my Achilles heal and you were in one of my favorite bands, Damn Yankees.

What’s not to love?

Mind you, this was before the age of widespread Googling and I became aware of your political beliefs (diametrically opposed to mine) and your past with women and girls.

But that’s not what this is about today. It isn’t about Obama. It isn’t about gun control. It isn’t about the questionable past-times of you or I or anyone else.

It’s about what you say, how you say it, and why it so desperately matters.

You see, language shapes our world-views. If you really want a crash course in this, I suggest you check out this crazy cat named Derrida.

I’ll give you a quick crash course. For example, using he in a text when it referring to both a male and female inherently devalues the female. She is relegated as not as important as the male counterpart. The more widespread this becomes, the more inherent the thought that the female is second becomes, so much so that we don’t recognize it as an opinion but a truth and as that becomes a truth it bleeds into other parts of our lives.

But maybe this is too abstract. Let me illustrate from your own words how language can shape people.

You recently called the President and various politicians as well as their supporters (via facebook), subhuman mongrels.

Sub-human, really?

What Teddy has just done here is labeled the President, most politicians, and well myself (as well as other Democrats supporters and gun-rights control advocates) as “the other,” inherently inferior and by definition less than human.

But why does this matter?

Because simply you are creating a system where by people see themselves as superior to other people. As our history has shown, when one group tends to think of another as not as good, not as human, not entitled to the same rights, violence, enslavement and bigotry ensues. In short, you are by you words, making a schema where it is ok to disenfranchise others. It is ok to hate others. It is ok to believe that certian human beings are not as good as you and not worthy of the sames things that you deserve.

What someone doesn’t believe what I believe!

Well they simply aren’t a good/human as I am, so what does their belief matter?

What you are doing is hurting America.

You have almost 2 million followers on facebook. Instead of engaging them in debate, perhaps trying to find the solution to our problems, or a compromise, or at least providing evidence to why your solution may be betters than others, you instead polarize your fracture, making them resistant to debate, compromise or change; all the while, you fill them with hate towards anyone who thinks differently than you.

I’m tempted to call you out on the hypocrisy of trying to uphold American ideals of freedoms while demeaning and shaming all those who think differently than you.

Ok I just did it.

And for those who think I’m cherry picking a quote, I invite you to follow his facebook page, or check out some of the other awesome quotes he has had throughout the years.

Ok one more link, there are just too many.

The worst part, is, though you aren’t the only one.

Pundits on both side who have millions of viewers, millions of people who’s world view are partly shaped by their words and interpretation of the world, continue to act in a devious  manner, skewing and sometimes just plan making up facts to fit their own political agenda. All the while these pundits bash and trash the other side. Instead of having a rational factual debate. They label anyone who opposes them as “the other“, the enemy.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t protest. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dissent. But there is a helpful way to do it, one that works towards a solution to our problems, and there is one that comes at a cost to all mankind.

I’m going leave you with a quote from one of my favorite TV shows, LOST:

If we can’t live together, then we’re going to die alone.

We all have a choice in the words we use. And there are consequences to them.

A former fan (fine I still really like Damn Yankees),

Rach

Disney Princess:Queen Bees and Insecurities

ariealSo buzzfeed had an article, “If the Disney Princess went to your high school,” which was hilarious and also shines a light on the faults of the princesses. It’s tongue in cheek for sure, but is the perfect article for people like me who grew up with a love/hate relationship with Disney and the Princesses as well (minus Belle, I will get my library god dang it.).your-disney-inner-circle

Disney stories are entertaining, but let’s face it, most of them are awful morals for women and young girls. And frankly most of the princess could use a little consoling!

What do you think? Ideas you would add? Any assessments you disagree with?

Once upon a time, I came to hate Disney

I’ve never much been a fan of Disney, I’ll admit it, even as a kid, I’d rather play sky-diving Barbies than sit down and watch a Disney movie. I never wanted to be a Disney princess, except maybe for Belle, and that was only because of the awesome library.  It just wasn’t my thing.  So it wasn’t until later, when I was much older, that I actually watched the Disney cannon and realized the movies had awful moral values until…..

Hope.

Disney decided to create a female character that bucked the overwhelming trends of their franchise series, choosing to pursue her dreams rather than pursue a husband. Applauded for this incredibly late foray into the twenty-first century, quickly Disney had to shoot itself in the foot.

When Braves strong female lead, Merida, was introduced inMay as an official Disney princess, she was a starkly different character than then one appearing in the movie. Gone were the lose fitting clothes, replaced a with form-hugging dress hugging her newly spouted bountiful curves. Gone was her bow, an instrument of her power and independence leaving us with the quintessential over-feminized, helpless Princesses that Disney is so accustomed to producing.

The indignity in Disney’s decision to make Merida more marketable by striping her of any individuality perhaps shouldn’t be shocking considering the ranks she’s join.

We have Belle, a princess who started out a poor provincial girl with dreams of seeing the world and asserting her independence. Upon her imprisonment with her verbal abusive and borderline physically abusive captor, she quickly starts to fall for him when he shows a slight glint of humanity. Gone are her dreams and goals, replaced with the reward of a title and a husband who has changed overnight with no counseling.

Then there’s our little stalker Ariel. Our lovely aquarium-friend falls in love with a man she has never talked to. Taking her stalking and obsession to the extreme, she give up all of her talents, chucks her family and culture aside, and reinvents herself as a different person, who ironically enough lacks a voice. Her stalking is rewarded with his eventual love, solely based on a girl completely different from Ariel. And they live happily ever after.

There are other examples, other princesses with similar stories of weak-willed, love obsessed powerless women who flounder without a male presence or catalyst.  Perhaps, retrospectively views through the cultural standards of the time, the older tales and stories could be dismissed as reflective of the time though this of course makes them no more innocuous than their modern counterparts. But the insistence of Disney to shun any of the inroads made in the last fifty years of feminism simply is unacceptable.

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Disney caved over the pressure  from parents’ outrage, pulling the design and branding it as a “one time make over.” But even the creators of the movies doubt that she won’t be re-branded eventually. Let’s face it, a non-glamorous, strong lead doesn’t really fit in with their cannon.

The problem is, as Kurt Vonnegut once said, “we are what we pretend to be so we must be careful what we pretend to be.” We need to reexamine the stories we are telling our children.  The morals and lessons engrained in them, stated or not, seep into our minds, shaping us in ways we can’t even begin to imagine.

The world doesn’t need another curvy, innocuous perpetuation of feminine ideals. It doesn’t need another princess and all the class associations that title brings with it.  We need a pimply, chunky punk, a blue hair, pierced, Marxist rebel who tells society to shove it in pursuit of her dream.  Someone who inspires little girls to pursue their dreams no matter what they are.

And in the absence of Disney’s willingness to step outside its trite limited view of women, it’s time for us as artists to step into the void.