Mormonism, Politics and Why I’m Saying Bye to Social Media

Guys, I’m so tired. I feel physically tired, mostly because this afternoon while out I was suddenly hit with an enormous wave of depression that has left me alternately sad and apathetic and filled with physical pain.

And also the title is probably overly dramatic, because I’m really only peacing out to Facebook for now because people tend to be less dickhead-ish on Instagram. I have some friends with very adorable children whose lives I need to follow somehow and a makeup business to maintain, after all, so I can’t just go off the grid entirely (although writing that makes me think, “But maybe I could.”).

I’m going to say this once, and then I’m never saying it again on a public forum (and I assure you, I am filled with a lot of trepidation over even mentioning it in a not-very-publicized or even read blog, fear that I will be attacked by racists and/or misogynists or, even worse, friends who claim they love and respect me): I am voting for Hillary Clinton. I’ve been planning on it since 2012 and haven’t read anything that’s changed my position or made me think I’m making the wrong decision for myself. For a much better, more detailed explanation than I could ever give about the root of Hillary’s problems is that she is, unfortunately, a woman, check out this amazing article here (you’re not going to read it, are you? You’re going to skip it and have already thought up horrible things to say to me. Go ahead. I won’t read it for awhile anyhow.). Plenty of men, plenty of politicians, plenty of Republicans have done many of the same “egregious” and “unforgivable” things with little to no consequence, but America can’t seem to give her a pass. Do I love her? Not really. But I certainly don’t despise her, and I think she’d make a very fine president. Anyhow, I didn’t want to say it, but it’s important that you know my stance before I get into the rest of my post.

I am faced with two pretty glaring problems, however: 1. I am a liberal living in a predominately VERY conservative state and 2. social media has turned us all into argumentative, vicious monsters who are quick to anger and slow to forgive. We speak loudly and carry multiple big sticks (or assault rifles, you know. Whatever.), and we believe it is our God given right to tell everyone how wrong they are. I abstain from this behavior because my anxiety can’t take it, I respect my friends, and I think by now it’s been VERY effectively proven that arguing online neither changes minds nor strengthens bonds. It’s a whole new world of us vs. them, but we’re sacrificing families and long-lasting friendships in the name of being champion. If that isn’t America’s tragedy, I’m not sure what is.

Growing up Mormon, I’ve spent a lot of time questioning certain aspects of the religion, periods of disbelief, and moments of quiet contemplation, but I certainly don’t claim to know all there is to know about Mormonism. So most of what I’m about to say is kind of the Gospel According to Mary, and you may take it as you will.

Election years always bring to mind Article of Faith #12, which states: “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law (emphasis added).” So basically what it’s saying is we will uphold the law (except when it comes to driving down I-15 apparently) and we will honor and sustain our lawmakers, which includes but is not limited to our president, and that’s the rub, isn’t it? We claim to believe we will honor (which can mean respect, not attack or cyber-bully, or spread lies and rumors) the President of the United States of America, but in a religion that is somehow very Republican (and for those of you not particularly familiar with the Church, we are not told to vote one way or another — this is just how the cookie has crumbled, politically, within the Church’s culture for decades, and damned if I understand it), that’s pretty hard when the president is a Democrat. And I’ll say this goes the other way as well, of course, although the last time we had a Republican in office, social media certainly hadn’t taken off in the way it has today, but Democrats are not exempt from this particular Article of Faith. We don’t have to agree or like it, but we have to be respectful.

Newsflash: most aren’t. #religiouspeopleamirite

This year’s election, which simply cannot come to an end faster for me, has also brought to mind Article of Faith #13, which states: “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men … (emphasis added).” So this says very plainly that Mormons believe in not spreading lies, gossip, rumors, or falsehoods, and that we will bestow upon all others benevolence (which is defined as offering charity and goodwill) and virtue (which is defined as moral uprightness). I mean, basically we claim to believe in being literally the best versions of ourselves, kind, tender, forgiving, and honest. So I find myself utterly confused when I see dozens of Mormons all around me (and this is just within my circle of friends and acquaintances — I have no doubt in my mind that there are thousands, if not millions, of Mormons capable of this as well) posting anti-Hillary sentiments on a daily basis. It’s easy to repost a meme or a picture or an article or something that’s awful (even if it may be true). And apparently (and I’m speculating here, but I feel pretty confident in my assumption) Mormons believe in being benevolent to and honest about anyone except for Hillary Clinton because somehow she doesn’t fall under the umbrella of “all men” (I could say something again about misogyny but I don’t want to beat a dead horse). So that’s weird to me. And I feel like there’s some sort of discord and disconnect.

I’ve been heartbroken this year, particularly, to see individuals whom I held in very high esteem be, quite frankly, terrible humans online. It’s shaken my faith, it’s made me question why I belong to the Church still, in spite of everything, and I imagine Joseph Smith, who was martyred in the name of this religion, coming down from the proverbial mount with the 13 Articles of Faith, a modern-day Moses who just received the Ten Commandments, weeping because we’ve built a golden calf and do nothing but idolize it all day long.

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A Conversation About White Privilege and Why it Exists

The title may be misleading because I’m neither an anthropologist nor a sociologist, so I actually have no real scientific or societal basis as to why White privilege began and why it’s still in existence. I have some pretty good ideas, but not founded enough to write an entire blog post about them — this is about how it DOES exist despite what some people may say.

First off, being a minority in America is a weird thing, especially belonging to the “elite” minority group, the one white people don’t really mind all that much except when it comes to penny pinching and a lack of understanding at nail salons. Have major strides been made since the beginning of American time? Absolutely. But why is it that not that long ago (less than a century, even) that it was illegal for me to marry a white man, to own land or a home, to even vote? Why were fellow Asians (the Japanese to be specific just in case you’ve been living under a rock and literally know nothing) forced into internment camps a mere 70 some years ago? Babies born in internment camps are still very much alive, which means it wasn’t long ago enough (of course it shouldn’t have happened in the first place, but it did, and nothing I can do or say will change that).

And to add to the confusion (for me and probably everyone else), I’m an international adoptee, which has garnered such comments as, “Well, you’re not a real Asian” or “So you’re basically White.” Have I said these things about myself? Totally. But there’s a difference between what a person can say about themselves and what other people can say, sorry if it bothers you and feels unjust. And I’m working on curbing comments like that anyhow so as to not add to the unfortunate race problem we have here in the old US of A. (And just as an aside, I recognize there are some major race issues in other countries, but I don’t live in those countries, probably you don’t either, and that doesn’t really affect how America acts. If it does, it most certainly shouldn’t — “Well, as long as there’s a group of people more racist, then we’re fine.”) But back to the issue at hand — I am most certainly a real Asian (my facial features prove that quite readily), and I’m not basically White since I am, last time I checked, full Asian. Also I’m not basic at all *snaps*. It would appropriate to say, under these circumstances, “Well, you’re ethnically Asian but culturally American, which is a predominately White culture even though White people can’t seem to get enough of Taco Tuesdays.”

tacotuesdaysimpsons

If you’re a White person reading this, fuming and foaming at the mouth that I am declaring that White privilege exists, well … sorry, but I don’t make the rules. Does it appear that White people in America have some unearned social advantages because of the color of their skin? Absolutely. Does it mean I expect all White people to sit around feeling bad about themselves because of the color of their skin? No. That would be racist. (And just to clear things up, we all say or do racist things from time to time, and those instances do not make us Racists. They make us humans who say and do dumb crap. When a minority says to you (should you be White), “That’s kind of racist,” don’t get all up in arms about it. Accept the feedback and reevaluate what you’ve done and then probably stop that particular behavior. Recently I got into a rather heated argument with someone over Facebook (which I most certainly did NOT want, by the way — I hate Facebook arguments quite thoroughly and don’t ever go to other peoples’ pages to disagree with them, even if I feel confident I can be diplomatic about it) in regards to whether “South Pacific” is racist. First of all, it totally 100% is, and I don’t give a hoot about in what decade it was written or what the original intent was. People are unintentionally racist all the time, and that doesn’t make it any less offensive. It just makes it steeped in ignorance. Plus, things age out. Let’s all agree to retire “South Pacific” because it’s 2016 and no one should be producing it anyhow. And rather unfortunately, the White person with whom I was trying to discuss the matter did NOT take my feedback well and then downgraded my distaste for racism to mere offense. I wish a more productive conversation could have ensued from the whole thing and that the other person could have begun to understand that when two Asian people are saying, “This thing is racist against Asians,” it very well may be. For a much better explanation of the ultimately too negative connotations to the words racist and racism, plus several good ways White people can overcome their White fragility (y’all are SUPER fragile) and occasionally swallow that uncomfortable pill of being wrong, check out this post here.)

“But what about reverse discrimination? White men can’t get anything these days because of all the benefits the minorities are getting.” HAHAHAHAHAHA shut up and go away, first off. No one wants to hear about how hard it is to be a White man in America. But that does bring me to my next point about The Problem with Affirmative Action, and Why it Needs to Go Away. It’s been proven time and time again that the government probably needs to stop making sweeping generalizations about groups of people and offering handouts to those they consider less fortunate — there’s actually very little that bothers me more than White altruism (I’m looking straight at you, Brangelina).

Story time. When I was in college, one of the organizations held Affirmative Action Day in the student union, where they sold food at different costs depending upon the buyer’s ethnicity. Spoiler alert: that didn’t go over well and no one thought it was a good idea. I mean, I guess it was cool that for just some pocket change I could buy a burger (or was it candy? Too old, can’t remember), and I think at the time I took part in it just because it was so cheap (cheaper for Black students, cheapest for Native Americans, which … the offensiveness runs deep with that one, kids.) Here’s my beef with Affirmative Action: it was created by White people, for starters, and appears to be a handout to POC (people of color) because apparently we can’t achieve anything without the assistance of our White superiors. Is it reverse discrimination, however? Absolutely not. It is, unfortunately, hiring employees or accepting college students for all the wrong reasons. Accept Black students into your student body because of their GPA, their motivation, their drive, their extracurriculars — not because you have a percentage you need to fulfill to appear diverse. They’re out there, they exist, and they don’t need your help. We don’t need your help. But ultimately till that goes away, when someone says, “I want you because of the color of your skin,” that is not in any way similar to, “I do not want you because you are White.”

I don’t think the answer is abolishing the notion that race exists at all. I’ve heard that argument, and it just ultimately sounds like something a White person would say. I’m proud to be Asian, to be a little different from other people, to have unique traits that no one else can have. I think there are dozens and dozens of cultures that shouldn’t be downgraded in the name of fighting racism under the guise of “But we’re all humans.” I DO think we need to open up the conversation about White privilege, what White people can do about it, how they can take responsibility for it, how they can learn valuable lessons from POC. And I think POC need to recognize that the majority of White people are inherently good, that they have good intentions, and that there’s a lot they (and we) don’t know. When someone says something racist, don’t be rude about it. Let it be a learning experience, and if they react negatively to that feedback, don’t engage in argument. You’ve offered up knowledge, and what they do with it is up to them. I’ve been told almost my entire marriage that the key to success is good communication, and that translates VERY well to all interpersonal relationships. When you take the time to listen and understand, that’s when growth occurs. That’s how we get rid of the race problem in America.

The-biggest-communication-problem-is-we-do-not-listen-to-understand.-We-listen-to-reply

Let’s Talk About Female Empowerment (just for a second)

I want to make something really clear. Just because you say you’ve done something liberating, empowering, feminist, strong, etc. et cetera doesn’t actually mean it’s true. I could spend every waking minute telling people I’m actually Caucasian with very delicate Asian-like features, but that still won’t stop the fact that I am, at my very core, Asian. I could persecute someone in the name of religion — NAY, IN THE NAME OF GOD — and it still wouldn’t be what God wanted. (And I shouldn’t have to put this here, but I will absolutely never persecute anyone ever for any reason.)

I’m not going to get on this whole tirade about modesty — I’m LDS, which means I practice modesty in my appearance, but I also recognize very fully that modest is most certainly NOT hottest. And not everyone subscribes to the same belief system I do, nor do they agree with my personal views on modesty and why one practices it, so I’m not going to try and change any minds here in this blog post.

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But let me be really clear — I feel quite empowered about my body in what I consider a healthy way, and I don’t feel any sort of need to flaunt it (and this isn’t a self-consciousness thing, although I’m softer in certain areas than I’d personally like to be). It’s probably 25% modesty and 75% understanding what empowerment actually means. [By definition, empower is to “make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.”] So what exactly is it that I need to do to feel empowered?

  • Well, first off, I don’t use the word lightly. It’s taken us decades, centuries, heck even millennia to get the power we have (and we still have a long long way to go). Not everything I do in my everyday life is a move in the name of empowerment. Sometimes I just, like, enjoy binge-watching Netflix or whatever. And I certainly do it because I can, but … let’s not quantify things that don’t actually deserve quantification.
  • I have a very clear idea of the sort of woman I’d like to be. I am not particularly close to being her (and I daresay it will take me the rest of my life to get closer), but I know who I’d like to become as the years go by. Understanding that gets easier the older you get.
  • I feel very confident with the body that I have, and I don’t give it too much power. I realize that I’ve been bestowed with certain parts that make me more feminine than a man, and that for whatever reason those parts can be quite powerful to them (fat sacks, guys. They’re fat sacks, and they come and go and spend the majority of our lives being saggy, so get over them already.), so I’m not going to take that for granted. But I also have hair where I don’t want it like everyone else, skin covering my entirety like everyone else except for Harvey Dent, facial features like 99% of everyone else, and fingernails that grow at an alarmingly fast rate like some other people who may read this and think oh my gosh she GETS it. What I’m trying to say is that it’s just a body. I was born with it like everyone else, and we really shouldn’t spend too much time worrying about oversexualizing it because that leads to all sorts of issues in the long run.
  • I vote, and I make sure to never vote against myself or my basic human rights. This should be pretty self-explanatory.
  • I give very little thought about other women’s bodies — someone else’s appearance should ultimately not matter to any of us at all ever. We all make certain decisions in the morning that we think make us beautiful, and who’s to say we’re wrong? (And I know, I know, there are all those Buzzfeed articles about the worst makeup in the world, and that truly stumps me because it’s pretty awful. But also that’s an aberration and most women don’t look like that on a regular basis.)
  • I don’t spend my time concerned with looking like anyone famous. Do you even know what it takes to look like a famous person? Nutritionists, dietitians, personal chefs, personal trainers, photographers, makeup artists, hair stylists, lighting … coordinators (I don’t even know what to call them), lavish homes styled by interior decorators, wardrobes upon wardrobes upon wardrobes. Unless I somehow stumble into a life that is identical to that (Dear God, it is my humble prayer that I never stumble into a life that is identical to that. Amen.), I might as well stop trying now. I’m not caving, I’m being realistic. Also, I don’t want anyone telling me how to eat. I will eat however I want thankyouverymuch.
benjaminpile

Photo found here 

Sometimes we need to call certain things as they are. Posing topless in front of a mirror with your bestie (who may not even be your bestie in the real life), giving the world the finger (which is actually so apropos when you think about it) isn’t actually empowerment. It could be labeled a lot of things, but empowering or feminist or liberating aren’t it.

The Internet is Ruining Our Lives

When I was a senior in college, taking a senior capstone course in the American Studies department of Utah State (not even including a link to it because it’s a joke … American Studies degrees are jokes), we were assigned the final project of a paper and presentation on a good example of contested space. You know, like how white men came on over and took all of the indigenous peoples’ land and then reallocated it to them, like they had the right. So the degree gave me a certain perspective on America. I can’t help it — take a colonial American history class from the perspective of the native people, and you’ll get all the feels, too. Anyhow, things like ANWAR were chosen, and I decided on MySpace.

Image courtesy of underconsideration.com

Image courtesy of underconsideration.com

Because I’m old. I know. MySpace isn’t cool anymore.

At the time, the Am Studies advisor wasn’t particularly pleased with my decision, although she never told me I couldn’t choose such a topic (I was the only one who wrote and presented on anything pop culture related), and I did get a B as my final grade, so I guess I can’t complain too much. But I did find myself remarkably jealous of all the Am Studies students of BYU last semester who were required to write about things occurring in LA, which … my how the times have changed. She wasn’t familiar with MySpace outside of knowing the name and the general idea of it (social networking? Really? That’s not going to last.), which I think added to her distaste for my decision, and it wasn’t till post-college, a couple years ago, when I realized my paper and presentation were actually awesome. Till then, I’d felt kind of like a failure.

Being a secretary not using her college degree may have added to that.

My thesis was simple: social networking will ultimately alter the way society interacts with itself. Now I realize this seems like a big huge “duh,” but remember I was graduating back in 2006, when Facebook was primarily known as that website for high school students, with no News Feed, ads, suggestions, subscriptions, likes, etc. etc. et cetera. At the time, I think a lot of us weren’t totally aware of how much social networking had changed (AOL chat rooms? Do they still exist even?) and how much it would change us.

The sole reason I decided to make a foray into likening social networking to contested space was because I’d found some scriptures at the Institute building, chock full of personal notes, and I thought the person might want them back. There was one lone email address written inside, and I thought even if it didn’t belong to the original owner, perhaps this friend/acquaintance might know to whom they did belong. So I reached out — I explained the situation, and then I waited for a response. And I got one — the guy didn’t know who it belonged to, couldn’t remember even giving out his email address, and then at the end of what I thought was a simple, almost professional correspondence, asked if I was single.

Photo courtesy of wikipedia.org. For more information on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, visit http://www.lds.org

Photo courtesy of wikipedia.org. For more information on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, visit http://www.lds.org

Um, dude. What if I am someone’s grandma. I wasn’t, as it turned out, but I was so thrown by this inquiry (something that I imagine most current readers are rolling their eyes at and muttering to themselves, “What is wrong with her? Totally harmless question.”) that I turned it into an entire senior project. Because who asked questions like that? Who was this guy? What would he have done had I responded? (I did not, by the way, because I am not in the business of becoming the topic of the nighttime news.) Where did he come off? It all seemed really peculiar, and I couldn’t help but imagine social networking was partially to blame.

And I still hold pretty firmly to that. We are a voyeuristic species — we want to know what’s going on in other peoples’ lives all the time, even if it turns out to be stupid or mundane or embarrassing (why else does “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” continue airing? Yeah). And what’s worse (and of course I am lumping myself into this group because you’ll probably be hard pressed to find another person who is as addicted to all forms of social networking as I), we’re more than happy to publish it for all the world. Because at the end of the day, despite how creepy we think voyeurism may be, we want to be noticed, to be followed, to be low-level stalked because it makes us feel important/interesting. People want their lives to be witnessed. So we publish all the things and we share it with strangers, and there’s been a huge shift in communication between “Hi, you’re a stranger, I’ll make a little small talk with you” to “Hi, you’re a stranger, and whatever you won’t tell me about yourself I’ll find on the internet, so you may as well tell me now.” We ask questions that would make our grandparents roll over in their graves , we overshare information that still makes our parents cringe.

And it’s continued to (d)evolve. I find myself opening up to acquaintances much earlier on in potential relationships than I would have even three years ago, and it will probably continue to be that way. It just is what it is, and despite probably our lamest efforts to fight it, we lose every time. I’ve always been something of an oversharer, and the internet and social networking have only perpetuated that. It’s a weird place to be, my friends. I want to stop, I don’t.

Thus enters the Internet Chain Letter. You know how these used to be — those lame email forwards your uncle would send out to the whole family that you’d skim and then put in your junk box because you didn’t even want to bother with it. We used to hate chain letters, and yet now it’s almost as if, as a society, we applaud them. We encourage them. And we act like they’re our human right and that we are entitled to share them with everyone. Literally everyone.

Image courtesy of memebase.cheezburger.com

Image courtesy of memebase.cheezburger.com

One of the more recent chain letters — a rant from a single Texas mom to President Obama that went almost immediately viral — spurned so many feelings and thoughts within myself, I almost sat right down at this very blog and responded in kind with my own letter. And suddenly I realized — that simply made me one of them. And under all circumstances, may God forbid that I ever become one of them. So I ranted about it to Husband (bless his heart for listening to me when I share things with him I want to share with the world) and talked it over with a few friends and sort of got it out of my system. I mean, I totally get it — you write something that potentially thousands of people might read, you feel validated and important and right, and frankly I know no one who doesn’t love the exhilarating experience of being right.

And then we sit back and we wonder how cyber-bullying suddenly got so out of hand, how abhorrent people got their own television shows, how we’re walking around every day, way more stressed and frustrated about everything far more than we ever should. We don’t like the President, we do; we don’t like big business, we’re fine with it; we want to save the planet, we think green people are nuts; we want socialized medicine, we think it would ruin the nation; we think veganism is weird, we think it’s the only way we’ll survive. I used to be really politically savvy, and I’m being serious here. When I was in college, I knew all the political things, and I enjoyed keeping up with them. These days, politics of all type make me so upset, I try to pretend like they don’t exist.

So. The internet continues on. Chain letters will remain rampant. Anxiety levels are higher than they’ve ever been. And maybe we need to change that.

So You Say We’re in Denial

I’ve seen a lot of Facebook posts and Tweets the past several weeks (I mean, really, when you think about it, probably the last several years, but for all intents and purposes let’s just say weeks for now) with the general message of: “If only people spent as much time caring about what’s happening in the world as they do: Miley Cyrus, North West, Ben Affleck, Baby George, fill in the blank with whatever big name you’d like. If only people weren’t superficial asses who didn’t think about everything happened around them. If only people stopped being selfish. If only.

Image courtesy of yahoo.com

Image courtesy of yahoo.com

But it’s not really that simple — it never is. And I’m here to defend that point.

We are bombarded every day in Facebook and the Yahoo! homepage and CNN.com and BuzzFeed and Twitter about death and destruction and desolation. Pre-dating all those websites, horrible news was often avoidable, but it isn’t any longer, so unless Tweeters are referring specifically to individuals who are without the internet and newspaper subscriptions or, you know, the general American teenager, we know what’s happening. And it’s horrible and it makes us anxiety-ridden and it makes us cry sometimes and it makes us yell because we’re trying to figure out what in the heck is going on outside our front doors that makes us think maybe going outside isn’t really worth it. Maybe agoraphobes have had it right since the beginning.  And then it’s all we can do to not lay down on the living room floor and weep for all the women and children, for the people who have lost their lives when they didn’t need to in the first place, for the corrupt governments that sprawl out across the globe.

Image courtesy of cnn.com

Image courtesy of cnn.com

Sometimes we need Ben Affleck to be cast as Batman. Sometimes we need to know how British royalty are doing. Sometimes we crave fluff stories about Kim Kardashian’s secret wedding. Sometimes we don’t think it’s necessary or even appropriate at times to fill our Facebook News Feeds or Twitter feeds with bad news that inevitably makes us feel worse and that everyone else is generally aware of because they’re seeing it too, in their own respective ways.

I assure you, I’m aware of what’s happening in Syria, and it scares me for more than one reason. We’re all watching things unravel with you, so don’t accuse us of not caring because we care so much that it renders us paralyzed.

Let’s Talk About Paulatics

For the record, and I say this with all the love in my heart, I’ve never liked Paula Deen. It was a combination of her accent and personality, which were pretty unavoidable, and I rarely, if ever, watched any of her shows. This didn’t stop me from finding her recipes online and praising her for her regular use of butter by the pound, but Paula Deen, TV Personality left me wanting. A lot.

Photo courtesy of totalrewards.com

Photo courtesy of totalrewards.com

As a regular viewer of the Food Network and regular eater of the butter, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about her most recent antics that got her essentially nixed and why I totally stand with the network.

Officially, things really started to decline for poor Paula when it was revealed that, due to her eating habits and supposed lack of exercise, she’d ended up on the Type II Diabetes bandwagon and then hid it for as long as she could while encouraging the rest of America (specifically those of the homemaker variety, I’m assuming, although that’s more speculation on my part because I’m not that interested in finding the statistics online. But really … I feel like that’s who she was really aiming for) to add an extra stick of butter just to show them you care. When the news broke, she underwent an immediate and nearly overnight transformation that took her from lard lover to healthy substitute maven, and something about that felt kind of like — how shall I put this — a ploy. I mean, I felt for the gal — after all, FDR went his entire presidency without anyone knowing he had polio, so I can see why she’d hoped to escape the press, but when you live in the 21st century and have a household name, it’s inevitable. Some sort of crash will occur.

But that didn’t deter America or the Food Network, and they pushed forward, re-branding her, re-sizing her, and creating an all-new empire for the Deen family that included healthy recipes that tasted like the real thing and a lot more vegetables not poached in butter or, you know, animal fat (which, if we’re going to be really honest here, is how I like them). And that was pretty much fine. Three cheers for a healthy casserole. So it didn’t seem like the crash was all that bad, and the lady bounced back in an almost weird way (to me), and it seemed like everything was going to be good for eternity.

And then that deposition happened.

Now, we’ve all read every Buzzfeed about it, I know we have, so I’m not going to bore you with yet another internet recap, so let’s go ahead and break this thing down.

1. I don’t see why it’s okay to use the word, whether an individual has just attempted armed robbery (and do we have proof this occurred? I mean, I’m just saying) or is just walking down the street being his/herself. I’ve worked in the restaurant industry, and I can nearly testify that the skeeviest, most offensive and foul people seem to work there. Racial slurs coming out of blue-eyed Paula’s mouth? Yeah, I can see it.

2. So she grew up in a different generation. I totally get that — I do. I’ve stopped counting the number of times an older person (who probably served in either WWII or the Vietnam War) has made some sort of racial comment that was probably not malicious but nevertheless there and really awkward. [And while we’re on the topic guys, THE ORIENT HASN’T BEEN A PLACE FOR A REALLY LONG TIME. SO LET’S STOP CALLING ME ORIENTAL.*] But you let that one slide with Grandpa. You don’t really let it slide with people who are constantly in the public eye.

3. This leads to her generally cavalier attitude about it when she was first caught red-handed. It was like, “Well yeah, hasn’t everyone? Duh,” and I’d say that’s ultimately what really offended people. Like when good old Mitt strapped his sick dog to the roof of his car — certainly we were all really dismayed that happened, but then we were even MORE upset when he said he wouldn’t do it again because people didn’t react favorably to it. Like if it wouldn’t affect his running, he’d totally do it again.

4. And then she cried and cried and cried. Like Jason Mesnick on “The Bachelor.” While I should probably feel pleased that she made several (and I mean SEVERAL) attempts to ensure all of the world knew how sorry she was, I mostly feel all cringey inside. *shudders* One Youtube apology is probably enough.

5. Let’s set something really, really straight right here, right now. Paula Deen wasn’t actually fired from the Food Network. They simply made the smart business choice to not re-up her contract, which is entirely within their right. And let’s look at this from a business perspective.

  • There are several famous chefs on the Food Network who are not Caucasian, and it would feel kind of fishy and hypocritical (and awkward — let’s not forget awkward) to have all that housed under one umbrella together. Although I imagine, late late one night/morning, someone at the network considered making a show with Paula and, I don’t know, Sunny Anderson, to show how utopian the food world really is. That was probably dropped after a few seconds.
  • At the end of the day, the Food Network is a business. Nothing more. They want to make money, they want to be successful, they want people to like them. A situation like this will inevitably lead to an enormous divide — if they’d kept her on, people would have protested, had they decided to part ways as they did, people would have protested. It was ultimately a real lose/lose situation for them, which they probably didn’t love all that much. But it’s probably easier to deal with the protesters who are in favor of using the N word because (and I swear to you, this is paraphrasing what dozens of PD fans wrote online) “They call each other that, so they shouldn’t be offended when we do.”
  • . . .

6. Not all minorities use racial epithets casually. I know there are some that do, but there are also some Democrats who hunt and some Republicans who are gay, so that argument is pretty moot in my opinion. And I can say pretty firmly that there’s a pretty big group of us who don’t care for them one bit.

7. I don’t think this was a harsh decision to be made. Although they have a well-documented love for Bobby Flay and Guy Fieri (it’s almost embarrassing, you guys), there are several Food Network stars who have come and gone over the years, so Paula Deen can join the pity party with them. And it’s not as though the Food Network is the only place where she can continue her probably world-wide fame. I’m sure another network will pick her up as soon as her Food  contract is up, and even if they don’t, the woman can just keep on cranking out cookbook after cookbook after cookbook. It’s not like we should feel that bad for her. Think of it like an NBA player whose injury has led to his athletic demise. Dude’s still living in a mansion.

So move onward and upward, Paula Deen. Learn from those really bad mistakes you’ve made again and again, avoid frozen hams, get a new PR manager (and then another for good measure), and keep on keepin’ on. And Food Network? Really, when those people say they’re never going to watch you ever again for the rest of eternity because you dropped her, they were just kidding. I’m sure of it.

*Things that are Oriental: fine tapestry rugs, Top Ramen, a famous trading company that sells cheap, plastic toys in bulk.

Mary Sings a Song (or two)

What’s been keeping me so busy lo, these past many days, has been an amalgamation of vocal competitions and a musical in which I was cast as a dancer (that’s a joke) and a new kitty (perfection, my life is complete) and an innate desire to stay in bed for eternity (the sheets, they are just so soft). And aside from the cat finally dominating and forcing us to move a teacup display into the spare room and clear off a space for her to take up residence on the dresser and the windowsill above it to either look outside or stare at us while we sleep, like a creepster, not many low points have happened.

Except one.

So, you might as well know now: I have a seizure disorder. And before you start flipping out about that, I use the words seizure and disorder pretty lightly because to my knowledge, I’ve only had one grand mal seizure in my life, which led to a fun trip to the ER in an ambulance (without any underwear on — that was a fun discovery while waiting for a cat scan, let me tell you). And then I went on medicine and then I was fine for forever.

Although … sometimes I will be struck with an odd inability to form words, like I’m having a stroke or, you know, a seizure.

(Kind of sick that I’m writing about this in a humor blog like it’s humorous because probably it is not, but I’ve come to find out about myself that it’s the things I shouldn’t find funny that are, inevitably, hilarious).

It was in that room that I secured my position in the finals.

It was in that room that I secured my position in the finals.

So I went to my vocal competition this past weekend and kind of killed it (I’ve yet to decide if I’m more pleased with the cash prizes or the free Cafe Rio meals or the gift certificates to a beauty school that promises some sort of great scalp massage treatment) in both divisions. But before I knew I’d killed it, before I was presented with gifts and prizes and compliments and what seemed to be a straight up offer to play Christmas Eve in “Avenue Q,” while I was still competing against a bunch of girls in really cute dresses, I became somewhat dumbfounded.

Yep. Had a mini seizure just right in the middle of my song. But of course no one really knew except for me, so it was more or less the appearance of forgetting the lyrics and changing my character’s name from Morales to Moreallen. Yeah. Moreallen. Like that’s a real word or something.

My voice teacher’s face during this episode was priceless, by the way.

Yet I killed it and won and got prizes and I suppose the real low point in all of this is that my opponents (opponents? That doesn’t seem right. It’s not like we were wrestling each other. Other competitors?) lost to a girl having a seizure.

And, sure, I’ll post a video of it because I’m nothing if not shameless.