Sunday, November 4, 2007


I had two very interesting introspective moments yesterday. In the morning, I was watching cartoons as I was in my bedroom and I only have basic cable in there so my selection was limited and I saw an advertisement for a Nerf longshot dart gun. I wasn't really paying attention to the ad and didn't really think about it as a gun until they added that it could be converted using their quick firing ammo clip and the targeting scope. At this point I perked up and thought immediately why the hell do we need to make the toys just like real thing? Why does it need an ammo clip and a scope? Why do we need violent weapons at all? Nerf still makes footballs, lets encourage kids to go out and throw a football around. As I thought about this further, I realized that I had no problem with the Nerf gun initially and have no issue with water guns, so why did this advertisement bother me, it was because of the ammo clip and the scope.

The second instance happened as I was watching college football last night. At one point toward the beginning of the game, the commentators said, "Why do the refs have pink whistles?" They then went onto say that they hoped it had something to do with Breast Cancer awareness or "that is just wrong". My first thought was, why is that wrong, why does the color of the whistle make any difference in the officiating or the game? If the whistle was green or blue or orange or any other color than black would the same comment have been made in such a derogatory manner? I understand asking why the refs have a different color whistle than usual, but really why is that wrong if they just have pink whistles? Does having a pink whistle make them unable to officiate? Are they unable to use the whistle properly if it is pink? Are they less of a man if they use a pink whistle? Why do I think that the past few questions taken out of context could have a totally different meaning? Back to the topic, who cares if the refs have a pink whistle for that game and yes, it probably does have something to do with Breast Cancer awareness, but either way it shouldn't make a lick of difference and being an asshole commentator is just that, being an asshole commentator.

Both of these instances show me that I have begun to change in my thoughts and reactions to the culture around me. I find myself annoyed by so many advertisements and comments of those around me that I just have to shut it all out at times so that I do not go crazy. And for this I have to thank everyone whose blogs I read, everyone who comments on this blog or that I have any real contact with (like at the BG Salon). You all have enabled me to see through the many lies and the subtle and constant misogyny and encouragement of violence that so pervades our society. I was initially going to name the blogs that have allowed me to see the light, but then I realized that I would have to just list everyone on my blogroll and since it is already on my blogroll, why reinvent the wheel. I also realized that it was also because of people who are not on my blogroll, specifically Franiam, who I need to blogroll, who comment regularly on this site or who I talk to online at the BG Salon who have also pushed me to grow as a person. So thanks again as now I will constantly going crazy along with the rest of you.

UPDATE: There I fixed that, Fran you are now blogrolled.


FranIAm said...

Boxer- thank you for such kind words. We all carry each other along, don't we? That is one thing I have loved about being in this community of bloggers.

It says a lot about you and your character that you even stopped to think and examine your feelings and beliefs about these matters. While your association with others may be a part of it, you have to have something in you to set it in motion. Own that! It is great.

And I always think how great it is that you are in your role as an educator to the young and how much passion you feel about being there. That speaks volumes about you.

I honestly would not have known if I was blogrolled or not, but I am honored to be in such great company.

In addition - I say many thanks to Blue Gal, who via the Salon and her efforts in general, is such a positive force for us all.

It is very easy to be influenced by our culture and suffer from what I think of as the almost imperceptible forms of prejudice and limited thinking.

In your case it came through around violence and misogyny. It can be around race, religion, pre-held thoughts. Your post is a reminder to me and others to re-examine what resonates as truth and how we can evolve to meet that truth head on.

See you at the Salon!

FranIAm said...

BTW- that Nerf shotgun is sick. Not the toy itself, but as you point out, the acoutrements!

DCup said...

I like how you speak about how we become blind to the effects of speech and language. You're right, there are examples of how speech is used not only to oppress, but to define "others" (read: not us, not as good as us), as well.

I think about the things "we" (and that includes me!) say all the time without thinking. And it cuts across gender lines, race and ethnicity lines and socio-economic lines. A couple of easy examples would be "....throws like a girl...." or black = bad and white = good, for example blackmail....or using terms like bum freely.

Of course, there's always the balance between using colorful, descriptive language and going overboard on being politically correct. But you know when something crosses the line, don't you? Yes, if you are a thinking person, you just have an innate sense of when you or something crosses the line.

Don Imus, for example, got caught by that rule of thumb. It's never okay for a white man to call a black headed woman nappy headed, much less use the term 'ho....Imus should have known that, and perhaps he did, but by the time that toothpaste was out of the tube, his career at MSNBC was over.

I see I've written a whole post here and I apologize.

When it comes to yapping away, I'm such a girl!

DCup said...

Dang it. That would be a black woman, not a black headed woman.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

After a while we get used to the pervasive misogny and racism and it takes someone to wake us up to it. Excellent post Boxer.