Princess Sophia at her surprise fifth birthday barbecue last Saturday, July 6th.
Good Saturday to you! Last Saturday, we celebrated my neiece Sophia’s birthday. She was surprised and very happy. As you can see, she definitely looked like a princess, crown and all. Although it was super hot and humid, everyone had fun. I know Joscelyne would be proud.
I’m still healing up from Monday’s surgery. This thing hurts a lot. I really feel like I got stabbed in the shoulder, and now have radiating pain from my jaw down to my shoulder blade. Zoe, while quite aware of the layered bandages (she keeps saying “Momma boo boo”), still expects her usual “ups” and cuddling. And yesterday, she smashed her head directly against the wound. All I could do is make a quick “yelp” as tears stung my eyes. Toddlers and permacaths don’t mix.
There is so much I could link to this week that I had to think a bit on which ones topped my list, but here goes. First, unless you live in some sort of pre-90s compund with no access to the internet, TV, or radio, you know the George Zimmerman trial has become a major (if not the major) story of the moment. People have blacked out their profile pictures on their social media accounts, and the hashtag “#justiceforTrayvonMartin” is everywhere.
Unfortunately, so is a lot of ugliness. There are racist Facebook pages and memes. There are some who feel the story should just go away because it is producing more racial animus. I feel slightly irritated by that. Have some used the case to stoke racist fires? Yes, of course. Has the story received A LOT of media attention? And by “a lot”, I mean wall-to-wall, explotive, circus level attention… yes, again. But I don’t believe the answer to too much media attention is no attention. That’s silly. Like, lets bury our heads in the sand and pretend it’s not there type silly.
Or there’s the sleight of hand: On Bill O’Reilly’s site, there is a video up about the killing of a white man by a group of black men. Along with it is the questioning tagline, “Where’s the outrage?” and questioning the media silence.
Well, the clip is of a news story, which means there is at least some minor level of media coverage. Also, the story clearly tells that three men have been arrested (complete with their mugshots) and have been charged. My problem with this type of quick questioning is that it comes off as a petty, cheap shot. The Trayvon Martin and Josh Chellew murders aren’t parallels. George Zimmerman, initially, was not charged, after claiming self-defense under Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law. These men (at least three of the four) have been charged and are in custody. Part of the reason the Trayvon Martin killing became such a big story is the way law enforcement were handling (or not) the case. There was a lot to play up: race, a dead unarmed teen, vigilante justice, gun laws, and yes, even media coverage (we all know the media loves to cover itself). By propping Trayvon and Josh’s deaths up for comparison, I can’t help but get angry. They aren’t just talking points, they were actual people. Young men who have families that I’m sure are suffering with grief. While I agree that the media neglects a lot of stories while overdoing it on so many others (Casey Anthony, anyone?), I wish people would be more careful in highlighting this.
Continuing with race, but on a totally different note altogether, Christelyn Karazin over at Beyond Black & White asks, “Do Black Women Have Bitchy Resting Face”?:
While the white chicks in this video call it “bitchy resting face,” in the hood we call it “mean mug.” Of course, when it comes to dating and trying to be approachable to men of all races, colors and creeds, the “mean” rest face can be a serious impediment, especially if a man has some presuppositions and stereotypes about black women coming from the womb being neck-twirling biotches.
Want to see the video? Click here. Obviously, this one has cursing. I don’t have a mean mug, I have been told since childhood that I have a “serious face” which has often resulted in people asking if I’m okay. This was only really a problem for those two years when I was a cheerleader, lol.
There was no mean mugging for me last Saturday, especially with a nice cold Smirnoff Ice.
Anyone with doubts as to the ongoing resourcefulness of ordinary Americans should watch the Frontline documentary, Two American Families, which aired on PBS this week. Two families from Milwaukee were tracked over 22 years as they attempted to attain a modest version of the American dream: raise a family in a house that they owned, and maybe one day stop working.
That neither achieved these goals, despite decades-long effort, made the documentary profoundly depressing. It also put pay to the lie that the only difference between success and failure is hard work and innovation. As George Packer noted drily in the New Yorker, when times get tough for the two families:
None of them thinks of inventing Napster.
Both families, one white, one black, started out living on incomes from a single skilled manufacturing job with union protection, entailing decent wages and benefits. Both lost their jobs when those industries downsized and sent the majority of contracts overseas. Unionized labour was replaced with service industry “opportunities” with low wages and no benefits. Tony Neumann went from earning $18 an hour as an engine-maker at Briggs and Stratton, to making $6 at a fast food joint.
After his manufacturing job disappeared, Claude Stanley got a job lining basements for $7 an hour with no benefits, rising after a few years to $8.25 an hour with modest benefits, when he became foreman.
With the exception of the one Stanley son who went to college, neither family had much hope of their children improving financially on their parents’ careers. “We went backwards,” said Jackie. Both women said they felt like failures.
A few things struck me while watching:
* Race seemed to make very little difference in the lives and outcomes of these families. Class, locale, income: these were the biggest factors.
* Initially, both families seemed to have an active faith life. We see the Neumanns saying grace together and attending mass as a family. We also see the Stanleys’ Christian faith as being at the heart of their family; so much that the patriarch, Claude, eventually starts his own church. By the end, though, there’s no mention of the Neumanns’ religious beliefs or practice. The Stanleys, on the other hand, remain committed.
* The religiosity still didn’t make much of a difference in some ways (besides the obvious, financial). While we got a daughter apiece married in each family, we also have a few out of wedlock births in each, also.
* The kids who went to college, even for a two year degree, seemed to be faring far better than their siblings. The military also seemed to be a good, solid option.
Check out the first part here:
Group pic! Sophia’s grandmother, Cid, my sister-in-law Jenny, my brother Joe, and me hugging Sophia.
Check out this from The American Jesus:
If you haven’t seen these short videos already, then you’re in for a treat.
Especially if you’ve ever read a thread in a Christian forum, comments on a Christian blog, or any other place on the internet where Christians get to share their thoughts.
The premise is simple.
The group Gotta Kid to Feed brought together a few actors to dramatize some of the more ridiculous, but entirely real comments that have been left in various Christian forums.
The results, not surprisingly, are pretty hilarious.
They’ve made 5 videos in the series so far. I’ve posted my 3 favorites below, so make sure you check out their YouTube channel to see the rest.
You’ll be glad you did.
Here’s one of their videos:
And finally, “Somebody to Love” by Valerie June, sent to me by Aja. Have a great day.