If there is one thing that reinforces the analytical, spelling and grammar skills of Kentuckians, it’s the comment sections of social media. In the spirit of sites such as “Don’t Date Him Girl,” if you want to maintain the bliss of your ignorance of others’ ignorance, Don’t Read ‘Em Girl. Some folks get an A for effort in attempts of feats of linguistic strength. Hence, “what so ever” and my personal recent favorite “insighting a riot,” the latter written by one who presumably was looking at an old cable bill while pondering 2,000 kids “fighting” at the mall. To be fair, perhaps they posted so excitedly a dictionary would slow their stream of thought or conscientiousness, if you will, and really, how many people other than smart ones, notice anyway?
Which brings me to this intellectual query: Why is it that people call the President of the United States or Justices of the Supreme Court or even experts in a given field idiots when they don’t like what the person, in his or her office, said? Exhibit One is a bumper sticker I saw in the suburbs of hell that incorporates the “Hope” design for POTUS’ campaign and alters it to read “Idiot.” I am going out on a limb here to suggest POTUS might be more intelligent, better educated and in possession of superior skills of every set that ever existed than the car owner. Extrapolate it to many conversations I am privy to about leadership of an opposing party, side or team and the first insult hurled at the object of their disaffection is “idiot.”
My challenge to you for 2016 is to find a word for those with whom you may disagree that is not “idiot” “retard” “dumbass” or my default “moron” if the slur is inapplicable to the person with whom you disagree on its face, like President Obama, Janet Yellin or Justice Scalia. All are preferable to the use of “squad,” however, to describe anything, the potential Word of the Year, modeled after Time Magazine’s Person of the Year and made popular by Taylor Swift or Tay Tay or if you have no real grasp of historical fact, TS, the feminist icon, not to be confused with TS Eliot. (Insert a Gatsby quote and a bourbon reference and a Brown Hotel reference and a note about F. Scott and Louisville, here).
Another potential Word of The Year is “schlonged,” it seems, brought to you by the Minister of the Charm and Grace, the reincarnation of Lucifer, The Donald, who is an absolute master of manipulation, and although maybe not the brightest bulb, has eclipsed every candidate and reporter and pundit with whom he has come into contact by brute force. The schlong of the schlongs recently attacked Hillary Clinton for taking longer than her male counterparts to pee during a debate break, invoking every chapter of every book on sexism and what not to say (or at least not aloud like all good misogynists) when he shared with us he doesn’t want a president who can’t hold her pee in the midst of a global collapse, let’s say, which he is single handedly about to trigger.
Because being female and having to wait for a stall, get in the stall, unfasten your pants or your skirt, roll down your pantyhose and/or underwear, pee, wait a second to make sure it’s all out, wipe, stand up, roll up your undergarments, fasten your skirt or pants and, god forbid, a belt (!), wash your hands and run back to the stage upon which you stand as the most viable and qualified female presidential candidate in the history of the United States (let alone presidential candidate generally) indicates incompetence, apparently? Or maybe he just doesn’t believe a woman is capable of running a country because she doesn’t have a schlong and bleeds, which renders all women insane, even if only temporarily and if we don’t have salty chocolate snacks we might launch a nuclear attack.
Speaking of ammunition to take down your opponents in a match of wits, stay away from accusing those who disagree with you of being “close minded.” As in, “I thought you were open minded, but it’s clear your feminist agenda is your only goal.” Because being open minded and a feminist are mutually exclusive. An oft used method of bullies trying to get in your pants or your wallet or head after you’ve already said “no,” this only works if you’re much smarter than your opponent, versed in arguments to support each side of an issue and actually, open minded.
I am taking open minded into 2016 with me. I might have lost the ability to choose the candidates for US President, but I will not allow bullies and talking heads and polls to preselect the vote I cast in the race for the office for me. I urge you to take open minded with you, too, into the new year and judge books by reading them, rather than social media comments and posts by people who can’t spell or write and whose opinions have no basis in fact.
In a Ted Talk on faith versus belief, the interviewer asked much beloved evangelical minister Billy Graham his greatest surprise in life? Revered Graham answered “The brevity of it.” In the same talk, Lesley Hazelton, an agnostic and the author of “The First Muslim: The Story of Muhammad” spoke about Abraham and his “First Revelation” in a mountain cave near Mecca. Hazelton said the experience shook Muhammad to his core, rather than making him an instant prophet, which to her represents the difference between faith and belief. “The worst of us are those who never doubt,” she said.
Life is short. Don’t believe everything you see. Happy New Year!