Unrelenting Randomness And Auld Lang Same…er, I mean “Syne”

Category: , , , , By Glamour Diva & galaxyMafia
The year of our Lord, two thousand and five, is over. Done. Kaput. But I still have to work, put up with the bullshit of others and squeeze in a little writing so I won’t have to be an indentured servant for CoreStaff for the rest of my life! Ah the more things change…

Also, Spring Semester is upon us yet again Dear Readers which means it is back to school for Ms. GD. Sigh. Tis true, tis true. Here’s hoping I get all the classes I want and that at least one of them is taught by a hot ass professor [Oh Michael A. Rae, Ph.D. how you taunted me with your “biology”]. Cheers!

Mantra For A New Beginning

Om Guhm

Om and salutations to Ganapati (Ganesha)

Ganesha is the Hindu Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. He is also worshipped as the god of education, knowledge, wisdom and wealth.

Mantra from Yoga Journal Magazine - January/February 2006

All power to all people…and women too…

So last Friday evening, galaxyMafia and I were in Borders Bookstore, minding our own damn business and working on a writing project. At closing time we dawdled our way down to the exit, taking a leisurely stroll through the stacks of magazines when I noticed something amiss. Actually it was more then just “amiss”…it was down right offensive!

Now I’m not one to be easily offended, at least not by the same things most other people are offended by. Things that are offensive to me tend to dwell more in the “big picture” realm of life like poverty, bigotry, dishonesty, ultra-conservatives…no wait, ultra –conservatives actually exist! They’re so scary I keep forgetting they aren’t something Wes Craven dreamed up! Anyway, it’s rare that I blow a gasket over say, extreme public displays of affection or men who aren’t on the Olympic swim team who are insistant upon wearing Speedos. But when I saw what I saw on those magazine stacks that evening I felt so full of anger that I shocked myself!

Nestled just below a sign that read, Sports And Recreation I noticed all the store’s adult magazines; all the ones featuring women that is. I shit you not Dear Readers! I was so taken aback that I had to lean against the rack for support. I turned to galaxyMafia and she had a similar Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone look on her face. After we’d both regained our equilibrium we were able to step back and notice that the subcategory, which was attached just below the actual magazines in small lettering, did in fact say “Adult Interests” but unfortunately the damage had been done. I was incensed!

How could this sort of blatant sexism and disrespect still exist in the 21st Century? But before I could ponder that question I noticed that sexism was rampant in Borders that night. All the magazines featuring naked and/or sexualized men were placed under the Culture and Society heading. If you don’t already know Dear Readers Culture and Society is code for “Gay Shit”. Why would Playgirl, a magazine targeted to heterosexual women, be placed under the Culture and Society heading? Shouldn’t that magazine along with On Our Backs and Girlfriends (Lesbian Shit) be placed in the Woman’s Interest section? I pointed this out to GM and she quipped that any magazine featuring pictures of naked men should be filed under Hobbies and Collectibles. Gotta love that cuckoo kid galaxyMafia…

Mustering all my righteous indignation I summoned the female manager and pointed out the glaring error in judgment. She was properly sincere and placating in her apology and immediately removed the Sports and Recreation sign from the rack. I asked her if categorizing magazines of that type in that way was a corporate Borders policy or a store policy. She quickly denied either prospect and blamed the ignorance of the staff. Yeah right. Since when do retail drones think for themselves? They wouldn’t be hired if they did! Isn’t that right GM?

I’ll be making a return trip to Borders this evening to see if the change I requested stuck. If not I’ll have to turn into a “Feminazi” and go medieval on corporate Borders collective ass. Pray for Ms. GD Dear Readers!

Accompanying artwork by Jacob Lawrence

Update: January 5, 2006 – The managers at Borders are punks! Instead of changing the way the magazines were labeled they just left them unlabeled! Take a damn stand! Have an opinion! Jeesh! Oh well, we must take our victories where we can right? – Ms. GD

Same Shit, Different Year

So yesterday I was actually working at work and minding my own business when my cubicle mate and I began a conversation about music. We started talking about different rock groups we liked and didn’t like and then he mentioned that his favorite group was Rush. You know Rush don’t you? That nausea inducing, battle ax of a band from deepest, coldest, Canada of Tom Sawyer and Roll The Bones fame with the annoyingly voiced front man?

Yes well my cubemate, let’s call him Otis, couldn’t believe my disgust either. He even went so far as to question whether or not I even knew who Rush is. After I quoted a few songs he was satisfied, if not a little surprised, that I was familiar with the band. Otis was still upset with me though because I refused to back down on my total dislike of the band.

We went back and forth over it for a while, his voice getting louder and louder, before he said, “Oh and what kinds of music do you like? I suppose you only listen to R. Kelly”! I tried to explain that no, I don’t listen to R. Kelly but dear Otis was in the zone, he couldn’t hear me. He stood up and had the whole office in hysterics doing his Trapped In The Closet impression and hollin’ (yes I said “hollin”) about how stupid the videos were and blah, blah blah. I took that as my cue to be quiet and turned back to my computer to continue my busy work. Oh did I mention that Otis is white?

After I’d quietly seethed for an hour I was able to regain my inner composure [Black people, particularly Black women, are adroit at giving the outward appearance of complacency while fantasizing about stabbing ig’nant white people in the chest which explains why we have so many stress related illnesses] I was able to seriously think about not just what Otis said but the meaning behind the words, that curious sense of entitlement that seems to permeate the psyche of white people. While I truly believe that all (yes I said ALL) white people are more prejudiced then they’d like to admit or are even aware of, I don’t think they all want to drag non-whites behind their trucks. No, there are only a small, select few that would actually take a person of color’s life solely based on skin color. The rest just say/think uninformed, insensitive things like dear Otis.

I’m not naive Dear Readers. I know racism exists but its incidents like the one that happened yesterday that cut the deepest. Being called nigger to my face, something that has yet to happen, is the one thing people of my generation were warned about almost from birth. My “back of the bus” parents, “living in constant fear of lynching” grandparents, and “horrors of slavery” great-great-grandparents, endured unimaginable atrocities and literally died [not unlike Medgar Evers, Emmett Till, Malcolm X, and the four little girls burned alive in the 16th Street Church in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963] so I could excel in life and truly know the freedom they only briefly tasted.

But day after day I find clues that maybe; just maybe their struggles and death may have been in vain. Did my people die so some white boy could feel perfectly free to insult my intelligence (and love/knowledge of Rock music)? Did my people die so some white boy could feel perfectly free to use R. Kelly’s shame [Black people are also adept at reading between the lines. Otis’ comment wasn’t about Mr. Kelly’s musical ability but ALL about his current legal situation] to silence me? My people died for this shit? Have the dreams of my ancestors really been deferred?

The answer is no. My ancestors did not die in vain. They did not struggle and sacrifice for so many years for me to just lay down in despair and devotedly lap up any tidbit “whitey” [or anyone else for that matter, regardless of ethnicity] decides to toss me. All yesterday’s incident proves is that the fight is still necessary and that I can’t become complacent because I have a little more freedom then my parents or their parents before them did. I must continue to live as though I am free and work to make sure everyone is free of hate and ignorance, brown, pink and beige, all of us together.

Accompanying artwork by Nate Williams

GlamourDiva and galaxyMafia are looking forward to a bright and prosperous New Year! – GD

2 comments so far.

  1. Anonymous 7:28 PM, January 05, 2006
    too true-but I still think you should of said some of this to 'otis'.that would have silenced him for sure.
  2. anybody 9:41 AM, January 07, 2006
    GD--You are right about the shameful, self-righteous white entitlement that still lingers in the minds of many, especially among the middle-class white who are somehow convinced that the pain and suffering that accompanies righting social wrongs is a personal affront.

    Twice over the past two years, I've been in conversation with another white person (one co-worker and one neighbor)who has tried to slide in a hints of how bad white people have it these days, as if that justifies a racist POV. (Mind you, I've heard lectures about white entitlement my whole life from my redneck, bottom-dwelling uncle, the bane of my existence, who during the unfortunate times I am forced to see him, reminds me of my Southern ancesteral shame)Both times took me by utter surprise. Hello -- it's the twenty-first century and haven't these morons grown up? But you are unfortunately right in your assessment that some things haven't changed a lot. I am ashamed to admit that both times I found myself in the position to really speak out against the wrongness of their transitioning the conversation to one about race, I only ignored the comment and changed the subject. It is something that I thought long and hard about last summer while taking a multi-cultural education class. My problem in situations like this is that (1) I am a reflective thinker and don't respond well to surprises and (2)I've been programed to behave in such a way that politeness is more important that arguing over personal opinions.

    Since then, I've been practicing saying, "What the fuck is wrong with you?" I'll be curious how the conversation goes then.

    I know that doesn't change the hurt that you must feel every day you go to work with Otis. If I could, I'd slap him upside the head.

    Hugs & Smooches,

Something to say?