There Goes the Ruddy Two-shoes

Archive for June, 2008

And I Do Some Ranting

Posted by ruddytwoshoes on June 30, 2008

I have mercilessly exploited my right to be lazy — just the way I planned it. Away from the scandalous ringing of telephones and agonizing, though not-unheard-of, deluges of files the big bosses deemed exciting to hem us in, I have caroused in my indolence, in the quiet company of a fine husband, Chinese food, a cruet of organic kombucha, and Kurt Vonnegut. I am calmed by the present sensation of such entitlement draped all over me after an entire workweek, which dragged on like a long winter month spent in a xenophobic Maryland burg, left me drowsily repining for it.

But it is midnight Monday, and another bloody week in the salt mines is coming into view. In a few hours, I must reenter the world of alienation and be the working class pseudorobot the insurance industry deities have molded out of me.

I never thought I would again stumble upon the powerlessness that besieged me in my adolescence, when I was put under the surveillance of adults who manifested their love and care by confining me in a universe they so charily designed the most efficient way they thought possible. I had no idea I could be in an eerily similar universe, where I am but a midget with midget needs that do not get heeded.

The corporate merger is beginning to throb. First, they filched our popular thirty-seven-hour-workweeks — which had caused major pleasure among employees for many, many years — and had us succumbing to five eight-hour days. Not a major cause for concern, I fathom, since I get paid hourly, but short Fridays were a privilege we had all rightly embraced. They also carted off the year-round supply of generic lozenges, aspirin, antacids, and other quick remedy pills in the infirmary on the floor where I work, said these things were “too costly” to stash, and that, from then on, we were to either bring our own supplies or walk across to the other building if we needed any of them. How something like this is too expensive for one of the largest, most prosperous multinational companies on earth, I wonder. Then, of course, out of the perceived need to trim the payroll came the consolidations of positions and highly anticipated layoffs — only this time, I heard, the severance packages were significantly diminished. Then there were the many policy changes we actually projected, but by golly, we had no idea they were going to be this bad. We are suddenly faced with what is appearing to be a group of cost-effectiveness extremists who do not think very highly of service or customer/claimant satisfaction — the outcome of which would be greatly felt by us on the frontline, who have to deal with the throngs of irascible people — not to mention their self-worshipping attorneys — brought to us everyday by those lovely car accidents on the road. No one dares to differ, of course, as their we-the-bosses-can-fire-you gestures are becoming a little too visible as of late.

On Friday, I asked the highest-ranking person in my division if this merger and whoever entity is going to be accountable for everything that happens to me as a result of it have a real potential to make me a happy worker. A “yes” would be nice. He just laughed.

So here I am, the little white-collar, slightly underpaid drama-queen-employee, silently haranguing about my current working environment, which I will unfortunately have to espouse until some of my plans for the immediate future materialize. They are not going to materialize without the little savings I am able to derive from doing this brain-freezing job I had no idea I was going to get myself into, so I am forced to submit. I could utilize some mettle and turn in my resignation letter while waving a jovial erect middle finger at the parties responsible for the kind of misery we people at the bottom have to contain, but I reckon I have no power to do so. My need of money has made me powerless.

And so, so, so piercingly bitter.

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Goodnight, George

Posted by ruddytwoshoes on June 23, 2008

Before MSNBC went back to “Religion or Mind Control” after one of their commercial segments Sunday evening, they went to breaking news to announce the death of comedian George Carlin, who will be remembered as one who boldly cried of and ridiculed the turpitudes of various aspects of American life with unapologetic ribaldry in his zippy stand-up routines. He died of heart failure. He was 71.

Snagged from Youtube and one of my favorites:

Good night, George. Thank you for the laughs and the laughable truths.

Posted in Life, Society and Culture, TV, Film, and Literature | Leave a Comment »

Give It to Love

Posted by ruddytwoshoes on June 22, 2008

One boisterous Saturday night in a Silverlake bar, I stumbled upon a tete-a-tete with a man who, I then recognized, had many a story to tell past the inanity that drives nights such as that which I happened to be living at that moment. With conversation as invigorating as a bottle of organic kombucha glugged down after a three-mile jog under the wrath of the California sun during the summertime, he tendered me a bizarrely mind-fulfilling weekend, far from the stretches of mountainous desires to guzzle into the proverbial inebriation that used to snatch me from the enveloping realities and transport me into emptiness so fugaciously blissful. That night, he cracked an opening on the door that lead into my being, and I merrily capitulated.

That was the beginning of the companionship that has every single day illumined the reasons for life being worth living.

Seventeen months later, much to the surprise of everyone outside the rock-solid circle we had drawn around us, we brazenly exchanged our vows and stamped them with a “forever” seal on a Hawaiian island, and then put the last touches on papers needed to make our union lawful in the books of the government of the United States of America.

People have various grounds for getting hitched: money, benefits, citizenship, accidental pregnancies, religious dogma, and whatever it is that sparks jarringly ephemeral Hollywood marriages… In the quotidian world, however, the one element thought to be the numero uno prerequisite for marriages is something we call LOVE, and you may call me naïve, but I myself submit to the ideology that this is what makes a marriage. I do not believe this has gotten debunked.

I find the greatest pleasures in loving and being loved by the man I just know I will spend the rest of my life with. Why, love shared is just a wonderful, wonderful phenomenon. And though it, conceivably, may not be as important as what occurs within the boundaries of my marriage, I find huge pleasures in the public recognition being rendered to the brand of love I am able to give and receive with exclusivity, and I deem it my right to be acknowledged as the woman my husband swore his commitment to, till death do us part, at any time, in all corners of the globe. These delights have made my marriage nothing short of perfect, and I sincerely, fervently wish that everyone — and I mean everyone — in the world is presented with the opportunity to find themselves in the same boat because there is nothing as happiness-inducing, life-changing, and earth-moving.

There is also nothing as category-fucking. It transcends the margins between colors, geographical distances, economic statuses, and evidently enough, sexes and genders.

Sexes and genders, sure. Here’s proof (photos from SFgate.com):

Phyllis Lyon (83, in blue) and Del Martin (87, in brown) have been together for fifty-five years. Fifty-five! They joyously got married in San Francisco on Monday, June 16th, and were the first to get a same-sex marriage license after the California Supreme Court, in a non-unanimous decision, overturned the same-sex marriage ban last month, finally giving same-sex couples the same privilege bestowed upon heterosexuals. Phyllis and Del actually first wedded in 2004, but the marriage was later voided by the state Supreme Court.

More photos of some of the thousands of same-sex couples in love who were granted marriage licenses this month (from the LA Times):




Now, the presence of a referendum in the November ballot can possibly again outlaw these marriages in California. There remains a high preponderance of people who choose to remain rigid in their conviction that the actuality of love can only occur where heterosexuals are romantically involved, joined by the huge percentage of the state population who classify even the most minor attraction to the same sex as “abnormal,” notwithstanding the elimination of homosexuality from the DSM-IV. And then there are, of course, those who claim to be ardent saviors of the purity of sexual morality on earth as the bible has it and wish retribution, Matthew-Shepard-murder-style, upon those who disobey “holy” doctrines including “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads,” stated in Leviticus, the same brain who — horrifically — preached to readers that “Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.” Like I said — moral. Really. Anyway, count those who question the ability of same-sex parents to raise kids, too, even though it would be an enormous logical fallacy to conclude that one‘s sexual orientation alone affects his or her child-rearing ability. In any case, the anti-gay-marriage populace are going to be excitedly jumping on the opportunity to again sweep some gay rights under the rug come November.

To those of you who might be on the fence, however, I hope you take as much time as needed to think about the persons around you, who, in spite of their sexual orientation not falling on the same boxes you have always been taught to see, belong to the very same country whose people the powers that be describe as “equal,” and mull over the rights you are robbing if you make this ban happen again. And while you’re at it, think about love. Think about the way it, in point of fact, works.

I really hope you can give it to love this time. Yes, give it to love. Don’t bring the ban back.

Posted in Life, Politics, Religion/Irreligion, Society and Culture | 3 Comments »

“Anti-Americanism” Gets You Fired

Posted by ruddytwoshoes on June 21, 2008

Good Saturday afternoon, world.

Boy, that sleep was refreshing.  I am ready to jet for a solid Saturday workout at the gym, but first…

I was browsing through important news and blogs and found this on Feministe. It appears that Karen Salazar, a high school teacher in Los Angeles, was fired a few days ago:

I am being fired because I am trying to ensure that my curriculum is relevant to my students’ daily lived experiences, and in the process, create a space for them to be critical of Eurocentric society and curricula that only serve to reinforce their dehumanization, subjugation, and oppression …

I have been observed in the classroom and evaluated by administration over a dozen times (almost twice a month) this school year, whereas in comparison, most teachers are observed and evaluated 1-3 times per school year. The evaluations claim that I am creating “militancy” within students, promoting my personal political beliefs, and presenting a biased view of the curriculum. It has also been implied that I have been teaching students “how to protest.”

Three weeks ago, things began escalating when I was again observed, and in his evaluation, the administrator accused me of “brainwashing” my students and “forcing extremist views” on them. The class had been reading a 3-page excerpt of the Autobiography of Malcolm X (an LAUSD-approved text, of which we have several class sets in our school bookroom), in which Malcolm describes the first time he conked his hair…My contract is being terminated because according to the principal, I am “indoctrinating students with anti-Semitism and Afrocentrism.” The anti-Semitism accusation comes solely from the fact that I have an Intifada poster hanging in my classroom (a symbol of support for a free Palestine), and the Afrocentrism accusation comes from the fact my culturally-relevant curriculum reflects the demographics of my students, though I am surprised I am not being accused of Raza-centrism as well.

Not a one-and-only case, too. Per Democracy Now!, Jay Bennish, a high school teacher in Colorado, was penalized for being “anti-American” (of course, we all know what the term means nowadays) in one of his lectures in 2006, and Deborah Mayer, who teaches in Indiana, was fired for saying “I honk for peace” in 2003, right before the Iraq war commenced.

For a country that claims to be so overly protective of “free” speech, this is baffling. But then again, do we not everyday get acquainted with the idea that speech is “free” only if it complements the hoopla emanating from those on top of the food chain?

This is tragic.

Posted in Politics, Society and Culture | 1 Comment »

Ugh, Bama

Posted by ruddytwoshoes on June 20, 2008

I am dog-tired from the not unusual combination of less than eight hours of sleep the night prior + eight hours of work I truly, undeniably, extremely despise + two hours at the gym, which I really have learned to gleefully anticipate in the last few weeks — highly motivated by that appalling body fat percentage test from the recent past. Definitely NOT the body fat percentage I wanted to see when I am not even weighing 105 lbs on my bathroom scale. I am terribly skinny-fat right now. I am, however, very optimistic, and the husband has been such a great, great, great help with my weight training and keeping my tendencies for cardio overkill in check.

Anyway, everyone’s talking about Obama’s decision to break his promise to accept public funding for his presidential campaign today. That sure gives birth to important trust issues, but there is one article on Alternet.org today by Naomi Klein, which I find to have really mitigated the very little hope I had in the “change” the Obama platform is supposed to create if he wins the presidency.

Yes, Wal-Mart defenders, Friedmanites, and the University of Chicago Boys in possibly the next president’s list of good friends. Yay for the limitless flourishing of wonderful capitalist interests that makes this world such a grrrrand place to live for the majority, right?

I still want Kucinich for President.

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Humanizing Iraq

Posted by ruddytwoshoes on June 19, 2008

In an attempt to keep my loyalty to my calorie-burning cause on my stationary bike Monday night, I grabbed the May 2008 issue of The American Prospect that was sitting on the coffee table and started reading to take my mind off both my pedaling and the clock that was staring at me from the other end of the living room. An article by Ann Friedman (whose brilliance and major contributions to the progressive community I am just getting myself acquainted to) called “Listening to Iraq” immediately caught my attention.

We know, of course, from reading and listening to sources outside of the mainstream media that we do not get sufficient coverage in America of how life really is, in the midst of the war, for the Iraqi people living in Iraq today, which, as Friedman argues, makes it difficult for people in America to have a vision of how the war is actually affecting human lives: “We don’t see what it’s like for Iraqis to walk home from the scene of violence, then make dinner, then put their kids to bed. We lack the humanizing power of detail.”

Friedman, sharing this bit of info she actually gathered from novelist and prisoner during the Saddam Hussein era, Haifa Zangana, mentions A Star from Mosul, one of the now fewer blogs providing real day-to-day accounts of life in the war-stricken country. The blogger calls herself “Namja” and is a twenty-year-old college student living in Mosul. I read several of her entries today, and she definitely gives the war a human face — a genuine human face struggling in needless coexistence with a war being waged against her country — that many of us do not visualize beyond the common suicide bombing reports and bringing-democracy-to-Iraq canto they run in the news.

Click here to read about Namja’s everyday life and see what our MSM friends are missing.

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Credentials and Failures

Posted by ruddytwoshoes on June 18, 2008

Two years ago tomorrow, I stood in front of Perloff Hall in my black regalia, wearing an extraordinarily huge smile that complemented the rhythm of Pomp and Circumstance and the mood it was heavily emitting. My parents, who were full of hope that I would in the few days following start accumulating the amount of money indicative of a college degree from allegedly one of the most respected universities in the world, flew from a little hicktown called Hagerstown, Maryland to witness the greatly important three seconds of my existence where I could be recognized as a kid who had the fabulous opportunity to walk with pretentious gracefulness up to the college professor handing out fake diplomas below the stage so that I could get handed one fake diploma of my own and shake the professor’s hand, then pose for a once-in-a-lifetime kind of photo op before toddling back to my seat which was then baking in the merciless heat.

The entire commencement ceremony was exhilarating, albeit unnecessarily long like all commencement ceremonies are supposed to be, because it induced a fresh, new beginning for my inner adult-wannabe. Real financial responsibility, real full-time work paychecks signed by a corporate giant, real life as I then saw it — I was all ready to promenade into the whole shebang and cease being the daughter whose job it was to unashamedly stack student loans, auto insurance bills, and requests for rent and food and gas money on top of her parents’ mortgage and other weighty expenses. I was exceedingly thrilled about the prospect of finally being able to stand on my own little feet through a decent nine-to-five without even once having to bother with Marx, Durkheim, and all other persons I had to master to ensure satisfactory grades.

I hastily took a job at a well-known insurance company in California — which is presently becoming very lucrative for one of the largest corporations in the globe — to quickly start racking up income. It felt gratifyingly corporate the first few months, and I remember reveling in the wealth of insurance terminology I was being introduced to that made me sound so grownup, so able to thrive in the world outside my pricey college textbooks. It established for me a relatively much healthier bank account, and for a while, I could care less about anything else.

After sauntering through a multitude of calendar days bearing the perception that my embryonic adult life would always be as straightforward as that of a capitaloid android, I fell in love with the man now wearing a wedding band identical to mine, the priceless education we unearthed — and are continuously unearthing — together, and the complexities that ensued…the complexities that are taking up more and more space every day in the adult life that now floats on a brine of uncertainties far irresolvable by college degrees and financially nourishing paychecks and all those credentials. And each day that followed that series of life-changing falling-in-love episodes saw me struggling through tough roads laden with grossly unfamiliar familiarities that have not tired of attempting to get their fists on me and bring me back to my original form.

I think I still like being reminded of my college diploma sometimes. There climbs the self-esteem, there goes the feeling that within societal boundaries, I can put myself in the category of persons who have garnered success in at least one ordeal supposedly worth mentioning. Truth be told, however, the education that grabbed me after the 100+ college units — the education so many in the all too familiar world are afraid to touch — humbles that piece of paper every minute of the day, as it screams my failure so far to make something out of life that I can hark back upon with due pride and enthusiasm if I am to be placed in my deathbed tomorrow.

BUT!

I will go on the record and say that these two ruddy shoes are going to get somewhere when the time is right because I swear I will forever hate myself if I never get to take them there.

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