Well, our long dark midnight of the soul seems to be waning, and the public fascination with ghost shows may be winding down. In their place, however, we have all sorts of programs about pregnancy - Sixteen and Pregnant, Secretly Pregnant, Pregnant and Married to the Mob - oh, sorry, that one hasn’t been created - yet.
What is one of the happiest times for any couple has been turned into the newest freak show trend for television viewers.
I don’t actually watch any of the shows, but I see about a trillion promos for them each day. The one that seems to be promoted the most these days is I’m Pregnant and . . . in which young pregnant women talk of their pregnancies and their concerns.
“I’m Pregnant and my boyfriend wants to be a woman.” Yes, well, that’s just one of the many reasons that couples should communicate more before they embark upon the Great Pregnancy Adventure.
“I’m pregnant and I’m a little person.” Now, it is true - as so many have pointed out to me over the years - that my knowledge of science is minimal at best, but I’m pretty sure that you aren’t a tall person one day, become Pregnant, and then find yourself a little person. And that furthermore, folks who aren’t tall people have been having babies for quite some time now.
“I’m pregnant and I don’t know how to tell my baby my daddy likes to dress up in women's clothing.” Okay, what’s a baby, the size of a bread box? I’m pretty sure this ain’t a conversation you’ll need to be having for some time to come; you’ll think of something.
I’m pregnant and I like to pull my hair out by the roots.” Well, if you’re pulling your hair out now, just wait until you are in the throes of childbirth, kid. “Bald man gives birth,” might have been the headline in the old Weekly World News.
Yeah, and that’s the deal. These are all kids here. They aren’t adults. They are barely children themselves. Who the hell ever thought it was a good idea to stick a camera in their faces during one of their most vulnerable times and turn it into freakish entertainment for the rest of us?
Is there no one in their lives who can say, “You know, this may not be such a good idea?”
Then again, they probably need the money.
And then there is the one promo that gives me such great joy whenever I watch it.
A young woman is telling her father that she is pregnant, and he demands to know when she discovered it. The day after the birthday, she says.
“No, when?” he demands. “I need a date!”
“I think it was a Friday.”
Then we see him charging out the door, presumably infuriated because she has dared to go dog paddling outside of her family’s genetic pool.
Yes, lots of rocket scientists on his side of the family, I’d be willing to bet.
The Oppression of Hank Williams, Jr.
Yesterday on the bus I heard a fellow bemoaning the fact that Hank Williams, Jr. was being punished by the forces of “political correctness” just for expressing an opinion while being interviewed on Fox.
It became sadly apparent, after just a minute or so, that he had no idea of exactly what Williams had said, exactly, but just that “they” were trying to keep him down.
One day “they” (meaning the people he forces his opinions on) are going to expect him to know what he is talking about before he opens his mouth, and he’ll just resent the hell out of that.
Lies Across America
It is a sobering thought to imagine that we might actually grow up believing things that never really happened, or that what has been presented as gospel truth is often tainted by the prejudices of those telling the tales. Those prejudices can come about as the result of ignorance, out-and -out bigotry, or the emotional need to make a town seem more important than it really is. One town, as a matter of fact, commemorates an Indian massacre which never occurred.
According to James W. Loewen in Lies Across America, it turns out that there are hundreds of historical markers (those cute signs we pass on the highways of this country) which contain information which is just plain wrong. You can't always trust larger monuments in cities or old battlefields either.
Part of the problem is that, as a culture, Americans prefer to look on the bright side. We tend to commemorate the good things - the positive achievements, whether they happened or not. In fact, in 1925, the American Legion urged those teaching history to inspire children with patriotism, tell the truth optimistically, and speak chiefly of success.
It is our tragedies as well as our triumphs which help to make us who we are. Yet, our mistakes and false steps are rarely, if ever, talked about.
In addition to covering up mistakes, Loewen writes about the honoring of vile men across the country. Early KKK leaders, or mayors determined to keep non-whites from living in their cities have been held up, while many brave men and women who took a stand for right are forgotten altogether.
Actually, women are rarely mentioned, if ever. In Arkansas, more women are honored for being prominent men’s wives than for any accomplishments of their own.
In fact, Loewen says that we have ended up with a landscape of denial. The National Mining Hall of Fame maintains that mining causes no environmental damage, monuments deny that Nathan Bedford Hale murdered prisoners of war, and Willa Cather and James Buchanan are shoved firmly back in the closet.
The bigotry of some who put up markers is also made clear, whether the subjects are Native Americans, African Americans, or Chinese.
There are those who decry works like Loewen's as “revisionist history,” but so what? If telling the truth about the past is revisionist, we need a lot more of it. This fascinating book, while appealing to a certain cynicism, will also help the reader further appreciate the real nobility of so many in our past who have been forgotten.
Quote of the Day
I'd rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not. - Kurt Cobain