Tag Archives: Alaska

Please Don’t Judge Me For Judging You

Most of the time, I try my best to be a tolerant, open-minded person. However, personal beliefs can often get in the way of broadmindedness, and that’s when prejudice may rear its ugly head across the narrow maritime border to Russia. We each have our own values, our rights and wrongs, and our preferences and pet peeves. As such, it’s easy to assert that what we know is right. We can often end up judging others based on their appearances, political beliefs, favorite TV shows, aptitude at Scrabble, etc. We can find ourselves questioning the intelligence of blondes, recoiling at the sight of obese people, and raising our eyebrows at the loony with her alien theories. As different people with differing opinions, we all judge.

Even though there may be legitimate reasons why we judge others (um…aliens for world peace?), that doesn’t mean that our inclinations are defensible. We have seen how judgments may lead to societal prejudices that can be harmful and degrading: racism, sexism, and crimes against those of a different religion or sexual orientation are still prevalent. While many countries have made some efforts to eradicate institutional discrimination, it’s harder to erase the predispositions of individuals.

So what is one way to reduce the existent partiality in society today? Honesty. If we admit to every ugly, narrow thought we have, then perhaps we will be shamed into having fewer of them. The following, then, is a list of groups that I have inexcusably looked down on. I’d like to think that I treat all individuals the same, regardless of whether they fit into any of these groups, but perhaps this is untrue. Either way, this exercise is rather enlightening…

Top Ten List of People I Judge: (apologies in advance)

10. People with Southern accents (I don’t know why, exactly, but I hate when people say “y’all”. I’m sorry. You can make fun of Bostonians.)

9. People who type liKe tHiS aNd uSe LoTs of ExClaMaTiOn pOinTs!!! (It was mildly annoying in 6th grade, and it’s even more so now.)

8. People who say “dang”, “heck”, and “fudge” instead of the real thing (Although I would hire them to babysit my children in the future.)

7. People who do volunteer work just to put it on their resume (I suppose the act of doing it is better than doing nothing at all, but I wish more people had pure motivations… But perhaps that is being too idealistic.)

6. People who make spelling errors on important presentations (It’s called a dictionary.)

5. Vegetarians who make you feel bad for eating meat (I’m not waving a hot dog in your face, so relax. You made your choice, I made mine.)

4. Compulsive whiners (If you’re reading this on a computer, you probably have a good life compared to other people in this world.)

3. Fundamentalist Christians (Even though I know not all of them are Bible-thumping zealots, I tend to blame them all for advocating creationism, rejecting science, and re-electing Bush in 2004.)

2. People who don’t think global warming is happening (Really??)

Finally, the number one group of people who I judge…

1. People who misuse “your” and “you’re” (The fact that this is at #1 really speaks to my anal-retentiveness with punctuation. But it’s true: I really hate when people do this.)

 

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Perhaps There’s Hope for Paris Hilton After All

Over the past year, we’d heard it all: the economy was in a tailspin, gas prices were soaring, banks were failing, and glaciers were melting.  It wasn’t looking good for Americans, in the wake of lost jobs, more ads for Cymbalta (“where does depression hurt?”), and the resurfacing of Paris Hilton to the national spotlight, with energy plan in tow.  While Debbie Downer was enjoying the party, ordinary Americans were at the bar, our heads in our hands, wondering if Lindsay Lohan might have some advice about our mortgages. 

However, there has been better news over the past few months: the dollar rallied, New Orleans dodged Hurricane Gustav, and the Olympics provided a much-needed jolt to our battered psyches.  Watching Nastia and Shawn, Misty and Kerri, and the redeem team dominate in Beijing, we forgot all about our shrinking pensions.  Instead, we came together as a country, united by our universal obsession with Michael Phelps and our collective distrust of Chinese girls on floor exercise.  

But the most uplifting story of the summer did not come from our athletes’ accomplishments in Beijing.  Instead, it came from a little podunk town in Alaska, from a soon-to-be-GILF, and from the Republican party, no less… Yes, moose-eating, gun-toting, baby-bearing Sarah Palin is the star of the feel-good movie this summer.   

When Palin was first announced as John McCain’s VP candidate, Maureen Dowd said it best: “Why do men only pick women as running mates when they need a Hail Mary pass? It’s a little insulting.” Yes, it is, and McCain’s selection of Palin was easily the most transparent case of pandering to politics in recent history.  But even after she was thoroughly vetted by the media (after all, someone had to do it), Sarah Palin has still come out of it reasonably clean, and with her fascinating story intact.  While Barack Obama has been running his campaign on the theme of “hope”, this does not come close to true, Sarah Palin-brand hope.  True hope is when you believe your team can come back from a ten-run deficit in the ninth.  True hope is when you think that Michael Phelps will see your sign and say yes, he will marry you.  True hope is when you’ve served as governor of Alaska for two years and you think it’d be nice to get invited to your party’s convention (family vacay in Minneapolis!)… oh, and then they ask you to be the vice-presidential candidate. 

This is why Sarah Palin is the feel-good story of the year.  It’s all about hope:  Sarah Barracuda shows that we too can reach the highest offices in our land.  Heck, all you need is a great nickname, an attractive family, the label of “Christian reformer,” and you’re one Viagra-down-the-wrong-pipe away from being the leader of the free world.  Thus, all other unknown governors and small-town mayors should start studying up on Iraqi politics.  Anyone with managerial experience should refine their healthcare plan.  Beauty queens should brush up on their wave… You never know when a presidential candidate may need a saucy new running mate to draw attention away from the real issues. 

Because even while Sarah Palin’s story is uplifting, it’s distracted us from what this presidential election should be about: the issues. 

Palin’s speech last night was full of heartwarming anecdotes but little substance.  She tore apart Obama’s plans while offering no solutions of her own.  Instead of giving us her opinons on important issues concerning Americans, she spent most of her speech attacking Obama for being too well-spoken and well-educated…as if those were bad attributes.  It’s disappointing that right after the Olympics, when our nation was at its peak of togetherness, we were forced once again to hate thy Democratic or Republican neighbor.  The vitriol hurled back and forth during these conventions can make one believe that the opposing candidate is truly as vacuous as Paris Hilton… so it’s no wonder the majority of Americans hate politics.

In the end, we all focus on the sound bites that reaffirm our current beliefs.  For Republicans, Palin’s nomination reinforces McCain’s maverick streak and adds a new spark to the conservative base of the party.  For Democrats, the Palin pick is a sign of desperation and an insulting attempt to attract women.  For everyone else, well, we’re just waiting to see who Nader chooses as his VP.  Since the Dems have a black guy, and the GOP has a woman, does anyone know if Carson Kressley is free for speaking engagements in November?… If not, then I’m sending in my resume and highlighting my executive experience managing a student organization in college…  One can only hope, right?

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