Cheryl Pappas


Archive for March, 2012

Bang, Bang

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

In the blitz of angry, heartbroken writing and media responses about Trayvon Martin’s murder, we have rightfully zeroed in on racism as the critical point to decry .

Too many black people are killed with no media attention or public outrage. So here we are stopping to take notice that this is not a post-racial time in America, that this killing is not okay.

May this hideous tragedy bring us together in common sense and heart, and away from killing and hate.

May it serve to teach us the truth about where we are as a people, as a country, so that our energies can be harnessed and directed to heal what lies between us, black and white, gay or straight, whatever our differences.

Many people have questioned whether the news would tell a different story had Trayvon been a white young man killed by a black man.

We all know there is an excellent chance that, yes, had that been so, the killing would be spun differently, as would public interpretation.

Never mind that, as it happens, the security guard killer, George Zimmerman, was probably not white. Here is where race should not be an issue. The issue is killing. Period.

However, America has racism, however unexplored and hiding in the bushes, in the heavily promoted, artificially labeled, “post-racialism” of Obama’s presidency.

Therefore, it is worth mentioning that in spite of Zimmerman’s not-so-clear racial make-up, (this lack of clarity an interesting fact, since this killing is specifically discussed as a racist act), the murder stands as a black and white case in the public anyway. This is evidence of the ongoing history of hate between blacks and whites in America; so much so that it trumps other obvious racial details.

Speaking of obvious details, if Zimmerman had been equipped with mace rather than a gun, Martin would be alive today and the story a radically different, less explosive one to contemplate.

Shame on you, Florida, for allowing a “Stand Your Ground” law which permits people, including those who are emotionally unhinged or mentally unbalanced, to kill. What is the definition of feeling threatened?

How many people have potentially reacted based on personal terrors or feelings of fear, by shooting down others under this law, I wonder.

And where does this law come from; how is it justified?

Maybe Florida is a seriously dangerous place, rather than the politically challenged Florida of stand-up comedy.

Maybe we have missed the point on Florida, turned our noses and our backs on the place; designated as America’s not-so-bright family member by outsiders. Maybe the comedy of Florida has always been serious.

Yet it is far more than Florida’s sociology, politics, and outrageous self-defense law that we speak about here. Racism is everywhere.

The point is, this tragedy is marked by both racism and out-of-control gun use.

Self-defense comes in many forms. Surely homicide is not the only choice. And yes, there are people who should never be allowed to make the choice to shoot or not.

I don’t have the answer to the matter of cleaning up the alarming mess and dangers of our gun laws.

We need to figure that out.

All I know is that this particular “Bang, Bang” tragedy is a wake-up about guns and hatred for all of us in America.

Hot From the Horse’s Mouth: Is This What We’re Really Thinking About?

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

DeNiro responds to Newt Gingrich’s Response to DeNiro’s Words.

Ann Coulter Defends DeNiro Remark.

These are typical headlines, the Breaking News of our day.

In this case, the question is: how many days will this non-story feed the media?

Apparently, Robert DeNiro, in a New York fundraising event for Obama, made a sardonic quip about whether the country was ready for a white First Lady.

The First Lady, or her promotional representatives, has decried DeNiro’s comment for being “inappropriate”.

There are two blazing issues here.

First, the awful truth is that we are not post-racial in this country.

We cannot even deign to bring up the fact, either straight-up or in an obviously pro-black witticism, that our President is half-black without either appearing racist or inappropriate.

If there is nothing wrong with our differences and those who are black are simply black, then why the outrageous DeNiro call-out, not only from Gingrich, but also from the First Lady?

Second, is this the “news” that we need to be dwelling on?

How does this help us?

And hey, isn’t something more urgent happening in Iran and Israel at this moment?

Personal swipes between politicians and newscasters are everywhere in the headlines.

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell potentially doesn’t need a public relations alliance as long as he announces a red-hot opinion about what someone public has said that day.

It promises him a headline and coverage in the “news”.

O’Donnell may interest people and his interpretations may be entertaining, but is this news?

Whether this is real news or not, this is what the media is serving.

Hot from the horse’s mouth.

One Awesome-Free Day in America

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

Oh, for the days when words were spoken.

Instead, we are looking at the demise of real talk, and it ain’t pretty.

I realize I have the annoying practice of questioning the emptiness of verbal communication wherever I hear it.

Yesterday at the Apple store, the technical adviser introduced himself as being “actually” there to help.

I replied that he sounded incredulous/surprised that he was there to help.

He looked through me in response and I let it drop.

Obviously I am not up for Favorite Person of the Year, and haven’t been for at least one decade.

Conspiracy theories aside, I believe,  the media direction led by talking heads who would not have passed English in my own high school yet now host talk shows, loudly cheer leads a willing public to use less and less of our dying vocabulary.

Thus, we say as little as possible to one another by a “sort of” (the uber-popular speech softener) social media permission for omission.

Perhaps the Academy Awards are not the speech occasions to study, but I invite you to count the OMG’s, the “awesomes”, the number of times “actually” is inserted in a straight-lined statement.

Has “actually” been unearthed to further disappear the power of communication, I constantly wonder.

As in, “I am actually from Michigan”.

By inserting without emphasis, the word “actually”, am I assuming that you would find this truth of my birth place incredible?

I really can’t say how many “actually’s” I hear each day. I can’t count that high.

The point is, I am concerned that as vocabulary disappears in American communication, we are losing vital connection to one another. In real words, we are saying nothing.

Arianna Huffington’s recent piece on social media and how Twitter is used angles in this direction, only focused on the way people choose to use social media, such as following non-news on Twitter.

She discusses media commentary about the political debates as being “devoid of substance” but there is “little effort to “help start a more substantial debate”.

I believe the missing “efforts” for substance are not deemed necessary in this time of diminishing truth and communication. For every person who notices the robotic clichés and empty sound bites of candidates in those political debates, it does not ring a tinkle of a bell for the remaining hundreds of thousands who don’t notice at all.

When your own life has been emptied of bothersome real communication, you will never find the blank nothingness of debate presentations annoying.

Of course, psychologically, the wild popularity of main dish Twitter abbreviation communication makes sound and sad sense.

Perhaps the truth is that most people have finally found their perfect social intimacy lifestyle: the disconnection that exactly fits.

The word “exactly” is also in great favor as an endpoint to a discussion point.

As in, “You are exactly right”.

Is anything we think about ever “exactly right”?

Tricky little bonding strategy, but unfortunately signally the desire for a quick dash away from connection.

Perhaps historically there have always been more people who would prefer to duck away from truth in speaking with others.

The secrets of one’s life are liable to spill when we are in person, if there be anyone listening.

That’s an increasingly big “if”.

Listening is another lost art and a topic for not just another day, but a weekly symposium.

In the meantime, it might be fun to take a day in the world of your life and tally up the “awesomes” and “actuallys” in and around you.

What you will be hearing is the absence of connection.

Should you be slightly alarmed at this reality, your response may actually be in the neighborhood of, “exactly right”.

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