Friday, April 27, 2012

Analysis of a response from Crazy Aunt


So Crazy Aunt blocked me on Facebook, but I was able to see this post she wrote in response to my brother’s very well-thought-out and much-politer-than-she-deserved post essentially stating that she hurt a lot of people by pretending to be our dead grandfather.  

Louis, I respect what you had to say very much, and it echoed my underlying feelings. I reacted emotionally to being made a villian for posting "I love you all" to people who missed him. It was uncalled for and malicious. My actions were out of love, if people didn’t want to accept it they didn’t have too, but there was clearly no malicious or evil intent. Family is supposed to support each other in grief, but that’s not what I’ve ever received. I only had my father, and thru him a supportive family, for 8 months… I wasn’t ready to lose all that again the moment he stopped breathing- but I did. If I want to reach out to him, any way I do it, I should not be told I can’t or I shouldn’t…It’s for me. What happened was a SIN in our religion, not just hurtful to me. Thank you for writing this post, I Love You!

Ahh… It’s like an emotionally-stunted Twilight novel, without all the sex. Let’s take the crazy apart, step by step, shall we?

First off, she “respects” what he has to say. Not understands, not accepts … respects. Kind of like she respects that whole ‘when you have a mortgage, you have to pay it’ thing. Oh, wait, no she doesn’t.

She reacted emotionally. As opposed to as a soul-sucking non-human vortex, which she normally is, I suppose. She wasn’t made a villain at first – she was just asked to stop. She’s the one who escalated and escalated to the level of deranged, shrieking banshee.

“It was uncalled for and malicious.” While the grammar makes it read as if her actions were uncalled for and malicious, I highly doubt she’s magically gained some self-awareness, and is instead referring to being asked to stop playing puppet with a dead person’s Facebook account as evil.

“My actions were out of love.” If ‘love’ is actually a paranoid and pathological need for constant attention, affirmation and ass-kissing. Then, yes, ‘love.’

“There was clearly no malicious or evil intent.” …Then why overreact so drastically to being asked [politely!] to stop? Methinks the batshit crazy one doth protest too much…

“Family is supposed to support each other in grief.” So long as “each other” is “me” and “grief” is ALLTHEFUCKINGTIMEPAYATTENTIONTOMENOWDAMNIT. What about our grief, Crazy Aunt? What about how disturbed we all were to see our dead grandfather facebooking? Where’s our support? Oh right, that would require you to understand that the sun and moon don’t actually rise and set on your scrawny ass. 

I only had my father, and thru him a supportive family, for 8 months…” But you had his money, which you extorted through threats to deny him access to his grandchildren, now didn’t you?

“I wasn’t ready to lose all that again the moment he stopped breathing- but I did.” Gee, maybe it’s because you call people “malignant schmucks” at the slightest provocation. Just a thought.

“If I want to reach out to him, any way I do it, I should not be told I can’t or I shouldn’t.” Reaching out TO him and reaching out AS him are two totally different things, lady. One is normal, one is creepy. See the difference?

“What happened was a SIN in our religion.” My favorite line. I’m still Googling “Torah” “Judaism” and “Posting as a dead person on Facebook” to see when I missed that little update. 

Oh Crazy Aunt. Thank you for the blog fodder, if nothing else… 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Facebook fighting with my dead grandfather


So I got into a Facebook fight with my dead grandfather last night. He called me an asshole.

I logged into Facebook at work yesterday around 3:30 or so, and was very surprised to see him update his current location. I’m reasonably sure he hasn’t moved since we said goodbye at the Hebrew Young Men’s Cemetery on August 24.

Then my grandfather, who admittedly struggled a bit with technology while he was in this world… I mean, come on. These were the AIM conversations we used to have while I was away at college:



That man somehow broke the life/death barrier, defeated Heaven’s Firewall, and posted from beyond. He just wrote “I still love you all and miss you too!” but don’t underestimate the disturbing factor of seeing a message from your beloved dead grandparent flash across your timeline.

I texted my dad to alert him to my grandfather’s paranormal posting, and he posted a response comment to the effect of “this is weird and disturbing, stop it now.” The man is not known for his patience and/or tact, so I was pleasantly surprised by the relative lack of attack-iness (it’s a word…) in his comment.

Someone else commented about my grandfather’s sudden interest in sending out lots of friend requests. (You must get bonus points in heaven for FB friends.) My dad responded that it was sad and disturbed. My cousin got a little upset at the attack-iness of that statement, so I chimed in with an attempt to pacify. My comment was along the lines of “I think it’s fine for people to friend Grandpa’s page so that they can continue to post thoughts and memories of him, but he needs to stop posting out of respect for the many, many people who love and miss him.” Tactful, with just a tiny bit of ‘zing.’

Then granddad got mad. I was 99.9% sure at this point (and from the beginning) that my dead grandfather was actually my crazy aunt being crazy, because, y’know, it’s not like she has a job to go to. But once ‘he’ called me and my father “malignant schmucks” and “assholes,” we knew for sure.

I managed to get access to my grandfather’s old email account and then Facebook account and tried to just delete the nastiness, but crazy aunt wasn’t having it. Like a rabid dog with a shit-encrusted bone, she couldn’t let go. My cousin pleaded with her to just stop so I wouldn’t be forced to close the account altogether, but if you’ve ever tried to reason with the tornado bearing down on you, you probably have some idea of how that went.

I made a rookie mistake – I didn’t set my location as the default for the FB account, so I managed to get myself locked out. I tried posting that the account just needed to be a place where we could remember him and honor his memory, but that got deleted quickly, because if you don’t look at something, you don’t have to be responsible for it. Much like having a house and raising kids, apparently.

Then, this morning, I discovered that my dad and I owe her an apology.

It must be nice to live in a world where you think that you can insult someone, repeatedly attack them and then play the poor, beleaguered victim all the time. Much like being a Republican, I’d imagine.

So here’s my apology.

Dear Crazy Aunt, 
I’m sorry that years of your histrionics and your manipulative, vicious, and exploitative behavior have rendered me no longer capable of playing nice. I’m sorry that you are so far lost to your mental illness that at 53 years old, you have never worked an honest day in your life, you have foreclosed on 3 houses, you are under investigation by the Department of Child and Family Services, and you are a parasite. 
Yes, your upbringing may not have been perfect, but at some point, you become an adult. You take control of your life, you get help, you grow and you move on. Or you let the disease win. 
I’m sorry that you will never see a truth beyond your own distorted reality, because you will never escape the black hole you have made for yourself. I pity you because you will never know love or mutual respect from anyone, because you cannot receive those things unless you can give them. You mimic the emotions of others – you pretend to express pain, sadness, hurt – but those emotions come with the responsibility of being compassionate when you inflict the same on others. And that’s what you lack. 
I am sorry you live in a world where you think it’s ok to impersonate a dead person on Facebook to draw attention to yourself, and where you think its ok to hide someone’s jewelry to prove that a dead person is communicating beyond the grave. 
I am tired of walking on eggshells to avoid provoking a fit of temper and rage. I am tired of forcing smiles while you use my grandfather’s passing as just another piece of leverage to manipulate and use those around you. I am tired of watching you mentally abuse my grandmother. That will stop. 
Mostly, I am sorry that you are so far beyond help. You are so intelligent, yet you will never see beyond the instability, the irrationality, the paranoia and the dissociative symptoms that mark your life. You will continue to fear imagined abandonment, you will continue to engage in impulsive, reckless behaviors like your eating disorder and your addiction to exercise, you will never have a stable relationship with another human being, and you will leave this world without ever knowing a measure of happiness. And for that, I am sorry. 
Heather


Now please excuse me while I go find someone to mug and physically beat me, so I can apologize to them, too. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My response to Dr. Pepper


Dear Consumer Relations,

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my complaint. I only wish I could say thank you for taking the time to actually read and understand it.

Your response read as a flippant, patronizing “Jeez, learn to take a joke, lady,” and I didn’t appreciate it. Fortunately for us, Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and other feminist pioneers didn’t just 'learn to take the joke.'

First off, I resent the implication that because I share common anatomical features with another person, I should automatically shut up and listen to that person. Your response stated: “I am a woman who loves the full flavor of Dr Pepper TEN and the fact that it’s only 10 calories. When I first saw the tongue-in-cheek advertising campaign and the tagline, my reaction was, “I’ll be the judge of that.” In other words, no one is going to tell me what I can eat or drink.”

Oh, well, if another woman says it's okay...!

That’s lovely for “you” or “her” or whomever, but as I explained in my initial email, the context in which this ad is being received was never considered. Since January of this year, over 200 pieces of legislation have been passed that seek to limit women’s access to basic health care. Two international treaties establish access to family planning and abortion services as basic human rights, yet here in the US, women are once again dying because some people don’t believe equality is for everyone.

Oddly enough, I just can’t find oppressive, misogynistic patriarchy very funny right now.

The response then states: “We hope you, too, will come to see our advertising campaign for what it is, a humorous take on the many men who are worried about their waistlines but are too “manly” to drink a diet soda.” The lack of grammar aside, this sentence proves no one read or comprehended a word of my initial contact.

I understand what the campaign was trying to achieve – I promise I do – but your “humorous take” is offensive, derogatory and inappropriate, especially now, given the volatile political climate. Dead Jew jokes aren’t funny to Holocaust survivors, and “women aren’t allowed to have this” jokes aren’t funny to women engaged in a nationwide and worldwide battle for autonomy, equality and freedom.

I am a woman who loves my basic human rights,and when I first saw the seriously-misplaced humor of your advertising campaign and its tagline, my reaction was “I really hope this is a result of unintentional ignorance and not a subversive attempt to reinforce dominant misogynistic male social norms and further disenfranchise and oppress women.” I’m still holding out hope that it’s the former.

I hope this second letter makes it past the first line of response to someone who has actual authority, and again, I hope these ill-conceived and inappropriate ads get removed from the air before more damage is done.

Thank you,

Heather

Monday, April 23, 2012

I got a response from Dr. Pepper


First off, let me say that I’m [somewhat] impressed that someone took the time to write an actual response to my somewhat-annoyed inquiry.

But that’s all the bonus points they get. Much like Mitt Romney’s strategy of going “Look! My wife is a woman!” in an attempt to prove he ‘understands’ women, Dr. Pepper’s Consumer Relations response was a half-assed attempt to pacify me without taking any sort of time to understand the actual issue.

Here’s the response, in its entirety:

April 23, 2012
Dear Ms. [Last Name]:

Thank you for contacting us about Dr Pepper TEN.  Your comments and inquiries are appreciated because they provide valuable feedback about our brands.

Thank you for writing to us about Dr Pepper TEN and allowing us to respond to your concerns.  I am a woman who loves the full flavor of Dr Pepper TEN and the fact that it’s only 10 calories. When I first saw the tongue-in-cheek advertising campaign and the tagline, my reaction was, “I’ll be the judge of that.”  In other words, no one is going to tell me what I can eat or drink.

We hope you, too, will come to see our advertising campaign for what it is, a humorous take on the many men who are worried about their waistlines but are too “manly” to drink a diet soda.

Again, thank you for taking the time to contact us.  We greatly appreciate your feedback!

Sincerely,

Consumer Relations

The two opening sentences are obviously canned [no pun intended] responses that they likely include in every email. Then we get into the “well I’m a woman, so you should trust me!” bullshit, plus the obligatory “it’s only 10 calories, which you might appreciate, fatty” plug.

Then ‘she’ [note that no name was used in the signature – this could very well have been written by a man] goes on to explain her reaction. Because obviously all women have the exact same reaction to misogynistic patronizing.

Just look at Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, Elizabeth Cady Stanton … all of them totally just assumed the whole patriarchal-little-woman-belongs-at-home-thing was just a funny, funny joke.   

Then she attempts to convince me that I should ignore the sexist, oppressive undertones of their campaign and see it as just another opportunity to make fun of pudgy guys. “Haha, Mitt, you’re so chubby! Here’s my right to autonomy over my own body – would you like my voter registration card, too?? Tee hee, diet drinks and sexism are funny.”

Sorry, “consumer relations,” I don’t see your campaign as a “humorous take” on anything other than my civil liberties. And your stupid drink sucks, too. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Stupid Dr. Pepper

Have y'all seen that ridiculous new Dr. Pepper 10 commercial with the tagline "It's not for women"? Yeah, well maybe I'm just a little sensitive because women are under attack on every single front, but it kind of pissed me off.

I "get" the concept - diet drinks are girly, but this one is manly. But the slogan? Stupid. Borderline evil, in fact, if you consider that there are probably thousands of ignorant Republicans out there going "Shit, yeah! I didn't know we could prevent those damned women from drinking our sodas!"

So I wrote Dr. Pepper a letter. Let's see if I get a response...


To Whom It May Concern: 
While I understand that on some dystopian level, your recent ad slogan for Dr. Pepper 10, “It’s not for women,” is intended to combat the perception that diet drinks are ‘girly,’ the campaign is in poor taste and highly offensive. 
In an election year where nearly every Republican candidate has made it a personal goal to somehow hinder or roll back women’s rights, your ad campaign only adds fuel to the misogynistic fire. Women are under attack in every aspect of our lives; Republicans are seeking to limit or end our access to basic health care, Governor Walker of Wisconsin repealed his state’s equal pay act, and we currently only earn 77 cents on the dollar to what men earn. Now we can’t drink Dr. Pepper either? 
I “get” the concept of the ad, but you’ve failed to take into consideration the context in which people are watching. Women are dealing with enough right now; we don’t need to be further marginalized by our soft drinks. 
The ad is trying to capitalize on ideas of manliness, but you know what’s not ‘manly’? Creating an ad that reinforces patriarchal, misogynistic world views. 
I hope you will consider removing this ad from the air, and hiring advertisers with a finger on the actual pulse of the nation before you lose more than just this one customer. 
 Sincerely,
 Heather 

P.S. If you haven't yet (or haven't yet today), please go vote for me and Charming so we can win a $20,000 dream wedding! Helpful instructions here.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Vote for me pretty please?

Shameless self-promotion time!

I entered a [different than the last thing I was talking about] contest to win a $20,000 dream wedding. The judging is supposed to be based on coolest engagement photo (which we'd totally win, if it was being judged by an unbiased panel) but it's being judged based on votes, so it's just a shameless beauty pageant/friend-grab.

Since I have so few real life friends, I'm begging you lovely people to go vote for me and Charming (I promise, our pic is fabulous) and get your friends and siblings and cousins and dear old Nanas to vote for us too. But seriously, we'd really appreciate it!

Here's our entry: http://www.wpoc.com/cc-common/contests/photo_contest.php?image_id=260853&id=177469 (scroll to the bottom)

So it's a tiny bit of a pain to vote (when is it not?), but basically you have to put your email address in the box and click vote. It'll tell you you're not registered, then click on the Register link, put in your info (or fake info, whatever, I won't tell them that you're Hugh Jass), submit, go get the confirmation email, click the link in the confirmation email, enter your email address again, and then once it recognizes your email address, click the Vote button again.

You can vote once a day per email address, too. *hint, hint*

Seriously, cutest pic, isn't it??
Updated: Please with-a-literal-and-super-cute-cherry-on-top vote for us :D Thanks to Barb for the pic!
Thanks all! <3

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Day = made


I have The Bloggess' autograph :) This is the second autographed book I've ever owned (the first is Demitri Martin). Of course, to be fair, I don't *actually* have her book yet, but ... it's coming. Now to not lose the autograph before the book gets here...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I'm not going to tell you the full scenario, but I need your advice...


Ok, this is going to be an exercise in frustration, but I need advice, and I need it while providing as little information as possible about the scenario. Fun, right?

So I entered a contest to win a big prize (valued at over $5000). I didn’t expect anything to come of it, because I never win anything, but lo and behold, I was chosen as one of six finalists. The problem is, the essay I submitted when entering contains information that is not public knowledge yet and that I don’t want to be public knowledge yet. Stupid of me to use it, I know.

Just being a finalist in the contest means if I choose to continue, I’ve already won a consolation prize, which is really super nice ($200-$300ish?).

So I’m thinking I could continue in the contest, and just not tell anyone about it. I most likely wouldn’t win because I wouldn’t be trolling for votes, but I’d get the consolation prize (and to attend a cool party). If I do that, I of course run the risk of someone I know running across the contest and recognizing me and reading the story. I just have no way of knowing how likely that is.

So… do I make the not-yet-public-information public information and troll for votes and hope to win (this has lots of problems attached to it… ugh)? Do I go with the scenario above and hope no one randomly finds the site? Do I forfeit?