Take a stand on Kneeling

Standard

1. Colin Kaepernick should have a job playing for an NFL team.

2. As of this writing, he doesn’t, but the debate lies in why no team had employed him.

3.  Kneeling during the nation anthem is among the most peaceful acts of protest a human can complete.

4.  When I watch a televised game at home, at a restaurant, at a bar, or at an.individual’s residence, no one in my observation has ever made a point to stand if the anthem is played.

5.  At every professional game I’ve attended, most of the fans in they assigned seats stand.  Some sing along. Many remove their hats.  Those attendees not in their seats, however, have never stopped in their tracks during the playing/singing of the anthem.  

6.  I’ve never seen a concession stand worker pause during a sale during the anthem.

7.  I’ve never noticed the employees at the entrances halt their ticket scanning during the anthem.

8. I doubt that everyone who works for the radio and television broadcasts stops what they’re are doing either.

The athletes who are on the field are paid members of an entertainment sport.  They have a tremendous platform and have taken the opportunity to use that exposure to bring attention to a severely important issue.  

Advertisements

Two Quick Takes

Standard

You’ll never convince me that writing cannot be therapeutic.  I’ve written before about a natural high that I experience when I finish a story. revise a poem, or get a few thoughts out of my head and onto a screen.  In this stressful world, I believe we all need to have an outlet for our frustrations, whether it’s annihilating a punching bag, exorcising the inner demons in a morning run, or pounding away at a keyboard before sunrise.  So, with this, I trust that I will meet scrutiny and disagreement–and that is always welcome.  These are just some takes about the world around us in mid-October of 2017.  Feel free to stop at any time, but I invite you to share this with anyone you wish.  PS: I’m not selling anything other than perspective.

  1.  If your house is on fire, you don’t stand outside–matches in hand–while watching the flames and ask your family to appreciate you for closing the dishwasher last week.

This is my analogy for our current president consistently asking for credit during an era of division that some believe he himself is masterminding.  Simply put, adults in general should never request to be acknowledged for doing things that generally moral people would do on any given day.

2. Intentionally spreading a false narrative about why some people have begun a silent, peaceful protest has to be among the most egregious and insulting acts of “white-splaining” or “man-splaining” humanly possible*.

Imagine having a notably bad experience at a bakery.  “Bad” isn’t at all the right word, but it might help here.  You walked in with money to spend and you are immediately disrespected to the point where you felt you were invisible and that your existence meant absolutely nothing to the shop owners and other customers.  You are so angry that you announce aloud and online that you are reporting that bakery to the Better Business Bureau and vow to convince as many friends, family members, and strangers that the business in question has horrible business practices and should make massive changes or should be forced to close its doors forever.

Now imagine that the world reads what you said about the poor customer service, the price gouging, the insulting actions of the employees and management and tells you that you’re completely wrong–that you’re being incredibly disrespectful to blueberry muffins and that just isn’t what America is about.

Would you be confused?  Disconnected?  Disrespected?  Voice-less?

*I’m fully aware that I am “white” and “male” and am explaining things to you (the two things I’m admonishing with #1).  Thanks for reading this far, by the way.  At any rate, I don’t have the time, financial backing, or general interest to change my skin tone or anatomy, so I guess you’re stuck with me remaining to look like this.  The terms I used in #1 are two words that I believe are the most applicable in this situation.

I wish you all peace and love.  Let’s all make an effort to be comforting and understanding.  If you’re struggling with this–much like I am if you’ve seen any of my tweets–then I suggest writing your ideas out as a way of unburdening your heartsick soul.

 

Imagine the Outcry

Standard

BREAKING: A series of larger-than-life statues of Hilary Rodham Clinton, Al Gore, and John Kerry will soon be on display throughout significant places in this great United States. Even though each of these three lost an election, the statues are meant to honor our past and heritage. Therefore, no one should ever, and I mean ever, challenge the fact that they were created and placed in a location where future generations can see it. There’s no political agenda here. Their legacy shall be honored and maintained forever. Anyone who believes they should be taken down is unpatriotic, disrespectful, and un-American.

Who’s the Parent, Here?

Standard

I just read a student’s essay where she recalls being 8 years old, with her younger siblings, and stuck outside her locked house for over an hour in the middle of winter. All because her parents were at work. Oh, and the girl’s mother also told her she could “skip lunch” since she was a little chubby at the time. The essay is about a neighborhood woman who took it upon herself to help this young girl and her siblings by providing warmth and food. To me, the neighborhood woman is by far a better parent than either of her actual parents.

it takes a village

Teachers: Discourage White Letters!

Standard

Teachers: I was just reminded of something I recently learned from one of my college freshmen: Students have been (and will continue to do so) writing X amount of nonsense words at the end of an essay, then change the font color to white. This means the word count you see (grade?) will be larger than what they actually constructed.

Of course this is ridiculous, but then again, so is assigning a word-count minimum (in my opinion).

We need to stop the “easy-to-grade/penalize” mentality of counting words, correcting spelling, and writing in missing commas. Instead, work with young people to develop their thoughts in a clear and organized manner.

If you are reading this and you plan to use this in a future paper or assignment, please re-consider.  Your teacher may dock you for not meeting some arbitrary number he/she established, but you can continue in life knowing that not every one of your readers will concern himself/herself with how many words you can write.

When it comes to your words, quality will always outweigh quantity.

Concerning the Outcome of the Election (2016)

Standard

The following is a list of my prepared reactions to the result scenarios of the US Presidential Election of 2016.

  1.  Trump Wins:  “America has spoken.  Let’s join together as a nation and do what we can to progress as a civilization.”***
  2. Clinton Wins:  “America has spoken.  Let’s join together as a nation and do what we can to progress as a civilization.”
  3. Johnson Wins:  “What?”
  4. Stein Wins:  “Seriously…what?”

All jokes aside, here’s my unsolicited piece:

If “my” candidate loses, I will not say/believe that the election was rigged.  I will not unfriend people who supported any other candidate.  I will not share images of violence or ideas that inspire hatred that may be occurring (this is my rule all the time) as a knee-jerk reaction to the the results.  I will continue to love my family, friends, and students (though not in a creepy way).  I (probably) will not move to Canada or any other country.  I will not once express any disenchantment with democracy.

I will, however, remind myself (and perhaps others) that no one should think our system is perfect.  It’s flawed because we’re flawed.

***That is, unless his ideas/executive orders are batshit fucking crazy and are a clear pledge to destroy the fabric of our country…

 

The Side-armer (Another Baseball Analogy)

Standard

sidearm-pitcher

Do you throw this way?  Should anyone, in your opinion?  Imagine being a coach of young players and taking on the challenging task of introducing pitching form to them:  Would you have even considered the notion of showing them this technique (which you know not only exists, but also works with many pitchers) in the early (crucial!) stages of their baseball education?

These are rhetorical questions to which I’m assuming you are saying “No”, “If it works for them”, and “Probably not” respectively.

So, here’s the connection to what I do for a living.  Successful writers understand general sentence structure, paragraphing, and building arguments.  They know about characterization, the impact of dialogue, the necessity of conflict, and even the usefulness of fragments.  Fragments good sometimes.  Not always.

However, for the same reason elementary school teachers do not begin the academic year by exploring the nuances of the subjunctive case or the proper uses of the semicolon, I do not think it wise to discuss various advanced writing methods (in all genres) with 100-level students at the college level.

I believe it’s more beneficial to the student to comprehend and apply a “groundwork” notion of writing before exploring more experimental and non-traditional techniques.  I never truly wish to quash any student’s aspiration to be creative and funky with their writing, but I also subscribe to the notion that creativity is neither natural or taught.  It is, instead, developed.  Over time.

So, frankly, I sincerely hope that my students eventually become successful side-armed pitchers with their writing.  They will have found their voice, the techniques that work for them as individuals, and are satisfactorily communicating their thoughts to a receptive world who appreciates their contributions.

To get to that point, though, I have to instill that my current students first become strong, confident, over-armed pitchers.