Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Acutely Aware, Chronically Oblivious - The Stupidity of Awareness

So today, December 1st, has been World AIDS Day. That’s exciting. My only question is how, exactly, does one celebrate or even observe World AIDS Day? I don’t think anyone got the day off work. If anyone was holding backyard barbecues, it seems unlikely that such an event was preceded by the invitation “Hey Joe, I’m having an AIDS barbecue and I wanted to invite you since you’re... you know, all AIDS-y and stuff. It might go on late so bring your meds.”

In researching the topic of the various “awareness days” (or weeks, months, whatever), I came across many fascinating situations of which someone, somewhere felt that the rest of the world should be made more keenly aware of. I’m sure that everyone with AIDS deeply appreciates having the spotlight on their disease, rather than their accomplishments or personalities. Likewise, how thrilling is it that on May 19 we have World Hepatitis Day? I'll drink to that... oh wait- sorry! If it makes you too depressed that you have hepatitis, perhaps you might want to wait till March 1 for National Self-Injury Awareness Day before you do anything rash. Is it just me, or does it seem to you that granting all the attention-whores who cut themselves an entire day to, well, pay attention to them, is ridiculously self-serving and manipulative? How darkly clever of them to get a whole national day devoted to their attention-seeking.

Having nearly any disease will get you your own day to be lavished with metaphorical, if not literal, attention. For instance, buy a gift for National Aplastic Anemia and MDS Awareness Week, perhaps a nice bottle of vitamins. Thise folks would likely do well by paying a little more attention to Folic Acid Awareness Week. Not to be left out are other conditions, such as World Cancer Day, Feb. 4 ("Hey Dad! Happy Cancer Day! Did they give you your free chemo today?"); World Diabetes Day on Nov. 14, (candy is an appropriate gift); Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day on Oct 13 (not to be confused with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, also in October, or with the aforementioned World Cancer Day). Boobs do seem to get an inordinate amount of attention, don’t they? Fortunately, the men aren’t left out - they have Testicular Cancer Awareness Week (not a whole month like the girls get, and no ribbons but we do get a crappier website). And don’t forget that the voices inside your head are telling you to observe Schizophrenia Awareness Day on May 24. Observe it or “they” will kill you! (Not if you kill them first, right?)

In addition to the myriad of diseases, neuroses and general malaises that have days assigned to be nauseatingly aware of, there is no shortage of "awareness" time for just about every special-interest minority under the sun. November is Native American Awareness Month. The aged get May as Older Americans Month. I can totally get behind Better Speech and Hearing Month, also in May (GRANDMA! IT’S OLDER AMERICANS MONTH!” “What’s that, sonny?”) Convenient, eh?

February is Black History Month. March 8 is International Women’s Day. In June we observe Deaf-Blind Awareness Week (How does a blind person observe anything?) Latinos have their own month in April. Latinos with AIDS double-dip in awareness on Oct. 15 on Latinos with AIDS Awareness Day. Actually they triple-dip in April, Oct 15 and Dec 1. Even the homeless get their week to bask in the sun (since they can’t go inside, I guess) in November. And of course, every day you go to the store is Handicap Awareness Day, since they of the Holy Blue Stickers get the best parking spots.

In all the stuff that the rest of the world wants us to be aware of, among all the spotlights shining down on every disease, minority, ethnicity, infirmity and age, there is one awareness that is glaringly obvious by its absence. On what day is Average White Guys With Jobs And No Crippling Illnesses Day? I don’t ever remember seeing such a thing on the calendar. Isn’t it time that we got our own awareness day? Every day of the year is taken up with some observance of some group with some miserable story, whether they’ve been oppressed, sickened, molested, infected, neglected, used, abused, or otherwise hard-done by. Is it SO hard to have a little tribute to the Caucasians who go to work every day, support their families, don’t kick puppies or Hispanics, pay their taxes and cut the grass on weekends? Seriously, we don’t even need a whole month of awareness; a single day would be sufficient. You could even make it on Leap Day, Feb 29, which only comes every four years. It wouldn’t have to be a big huge national tickertape parade. All you’d need to do is say “Hey, there goes that white guy, off to work again, keeping the country going. Thanks, dude.”

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Civil Rights - You Have the Right to Create Chaos

NOPD is under federal investigation for their actions in the days after Katrina. Apparently there is a question as to whether citizen's civil rights were violated during that time. The police stand accused of murder and harassing people after the storm, violating their civil rights.

My response: I beg your pardon? A few dozen COPS are under investigation? They were the baddies? Have we simply completely overlooked the "citizens" involved? I was very much in the thick of things post-Katrina. Rescue helicopters had to abort operations at least twice because the "citizens" were firing guns at the helicopters, as well at fire trucks, National Guard and police vehicles. As I rode in the back of a military truck on several occasions, we had to make our way around the THOUSANDS of "citizens" who were looting businesses, stealing whatever vestiges of civilization remained. At the Superdome for three days, we had to care for at least three pre-adolescent girls who were raped by the "citizens." My house was looted by "citizens."

The police had no contact with the outside world or their superiors. None of us did. We were living in a post-apocalyptic nightmare, trying to survive. There was no law or order to keep, the "citizens" had seen to it that anarchy was the order of the day. None of us knew when or if help was going to come; for all we knew the rest of the world had written off New Orleans as lost and gone.

I ask you, what would you have done? When you fear for your life because of the angry, lawless "citizens" who outnumber you ten thousand to one, when they pick you out of the crowd to terrorize you because of the uniform you wear, how would anyone react?

Why are we not investigating the "citizens" that created the situation? It seems that the citizen's instruction manual for an anarchic city (provided by the feds) must read: "Do whatever you want. Loot, rape, pillage, kill - anything you want. If any duly-appointed law enforcement use any action to stop you, we'll have their head on a platter. This is your civil right."

The news article makes post-Katrina New Orleans sound like NOPD opened fire in a hospital ward full of children. There was nothing sterile or clinical or innocent about any of the circumstances or the "citizens" during that time. The investigators were obviously not here in New Orleans. I have a love-hate relationship with the police, but they are not the ones to be blamed for their actions during that disaster. It is the "citizens" who created the situation requiring NOPD's actions.

Friday, August 21, 2009

This Is SOOO Freaking Exciting!

Totally awesome! Scientists have discovered new species of worms that live over a mile under the sea! My life is utterly changed! Everything is different now. When the bill collectors call I can now simply say "Hey! Haven't you heard? Swima bombiviridis is now known! How can you possibly be interested in cash after an announcement of such magnitude?"

Y'all, thank you for this overwhelming joy in my life right now. All is perfect in the world.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Swine Foolishness

Seriously? CNN is lamenting the panic that has apparently set in as people begin to flood emergency departments because of swine flu fears? Are they kidding us with this? CNN and every other media outlet around CAUSED this panic! It is impossible to pick up a newspaper, turn on a TV or radio or log onto a web page without seeing "swine flu" panic-mongering.

Media people, don't even try to tell me that you haven't been deliberately trying to induce public panic. At the very moment this article was featured on CNN's website, there were no fewer than ten other articles about swine flu, including "Gas Masks Next Step in Flu Fight," "Number of Confirmed H1N1 Cases Soars" and "Developers Create Swine Flu App for iPhone." How is having eleven swine flu articles with sensationalist headlines NOT fostering panic?

At the same time, Reuter's also had at least ten references to the flu, one notable headline being "Not Scared of Flu Yet?" MSNBC had a whopping fifteen articles dedicated to panicking the masses, including flu references in its "Entertainment" section.

Interestingly, on the home page for the Center for Disease Control, there were only three references to the flu. The most dramatic of those links was merely labeled "CDC Responds to H1N1 Flu Outbreak Among Humans." Refreshingly dull, in my opinion.

Media - we get it: the flu is going around. Please don't put up articles acting like you're shocked because people are panicking. You caused this. It'd be nice to send the medical bills to the local news outlets, wouldn't it?
Thanks, media types. Enough. Please shut up now.