Thursday, October 30, 2014

Political Correction

     I'll be honest.....whenever anyone says "War On Christmas" I picture sales clerks at Macy's with toy guns battling it out with Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson lobbing tinsel covered stars and nativity Marys across the counter. I know that's not what people mean but you have to admit that it would be fun to watch.  It seems we declare war on a lot of things and I guess it was just a matter of time before someone overused the "War" modifier to prove some new unjustifiable point.  It's not that I don't understand the concept.  I remember when I was a kid everyone said "Merry Christmas" like it was going out of style. Nobody cared whether you were Jewish or Muslim or Christian or Agnostic.  It was just what you did.  Like hating gay people and not wanting women to get paid the same as men.  It was cool, or as my grandmother used to say, "now-y".
     Fast forward a generation or two and we are maybe just a little more aware that other human beings exist.....probably mostly because they have started to demand to be treated like human beings.  It's inconvenient for a lot of people but it generally seems like the right thing to do so we mostly play along. So we begin to say "Happy Holidays" to people if we aren't quite sure if they are Jewish or Christian or Muslim or Agnostic.  It saves all of the awkward explanation when we wish them "Merry Christmas"and they have to tell us that they are Jewish for the ten thousandth time. I mean if you're Christian and someone said "Happy Ramadan" to you, you would be a little nonplussed, right?  Now I think it goes without saying that someone at Walmart (for instance) buying a flame retardant tree, lights, wreaths, gesticulating reindeer and wrapping paper could safely be assumed to be celebrants of Christmas.  So you would probably be safe to say "Merry Christmas".  But if they were just buying pants and Doritos who's to say?  So you opt for the more cordial and less Jesus-y "Happy Holidays".
     Now I do think it's kind of stupid that companies forbid their employees from saying things like "Merry Christmas" and since I have never usually paid attention to stupid things I never paid attention to that.  If someone was wearing a Santa pin on her lapel when I used to work at a department store I would say "Merry Christmas".  I figured even if she was just a confused Jew she clearly had some spunk and would enjoy a hearty seasonal greeting.
     So I guess it's all about common sense. I think what most people are talking about when they are talking about "Political Correctness" is generally getting busted for saying something that they already knew was kind of stupid to say but they said it anyway and got caught.  For instance, if you're confused about what to call African Americans you're probably thinking too much about it.  I think most African Americans don't mind being called African American or black.  I'm pretty sure they won't shoot you or steal your TV in any event if it happened to come up in conversation. It's when you say things like "I don't even know what to call you people anymore" that things get a little more dicey.
     I think we're all really just trying to do the best we can and sometimes we fall short. I think some people are terribly insensitive and others are really overly sensitive.  I think most of us fit in the middle of that and we feel like we have to play referee most of the time but what it all comes down to really is that the more we fight about stuff that we generally actually agree on  the less inclination we have to share some of that brotherly love we keep talking about.  Shouldn't we just be happy that someone is wishing us a "Happy" anything!?  Am I really going to get upset if someone accidentally wishes me a Happy Hanukkah?  Do we really think so much of ourselves that we can't just take a gesture of kindness and good wishes and accept it for what it is?
     Yes, stupid people abound.  There's just nothing you can do about it. You can get angry about it but it won't make them any smarter (I've tried).  So can't we all just like each other once and for all and stop assuming that someone is out to screw us or make us believe anything we don't want to believe?  I think we can.   So......Happy Holidays or whatever.  Now can we finally get to something important like getting that "War On Christmas" movie made?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014



  The truth is, I'm not really terribly hip.  Sure, I adopt the trendy and youthful to suit my needs in certain situations but let's be honest.....I'm a 47 year old gay vegan nerd whose skinny jeans are languishing in the back of the closet and who can no longer go to see live bands because the loud music hurts my teeth.  This is just the way it is.  There was a time when I would forget that I wasn't young and hip anymore.  I put on my plaid pants and went to see the latest lesbian rapper from London and got right up to the front of the stage but then she spit vodka into my eyes and I skulked back to the bar, eyes burning, and realized that I had missed at least one entire generation of social transformation.  
     So today when I posted a status on Facebook and used the hash tag #gayvegannerd it was really just for fun.  I don't have any idea what hash tags are for.  I'm sure there is some significance I'm missing.  I spend most of my life these days feeling like I came into calculus class fresh from remedial math.  That's ok. I'm alright with that.  I do like Facebook because it seems safe for people like me.  I'm certainly not the coolest kid on the block but I'm also not WRITING PERSONAL MESSAGES IN ALL CAPS IN THE COMMENTS LINE OF MY GRANDSON'S PAGE.  So I'm comfortable.  I can learn and I can teach.  It's terribly zen for me.  Twitter should be fun for me but it isn't.  I'm too wordy.  And hash tags always just feel like Twitter abortions; like you just couldn't muster a complete thought and gave up half way through and plopped a hash tag in front of it.   
     I know I sound like I'm about to yell "You damn kids get off my lawn!" but I do have a point.
     The point is that when I wrote #gayvegannerd today I realized that I am Gay Vegan Nerd!  I am that guy....the guy who's too old to be cool and too young not to be cool....and I think I may not be the only one.  So when (to my amazement) was available I snatched that right up and started writing.  I'm already in the middle of three projects and I don't really have time to keep up with another blog but I've been asked over and over to write something funny and I think this might be the place and I need an outlet for my stream of consciousness thoughts so my friends don't look at me with those sad, worried eyes anymore when I do it out loud in conversation.  
     This isn't about being gay or vegan or even a nerd.....though I guess I'm all three.  This is about me finally assuming the cloak of my own identity and maybe connecting with other people out there who are experiencing the same thing.  I'd call this middle age but I'm certainly not planning on living to 94.  I was shocked to hit 30.  This feels more like the fun you have sliding down the hill after spending so much time climbing and trying to be so safe and careful. At one point you realize that was all a game, an act, and so you throw caution to the wind and jump on your garbage bag and slide down to the finish line.  
     This is me having fun and being me.  I think it's going to be mostly funny and I think it's probably going to be offensive and ridiculous sometimes too.  Those of you who know me on Facebook know I love to make people laugh and I often don't have much of a filter.  Think of this as Todd:  The Miniseries. If you don't know me, you'll get the idea pretty quickly.  I believe in a lot of things very strongly but I don't have any answers.  I'm enjoying the ride and for the first time in my life I'm ready to accept me for who I am.  I'm a gay vegan nerd and I'm getting older and my hair is graying and I'm getting puffy grandfathery eyes but there's a part of me that thinks that it's pretty cool too.  
     So.....that's that!  I'll let you know what's next when I figure that out!