Monday, June 25, 2007

When did hatred become cute?

Last night I watched "Crash", which really got me thinking about things, & made me grateful that I don't live in LA, surely my community is more understanding, we really see people as humans here. While that is probably true, this really had me on the lookout at the world around me. I wasn't sure exactly what I was looking for, I guess just trying to see what kind of unfounded hatred was occurring in my own life. It's 9:44 am & already the following has occurred:

1. Read a story about Cameron Diaz mistakenly carrying a Maoist bag with a red star & the slogan "Serve the People" while visiting Peru of all places. I'm sure it was probably an accident, but really who buys a bag with a red star in China & thinks that it's cute?

2. For some reason this reminded me of a few months ago when Walmart was selling a shirt with the Nazi SS skull or Death's Head on it. Again it was an accident. The shirts were immediately marked as not for sale, they wouldn't ring up at the registers. However, several bloggers reported still seeing these shirts in the Walmart stores for weeks after.

3. I saw a commercial on the Game Show Network for their online games, one of which had Paris Hilton making license plates. GSN is pretty tame compared to most cable channels, so I went & checked out their site. There I saw an older game about Mel Gibson, who had to dodge Rabbi's throwing Stars of David at him while he drove away collecting bottles of tequila, & trying not to hit state troopers. (If you hit five you are out) Then, just to be fair & offend the Christian population as well, it ends with a license plate that reads WTFWJD.

I'm sure if this was pointed out to the GSN as offensive, they would say the same thing, it was a mistake. It will fly under the radar because it's not the most offensive thing out there, we have much worse. What about trying to have better? Maybe that's true, maybe they were all mistakes. That's more disturbing to me than if it had been done intentionally.

Honestly, I probably wouldn't have noticed any of this, or written this post if I hadn't have watched "Crash" last night & that's the problem. All of these accidents are occurring because society or corporations have put cuteness & celebrity & funny & shock value above kindness & basic human decency. (Really should've used commas in that last sentence instead of all those &'s, but it's a rant, no time for proper grammar).

I want to blame someone, Imus or Howard Stern, but they were popular because people listened to them. I want to blame people because I don't want to be part of the problem. I don't want to admit that I think that a game where Paris Hilton is stamping license plates is funny. I don't want to think that is wrong, because it's just a little thing & it IS funny & she's fair game because she's a celebrity. I don't want to think that I too need to stop & think about people's feelings before I speak/write/act. Yes, accidents do happen, they always do, but maybe a little time & thought & selflessness on my part can minimize them. (There I go again with all the &'s)

I really miss the word tacky & the phrase poor taste, just doesn't seem like they get used enough anymore. I feel like I'm 80 years old talking about "back in the day". I guess I'm just frustrated because I don't really know what to do. I like to laugh, I like when other people laugh. I dislike censorship.

For every instance I sited above, I can think of dozens of more where churches/charities/corporations/people have done the right thing. They have seen a need & filled it, even to their own detriment. There are selfless people out there, I would just like to be one of them & don't know exactly how.


Stacy said...

I love Crash. While I don't think society is that blatantly racist, I think that sort of thing lurks under the surface all the time. Everyone fears something that is other; it might not be race, but it'll be something else. I love how Crash portrayed its characters. Even the ones who seemed monstrous at first eventually became human and, in some cases, even noble. My favorite story line in that movie was with the little girl and the bullet-proof invisible cape.

Virginia said...

I agree with Stacy...and that invisible cape had me all choked up! Gah!

Trish Ryan said...

It's so true. Songs and slogans encourage us to be that person, to do something great and good and meaningful. But sometimes it takes awhile to grow into the thing you're supposed to do.

LEstes65 said...

Well, my personal dilemma has be uber sensitive to the acceptance and actual cheering for people who cheat. Once I had been cheated on and left, I saw movies like 'Walk the Line' and others in a totally different light. I realized that for years, I had been one of the idiot masses that rooted for the "true love" story line. Faithful husband or wife be damned. As long as the true love was fulfilled.

So yah, I think the next time some kind of ignorant hatred comes spewing from my mouth, I'll be sure to site it as a mistake.

Honestly (insert me with my eyes rolling).

Girl Friday said...

Probably the first step to being a selfless person, or even a better person, is to see that there is always room to learn and grow. I think you're on your way.