I’m determined to get back to this blog more, and more often. I’ve been sidetracked by Facebook (did I tell you this?) and am looking for ways the two can achieve synergy. Here’s a start. I found this item at HuffPo today, and shared it on Facebook. It triggered an email exchange with a young mother whose visceral reaction (no pun intended) to the post prompted her to request in the most reasonable possible terms, would I please take it down, as it was simply too offensive? I responded as best I could, and she accepted my response.
Her request, and my reply, and our subsequent ripostes, are recorded here for posterity:
Jennifer: any chance you’d consider taking that blog post down? It’s really offensive — I’m not really like that, but looking at it over and over on my news feed is kind of bumming me out. Mostly I don’t know you but enjoy your posts and your updates — especially loved the one about your mother…
Familographer: Hi Jennifer, I am utterly sincere in apologizing for this offensive post. Let me explain why I put it up, and if you still want it gone, well I’d much rather it were gone, than you, as a reader of other posts, were gone, and I’ll delete it.
It offends me too. I think it will offend most people, and that’s why I put it up. I’m trying to highlight what Barbara Ehrenreich, in the most recent of her vids I watched last night, this process of the dumbing down of America, this fascination with the trivial, the superficial, the sensational, and how the inevitable end of that process, men’s fascination with mammaries, for one example, and its signal of the objectification of women, is a part of that utter dumbness. Hence my comment about them speaking five languages fluently! Does anyone really believe that, even in today’s multi-cultural, polyglot world, that a twenty-three year old “model, singer, actress” et.al who will undergo the surgery necessary to top her breasts up with a gallon of silicone, actually has the mental wherewithal to become fluent in more than a couple of languages at most?! I’m a language teacher, and I have seen some extraordinarily gifted learners in 40 years of it. The claim is just bullshit, and yet there will be those silly enough to accept it at face value.
I posted the item as a reminder to all who see it just how monumental is the task we face if we are to survive as a species. When a young person concludes that the best measure of her personal worth is something so utterly grotesque, it does give me the same unpleasant sensation in the pit of my stomach as it does you. By that rationale, I hope you will post it on, for it is every bit as disgusting and freakish as you and one other woman have said, and for that reason it needs to be broadcast as a warning of coming extremes of vacuity. The image is its own antidote.
Now tell me if you still want it to disappear.
(father of a lovely, brilliant 18-yr-old daughter who DOES speak 5 languages, and who is just as repulsed by it as you are).
sometimes you can choose a second photo for a post —
anyway — thanks for the consideration and the explanation.
Have a good day.
(mother of an 8 year-old who is too into Hannah Montana.)
About that thumbnail, it actually didn’t appear in the original article as displayed in the Huffington Post. I have no idea where it came from, but I’ll definitely investigate the possibility of choosing less flashy ones in the future, though I hope it won’t be too soon that a store of this particular type appears (though I fear the worst).
Good luck with your daughter. I don’t know anything about Hannah Montana, maybe because we got rid of our TV when our daughter started adopting certain behavioral quirks of cartoon characters. We’ve never been sorry, but we’re culturally impaired by it, at least in the pop sense. We screen DVDs on the living room wall with a beam projector when we crave big A/V.
it’s been lovely talking to you.