I thoroughly believe that once you become too serious about something, you become too boring to listen to. I know that sounds incendiary, but once you get to the point where you can’t laugh at yourself, even a little bit, you become stodgy and stuck up and simply too stuck in your ways for anyone to want to listen to.
Its like the crazy people with the GOD HATES EVERYONE (ESPECIALLY YOU) signs. They take that pseudo-church bullshit way too seriously (I say pseudo-church bullshit because while I grew up Hindu-Christian, we read the gospels. Jesus said love thy neighbor, not burn a cross on his lawn. Thus these people aren’t following Christ, they are following hatred and bigotry and most of their rules are from the Old Testament, which isn’t even their book [Lewis Black]. I have never seen a Jew with a sign saying “All Fags to burn in hell”. If you have, let me know. However, these crazy sign people seem to be interpreting the Old Testament in ways that the original readers don’t. Seems fishy. This is an argument for another time, but still, I hardly think their all loving God condones hatred of his other children)
So back to the crazy people. No one bothers to listen to them, at least no one I know. The only people I know who bother with the crazy people are members of Anonymous and hot gay couples who like to get photos making out next to the crazy people signs. You don’t actually listen to these people. I have yet to hear of one case where someone found ‘religious enlightenment’ from a crazy person with a sign denouncing humanities ‘sins’.
“Omg You are So RIGHT! I have been wasting my life in secular SIN! I have seen the light. I must dedicate my life to a more noble pursuit; yelling at people who have REAL jobs on the corners of intersections with signs that spew hatred! YOU ARE SO RIGHT!!!”
Said No One Ever.
I think this tenet is true pretty much everywhere. I’m not saying you have to go make huge jokes about your passions, (obviously in some cases this would probably be vastly uncomfortable) but having a little perspective and the ability to poke a little fun at yourself allows you to be relatable. People who become too serious are very boring at parties. All they talk about is THAT ONE THING, they get really offended when someone pokes fun or GASP isn’t interested.
I fully admit to being a Californian pseudo Hippy from a bizarre religious background. But I have the perspective to realize that my desire to dance in the moonlight on the 21st of December in the bitter cold while surrounded by candles……sounds like complete and utter bullshit to a lot of people. I get that, and I’m not even offended. Sometimes when my toes are freezing and I’m already wearing three pairs of socks I wonder why I couldn’t just choose a nice indoor religious practice. Like being a nun. However, I realize that my taste in ceremony isn’t for everyone. (Although I must admit that I have a weird fascination with the Eucharist. You’re eating HOLY BISCUITS! It’s like a little bit of the divine gets taken inside you all week.) Perhaps my attitude comes from my bizarre upbringing. Perhaps it comes from the fact that early on I was taught that all religions are equal. (The followers on the other hand…. Well that’s an individual gamble now isn’t it?)
But have you noticed that once someone becomes too fundamentalist, no one except other fundamentalists will listen to them? Other fundamentalists and people searching for an identity really. Oh, and Fox News. But no one of a different perspective will sit down with a crazy fundamentalist for any cause and be open to considering their ideas in a sane and rational light. When I run into a crazy fundamentalist, all I’m thinking is ‘How do I get out of this situation,” I am not thinking “Oh you have an interesting point, maybe I should consider your ideas.” I am looking for an exit strategy.
So I’m not just mouthing off on crazy religious people today. I actually penned this article for another reason.
I’m worried I’m in danger of becoming boringly fundamental about the annoyances of heteronormativity. Its just so pervasive and annoying and closed minded, it drives me nuts. Anything that has any variation of “Omg Men and Women are lyk different!!!” makes me want to stab the speaker in the legs with knitting needles til they look like swiss cheese. And I wonder if I’m getting boring. There are a lot of important issues out there and we need non-boring people to champion them. People who can take the time to be able to make their issue approachable and not-crazy. People who have perspective and lives and are able to make issues relatable. I worry that I might fall past that into the ‘crazy ranting lady on a street corner’ category.
Heteronormativity and Gender is my issue at the moment. Gender roles bother me on a deep and profound level. George Carlin had a riff about how ethnicity is an accident of birth. It is not something you control. You can’t help what ethnicity you are born or what skin color you have. You have absolutely no control over who donated to your genetic makeup. Gender, to me, is the same way. Gender roles are really just the equivalent of racial stereotypes. “You’re a girl so you should cook” is really just as demeaning as “You’re black so you like fried chicken.” (Hint: You know who else likes fried chicken? EVERYBODY -Fabrice Fabrice)
But I worry that I’m becoming unrelatable. Because the entire social construction of Gender is utterly pointless to me. In fact I tend to find it rather insulting. I am NOT saying that women who like pink and shoes and Barbies and cooking aren’t valid in their expression of self. Nor are men who like Cars and Sports and Beer. Nor are women who like Cars and Sports and Beer or Men who like pink and shoes and Barbies and cooking. Or any combination of any preferences.
There is nothing wrong with liking what you like. But to me the whole system breaks down when you realize just how constructed gender roles are.
I’ve gotten the argument that “Well boys and girls play differently! They mature at different rates.” Its bullshit. Sorry folks. Its a bullshit argument. EVERYONE plays different and matures at different rates. You early and late bloomers know what I’m talking about. Sure, what’s happening to the boys is similar in a broad sense but the timing isn’t uniform, nor is the expression of the changes. Some people are inundated with hormones and try to get some, some pine awkwardly for years after some first love, and some decide to blow apart their school with weapons from their grandfathers arsenal. Three very different reactions to puberty.
And about children playing differently at young ages – Are you really so naive as to believe that children aren’t inundated with Gender Roles from the moment they open their eyes? Blue blanket, Pink Blanket. Think about it. The minute someone finds out the gender of your baby its suddenly GENDERED EVERYTHING!!! “All I know is that when my daughter was young, she was all about pink.” Right, and she grew up in a gender neutral bubble at the same time. It had nothing to do with the fact that in all likelihood, in particular due to the trends in baby garments and toys over the past twenty years, everything bought for a little girl the age of your daughter would have probably contained some trace of pastel ‘girly’ colors and an overabundance of PINK!!!!
I played with trains and dinosaurs and Legos as a child. (And dolls. I like to BUILD them houses mostly and have elaborate soap opera sex orgy stories about them. I was probably a very special child). My cousin played with GI Joe and Barbie dolls with his friends. (Barbie was Joe’s hot girlfriend between battles sadly. Should get some Camo Barbie in there). You can say that ‘Boys like cars and videogames’ but a lot of people like cars and videogames. And how do you know that that boy wasn’t castigated by some other child or adult for even TOUCHING a Barbie doll. If he grew up in a standard Heteronormative household, its likely he never saw one except on TV or in his sisters bedroom. When my brother was 5 he got an American Girl Doll for Christmas because he wanted one. He got to pick her out and everything. My white hetero videogame loving little brother chose an African American girl doll for Christmas and we made them skis and a ski run in his bedroom. Then we built a K’Nex Roller coaster and played Native American’s in the wilderness with PlayMobil figurines.
Like I said, I am not castigating anyone who likes the preferences attributed to their chosen Gender. I happen to like Pink myself. The very dark almost red fuscia pink. Extremely saturated. I am also very fond of noxious Blue Raspberry Cerulean Blue and that bizarre Yellow/Green ‘kiwi’ color that looks nothing like kiwis and more like a fake poison. Just think about a bag of Tropical skittles and you’ve got my colors down pretty pat.
But, God its so bloody mindless! This acceptance of the ‘norm’, this acceptance of MAN MADE CONSTRUCTED PERSONALITIES that we are meant to pull on from birth like some kind of outdated ill-fitting chastity sack. Don’t go thinking outside the bag children, that’s a sin!
We shouldn’t throw away our identities but we should at least analyze it for a moment. At the very least be aware that society is trying to brainwash us into assuming roles that may or may not be in our best interests. I don’t honestly care how people identify or present themselves, I just want us all to have informed decisions. A decision based on who we are and not who society tells us we should be.
The problem is that I think I sound preachy. I think I sound like some high minded fundie who thinks they have the whole thing worked out. And I don’t. I know I don’t. I just don’t want other people who are stuck in my position, feeling kind of awkward and alone and confused, to believe they have to bow down to societies dictates over their sense of self.
So there’s my rant. I’m curious to see if I get any flak for it. Although I suppose, in this business… if someone doesn’t disapprove, you aren’t doing your job right.