A former partner of mine in the police force once told me over the radio during a very stressful time to imagine myself in a beautiful forest meadow lying beside a babbling brook. It didn’t work but it did crack me up which may have been just what I needed.
I don’t know if anyone else has noticed but it seems that people, in general, become outraged extremely easily and lose all sense of composure and logic. You would think it would be much easier with all the new psycho-active drugs at our disposal.
Two very recent events come to mind and make me worried about how people tend to deal with disagreement and that many of us think the worst of people first and are never able to give other human beings (and yes people that look different than you, have different religious beliefs or have different political views are people) what used to be called the benefit of the doubt.
The first case is that evil black-face robo-monkey character from Prada. Now the last time I used the word Prada in a sentence was when I was watching a really hilarious Meryl Streep movie. I don’t think I could afford to walk in the front door of a Prada outlet but it seems that many people were enraged because the robo-monkey (I don’t even know its real name), harkens back to the era of post-reconstruction use of racially offensive cartoons and vaudeville performers. Now, I am a history guy and well aware of the use of the offensive cartoons to de-humanize and belittle an entire race of people and they are horrible!
I have to say that looking out of the corner of my eye it did quickly and very quickly remind me of them because of the very dark color of the robo-monkey and the oversized very red lips but after that, I realized what it was just one of a cadre of strange, overpriced, hybrid robot-animal keychains.
I really don’t think that the executives at Prada were trying to make a racist statement and given the quality of some of our history classes, it might be that none of the executives or marketing people working there today even know what blackface is or was.
What probably should have happened is that someone should have brought it to the attention of the corporation and mentioned to them how some people could perceive it and more than likely they would have pulled it. Instead, all hell broke loose, they had to pull down their blinds, hide the robo-monkey and the media and bloggers all start talking about how racist Prada is.
The second case is that of Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar supposedly making fun of Vice President Mike Pence’s Christian faith. I would venture that Mike Pence is not even offended by what she posted on Twitter. I am a Christian believer myself and like many people watched the spectacle of President Trump, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer sparring over funding of the border wall and at times it seemed to get pretty ugly. I kind of laughed myself when I saw Vice President Pence sitting back, not saying much and for a short time close his eyes.
Representative Omar tweeted out a photo of Vice President Pence sitting with his eyes closed with the caption, “Jesus Take The Wheel”. I thought that was really funny and the reason it was funny was that it was probably true! I don’t believe that Representative Omar meant anything anti-Christian about it and if I was sitting in there, I would have probably been thinking that same thing and praying that we can all take a deep breath and recognize the humor in the world and not take everything as a personal attack or that our fellow Americans are our enemies.
We should all pray that we don’t lose our ability to laugh at ourselves sometimes, hug people we don’t agree with, think before we speak and maintain our sense of humanity. Oh, and by the way that robo-monkey is probably fetching a pretty hefty price on eBay.
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