Boo got her first college acceptance today — to Mills College. Mills was a late addition to her list of colleges and falls into the category of “keeping options open” if, for some reason, she decides to stay close to home. Still many more decisions to come (not to mention a few more applications to complete). But it’s a relief to have one in the bag.
[Editor’s Note — I discovered that our President-Elect spent the long Thanksgiving weekend doing what many of the rest of us were doing – watching “The Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.” And of course, he tweeted about it. I hope it goes without saying that his tweets contain SPOILERS. But spoilers are really the least of your problems because these tweets are likely to ruin the show for you forever.]
Unbeknownst to most of America until the “Hamilton” dust-up this week, it turns out that our President-Elect is a renowned theater critic. After careful research, I was able to locate a collection of some of his most memorable reviews. Unsurprisingly, he’s quite opinionated. Enjoy!
You’ve probably heard by now that last night, VP-Elect Mike Pence attended a performance of “Hamilton.” At the end of the show, the cast decided to make a statement to Pence. It was very polite. First, the cast welcomed him and said that they were glad he had decided to attend the show. Then, they said that they were anxious about what the new administration would do. They concluded by saying that they hoped the new administration would protect all people, the planet and preserve our inalienable rights. I would describe it as frank but respectful. See for yourself at the end of this post.
Well, our President-Elect had a different reaction. In a couple of very early morning Tweets, he said:
Our wonderful future V.P. Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamilton, cameras blazing.This should not happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2016
The Theater must always be a safe and special place.The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2016
There’s so much that’s wrong with what Trump said. First of all, while theater should be a physically safe space, Trump is missing an important function of theater if he believes that going to the theater should always make you feel comfortable. Many productions are intended to make you think, revisit your perceptions and preconceptions, and force you to feel uncomfortable.
Second, if Pence wanted to just have a pleasant evening at the theater, he picked the wrong damn show. Everything about “Hamilton” is political. For God’s sake, the story is about politics! Also, the show’s structure, music and casting is designed to challenge expected norms. It’s a blatantly political show, so if Pence genuinely thought he could escape politics for the evening, he was seriously deluded. Unless there was a way for him to sneak in unrecognized, he should have expected a political reaction.
Finally, and most ridiculously, Trump’s tweets effectively call for a safe space for Mike Pence. Notably, many conservatives ridicule young people for calling for “safe spaces.” Ironically, our President-Elect seems to be jumping on the safe spaces bandwagon — but only for those he has designated as his own “special snowflakes.” So who does and does not make the “special snowflake” cut in Trumpland? Here’s a partial list,
❄❄❄❄Special Snowflakes in Trumpland ❄❄❄❄
The Coal Industry
And, last but not least, Donald Trump.
🔥🔥🔥🔥Not Special Snowflakes in Trumpland 🔥🔥🔥🔥
People of Color
Prisoners of War
Free Speech Advocates
Maybe all of us “Not Special Snowflakes” can get a group rate for “Hamilton.”
The Huffington Post has published an updated and re-titled version of an oldie but goodie, “10 Commandments for My Teenage Daughter.” For some reason I haven’t been able to figure out, the original version has been going nuts over the last few days. I’m starting to worry that an angry mob of pitchfork wielding religious zealots is organizing to come to my house because they think I’ve committed a sacrilege. If I go missing, you’ll know why.
Yesterday was crazy. My article “How to (Purposely) Raise a Disrespectful Child” was pushed out to 1,500,000 Facebook feeds by Huffington Post Parents.
It’s generated exactly the response I expected. The people who have taken the time to comment on Facebook hate me. They really, really hate me. I am apparently everything that is wrong with parents these days. (Hah! And Go Me!) My favorite Facebook comment is: “All I have to say is: 💩💩💩💩💩💩” I was also accused of being a Millennial. (Bwah! Sooooo far off from fact.) And there have been all sorts of dire predictions about how my child will grow up to be a asshole — which couldn’t be farther from the truth. I sometimes have to encourage her to be more of an asshole. But many, many more people have clicked the “like” button than the “dislike” button. So there’s that.
I also had my first featured piece on the awesome website, Sammiches & Psych Meds. They published my article, “Your Mom’s Guide to Murder,” which details my obsession with the true crime genre. More to come on the Sammiches site in about two weeks.
Anyway, click the links above now, stop by, and check the articles out!
I’ve been exchanging thoughts about the election with a friend of mine from high school. Chris and I grew up in Kansas City. We migrated to opposite coasts. Chris eventually returned to Kansas City, while I have spent the last 25 years in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Chris was bemoaning how the “coastal elites” view those who live in the heartland. He believes that those in the “coastal elite bubble” base their reporting or prognostication on their own elite perspectives and then act surprised when the voters in the “hinterland” vote differently.
There’s certainly truth in what Chris says, there is an “elite” that is surprised when their point of view is not accepted. But it’s not coastal. And there is no geographic “elite” bubble limited to the coasts.
Yes, there are people on the coasts who make dumb comments about “The Wizard of Oz” and “flyover country” and assume that everyone in the middle of the country is some sort of idiotic hick or rube. But that’s just a result of lack of exposure. I’m regularly astonished at the number of smart, sophisticated people I know who have never set foot in the land that stretches from the Rocky Mountains to the states along the Atlantic.
That being said, I think the “coastal” elite thing is overstated. It’s not the coast vs the heartland. Instead, the divide is a divide of class, education and urban/rural. Geography is not that consequential. There are “elites” everywhere. There may be greater concentrations in some areas than in others, but the “elites” are everywhere.
I know I live in a bubble, but my bubble is not a geographic one. My friends who live away from the Coasts are almost uniformly part of the upper(ish) class, educated, urban/suburban “elite.” And with a few — very few — exceptions, my friends are appalled by Trump and astonished by the outcome of the election regardless of where they live.
So if the “elites” are in bubbles, there are bubbles everywhere, not just on the coasts. There are “elites” in New York and Washington and San Francisco, but there are also “elites” in Kansas City and Tulsa and Louisville. And the bubbles we live in are those made of class, education and the opportunity to be exposed to and become comfortable with the “other” that is available because of greater diversity in urban/suburban areas.
If someone is not well educated, lives in a rural area and is in economic distress, s/he is not likely to know Muslims, or openly LGBT people or Asians or undocumented residents, or highly educated women etc. It’s much easier to view those “other” people with suspicion when you don’t know them. And Trump fed that fear.
But the lack of understanding goes two ways. In my bubble, I don’t know rural America. I don’t know many people who didn’t go to college. I don’t know many people who are suffering from the displacement caused by the evolution of our economy away from manufacturing jobs. I don’t know many people who have never left their state, not to mention traveled abroad.
I find it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that because I’m “smarter” and more sophisticated/worldly, I know better. But the thing is, I don’t know — at all. I don’t know the experience that made Trump supporters buy into the fear he peddled.
And I think it’s only when those of us who are the “elites” (geography be damned) open up our eyes and try to understand these “others” that we can even begin to move forward. We, the “elite,” have the resources to figure out why many Trump supporters think the way they do. They don’t have the resources to figure out why we think the way we do.
So it’s on us, “elites,” to make an effort to figure out WTF is going on and whether there’s anything we can do to change the situation. Maybe there isn’t. Maybe Trump’s supporters are just a bunch of racist, sexist assholes for no reason. But I doubt it’s that simple. We don’t have to agree with the Trump supporters or respect their thinking. But we do need to understand the roots of their thinking if we want that thinking to change.
In the wake to Donald Trump’s victory, I came across a post from an anti-Trump mom who was wrestling with whether she should revisit how she was talking to her daughter about Trump. She said she had two choices. She could continue to bash Trump or she could teach her daughter “to accept defeat with grace, carry her morals and values with her head held high, and respect authority.” She chose the latter.
I’m fine with teaching a child to accept defeat with grace and to carry her morals and values with her head held high. But I have a real problem with teaching a child to “respect authority.” Respect for authority can be grossly overrated if not downright dangerous. This is one of those times when respect for authority is dangerous.
So I’m teaching my daughter to be disrespectful. Not rude. Just disrespectful.
I believe that we need to teach our kids that respect for authority should be viewed with a harshly critical eye. Just because a person is in a position of authority does not mean that he deserves our respect. The Office of the President of the United States deserves respect, but the person occupying that office must earn our respect. To date, Mr. Trump has done nothing to earn my respect. I sincerely hope that changes, but until it does, he will not have my respect, and I will encourage my daughter to not respect him either. The stakes are simply too high to give him any deference.
And although we tell our children to “respect their elders,” blind respect for authority – even among the very young – can be dangerous. We need to teach our children that there are times when adults should be disrespected. On a broad level, teaching our children to “respect authority” is the dream of totalitarians. Our children need to be taught to question authority. On a micro level, teaching our children to respect adults just because they are adults or are in a particular position is an invitation to the abuse of our children by those in authority. Many children have been abused by teachers, clergy or others because they have been taught to “respect their elders” or “respect authority.”
Furthermore, many of the most important changes in America have been won by those who did not respect authority when authority did not deserve to be respected. Think of the Civil Rights movement and the badly behaved women who, 100 years ago, fought authority so that I could cast my vote on Election Day.
So I am proudly teaching my daughter to be disrespectful. As long as my daughter is thoughtful about her position — and not just fighting authority because it’s authority — I’ll encourage her to be disrespectful to authority when needed. It’s needed now. Too much is at stake. At the moment, disrespect is what may keep America great.
Boo turned 18 in July, so the upcoming election is the first time she will be able to vote. She is a budding social justice warrior, so she’s stoked about voting. She’s spent a lot of time educating herself about the candidates and issues, and she understands the importance of voting — having her voice heard, supporting the democratic process, civic participation, blah, blah, blah . . . . She gets that.
What she may not completely understand is some of the underappreciated benefits of voting, so I’ve shared them with her. Now I’m sharing them with you too. You’re welcome.
The Underappreciated Benefits of Voting
- The stickers. (Duh!)
- You get to be a superhero because you fought to save the world from the Trumpocalypse. Spandex outfit is optional.
- Your Mom will not kick you out of the house on the grounds of dumbassery.
- Legalized weed. In 3 years. When you turn 21. And not a minute sooner. Also, do as I say, not as I do.
- You can have riveting conversations about politics at parties. Like this one.
- You get to vote on issues related to porn. (See California’s Prop. 60) And who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned porn vote?
- Being able to travel abroad without having to explain WTF happened.
- Polling place games.
- Canceling out the vote of your dimwitted cousin.
- A President with a vagina of steel.