Showing posts with label USA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label USA. Show all posts

01 February 2012

Miss Representation

I ran into the trailer for the documentary Miss Representation this morning on Facebook. It was posted by a blog I follow. The movie “explores the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America, and challenges the media's limited portrayal of what it means to be a powerful woman.” (IMDb, 2011)

It’s important stuff. You should go watch it. Go. Now. I’ll wait.

It makes you want do something, doesn’t it? It did for me anyway. So I shared it on my Facebook page, and visited and pledged I will do anything I can to change the message that is being sent out to little girls and boys today. It’s not much, but it’s something.

What got me thinking were the comments on the original Facebook post by Little Acorn Learning, a Waldorf inspired blog. They boiled down to turning off the TV permanently, not allowing children access to computers, no video games, no cell phones, nothing. While I do understand this knee-jerk reaction, to me it is sticking your head in the sand.

There is no way we will be able to keep our children from the media, and the media from our children. Unless you go off the grid and never return, chances are your child will watch TV or play on a computer at some point. If it’s not at your own house, it’s at school, at a friend’s house, in a waiting room, in a restaurant, in a store. It is extremely hard to avoid.

We do not raise strong, confident, and respectful women and men by ignoring the topic. This approach is very popular with some but teenagers still get pregnant and people still get infected with HIV. Time has proven again and again that the ostrich method simply doesn’t work.

Instead we need to be aware of what we watch, what we say, what we do. We need to talk with our children about what they watch, what they say, what they do. This is how we raise children that are not interested in the current message because they know how limited it is.

So this is me, creating awareness. Please pass it on and help me change the message that is sent to our kids. Thank you.

I’ll get off my soap box now.

04 December 2010

Juror 310

I have a confession to make. I don't believe in a Jury of Your Peers. Two, three hundred years ago, sure. But the United States have evolved into a different country since then and its laws have evolved with it. They are more complex than ever and to become an expert of the law is a long and expensive process. Yet every trial is conducted in front of a jury made up of people with a rudimentary knowledge of the law.

In my opinion trials by jury invite emotions into a courtroom and lawyers that pray on those emotions. The law, unfortunately, is not about justice. It is far too complicated to be left to laymen. Not to mention the inconvenience of being pulled away from one's daily tasks to serve on a jury. I am sure if jurors wanted to spend more time in a courtroom they would have either studied the law or broken it.

My personal opinion notwithstanding, I was very excited to find a letter yesterday, telling me I am being considered as a prospective juror in the Forest County Court. All that is asked of me at this point is to fill out a short questionnaire to determine my eligibility.

Needless to say, I flunked the test. I am not a US citizen, nor am I a Forest County citizen. Therefore, I can never be one of your peers.

02 July 2010

Expatriates And Patriots

With the Fourth of July rapidly approaching, the amount of stars and stripes I see is steadily increasing. Almost every blog and magazine I read features the American flag in some way, shape, or form. For me, this is a little foreign. The Dutch are not too big on waving the flag. Sure, during national holidays and world cups, there is quite a bit of red, white, and blue in addition to the orange, but for the most part, you'll find the Dutch flag in a piece of cheese.

Americans are very different in this respect. Displaying the flag is the most visible sign of patriotism. And of that, there is quite a bit. It starts early on in schools with the daily Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America. The Dutch are not patriots, we don't display any pride in our heritage or country, a few zealots notwithstanding. We do not stand united. In fact, we are more divided than ever. It makes me very sad.

Where I come from, the saying goes "Just act normal, that's crazy enough." All this patriotism is a bit over the top for me. I have a hard time dressing Lola in an American flag dress, to be honest. Fortunately the dress we received is way too big, so this year I can get by without it. But I do like that on days like the Fourth, the whole country celebrates together, and the emphasis is on American, whether you're Native American, African American, Asian American, Italian American, Irish American, or Dutch American.

I know we are still a long way from universal peace, love, and understanding, in my new country as well as my old. But while the use of the different varieties of Americans may be considered politically correct, it also creates a sense of unity, attainable for every immigrant. The Dutch could learn a thing or two here.

Happy Fourth of July! Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.

23 March 2009

Real Men

I dropped off the chainsaw this morning on my way to work. It needs to be serviced. I took it to the store where we bought it last year, J&I Power Equipment in Lacey. A store for manly men. The burliest of chainsaws can be purchased there alongside all sorts of heavy duty power tools. Ryan loves to go there. [Insert noise Tim Allen makes on the sitcom 'Home Improvement' - I have no idea how to write that.]

After dropping off the chainsaw, I drove down Lilly Road to Pam's house. Past the John Deere tractor store - another one of my husband's favorites, and past the lumber store. Lacey would do well on the Manliest Cities List, I thought to myself. They have a Lowe's and a Home Depot too for the do-it-yourselver, not to mention Cabela's for the outdoorsman.

There really is such a list. A few weeks ago I read that Seattle ranks near the bottom of the country's fifty manliest cities. A city's ranking is based on the number of sports teams it has, the number of hardware stores, the number of tools purchased, and the frequency of monster truck rallies. Cities can lose points for high numbers of home furnishing stores, minivan sales and subscriptions to beauty magazines.

Nashville is the place to be for Real Men, according to the list. New York is the least manliest city in the United States, partly due to lack of fishing and drag racing opportunities. Seattle is #40. If only Lacey had a professional sports team.

17 March 2009

Kiss The Irish

Carla opened the door for us this morning, decked out in green. A green t-shirt and matching hair band with little bobbing hearts, with the words 'Kiss Me, I'm Irish' written on them. It is St. Patrick's Day today. The celebration of Ireland's Patron Saint and America's excuse for drinking green beer.

May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you wherever you go.

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Slainte!

16 March 2009

Rainy Monday Musings

I noticed this morning, as I was driving to work through downtown Olympia in the pouring rain, not a single person was using an umbrella. This is in stark contrast to Bilbao where positively everyone whips out an umbrella at the first drop falling from the sky. It must be a hair thing. Olympia is a hippie town, meaning beanie hats galore, year round. Basques are better groomed. They must not like hat hair. Or wet hair.

While pondering this phenomenon, I also realized I have a tendency to move to rainy parts of the world. I wonder why that is. I just really like the color green?

11 February 2009

Go Packers!

Breaking News! Brett Favre is retiring. Again. Let's hope this time things go a little bit more graceful.

In case you are wondering “Brett Who?”, I am talking about football. American football, of course; twenty two overdressed men and a rugby ball. With Ryan being from Wisconsin, our allegiance is to the Green Bay Packers. Wisconsinites, also known as Cheese Heads (just like the Dutch!), really love their Packers. I was THIS close to being one of those wives with a portrait of former Packers quarterback Brett Favre (it is pronounced Farve) hanging above the mantel piece, were it not for two things:

1. Brett retired last year too, and then pulled a Heintje Davids (Dutch singer who kept coming out of retirement). It turned rather ugly when the Packers didn't want him back. Very embarrassing incident in an otherwise very impressive career.

2. I no longer have a mantel piece.

Brett was relocated to the New York Jets in real life and his Packers portrait to the laundry room. He was left behind when we moved. Ryan informed me this morning the renters have relocated him again. He now resides over the stove in the kitchen. Nice and warm, albeit greasy.

To say Americans love sports is an understatement. I wonder sometimes if their love of competitive sports accounts for their competitive nature or if it is the other way around? Either way, it pales in comparison to their love of sports statistics, most of which involve Brett Favre these days. The result of a very long career.

I must admit I love to watch the game, too. (So does Lola. She walks up to the television and tells them off if they're not playing well. I think. I don't understand her but she sounds like she means it. Hand gestures and all.) I understand the basic rules and that helps a lot.

And it's fun to root for a team. I miss watching the speed skating championships in the winter and cheering on the Dutch. Even with Americans in the competition, there is just no interest here. It's not broadcasted on any of the dozens of sports channels. The only occasion I had to root for the Dutch was during last year's European Soccer Championship. Which I did, once I got into the habit of watching early in the morning.

Sunday before last was Super Bowl Sunday. No Packers though, they did not make the play-offs. (But Bruce Springsteen was there for half-time entertainment! I was happy.) The last game of the season was played by the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals. With Ryan's parents trading in Wisconsin for Arizona during the winter months, we adopted the Cardinals.

The Steelers won. They are now the Champions of the WORLD. Modesty is a vastly overrated virtue (JKG).

20 January 2009

Hail To The Chief

With tears in my eyes I am watching history being made as I write this. Barack Obama's inauguration as the 44th President of the United States stirs up strong emotions. The election of the first African-American president is a 'gloriously wonderful' event as I overheard a woman say to a reporter this morning. It inspires, brings joy, and gives hope. It makes me believe that change is possible, that adversity can be overcome. I am so very proud of my new country.

But the most wonderful part is that this is Lola's normal. And that is as it should be. And to prove just how normal; while watching television this morning, she spit up on me, fell off a chair, and fought me ferociously during a diaper change. Life is good.