You Know Mr. D

Yesterday I blogged about an amazing woman, Dorothy Thompson, a journalist who spent quite a lot of time observing, and even interviewing, Adolf Hitler. She warned the world about fascism for years before most people were even paying attention. She was so outspoken about it before that was fashionable that she was actually the first American journalist to be kicked out of Nazi Germany.

Fascism does sneak up on you. That’s how it works. It chips away at your rights bit by bit until one day you look up and you have none. It attacks the media first. It targets minorities as it requires someone to blame. It whips up hate and violence and isolation and fear.

We’d like to think we conquered fascism with World War II when Dorothy Thompson was reporting, but nothing could be further from the truth. In light of that, I decided to read an article that she wrote in Harper’s Magazine back in August, 1941, entitled Who Goes Nazi?

This article is a work of art. The premise is that she is at a party, observing everyone, and based on what she knows about these people, she’s predicting which ones would become Nazis. As she takes you through the room from clique to clique and reveals their secrets, you kind of feel as if you’re watching a black and white movie from the 40’s. You hear her voice over, making her ghastly predictions, as the party goes on and everyone pretends to be pleasant. There’s a tension that’s not being acknowledged. This is society in microcosm.

But the scariest part about it is it could be applied to the present just as easily as that party from 80 years ago. The more things change, the more they stay the same. We have not learned from history.

Ms. Thompson doesn’t name names. She moved in rather influential circles in her time. She wasn’t attempting to shame anyone in particular. She was just identifying types. So she calls them Mr. A and Mr. B and so on. After revealing them to you, she then explains why each one would never become, or perhaps already is, a Nazi. I highly recommend that you read this article. But for my purposes, I’ll focus on Mr. D. Because we all know him.

I think young D over there is the only born Nazi in the room. Young D is the spoiled only son of a doting mother. He has never been crossed in his life. He spends his time at the game of seeing what he can get away with. He is constantly arrested for speeding and his mother pays the fines. He has been ruthless toward two wives and his mother pays the alimony. His life is spent in sensation-seeking and theatricality. He is utterly inconsiderate of everybody. He is very good-looking, in a vacuous, cavalier way, and inordinately vain. He would certainly fancy himself in a uniform that gave him a chance to swagger and lord it over others.

When I read that, the hair on the back of my neck stood straight up. Because we all know who this describes to a T. We may not have created a monster, but we’ve certainly elected it.

The crux of the article is that happy, confident, wise people don’t go for fascism. It’s those who are full of fear, resentment, insecurity, or self-loathing that feel quite at home with it. So take a good long look at yourself, as well as at the people you surround yourself with, and keep as far away from the dark side as you possibly can.

old-fashioned-dinner-party
Okay, so this party is more likely from the 20’s, but you get the idea…

Like the way my weird mind works? Then you’ll enjoy my book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Dorothy Thompson, The Most Famous Woman You’ve Never Heard Of

I love reading about influential women who were way ahead of their time. At the same time, I’m rather frustrated that so many seem to become lost to history. Dorothy Thompson, for example, used to be as well known as Eleanor Roosevelt. When Katharine Hepburn made the movie Woman of the Year in 1942, people at the time instantly figured out that her character was based on that of Thompson. And yet I just read about her for the first time today.

After she graduated from Syracuse University in 1914, Thompson felt that she had an obligation for fight for women’s suffrage, as there were so few educated women to do so at the time. She did that through 1920, when the 19th amendment passed. Then she went to Europe to pursue journalism. In fact, she is considered the First Lady of American Journalism by some.

In 1928 she married Nobel Prizewinner Sinclair Lewis and they later had a son. During that time Thompson continued to go to Europe to write hard-hitting articles. She was also appointed the head of various news bureaus, which was quite unusual for a woman at the time. In 1931, she interviewed Adolf Hitler and then wrote a book entitled I Saw Hitler, which was a dire warning of what could happen if he won power in Germany. Their marriage inspired Lewis to write a dystopian novel entitled It Can’t Happen Here. That is definitely on my to-read list.

Because of her harsh criticism of Hitler, she was expelled from Germany in 1934. She was the first American journalist that the Nazis kicked out. Dictators don’t like journalists who criticize them. Fake news! It was ever thus.

She then wrote a New York Times syndicated news column that got over 10 million readers, and NBC hired her as a news commentator and her broadcasts were some of the most popular in the United States. This gave her a successful speaking career. She made the cover of Time Magazine in 1939.

Thompson never stopped criticizing Hitler and fascism. She even famously walked into a Nazi rally in New York’s Madison Square Garden and shouted down a pro-Nazi audience that was 20,000 strong. Needless to say, she was roughly escorted out.

In an eye-opening and highly recommended (by me) article entitled “Who Goes Nazi?” published in Harper’s in 1941, she says that people don’t choose fascism based on class, race or profession. She said it was those people who are full of fear, resentment, insecurity, or self-loathing that make that dangerous choice every time. When I read that, it sent chills up my spine.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Sources:

Dorothy Thomson in Wikipedia

Dorothy Thompson, the Journalist Who Warned the World About Adolf Hitler

Dorothy Thompson

Check this out, y’all. I wrote a book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Don’t Miss this Documentary

The other night I had the distinct pleasure of seeing the screening of a documentary before it hits the airwaves. Here were some of the descriptors used:

  • Hungry for greatness.

  • Politically inexperienced.

  • Prone to using comical facial expressions, such as pursing of the lips or thrusting out the chin.

  • Encourages physical intimidation.

  • Egotistical.

  • Calls himself a genius.

  • Repeats lies until they are believed.

  • Dumbs down his rhetoric.

  • Is anti-union.

  • Threatens violence.

  • Has corporate support.

  • Loves to throw rallies where he can be adored.

  • Get’s people’s support by exploiting broadcast media.

  • Is considered a God-like hero by many.

  • Claims to have very easy answers for complicated issues.

  • Polarizes his people.

  • Encourages intimidation by the police.

  • Takes advantage of the population’s feeling of fear.

  • Supporters appear almost hypnotized and unwilling to see facts.

  • Claims an ethnic group is the source of all problems.

  • Is very hostile toward intellectuals and the free press.

Who am I describing here? If you thought it was a current political leader, I wouldn’t blame you. It fits perfectly. But no. This documentary was entitled Rick Steves’ The Story of Fascism in Europe. The descriptions above were of Mussolini, Hitler, and Franco.

If that doesn’t make the hair on the back of your neck stand straight up, nothing will. There was also a discussion afterward. Some of the points Rick was trying to make were:

  • Fascism doesn’t suddenly appear. It’s incremental. It’s a slow chipping away of your rights, until one day you look up and you have none.

  • We should never take our freedom for granted.

  • Education is the key. Without critical thinking, we are lost.

  • Whenever someone criticizes an independent media and attempts to alter the rule of law, especially with regard to the constitution of a government, that person should be considered highly suspect.

To make things even more creepy, it turns out that the showing, which was at SIFF Cinema Egyptian here in Seattle, took place in the very venue in which Nazi rallies used to be held in Seattle. So I sat and watched a documentary about Fascism in a seat that had once been occupied by a Nazi.

Nazis also marched in our very streets. You can read more about Seattle’s love affair with Nazis here. I know it’s hard to believe, but if it could happen in this liberal enclave, it can happen anywhere.

Rick Steves’ The Story of Fascism in Europe is very eye opening. It will most likely be on your local PBS station in about a week. Here in Seattle, it premiers on KCTS9 on October 23rd at 7:00 pm. If you’re unable to catch it live, you can also see it on-line at Rick Steves’ website. I hope you’ll take the time. Knowledge is power.

Who is it

Like this blog? Then you’ll love this book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

 

Off Limits

There’s nothing on earth that makes me want to do something more than being told I cannot do that thing. Not that I’m going to disobey The Law writ large. I won’t even shout “fire” in a crowded movie theater. Laws are generally put into place for the protection of society. But some arbitrary rules and decisions are just absurd. And some long-standing traditions with no basis in logic could stand to be modernized.

Even as a child, when I would hear that a book was banned by our school district, I’d make it a point to read that book. Fortunately my mother was very supportive of this. She believed we should have access to a variety of points of view, and then form our own opinions. So I read quite a bit.

I once met a man from another culture who was horrified that I was “allowed” to work the graveyard shift. “They let you go out alone at night?” First of all, who is “they”? I’m a 52 year old woman who lives alone.

I experienced that same look of horror when I rented a car in Turkey. They made me drive it around the block to prove I could before they’d let me have it. And sure enough, in the rural areas in particular, I soon noticed that I was the only female driver.

So imagine my thought process when reading about Mount Athos, in Greece. It’s a region that has 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries, and women aren’t allowed on the entire peninsula. And it has been thus for nearly 2,000 years. I’ve never wanted to go somewhere so badly in my entire life.

Their reasons for this ban are very strange. They claim that the Virgin Mary once was on a ship that blew off course, and when she landed on Mount Athos, she liked it so much that she asked her son to let it be her garden. And so it was decreed, somehow, from on high. (As they say, it’s who you know.) And because of that it became out of bounds for other women.

Whatever.

But these monks really take it to the extreme. They won’t even allow female animals there even though they do a lot of farming, so their eggs and milk must be imported. They do make an exception for female bugs and songbirds, because, let’s face it, that would be a bit difficult to control. But they also make an exception for female cats. I’m guessing that has to do with rodent control. (Come to think of it, what keeps out the female rats? It’s a slippery slope!) Who knows what their rationale is.

So I’m lower on the pecking order than a bug. Nice. I’m that big of a danger to their society. Insane.

A few women have made it to Mount Athos, I’m happy to say. A Serbian Emperor once brought his wife there to protect her from the plague, but she wasn’t allowed to touch the ground the whole time she was in residence. Cooties!

One woman, Maryse Choisy, once disguised herself as a man, and lived there for a month. She then wrote a book about it. Good for her! A Greek beauty queen then followed her example in the 50’s, and it was such a scandal that it was written up in Time magazine.

Three women landed there that same year and caused a big controversy. And there have been various movements to allow women in since then, but none of them have taken hold.

It’s not like they are against modernization under certain circumstances, when it suits them. Some of the monks are now taxi drivers, mechanics, and computer IT techs. But women! Gasp! Can’t have that.

But then, they also insist upon maintaining Byzantine time, which commences at sunset each day. That means that their clocks need to be regularly readjusted because sunset isn’t at the same time every day. Talk about stubborn.

And they’re all about doing what’s right for them, and to hell with everyone else. To avoid WWII, they asked Hitler to place them under his protection, and oddly enough, he agreed. So they referred to him as “High Protector of the Holy Mountain”. And that was while he took over the rest of Greece. Wow.

The reason I’d most like to visit, though, is that these monasteries are the repositories of so much medieval art, codices, relics and icons that even though they are trying to catalogue and restore them, they say it will take decades. Such rich history would be a joy to behold.

Men can visit. But only if they have short hair and are over 18 and get all the proper visas, and are preferably, but not necessarily, members of the Eastern Orthodox Church.  That means even Vladimir Putin got to go, but I can’t. (One assumes he had to keep his feminine side strictly under control.)

If this is what faith has to offer, I’ll stick with logic.

mount athos putin

Like the way my weird mind works? Then you’ll enjoy my book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

You Have Been Warned

I’ve seen two things recently that have made my hair stand on end because they seem to be so prescient. We are living in terrifying times. And they’re all the more terrifying because these things have happened before.

The first thing I’m referring to is the Hulu series, the Handmaid’s Tale, which is based on the dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood. Here are some of the events that have taken place in the first 4 episodes. These things either sound very familiar at the moment or very possible:

  • Militarization.
  • Propaganda and catch phrases.
  • News is regulated.
  • People who protest are shot at.
  • People are forced to don particular clothing to identify their role in society.
  • Special rewards for the rich.
  • An atmosphere of divide and conquer.
  • Forced religion.
  • Doctors, professors, and homosexuals being executed by hanging them on a wall.
  • People encouraged to do violence by the ruling party.
  • Calling women sluts and whores.
  • Increased surveillance.
  • Book burnings.
  • Travel restrictions.
  • Martial law in response to terrorism, real or imagined.
  • Women’s credit card and bank accounts suspended.
  • Women fired from jobs.
  • Institutionalized misogyny.
  • Women’s rights over their own bodies prevented.
  • Rape by men in positions of power with no consequence.
  • Women being blamed for all of the above.

Chilling, isn’t it? Even more disturbing is a website that lists the events that occurred in the first 100 days of Fascist Germany. I read every single day. I actually learned quite a bit that makes me even more worried about our future. Here are some of the things that went on:

  • Attacks on the press.
  • Widespread belief in unsubstantiated conspiracies.
  • Prohibition of protests.
  • Public urged to report foreigners who are causing conflict.
  • Communists rounded up.
  • A big effort to crush resistance.
  • Politicians overstate successes.
  • Jew bashing doesn’t start until Day 40. (That surprised me.)
  • Hitler wants to arm all the people.
  • There as much more resistance than I thought. People were going into exile.
  • Artists and writers and homosexuals attacked.
  • Gay bars closed down.
  • Trade Unions banned.
  • Jews begin to be fired.
  • The first concentration camp, Dachau, is open by day 49 and starts receiving political prisoners by day 51.
  • The press warns that its freedoms are being diminished, and stresses the importance of relying on multiple sources to confirm the validity of information.
  • On Day 55 Goring states that persecution of a person based on ethnicity will not be tolerated. The next day the Nazi Party orders a nationwide boycott of Jewish merchants.
  • Hitler says the press are issuing “slanderous propaganda” about Germany. The Nazi party claims that the press is run by “international Jewry”.
  • Book burning.
  • Civil service workers who do not agree with the Nazis are dismissed.
  • Anti-semitic signs begin to appear everywhere.
  • The government begins identifying all non-Aryans, using early IBM computers.
  • Day 74, an opinion piece appears saying that actual Christian values are nothing like the values of the conservative Christians who have aligned themselves with the Nazi party.

Wake up, people! Wake up! Wake up!

handmaid's tale

Check out my refreshingly positive book for these depressingly negative times. http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Poking Fun at Hitler

So I’ve been hearing this rumor about Hitler having a very tiny weenie all over the internet for the past few days. My gut reaction was to be thrilled. Not because I think that size is important, or that it says anything about a person’s manhood or sexuality or value as a human being. It mainly made my day because I know that a lot of men take that sort of thing personally, and the thought of upsetting someone like Hitler, even if only from the great beyond, makes me very happy indeed.

I started to write a vicious blog entry about it, but something in the back of my mind made me hesitate. I couldn’t quite nail down what was making me uncomfortable about the topic. I just knew that something wasn’t quite right about dancing on Hitler’s tiny little phallus.

And then it dawned on me. Here it is. First of all, aside from the fact that there’s no real proof, in this day and age we should be more mature and more enlightened. Poking fun at a medical condition isn’t right. There are good people in this world, wonderful people, who suffer from penile hypospadias. That doesn’t make them less manly, if in fact they want to be manly. That doesn’t automatically mean they will be monsters, or even hold a grudge. That doesn’t mean they are all mentally warped into making epic decisions that will devastate generations of human beings.

The fact is, by singling someone out for ridicule based on something over which he has no control, I become no better than that evil man. And I genuinely want to be able to call him a pathetic human being without people thinking I’m taking a jab at sexuality in general.

Besides, the mustache alone is ripe enough for parody. And he had plenty of control over that. (Seriously. What the hell was he thinking?)

So I’ll take the high road and not discuss his wee wee anymore. Small, medium, or large, it has long since converted to dust. He can continue to roast marshmallows in hell without any further input from me.

Hitler-800x430

Beware of Defective Germ Plasm

I just read the most disturbing thing ever. Actually, I just skimmed it because it made me too sick to read it all the way through. It’s a report entitled Committee to Study and to Report on the Best Practical Means of Cutting Off the Defective Germ Plasm in the American Population. This report was published in 1914 when eugenics was in its heyday. Hitler would have loved this document. Actually, I bet he read it.

Basically, this document is a justification for involuntary sterilization of the “less desirable” members of our population, and it was taken quite seriously at the time. It was based on a series of studies done by a group called the American Breeders Association. In the introduction it states, “It is the purpose of the committee to investigate all phases of the problem of cutting off the supply of defectives… The committee will therefore study the facts in reference to the numbers of and the rate and manner of increase of the socially inadequate. It will strive to analyze the factors of heredity and environment in the production of the social unfitness observed. It will report first-hand facts concerning the drag that these classes entail upon the general welfare, and will review the first-hand studies in human heredity that have been made by careful study of the problem. And finally the committee will point out what appears as a result of study to be “the best practical means,” so far as the innate traits are a factor, of purging the blood of the American people of the handicapping and deteriorating influences of these anti-social classes.”

If that doesn’t make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end, you have no soul. This committee “studied” several “groups of degenerates” including “The Feeble-minded Class,” “The Pauper Class,” “The Inebriate Class,” “The Criminalistic Class,” “The Epileptic Class,” “The Insane Class,” and “The Deformed Class”. Reading this positively gave me the chills.

The remedies they investigated, but, thank God, didn’t uniformly advocate to remove these supposed social blights included “Life Segregation,” “Sterilization,” “Restrictive Marriage Laws and Customs,” “Systems of Matings Purporting to Remove Defective Traits,” “Polygamy,” and “Euthanasia”. Here’s what they had to say about Polygamy.

“In animal breeding polygamy or the “pure sire method” has been one of the most potent agencies in rapid advancement and, could the essential biological principles of polygamy be applied to mankind, we should expect these same biological values to accrue. An eugenical program that advocates polygamy must be doomed to failure because it strikes at one of our most priceless heritages so laboriously wrought through centuries of moral struggle. It would be buying a biological benefit at vastly too great a moral cost. A eugenics program to be effective must and can be based upon an enhanced sense of monogamy, and of the sacredness of love and marital fidelity. If any serious students of the modern eugenical studies advocate polygamy, it is unknown to the members of this investigating committee, although many uninformed critics of the eugenics program unhesitatingly complain that eugenics proposes “to apply the methods of the stud farm to mankind.”

Whew. That’s a load off. Apparently they had some kind of moral compass, anyway. But here’s what this completely insane mindset did to our country in the first half of the 20th century. According to Wikipedia, “The United States was the first country to concertedly undertake compulsory sterilization programs for the purpose of eugenics.” Apparently many people were sterilized against their will or without their knowledge during other medical procedures. This was particularly true of African American and Native American women. It also happened in prisons. “In the end, over 65,000 individuals were sterilized in 33 states under state compulsory sterilization programs in the United States.”

For the most part, sterilization laws are off the books, although Bill Bryson states in his book “One Summer” that 20 states still have them on the books in one form or another. If that’s true, that’s rather terrifying. I was unable to find any further evidence of this, however. The Wikipedia article states that 27 states had these laws on the books until 1956. “After World War II, public opinion towards eugenics and sterilization programs became more negative in the light of the connection with the genocidal policies of Nazi Germany, though a significant number of sterilizations continued in a few states until the late 1960s. The Oregon Board of Eugenics, later renamed the Board of Social Protection, existed until 1983, with the last forcible sterilization occurring in 1981.”

But lest we think that sanity finally has been restored throughout the land, contemplate this. California did way more sterilizations than any other state, and the most chilling sentence of all in the Wikipedia article was the following: “148 female prisoners in two California institutions were sterilized between 2006 and 2010 in a supposedly voluntary program, but voluntary consent cannot be given while under duress.”

I never wanted children, but the thought that someone might decide that I should be forced to have an operation that would alter my body’s natural function, whether I liked it or not, seems like the ultimate violation. The fact that this was ever considered a good idea by anyone, the fact that committees were formed and papers were written and men in suits and ties were drawing conclusions that would cause these atrocities to occur is horrifying. And the fact that the victims of these procedures have never been compensated, and in most cases have never been acknowledged, tells you a lot about the rotten core of our political process.

eugenics_tree_logo2

[Image credit: dcclothesline.com]

To War or Not to War

There really hasn’t been a good clean war that everyone could sink their teeth into since World War II. Okay, I’m being sarcastic, but at least we can all agree that Hitler was the bad guy, and people were willing to ration their food and give up their panty hose for the cause. We were all on the same team, and the team spirit was palpable. Maybe modern wars just need better PR people. But today’s audience is much more cynical and selfish than the “Greatest Generation” ever was.

These days we much prefer that our wars not interrupt our primetime TV viewing schedules, and no one wants to actually have to sacrifice anything. Rationing? Are you kidding me? Not gonna happen.

Recently, whether or not to go to war has been on our minds. The consensus seems to be that we don’t want the expense. In these economically difficult times, this is a legitimate concern, but I personally don’t think it should be the only one.

More and more, Americans are questioning why we have been the world’s appointed enforcer, and the world is questioning why the US feels it has the right to stick its nose in everyone else’s business. I think these are both valid points as well.

There are those of us who think that war, in general, is counterproductive. I mean, all the death and destruction and horrendous public relations gets us where, exactly? And proves what? And, as is becoming increasingly obvious, achieves what?

Part of the problem, I think, is that we tend to fight for all the wrong reasons these days. We fight for oil. We fight to stop terrorism, as if it were some identifiable creature that could be corralled in one place and squashed like the cockroach that it is, never to be seen again. Sadly, terrorism is more like smoke. It simply blows away, appearing in other locations, and often our very attempts to combat it inspires more of it to form.

If we’re going to wage wars, the only acceptable reasons, in my opinion, are moral ones. For example, we should have waded right into Rwanda before the rivers flowed with blood. We should have prevented China from setting foot in Tibet. We should have never allowed a single human being to be mutilated in Sierra Leone, and no one should have ever disappeared in Chile. But we averted our eyes every time, and for all those things and many more, we should be ashamed. It’s truly unforgivable.

I certainly think that chemical warfare against civilians is a legitimate reason to be involved in a war. However, we have to stop getting involved in conflicts if clear-cut and achievable goals are not possible. This endless, “Gee, I don’t know, why are we here again?” stuff does no one any good, especially those we are attempting to help. And that’s the confusing fumbling that we’ve been doing since the Korean War. It must be frustrating for our soldiers who so often join the military for good, moral, and decent reasons to discover that they are caught up in bad, politically motivated and undisciplined clusterf***s.

We didn’t fight WWII for oil. We did have an identifiable foe. Not all our reasons for being involved were moral ones, but there was a definite and overwhelming moral element. We could feel proud of what we did, why we did it, and what we helped to stop.

Perhaps that should be the litmus test to determine when we should and should not get involved in international conflicts. Are our motivations something we can be proud of? Can we take pride in our goals and the way we go about achieving them? And will the world be a better place if we achieve those goals?

If we cannot answer yes to all three of those questions, then we have our answer. No.

war

Sometimes a Teapot is Just a Teapot

There’s such a thing as being too sensitive.

The other day the mayor of Culver City, California absolutely freaked out over a teapot, because if you squint hard enough it resembles Adolph Hitler. I kid you not. Check out the article. The sh**storm was so immediate that JCPenney actually had to pull the pot from its product line.

Culver City is in Los Angeles County and has a crime index of 11 (100 is the safest), and more than 50,000 people sleep in the streets in that county every night, so you’d think the mayor would have bigger fish to fry. But no. That kettle had allllllll of his attention for a while there.

And then there’s the “huge” scandal about President Obama forgetting to salute a marine before boarding a helicopter. He immediately realized his mistake and went out and shook the young man’s hand, but some took this incident as an outrage.

Lest we forget, the man is the leader of the free world and probably has a few other things on his mind. He’s also never served in the military himself, so saluting probably is not the gut reflex it is for your average veteran. And as this article mentions, some would debate the appropriateness of saluting when out of uniform and not wearing a hat. But the main thing I took away from this story is that many of us have entirely too much time on our hands.

Take, for example, the latest news from the city of Wildwood, New Jersey, where they are planning to ban droopy shorts on the boardwalk. Kids, today. They can’t be trusted to keep their pants up high enough to suit the older generation, apparently, and this means that legislation is required. And what if the kids don’t comply? Will they be arrested by the fashion police? One wonders.

And there are those veterans who still boycott Jane Fonda because she went to Hanoi to protest the Vietnam War. In 1972. Even though it’s long since been proven that she never passed notes from prisoners of war to the enemy as previously alleged. Are these same people boycotting Dennis Rodman for going to North Korea? Not so’s you’d notice. And that happened this year. It seems to me that your energies would be better spent focusing on current and active gadflies to our servicemen such as the members of the Westboro Baptist Church, rather than a rapidly aging actress who does not share your political opinions, but honestly, it’s so much more fun to piss in the wind of the past, isn’t it?

Before you get your knickers all in a twist, I’m not an anti-Semite, I fully appreciate the service of our men and women in uniform, I don’t enjoy gazing at the butt cracks of the nation’s youth any more than the next person, and I don’t think that Jane’s visit to Hanoi was her finest hour even if she did make her point and voice her opinion as every American, fortunately or unfortunately, has a right to do. I just happen to think that there are so many other causes to take up, so many other stands to make that are much more important than the foolishness we so often get spun up about. I just get disgusted with society in general. That’s all.

sag

Sneaky Memes

/meem/ n. [coined by analogy with `gene’, by Richard Dawkins] An idea considered as a replicator, esp. with the connotation that memes parasitize people into propagating them much as viruses do.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/meme

I’d never even heard the term meme until I got a Facebook account, but they certainly are like parasites. More and more I’ve seen people post “quotes” on Facebook that are 180 degrees out from what you’d expect a particular famous person to say, at least in public, and yet people believe these quotes because they were pasted over that person’s photograph. You’re looking right at them. You’re reading the words, so they must have said them, right? Especially if you see quotation marks in there. But speaking from experience, if you do a little bit of checking, in most cases if it doesn’t seem true, it isn’t.

 gandhi fake quote

(This will probably go viral. I’m going to hell.)

Another sneaky way to use these memes to get your point across is by using a cute photo to get people’s attention. Which of these would make you vote for Hitler? Well, hopefully neither one, but hey, that puppy is awfully cute!

cute puppy Adolfnazi destruction meme

(Puppy photo credit: http://www.fanpop.com)

And you can also twist things around to scare people away from a certain belief.

 Death meme

(Photo credit: http://www.bubblews.com)

What it boils down to, basically, is that people will believe what they want to believe, or at the very least, what they refuse to take the time to question. In this age of ever increasing paranoia, we will have to learn to be more skeptical, and, for the love of GOD, more RESPONSIBLE about what we put out there for the world to see.