Lean into a war child’s secret reason to talk back and have fun

Tonight, it’s videos.

Well, and this. It’s a picture that is such amazingly pure and potent nightmare fuel that I am not even going to paste it into this blog entry, just give you a link to it.

So fair warning, it’s ultra fucking creepy. Brace yourself. And then…

Click at your own peril!

Now, being fucked up beyond belief, I love that picture precisely because it is so deeply disturbing. It makes for an incredibly potent example of the horrors of war. It offends on such a deep level that it instantly creates a strong aversion.

And yet, that is what war looks like. It’s not heroes and villains and an epic struggle between the forces of good and evil.

It’s children wearing gas masks so that mustard gas doesn’t burn the lungs right out of them.

And just think, there are millions of children living with just as much danger right now, all over the world, in every war torn area of the world.

But they’re not white, so it’s OK.

Or is it? The people who made this video sure don’t think so.

I applaud this video because it presents its message so well. The simple, somewhat child-like art style, the very carefully chosen and effective way it presents Katie’s story as one that any family that has suffered from the economic downturn, regardless of social status, can identify with it and sympathize.

They are even careful to add that Katie’s family has sold everything they could in order to make sure the audience understands that Katie’s family is at rock bottom.

And in doing so, it appeals to people’s basic decency. Asshole right-wingers might be able to convince themselves that all poor adults deserve whatever happens to them (because otherwise, they might have to care, and they hate caring, ergo all poor people are just lazy), but it’s hard to argue that anything their parents do means a child deserves to starve.

I have used food banks in the past. I really did not have much of a choice. I had so little money for groceries that my health was suffering. I was eating two meals a day and they tended to be mostly low value carbs like pasta or ramen.

With the food bank’s help, I could actually eat things with protein, like canned chicken, or beans.

I am so glad I don’t live like that any more!

And speaking of kids these days, rock this.

Now that’s the kind of shit that makes me reconsider my decision to ignore poetry as a potential creative outlet, because that shit is the fucking bomb.

As spoken word poetry, it is powerful mojo indeed. I have watched the video three times now and each time I was blown away by the incredible use of language as a weapon against evil.

I mean, that kid drop bombs like both World Wars plus Vietnam. And he’s doing it to fight something that I no-shit totally deep down nuke-it-from-orbit hate myself, which is all this beauty shit that the ladies (and worse, the girls) go through these days.

Caught in a world full of images of perfection that are one quarter genetic lottery winner and three quarters make up and fucking Photoshop, the females of this modern madness are locked in competition with a million women who do not even really exist.

That’s why broadening the visual palate of broads is so important. We need as many images of as many shapes of women out there as possible so that we can break this curse and release all those future anorexics from its wicked spell.

But enough of the sad stuff. It’s time to have fun, girlie style!

I am totally loving the current Cyndi Lauper revival. I have loved her ever since I first saw the video for She Bop (which is about masturbation) and it is totally awesome to see her showing up on the media to promote Kinky Boots and generally be awesome.

And that song was also quite revolutionary for its time, even though it seems like simple bubblegum pop of the most basic (and catchy) kind. It told girls that it was OK to go out and have fun and not take everything so seriously in an era when that message was very much needed.

Seventies feminism was an amazing force for good, but one of its unintended legacies was a very serious case of being very serious. That was a hell of a thing for the teenage girls of the Eighties to inherit, and so they escaped into the sort of girlie hedonism represented by Cyndi’s song.

There is a time and a place for getting really serious about How Hard It Is To Be A Woman, and that time and place is college.

And finally, we have this simple, powerful message aimed at ladies but applicable to everyone.

It’s a very simple question that really cuts right through all our neuroses, fears, hesitancy, and depression. What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

It immediately made me think of this song by TMBG :

I am increasingly of the opinion that the book this video is based on, Lean In by Cheryl Sandberg, got off on the wrong foot with people because of how the press interpreted some of the things it said, and that its message is actually quite awesome and applicable to damn near everybody.

I mean sure, boys are encouraged to lead and girls are not, but that does not mean all men are good at leading and love to do it any more than all women are good cooks and love to do it.

And it’s a damned good question. What would I do if I wasn’t scared?

It’s a very tricky question with me, because my fear often manifests as indecision, so trying to decide what I would do without the fear is like trying to catch smoke in a bottle.

But without the fear, I would certainly go out into the world more, meet more people, make connections, develop my social skills, and with any luck, find my niche in the world.

But right now, that all sounds very scary indeed.

But every day, that wall of fear gets… thinner.

2 thoughts on “Lean into a war child’s secret reason to talk back and have fun

  1. Even with that food bank ad, the conservative talent for denial of reality would extend to saying, “Well, why didn’t her dad get another job? My great-grandfather went door to door offering to polish people’s teakettles for a penny, just so he could send my grandfather to college. But today’s lazy workers don’t have that kind of work ethic. And hey, they didn’t sell everything—they still had the house! In my day, we didn’t act like we were robbed just because something wasn’t handed to us blah blah the greatest generation blah blah blah.”

    That Barbie poet guy was painful to watch because of his overacting. ☻

    What did Lean In say that got off on the wrong foot?

  2. > What did Lean In say that got off on the wrong foot?

    To be honest, I don’t remember. I just remember that when the book came out, people were pissed off about something in it.

Leave a Reply