Friday, September 14, 2012

Life's Waiting to Begin: Conversations with Dumb People

Life's Waiting to Begin: Conversations with Dumb People: It all started because I wanted to see My Bodyguard . Actually, that's not true. If you want to get technical about it, it all started becau...

Conversations with Dumb People

It all started because I wanted to see My Bodyguard. Actually, that's not true. If you want to get technical about it, it all started because in my "godlesss" household, the closest thing to God is Joss Whedon (followed closely by the holy trinity of Blink-182, Angels and Airwaves, and +44/Boxcar Racer), the man who lived in a land of stereotypical female characters and said, "Let there be Buffy." If you want to get technical about it, this whole ordeal really started because of Him.

I place the blame on He who giveth and taketh (you know, because He doesn't give the people what they want; He gives the people what they need) for one reason and for one reason only: if it weren't for His creation of the Buffyverse, I never would have been watching Firefly, and if I hadn't been watching Firefly, I never would have had the urge to watch My Bodyguard; if I never had the urge to watch My Bodyguard, I never would have looked for Adam Baldwin on Twitter; if I never looked for Adam Baldwin on Twitter, I never would have known he was an overly-zealous right-wing lunatic; if I hadn't known Adam Baldwin was an overly-zealous right-wing lunatic, I never would have tweeted him saying that I was disillusioned by his lunacy; and if I hadn't tweeted Adam Baldwin, he never would have tweeted me back and retweeted my tweets to his cronies, invoking the ire of nutcases far and wide. If it hadn't been for my love of Joss, none of this ever would have happened at all. So, you see, in a roundabout way, it's really his fault.

But it did happen. I did tweet Adam Baldwin, he did tweet  me back, we did have a political dispute, he did tweet back and forth with me for multiple hours, he did accuse me more than once of "Educational Malpractice" because I'm an English teacher who didn't come equipped with the names of three moderates who don't loathe our president, he did look on my Twitter page and tweet that my "anti-Christianity is noted," he did make Twitter pics of my tweets and retweet them to his fans, and then he did kind of try to get me fired by tweeting a Twitter picture with the quote "I think Christianity is nonsense," attributing it to me, and stating that I was a Broward County teacher (is it ironic that he's about as likeable as his character on Firefly? Because to me, that's ironic).

Adam Baldwin, being part of Joss Whedon's world, has quite a few followers (though I must say 108,284 sounds downright paltry compared to Nathan Fillion's 1,416,815), so of course once the brouhaha started with Baldwin, I started getting bombarded with tweets right and right, first political and then religious. And you know what I learned?

A whole lot of nothing.

I was going to say I learned that people are crazy, but I'd be lying if I said I hadn't known that already. It was reinforced, though. Strongly.

It was reinforced when people who don't know me from Adam (well, that worked surprisingly well) started sending me tweets attacking me and not only my ability to do my job, but my right to do it.

It was reinforced when some creepster named Kent (@kentmontgomery1) who I fully expect to see on the news for going on a crazed gun rampage one day tweeted, "Broward County should b so proud! I bet ur students ❤having an athiest tchr! I bet u were @ DNC saying NO to God" and "What a joke that people like this can become teachers!" and "My opinion is an athiest teaching children is NONSENSEđź‘Ž" and some frumpster named Lisa Scherr (@BBUMH) wrote, about my saying that I do my job exactly as I should, "Based on what criteria? The parents of your Christian students? BCSB ethics?" implying that I, in fact, do not do my job exactly as I should.

Those tweets are a fraction of the ones I received that night, but I think they convey the general tone pretty well. I think they do a good job of getting across Baldwin's Twitter followers' shared notion that belief in God is somehow necessary criteria for a teacher in a public school.

And how backwards is that?

Separation of church and state aside, fact that religion does not belong in a public school classroom at all also aside, my beliefs having absolutely nothing to do with my teaching kids how to analyze rhetoric aside too, how backwards is it that in a country where Christianity is not the "official" religion (and in a magnet program where Christianity is likely not the majority religion), the only thing they care about is that I'm not Christian? Nobody expressed outrage that I'm not Muslim; likewise, I didn't get any tweets suggesting I be banned from the classroom for lack of Jewish faith.

All of the
came from Christians outraged that I, unlike them, do not follow the teachings of Christ.

And I'm not fit to be in a classroom.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I Don't Care What You Think Even if It's Not about Me

I was on my way to work this morning when the Night Ranger song "When You Close Your Eyes" played on my iPod. That song has always made me super sad. Whether it was my high school boyfriend, my after-high-school, kinda-sorta-steady guy, or someone with whom I've had a relationship in the more recent past, that song has always made me wistful; in fact, when I heard it about a year ago, the blog post "I Don't Care What You Think as Long as It's About Me" was written. (You can go back and the read the post if you want to, but I'm going to give you the gist of it, so it's not really something you've got to do.)

In that previous blog post, I pretty much went on and on about how sad I felt by the thought of being forgotten. I talked about how one of my biggest fears is insignificance and the notion that once I'm no longer in somebody's life, s/he never will never think about me again. I also talked about the importance of memories and how if memories are lost, it's like whatever happened didn't happen at all. In the end, the main idea was that if people stopped thinking about me, if memories were lost, if I were to be forgotten, then what that ultimately meant was that I didn't ever matter at all.

But today when I heard that Night Ranger song, things were different. For the first time in probably my entire life, I didn't feel even a twinge of sadness while it blasted through my speakers. For the first time in my entire life, I listened to the song, and it was exactly that: a song. It wasn't a message about the sadness that is life, nor was it a harbinger of a melancholy mood. It was a song that I liked, and that is absolutely all.

Except that that's not exactly true.

(If it were, I wouldn't be sitting here writing this blog--would I?)

Because I tend to analyze every single thing in my entire world, as soon as I heard that song and wasn't sad, I got right to trying to figure out why. I thought about the way it used to make me feel, and I thought about the way that it currently made me feel (or not feel), and what I realized is that, although I can't say when it happened, each and every one of those people has ceased to mean a damn thing.

For the first time ever, I really, truly don't care if people from my past think about me.

But I'll bet they do.