The husband is busy finishing up his MBA before he deploys, so that's why I'm writing about so many TV shows. Anyway, today I watched that National Geographic show Aftermath: Population Zero. I wanted to watch it after Lileks wrote about it, but I guess I remembered him writing more favorably about it. I checked his post again during the show and realized that it wasn't exactly a glowing report. What he said was this: "If the Aftermath show has any message, itÂ’s how useless the world would be without people." I thought he meant that's what the program showed. Nope, that's just what Lileks himself took away from the story.
I can't get past the absurdity of the claim that all humans disappeared from the face of the earth in the blink of an eye, leaving their cars and microwaves running, but no animals were touched. I can't think of any scenario that would make that happen, so some of the animal scenes seemed pretty dumb. Though I did thoroughly enjoy watching a skunk eat Frankenberry cereal.
I did enjoy watching the physics of crumbling buildings. But overall I spent most of the time rolling my eyes at how evil and awful human beings have been for the poor earth. Yep, we ruined everything.
IÂ’d love to read an interview with Gaia in which she says that her goal all along was to come up with a species that could produce Beethoven and make rockets to send the music deep into space.
If you want to see a creepy world with animals but (almost) no people, check out some of the Chernobyl documentary stuff. If you want, I can find you some good Russian sites with videos and/or pics.
RIP, USS INDIANAPOLIS
I just watched a show on the Discovery Channel called "Ocean of Fear" about the sinking of the USS Indianapolis. I had never heard this story before: the cruiser was sunk by the Japanese, and the survivors floated in the Phillipine Sea for four days, suffering dehydration, injuries, and shark attacks. Shark attacks. Can you imagine surviving a torpedo in war only to float among sharks for days? And then imagine having your hand bit off by a shark and being shoved off the raft to fend for yourself because your crewmates think you'll attract more sharks.
While the Indianapolis sent distress calls before sinking, the Navy long claimed that they were never received because the ship was operating under a policy of radio silence; declassified records show that three SOS messages were received separately, but none were acted upon because one commander was drunk, another had ordered his men not to disturb him and a third thought it was a Japanese prank.
Imagine if this happened today. I have never heard of this WWII disaster at all -- and perhaps that's just my ignorance -- but it would be a major scandal if anything remotely like this happened today. People like to blame Bush and Rumsfeld for everything under the sun, but it's not like mistakes haven't been made in previous wars.
And a commander getting too drunk to answer an SOS and letting 500 men die floating in the water, well, the word "mistake" doesn't even begin to describe it.
(And shows like this, this is why I usually watch reruns of cop dramas. At least they're fiction. This just makes my heart shudder. It's excruciating. I will probably fret about this story for the rest of the day.)
Dude, nothing on wikipedia is necessarily true. That's why they call it wikipedia. Your Indianapolis story sounds like a military legend.
Posted by: Will at March 29, 2008 10:31 AM (0Yps+)
Will, the event was real enough, including the sharks and the days in the water, although I don't have any idea whether the wiki details about SOS reports are accurate.
Sarah, I may actually get to visit your state in a few weeks; if temps up here continue to stay below normal, by then I'll be more than ready for some warm air and some green!
And if you want something else more hopeful to think about, try finding "The Brain that Changes Itself" (Norman Doidge, 2007) through your library. It's a fascinating and accessible read about the adaptability of the human brain, and it might even bolster your optimism about people and the surprising extent of their capabilities. I've been pushing copies on my relatives...
And, thanks for blogging.
Posted by: Piercello at March 29, 2008 12:09 PM (XDfnG)
Will, I am just stunned by how stupid you sound. Wow.
Are those sites "official" enough for you? Jeeeesus.
And here's the link to the original source for the paragraph I quoted that Wikipedia cited:
Military legend? You are an ass.
Posted by: Sarah at March 29, 2008 01:02 PM (TWet1)
The story is beyond itself.
The first time I heard of it was, ohmygosh, 15 years ago? ONLY because some local elementary student had been watching 'Jaws' with his parents.... And the captain of the vessel that Dreyfus and, uhm, what's-his-face, Roy Schneider are on, waiting for the killer shark, all shit-faced.... And the captain starts telling a story about it, relating the horror of shark attacks.... Anyhow, the kid in school asked if the story were correct and did research. Yup. That bad, ifin not worse....
"Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into our side, Chief. We was comin' back from the island of Tinian to Leyte... just delivered the bomb. The Hiroshima bomb. Eleven hundred men went into the water. Vessel went down in 12 minutes. Didn't see the first shark for about a half an hour. Tiger. 13-footer. You know how you know that when you're in the water, Chief? You tell by looking from the dorsal to the tail. What we didn't know, was our bomb mission had been so secret, no distress signal had been sent. They didn't even list us overdue for a week. Very first light, Chief, sharks come cruisin', so we formed ourselves into tight groups. You know, it was kinda like old squares in the battle like you see in the calendar named "The Battle of Waterloo" and the idea was: shark comes to the nearest man, that man he starts poundin' and hollerin' and screamin' and sometimes the shark go away... but sometimes he wouldn't go away. Sometimes that shark he looks right into ya. Right into your eyes. And, you know, the thing about a shark... he's got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll's eyes. When he comes at ya, doesn't seem to be living... until he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then... ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin'. The ocean turns red, and despite all the poundin' and the hollerin', they all come in and they... rip you to pieces. You know by the end of that first dawn, lost a hundred men. I don't know how many sharks, maybe a thousand. I know how many men, they averaged six an hour. On Thursday morning, Chief, I bumped into a friend of mine, Herbie Robinson from Cleveland. Baseball player. Boatswain's mate. I thought he was asleep. I reached over to wake him up. Bobbed up, down in the water just like a kinda top. Upended. Well, he'd been bitten in half below the waist. Noon, the fifth day, Mr. Hooper, a Lockheed Ventura saw us. He swung in low and he saw us... he was a young pilot, a lot younger than Mr. Hooper. Anyway, he saw us and he come in low and three hours later a big fat PBY comes down and starts to pick us up. You know that was the time I was most frightened... waitin' for my turn. I'll never put on a lifejacket again. So, eleven hundred men went in the water; 316 men come out and the sharks took the rest, June the 29th, 1945. Anyway, we delivered the bomb."
Posted by: Allison at March 29, 2008 08:23 PM (t6J0P)
I first heard about it as kid, when I saw "Jaws". Quint was a survivor from the Indianaopolis.
Posted by: Clive at March 30, 2008 02:46 AM (alsPM)
Wikipedia is sometimes reliable and sometimes not. In this case it looks like the entry was somewhat distorted, but perhaps not intentionally so. There's no way that Indianapolis was able to send three distress messages in ten minutes. However, several websites state that she sent one message that was received by three different shore stations, but was then ignored. I can't find any independent verification of the reasons for the ignoring, although several pages state that Japanese radio deception was common and so unverified messages were typically ignored.
A great deal of material from WW2 was classified under a fifty-year rule. Most of that was declassified starting in 1990, and many new books have been published based on that material. Some of them bear out the older versions of events. Others rewrite the conventional history of WW2 to large or small extents.
Posted by: wolfwalker at March 30, 2008 03:25 AM (eUc4O)
Wolf..."There's no way that Indianapolis was able to send three distress messages in ten minutes"...why not?...an SOS message, including latitude & longitude coordinates, should take no more than a couple of minutes to transmit in Morse code. It would have take longer if the message had to be encrypted, but it's unlikely they would have done this, given that the ship had already been hit.
You know, I hate to sound like a cranky old lady, but that is what is missing in education. People who are grown and should know better haven't heard much about WWII. It drives me up the wall to hear someone say or write something like Will did. He must have a real unquestioning mind to write what he did. I have a hunch he really doesn't want to know about other wars and sacrifices made for this country. Too many people are getting out of high school, college, and I hate to say it, graduate school without a thorough knowledge of history. Too much war is bad, USA bad, not enough war got us a great nation back in the 1700's and we have had to fight to keep it great.
I'd better stop now, the computer is fogging up with all the steam coming out of my ears!!
Posted by: Ruth H at March 30, 2008 12:03 PM (BkiKe)
Jim and I watched this program one night a couple of weeks ago. It's like a car wreck: horrible, but you can't look away. I know what you mean about watching fiction, but honestly, sometimes (now more than ever) watching those are too close to home and reality, too.
Posted by: Kate at March 30, 2008 12:40 PM (576n8)
I read a book about 5 years ago - Ordeal By Sea by Thomas Helm - that is about this story. It was amazing. If you're interested, it has personal accounts by the survivors in it.
Posted by: Kahne at March 31, 2008 04:46 AM (8/Y1L)
Well I can see three SOS messages brodcast in 10 minutes, but it doesn't make sense that the first was received one place, then shortly after, the second was received a second place, then shortly after that, the third was received a third place. Anyone listening probably got all the messages that were sent, and that happened to be three places.
Posted by: Locomotive Breath at April 01, 2008 07:36 AM (/V62y)
I once dated a Navy guy, whose Dad was also in the Navy in his youth. We were sitting around after dinner one night (his Dad was way older then my Dad, almost a generation older) and we were talking about sharks somehow. The Dad was saying the vessel he was stationed on was captained/ commanded by a guy who had survived a horrible wreck at sea and they were out to sea for weeks and were attacked by sharks. The captain really hated sharks. He said that sometimes the captain would throw all the trash in the water and when the sharks came to eat it he would shoot them with the on deck guns, and would act really crazy :: shrug:: Hearsay, I know, but I always wondered if that was a real situation and that story has always stuck out in my mind.
Posted by: Jenna at April 01, 2008 05:23 PM (+1xmu)
It is a sad scary story. My daughter and I read a book about it a couple of years ago.
"Left for Dead: A Young Man's Search for Justice for the USS Indianapolis" by Pete Nelson.
You can find it in the Juvenille section at your library. I highly recommend it. It really is a fascinating book and follows the lives of a few of the survivors.
WHAT NOT TO SAY TO YOUR SUB-FERTILE FRIENDS
I came across a link on MSN to an article called We Can't Get Pregnant and It's Driving Us Apart. I read it with fascination because I can relate to many parts of it. And while our troubles aren't necessarily driving us apart, I can absolutely see how they might for some people. It is stressful, it is all-consuming, and it is heartwrenching. And if you deal with your emotions differently, it can be an awful process. My husband was strong and optimistic all last year, but lately he's been the one who's getting hit the hardest every month. We're trying to be a comfort to each other, but we're both stressed and disheartened. It's really rough.
And this paragraph, this just resonates.
Throughout this three-year ordeal I've felt perpetually sad. I've become a hermit because I don't want to hear friends who got pregnant easily say, 'Just adopt.' I want to watch my belly grow, feel my baby kick and give birth. Normally, my mom would be my support, but she keeps telling me supposedly inspiring stories about women who went through multiple IVF tries before conceiving naturally.
Everyone has a story to tell you. Everyone knows someone who had that Miracle Baby, and they think that will make you feel more optimistic. It doesn't. And everyone says "just relax and it will happen." Everyone thinks they're being helpful, when really they sometimes cause more pain.
Two weeks ago I was at work when a young mother apologized for her two year old's behavior. I said it was no big deal, and I laughed and said that I like watching parenting styles in action. This girl asked if I have kids, and then followed with, "Well, why not? You have a wedding ring on; why don't you have a kid?"
And even the people who are a lot less boorish than this chick, even they can punch me in the gut. My husband and I have finally taken the steps needed to start getting fertility testing done, to see if we can figure out what's going on. We don't mind telling people that we are taking this step, though we have decided that we are not going to discuss the details or results of the tests with anyone. But when I gingerly told a friend the other day that we have an appointment to get tested, she said, "Oh, I bet there is nothing wrong with you." Funny, I didn't realize you have a medical degree. Thank heavens you have determined that there's nothing wrong with us.
Other people have said that we just need to get drunk and have fun. To which I replied that if all we needed to get pregnant was booze, we'd be the fricking Von Trapp family by now. Also not helpful.
There's really nothing you can say to a couple who is disheartened and discouraged. But for starters, don't say things like, "You're lucky; I get pregnant every time my husband and I are in the same room!" For couples trying desperately to have a baby, being told they're lucky is a slap in the face. They don't want to hear about your husband's super-sperm and how fertile you are, because even though you don't intend it this way, it comes off sounding like you think you're a better human specimen than they are. For already fragile egos, hearing you talk about your hardy genetic material is painful. And they sure don't want to hear you refer to your fertility as a curse.
My two-cents is to never speak in declarative sentences. Don't tell them what you did as if it's the surefire way to get pregnant (got drunk, stood on your head, waited for the full moon, went to Hawaii). If it's worth a darn, they've already tried it by now. Don't say that you're sure it will happen for them soon, because you are not at all sure of that. There's nothing worse than having someone tell you they are sure you will have a baby; there are no guarantees in this process. And don't ever ever ever tell them to "just relax." I am ready to kick the next person who says that to me in the crotch.
Instead, play Obama and tell them you "hope" everything works out for them. Tell them you hope the testing brings them more understanding, that you hope that they don't obsess about it too much, and that you hope that they know that you care about them and are wishing them the best.
And then just be a friend. The couples going through this, they are miserable. They think about it constantly, and it is right in their face every two weeks. Their entire outlook on life -- what it means to be a parent, what one's role is on this earth, etc -- has changed because of this process, and it's a very vulnerable time. Please don't make it worse by telling them your best friend's sister's neighbor got pregnant unexpectedly and so of course they will too.
But these are just my thoughts; your mileage may vary. I am ultra-sensitive to anything that smacks of criticism or ignorance these days, and hearing that I should try to time the baby for winter because I'm a knitter just makes me want to slap someone.
Though I did get a big laugh when one friend said that we have too much money and education to get pregnant, and that our best bet is to start doing heroin and attending local high school proms.
I never know what to say. I have two real life friends who have gone through this. One friend eventually had a baby, one didn't and got a boob job instead. I feel strange talking with either of them... my perspective has changed but I still don't have a damn clue what to say. My friend who eventually had a baby was absolutely amazed that I didn't do a pregnancy test the day after my period was due. She said in her circle of friends, everyone had to try so hard and had been through so much, that they knew to the moment when they could test.
I felt like an ungrateful heel at that point, even though I didn't mean anything bad and neither did she.
I still believe that in whatever capacity you one day become a mother, you are going to be an extraordinary one. (I hope that's ok to say and I don't get a swift kick to the crotch when I finally meet you.)
Oh, and I am TOTALLY with the heroin/prom idea. If that's not a surefire road to getting knocked up, I don't know what is.
Posted by: Sis B at March 22, 2008 06:26 AM (0ZS+T)
I was getting the same kind of crap from the fertility doctors as we were being tested. A lot of, "these tests will all probably come up normal." Which always makes the process feel worthwhile. I even had one doctor, during the same appointment, tell me that I should consider myself lucky after three miscarriages because at least we know I can get pregnant and they had people who couldn't even do that, AND that because all my miscarriages were so early, that 'some doctors' wouldn't even count them as pregnancies. Unfortunately, people say stupid crap--sometimes they're trying to be helpful (at least, that's what I HOPE they're doing) or just out of ignorance. Just know that you have every right to tell them to mind their own business or to drop the subject.
Posted by: Ann M. at March 22, 2008 09:10 AM (HFUBt)
Count me in the "don't know what to say" column, but "wants desperately to help in any way possible".
I remember when I was having miscarriage after miscarriage, no one could really say anything that would make me feel better, either - even if they had been through the same thing already themselves. And doctors - they generally suck at the nice. I particularly like hearing, "Your body thinks that your male fetuses are intruders and attacks and expels them much as it would a cold virus."
Great. I'm giving myself abortions? Thanks so much for the info doc. Could work on that bedside manner a bit, maybe.
We joke about AFG's surgery, that we "finally figured out what was causing all those kids", but the truth is we wanted more, and were told that my body just couldn't do it anymore, there was too much damage from the number of miscarriages (I check the 9+ box when I go to the doctor, but that's just because they don't have my number actually present on the form).
For my part, I truly am sorry if I inadvertantly say something that is hurtful, it is certainly not meant that way. It just comes out that way because I do so want to help, and do not know what to do.
Posted by: airforcewife at March 22, 2008 11:04 AM (mIbWn)
I LOL at the heroin and proms joke. I'm glad that you can laugh about something in this process because you are right, it's quite an ordeal monthly! I knew I could have had it much worse. The first specialist we saw told me at our initial visit, "don't worry, you are a known commodity, you already had one." that always bugged me! I hope I never say anything stupid to you, because I also hate stupid platitudes--like i never say things when someone has died that that person is in a better place or other dumb stuff like that. i try to only say things that are more like this: "i'm sorry for your loss." So I leave it at that.
Posted by: Kate at March 22, 2008 12:24 PM (576n8)
Well, you've finally run me out of supportive things to say--they don't really apply. Just know I wish I could fix whatever is making this so hard for you. Hang in there and don't let this do you in. *hugs*
I hate to know that I am probably in the "said the wrong shit, and the wrong time club"...
I am guessing I am one of those folks, but I do hope the Drs. find out something. Anything...
And I want you to to have a baby and name him Fred...
No go find the herion
Posted by: awtm at March 22, 2008 02:55 PM (i0YYY)
What I hated hearing after my miscarriage was, "Well, at least you know you can get pregnant!"
As if that was the only step to having a baby. :\
We now have our baby, but if you don't count the two months he was home after a four month training (during which we decided we would try to start a family), just before the fifteen months he was deployed (the first month in which I miscarried), it took six months to finally conceive, and I didn't lose the fear of miscarriage until after I could feel Baby moving regularly.
Now that Baby's out in the open, there's a whole new world of stress and terror Â– but I won't go into that, because I don't want to join the "Scaring Sarah" club (if I haven't already).
I don't have advice. It just happens when it does. Don't lose heart . . .
Posted by: deltasierra at March 22, 2008 03:43 PM (7uphd)
Posted by: Allison at March 22, 2008 07:28 PM (2PnS2)
I'm SURE I have said the wrong thing at the wrong time countless times even though I should know better since I could have written this post myself a few years ago.
I've been trying hard to just listen rather than talk, but I haven't quite perfected that either yet. I appreciate you not chucking me in the back of the head, though, and giving me a chance to prove I can be a decent friend.
P.S. If you need help finding a Prom dress, let me know...I bet we can find you something phat...or def...or sick or whatever it is these kids say nowadays.
Posted by: Guard Wife at March 24, 2008 07:01 AM (BslEQ)
Hearing 'Just relax.', 'You need to relax.', 'If you would just relax . . .', etc. was my absolute worst nightmare. It is a great concept. It might be true. But my mind has a mind of its own. And it is a better woman than I to not be un-relaxed dealing with wanting and trying to have something everyone else seems to know just how to get. All the best.
Posted by: wifeunit at March 24, 2008 07:59 AM (iUJSf)
Forgive me but I am very curious about a point relating to all this - and that is how people get so caught up in the "having children" thing. I am a very black/white thinker. Not a lot of grey which may also = less emotion.
I knew the odds were against me (age) and when the unexpected yanking out of the innards came, I surrendered to it. Wasn't going to happen. Ever.
So for those people who cannot/have not/may never conceive - isn't there a point at which you just have to surrender to it and live your lives together even if it is childless?
I mean no harm in the question. For me it simply wasn't something to dwell on. Even when it was possible I didn't watch the calendar or fret. Perhaps that need to parent isn't in me...but do you ever just let it go/surrender to that possible reality?
Mind you, that doesn't stop us from spoiling our friends' kids terribly. With the best wishes and hopes for you both...
Posted by: LauraB at March 24, 2008 11:41 AM (edQ4y)
Wow! Cool news!Sounds a little weird, but interesting anyway. what do you guys think about it?
Posted by: ryanstiles1 at April 06, 2008 11:37 AM (htmWW)
MEN IN COMMERCIALS
This is so tangential to her post that I almost feel bad leaping off from it, but after Dr. Melissa Clouthier gives dating rules for women, she ends with this
This is a lot of rules, but what it comes down to, to me, is treating someone else the way you'd like to be treated. Men might be from Mars, but they're still humans. All the male-bashing that goes on is offensive. One of my least favorite commercials features a guy ordering a pizza which will come in 30 minutes. He asks his wife for sex and she bats her eyes and asks, "What are we going to do for the other 28 minutes?" It's meant to be funny, but it just seems like more of the same disparaging of men.
I too hate that commercial. I have also been meaning to say for a long time how much I hate that tax commercial where the husband is trying to use Turbo Tax or whatever and he's frustrated. And the wife comes up and says, "Maybe you could ask for help? Oh, that's right, you used a box." It is so condescending it makes my teeth grit just to write about it. Maybe you could sit down and figure out an insanely complicated tax code, you nagging cow. How dare you condescend your husband as he tries to save money for your family.
Nowadays I look at these commercials and wonder What Would Kim Do? ever since I read his masterpiece blog post on the issue. His least favorite commercial?
The scene opens at the morning breakfast table, where the two kids are sitting with Dad at the table, while Mom prepares stuff on the kitchen counter. The dialogue goes something like this:
Little girl (note, not little boy): Daddy, why do we eat Cheerios?
Dad: Because they contain fiber, and all sorts of stuff thatÂ’s good for the heart. I eat it now, because of that.
LG: Did you always eat stuff that was bad for your heart, Daddy?
Dad (humorously): I did, until I met your mother.
Mother (not humorously): Daddy did a lot of stupid things before he met your mother.
Now, every time I see that TV ad, I have to be restrained from shooting the TV with a .45 Colt. If you want a microcosm of how men have become less than men, this is the perfect example.
What Dad should have replied to MommyÂ’s little dig: Yes, Sally, thatÂ’s true: I did do a lot of stupid things before I met your mother. I even slept with your Aunt Ruth a few times, before I met your mother.
ThatÂ’s what I would have said, anyway, if my wife had ever attempted to castrate me in front of the kids like that.
Commercials where the husband sucks abound, but one year Budweiser tried to turn the tables and made this as a Superbowl commercial:
Hmmm, apparently it wasn't too popular with the ladies. You mean you don't like being made to look a fool on TV commercials? That's funny, men take the abuse every day.
I will say that there is one husband/wife commercial that I do love: the Sonic ice cream mustache one. It makes me die laughing every time I see it. (Maybe you can only appreciate it if you have a lady mustache...)
Posted by: airforcewife at March 19, 2008 04:51 AM (mIbWn)
I love the Budweiser one. It's sooo true too. Men in this country do take a beating and it sucks. I always hesitate to call myself a feminist because I'm afraid people will think of me as a screaming shew.
My roomate just broke up with the guy she's been dating because he's too "metro"
Posted by: Mare at March 19, 2008 04:59 AM (EI19G)
Thanks for the link. Don't feel bad about pulling that part of the post. Actually, that is just one commercial that grates on me. There are many.
The sonic commercials are classic. They are even-handed and no one is spared.
The reason I roped in the commercial to the dating advice is because so many women talk contemptuously with friends and that attitude extends to their interaction with men. And then they wonder why they have problems in the dating world.
Hollywood, educational institutions and the media generally reinforce the anti-male bias and it's sickening.
Posted by: Melissa at March 19, 2008 05:39 AM (vhPaM)
As a Man, I've noticed this for a long time. The commercials and TV are only a part of it. Look at how boys are treated in school. They get suspended for being BOYS! You can't change them no matter how hard you try.
Posted by: Navy CPO at March 19, 2008 06:06 AM (xGZ+b)
Sarah... the "box" commercial. EXACTLY!!! I want to take out that nasty spiteful B*&^H everytime I see it. For that matter - if I was that husband - I would get up and just walk out the door and say... you're so f*&^ing smart - do it yourself!
I love the sonic commercials they are all really funny.
Posted by: Teresa at March 19, 2008 08:19 AM (rVIv9)
Yeah, the husband has been pointing this out to me for a while. Why is it "okay" to bash men but "sexist" to bash women?
Posted by: Roses at March 19, 2008 04:23 PM (QCsWe)
Hi, Sarah! Tim and I have had so many conversations about the male bashing commericals that now we just have to look at each other and nod. Thanks from one woman who cherishes her husband to another who obviously does the same!!
Posted by: Patti Fitzgerald at March 19, 2008 05:18 PM (Nki/C)
Here here!! I completely agree with you.
I'm enjoying your blog and your insights. What an amazing woman and wife you are!
Thank you for sharing. I had to continue this topic on my own blog as well. Thanks for bringing this to mind.
Posted by: Tonya at March 26, 2008 06:41 AM (WILdq)
Not bad at all, but this topic is rather little of interest. Please do not disappoint your readership.
Posted by: Better Tom at April 06, 2008 08:49 AM (iQEEY)
Ever since Bubba said that I'd be lying if I thought I wasn't self-absorbed when I was 19, I have been trying to remember my life at 19. I managed to come up with a few things that I did that year as a freshman in college taking 34 credit hours. I belonged to a Big Sisters program and mentored a little girl. I took high schoolers on a mission trip to rebuild houses. I volunteered for a gay rights group. I ate lunch once a month with the Kiwanis Club. I raised money for the Crop Walk. I loaned a boy in my dorm $600 when he needed to get his car repaired. And I began knitting, starting with a baby blanket for a nice couple who'd struggled to have their first baby.
Was I less mature then than I am now? Of course. But would I have had the sense and common decency to know how to behave and grieve if someone got shot? Get real.
There are 19 year olds out there who have far more responsibility and maturity than I did at that age. Many of them are serving in the military. Some of them are even parents. Those young men and women don't deserve condescension.
Gunnar Becker gave his life for his country at 19. Self-absorbed? Not even close.
Gunnar's sister wrote this about her brother, on the 3rd anniversary of his death. I quote........."For those of you who do not know anything about Gunnar I will describe his character with the best of my abilities. Gunnar was not a star athlete. Also, he was by no means an honor student. Popularity was not something that was a necessity in his life. But he was real. He always believed in who he was as a person and where he was going to get himself. He was true to his friends and honest with his family.''
Because his little sister (honestly) knew Gunnar, better, than anyone else, in this world, I feel compelled, to share her thoughts.
Posted by: debey at March 17, 2008 02:00 PM (Bgcsp)
Well, you see, it's so very easy to make a blanket statement that everyone is or does a certain thing. No thought is required, just the pronouncement from on high... why we're meant to believe the pronouncement is unclear - but the person doing the pronouncing in most cases seems determined to fit everyone into whatever little slot is on the agenda.
Whenever the words "everyone is" or "everyone does" enter the discussion, the argument is automatically invalid. Because there is never a case when "everyone" does something... no matter what that thing is.
As you have noted, it can't even be said that all 19 year olds are immature. Clearly some are more mature than others. Some are ready for responsibility, some are compassionate. It depends on the person.
Posted by: Teresa at March 18, 2008 11:32 AM (rVIv9)
The degree of self-absorption, or not, that a person has surely depends to some degree on his experiences. I think the extended years of education to which more and more people are exposed probably contributes to increased self-absorption. If you're in business or the military, the purpose of your work is the customer, or the product, or the mission. But if you're in school, the purpose of your work is your *own* self development...*you* are the product, so to speak.
I just watched a National Geographic special about the shooting of Ronald Reagan, and I got curious and started reading about Hinckley and Jodie Foster. I guess she doesn't like to talk about Hinckley, but she wrote a piece in 1982 called Why Me? about the event and its effect on her life.
Funny how she barely even mentions the people who got shot.
I mean, it's her story and she has every right to tell it in her way, but...how freaking self-absorbed. No, she shouldn't feel any real guilt that what happened to Reagan was her fault, because it certainly wasn't, but in a 5000-word article, she never once mentions how she feels that these men got shot? That's just freaking weird to me. It was all about her and how the media took away her privacy and how having her picture taken feels like being shot. Um, you know what feels like being shot? Being shot. Ask Reagan, Hinckley, Delahanty, and McCarthy.
Look, what happened to Foster is really scary. Some nut thought he was in love with her and decided to reenact Taxi Driver. That's spooky, and I can see how she'd be freaked out. But if some nut who loved me shot the president, I would be wringing my hands about the president, not about myself. Or I would at least mention him in the huge article I wrote about myself.
My first thought after reading this was that you'd probably made a bad celebrity
I think it's weird, too, that she could compare having her picture taken with being shot...and then not acknowledge the people who were ACTUALLY shot during the whole thing. Sure the whole thing must have been scary for her but she wasn't even in any danger during the incident.
Posted by: Ann M. at March 14, 2008 03:19 PM (HFUBt)
Hmmmmm lets see in 1982 Jodie Foster turned 20 on Nov 19, so she was either 19 or 20 when she wrote it, please tell me if you look back on the ages of 19 & 20 and tell you were not a self-absorbed asshole. If you do I'll call you a liar, we are all self-absorbed when we are 19 & 20, it is HUMAN NATURE.
Posted by: Bubba Bo Bob Brain at March 14, 2008 05:07 PM (AKSWt)
Posted by: Will at March 14, 2008 08:23 PM (0Yps+)
Gee, Bubba doesn't even know me and yet he's ready to call me a liar. I wonder what kind of self absorbed little world you lived in Bubba... me, I was working in nursing homes taking care of people old enough to be my great grandparents. I loved talking with them about what they'd done in their lives. I worried about them if they got sick. (yeah - I was working for the money so I guess that should've been a tip off to me that I'm completely selfish).
Sarah, you're right. There are 2 types of people in the world. Those who think about things only in terms of themselves and everyone else can rot for all they care. And those with consideration for others. Never the twain shall meet.
As for Jodie Foster - it is possible she wrote some paragraphs about the men who were shot and the editor felt obliged to delete them. We don't know for sure.
Another thing to consider... she's been in that rare atmosphere of being a "star" from an early age, I'd have to wonder how she would learn to think of others. It is a business that inspires a person to think only of themselves.
Posted by: Teresa at March 15, 2008 07:22 AM (rVIv9)
Well gee so sorry teresa, when I was 19 I was in the USAF, yet I still managed to be be quite a bit more self absorbed than I am now as a 50, (yeah you read that correctly) a FIFTY year old father of two teenagers. Like I said it is human nature to be self absorbed when you're 19 & 20. So BFD you weren't as bad as the rest of your compatriot 19 & 20 years olds, if you look back and assess it honestly, you were more self absorbed then than you are now at what ever age you might be.
Posted by: Bubba Bo Bob Brain at March 15, 2008 05:51 PM (AKSWt)
Being "more" self absorbed at 19 and 20 is one thing. Completely ignoring two men who were SHOT because someone had a crush on you is entirely another.
My son just turned 5, but he says please and thank you without prompting. And he does it because for the last 5 years of his life he WAS prompted constantly until it became second nature for him. My 5 year old, my 7 year old, and my 10 year old also hold doors for people as they enter or leave establishments. Once again, because they were TOLD to often enough that it stuck.
Oh, and two days ago my 10 year old ran out into a parking lot when she saw someone's shopping bag break to help them pick up the cans that were rolling all over the parking row. Again - she has been raised to think of others, so she does without much prompting.
My kids also say "excuse me" when they cough or sneeze and "I'm sorry" when they bump into someone.
People getting shot is a bit bigger deal than any of those incidences, so self absorbed or not I don't think it is too much to ask for Jodie Foster to have at least spared a thought for them
Perhaps some of the "self absorbed" behavior you're seeing is because of increasingly lower expectations many people have for their children, which then leads to what is being termed by sociologists as a "prolonged adolescence" in western adults.
I can't speak for anyone else, but I really wasn't happy as a teenager. I was glad to leave it behind. Real life is a lot more fulfilling.
Posted by: airforcewife at March 16, 2008 04:44 AM (mIbWn)
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