Sunday, December 02, 2007

Barbie vs. Hayley

Playing out at my local university is what I can only call Barbie vs. Hayley (Smith of the TV show, American Dad).

To understand what I'm talking about, read the two following links:

Nothing wrong with racing to the altar, Image Magazine Winter 2007, page 32

(scroll down to page 32 to see the column)

Column pushes outdated generalizations of women, TCU Daily Skiff, Letters to the Editor, Nov. 29, 2007

That a young woman today such as the author of "Altar" could still hold such stereotypical views of her gender is rather surprising. I suppose it shouldn’t be, but it certainly was surprising to the campus community that had discussed her column at length.

But let’s go ahead and ask the painful question of “Are there still women who go to college just to find a husband?" While I doubt any of them would admit it publicly, I think that there might be more out there than we think. Why do I say that? Well, answer the following question as honestly as you can: Are there women out there so lazy that they’d rather get married so that their husband can be the one working so that they wouldn’t have to? Surely you know of a few.

I also know of women who’d rather be on welfare than work for a living. However, let’s be fair: There are men out there who’d rather marry a rich woman than work for a living. There are also men out there who’d rather be on welfare than work for a living. Laziness is not restricted to just one gender – it’s equal opportunity. Before any of you start thinking that I'm implying that those on welfare are all lazy, let me quickly add that there are also lazy rich people.

As laziness is not restricted to one gender, neither is laziness restricted to only those on the lower income scales of society. Lazy rich people are different (besides income level, that is) from lazy poor people in that they can hide their laziness better. In fact, rich people can hide a lot of their sins better. That's why you don't find rich people on death row. Before I start getting into one of my gripes about the unfair distribution of the death penalty, let's move on.

So by now, I think most of you can agree that there can be such a thing as a rich lazy person. So - what does a rich lazy person do, then, to look like they're doing something with their life? Some go to college, because that's a respectable thing to do (or maybe their parents made them go). But as lazy people quickly find out, being in college is work, even if they aren't employed while in college like many college students are. So what does a rich lazy college student to do?

For rich lazy women, one strategy is called "pursuing a MRS degree". For rich lazy men - well, there's trust funds (such lazy folks are often called "trust fund babies" - the wealthy equivalent of a lazy poor person living on welfare). In either case, they are able to continue their pursuit of avoiding work. You would think that it would eventually occur to such people that avoiding work can be so much work that it might actually be easier to just get a job! But figuring out something like that takes work, and since they're lazy....

So now we see that a woman pursuing a "MRS degree" can exist, even in our day and age, because laziness - like death and taxes - is eternal. We'll always have lazy people just like we'll always have tax collectors and lawyers. Kinda depressing, ain't it? Let's move on.

Getting back to the issue at hand of the altar-pursuing columnist, things didn't end there, of course. Such a controversial topic isn't just going to roll over and die - and indeed it didn't. Rather, things got interesting! On Friday (Nov 30 2007), the columist who wrote "Racing to the altar" had written a clarification column, and it appeared in the student newspaper: Image Column Intended to be Satire, not Serious Commentary

Also, the editors of Image Magazine (where the "Altar" column first appeared) commented on the issue as well, and their comments likewise ran in the paper on the same day: Magazine Content Contains more than opinion columns

But even so, there was one more column on this issue, and the writer apparently wasn't aware that the "Altar" column was satire: Finding Spouse not sole purpose of getting college education

If you're not a lazy person and have read the original column that I linked above (If you've read this far, then you must not be lazy!), then you're probably like me and most of the rest of the campus in that the "Altar" column didn't come across as satire. It sounded like someone who was stating their genuine view. There's ways to write in which the satire of the piece is obvious, but the satire wasn't obvious in the original "Altar" column

For the writer, here's something to consider: If one person didn't see the column as satire, then maybe that one person just doesn't know satire. If 2 or 3 people didn't see the column as satire, then that might be other people who don't know satire. But if nearly an entire campus of over 9,000 people didn't see it as satire, then maybe it didn't come across as satire. There's only so far that claims of the lack of sophistication of the audience will take ya.

I hope that this whole experience is taken by the author as a lesson in life about how one presents one's self - that is, there's good ways and bad ways to do it. It's cool when you find good ways to present yourself, but you can really learn from the bad ways of presenting yourself. In fact, it's from the lessons learned from the bad ways that you learn what the good ways are. But one has to be willing to learn them. Therein is where a writer is made or broken.

Another lesson can be learned from this experience by the writer of the Letter to the Editor, but that's going to be an entry for another time. It's not because I'm lazy, but that my fingers are tired now. According to MS Word, I've written over 1,000 words!

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