Besides, what’s one man’s pleasure is, another’s pain, or according to the Proverb, Meat, Poison, and so of the other Senses — And agen, Pleasure is certainly in some Cases, nothing but Privation of Pain
— Hector Urquhart (the origin of the idiom ‘one man’s trash’)
I have a love/hate relationship with “Girls.” One one hand, I despise the show; it’s white privilege incarnate. It is exclusionary, people of color are rarely seen; if you do see a brown guy or gal, they are not characters that exhibit any sort of personal development. It’s self-indulgent, spoiled, banal. Hannah, the protagonist, is so unlikable, you feel a visceral reaction when she complains about her life and problems. It is somewhat novel of Lena Dunham to create a character so unsympathetic that you almost want her to fail.
I also love the show because I can identify with every single one of those characters for different reasons. The show has some amazingly funny one-liners; the episode when Adam’s ex-girlfriend discovered that Adam was back with Hannah because she saw them together, her friend and her said to Hannah “Your tits are so small and gross, I bet you can’t even get breast milk from them.” It was such a hilarious episode because every woman at one point in her life has wanted to rip apart the new girl [or new-old girl in this case] and to see it happen on TV was cathartic.
The reason why I still feel a modicum of loyalty to the show is Season 2, Episode 5. “One Man’s Trash.”
2015 was such a huge transitory year; I let go of old situation to get involved in another situation I had to let go of, I had a close friendship die. I fell for someone to have them betray me. I had the time of my life from January – September, I solidified already really excellent friendships. Family members died, I got a job, I had real life adult bills, I had to buy a new car, I moved from a comfort zone to an unfamiliar city and I’m learning how to bloom where I’m planted. There were times that I thought I wasn’t going to be “happy” because I didn’t get what I want the way I wanted it. But I am learning how to bloom where I am planted.
I started this blog last year to chronicle my thoughts on politics [I hate you Abigail Fisher. Black Lives Matter. White Tears gotta go] and personal growth; I’ve obviously not blogged on here often/I suck. I thought about making a trite post on what I’ve learned in 2015 [re: a shit ton] but the one lesson I feel the need to write on is forgiveness.
I often mull over the phrase “no man can serve two masters”; it is an important proverb to keep in mind when one is committing actions that are diametrically opposed. For example, saying “I am a Christian and I believe in God and kindness” and in your next breath, slandering someone for their simple existence. You say you believe in God but your actions are the antithesis of kindness and love. But I also believe “to err is human and to forgive is divine.” We are fallible, we will always come short, and people should not expect us to be perfect.
I also mull over the dichotomy of human personalities; it’s titillating. I especially think about the multifaceted nature of being an educated black person in America. At one moment, we can discuss ratchet reality TV, then discuss drone strikes in Yemen, then quote Descartes, Ayn Rand, et cetera, then dance to Migos ‘Versace’, then code-switch and be ready for our professional jobs in the morning. I am absolutely positive that other races experience their own forms of dichotomy however I’m only familiar with my own experience and this post isn’t [solely] about being black in America…
Darren Wilson was interviewed by the New Yorker and he reflected on the August 9, 2014, shooting of Michael Brown Jr. The profile gave a glimpse of Darren Wilson’s background; his mother was a thief and a crook, she wrote hot checks, stole money from everyone and anyone. Darren even had his own separate bank account to prevent his mother from usurping his funds. But in his eyes, she was a “good woman.” Michael Brown was 17 and he stole cigarillos; when riots erupted, Darren’s daughter asked “Why did you shoot him, was he a bad guy?” and he replied “yea, he was a bad guy.” But he admits that he never reflected on the type of individual Michael Brown was, he just knows that Michael was trying to kill him.
The concept of privilege is a relatively new term; the term started in 1910 from a W.E.B. DuBois essay The Souls of White Folks. Social privilege is defined as an exclusive set of unearned benefits held by only a certain group of society. These perks create and perpetuate a system of social inequality, creating a caste system or type of social hierarchy. There is inequality in power balances, there are social struggles, there are haves and have-nots. Individuals who have privilege are not disenfranchised and it is harder to notice you have privilege versus noticing that you are oppressed. Privilege gives you comfort and oppression is troublesome, forcing you to notice what is wrong.
I often talk, and read, about privilege in terms of race and gender. “White Privilege” and “male privilege” are now commonplace terms, if you use those phrases, members of that societal group tend to feel affronted. However, it is limiting to only discuss privilege in the context of gender and race. There is ability privilege (are you disabled or able-bodied), there is class privilege (economic class and social class), there is education privilege (access to higher education and the benefits it confers), gender identity, religious privilege, passing privilege (can you assimilate into another group), and sexuality. It also would behoove me to mention the concept of intersectionality and how it can amplify or decrease the amount of privilege an individual/group can have.
I type up these definitions to discuss how you and I have privilege and why we need to check it.
Harriet the Spy was one of my favorite movies growing up; very awesome cinematography, I wanted to be a spy, and it was a great soundtrack. The primary conflict in that film was when her secret journal was discovered and everyone found her hidden thoughts. The message of the movie was to never say anything nasty about anyone, even if it’s in your private journal, because if they find out, they will have hurt feelings. I remember watching that movie and thinking that was bullshit; if you are speaking your fleeting feelings, that are just snapshots of things that you feel the need to vent about, why should someone hold you accountable? Why should someone reprimand and punish you for you saying something that you thought was a private space? No matter how much you love people, there will be moments that you cannot stand them, and you will feel and possibly say something that would hurt them if they heard about it. Is it fair for your loved ones to hear a snippet of your less-than-pleasant thoughts and feel slighted and betrayed?