Saturday, November 18, 2006

Censorship? Not Quite.

There’s a new movie out in the theaters. It’s about the Dixie Chicks and something to do with the fallout from their comments at a concert. That’s all I know about it because I don’t keep up with the Chicks. I agree that the Dixie Chicks exercised their "right to free speech." I have a problem with when and where they expressed their opinion.

The people attending that concert or any other concert did not pay their hard-earned money to hear the political opinions of the trio. They paid to be entertained. The Dixie Chicks have gained the publicity they have because of their talent as singers and musicians. To use that fame as a means for political posturing is inappropriate.

The Chicks want to let the world know how they feel about our presence in Iraq or our President? That's just fine. Hold a press conference. Put a link to "Our Political Stand" on their website. Write a song about it and let the fans decide. Start an organization with other like-minded celebrities. Give it a catchy name that leaves no doubt that their mission is not connected to their creative and artistic talents but rather, is to state and support their political views.

Using a concert stage, the Grammys, the Emmys or any other venue where the public is attending because of their appreciation of an artist or artists to state a political viewpoint is inappropriate. Imagine a speaker at the Democratic or Republican National Conventions breaking into song in order to showcase their artistic talents -- equally inappropriate.

The radio station owners who discontinued playing Dixie Chicks music and the fans who have turned their backs on the Chicks are expressing their opinion -- not intimidating and punishing or censoring the Chicks. They are voting with their dollars and that's what seems to work better than almost anything in our society.

Since the government has not restricted the Chick's ability to say what they think, it IS NOT censorship or a violation of the right to free speech. Screaming censorship seems to be an attempt to cloud the issue and undo the damage done to their fan base.

The radio station and music store owners who pulled the Dixie Chicks from their line-ups were either business owners who were doing what they thought was best for their business or they were individuals expressing their opinion. If the radio stations or music stores were state or government owned and they decided to pull the Chicks, well, I guess I would consider that censorship. They weren’t. They were privately owned and reacted to the comments of their customers. There are plenty of online stores where fans could buy the CDs and play them if they wanted to support the Dixie Chicks.

While I don’t identify with any political party, that’s not to say that I don’t have strong political beliefs on a number of subjects. I just keep my politics and my entertainment separate. When I go to a concert or listen to the radio or play a CD, it’s a kind of therapy for me. Music helps me escape from the stress of my everyday life or deal with emotion. With entertainment awards shows on the rare occasion I watch them, I’m there for escape. It’s light. It’s fluffy. I don’t want to hear about politics from entertainers. I’ll read the news for that. I’ll discuss the issues with enlightened, intelligent people who are willing to accept that their viewpoint isn’t the only one. Don’t sucker me in by making me think I’m going to be entertained only to blindside me with some political bullshit that’s going to raise my blood pressure. I don’t care if you’re spouting something I agree with or not. I don’t want to think about politics while I’m escaping for a little fun.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Hospitals Are Making Me Sick

Hospitals have been on my mind lately. People who go to hospitals, people who work in hospitals, food served in hospitals, parking fees charged at hospitals, and the smell of hospitals top my list today.

Between the young (my 4 month-old granddaughter) and the old (my man’s 70 year-old mother), I’ve spent a good deal of time with family and kind-of-family in hospitals recently. My back is paying the price for sleeping in uncomfortable chairs as I kept watch. I feel safe whining about that now that the young and old are out of the woods and either home or on their way there.

I’ve seen excellent staff and mediocre staff and incompetent staff. I’ve learned that anyone in the hospital needs an advocate who can keep an eye on everything. Mistakes are made. I understand that we all have our “off days” but when your job is caring for sick people, you’d better make sure that your “off” moments are inflicted on inanimate objects or non-sick people. I’m generally an easy-going kind of gal but the lab folks were damned lucky I wasn’t there when they, unnecessarily, caused my granddaughter pain. There is much love in my heart for the nurses who fixed that problem.

You can see what I read (Look. Over there. Off to the right. See that list?). I like food. I’m not terribly picky. I thoroughly enjoy gourmet meals but Taco Bell can make me drool under the right circumstances. Because I love food and have a tendency to overeat, I belong to Weight Watchers (also on that list). Being forced to eat from a hospital cafeteria is not pleasing from either a drooling standpoint or a Weight Watcher-y one. You’d think a hospital would have healthy food options.

You’d be wrong.

Two dollars to park? This is doubled from six months ago. This is outrageous. I know what they’re charging for hospital stays and I know what they’re charging for craptacular food. It’s robbery, pure and simple.

I’ve been in the hospital recently, myself. It was just the emergency room but while I was waiting to be seen, I wrote the following:

Feh. Emergency rooms suck ass. Why am I here? Nearly passed out three times with chest pain. Not a good combo but most likely related to the cold I had for the past week and not being able to eat today. Still chest pain and nearly passing out means I’m sitting in this waiting room for going on three hours. Whatever. It sucks. The poor, the uninsured, the hypochondriacs and the truly ill or injured are here. I wonder what category is mine? Hopefully, I’ll find out before morning.

It turned out to be bronchitis and a sinus infection that were cleared up quickly with an antibiotic. I keep a little notebook with me at all times. If I’m bored or inspired or angry, I write. Lucky you, dear reader; you’ll get to read that drivel, too!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Random Thought #1: Anonymity in an Airport Bar

I have a fondness for airport bars. Somehow, they don’t have that air of desperation wafting through them like happy hour places. The patrons in airports are exciting; they’re going somewhere. They are merely killing time between one exciting flight and another and they all have an interesting story.

I’m different, too. When I’m in the airport bar, I don’t have laundry on the floor in stacks of whites, darks, and hand-washables. I don’t have a front flowerbed in dire need of weeding. No one knows that my fish tank looks like it’s filled with anti-freeze or that there’s something scary growing in that plastic container on the back of the third shelf in my refrigerator. The bartender has no idea that I have Eurekaphobia (fear of vacuums).

Yeah, it’s a nice little fantasy. I can’t wait for my next trip.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Almost Spoiled

I’m learning to spoil myself just a little bit.

Becoming a self-spoiled princess is my ultimate goal. That’s going to be a tough one. I’m what one friend calls the “I can do it myself gal.” I’m also speeding rapidly towards the age (am I already there?) where “princess” might be laughable. Do princesses build things? Work on cars? Hunt? Play pool?

Just recently, I’ve discovered the joy of pedicures. How could I have never experienced this?! The warm water, the foot and calf massage, the skilled nail gal? I’m sure there’s a proper term for her job. I don’t know what it is. Since I’ve never been what you’d call high maintenance or a girly-girl, I’m not familiar with the terminology. Her name is Faith and she’s an irreverent riot and I adore her.

This week my toes are reminiscent of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. This might be a bit much if it was sandal weather but since it’s autumn and my toes are appropriately and professionally covered most of the time, I’m okay with that.

I might fail at the princess thing but I think I’m getting the hang of letting myself be pampered* just a little bit. It’s about time.

*Disclaimer: In this instance, pampering does NOT apply to age-play. I mean, I’m okay with what you do with other consenting adults but it’s not my thing. Plus, that’s a topic for another day.