The Hypocrisy of it All

Unless you’re in a coma, you know Michael Jackson died. I’m not a Michael Jackson fan, so I don’t have a huge empty hole in my heart right now. I am sympathetic to his family and close friends who are deeply saddened during this time of loss. Michael was someone’s son, he was somebody’s father, and he did have friends – and to those people, you truly have my deepest sympathies.

But to everyone else – what gives?

I didn’t get to watch the spectacle on TV, I actually have to work. But I wanted to see John Mayer’s part as I like his music. So I hunted the video down on the Internet and watched that. I was amazed about some of the comments people left. They were saying things like “John Mayer is so messed up. I hate him.” “His personal life is such a disaster. I can’t stand him.” “He looks funny.” Really?! These are people who like Michael Jackson – all of those statements would be true about Michael. Yet they loved Michael and hate John. If you don’t like his music, fine. It’s just not your style. But to hate him and his music because of his personal life and yet adore Michael in spite of his disastrous personal life, well that’s just hypocritical.

Then I turned on the TV all the news could talk about was the funeral. They kept showing various clips speakers and performers. And again, other than a few exceptions, I kept thinking, how hypocritical these people are. They all claimed to be great friends with Michael. But I don’t remember any of them standing up for Michael when he had relationship problems. I don’t remember any of them coming to his side when he had legal problems with molestation charges. I don’t remember any of them trying to put an end to the Wako Jacko stories. I don’t remember anyone helping Michael when he had financial issues. I don’t remember anyone helping Michael when things got so tough for him he left the country for a while. I do remember quite a few negative comments from the black community when Michael started “turning white.” I don’t recall any of these people doing anything to help, love or support Michael. Yet as soon as he’s gone and there’s an opportunity to show support at his funeral where lots of people will be watching – oh, they’re all his close friends then. Again, with a few notable exceptions, it just stuck me as completely hypocritical and fake.

I don’t really know what happened behind closed doors and if some of these folks really were close to Michael. I do know this. True friends are there when the going is tough. True friends aren’t afraid to stand by your side – even when you made a mistake or done something stupid. That doesn’t mean that you condone or approve of their actions, it just means that you love your friend and your trying to provide some support.

What kind of friend are you? That’s worth pondering about.


Happy Independence Day

If you know anything about America, you know that the 4th of July is our Independence Day. Today we celebrate the many freedoms that our forefathers and generations of soldiers have won for us.

Today I'm grateful for what we have in America. I'm grateful for a God who has blessed our nation. I'm grateful for what those who have gone before have done for me. I hope that I can be half as influential as them and leave something to those who come after me.

What are you grateful for? And how is that going to inspire you to action? That's worth pondering about....

Happy 4th of July!


Happiness and Bliss

Let's just say you are having a great day. It's a wonderful day. Everything is grand. You are happy. Life is good. As you go about your daily business in your car, everything is perfect. The radio is playing all the songs you like. Even the freeway is wide open in front of you.

If during your state of bliss you happen to glance in the rear view mirror and notice there is lots of traffic behind you (but nothing in front of you), YOUR DRIVING TOO SLOW! Please move over so the rest of us can go by you and get something done today.

I'm just saying....


Stereotypes and Bad Choices

My two teenage boys love video games. I think it's nearly a prerequisite to being a teenager these days. I can certainly think of worse things for them to be into, so we try to exercise some self-control, but still enjoy game time. Part of enjoying the games is getting magazines that hype all the new games, review the games, rate the games, advertise the games, talk about the games, and -- well you get the idea.

One of the magazines they liked to read was Electronic Game Monthly (aka EGM). "Was" is the key word here. As magazines sometimes do, it ceased publication. Rumor has it the original founder will start the magazine up later this year. Whatever. For now it's dead and the publisher did what publishers do in this situation - they substituted a different magazine for the remainder of our subscription (just renewed).

I've been known to order a few magazines in my day. So I've experience the disappointment of a rag folding up and getting some second rate substitute. Usually the substitute is some how related to the magazine that has ceased publication. So if you were getting a motorcycle magazine, the substitute will be motorsports related. If you were getting a computer mag, the substitute will be a computer mag or at least electronics of some sort. So when EGM folded, it seemed reasonable to expect that another video game mag would be provided. What we got was Maxim.

If you don't know what Maxim is, well it's about this far |--| from Playboy. The magazine is clearly geared for people older than my two teenage boys. I'm pretty sure we don't need a magazine with naked ladies showing up every month. Oh, and the ladies ARE naked in the magazine, they are just posed so that you can't see certain little pieces. To make a long story short, my lovely wife quickly applied for the refund.

Gamers are often stereotyped to be late-teens or early twenties and oversexed. The publisher, following the stereotype provided a magazine that was clearly inappropriate in our situation. A better approach would have been a way for us to select between a couple of different choices. If they had done that, they still might have our business. But now they must refund money - which I'm sure they are loath to do.

Unfortunately, we often put people into little boxes when we believe the stereotypes. We think all "poor people" will act or think a certain way. Or all east coast or west coast people will behave a certain way. All rich people are stuck up. All lawyers are scumbags. All ________ (insert racial group) will be ________ (insert various derogatory statements). You get the idea.

Stereotypes are almost universally a bad idea. The real question is what stereotypes do you hang on to? How are you going to get rid of them? That's worth pondering about....