The Dissemination of Thought

Just because it's in print doesn't mean it's intelligent…

Posts Tagged ‘respect for others

Hallmark cards, shopping fear and a TDoT dose of Christmas cheer

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If the lovely people at Hallmark are to be believed, Christmas is a time for giving, indulging and sending out vibes of goodwill towards all men, women and house-trained animals.

The reality of the festive season could not be further from the clichés, corny poems and pictures of goofy-looking reindeer the marketing gurus expect us to embrace every December.

Cheesy cards are the reason disillusioned people are stressed and angry by December 25.  Source: hallmarkcards.com.au

Cheesy cards are the reason disillusioned people are stressed and angry by December 25. Source: hallmarkcards.com.au

While the David Jones catalogues and Coles billboards depict well-dressed shoppers with Joker-esque grins peacefully perusing the aisles, apocalyptic scenes are playing out on the ground.

Is there a get-your-fucking-hands-off-that-last-trampoline-before-I-lose-my-cool card?

It’s all well and good to espouse the spirit of season but the fact is all textbook theory about appropriate Christmas behaviour takes a back seat to retail guerrilla warfare in the lead-up to December 25.

Those who doubt me should have been in the Townsville bottle shop I happened to be in at midday.

As I was filling my trolley with enough vodka and cider to anaesthetise a three-year-old gelding, I witnessed two women swap the Christmas spirit for a verbal stoush over spirits.

Basically, the second woman – let’s call her Little Miss Swear Jar – objected to the first woman – who we’ll call Mrs Three Bottles – taking what appeared to be the last three bottles of an unidentified dark rum off the shelf, even though the former obviously wanted to buy one of them.

Unfortunately, it was at this stage Little Miss Swear Jar forgot all about those warm Christmas card messages and launched into a tirade that would have made both elves and seasoned sailors blush.

Bearing in mind that I made a beeline for the opposite side of the store when the argument started, I’m pretty confident it went something like this:

Little Miss Swear Jar: You’ve gotta be fuckin’ kiddin’ me.
Mrs Three Bottles: What?
Little Miss Swear Jar: Why the fuck are you takin’ all of them?
Mrs Three Bottles: We’re having a party and I need three bottles.
Little Miss Swear Jar: Fuck off. Everyone’s having a party tomorrow. Give me one of those fuckin’ bottles.
Mrs Three Bottles: Get fucked.
Little Miss Swear Jar: Fuck you, moll. You’re ruining my Christmas* and you can go and get fucked right up.

* Author’s note: Apparently, spirits really do maketh the occasion.

What were those morons at Hallmark saying about goodwill and compassion towards our fellow man?

After witnessing what should have been a pay-per-view event, I left the bottle shop thinking the advertising boffins should forgo the soft, heartfelt approach to Christmas marketing and focus instead on promoting a range of retail rage cards and light battle armour.

It could be worse. He could be snorting cocaine and texting strippers while having his photo taken with your child.  Source: news.com.au

It could be worse. He could be snorting cocaine and texting strippers while having his photo taken with your child. Source: news.com.au

In 2012, it seems the key to Christmas is just surviving the supermarket skirmish.

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I hope you have a fantastic festive season and stay safe while enjoying the company of friends and loved ones.

I’ve got a strong feeling my name will turn up in Santa Claus’ naughty book this year but the fact you guys and girls –this blog’s raison d’être – keep coming back day after day negates the lump of coal that will be stuffed into my stocking* hours from now.

* Author’s note: This is not a euphemism.

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Apologies, excuses and the verbal finger

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It’s funny how a seemingly innocuous action – or in some cases, actions – can compel one to do something they hadn’t planned on doing.

For me, the aforementioned actions were those of the rude, irritating woman who tried to cut in front of about seven people at the supermarket this afternoon.

I hadn’t planned on writing anything on my day off, but the behaviour of the woman – let’s call her the Bitch with the Handbasket – made me question at what stage people stopped apologising altogether.

When did ludicrous excuses replace sincere apologies as a response to fucking up?

I watched the Bitch with the Handbasket creep into my peripheral vision while I was waiting to be served in the express lane. I saw her eyeball the queue and stood stunned as she nonchalantly pushed in front of me and acted as though she’d been there the entire time.

After subtlety suggesting to her that she needed to move to the back of the line, I couldn’t believe her retort: “Huh? Oh, I didn’t see you there. Is there a line?”

What the hell? What part of my handbasket-carrying, six-foot-five frame didn’t you see? Did you fail to notice the half a dozen shoppers behind me who are now scowling at you?

As I asked myself what her problem was, it dawned on me that her excuses and ignorance were representative of the attitudes of many: we’ve become a society that accepts reasons why in lieu of apologies.

People seem to have forgotten how to apologise. In the rare instances where an apology is offered, it’s seldom genuine. Somehow, offering a feeble, disingenuous explanation has been deemed socially acceptable.

It’s got to stop.

In addition to the Bitch with the Handbasket, I’ve recently witnessed first-hand another example of society’s proclivity to throw out a thinly-veiled vindication instead of an apology.

Without going into specifics, the players in question were out of line and exercised poor judgement. Whether or not a private apology has been offered to the women involved is a matter for them. All I can comment on intelligently is that publicly, the only responses from the individuals at the centre of the allegations have been excuses. Lots of excuses. A few of them have even suggested that it’s me who needs to apologise for writing the story.

How hard is it to admit that you have erred?

I’ll admit it when I screw up. When I do make a mistake, it’s usually a big one. Like when I referred to the wrong team as last season’s premiers in a recent grand final preview. Oops. I could have made excuses, but what would have been the point? I made a mistake; it was as simple as that. The newspaper ran a correction and the earth continued to turn on its axis.

An excuse is not an apology. An apology conveys regret, remorse or sorrow, while an excuse tends to indicate the person blabbering it isn’t genuinely contrite. To me, an excuse is the verbal equivalent of giving someone the finger after you’ve wronged them.

If you’ve done something you regret, show some intestinal fortitude and admit you were wrong. If you aren’t remorseful for your actions you shouldn’t feel compelled to apologise, but please don’t offer up some idiotic excuse for doing whatever it was that you did. The best excuse in the world will never trump a simple, sincere acknowledgement that you screwed up.

Source: wba.theoffside.com

I’m not going to apologise for this post because even though you’re sorry for reading it, I don’t regret writing it. As for excuses, where would you like me to start?

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Espresso Etiquette 101: 6 Lessons in Coffee Shop Culture

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Cafes are not places to set up a quasi mission control, and the simple act of tipping shouldn’t remind anyone who observes it of a full-scale production of The Taming of the Shrew.

These are just two examples that stood out among a myriad of espresso etiquette breaches I’ve witnessed over the past twelve months, the most recent of which involved Mr Lesson 4 earlier this week.

As I pondered his seating sin and cappuccino contravention, it dawned on me that he wasn’t alone in his misgivings, so I decided it was an opportune time to offer a weekend refresher course, with the aim of bringing everyone up to speed on the do’s and don’ts of 21st century cafe culture.

Has everyone switched their mobile phone to silent? Do you all have a pen that works? Good, let’s commence the nonsensical crash course that is Espresso Etiquette 101.

We haven't even looked at the first lesson and already we have people throwing their coffee cups out of the cot. Source: mephc.com

Lesson 1: Know what you want before you are eyeballing the barista

Those big, colourful boards behind the counter that display the menu, cup sizes and prices aren’t there for decoration. There’s nothing more infuriating – in the coffee world, anyway – than standing behind someone who doesn’t have a clue what they want to order until they’re staring into the pained eyes of an exceedingly patient barista.

If you want a small flat white, lock it in as soon as you’re asked what you’d like. If you’re in the mood for a large caramel mocha, accept your caffeine-infused fate and tell the barista you want a large caramel mocha. If you intend to order a Venti triple-shot hazelnut soy latte with a dash of vanilla, slap yourself across the back of the head as you approach the cash register. Your bombastic stupidity has earned you a glass of water. Without ice.

While we’re on the subject of ordering, knowing how to pronounce what you wish to drink is important. Should you feel inclined to order a macchiato, please remember it’s not pronounced mar-chee-ate-o. If there were such a thing, it would be a Cheetos-esque snack, not a coffee.

Lesson 2: A single coffee does not entitle you to a full day of free Wi-Fi

These people know who they are. The individuals who purchase a solitary coffee in order to stake their claim at a table towards the rear of the cafe; out of sight – and mind – of the baristas, but not so far away as to give them a less-than-excellent signal from the complimentary Wi-Fi.

While Starbucks is the traditional haunt of this creature, extreme overpopulation and the resultant infighting has forced many to flee their franchised habitats and seek refuge in boutique coffee shops advertising free internet.

The coffee culture lesson to the free Wi-Fi whores is simple: A $5 chai latte does not afford you any sort of entitlement to sit there for six hours while the last two seasons of Breaking Bad, 134 songs and Green Lantern finish downloading.

Lesson 3: Tether your unruly children to the table

Our third lesson in espresso etiquette is predominantly for parents, but is applicable to anyone who deems taking unsettled children to a coffee shop a prudent decision.

Contrary to what the deluded voices in your head tell you, not everyone finds your munchkins adorable. They are even less endearing when running around my table screaming, as you look on and do nothing but point and pull those stupid “Aren’t they precious?” faces. As ridiculous as it may seem, I was hoping for a little bit of peace and quiet while I finished my latte.

If you can’t or won’t control your recalcitrant toddlers, please tether them to the leg of your table using twine that any of the staff will be more than happy to provide you with. If need be, utilise some form of baby muzzle*, because I can’t handle that high-pitched squealing any longer, and I really will feel bad if I’m forced to throw my half-chewed muffin at your firstborn.

* Author’s note: If such a device doesn’t already exist, I call dibs on the patent.

Lesson 4: One ass equals one seat

This maths lesson is one that, because of its simplicity, shouldn’t even have to be taught. If you find the subject matter boring, please direct your grievances towards the 20-something guy at the cafe, whose struggle with basic mathematics compelled me to run this refresher course.

One bum entitles you to one seat. Uno. Yi. Moja. If you are flying solo with your cappuccino, a single seat is all you get. Your laptop bag, backpack and filthy, stained sneakers don’t have an ass between them, so they sure as hell don’t need to be comfortable while you spend forty painful minutes wiping dried froth from the rim of your cup.

Lesson 5: Tipping does not involve Shakespearean theatrics

To Lady Macbeth at the front of the queue: To tip, or not to tip, that is obviously your question. There’s no need for histrionics or to wait for an audience to assemble; either do it or don’t do it, but if you opt for the latter, please exit stage right immediately.

I’ve never worked in hospitality, but friends who do tell me one of their biggest irks are pretentious gits who believe their twenty cent act of altruism makes them the espresso equivalent of Bill Gates.

Lesson 6: Lose the hardware

This is an important message to the guy who has set up base camp at the table in the corner. You aren’t an authorised Apple reseller. Everyone in the coffee shop is already aware they make a good product, so there’s no need to spread your iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air out across the table while attempting to synchronise them, all the while shuffling the hell out of your iPod. You don’t look trendy and sophisticated; if anything, you come across as bourgeois and incredibly susceptible to clever marketing. Yes, I noticed the Bluetooth earpiece; did you want me to call NASA and inform them you’re good to go with the shuttle launch?

Source: shupes.net

If you are guilty of any of the transgressions outlined above, I sincerely hope this crash course in espresso etiquette gives you cause to sit back and smell the coffee beans. It’s not too late to get help. If you know anyone who is an offender, please share this article with them. Friends don’t let friends mooch cafe Wi-Fi. Better yet, maybe you should just print out and laminate a few copies; that way, you can hand them out to random strangers you witness committing these espresso atrocities.

Black, white and the flashing red light‏

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When you’re a view stats junkie, all you focus on is your next hit. That feeling of euphoria that comes about by seeing someone comment on a post. That rush that can only be achieved by releasing site views and search terms into your bloodstream. For me, the quest for a fix involves pawing at my BlackBerry every eighteen seconds, day and night, yearning to see the flashing red light that indicates someone has liked, subscribed or felt compelled to comment. I know constantly looking for the light or feeling for the vibration (I do occasionally remember to put my phone on silent) isn’t healthy, but it’s what I do as a stats-addicted blogging strumpet.

Just to clarify, this is NOT the type of flashing red light I’m talking about. Source: stopthetraffik.wordpress.com

In this obsessive state, tunnel vision takes over; there is no middle ground: you are either black in your constant quest for hit after sweet electronic hit, or you are white: throwing your BlackBerry and laptop into the river before curling up fully clothed under a shower, attempting to go cold turkey from the compulsion to check your blog statistics every six minutes.

Irrespective of whether you are black or white, this battle against blogging makes you lose sight of things: time; ensuring that you have more than an orange and soy sauce in your fridge ; what point you were trying to make with the confusing colour metaphors; and, most importantly, the grey area.

The grey area is the demilitarized zone of opinions and personal beliefs. It’s a part that’s usually forgotten about when we judge, argue or write someone else’s opinion off as wrong. While it’s easy and self-serving – albeit incredibly naïve – to assert that our opinion or belief is the right one, it’s critical that we recognise there’s a lot we don’t know and can’t see from black or white. As we’ve discussed, coming from either corner tends to see us have blinkers fitted; this inadvertent narrowing of our perspective results in an inability to see more than about ten feet in front of our specifically colour-coded noses. Isn’t it about time that we accept that between the absolutes of right and wrong, there’s a lovely shade of grey? I hear they have wildflowers growing there. And pancakes.

While I’m adverse to making resolutions of any sort – especially on New Year’s Eve – I think we should all resolve to try and spend more time in the grey area from 2012 onwards, especially before judging others and condemning them for thinking black instead of white, or vice versa. Just remember: mixing black and white produces grey; therefore, the grey area is the location from which to listen, learn and debate. Colours don’t lie.

See, I told you there’s a grey area between black and white. Source: ianfitter.com

Why I wanted to throw an Oompa-Loompa off a moving ferry: blogging from the BlackBerry

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Public transport. It’s a never-ending source of depraved curiosity, bewilderment and material. If my travels don’t find me perplexed by the riddle of the ring, it seems like I’m perpetually pondering blasé parenting. I know, I’ve got a bit of an alliteration thing going on at the moment. Honestly, a solid week riding on the trains, buses and ferries could yield enough material for a year’s worth of TDoT posts. There’s a chance that it would also yield any number of genital-specific diseases, but I digress.

Why do parents think their spawn are not only bonsai geniuses, but that they are the most delightfully amusing munchkins on the planet? Furthermore, what drugs are they taking to nurture the delusion that the rest of us want to be subjected to Johnny reciting the alphabet on the bus, or little Barbeigh (yeah, like the doll, only cooler) running from one end of the train carriage to the other? Not only is Johnny in all probability as dumb as a post, he’s also as annoying as fuck. Put a leash on him or something.

On my ferry ride home this afternoon, I was accosted by four little darlings screaming and arguing. When they weren’t galloping around the cabin, they insisted on testing the trampoline-like qualities of the seats. A cessation of this behaviour only signalled that it was time for them to question their parents about why they hadn’t received a new toy in the last three minutes. At the top of their voices. Once the interrogation was over, the Oompa-Loompa wannabes resumed pulling each other’s hair and running the Tour de Ferry.

What did the parents do while the fruit of their loins were unleashing commuting Armageddon? Nothing. They chatted, played with their mobile phones and, unless I’m completely mistaken, seemed to take great joy in watching the bambinos entertain the other passengers. No, I don’t find your kid’s off-key caroling soothing – I’m trying to determine how harshly society would judge me for throwing a five-year-old off the stern of a moving vessel.

Given that I’m devoid of any paternal instinct whatsoever, one could assume that my Grinch-like complaint was unfounded and purely the result of not being very cherub friendly. But it wasn’t just me. Upon assessing the facial expressions of my fellow commuters, it was clear that I wasn’t the only one wanting to jettison minors. Had I followed through with my plan, I guarantee that I would have had to take a number and wait in line, a la a suburban delicatessen.

Can someone please explain to me why most parents believe that their progeny running riot in public and pissing everyone else off is adorable?

His parents will never understand why you want to murder him.  Source: blog.southeastpsych.com

His parents will never understand why you want to murder him. Source: blog.southeastpsych.com

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry on my BlackBerry Bold 9700

Finally, it’s starting to look more and more like the 21st century in the Sunshine State

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I hadn’t planned a TDoT post for today, but it would be remiss of me to not congratulate the Queensland Parliament for passing the bill that will allow same-sex civil unions to be recognised in the Sunshine State. It’s finally a step in the right direction, but between the amount of media coverage that the decision is receiving and some of the comments that it has provoked, I have to ask the question about where we really are with equality, tolerance and genuine open-mindedness. In my current sleep-deprived, emotionally drained condition, the most succinct way I can phrase it is this: why does there have to be so much speculation and debate about whether people deserve to be treated equally in the first place?

Isn’t this the 21st century? The question about same-sex unions shouldn’t even be an issue: it should be a basic right as human beings.

There won’t be any new TDoT posts until early next week, as I’m heading away at the weekend for my 31st birthday. Yes, I’m getting old.

Strippers, beer and Germaine Greer: why the sex industry gets a bad wrap

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Okay, I’ve finally decided to act upon the numerous emails, texts and comments from my readers, asking why I haven’t written anything in the best part of three weeks. I’d like to say that it was because I had been lacking inspiration, or that no story had compelled me to put the virtual pen to paper, but that would be a load of shit. In a nutshell, the combination of my work schedule and the general debauchery that is my life has left little time to write. Strangely enough, it’s an indirect association to the latter that convinced me to start typing this morning.

I admit it: I am not adverse to strippers. And when an article comes through on my Facebook news feed that includes the words sex slave, feminist and respect in the blurb, it arouses my curiosity. If Germaine Greer’s name is also mentioned, the arousal disappears, but I can’t help but read on.

Vivica Delicious (yeah, I think it’s an awesome name too) has written a piece for The Punch this morning, exploring how females working in the sex industry are viewed and unfairly labelled by certain sections of society . She makes a very valid point, because it seems like a lot of the individuals who are running around with their label makers are doing so uneducated, with either a poorly preconceived idea of what the sex industry is all about, or a notion that all women should be in the kitchen baking pies, popping out children and being doted upon by their husbands. Now, if any of the stationery-wielding, old-school feminists are going to send me hate mail, please include a pie – I’m partial to both apricot and lemon meringue.

Vivica covered some sex industry assumptions and facts in her article, so I’m going to try and expand on two of them with my own input, based on personal experience. I’ve spent a bit of time in various clubs, dated a few strippers and have known people working in other parts of the sex industry, so I’m going to assume that my view will be as well-rounded and based on fact as any other.

Assumption: All women in the sex industry are uneducated, slutty, drug-affected sluts with no self respect.

My thoughts: Most of the women I’ve met who have worked as strippers were anything but uneducated. The majority of them were doing undergraduate study while dancing at night to cover their living expenses and university costs. A few were at postgraduate level, while one was in the final stages of her PhD. The common theme was that stripping was a great way to make money by working irregular hours that fit in with their study commitments.

On the point of losing your self respect by working in the sex industry, nothing could be further from the truth. From what I have observed, and from what I’ve been told, getting to the point where you are comfortable enough to parade around naked takes a hell of a lot of confidence and self respect, and a very unclouded understanding about yourself as a person.

Assumption: The adult entertainment industry breeds misogynists.

My thoughts: How does this argument even begin to make sense? By definition, a misogynist is one who, amongst other things, harbours a hatred or dislike of women. If I really hated women that much, I certainly wouldn’t go to see them somewhere that I had to pay ten dollars for a beer.

On first appearances, when you take a very half-hearted look at the sex industry, it can seem like nothing more than depravity, sexuality and people – mainly younger women – taking off their clothes for money, because they have no other option. Because they have hit rock bottom, and can only use their bodies to procure income. But the truth is, for the women who work within the industry in any capacity, they are there because they are exercising their free choice to do so. They aren’t all mentally unbalanced with father issues, riddled with STDs or trying to bankroll their meth addiction. They do it because they enjoy it, generally get paid very well and, from what I have been told numerous times, find it incredibly liberating and empowering. The real issue is one that usually gets lost in the bigger picture, and that is the question of why it is anyone else’s business what someone does or doesn’t do with their lives. Unfortunately, as we apparently “progress” as a society, there seems to be less and less acceptance of free choice, and an increased propensity to condemn without understanding.

And so once again, I find myself signing off a post by asking why people can’t seem to mind their own business, focus on their own lives, and respect the choices of others.

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou

Written by disseminatedthought

September 15, 2011 at 15:01