Really, Internet? Yes. Really.

Today was errand day. It’s one day a week: Monday. We pack all the errands into that day so that we can avoid leaving the house the rest of the week. By the end of even a moderate Monday errand day I’m exhausted, crabby, and unwilling to tolerate anything. And that’s like two stops.

Today’s Monday errand day included nine stops spread over two cities. It was terrible. A terrible Monday errand day.

You can imagine, then, how I felt about getting home to find that another infuriating thing had gone viral on the Internet. I should have just not gone online. After errand day the only thing I should do is pop open a bottle of wine and cuddle up with my Netflix. But I was waiting to hear back from someone about this art show I’m doing in March, so I just wanted to check.

And so I got mad. Monday errand day mad.

No less than six people on my Facebook profile had shared this picture so vile and awful, I almost fell speechless. On the surface it seems like it’s just supposed to be some funny meme. A funny meme from well over a year ago that a random group of people just happened to pick up on, and has now gone viral. Really, it’s a silly thing to get so mad over. I mean it’s got this bland cartoon of a woman and this quote of supposedly-sage advice “always remember, it’s better to arrive late than to arrive ugly.”

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But is it really silly to get mad about this? I would argue this thing raises some serious issues.

Am I The Only One Who Doesn’t Give A Shit About How I Look?

Don’t get me wrong, I still bathe daily and brush my teeth. And sometimes I throw on a little mascara, or put on a cute hair clip. But beyond making sure I don’t look like a homeless person or a drug addict, I basically don’t give a single fuck about how I look.

That goes for what I wear too. 90% of my wardrobe is yoga pants, tank tops, hoodies, and oversized t-shirts.

And why should I live any way other than this? Worrying excessively about how I look is an indication that I care too much about what others think of me. Again, it’s all about the time and place too. Obviously I’m not going to wear my yoga pants that are torn up at the feet to a wedding. Clearly I’ll pick and choose when it’s appropriate to show up with a unibrow (actually it’s never OK to show up with a unibrow). But at the risk of sounding sanctimonious, what kind of an example is refusing to leave the house unless I look perfect setting for my kids?

And plus…I have two kids. Once you have two or more kids, there is a different standard by which all things are judged.

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If people are truly comfortable and confident in high heels, pants that need pliers to be zipped up, and 70 layers of pancake makeup, well kudos to them. I’m not sure I believe it, but kudos. That doesn’t change, though, the weird feeling I get when I know there are people out there who will actually refuse to leave the house for any reason at all without them.

Am I The Only One That Thinks Being Late To Apply Mascara Is A Little Narcissistic?

I mean…

Being late because there was a traffic accident on the freeway? Acceptable.

Being late because your aunt died and your uncle called to give you funeral details as you were walking out the door? Of course this is cool.

Being late because you wanted to finish your morning beauty routine before leaving the house? Well fuck you.

No really. Fuck you.

I have a serious problem with people that show up late. I understand that things come up, and I have been late more times than a lot of people, I’m sure. But I usually have a decent reason, and moreover I always – ALWAYS – send a text or call to say “hey, I’m running late.”

And it has never – NEVER – been because I prioritized my hair products or my lip liner over the respect whomever I’m showing up late to deserves. I mean really: isn’t it a little self-centered to think that your beautification is more important than another person’s time? They can just sit there pulling their pud while you apply false eyelashes?

Am I The Only One Concerned About The Messages We Send To Our Kids?

There are three symbols on the bottom lefthand corner of that dumb meme: a high heeled shoe, a lipstick, and a lipsticked-set-of-lips. Each of those symbols represents one very important idea: hiding who you really are. Making yourself taller. Tinting your lips brighter. Puckering those babies fuller.

Changing something about yourself, and then going a step further and calling an unchanged self “ugly.”

When I read that, over and over again as I scrolled through my Facebook feed and saw all the people that had shared it, I felt the nagging, unsettled feeling in the pit of my stomach that comes up when I read something I just know is wrong – like the moral kind of wrong.

But then I Googled the phrase: “Always remember, it’s better to arrive late than to arrive ugly,” and tons of alternatives of the meme came up. It’s a colloquialism, something we have adapted as a way of life.

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Maybe I’m just being old fashioned, or too hard on a silly joke intended for the sides of make up bags, but this seems to reflect a bigger problem our culture has. That what is on the outside is far more important than all else, and that respect and common courtesy is disposable if you can think of something better to do.

Really, Internet? Yes. Really. At least if you believe what the memes say.

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STFU Fridays: It Ain’t No Harlem Shake

The Harlem Shake: another cultural phenomena that makes any of us with an IQ over that of a banana cringe. It’s another Gangham Style, or series of photos where people plank in weird places. It’s stupid. It’s pointless. It reeks of a culture that is easily entertained and entirely moronic.

And what’s really fun about this one is that it’s disrespectful.

A born and raised Chicagoan, I am familiar with the closeness and affection for dance a city can have. In Chicago, Blues and Jazz gave rise to an entire culture of movement in dance that – I believe – continues today. Quite frankly, it’s beautiful; and while not all people can dance well, growing up near a city such as that taught me that an expression such as dancing (done well or not) can bring people together, even in the starkest of circumstances.

I’m sure without even watching the video, then – “Harlem Reacts to the Harlem Shake” – you faithful blog followers can imagine the response from Harlem.

The Harlem Shake is an actual dance,

and it does not involve dry humping

… the air, each other, or a canon. Yes, this morning when YouTubing this new dance phenomena, I found one that started where a guy in his underpants, wearing a mask, was simply dry humping a statue of a canon. Tasteful, indeed.

So the Harlem Shake is an actual hip hop dance; and an old one, at that. It does not involve dry humping the air. It does not involve dry humping anything – it involves an actual shake. There is an actual method to it too – so much so that instructional videos have been made on how to do it. You don’t just shake and hump and strip to near-nothing. It used to be called the albee (after the guy that invented it), but was renamed the Harlem Shake, and has been featured in music videos, as well as high profile hip hop clubs.

In other words: it’s legit.

The Harlem Shake Internet meme where large groups of complete morons imitate having anal sex with each other, as well as hump the air while making a slapping motion, is not, and never will be, a version of the dance.

You people are stupider than we all thought you were

if you find that entertaining

With Gangham Style, I did (sort of) get the appeal. There was a method to the dance. The video was entertaining in a “what in God’s name is going on here” way. I do believe the whole thing was (and remains to be) dumb, and that Psy guy – well he is quite a piece of work, in his mink coat and fancy eye makeup. But I still got it.

This Harlem Shake thing, though, is a totally different ballgame. It’s like planking was – stupid, pointless, not unique by any stretch of the imagination, and in some cases dangerous. There is nothing unique about people dry humping the air and just shaking like morons. There is not a thing fascinating about people stripping down to near-nothing in large groups (as they do in the majority of the videos I’ve seen).

There has to be a lot missing upstairs for someone to find this so-called dance truly entertaining. Sanity, decency, respect, and intelligence are among those things.

The question we should all ask ourselves…

Whenever an Internet fad comes up like this, I always ask myself “would I do that in front of a group of people.” Or more specifically when it comes to this so-called Harlem Shake – would I do that in front of a group of people in Harlem?

Shit no. Shit no I would not.

I wouldn’t dream of doing that in front of a group of people in Harlem, and I especially wouldn’t dare call it the Harlem Shake. Now personally, I have never been to Harlem. But I have been to places like it, and it isn’t often that – in places like Harlem – I have seen a bunch of stupid white people dry humping the air to weird, new age techno music. Yeah … no. I just haven’t, and I wouldn’t do it.

The same went for planking, Gangham Style, owling, fridging … all of it. All of the idiotic Internet fads that seem to prevail in our ever-devalued popular culture. I wouldn’t do any of them in front of a large group of people.

Clearly there are those that would, but I am just not one of them. Maybe you would. Maybe you would strip down to your tighty-whiteys and throw on a mask. Do the stupid intro where one person softly humps the air, inspiring gads of people to show up and then violently do the same. Slap the air as if there is an actual woman there being slapped. You enjoy your dry hump to tacky techno music. STFU when it comes to the name of it, though. It may be a tacky, crappy dance fad. But it ain’t no Harlem Shake, that’s for sure.

Internet Memes

And the Internet has screwed us (intellectually) again.

I have to tell you, I am not really a fan of Internet memes… in fact, I didn’t even really know what they were until recently.

Well, a few days ago I saw a cute one about writers, then a similar one about stay at home moms. Then all of a sudden everyone was posting them about their stupid goddamned profession – nurses, doctors, postal workers, you name it. It was that six box “what society thinks you do…” “what your mom thinks you do…” meme that quickly became an Internet sensation.

I can’t take it anymore, though, so I’ve created my own meme in response. I recognize the irony (or, more accurately put, the hypocrisy), but I’ve seen so many of these things in the last few days I am beyond the point of caring.