Recently, predictably around Valentine’s Day, there was a flurry of pundits who wanted to discuss the death of chivalry.

From Dictionary.com:

chiv·al·ry [shiv-uhl-ree]

noun, plural chiv·al·ries for 6.

1.the sum of the ideal qualifications of a knight, including courtesy, generosity, valor, and dexterity in arms.
2.the rules and customs of medieval knighthood.
3.the medieval system or institution of knighthood.
4.a group of knights.
5.gallant warriors or gentlemen: fair ladies and noble chivalry
The main thrust of the articles is that apparently “Chivalry is dead!” How we should assume it is a foregone conclusion that the ‘changes and dissolution of the American Family mean that boys are not schooled to respect their elders and especially women.”
I beg to differ. While it all sounds bodice heavingly endearing if you look at the era of chivalry as defined above, women were chattel, marriable deeds to property and titles and brood mares to continue the family line. Granted, they were kept from doing any ‘hard word’ as defined by the times but were expected to be able to manage households, servants, social engagements and a diverse litany of other things, all the while supposedly, having the vapors and throwing handkerchiefs to the dust in tourney arena’s to be tied to the lance of some lug in a metal suit whose sole purpose is to whack the life out of some other lug in a metal suit.
I know I can open my own door and frequently will make the first move to do so for strangers, male or female and especially anyone pegged to be an ‘elder’ or unaccompanied. It’s simply my way of passing on the karmic smile of feeling like for a moment in time someone else SEE’s you as a person among the hustle and bustle of daily life. I am not so self involved that I can’t grab a door handle and hand off a smile in passing. That being said it’s a cost-free way of making me feel all girly and fuzzy towards Poppa Bear when he does hold the door for me. This is another case where feminism got it wrong. We CAN expect to be treated as a general equal in business and professional arenas and it should NOT erode basic good manners. It doesn’t matter how ‘conventional’ your family unit is or isn’t it should not affect the basic tenants of good manners unless they’re just not taught.
But it doesn’t stop there! So you had a misogynistic father who treated your mum like a work horse. So maybe your granddad was one of those filthy old men who seem to think it’s funny to be crude. Maybe your mum was a feminist who felt that any show of deference was a show of disregard based on your gender. As you grow up you realize that there are many different social graces from the people around you and if you are too self absorbed to recognize that certain actions and reactions gain favorable response then you deserve to be thought of as a disrespectful brat.
That being said, if you ladies want to go out in public in slouchy pajama pants that say ‘cute’ on your jiggling arse and slouch along in bedroom slippers like a cow chewing her cud I wouldn’t want to hold a door open for you either….
Just saying.

I have frequently mentioned my penchant for the awards show season, culminating in The Academy Awards (Oh right, sorry ‘The Oscars’) with a rich meal to go with my narcissistic and shallow fascination with the world of entertainment. This year Poppabear created his world famous meatloaf and garlic smashed potatoes leaving me to enjoy the show from the red carpet to the …Well until my local station cut away to news and skipped the final segment.

I am a huge fan of Billy Crystal and of Anne Hathaway though I do think pairing her with Franco was a misstep of grave importance. James Franco is a decent actor but a host…not that I can see. I was excited to see Seth McFarlane host the show, I’m in the general target demographic for his work and I also agree with his comedic ethos. Our society has gone so far to the extremes in political awareness and correctedness that we are now penalizing a majority of our own population for their sense of humor! I have found a few of his bits distasteful, based on my personal thoughts but that doesn’t stop me from realizing the joke is just that, a joke. Tasteless? Maybe. Should be banned, fined or denigrated in the court of public opinion just because *I* don’t find it funny?

No.

I know ‘mammy jokes’ and caricatures of black face are considered racist and reprehensible but so does clipped robotic mocking speech patterns used by many African American comics to imitate suburbanite Caucasians for the sake of humor. Why be offended? Most of these jokes have a grain of truth and reflect many things, fear or lack of understanding about a situation or in some cases a close and personal understanding of a situation that exemplifies whatever stereotype that is being used in the joke.

Men aren’t all dumb neanderthals and women are not all helpless ninny’s but there isn’t a woman out there, especially married, who hasn’t alluded to her husband being a barbarian for his flatulent humor and there isn’t a man out there, likewise usually married, who hasn’t imitated their wife’s high pitched nitpicking over their fast food choices. Both are parody and exaggerated but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t true or that they define a demographic as a whole.

No, I don’t advocate hate motivated displays such as lynchings of mannequins. That’s not humor that’s meant to inspire fear. But uncle Ruckus on the Boondocks’? The episode regarding the alternative history of Martin Luther King Jr.? Brilliant!

I thought the ‘We saw your boobs’ done by the Gay Men’s Choir hilarious. As supposedly homosexuals, women should find it difficult to be offended. The singers are not objectifying women and the song was TRUE in various movies and shows we have seen all or most of these women’s breasts. He just made it funny.

Get over yourself people.

Alright, it’s no secret.  Momma likes to drink.  And more than once this has slid over into being a excessive.  However, contrary to what some might think, we’re always in good hands.

Generally, me and my little Nightengale, we go out with my dad.  Sounds funny sure, but since the original Momma Bear passed on, we’ve been his best bar buddies.  We always have a driver, and we’re always in the same safe place.

A few weeks back, dad was off fishing so it was just us girls.  We decided to be brave and go down to the watering hole by ourselves.  Should’ve known it’d be a disaster.

Little Red Head Susie was already in a fistfight or trying to be.  Her and her on again/off again boyfriend were tussling as Susie tried to get to the chubby blonde over on the other side of the room.  The blonde’s male companion was either Susie’s ex boyfriend or a friend’s ex… I’m not real sure.

I grabbed on to Susie, who for all intents and purposes, might as well be called my Aunt.  Tried to get everyone to just get over it, have a drink, move on.

This left me spending the next few hours babysitting a fired up and more than drunk Susie, until (name witheld) “Mother F*cking” (Name witheld) -no really, that’s how he introduces himself- took over Susie duty.  For a while this worked then some how one of them got started again.

Finally, I was standing down by the bar and this blonde comes charging at me.  I might have outweighed her, hard to say, but I threw her back the first time, she said she wasn’t trying for me, I pointed out my chunky ass was in the way and the response was “Yeah your chunky ass”…the second time she got inside my guard and I managed to hold her back before the spastic little red head managed to grab her by the hair and drag her back and then others stepped in and calmed everything down….

What the bloody hell?!?!?

I can scrap, don’t misunderstand that I’m even complaining about that.  But it wasn’t my fight, I’m not even sure anyone could have said WHY the fight started.  And let’s point out, she came at me, not the other way around.  I hadn’t talked to her all night except a few ‘Come on ladies, drop it” type thing. 

 

I’ve occassionally been drunk enough to want to take someone on, but I’m not very often an angry drinker, both of the times my Nightengale was there and she confirms that while I did get belligerent, I was also severely goaded into getting angry.  But not blind drunk stupid to the point that I attack a person I don’t even know, like a charging bull. 

But ironically…it comes down to blood.  That bar runs in my veins, and to date all of us kids, including our parents, we’ve all been involved in altercations there.  And so far, each time, we weren’t the original combatants!

Dad’s protected more than one person, including the bartender from serious harm by drunk gang-ups.

Brothers have randomly been involved in verbal and sometimes physical confrontations that involve people pushing up on weaker people and causing trouble.

And up until that night I could say I’d never been in a physical confrontation in that bar.

The truth of the matter is however,…I held back.  I avoided actually hitting this woman.  Pushed her back, yes, held her back, indeed.  But I conciously avoided hitting her.  Why?

Because I knew her, though she didn’t know me.  I knew her from some years ago, I knew her daughter, went to school with her, and she was older than me. You could classify her as ‘Mom’ age for me.  I might not have been raised perfectly right, all the manners and good breeding…but I couldn’t do it.  Maybe if she’d come at me again…that would have been fair provocation.  But initially,…I just couldn’t.

Later that night someone gave me kudo’s for that, someone who’s opinion in that type of situation really meant something….

I’m not sure I did the right thing however…Shoulda knocked her head off!

http://www.kctv5.com/news/19508430/detail.html

Recently, the Baby Bear got old enough that it was time for Momma to let her have a bit of freedom.  Not much mind you, stories like the one above make me wary.

Baby Bear is an intelligent girl but she’s still a girl, a kid, with a kids trust and mentality.  Why should I not think that this sort of thing could happen to her?  Proponents of leniency often say if we taught our daughters their self worth better, they’d known better.

 Bullshite.

I was a fairly streetwise kid, I knew usually when I was being pegged as a patsy, or flattered outrageously.  Didn’t stop me from being swept into a short stormy and shameful relationship with an older man at the age of 14.

 You could say it wasn’t child molestation, since technically I went along with it.  I knew up front what he was offering, I even knew it wasn’t the right thing to do.  But this man flattered me, treated me nicely, and at the beginning of sexual awareness,…made me feel wanted, special,…and very very wrong.  Once the deed was done…That very day, I was forced into a day long shopping trip, involving this man’s own wife.

 I looked into her eyes and realized *I* was the one in the wrong.  I had abused her trust, her friendship, by doing what I had done.  Despite all the terrible things about her he had told me, about how she berated him - which from close association, I knew to be at least mostly true- about her frigidity in the bedroom, about how a man has ‘needs’ and she constantly used that as a weapon….All of these things were probably marginally true. I knew the woman after all…It didn’t change that I had wronged her.

 

I ended the relationship, immediently, discreetly… He came by one evening, my best friend was in the house behind me, she knew all, and he kept saying how he wanted to kiss me like I should be kissed, wanted to show me how special I was…But this time I was armed with my own guilt and was able to tell him no.

I did the righ thing?  No, the right thing would have been to tell the truth to those who should have heard it so there would be no other victims.  The right thing would have been to never let it happen.  But when you are a young girl, someone older, smoother, feeding into your self esteem…you want to believe you are that special.

 

Unfortunately, we’re bred to believe that that being special comes from the regard other people hold for us…Girls ARE raised to believe that sexuality and admiration are the hallmarks. the benchmarks, of our worth.  I know now it’s not true and yet even my head can be momentarily turned if someone delivers a salvo done just right. 

I suppose I don’t have a direct point, this is more  a sad lament.  Baby Bear is growing up in a world just as perverse as the one I did, the same pitfalls, the same dangers, however in her case they come with a more faceless, palatable engine, the internet and social networking, sexting, all of these make the wide morass of danger even more frightening.

All I can do is make her aware of the dangers, make her aware of her own self worth…and pray. 

 

Look! It’s a new post by Mommabear!  I know it’s been months(years) since I sat in the thinking seat.

 I was reading the news this morning and happened upon a post that said:

“Texting Driver Crashes into St. Joseph Police Cars”

 Really?  I mean I know all about the dangers of being a distracted driver, putting makeup on in the rear-view, and of course driving while intoxicated.  And I’m one of those people who won’t even TALK to you if you are on your cell phone driving.  Seriously, I’ll hang up on you.

But really? Texting?  I’m not a Luddite, however it takes me 10 minutes to text something that I could say in 10 seconds, so the idea of hunting and pecking and cursing and deleting and hitting the same button 15 times just to get to the right character WHILE driving?

 People are this stupid.  I know, it shouldn’t surprise me.

But it does!  Is the drvl u hve 2 sa 2 gr8 2 w8? do u <3 ur lyf? OMG

 You don’t even want to know how long it took me to make my brain dumb down enough to type that crap.  In the rare instances that I have used text messaging - when my Poppabear is at work I text because it gets my message to him without causing his phone to ring, occassional responses to text messages I recieve from others…and of course to vote for Ty Murray until his buck-off from Dancing-I have to force myself to remove vowels and use shortcuts.

 And due to these sort of things, we wonder why more of our students sound like unintelligent, unread, lazy and unambitious morons?  They ARE!

 

And we trust teenagers not only to drive, but to use a cell-phone, GPS, an iPod connected to the car stereo that’s turned up so loud they couldn’t hear sirens if it meant their own lives(and sometimes it does).

And yet…I’ve seen adults, the first line of example for our children and students…text, eat, and talk to their side passenger…all at once.

 

Any wonder we’re all doomed?

So it was finally pointed out to me, how lax I have been with my blog that was so generously gifted upon me.

I sat down this morning with every intention to write, then realized…. I didn’t know what to write about. I could do a diattribe on the cost of gas, the world economy, the headlong rush towards world war that we seem to be embarking on….

But everyone else has done that I’m sure.

I’m sitting here at my desk, at work, munching on sunflower seeds, debating with subject to bemoan for entertainment….And I realize… I’m bored, bored with stupid people, with fighting, with worrying. I have become the new Red Foreman

I think it’s because of my family.