Tuesday, 20 May 2008

That is Politically Correct, Correct, Correct

A classical bedtime story, re-written to comply with the modern standards of 'civilised behaviour'. Taken off from this site.

There once was a young person named Little Red Riding Hood who lived on the edge of a large forest full of endangered owls and rare plants that would probably provide a cure for cancer if only someone took the time to study them.

Red Riding Hood lived with a nurture giver whom she sometimes referred to as "mother", although she didn't mean to imply by this term that she would have thought less of the person if a close biological link did not in fact exist.

Nor did she intend to denigrate the equal value of nontraditional households, although she was sorry if this was the impression conveyed.

One day her mother asked her to take a basket of organically grown fruit and mineral water to her grandmother's house.

"But mother, won't this be stealing work from the unionized people who have struggled for years to earn the right to carry all packages between various people in the woods?"

Red Riding Hood's mother assured her that she had called the union boss and gotten a special compassionate mission exemption form.

"But mother, aren't you oppressing me by ordering me to do this?"

Red Riding Hood's mother pointed out that it was impossible for womyn to oppress each other, since all womyn were equally oppressed until all womyn were free.

"But mother, then shouldn't you have my brother carry the basket, since he's an oppressor, and should learn what it's like to be oppressed?"

And Red Riding Hood's mother explained that her brother was attending a special rally for animal rights, and besides, this wasn't stereotypical womyn's work, but an empowering deed that would help engender a feeling of community.

"But won't I be oppressing Grandma, by implying that she's sick and hence unable to independently further her own selfhood?"

But Red Riding Hood's mother explained that her grandmother wasn't actually sick or incapacitated or mentally handicapped in any way, although that was not to imply that any of these conditions were inferior to what some people called "health".

Thus Red Riding Hood felt that she could get behind the idea of delivering the basket to her grandmother, and so she set off.

Many people believed that the forest was a foreboding and dangerous place, but Red Riding Hood knew that this was an irrational fear based on cultural paradigms instilled by a patriarchal society that regarded the natural world as an exploitable resource, and hence believed that natural predators were in fact intolerable competitors.

Other people avoided the woods for fear of thieves and deviants, but Red Riding Hood felt that in a truly classless society all marginalized peoples would be able to "come out" of the woods and be accepted as valid lifestyle role models.

On her way to Grandma's house, Red Riding Hood passed a woodchopper, and wandered off the path, in order to examine some flowers.

She was startled to find herself standing before a Wolf, who asked her what was in her basket.

Red Riding Hood's teacher had warned her never to talk to strangers, but she was confident in taking control of her own budding sexuality, and chose to dialogue with the Wolf.

She replied, "I am taking my Grandmother some healthful snacks in a gesture of solidarity."

The Wolf said, "You know, my dear, it isn't safe for a little girl to walk through these woods alone."

Red Riding Hood said, "I find your sexist remark offensive in the extreme, but I will ignore it because of your traditional status as an outcast from society, the stress of which has caused you to develop an alternative and yet entirely valid worldview. Now, if you'll excuse me, I would prefer to be on my way."

Red Riding Hood returned to the main path, and proceeded towards her Grandmother's house.

But because his status outside society had freed him from slavish adherence to linear, Western-style thought, the Wolf knew of a quicker route to Grandma's house.

He burst into the house and ate Grandma, a course of action affirmative of his nature as a predator.

Then, unhampered by rigid, traditionalist gender role notions, he put on Grandma's nightclothes, crawled under the bedclothes, and awaited developments.

Red Riding Hood entered the cottage and said,

"Grandma, I have brought you some cruelty free snacks to salute you in your role of wise and nurturing matriarch."

The Wolf said softly "Come closer, child, so that I might see you."

Red Riding Hood said, "Goddess! Grandma, what big eyes you have!"

"You forget that I am optically challenged."

"And Grandma, what an enormous, what a fine nose you have."

"Naturally, I could have had it fixed to help my acting career, but I didn't give in to such societal pressures, my child."

"And Grandma, what very big, sharp teeth you have!"

The Wolf could not take any more of these specist slurs, and, in a reaction appropriate for his accustomed milieu, he leaped out of bed, grabbed Little Red Riding Hood, and opened his jaws so wide that she could see her poor Grandmother cowering in his belly.

"Aren't you forgetting something?" Red Riding Hood bravely shouted. "You must request my permission before proceeding to a new level of intimacy!"

The Wolf was so startled by this statement that he loosened his grasp on her. At the same time, the woodchopper burst into the cottage, brandishing an ax.

"Hands off!" cried the woodchopper.

"And what do you think you're doing?" cried Little Red Riding Hood. "If I let you help me now, I would be expressing a lack of confidence in my own abilities, which would lead to poor self esteem and lower achievement scores on college entrance exams."

"Last chance, sister! Get your hands off that endangered species! This is an FBI sting!" screamed the woodchopper, and when Little Red Riding Hood nonetheless made a sudden motion, he sliced off her head.

"Thank goodness you got here in time", said the Wolf. "The brat and her grandmother lured me in here. I thought I was a goner."

"No, I think I'm the real victim here", said the woodchopper. "I've been dealing with my anger ever since I saw her picking those protected flowers earlier. And now I'm going to have such a trauma. Do you have any aspirin?"

"Sure", said the Wolf.


"I feel your pain", said the Wolf, and he patted the woodchopper on his firm, well padded back, gave a little belch, and said "Do you have any Maalox?"

I think that's about as offense-free you can get in a children's bedtime story. Hopefully, it didn't touch on the nerves of anyone who read it.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

The Idiot In The Iron Mask

"We are" typed out my friend, presumably while jumping up and down, "going to have a masquerade ball in July. Isn't that exciting?"

I stared at the sentence while pondering over what reaction might I get if I typed back "OMG, thatz so d bomb! U totally rawks!" to show how terribly excited I was. Most probably, I'd get a virtual door slammed in my face. And that is just being polite.

But in all honesty, a masquerade ball does sound exciting, and yes, I do confess that I am attracted to the idea. I've always been interested in occasions where you are permitted to not be yourself (another good example would be during Parliamentary sessions).

The idea of wearing a costume together with a mask sounds medievally romantic, wouldn't you agree? In fact, if memory serves me well, I think Meat Loaf - which let no one tell you otherwise, is not a cool name - used the whole idea as a theme for his video clip of "It's all coming back to me now". People say it's a powerfully passionate love ballad, but making a wild guess based on only the title, I think it's about a man who's sobering up from last night's drunkfest.

But I digress.

Putting on a mask means not having to reveal your true identity to others, which in my opinion, is a good thing on such an event. During occasions such as this where you are required to put your best foot forward, not having to show your face kind of helps, I suppose. Just think of the possible wonders worked by an elegant mask on the resident nerd - he'd finally have a fighting chance in his unholy quest to chat up some of the most beautiful lady students on the campus. Not only that, he may even get a response.

Bear in mind though, that this miralce will only work if the mask was truly a magnificient piece of work testimony to the genius of refined human hands of the highest order. Those with toucan beaks won't do. Lion manes will also have to go. Any mask which results in the wearer fairly resembling Andrew Lloyd Webber is an absolute no-no. Gold tint is a nice touch and plume coming from an endangered species of bird rakes in top accolades. You'll be so attractive to others that even representatives from PETA will come down swooping swooning upon you.

However, at the end of the day, no mask how beautiful it may be is substitute for a genuinely charming personality. Sure you can pluck off the feathers of every single Po'o-uli you can get your hands on (which might not be that many, mind you) to lord over every other masquerader, but still if you have the personality of a toad and the social finese of a charging rhino, all that effort will have gone to waste. Not a single mask can mask the mannerism of Conan the Barbarian.

Having said that, I am still very excited over the idea that one of my friends will be going to a masquerade ball and I would very much like to attend it too. Any seats left?

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Yes. You're So Correct, Aren't You?

"Sarcasm isn't funny; it's actually quite damaging", someone said to me. At that time, I shrugged off the comment as merely being a by-product of lost sleep and late nights filled with unhealthy snacking. I can say with 80% confidence that people are prone to turn silly - and possibly ugly, too - when they are deprived of their beauty sleep.

However, now that I have tons of free time on my hands, I've been thinking about it. Could it be remotely possible that I've somehow managed to offend someone with my sarcasm? I mean...I'm not all that sarcastic. Plus, I don't make sarcastic remarks all the time - perhaps only every other time.

I tried talking about this 'problem' of mine with a friend who's more matured than me (read: older, and I mean that in a nice way). She said that we have to reflect upon what others say. Sometimes there's truth in them and at other times, it's just bollocks i.e. grossly exaggerated.

Note: My friend did not use the term bollocks. I just inserted it there to grossly exaggerate the conversation I had with her.

So, I was then asked whether I felt if that comment was truthful or just a way of getting back at me for making witty remarks which some sorry people just aren't capable of appreciating. I replied that I thought that the person actually meant it. Then, my friend proceeded to tell me that she thought sarcasm was a part of my character - how I create rapport with others.


Hold on a minute.

That's as if to say that my way of becoming friendly with others is to take jabs at their fragile emotions which just might crack if I prod at it a wee bit too hard. Sheesh.

But I think it's quite true actually, and I'll tell you why. I'm honestly rather careful with my cynical remarks, meaning to say that I don't throw them around carelessly in the same manner that Hilary and Obama are throwing accusations about each other. I will only proceed to employ sarcasm upon another being if I feel that I am comfortable enough with the person and that the person is also comfortable enough with me, or at the very least, intelligent enough to discern when I am being sarcastic and when I am serious. So if you are offended by what I've said, the possibilities are either:

1. What I said was truly insensitive
2. You're just being overly sensitive (like any participant of Akademi Fantasia), or
3. You don't know me that well yet

To put the blame on myself, I'd of course say that 99% of the time, the reason is #1 (and never once #2). But how about #3? Have you ever considered that possibility? Well, have you?

I don't know. What would you, dear readers, think about me? Am I too sarcastic to the point of being offensive?