“Me Too” and Once Again

Off the cuff, I’m gonna once again go with “let’s stop censoring each other.”

Two (and a half) major issues here. The second is the more important and the one I’d like to hash out a bit more, but since I know how much we all like nitpicky stipulations, I’ll start with #1.

1) Should this conversation be about all harassment/assault, or just those events directed at female-presenting persons? I shared me thoughts on that yesterday. I think they’re both valid and important conversations. I think one of them is more pressing because of sheer numbers. I think the meme we’re seeing today was created to address the latter. I think co-opting it to address the former is another example of a bigger problem. I’d like to see that stop.

1(b)) The wording of the meme. Yes, I concede this point entirely. We’re trying to normalize the concept of a gender spectrum, and “women” is too simple right now. My cousin used “women, femme, and trans/feminine-persons” and I like that. Other suggestions welcome, with the constraints implied by point 1.

2) Is saying “me too” helpful? For me, this evokes the same feelings I have when I watch the reactions to liberal white awakenings among nonwhite friends. Is it super obnoxious when white people discover that racism exists? I can’t even imagine how much. Is it a massive, possibly unwieldy burden to be asked to educate white people? ditto.

Should men already know how many of us are “me too”? Hell yes. But do they? Apparently not. Really, truly, apparently not.

And while it shouldn’t be on us, the fact remains that there are so many men who don’t know, and I believe that among them there are potential allies and supporters who could be useful in the kinds of microchanges that build into bigger systemic change.

It’s obnoxious. And possibly an impossible ask for any individual person. And that’s why I have started to think of it like this: It is not okay to ask any one individual person in a minority/subordinate power position to educate ignorant beneficiaries of privilege, in general or in any specific situation. We don’t know where burdens are heaviest and we should not shame each other for any particular failure to act or speak up.

But neither should we shame each other for actions that feel useful. If I have the energy and resources to take the time to educate someone, let me. This meme isn’t harmful. Saying “me too” may even feel really important and constructive to some women who haven’t said it out loud before. I have not yet seen a single compelling argument about how this hurts.

Because “there are other issues” isn’t a valid response — and neither, in my humble opinion, is “I don’t like the way you’ve chosen to address this issue.” Both statements may be true, and both are unhelpful.

So stop it, y’all.

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Parks and Rec 03-02: Lots of barfing (but in a good way)

Okay so I watched a number of episodes without you, Imaginary Reader. I’ll summarize.

0223 – The Master Plan – April turns 21 but Andy seems a little too fond of Ann at her birthday party. Jean-Ralphio is still gross. Ann can’t remember whom she kissed (it was Chris). Leslie spins her wheels as the city cuts back. That guy Ann used to be dating is kind of stalkery and takes it out inappropriately on Shauna Malwae-Tweep and God I’m glad he’s leaving.

No, wait, let me re-summarize that episode. EEEEEEEEEEEE BEN EEEEEEEEEE.


0224 – Freddy Spaghetti – The city shuts down. Tom has a girlfriend. Leslie marshals her crew to throw a kids’ event even without a budget. Ben saves the day even though he doesn’t want to. Foreshadowing of Andy’s future career in entertainment. Oh, and Ann kisses Andy, and of course April sees it, because this show couldn’t be COMPLETELY devoid of stupid romantic plot twists.

0301 – Go Big Or Go Home – The city’s back in business. Ron’s dating Tom’s ex, and everybody else is positioning themselves for Great Loves: April’s mad at Andy, Leslie’s mad at Ben, Ann’s declining Chris’s advances. 20/20 hindsight makes this all adorable. Also, Andy is adorable as a basketball coach who just wants his kids to have fun.

And now for the main event!

Plot: Errrbody has the flu, even Chris, whose body is a finely tuned machine. April makes Ann’s life hell as a patient. Ron adopts Andy as a mentee and replacement admin. Leslie’s super-sick but manages to pull out an amazing presentation anyway. Ben is suitably impressed.

Continue reading

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Parks & Rec 2-22: Up! All Night

Plot: Leslie’s in charge of the overnight portion of the diabetes fundraiser, and of course hijinks ensue. That guy is going to propose to Ann, who is going to break up with him because even she cannot remember who he is. April and Andy just need to get married already. And Tom realizes for the very first time that professional athletes are popular.

Deep Thoughts: Nope. It’s Friday.

Your Related Link For The Day: Perd Hapley does the worm. Who knew that the worm originated in the 1920s?

Ann is Mean: Once again we are treated to implications of Ann and Leslie’s intimacy without actually seeing them build intimacy. Also, Ann is over that guy she’s dating, and he thinks they’re proposal-bound. Communication issues much? Continue reading

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Parks and Rec 2-16: All About The Love

Plot: It’s Galentine’s Day and Justin decides to track down Leslie’s mom’s old boyfriend. April and Andy are a thing that is happening, but not fast enough. Tom and Wendy are not a thing. Ann and that person Ann’s dating are a gross and boring thing. But the best thing of all is Leslie and Ron, who are a thing of beauty.

Your Related Link For The Day: So there’s a lot of salacious garbage out there about “work spouses,” like ZOMG you’re going to accidentally cheat on your real spouse if you have one. But there are real studies indicating that work “marriages” are good for you. And here are some cute profiles if you want to feel jealous.

Ann Is Mean: Okay, Ann’s not mean in this episode, but there is an odd Ann interview moment in which she says Continue reading

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Parks and Rec 2-14: Appearance of impropriety

Plot: Leslie wants to impress new boyfriend Justin with a scintillating dinner party and accidentally ends up abusing her position by using all the Parks continuing ed teachers.

Deep Thoughts: I’ve actually thought after the last couple of episodes, or at least after writing about them, “Why am I so in love with this show again?” But this episode is back on track. I wonder if the lack of subplots — or, more accurately, the way the substories fit into the main plot (the party) without distracting from it — makes it better writing? There’s no gratuitous misogyny, lots of relationship-building, great one-liners, true-to-character writing, and Ron eats a plateload of deviled eggs. Thumbs up.

ONE small nitpick/question: Justin takes Leslie to a restaurant of some sort at which the owner thanks him for helping him emigrate. Continue reading

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Parks and Rec 2-13: GOB has the Vision

Okay, before we even get to anything, can we just take a minute about Chris Pratt and Anna Faris? I’m very sorry they’re going through whatever they’re going through. That said, can we start some sort of petition to get Chris Pratt to marry Aubrey Plaza? I would ship that so hard.

Plot: Leslie decides she’s ready to date again, and is interested in Ann’s backup guy. That guy Ann’s dating isn’t happy about this. Ron has to do actual work and isn’t happy about that. The writers apparently went on vacation and left other writers behind to handle Jerry’s character for a week.

Deep Thoughts: This episode is a little yucky in spots. That is, it has some of the flaws characteristic of this show at its weakest. Tom is about as gross as Tom gets, and the episode introduces us to Jean-Ralphio for the first time. Jean-Ralphio really does end up having his place in the series (unlike his utterly useless sister, but we’ll get to her), but… Continue reading

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Parks and Rec 2-12: When two women stand close to each other

Plot: Leslie finds herself embroiled in a sex scandal with a local politician. Officer Sanderson asks Leslie to move to San Diego with him. Two couples explore the nature of good gifts.

Deep Thoughts: At the end, Leslie lights the holiday tree, and everybody cheers and embraces. Mark and Ann hug. They HUG. Saying they have zero chemistry gives too much weight to the number zero.

Your Related Link For The Day: I was busy getting ready for a trip last fall when this all went down, so perhaps I missed this and nobody else did. But did y’all know that Charles Taylor made a pass at Naomi Campbell and Continue reading

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Parks and Rec 2-11: Oh, Tom.

Plot: Tom’s getting a divorce and Leslie wants to cheer him up. Oh, and there’s a totally stupid subplot involving Andy and that nameless guy Ann’s dating who have a pool competition to see who owns Ann. Mark realizes it’s ridiculous, of course, but I don’t care because he is a zero. Andy again seems to have no idea that he’s being scary, because as we all know, stalking is love, and it’s gross, and I can’t wait for him to move on.

Deep Thoughts: If I were being sentimental and giving the writers a lot of credit, I’d say this episode is about how people can be both good and bad and do both unconsciously. Ron is in fact the only one who knows that Tom’s marriage is for his wife’s legal benefit only, and therefore he’s the only one who can properly commiserate with Tom and give him the support he needs in the situation he’s really in. On the other hand, Continue reading

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Parks and Rec 2-10: Shoot me

Plot: The whole crew goes hunting, and someone shoots Ron in the head. More importantly, they shoot out one of Donna’s car’s windows. Left behind at work, April and Andy become friends. Also, women can’t shoot guns good because they get tunnel vision.

Deep Thoughts: Wow is there a major writing problem with this episode. I mean, you get past it pretty fast, but the setup premise is that Ron, Mark, and Jerry have a years-long history of a guys’ hunting trip, and that Leslie insists the whole office be invited. We’ve seen Ron have a relationship with Tom, Continue reading

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Parks and Rec 2-9: Art and Bunions

Plot: Pawnee needs a new mural and Leslie is determined that her department will win the suggestion contest. Ron likes Andy’s shoe-shining a little too much. Tom discovers art. For the first time in this second watching of the show, I have that “Oh wow, I married Ron Swanson” feeling.

Deep Thoughts: OH MY GOD I HATE MARK. It’s completely unjustified at this point, but I just cannot stand this character, and I think it’s mostly because there’s no there there. He is a poster child for lazy writing. We’re supposed to like him because other people do, but he’s never anything but whiny or sarcastic or smarmy. Continue reading

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