New Year reflections

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This year feels a bit different. I am more reluctant to make New Year resolutions and I don’t care to spend time spent wishing and liking Facebook posts. I have eaten a shameful amount of cakes and sweets and strangely that does not bother me either.

The only thing that have started getting a bit on my nerves is the amount of times I have been told that I should have a second baby or asked when I am planning to have a second child (because apparently  now is the time),  or had people compare my weight to last year (especially to tell me that I look “healthier” now). I  reached the unheard of point of stop smiling and nodding politely  when someone is annoying. I experimented a couple of times by trying to be less social at family get-togethers just to see how the others manage without my oh so appropriate comments. Even uncomfortable silences bother me less now.

So yes, this year I do feel that i am getting older. And naturally my criticisms and observations extend to my own faults and the negatives of my character which i try to acknowledge fairly.

But I guess this is just part of the annual Greek family gatherings,for which i am thankful. All the great home made food and wine, loud comments, gestures and grimaces make a great evening if you manage to navigate the conversation away from politics, the financial crisis, people’s children and unnecessary gossip, and instead dig out some interesting story from the past or a family anecdote of beloved family members that are no longer here.

And laugh off the Christmas family dinner tension with a glass of wine and another piece of baklava. One should be grateful to have a family that annoys and embarrasses them. (Provided that you fight back firmly, stoically and with a slight touch of passive aggressiveness).

Happy New Year everyone!

The age of political correctness is destroying our only chance to tolerate each other.

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Today it feels like every other thing said is taken personally by someone and thus ends up offending a group of people. Immediately there comes the public slamming about racism of every kind. It seems if you have no intention to defend someone or something, you are banned from mentioning it/them whatsoever, as anything you say will be used against you. From joking about “synthetic babies” to cracking a green card joke, it is obvious that in the internet age every time you open your mouth you are likely walking through a minefield. The famous Voltaire saying “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” is hardly exercised any more, not when you are likely to be punished for you opinions by literally being blown up for disrespecting someone’s religious beliefs or metaphorically have your life blown up by a disapproving hashtag that can threaten to annihilate your professional achievements.

Tom Walsh once said that “humour results when society says you can’t scratch certain things in public, but they itch in public.” Humour therefore takes honesty and guts (to often state the obvious), something that our society lacks. Of course not all examples of failed political correctness have to do with humour, some are simple slips of the tongue, like the Benedict Cumberbatch’s use of “coloured” instead of black which resulting in accusations of racism. (even though he was actually making an argument pointing out the lack of opportunities for black actors).

Instead of jumping on the bandwagon like sheep with those who take the opportunity to personally attack and slam others (for reasons that we might not be aware of) we should instead take a moment to think what the so called offender does in his/her life to deserve the slamming. Actions are stronger than words.

So instead of asking “Does this person speak pro/against X, Y, Z?” , you should ask “Would this person ever discriminate against X,Y,Z?”. Would this person act out of hate? This way you can also tell humour from masking hate satire.

I have seen countless of “politically correct” people (their “correctness” mainly owed to the fact that they are never honest and open about their personal beliefs) living “politically incorrect” lifestyles, the most common example hiring people of their own race/religion/sexual preference. The most “politically correct” of all of course being the politicians, the masters of political correctness and hypocrisy.

Where does this political-correctness frenzy lead us? My best guess is a distorted multiculturalism, a society where sameness is being mistaken for equality. ( but where equality is not in effect). “Multiculturalism” when there is only one culture and it is “offensive” to acknowledge otherness with respect. A new world order indeed.

But the biggest disservice is that it does not help us understand each other as human beings. On the contrary it fragments us in a state of silent hate and passive aggressiveness that condemns us to never really like each other.

Commenting on the Comment War: The superficial age of outsmarting (dedicated to the Matt Walsh post)

Lately I have seen a number of interesting yet provocative and controversial online posts about different aspects of motherhood. I say controversial because they attract a plethora of online reactions, apparently from people who, judging by the context of their comment, shouldn’t be interested in reading in the first place.

“Motherhood simplified your life? OH PLEASE!!! All my friends became selfish self centered and boring after having kids!!!” on Lauren Laverne’s Having a Baby will simplify your Life or on one of my all time favorite posts by Matt Walsh You are a stay at home Mom what do you do all day? “OH PLEASE!!! I work full time and STILL have to take care of my kids when I go home!! In fact I work all day!!!” or “B***hit My parents are both successful psychologists working full time throughout my childhood and I am SOOO normal!!”.

Of course open comments are meant to do just that, allow people to express their personal views and opinions and thus create and ongoing debate. But very often I do wonder how people read and comprehend an opinion article. For one thing both pieces mentioned describe life lessons learnt, and life discrepancies observed and they are all drawn from sincere personal experiences. And there is something more. In Matt Walsh’s piece for example I love how obvious and yet intangible is his love for his wife. How noble is his desire in his writing to protect her from obnoxious people and defend her against social madness that sees her role as a mother as an obstacle to being someone. And by doing the above declare how invaluable is her contribution to his life and the family. His intention behind his post was sincere and true.

And yet there were numerous comments accurately reflecting the kind of negativity the author observes in his post: Women berating other women and bragging about how busy they are, exactly by doing what he described as confusing being busy with being important. It is their right to do so but it just sad. How can you really reject a piece written with honesty and love that reflects the soul of the writer?

Ernest Hemingway had said about writing “All you have to do is write one true sentence, write the truest sentence that you know.” What can be truer than a reflection of one’s soul? Because today we are continuously being drawn to the idea that one version of truth does not exist. All our thoughts and beliefs can be refuted. Even though that applies to many essential philosophical questions, it sadly also applies to moral responsibility. We have seen it in politics, society, tv shows. Being the bad guy is socially acceptable, even desirable. There are after all always two sides of the same coin.

But there is something true. It is what comes from your soul. I don’t believe all people have a soul, even though in theory they are supposed to. But to write a “true sentence” you have to have a reader that will read it with “truth”. A reader with soul. One that will not seek to destroy it with popular punch lines that reflect what is socially acceptable.

I do enjoy writing and reading comments as well as online debates. But I do wish fellow readers and writers to always read, think and write with truth.