Tag Archives: midwest

Microaggressions: Microassaults, Microinsults and Microinvalidations

Have you heard about “microaggressions” that come in the form of “microassaults” and “microinsults” and “microinvalidations?”  You may not know those totems of pain by their formal names, but I’m certain, at times in your life, you’ve felt their sting and, perhaps, even employed a few of them.

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The Modern Fairway Carny: Itinerant Street Vendors

Growing up in the Midwest, there was a yearly visit to the State Fair that — during my childhood, at least — was always tempered with a tremendous terror.

For many months, there was a story in the newspaper about a young boy who visited the Nebraska State Fair in Lincoln and then disappeared.  He was continuously searched for on the Fairgrounds and communities in the area would get together and search other pockets of the city so the boy might be found.

A long while later, the boy’s decomposing body was discovered stuffed inside an empty train tank car in a faraway town.  The thinking at the time was that the boy had run into a carnival worker — a Carny — and something horrible happened and the boy was killed and stuffed, and sealed, into the tank out of convenience since the railroad ran straight through the Fairgrounds.

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You Don’t Fit

We all like to belong — and when we are told we are no longer part of the core, there is concern that something grander has been lost in the translation between being being and living.

Our building Super recently told me that he’s surprised we’ve lived here so long – rented so long — because we “don’t fit” in the building or in our neighborhood.

I told him I found that an odd statement to make because we have never been late on the rent, we have lived here for over 12 years, and we have never made a single complaint about anyone or requested any sort of maintenance from the landlord.

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Is Paula Deen a Racist?

I have been following the saga of Paula Deen as she tries to answer cries against her obvious, inbred, Racism, and her multiplicity of firings from many companies as spokesmodel for their brands.  Do we want to punish Bigots and Racists by removing them from the public eye?  Or do we want them to be heard, so they can be forced into public recantations and corrections?  Slate magazine creates this interesting take on the problem of Paula Deen:

Paula Deen is America’s racist grandma, and we should treat her as such. Racist Grandma may be racist, but she’s also your grandma. You can’t just disown her.

And, contrary to what some might think, having a racist grandma isn’t entirely bad. No doubt there are many white families where racism is passed down generation to generation like some cancerous gene. But for others, seeing that gene and knowing you’re predisposed to it is a warning sign, a nagging reminder to take preventive measures for yourself. I say let’s push racist Grandma back to center stage and let her keep talking.

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Johnny Carson and that Icy, Midwestern Stare

When I was growing up in Nebraska, the favorite son was, and probably still is — Johnny Carson — he made it big in late-night television and he and his estate have donated millions of dollars to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  I was always terrified watching Johnny Carson because I knew what few others outside of Nebraska knew — he was a cunning and cold man, and if you needed any evidence of such, you need only look into his steely, dead, eyes.  Carson had cruel, killer, shark eyes — and his message was not “I’m warm and friendly!” but rather, “Watch out; and leave me me alone!”

He’d rather kill you than kiss you.

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