Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Cleavage Isn't Really the Problem...

So between Grover spoofing the Old Spice Guy and the precious I Love My Hair video that is making the rounds, I’ve been watching a lot of Sesame Street clips lately…and I just got around to watching the oh so controversial Katy Perry guest spot on Sesame Street that didn’t air because of the objections over the sight of her cleavage, visible via her see-through bustier-type top.

I know exactly why there were objections to her outfit, but to me the content of the clip is what needs to be examined. I imagine that her song Hot N Cold was adapted using Elmo mainly to teach opposites (up/down, in/out, fast/slow, stop/go) with Elmo acting these out while Katy Perry chases him around. But since Sesame Street also has lessons about social interaction, I wondered what kids were supposed to learn about friendship from this flaky version of Elmo. He told her to meet him to play dress-up…and then he runs away and she sings, "Used to laugh while we played/Now you just run away."

Everyone faces rejection and all kids have times when they don’t want to play, but the skit seemed like a bizarre kiddie He’s Just Not That Into You…what with Katy Perry showing up for a dress-up playdate wearing what looks like bridal headgear and being all disappointed in Elmo, but then chasing him even after he acts like he doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

And then, true to form, Elmo tells “Miss Katie” that he was playing…he was playing tag…and she just didn’t get it. Because if there is one thing kids need to learn, it’s that if you’re gonna be friends, there will be a time when you just aren’t on the same wavelength and that some of us forget to communicate when the game has changed.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Smile Loud Enough for Them to Hear

When I read a piece called Nobody's Smilin' from Clutch Magazine about how annoying it is to have men you don't know demand that you smile, I thought it was on point. And since the usual "black women shouldn't look so mean" stuff gets hashed out in the article's comments, I won't bother going into all that. But yes, a common refrain that is thrown at a woman who won't smile on demand is 'life isn't that bad.'

While life certainly isn't bad, it is annoying to be yelled at or told to smile or expected to stop and converse with/entertain people you have no interest in talking to so that they can get an ego boost. And yes, a smile traditionally means friendliness an approachability, but sometimes "there's daggers in (wo)men's smiles." Even the most upbeat people don't walk around grinning all the time and still may want to be left alone when they do.

So today I was in very long line at Trader Joe's after I'd indulged in a cupcake that made me rather full, and *gasp* I was not smiling despite the wonderfulness of having a car and money for cupcakes and TJ's food. I was however, lost in thought, when someone behind me tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around but quickly realized that the man behind me wanted me to move out of the way so he could get the attention of the man in front of me.

The shoulder-tapper could not speak, but he used gestures and sign language to indicate that the man in front of me should pick up one of the 29 cent chocolate bars conveniently located on a low shelf for people waiting in long lines.

The man in front me was able to speak so he responded out loud and picked up a chocolate bar.

Then the man behind me tapped me on the shoulder again to gesture to me that I should smile.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The Q&A Got a Little Crazy

Last week I wrote a lovely little blog post (Center for American Progress examines How to Keep the Fuel of Creation and Innovation Burning) for my blog at and in trying to keep it short and sweet, I left out some of the juicier bits...

Things got testy during the Q&A. In the post on, I mentioned how someone in the audience took one of the panelists to task for what he viewed as an inconsistency (talking about creativity and speaking out against internet piracy.

What I didn't mention was a woman who asked about what could be done to stop creativity from being stifled in 'go along to get along' corporate America. I was looking forward to the response from the panelists and was rather surprised when they shot the woman down. They completely disagreed with her assessment and cited personal examples of why this simply was not so. According to them there was plenty of creativity in corporate America and corporate America (or at least the movie studio one panelist mentioned) is open to it.

Um...what? They seemed to be more than a little removed from average American life...corporate America is exactly as the woman described and even if they don't deal with this on a daily basis, haven't they at least watched The Office?

Then, after the panelists displayed how they were out of touch, it was time for an audience member to do so. The panel and the moderator were very put off by a frustrated woman who asked 'if any black people would be able to ask a question'? Because she interjected so strongly as they were choosing some other person to ask a question, she was given the floor. As is often the case, she had been trying to get their attention and got more and more frustrated as other were chosen...but I didn't think it was because she was black.

Once again the focus was on corporations...the woman went on a little rant. The moderator, who had been extremely ruffled that race had been thrown into the mix in such a startling (and unfair) way, tried to smooth things over, asking if she had an actual question. The woman then asked a question that no one could answer: When will corporations be more fair?

The panelists shook their heads and one muttered, "I think she just wanted to be speak."

He was right and it was unfortunate that she let her frustration build to the point where she was ineffective because people were dismayed at the method she used to gain their attention.