My Dream Office

August 3, 2017 2:15pm
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I had a dream last night that I’ve had in variations many times before involving a fancy office in a big, high-rise building with sweeping views of the surrounding area and surprisingly little actual work getting done! 😉

In a way, it’s reminiscent of the couple of years that I worked 31 stories up in one of the buildings in Downtown Tampa, where I was lucky enough to almost always have a desk by the windows – as tiny as that desk may have been – to the point where I still have a print of this gorgeous view of the sunset that I used to have sitting at my desk in the new office that I almost never go to because I currently work from home…

In my sleeping dream office, I had this great, private working area with plenty of room to spread out and make myself at home, including this incredible attached balcony where I could step outside to enjoy the view when simply looking at it all through glass wasn’t good enough. Coupled with a private elevator reserved for a select few with offices like my own, it seemed like a pretty sweet place to do … whatever it was that I did for work in that place.

Of course, back here in reality, I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that such a working environment is impractical for so many reasons. For starters, the dreams that I’ve had never seem to include episodes of me writing the exorbitant rent checks for such a lavish office space or the 30-60 minutes of driving each way that it would take to commute back and forth to said dream office!

Mind you, my commutes when I worked downtown could be upwards of an hour in moderate traffic, offset from bad traffic only because I worked later hours, whereas now my office is maybe 15-20 minutes away at best and I still hate the commute, often times feeling it a gigantic waste of time if I don’t at least stop for lunch on the way… 😛

It’s certainly fair to say that my standards for a dream office have changed over the years, no doubt influenced greatly by being lucky enough to work out of my own home and thus reducing my daily commute to dodging toys in the hallway from sitting in traffic on the highway!

Realistically, my ideal office space would simply be an improved version of the home office that I have today.

  • Still at home because commutes and paying rent for office space suck, plus it offers much greater opportunity for flexibility and customization.
  • A space that’s probably double the room where my office resides today – basically enough to also add in a couch and a nice table, and more trinket space for all of my toys. 😉
  • A nice, watery garden view through big, glass floor to ceiling windows – ideally because attached to my dream house, the backyard would have lots of tropical plants and a waterfall feature by the pool, though granted this might conflict with…
  • isolation from household noise!!! Seriously probably my only real complaint about working from home, my dream office is still technically part of the house, yet also far enough away from the bedrooms and living areas so that the sounds created by three boys growing up don’t prevent me from getting any work done whatsoever!
  • And maybe I can have a ridiculously oversized TV on the wall that I can swap out images of incredible views from other offices on…

Did I mention that in my dream, apparently my office also had a concierge who would deliver food and snacks and diapers, of all things?! Not sure why the kids are hanging around Dad’s office long enough to require a change of diapers, but hey, dreams are weird sometimes.

How do I want to make my impact???

November 19, 2015 10:36pm
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I guess you could say that I’ve kind of been having a mini crisis of faith over the last couple of weeks where I’ve found myself second-guessing what I want to do with life from the perspective of being a writer.

I wrote about it a little here last week, but in light of the attacks in Paris that literally happened a day later and the tremendous backlash that’s surged since regarding the refugees from Syria, I’ve had a lot of time to think about it and last night I believe I finally came to my answer…

Politics and reporting the news are important, and I can certainly see plenty of room for improvement, however that said I don’t know if it’s the right fit for me, I don’t think that it necessarily plays to my strengths, and most importantly, I think it would drive me absolutely insane trying to keep up with it after a while!

I had an idea that I was briefly entertaining last night about a new project that would essentially serve as a Snopes or a Politifact, but exclusively stick to factually correcting details shared around social media. On the surface it seemed like a worthwhile idea and it’s no doubt something that’s sorely needed … but the more I stewed about it, I came to the conclusion that it would end up being an extraordinarily negative pool to wade through because it would basically consist of purposely seeking out the most popular misinformed posts on Facebook and then doing the research to correct them.

A noble cause, no doubt … but is that really how I want to spend the limited amount of time that I have to dedicate to my craft???

Not really.

And so that brought me back to humor and sort of shined a new light on the art form that I think I’ve somewhat taken for granted. Simply put, the intent of humor first and foremost is to make people laugh. It can certainly also serve to educate or enlighten or even ridicule its subject matter in the process, but all of those things are secondary to entertainment.

It’s an argument that I remember Jon Stewart making time and time again about The Daily Show when various news programs would compare themselves to his program and he’d have to insist, “You think that we’re the same, but we’re not. The lead-in to my show is literally puppets making crank phone calls!”

A lot of pundits gave Stewart crap about not being on the same playing field as they were – primarily because his job mostly consisted of lobbing fireballs at them for 30 minutes every single night – but that’s kind of the beauty of being a humorist. You can write hard-hitting, political humor that serves to cut through the bullshit and highlight the ridiculousness that our politicians spout on a daily basis, but you can also write about other things, too.

If I were to take on that social media fact checker project that I described earlier, sure, there would be a potential to “make an impact” by providing facts to (hopefully) displace the BS, but what would the other part involve for that job? I fear that much like trying to be a hard-hitting journalist, it would be nothing but one ugly shouting match after another where even if you change minds with your latest battle, you’ve still got another ugly shouting match ahead of you and ten more lined up after that.

At least if I stick to entertainment writing, I can follow-up a critical, but also silly post about the Syrian refugees with a comic strip about the joys of unpacking cardboard boxes! What are my alternatives if I dedicate the bulk of my time to dispelling conservative politics or trying to make a dent in the status quo through serious debate??? Those ridiculous cat stuck in the tree or how did she wear it-stories that always make me groan when I see actual news sources taking a break with them?!

People can still take serious cues from humor, but it’s a lot more fun to read … not to mention to write, now that I think about it. So maybe I need to get back to writing humor and stop worrying about finding an unnatural way for me to move the needle.

This was a good talk. Thanks, Internet! 😉

Journalism and Me

November 13, 2015 2:13am
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Occasionally I wonder why I never got into proper journalism, and even if it’d be too late for me to do so. I mean, I like the writing that I do and you certainly don’t have to sell me on the value of entertainment and humor in society, but there’s still a part of me that wonders if I could be doing more if I had chosen to pursue a role in the media, as it were…

I think a lot of this comes about because I see so many flaws around us today that are based on misinformation, even though I’m honestly not sure if I could do it any better or if I would even know how to do so. Kind of piggybacking off of my post earlier this evening about overcoming divides, it’s clear that a lot of people align themselves with either conservative media or liberal media … and I guess the tricky part is that the devil on my shoulder isn’t sure that even if people had a better choice down the middle for their information, if they’d really be interested in that in the world which we live in today.

When I used to watch the Aaron Sorkin show The Newsroom over the last couple of years, to me it was a great fictional depiction of what the news ought to be – professionals passionate about getting the story right and not just pursuing leads for sensationalism, standing up for integrity in the fourth estate and particularly pushing back when it came to politicians not giving actual answers and trying to pull the wool over on people’s eyes.

And of course, I’m sure it might be said that I enjoyed that show because I’m a liberal and the whole show was created to make conservative newscasters look stupid, though my simple rebuttal would be that conservative newscasters make themselves look stupid by the ways that they distort and sensationalize the things that they broadcast. The truth is really that both sides exhibit the same problem in different areas, yet in a society today where it’s so easy to pick the news source that makes you feel good by reinforcing the chanting already going on inside your own head, would anybody even pay attention to that alternative news option???

One that I think is actually doing a really good job at producing this type of non-partisan, honest news that I’m talking about right now is VICE. You kind of have to sift through their website to find the really good stories from the same kind of weird clickbait that you find on Salon and Buzzfeed and HuffPost, but their big stories via VICE News – and particularly the ones that go into their series on HBO – feature some pretty nice investigative reporting that exposes issues on a larger scale that are impacting real people all over the world.

For instance, last night I stayed up way too late watching a special feature they did about America’s prison system that included some interviews that President Obama did with inmates at a federal penitentiary. It particularly focused on The War on Drugs and the consequences that have resulted from putting so many people in prison for non-violent offenses – it definitely made you take a second look at a complicated problem in that thirty years ago the edict was simply “Drugs are bad – we can’t be hard enough on criminals!” to now we’re really seeing the effects of those programs decades later and people like Bill Clinton, who played a big role in cracking down on drug offenders, is now admitting that he was wrong and he helped to create an entirely new set of problems that we now have to solve instead.

That’s the kind of journalism that I like to see – not 30-45 second sound bites that grab your attention and flare up the political base, but hands on, gritty research that peels back the layers and gives people a different way of looking at a problem. I’d like to see that same kind of technique applied to other areas – I think the political sphere is ripe for fact-checking because politicians and BS go hand in hand … I just don’t know how it would be received.

Still, there’s a great quote from The Newsroom that rings a certain truth in this regard:

“People will want the news if you give it to them with integrity. Not everybody, not even a lot of people – 5%. And 5% more of anything is what makes the difference in this country…”

How do you bridge the divide…?

November 12, 2015 9:09pm
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Whether it’s conservative/liberal, young/old, religious/atheist, black/white, or any combination thereof, we’re as divided of a society as we’ve ever been and any random look at comments on Facebook hints that the situation if anything is certainly getting worse, not better.

No doubt the issue will be front and center like it usually is at Thanksgiving dinner tables around the country here in a couple weeks, and I don’t know about you but believe it or not, I don’t want to fight with my family! I want us all to laugh and eat and talk about interesting things and challenge each other with new ways of thinking but without calling names … so how do we actually bridge that divide?

I admittedly don’t have the answer to this, but I think part of it starts in trying to understand where the other side is coming from. Of course, this too can be hard because my explanation for why someone might think the way they do might make sense to me, though it isn’t necessarily a settling one for the other party…

For example, I sincerely believe for better and for worse that a lot of the differences between me and my relatives back home stems simply from population and exposure – it’s hard for some people to really get their arms around the problems that black people face in America today when they live in a small town that’s less than 1% black. Nobody wants to be told that they’re racist, but when you make a joke about hanging a black man from a Christmas tree because you honestly don’t understand how absolutely horrible of a “joke” that really is, limited exposure to people who are different than you is one way that helps to explain why you might think the way that you do.

I think the real challenge here, however, is then breaking out of that mold to widen one’s own world view – even if it’s merely around the turkey-laden dinner table – because we’re all guilty of settling in with those who think and act the same ways that we do. It makes sense because it’s safer, but when people who only subscribe to one political party’s mentalities only interact with each other and don’t co-mingle with the other side of the coin, it just builds those walls up higher and stronger and the divide seemingly becomes even further ingrained.

People get defensive because they’re so used to only talking to other people that agree with them that an opposing opinion suddenly comes off as hostile, to the point where actually hostile comments start to get lost in the crossfire, and from there an honest debate seems pretty much impossible.

Several things really need to happen…

  • Both sides need to be willing to come to the table.
  • Both sides need to be open for debate and to legitimately hear the other side’s opinions.
  • Likewise, both sides also really need to understand their own opinions so that they can articulate them to the other side without resorting to ad hominem attacks.

I don’t even think that both sides need to be willing to change their opinions, although it certainly makes intellectual discourse easier, but hearing and acknowledging the other side is critical to actually having a discussion where both people can walk away feeling good at the end of it all.

There are some things that two sides will never see eye to eye on – take homosexuality, for example. I myself stand very firmly in the realm of equal rights as an extension of civil rights, whereas I know people who draw their lines based on their religious beliefs, and some more that are in between on the various nuances that make up just this one complex issue. And that’s ok, at least between two people, though it gets muddier when we have to look at the larger picture and how society is going to treat homosexuals in the 21st century.

But that’s how we get there is by sitting down and spelling out the differences, and figuring out where we disagree and where we surprisingly might actually agree a little after all.

And it’s hard, and all of those divisors give us plenty of fuel to not make that effort and to instead bunker down and fling poo over the wall at the crazies on the other side … which can be amusing for a little while, but ultimately isn’t very productive because it’s hard to walk away from the table feeling good about yourself when either one of you is covered in poo. And not everyone is going to feel like it’s worth the effort, and some people will make you wish that you’d never even tried, but you have to try anyways because division is bad and in the end we all have a lot that we can learn from each other.

Sometimes it just takes shutting up for a while to stop and hear what the other person has to say…

…even though occasionally it may turn out that the other person is just a crazy racist Donald Trump supporter… 😉

I want to go on an adventure.

September 9, 2015 7:01pm
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I think I’m getting a little stir-crazy around here because after spending a good hour this evening browsing random Google Maps of one of the cities I almost ended up in before moving to Florida, I did the math and realized that it’s been almost two years since I’ve left Central Florida for anything … and even then the event in question was an unexpected trip up to snowy Michigan in January 2014 for my Grandpa’s funeral.

Before that was only six months earlier when we went up during the summer of 2013 to celebrate his 90th birthday.

And don’t get me wrong, we’ve most certainly had a busy couple of years!!!

Between IVF and having the baby, and then the last year of learning how to be parents from scratch, and I’m sure lots of other stuff in between. We’ve also had lots … I guess just about everyone … come down to visit either for the holidays last year or to meet Christopher between last year and his first birthday. And part of that’s my fault because Sara was more eager to travel the baby around right after he was born when I didn’t want to…

But regardless, I guess it’s a little weird to think that we really haven’t traveled outside of 90 miles from home in the last couple of years because in our younger years we were a lot more adventurous! We’d gone on a couple of cruises, and our ginormous, month-long road trip, and yet now even if we can wrangle up a sitter it still seems prohibitively expensive trying to sneak away for the weekend after we factor in boarding the dog, coordinating time off, money, etc, etc…

I mean, Disney World is great and all, but I think I’m kind of itching to see something different for a change.


Thoughts of an easier life…

February 21, 2015 4:23pm
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I read a post on Facebook that triggered a little thought trail that I wander from time to time – would it have been “easier” living 50 years ago without all of the fast-paced goings-on that our society is known for today?

The post talked about an older generation that didn’t have “a green movement” like we see today for environmentalism, yet they reused milk bottles and had paper instead of plastic bags and walked instead of driving a lot of places, etc, etc… It reminds me a lot of small town life up north because I have a hard time picturing how that would even work here in suburbia where communities are more spread out because distance isn’t the limitation that it once was, and as much as I’ll be the first to shout from the treetops that I don’t think I could ever really adapt to small town life after finally “escaping” a little over a decade ago, there are certainly parts of me that wonder what it would’ve been like…

…to have the family business to go into where I suppose you might not really get a choice, but it makes sense in so many ways to just keep on doing what your family has always been doing, be it farming or running the general store or whatever.

…to have that kind of physical work built into your daily schedule that “exercise” simply isn’t something that you have to think about after you’ve been tossing hay bales and chasing pigs around all day!

…to not have the constant urge to update and be connected with the entire world, all of the time, and to enjoy that family togetherness that comes from everyone living in the same town so that everything – not just Christmas or special occasions – are a time for family.

Granted, I think part of this thought process comes simply from feeling exhausted and idealizing that world as more free from problems than it really was … science was in a much different place back then, and being stuck in one path can be just as much stifling as it is easy, and my biggest pet peeve from back home will always be the simple notion of how a lack of diversity in a community holds it back in some ways that are often times ugly and cringe-worthy.

Plus, for what it’s worth if I really sit down and analyze it, although they can just the same make my life more stressful at times, having options is something that I take a lot of great value in. One of the big reasons why I left Northern Michigan was simply in feeling like there wasn’t enough for me there – jobs, social life, opportunities in general – and although the Internet today is doing some impressive things to bridge that gap back home that I never would’ve expected, at the end of the day I think having choices as opposed to only the one that’s laid out right there for you is a valuable one, and modern society gives more opportunities for that than ever.

Not to mention … I love the Internet! I love sharing the stupid things that come into my head on Twitter, and I love posting pictures of my food, and I love having an immeasurable wealth of knowledge available at my fingertips that simply was not there 50 years ago. I love that instead of reading three paragraphs in the encyclopedia at the library about a given topic, I can pull up Wikipedia and read more than I’d ever think to ask about something that’s been put together and curated by fanatics and experts who are passionate about that very topic. The access to knowledge in our current times is something that I couldn’t possibly discount no matter how entertaining the mechanic down the street is when he shares his own knowledge on a particular topic!

Maybe it’s one of those grass is always greener scenarios – it’d be neat to live that lifestyle that my grandparents lived maybe for a week, but the war certainly wouldn’t have been as much fun, and the generation before that had the Great Depression which I’ve read was kind of a downer! I guess each generation has its pros and its cons, and all we can do is try to live our lives putting more things on the right side of the scale than the other during the time that we’re here.

Who knows – a hundred years from now, people might look back at my time and think, “Boy, life must’ve been so much easier before hyper transports and intergalactic warfare dominated our lives! Also, those tree things seem like they would’ve been pretty cool – too bad there aren’t still any of them around…” 😉

I can’t kill off Cleo Fish…

August 23, 2014 7:44pm
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I used to be such a fish tank guy!

I can’t even remember a time when I didn’t have at least one tank either in my bedroom or somewhere in my apartment when I moved out. I’ve always loved fish, but for some reason in the last couple of years my discipline for maintaining them has significantly faded.

Case in point – I haven’t fed my fish by hand in … two years? … because after buying one of those automatic fish feeders for going on vacation, I came back and said, “Why spoil a good thing?!” and just let the robot take over what I as the responsible pet owner was supposed to be doing all of that time!

Hey, in my defense, my care had started slacking at that point anyways, so at least the robot would remember to feed them every single day!

But that said, I’ve been seriously thinking about getting rid of the tank in my office – it’s all green and nasty, and most of the fish that were in it are now dead, and when I’m too lazy to keep it filled, the filter starts to get really obnoxious once enough of the water has evaporated from it.

It’s not just me – Sara’s tank has been sitting out in the garage since we moved into this house and that was two years ago! We actually talked about turning her tank into a Lego fish tank with blue bricks on the bottom for water and various fish swimming all about. That technically never happened, either, but it would’ve been a neat idea.

The problem is, I enjoy fish in passing, but I have no desire or discipline or time to actually do the upkeep required to not have a green and nasty fish tank sitting in the room. And that’s sad because it really shouldn’t take much – I’ve got a super nice filter that should rarely need changing if everything is maintained right, and with the auto-feeder on food duty, really the only thing left is to occasionally scrape algae off the sides and dump five gallons of fresh water to replace whatever has evaporated from it every couple of weeks.

…both of the latter of which, I do not do.

So earlier today, I was finally ready to just pull the plug. Sara even asked me about it a day or two ago if it was time to just admit that we weren’t fish people anymore, so when I was sitting here trying to write and the incessant sound of water dumping out of the filtration pipe because the water level is down 6″ in the tank had pushed me to my last nerve, I got up and instead of grabbing the bucket to get more water, I just flipped the power switch to turn everything off.

Mind you, there’s still an algae eater in there somewhere … I actually think that he’s the only one left because the other two died recently … and we saw him enjoying their remains at his leisure. But I honestly didn’t really think much of it, that is until Cleo came running into my office a little while ago, stopped dead in her tracks, and made a bee-line for the darkened fish tank where it was pretty clear that she knew something was up…

For some strange reason, Cleo has always liked my fish – I guess when we adopted her, she became a fish person, too – but she would always come in and put her nose up to the glass, and I eventually put a little storage box there for her to step on so that she could see better into the tank. She didn’t really care for the other ones, but that algae eater for some reason … we ended up nicknaming him Cleo Fish just because she would get so excited when he was out and about, and so mad when he was hiding in his cave and she couldn’t see him!

I guess the TL/DR of this blog post is … I need to become a better fish tank owner because I’ll never hear the end of it from the dog if I euthanize that one stupid fish. 😕


1047c26a6b413b397f046a7624afcedeSuicide isn’t funny, but we sure do seem to lose an awful lot of funny people to it, don’t we?

Looking back at my own life, I’ve known too many people who’ve tried to commit suicide … granted, of course, that even one is too many.

Some of them succeeded, some of them failed, and I don’t think any of them you ever would’ve guessed from the surface that things had gotten that bad in their own heads. Which is a terrifying consideration when I think about some of the closer ones to me, but I think that proves just how devilish of a beast depression can be … and just when you think someone is through the worst of it all, it very much still has the capability of rearing its ugly head in the worst possible way.

And it sucks because now that all of the dialog is present and we talk about trying to be there for those in need, this is the time when the most important questions we have to ask those people who we’ve lost remain unanswered … why’d you do it? What was it that finally pushed you over the edge?? What could *I* have done differently so that you’d still be here with us???

We’ll never know, and the only thing we can really do is try to be a little more understanding, and pay a little better attention, and be there a little more for our friends and family all of the time because we never know when today might be that day when they’re clinging to the edge, waiting for someone … anyone … to come along and reach out a hand to help them back up.

We may try to put ourselves in their shoes, but we can’t … not even the ones who tried and failed, because they failed … whatever they were going through wasn’t quite enough … and don’t get me wrong, that’s a very, very good thing that we should be grateful for. Yet to try and quantify the ones who succeeded…

I mean, I’ve thought about it before, but never very seriously. I’ve thought about a lot of different things that are admittedly pretty morbid, but most of them I’d never carry through with … in a way, I think part of that is just the crux of being a storyteller. The creative mind wanders to all sorts of dark corners in search of its next work of art … we just don’t choose to share the lot of them with anyone but ourselves…

Truth be told, I’m actually quite terrified of my own death – to the point where I hate thinking about that part of my future because just not being makes me very sad and I haven’t really come to terms with the thought of mortality in my 34 years so far – but I’ve certainly had bad days where the thought has crossed my mind whether the people around me might be better off without. I think another part of it in my head is me just being passive aggressive – “I’ll show them…” and that kind of mentality, but then I step back and put it into context in reality, and I remember that life does go on without these people. It’s hard until it gets easier, and we always remember them, but suicide is a lousy way to get back at somebody because egos have a funny way of dissipating quite quickly after one dies.

I think we all get low from time to time, and your definition of low may vary from mine and somebody else’s … but the definition of low to someone who’s depressed is in an entirely different sphere that we’ll just never know. And that’s both a good and a bad thing.

* * *

I think my favorite memory of Robin Williams was watching him host Comic Relief with Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal on HBO. He was always so off the wall and unpredictable, and he wasn’t burdened by movie ratings or a censor as to what types of dirty jokes were off limits. It was just so cool to watch three of the biggest names in comedy riffing off of each other for hours on end between each act, and it was one of the things that kind of inspired me to create Just Laugh because I wanted to be a part of something cool like that, too…

Something I probably shouldn’t admit in public – I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen Good Morning, Vietnam.

I guess I need to get on that.

But Aladdin, Dead Poet’s Society, Mrs. Doubtfire, Good Will Hunting … some of the dialog from Good Will Hunting bring tears to my eyes with how raw and emotional he could deliver, and yet on the other side with Genie he’s probably one of the most memorable characters to come out of The Disney Decade…

“You’ll have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.” – Good Will Hunting

“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” – Dead Poet’s Society

“Oi! Ten thousand years will give you such a crick in the neck.” – Aladdin

And he named his daughter Zelda – just how amazingly cool is that?!

Robin Williams always seemed like a pretty great guy. He made a lot of us laugh, and he made a lot of us think, and that’s how I’m going to remember him. 🙂

So I started reading some of the links that people are posting about the open letter that Dylan Farrow wrote about being raped by her adoptive father, famed director Woody Allen, some 20 years ago. And I don’t know what I think about it, so I thought that I’d use some space here to elaborate on my thoughts…

I should say right off the bat that I’m not particularly a Woody Allen fan. I don’t dislike him – it’s just that after looking through the list, I honestly don’t think that I’ve ever seen a single one of his movies. Even Annie Hall, which I’m pretty sure makes me a terrible fan of movies in general.

When I look at the discussions taking place from the outside, I see two very distinct camps forming – those who still think that he should be burned at the stake, and those who think that she’s lying. And I read this article that talks about how the problem that with a case like this, they can’t both be innocent – one of them must be lying. The article kind of loses me as it goes on to talk about rape culture and suggests that when you’re famous, the burden of proof is always on the other person…

…which stings a little as it reminds me of the incidents last year that ended Kevin Clash’s career as the beloved Elmo, even though all of the accusations were eventually withdrawn or thrown out in court.

Because in the end, both situations are decidedly bad:

  • being sexually abused
  • being accused of sexual abuse that you didn’t actually commit

And let’s not kid ourselves that the second one doesn’t happen because it does, and I’m not even saying that to throw a weight of statistics around, but I think it’s important to acknowledge the fact that people do get falsely accused of things, even when it comes to rape, and history has proven that the public isn’t quick to forget serious accusations, even after a judicial verdict has been set and the accused has been deemed innocent.

It’s kind of one of those things that follows you – just ask OJ, or the late Michael Jackson, or even George Zimmerman … I’ll even throw a case in the mix that *I* thought was blatantly miscalled. Whether each of those people was truly guilty or not, there’s a portion of us – myself included, for Zimmerman – who will always look at them as disgusting individuals that got away with heinous crimes where our justice system failed their victims.

…which kind of branches into the question of what really is the purpose of our justice system here in America?

The general idea is that we both punish and rehabilitate those who commit crimes, with the understanding that each person is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. And we’ve certainly seen that fail in some cases where a murdered gets off on a technicality or there’s just that one piece of the puzzle that doesn’t quite fit, yet maintaining “beyond a reasonable doubt” is vital because we’ve also had some cases where our justice system failed the defendant and sentenced them to life in jail or death when in fact they were actually innocent.

That’s also very, very bad, and so we’re really stuck between a rock and a hard place with a situation like this because on one hand, you want to make it as easy as possible for a victim to actually come forward and speak out against their abuser after having experienced whatever personal hell they’ve been put through – in a way, it’s not right to just assume that she’s not telling the truth until the evidence proves otherwise, and yet what do you do in that handful of cases where the accusations were all fabricated and the accused’s life is ruined because the accuser had a personal vendetta and just wanted to ruin them???

I’m not saying that’s what happened between Dylan Farrow and Woody Allen, but it’s important to consider when we look at reopening this case in the public eye after 20 years ago a New York judge found the charges to be inconclusive. Clearly there’s a whole lot of drama in that family, and there’s been a lot of hurt, and in some cases it’s not really crazy to say that there’s been a lot of malice brewing from Mia Farrow, who some allege has been a mastermind at all of this latest circus coming to light in the middle of awards season after her ex-husband already received a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes.

But I don’t even want to argue motive or malicious intent. For whatever reason, she felt the need to get everything off of her chest in a very public manner at this point in time, and now even as he offers the most reserved response possible, lines are being drawn once again and people are taking sides and some larger discussions about rape culture are being thrown around that I’m not exactly sure deserve to be preserved in a vacuum. In theory, the idea of supporting and not shaming the victim makes all of the sense in the world … that is, as long as the victim is actually a victim. But that part of the culture doesn’t really take into consideration the idea that not every allegation will be trustworthy, and the problem is … I don’t really know where to go with that.

Do you always side with the victim and risk creating a society where crying rape is easy retaliation against one who’s hurt you? Not only is it a disservice to those who are actually victims of abuse, but it also creates a pretty terrifying landscape where one can be guilty until proven innocent specifically in one of the most heinous crimes of all.

Or do you always side with the accused and nurture the very rape culture that many talk about where victims are afraid to speak up? Just as equally bad, this puts even more power into the hands of legitimate abusers who stand a better chance of getting away with it if the process sides in their favor.

Another angle to consider is that you really have two processes to consider here when one of these cases surfaces – the judicial process that decides whether the accused spends the next 20 years in jail, on top of the public opinion that decides whether the accused will be treated like he belongs in jail even if the judicial process finds them not guilty in a court of law. Each process works very independent of one another, and as we’ve most definitely seen in the past, one might argue in the stance of celebrity that the public opinion swings even stronger than that of the courts.

Just ask anyone who still considers The King of Pop to be a child molester, even in death.

Or George Zimmerman, who myself included will consider a murderer until the day that his victim’s ghost pops by to cite that in fact, he did really start the whole thing after all.

It’s like this quote from The Daily Beast’s take on the situation

“The point is that accusations make headlines; retractions are buried on page twelve, and coerced accusations are as much a reality as coerced confessions.”

At this point Dylan Farrow could write a second blog post and recant, saying, “Mom forced me into saying the whole thing…” and still there’s a section of the public that will look at Woody Allen as a disgusting child molester who should be put to death. And maybe he’s far enough along in his career that the negative publicity doesn’t really matter anymore … though the whole awards jabs would kind of suggest otherwise … that’s still got to be a pretty crappy allegation to shoulder if it isn’t actually true.

Anyways, like I said at the very beginning – I don’t know where the middle ground is here. How do we create a society where victims feel safe to come forward and yet the falsely accused still maintain the innocence that they deserve??? How are we supposed to maintain both innocence and faith on both sides of the table? It’s no more right to denounce a victim than it is to crucify someone who was falsely accused, and as deeply emotional as each side is, it’s certainly not fair to write one off in favor of the other.

So where do we go from here???

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