Sex Ed in Higher Ed

College instructor teaching human sexuality rants about the dumbing down of America, the lost art of manners, grammar and (the perfect combination of both) the thank you note. Also includes random rants about life, pet peeves, and sometimes raves about favorite things.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Bossy, Yet Still Polite

I learned two things yesterday from FirstCityBook.

1.) Some people think I am opinionated. And I'm all, "Wha? Huh!? Me?"

2.) And then I learned that, "The BBCNews recently reported that many of the blogs that have been created are generally abandoned within the first month or two because the blogger discovers how little he/she has to say after all." (Must I use proper APA format when citing other bloggers or is it okay to say that FirstCityBook over at Red Moon Cafe wrote this?)

And then I thought, "People think they don't have anything to say? Really? Or it only takes them a month or two to realize this? How is this possible because I have something to say all the time. In fact, sometimes I have so much to say I can't sleep at night, because of all the things that need sayin' flying through the frantic and crowded ghetto that is my brain." And then I thought, "Oh. Perhaps that is what he means by opinionated."

Here is what I have to say today. It's about a very critical and important issue and this is why my blog will go on into infinity - I'm opinionated about very critical and important issues. Today's critical and important issue: My very important and opinionated thoughts on a bumper sticker I saw yesterday. The sticker in question read:

Please don't put my American flag on your foreign car.

Because I'm trying (honest! I swear!) to be less "knee-jerk liberal" and more "open to multiple opinions" I first identified what I liked about the bumper sticker. It is polite. I mean, really? How many bumper stickers (or any stickers, for that matter) have you seen lately that begin with "please"? Not that many, right? After all, manners are social lubricant. (I didn't make that up. Someone important said it. Maybe Miss Manners? Ann Landers? Carolyn Hax? If you can tell me the answer, you get a first-time subscribers only Teacher Lady newsletter or whatever other non-prize I can think to make up).

So, if you start your bumper sticker with "please" you have my attention.

Now here's where I get all Teacher-Lady-Opinionated on your asses: My flag?!?! My flag. Oh, my - aren't some of us presumptuous! Listen, mister, unless your name is Betsy Ross, (in which case, way to go on the nifty reincarnation as a pick-up truck driving white dude) it ain't your flag. I believe it is our flag.

Yeah, that's right - our. I said our. As much as it might vex you, I am an American citizen, too and hence, it is also my flag - but I believe it is a collective "my". You see, I was born in this country. As were my parents and their parents and their parents before them. No, we're way too ethnic and loud and messy and dysfunctional to have been Mayflower passengers, but still. Americans, just the same. I have worked crappy jobs since I was 16 years old which means I have been paying taxes for more than half of my wretched life. I have a Social Security number. I vote. In almost all elections - even local ones, sometimes, if it's not raining.

I pump money into our local economy by trying my damnedest (how do you spell that, anyway?) to patronize locally-owned businesses and avoid giant chains. (Although it's getting harder every day.) I rescued a dog that no one else wanted and I pick up her dog turds after each and every neighborhood excursion. I have car insurance because it's the law - but many people don't anyway - and also so I can be a good citizen. I have volunteered for countless organizations (all American, by the way - American Red Cross, the Arthritis Foundation, the Ronald McDonald House, and our local (and American) county dog shelter.) I give blood when I don't get turned away for being borderline anemic and when I had a real job I also gave money (and not just time) to charitable organizations. Oh - and I teach. American college kids who are just going to end up hating me for telling them they can't have a word bank and actually need to learn seven words, but I try.

But. I drive a "foreign" car. Does this mean that everything else I do that I consider part of being a good American citizen is crossed out by my choice of fuel-efficient vehicles? Somehow, it is no longer "my" flag - it is now "your" flag and yours alone? And working and paying taxes and being born here and all the other things we use to determine citizenship don't count because . . . of what I drive? Oh - and also, I forgot: You sir, and you alone can lay claim to the American flag. In fact, why even call it the American flag anymore? Let's just call it _______ (insert your name here)'s flag? Okay? That seems fair.

So that's today's opinionated rant. And also, even though I'm not sure I agree with the bumper sticker, I do appreciate that it asked politely.

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Blogger saintseester said...

That was great. A well-written rant is lovely fun to read.

January 05, 2007 2:47 PM  
Blogger Shawnee said...

Amen, sister! You are preaching to the choir (as my grandma would say). My husband's Toyota was manufactured in Kentucky, which, as far as I can tell, means that it was made by Americans, even if it is not an "American car".

If I wrote about everything that irritated me on a daily basis, I'd be writing constantly. I can't decide if I am easily aggravated or if the vast majority of the world is just painfully rude, ignorant & inept.

Oh, & that quote has been attributed to Robert Heinlein, although it seems that it could just as likely be an Ann Landers quote. Nothing like a definitive answer!

January 05, 2007 2:51 PM  
Blogger Silliyak said...

Also, what is an "American" car. I gave up keeping track long ago, but all the car companies I believe are multinational. Built in America? They build all sorts of "foreign" car in the USA. My late Ford Ranger was built in Canada. (Technically built in North America)

January 05, 2007 3:49 PM  
Blogger jenna sais quoi said...

Thank you. My Chrysler has a Mitsubishi engine (because Dodge, Chrysler, Mercedes, AND Mitsubishi are all in bed together to some degree). My husband's big ol' Dodge truck? Assembled primarily in Mexico, I believe.

Cheap labor and components are a lot easier to come by in other countries, but unless it's something that affects people directly -foreign outsourcing of Dell tech support, for example- most people are just blissfully ignorant of it.

January 05, 2007 4:21 PM  
Blogger Peach said...

LMAO that is too funny. So many Americans drive "not so american" cars. That is a rediculous bumber sticker. Half the stuff we use on a daily basis is owned,discovered,made in other countries. How retarded.

January 05, 2007 6:38 PM  
Blogger Quinn said...

Mmmm... rantily goodness.

And I love the idea of Betsy Ross reincarnated as a white dude driving a pickup. Moving up the planes toward Nirvana, isn't she?

January 05, 2007 9:36 PM  
Blogger sydney said...

What kind of car was it?

January 06, 2007 12:01 AM  
Blogger Terminaldegree said...

That was a great post. I'm chuckling.

Years ago, when I bought a Subaru, a friend's dad chided me for not "buying American" like he'd purchased for his daughter. ( that car dealer I bought from is only pretending to have an American passport?) What cracked me up was that I'd just read a Consumer Reports article that more of MY car than hers had been made in the US.

Another friend, in a tongue-in-cheek moment, stuck a "buy American" bumper sticker on her Toyota. Heh.

January 06, 2007 1:19 AM  
Blogger firstcitybook said...

I should add that you're funny, too, Teacher Lady. Thanks for the publicity. My blog counter (which you introduced me to a month or two ago) recorded a significant difference in the number of hits on Friday, something like a three hundred percent difference if my math skills serve me well. Does your sense of humor appear in your teaching?

January 06, 2007 1:32 AM  
Blogger mex said...

Everthannnng you say is well written.. Yrs is my first clicka dee day and one I wuvvvv

Keep it up, and BTW, I AGREE


January 06, 2007 8:54 AM  
Blogger Gwen said...

It's so much easier to choose simplistic judgmentalism (is that a word?) than it is to hold more than one opposing opinion in your head at once. Or to bother with the facts, since as your readers all pointed out above, the manufacturing of "foreign" cars employs more than one "American" (for some reason, that needed to be in quotes.) Man, I hope that driver doesn't ever shop at Walmart .....

My least favorite bumper sticker--that I can remember anyway--is the "My boss is a Jewish carpenter." I don't know why they bug so much; maybe because the cars who have them are often driving as if their "boss" told them to be complete jackasses. WWJD, indeed?

January 06, 2007 9:21 AM  
Blogger Mrs. T said...

I am hopelessly opinionated myself and rarely have "nothing to say". In fact, when confronted with another person with little to say, I start nervously jabbering, so much that a little voice inside my head must remind me to "stoptalkingnowpleasestoptalking".
I don't think there IS such thing as an American car. My Mercury Villager is actually the same thing as a Nissan Quest.
What a dumb ass, although a polite dumb ass at that.

January 06, 2007 9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see a lot of stuff like that up here. And really, there is no such thing as an American car. Nor an American television set. Nor countless other items.

And if that dude (or dudette) bought anything from Wal-Mart, chances are it wasn't American made...and if it was, the poor American company it came from is having a hard time surviving and paying it's employees on the prices that Wal-Mart paid for the items.

Good grief!

January 06, 2007 11:40 AM  
Blogger Quinn said...

Although, Gwen, the "My governor is a Jewish Cowboy" bumper stickers during the Kinky Friedman campaign in TX were HI-LARIOUS.

January 06, 2007 8:15 PM  
Blogger Art Nerd Lauren said...

I think a lot of debates could use some proper manners. Ya know?

January 07, 2007 2:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When my husband took the oath of citizenship, one of his friends gave him a little American-flag-on-a-stick...on the stick were printed the words "Made in China."

Great rant, Lady!

January 08, 2007 9:52 AM  

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