Paris Jackson, Paparazzi, Rolling Stone & The Limelight

I’m sure its been mentioned once or twice, but full disclosure: I am a huge Michael Jackson fan. So huge in fact, that I met him a couple times in the 00’s by traveling across the friggin’ ocean just to catch a glimpse of him (and thankfully they were much more than just that).

After he died, I would say my fandom died a bit. Well, I didn’t/don’t love him any less, but there is really nothing to “follow” and I wasn’t one of those fans who transferred my feelings for him on to his children. I have been fairly uninterested in his children and all of their endeavours because I really feel that MJ wouldn’t have wanted their lives splashed around the press until they were old and mature enough to deal with it.

Clearly things didn’t work out that way and over the years I’ve briefly read things about his daughter (mostly) and can’t help but to feel for her. I have a soft spot for that tiny little girl back in 2002 who slept soundly on her Daddy’s chest as he pressed his finger to his lips and waved me over to his car (before I got knocked on to my arse by some… er… matronly German girls who proceeded to scream in his face and motivated him to wind up his window entirely) as if I was silently promising to not wake her.

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Paris Jackson is a gorgeous 18 year old now and while I don’t frequently read Michael Jackson websites anymore, I often have read comments judging her tattoos her boyfriends her clothes… everything — coming from MJ fans themselves. It is no secret that after a suicide attempt, she got sent away to a turnabout school for troubled or problematic teens. I don’t understand that while knowing that she has dealt with mental health issues, people still think it is okay to continually judge from behind their keyboards without realising their weight of their words; as if she could never possibly read the things people feel the need to tag her in on social media.

This morning I read an article for her latest Rolling Stone magazine spread and felt a great weight of compassion and sadness for her; the solidarity of going through the rest of your life without the person who loved you the most; who was the entire world to you. Granted for her, it has been much harder, losing a parent at an early age would be catastrophic.

She spoke about being thrust in to school after being home schooled her entire life – where she began using drugs and hanging around with bad influences and was suffering anxiety and depression – even touching on a sexual assault that happened at 14 and I can’t help but to wonder where the hell her guardians were and what on earth they were doing? After the death of a parent at 11, why wasn’t there counselling for the kids? Why weren’t they correctly supported? Why was a 14 year old left to her own devices? Why at 18 is a young woman tattooing herself to cover track marks left from heavy drug use after being clean for a number of years? (Honestly, what the fuck?).

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Perhaps her story is similar to so many that I know and love — I found it heart breaking to read — at the base of the article a very young, lonely girl resides trying to find a place in the world just like the rest of us were at 18, with the added peppering of world-wide judgment from not only the general public, but from Michael Jackson sycophants who think they know what he’d want for her; who care so little about her feelings that they let their own perceptions of who Michael Jackson was, shape who they think she should be.

I loved and followed Michael Jackson since I was 5 years old and my fandom was intense until the very day the man passed- but I was never fooled, I didn’t know him. I had a perception and an idea of who he was and I am sure he was that person genuinely, but he was also multi-faceted and real. He was someone’s brother, someone’s son, a little girl’s father and a father to two other boys — based on the fact that he was both a little and big brother, I can imagine that at times he was a shit-stirrer and a petulant asshole. He was probably a good friend but if you upset him, he would have probably written you on to his shit list forever — that’s human. He was human. And his most humanifying job was being a father.

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I don’t have an issue acknowledging that he probably had mental health issues — that Paris has obviously dealt with (if not dealing) with mental health issues – but that doesn’t give people a right to question her decisions or to assume everyone in her life (her boyfriend, manager, friends) is trying to lead her down a garden path or that they are ‘bad news’. It doesn’t mean that she shouldn’t embrace the opportunities that present themselves to her.

This morning I saw this video of Paris being mobbed and harassed about her father’s death and it absolutely gutted me;

What the very fuck is wrong with people?

My mum passed away in November 2016. If a single fucker ever dared ask a single question in such a way about her passing, I would have knocked a person out. And then, at the end there is some soft-voiced bitch making a comment about how it’s okay Paris. Condescending, rude, punch-worthy. Salt a wound and tell her how to act….

And so today I remembered why not to read the comments section — questioning her sexual assault; not being able to get over the fact that she considers herself to be bi-racial and the biological daughter of Michael Jackson. There were comments saying that if she should be used to the limelight or that she should have expected this kind of backlash after being interviewed by Rolling Stone.

Victim blaming is okay when it applies to people who have notoriety, is it?

It kind of shocks me. Do those same people question their best friend when they say they’ve been assaulted? Do they snort and chuckle about hairy predicaments that their loved ones have gotten in to? Do they take glee in seeing other people fall? Paris Jackson grew up in the limelight, but she was not in the spotlight – it was her father and a child would entrust her safety wholly in to that guardian.

Do I think Paris Jackson is ready for a career within the showbiz industry? If I’m going to make a judgment based solely upon the paparazzi video above? Probably not – however, just like my fandom and perception of Michael– I saw one single facet of who he was and same goes for Paris. I am sure there is more depth to her than one can gain from social media posts or moments of tumultuousness when she is simply in transit. She seems so sensitive and easily upset — that is not a bad thing to be, but it might not be a great mix with fame. Would I judge her decisions as if I know her or her family? No.

I just watch all this from afar feeling empathetic toward an 18 year old who looks as bewildered and lost as I felt at 18 (though I don’t think I had a real reason to feel like that) and I feel shame for the rest of these despicable humans that feel like they should all get a say or a piece of her for the sake of being funny, seeming knowledgable about MJ or for their photographic pay day.

I hope if Paris does decide to extend herself in to the limelight – that she will take it on with great armour and know that people are assholes and that opinions of both MJ fans and the wider public don’t matter – that you can’t make everyone love you. It is my hope that her ups and downs will resonate and be able to help others by continuing to be herself and being the voice for those who have been through similar losses and issues that she has endured.

I think that would be something her father would be incredibly proud of.

Like Breathing Underwater – Anxiety & OCD

There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to explain to someone what anxiety or OCD looks like in a day-to-day way. Its even more frustrating when someone who very clearly knows nothing of what it’s like to deal with it, try to express their sympathy or try to quip that they relate because x y z thing happens to them as well.

No. Just… no.

Unless that thing dictates your entire day, enshrouds you like a storm cloud every single day and is constantly sitting in the back of your mind, whispering at you when you are trying to swat it away and live a normal life — you have no idea.

It is unrelenting and exhausting. So, so, so exhausting. You become frustrated and fed up and angry with yourself for not being able to control it and long to just have the constant thought give you a moment of reprieve. The ability to be able to breathe in and breathe out, doing away with the triggers would be so refreshing. It’s an itch you can’t reach, constantly there, constantly annoying. Only sometimes it goes from being annoying to being all-consuming.

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Thankfully most days I am able to cope without too much drama; I am able to just get through the day with the skills to know how to push away that feeling that can, on days like this, be all-consuming. Most days I can function quite highly without bringing any attention to myself, without wanting to crawl back under the covers and hide away from the world.

Let me paint a picture of how a bad day with anxiety and OCD looks.

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The best part of my day will be the moment that I open my eyes and feel weightless. I don’t fight the alarm anymore, I wake up to a biological alarm that brings me to lucidity at 6-6:30am. It’s that tiny little split interval of time between sleep and complete consciousness that will feel good because I don’t remember the stress straight away. When I remember though, that sickness engulfs my guts like when you have a fear of heights and you look down. And then you will the feeling to go away.

It doesn’t. Some days, even on a bad day, you’re able to ignore it.

Go through the motions, get dressed, play music immediately, understand why you hate silence. Pop music is my go-to; alternative style usually makes it worse. Sometimes I like to work out and on work out days, the compulsions aren’t as bad.

Then the compulsions start. The routine.

Check the back door. Check the oven. Check the (important) locks. Check the windows. Make sure the computer is turned off. Make sure all phone chargers are switched off at the wall. Make sure the TVs are off. Make sure the xBox is turned off. Did I check the oven? Check it again. Check the back door. Does the dog have enough water? Better make sure it’s clean. Yes, it’s clean. But, wait, what if it’s not as clean as you think. Better tip the water out and scrub the bowl and make sure it is, she might die of some unheard of (made up) poisoning while you’re gone if you don’t. Check the back door again. Check the bathroom, did you turn the taps off? Check the hair straightener, did you turn it off? Make sure it’s not hot, it could burn something. Unplug it while you’re there. Also, unplug anything else just in case. What’s the time? Shit, you’re a bit late. Okay, time to leave — hey, make sure you check that straightener in case you didn’t. Imagine, if you left it on, could start a fire and the dog is here, imagine if she burned up? Shit, did you put dog food out too? Better let her out, she could pee inside. Okay, good you checked the hair straightener again and it’s off. Maybe taking a photo of the hair straightener and the plug so you can console yourself when you leave the house to make sure that it’s really, truly off. Okay done. Cool, now best make sure the back door is locked. Pat the dog. Just make sure the dishwasher is off before you walk out the door. Should that bowl be there? Maybe just rinse it. Ok, now clean it with detergent. If you don’t, something bad might happen and you wouldn’t want that. Okay, cool, dry it off. Why does this bowl matter more than the other six sitting dry on the sink? Stop questioning it, you don’t want anything bad to happen, dry it. Ok done. Cool, can I walk out the house now? Stand there silently for a moment and go over every routine…. Ok awesome.

Lock the front door. Check the lock. 1, 2, 3 — check it four times, just the fourth time to be sure. Get in the car, sit for a moment and take a deep breath. If its before 9am, its all good. Call best friend so she can put my mind at ease by going thru a check list of just the important things to do before going to work. Some days I drive around the block like today to double check everything and take the straightener in the car because despite the photo, the fact that it’s not even warm, that it’s unplugged, it still might be an issue — and if I don’t something bad could happen as a result.

It’s not uncommon to check the locks up to 4 times and then go back inside to recheck and then come back outside and dead lock the door and check it four times again. Or even to get down the road, do a blockie and drive back in to check.

And then even though I know everything is “right”, the anxiety might begin.

Like today, having my heart race to the point of palpitations because I know I’m letting everyone down by being late to work. (Yep, couldn’t get my shit together to even get to work on time today). The most exhausting part is keeping up the charade of being ‘normal’, of going to work and counting money. Counting money. Count it once out of the drawer. Count it to myself. Count it to the customer — then like today, weigh it– just in case.

On a bad day, you feel so exhausted trying to bat off the stupid ‘games’ that your brain tries to play with you that you give up and feel like letting it consume you because the fight is too much. Then it becomes hard to breathe. I mean that in a physical and metaphorical sense. It’s as though the air is thick, or when you’re submerged almost entirely in water and you’re trying your best to tread water but are a little out of breath. And all the while, the compulsions are still there. Most of the time on a bad day, besides the morning and bed “routines”, I can get away with the rest of the day without them — but a very, very bad day like today, they’re around.

This whole thing is perfectly illogical because I am an overall unorganised person despite how badly I try not to be.

Even now after getting home from work and taking some medication to help me relax, I still feel it bubbling inside of me. And I struggle to keep my shit together as I write this. I coach myself in to the breathing exercises that a psychologist gave me a little while ago — but it can be like having a lung full of water, everything is gurgling away and it can feel as though ridding the toxic thoughts and feelings will never cease.

I am lucky because on most days I can joke about having OCD. I can even not roll my eyes when someone tries to tell me that they understand how I feel because they like things to be on angles. Unlike a lot of people with OCD, I am usually able to deal with it. I give it it’s time. I know that sounds weird, but I accept that this is something that is a part of my life. My psychologist recommended that I allot time to it. So for that fifteen minutes every morning, I literally let it go nuts – do its worst and then I shut it down and go to work and function — that way there’s less chance of it overtaking my day.

Today though, my OCD brain is telling me that I must not even publish this blog. I’m not going to let it win though, but it is work to keep my mind distracted from the niggling ‘rules’ and ‘conditions’ that it gives me.

It is really frustrating when someone tries to offer solutions to a problem that has no real coffee-cup answer. It’s the sort of problem that no words can fix and I don’t expect anyone to. It’s something I generally only trust two people in my life to talk about in too much depth — the people in my life that understand mental health issues who are also fighting the same battles. If suggested solutions were so easy, I would have ridded myself of this stupidity and nipped it in the bud when it began. But don’t worry, I’m very aware that people are just trying to help.

When I was watching youtube last night, I came across this video by Sia of Big Girls Cry — I felt like this video is such an intense and accurate description of how my brain feels when it is encumbered by anxiety that’s caused by OCD. Suffocating, confusing, terrifying, devastating, comical, and exhausting. In the deepest, abyss of my anxiety my brain feels like its in a complete state of disarray — my feelings are so confusing and maddening.

And no, nothing like your need to place things neatly around the house on a ‘just so’ angle. Until, of course, that ‘obsessive’ urge to ‘keep things neat’, is constantly dictating any thought you have and is threatening to set your house on fire, harm you or people you love and take away anything of importance to you unless you satisfy it.

Today I got home, crawled in to bed and let myself be sad. And it actually helped. I’m not the type of person who tries to maintain perfection. I am totally at ease with what goes on in my head; just that some days are a lot shittier than others and that stress makes it worse. But, it’s nothing that I can’t handle. I’m okay to accept that once in awhile I have to fall in to a heap and ride the feeling out.

Today was that day; but tomorrow is a new day.

LIES THAT I’D LIKE TO TELL OTHER PEOPLE FOR FUN

Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies!

I’m a very specific type of person. You either ‘get’ my sense of humour or you think it’s stupid and could consider me a little strange. But, if you know me well, you understand what kind of things appeal to me laughter-wise and you’ll appreciate the way my brain works. Either way, I’m okay with both. And you know what? Dumb lies amuse me.

I’ve compiled this list of the lies that I’ve thought about telling people and how I think they’d respond. These aren’t lies of convenience, they aren’t lies that will necessarily make people like me more nor will they further me in life — they are simply a little social experiment that I’ve dreamed in my head to gauge just how gullible some folk are. (hot tip: very). The final cut list really tickled me pink. And I re-read it and thought, yep, I’m definitely hilarious, this needs to be shared with the general public — or as my boyfriend would say, run up the flag pole, you know, just to see how it flies.

1.  Kandice Kardashian. 

There is actually a forth Kardashian and her name is Kandice — she prefers to be called Kandi. The thing is, she’s much taller than Khloe (crazy, I know, she is one tall bitch — compared to my 4ft8 frame anyway). The sad thing about Kandi is that because of her height and her incredibly masculine jawline and upturned nose, she isn’t really what Kris Jenner calls, ‘camera-friendly-enough’ for the public family (We all saw what happened to poor Rob when he started looking a little too homely for her liking). Kandi has since been forced to live in an undignified exile – and really isn’t allowed to address the family in public, or at all. — I feel like a lot of people would believe this.

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2. The Hangover Part 4: Girls Went Wild

This is just one of those lies in passing. I’d say it so breezily that no one would even think to question it. In this lie I tell people that there’s some new buzz around a ‘girls’ version — its said to be starring the fab Mindy Kaling, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rebel Wilson — and this one is a bit surprising, but Helen Mirren. It’s my guess that she is going to be the voice of reason. Of course this lie sounded like so much fun and then I saw that my ‘lie’ almost turned in to reality with the new version of Ghost Busters.

3. I Had An Imaginary Pet 

It’s name was Nancy — Nancy lived until I was about 8. Nancy was a dog that wore a cat suit to trick everyone — so we just referred to her as a cat just to keep up her disguise. FYI – Nancy’s catsuit zipper was located between her teets.

4. That I have a scar on my stomach caused by running with scissors

FYI. I do have a scar in that spot. It was not from running with scissors — it was from boring ass liver bypass surgery. In this lie, I’d be like the joker when he tells people what happened to his mouth — it would be ever-changing. And because the scar is located in an undercover area of my body, no one would really ever question this.

5. When I stayed in L.A I met Brandy Norwood at the Coffee Bean 

She was short a quarter for her obnoxious coffee (soy decaf half-strength mocha with two shots of hazelnut and a sprinkle of cinnamon grande) — so I stepped up to the plate and fixed her tab. And yanno, we gets to talking and next thing, she invites me to a party that night. I went, of course — it was there that I bumped shoulders with heaps of celebrities including Kandi Kardashian (Brandy’s brother Ray J and Kim K were dating at the time, this was just before the whole sex tape thing) and Luke Wilson (Owen Wilson’s brother).

This is a lie I’d tell with great gusto and what makes it more believable is that I haven’t used big celebrity names — in fact, I’d have to sing a couple of bars of ‘I Wanna Be Down’, or if you are a bit younger than me, ‘The Boy Is Mine’ in order for you to know who Brandy is and why she could be halfway relevant. I feel like this is the lie that could take me places … not far, just like, help gather a tiny bit of street cred.

6. That I asked Richard Wilkins for directions

Oops. Not a lie; but I’d still like to tell you about it anyway. I didn’t realise/care who he was and I had no idea where I was, so I asked him. He was dressed in a suit so I assumed he was an official. Note: He didn’t care for being asked for directions.

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7. I Solved A Crime

Once I was in a lingere shop and I watched a lady of a mature age (she was around 65 yrs old, I’d say) shop for some things when she went to the section of the store sells silicon / plastic breast inserts to enhance cleavage. I saw her grab three pairs and discreetly shove them in to her cat-embroidered tote bag. I debated whether or not to say anything, and given that I am totally against stealing, I let the clerk know — of course after the lady left (but I noted her description and the fact that her name was sewn clearly at the hem of the bag). The clerk grinned happily at me and told me that she was so happy because there had been a spike in cleavage enhancer robberies over the past few weeks and that woman just happened to be a regular! I was given a store discount on my grandma underwear as a thank you.

— what are the stupid lies that you’ve often thought about telling others?

Syrian Refugees; my feelings, my thoughts

Regardless of how loved I am, regardless of how supportive people are during this time, it’s still an incredibly lonely time.

You know, the fishbowl.

So, I’ve kind of kept to myself and read book after book after book, probably an effort to escape from stressful times. I came across a book on Good Reads that had some great reviews. I decided to give it a go because of it’s subject matter. The book is called Girl At War (you can read my flimsy review of it right here if you like) and it is about a 9 year old girl who suddenly becomes parentless in a split second by simply being brought up in the wrong place at the wrong time; War-torn Croatia in the early 90s.

I should know a little more about this war given that I have a Yugoslavian background, but all that I remember is that in primary school we had a few refugee children in my class. I was too young to understand why they were with us for a short time or what they had come from. All I knew is that they were “weird” because they didn’t speak much English.

This book was a really emotional read for me; probably because a; I’m going through a lot personally at the moment and b; because I have read some of the most ridiculous things shared by people on facebook regarding the current Syrian Refugee crisis.

I usually keep my mouth shut on matters about this, but since this is my blog, my opinion etc, etc, I decided to share my thoughts.

I don’t have a problem with the intake of Syrian refugees.

We were all lucky enough to be born in what has so-far proven to be a safe, first-world country. We have clean water, we have fresh air, we have the free education, the right to a fairly good sense of freedom. We have a police, judicial and government that remains one of the most uncorrupt of all the nations (and before anyone jumps up and down at this; until you have lived under a totalitarian regime, I hardly believe anyone has the right to complain and if you don’t know what that means you should look it up, a lot of nations still live under such conditions). We did not get here by choice, it was pure, genetic luck.

There is no such thing that separates you or me from a person seeking refuge from the nation that they once (and probably still do) considered as their own human version of a “forever home”.

Syrian Refugees are not going to put a strain our resources. The people who claim it is going to have a strain on our resources have probably been jobless for a long time (I’m talking about people my own age). I have seen some frightening posts on Facebook regarding refugees by giant bogans who don’t even have jobs to begin with (hence why they apparently have time to burn on FB being faceless bigots) who are already being a drain on “resources”. Regardless though, the Syrian refugees will barely make a dent on our resources.

Here are some things that I know (I know, I know, surprise, I know things.)

There is no such thing as “queue jumping” when it comes to refugees (or anyone for that matter). Every person is brought in to Australia on a case-by-case basis. Someone who has been waiting for asylum for 10 years might be overlooked by someone who joined the “queue” (submitted paperwork to seek refuge) two days ago – because their case is more dire than the other.

Over 50% of the Syrian refugees are children. That means many of those Syrian refugees are parentless.

It is not like none of these children have ever been to school. Some of these children were living in happy, safe environments not very long ago and due to unfortunate circumstances have had everything; safety, education, freedom, their homes, their belongings and their parents pulled right from under them.

The photos of so-called rich-refugees taking selfies with phones? So. fucking. what. Just because one is a refugee, does not mean that one has previously been poor. It means that something has happened and they’ve grabbed all that they can grab in a matter of minutes and have had to grab their surviving family members and flee their homes. It would seem that a reasonable thing to take with you would be a cellular phone whereby you can contact other loved ones to find out where they are and if they are safe, no? Taking selfies when you arrive on safe shores? TBH, I would probably do the same. “I survived” — in fact, the thought of being those people and the idea of looking back on to that moment in ten years time gives me goosebumps.

If you are the sort of person that fears Muslims and that is your sole reason for being worried about refugees, fear not; not all of these refugees are Muslim! And even if they were, they’re probably not terrorists. They don’t just get let in to the country without any consideration. A helicopter doesn’t just appear and beam them down on to the cold, red dirt and let them fend for themselves never to be seen again.

The Terror Fear: I would just like to point out, acts of violence under the notion of Islam as a religion have been committed by people who have been born in Australia. If terrorism is going to happen, it’s going to happen regardless of a bunch of refugees coming in to the country. The government will have more luck stamping out radicalisation by looking in to areas where youth and individuals are vulnerable. The media has overblown the threat to Australia, is giving ISIS way more credit than they deserve.

No but really, I can understand the terror fear. The media has made us believe that every Muslim we know is trying to harm us. I know and have known Muslims as good and close friends and to my knowledge, not any single one of them have ever tried to bring me harm (unless I’m like Inspector Gadget who manages to bumble my way through foiling their plots each time, hm). In fact, I’ve been fed some amazing food by my Muslim friends, but that harm went as far as the food being too spicy for my petite, western gut and having a sore tummy the next day. It also doesn’t help with the constant sharing of posts on Facebook which, I might like to point out that the ‘facts’ are way, way off. (Halal Certifcation funds Terrorism lol. It does not, AUSTRAC wouldn’t allow it. I use AUSTRAC for work and any kind of money made by businesses has to be funnelled through AUSTRAC who combat money-laundering and money that leaves the country. There is no way businesses who make money from Halal Certification could fund terrorism without AUSTRAC knowing. Funding terrorism has a lifetime jail sentence attached. I call total bullshit. Pauline Pantsdown needs to get lost).

So anyway, I want to just put it in a more simple, relatable way.

In the book, this girl was in one moment living out her happy, carefree existence. Tensions and war was brewing in Croatia at the time, but in Zagreb (Croatia), nothing had really reached her home despite the stories she heard from family and the friend’s families. There were air raids and bomb shelters but at 8 or 9 years old it seems more a flurry of excitement than actual fear of war. Then, after a drive to a neighbouring country, they are met with the ‘enemy’ who line up a bunch of Croatians (simply for being Croatian) and pop them off, one by one. This child in a flash instant sees the unthinkable, strangers being killed, the enemy laughing about it, dead bodies going cold on top of her and her parents bleeding out before her eyes.

Fictional story, but it is also real life for some people; for some children.

One day happy and carefree, the next day your country is being bombed; your town is being ripped apart and you are homeless, pet-less, parentless, clotheless, toyless and you have not a single thing to live for, but you’re still alive.

And to be met with what? People saying you’re not allowed to share their land because why? Because people are greedy and fearful because of the media hysteria.

I couldn’t fathom what that would be like to live through at my age; 32. What kind of trauma and torment would a child then have to bare witness to?

When I was 25 I saw a lung specialist for the first time. Out of the blue, he began to talk about whether or not I would need a heart/lung transplant in the future (and scared the absolute crap out of me). He told me that if it were necessary he would have some trouble taking it to “the board” because of my other existing health issues but he would be willing to push hard for me and make a good case. I remember thinking, WHAT THE HELL!? Why would my life not be as important? The answer was simple; someone who has a higher quality of life should be more deserving of a heart/lung than someone who might die earlier due to other complications. Though I logically understand, I find it baffling that someone has the power to decide whether one life is more important than another.

So, I might be a bleeding heart; but I associate every life having equal importance. If that person is a murderer or a rapist I’d obviously feel different, but we don’t condemn people for a crime that they haven’t yet (nor will ever) commit. And thus, every single refugee has the right to life with all of the freedoms we are afforded. We are not any more important and the attempts to cry for our nation’s self-preservation seems a bit bratty imo. The fact that those made it from their war-torn country is a testament to their own self-preservation prevailing our sometimes-selfish feelings.

So there they are; my feelings for whatever they’re worth. Also, have a read of that book, it was really good.

 

 

 

Controversial Thoughts That I Have – Volume 1.

Comedy.

I read a couple of tweets the other day where someone was berating a comedian at the Melbourne Comedy Festival for some unsavoury jokes that she believes were out of line. They were jokes about rape and animal cruelty and something that may have seemed derogatory toward homosexuals. That very night in an unrelated event, I watched Chelsea Handler’s “Uganda Be Kidding Me” stand-up on Netflix. Turns out, I am a very big fan of Chelsea Handler.

I also happen to be a really big fan of myself and Chelsea Handler sometimes reminds me of myself… so….

chelseaI am not going to lie, Chelsea Handler’s jokes can viewed as incredibly racist, ignorant, sexist, homophobic – and full of everything that you think a person could say that would be offensive.

I’m going to let you all in on a secret, I can also be terribly offensive. I’m lucky that not a single person has ever taken great offence to anything that I’ve said. My humour is dark, my self-expression is dry and I like to highlight stupidity in people by making fun of offensive stereotypes. If there was a single bone of hatred in my body, I think I’d keep that side of my humour to myself as if in shame and would learn to know my audience.

There were so many things in Chelsea Handler’s stand up that I knew I could take offence to, that the moral panic’s of the world might watch and gasp in horror, but then there’s someone like me who is not easy to offend, who I feel in most cases can remain impartial despite my own strong opinions (but if you want to turn me from normal and understanding to utter offended psycho in seconds, just tell me you don’t plan on getting your children vaccinated).

I feel like comedy is a way of being able to relieve our frustration over things that happen by turning it in to something that we can laugh at. It takes a very skilled comedian to be able to not offend in the process. I sometimes feel that its very easy to tell if someone is being hateful or if they are being a comedian; it is less about the joke and more about the intention.

I thought about the tweet that I’d read from the offended person who attended the comedy festival and I wondered how, if we all took offence to something, then where do we draw the line? How can we say one thing is valid to be pissed about, but something else that offends another person for another reason, isn’t?

Then when do comedians have to start getting concerned about their jokes for fear of ending up the subject of a viral (and equally hateful) campaign on a social media website? And usually the offended party has nothing to do with the community that it is offended for. I don’t particularly have a problem with any of the aforementioned jokes as long as they’re jokes and not personal anecdotes, but I also am neither homosexual, a rape victim or an animal, so it’s hard for me to know how I’d feel in those situations.

However, a quick survey with a couple of gay friends confirmed for me that about 75% of them don’t really give a shit nor take offence to allegedly homophobic jokes as they feel the same as me, they’re poking fun at the stereotype rather than the actual reality. One of my friends said they disliked it because it perpetuated the stereotype, but then if I’m going to be so honest, this comes from a pretty serious and unfunny person (just kidding, I love you, lol).

I don’t imagine as a rape victim that a person would find a rape joke amusing, that’s one thing that I feel like could be or should be off-limits. As I said, it doesn’t particularly bother me, but off-the-cuff comments regarding rape as a joke should probably be something you keep in your head or at least know your audience if you can’t help yourself (?!). However, I would hope any joke like that has ever been made is intended to belittle a rapist rather than the victim, even so, I don’t think its okay.

With regards to the animal cruelty joke, I don’t like hearing anything bad happening to animals, regardless of if its a dog, a cow, a friggin’ mouse — whatever, I don’t want to know about it, but I think PETA is a fucking joke, and so if they’re offended, I’ll make it my business not to be.

I feel like before the buzzword ‘viral’ became a household name like ‘selfie’, ‘kale’ and ‘clean eating’, the art of comedy wasn’t such a risky game. That could be a good or a bad thing — but I’m unsure and I’m curious as to how other people feel about it.

Where do you think someone should draw the line in comedy? What is okay and what is not okay? Do you think people are just being unnecessary wowsers for no reason? 

Do you feel like jokes regarding;

race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, sexual situations/circumstances/abuse, animal cruelty, etc are okay as long as they are delivered in the right way? If so, what would or wouldn’t be the right way?

Comment below and let me know, cos I am genuinely curious!