Not for nothing do I choose to be an anonymous blogger. When you start ranting about “praying”, you better watch your back…and the “you” I’m talking about here is “me”.
So, kind of like my antipathy for “sweet girl”, which was the catalyst for my post regarding that phrase (making the point that there’s nothing wrong with either being “sweet” or being a “girl”, but there’s a lot wrong with using the phrase “sweet girl” ad nauseum), there’s absolutely nothing WRONG with praying and everything RIGHT with praying, if you are a believer, which I am.
Here’s the problem as I see it, and it usually encompasses all the areas in the post title: poetry, praying, and posturing.
Someone has a real problem in their life, states the problem, and then requests prayers on Facebook (this could spin off into a whole nother rant-post for Mrs. Hate). Or maybe they do a “vague-post” and just say “requesting prayers”…which is certainly problematic for a reader like me (the somewhat suspiciously cynical, yet kindhearted, sort), because then I’m wondering “are they such a dimwit that they’ve dreamed up a horrible problem like “I just don’t know what flowers to plant in the side yard…maybe I better request prayers on Facebook”, or is it a “real” problem??”. Hmmmm…nevertheless, the person is requesting prayers.
Sometimes the poster (for clarity here, the one requesting the prayers) waxes poetic in their request for prayers, but here’s how it usually goes…those who comment on the post now have a wide-open field to either say “praying!!”, “praying now!!”, “prayers going up!!”…which always reminds me of a bunch of jack-in-the-boxes popping up…or they spin like whirling dervishes and go forward into a most poetic rendition of grandiloquent and bombastic sentences. I’m not EVEN going to string together a bunch of what I would consider “grandiloquent and bombastic sentences” because, in all seriousness, I would get dangerously close to taking the Lord’s name and the concept of prayer in almost a vain way, and that is NOT good.
And what if you know the person, they have a real problem, everybody is posting “praying!!” and you DON’T post along with the herd, even if it’s all very legitimate and very sad?? And you are praying great drops of blood and sweat for them anyway, but just don’t care to hop on the Facebook prayer train?? THEN (the dangers of small-town life) “people” might “think” you, the non-poster, are so cold and uncaring. AARGHHHH. BLAHHHH.
When I ask myself what IS it about requesting prayers, using Facebook as the vehicle, that bothers me, I guess it comes down to this…I don’t believe in drawing attention to myself, I don’t believe in putting all (shoot, ANY) of my stuff out there on Facebook, whether good or bad, and I don’t believe in trying to be posturing-poetic.
Then my spiritual mind started rambling, and a BIble verse came to mind: Matthew 6:6.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
I’m no BIblical scholar, and I know it’s easy to take a verse and twist it to suit your own needs, but to me, this verse stresses “don’t pray in a show-offy way”.
I did a little Internet searching on this verse and found comments containing these phrases:
- prayer in public that is motivated by a desire to show off
- prayer promoted by the spirit of ostentation
- a flowery, public prayer might be based in a desire for people to speak well of you and how kind you are instead of letting God reward you
Law, law…and I’m not talking about policemen here. I’m talking “lawzy me” over the disintegration of knowing how to act.
Sadly, Facebook and its narcissistic, stupefying influence has taken over many people’s lives, and sometimes I feel like I’m a voice crying in the wilderness, but, as always, my philosophy is to stay private, avoid fluff, and be your own person. Maybe I’ve missed something, but I’m getting too wore-out with how to write this post without coming off like a complete unfeeling, hardass atheist to think further.
To soothe my brain, I will re-read “Valhalla for the Inarticulate”, a column by Taki Theodoracopulos. Quotes from the column and links below; Taki T. states much more beautifully and incisively than I ever could my feelings about Facebook and modern culture.
“And don’t get me started on Facebook, whose concept has been explained to me by my son and daughter.”
“The urge to blab and spill one’s innermost secrets to strangers is more than weird; it’s sickening. It springs from a navel-gazing culture of narcissism that would have made even poor Narcissus blush.”
“The slovenly emotionalism of Oprah has replaced privacy, good taste, reticence, and other such restraints people of my generation grew up with.”
“I’m the strongest woman I know!!”
“No, I’M the strongest woman I know!!”
“The hell you say…y’all are weaklings…I’M the strongest woman I know because I just had a root canal…or changed a dirty diaper…or worked on Valentine’s Day in a flower shop…or chaperoned a class of first-graders on a field trip!!”
Get the ridiculousness of where this phrase could go???
So what’s up here??
This is what’s up with all this “strongest woman” stuff…you can’t read hardly one Facebook post without reading this phrase in the comments, or maybe in the post itself…”she’s the strongest woman I know”.
Oh, really?? REALLY????
I personally think I’m a strong enough person and have had some trying times that have strengthened my character, but I could throw a rock and hit any number of people that I know and say they are all strong. Is there a PARTICULAR “strongest woman I know”???
I definitively say NO, and for these reasons:
- You devalue all others and their strengths in the face of their trials by elevating one person to the status of “strongest woman I know”.
- And why is there never a reference to “the strongest MAN I know”??? Shouldn’t men be given the respect that they, too, might have awfully hard times that they persevere through??
- And not to mention this phrase is so overworked, so trite, so sappy, that it just shuts me down ASAP and puts me in a very Mrs. Hate mood over the inanity of many people’s communication skills and thought processes.
Did people go around saying “she’s the strongest woman I know” a hundred years ago, even fifty years ago??
I doubt it. The most one might have said would be “now that’s a strong woman” when she carried on after her husband was, say, electrocuted while working on the farm and she was left with five or six children and how was she going to feed and clothe them (this would be at a time when most women did not work “outside the home” and before the days of massive government assistance).
But flowering it up and gussying it up and hyperbole-ing it up with “the phrase I’m sick of hearing” would just not happen, in my opinion.
You took what life threw at you…it might not be fun, it might not seem fair, it might not be pretty, but you didn’t expect to be lauded and praised and made much of.
You got through your trials, or maybe your trials were never exactly over, but continued on, and you gritted your teeth and endured. You didn’t expect praise; all you might want is a little empathy now and then, or a home-cooked meal or an offer to do a chore, but that would be about it.
To repeat a statement from Part 1 in this rant series (see last Friday’s post): Our brains are in danger of turning into mush. Looks like it to me, anyway, from reading Facebook and blogs.
Coming up next Friday: Part 3, featuring “sweet girl”.
Now, how could Mrs. Hate find fault with calling a girl sweet????
Something very subliminal and insidious is happening.
And, instead of ranting and raving about a half-dozen or so examples of these “happenings”, I think I’ll just spread them out over several posts, thus “Part 1”.
Let’s start with “DH”.
- designated hitter?
- darling honey?
- dreadful harridan?
- delicious hunk?
- dumbass human?
Of course, being Mrs. Hate, my personal favorite is “dumbass human”. It cuts to the chase in a way nothing else can do.
But that’s not what’s happening here. What’s HAPPENING here is that you can skim through almost any blog, Facebook page, Twitter, or some such and see DH DH DH DH.
It took me a little while to figure out what DH meant. Then one day, the earth shook, the sky parted, and Eureka! it was as plain as the nose on your face!! DEAR HUSBAND!!!
Obviously, I’m all for anonymity, and I can understand why, if you’re writing about your family, you might not want to refer to them by their given names. Shoot, I may have five husbands and twenty children, but you’re never going to know it from anything I write, much less know their names.
But, “DH”??? That sounds like you’re addressing a letter…sort of. And you’re not calling your husband “Bob” or “Joe” or whatever, so…my goodness!! we must be in Victorian times when ladies were very circumspect in their forms of address, even with the person they cohabited with (with whom they cohabited?? whatever).
Once again, and I’ll beat this subject to death until the last word I write, “DH” over and over and over everybody saying it so quaintly and titteringly (word invention) is UNIMAGINATIVE, meaning TRITE!!!
And, ALSO once again, where are the men writing blogs and such?? Are they referring to their wives as “DW”??
- damn witch?
- disgusting woman?
- dazzling wench?
- demanding whiner?
- delightful wild thing (a little extra here)?
I’m just not sure if I’ve ever read a blog written by a male referring to his sig/other as “DW”. Again, as I’ve stated in a previous post, I’m not getting into a gender-based discussion here…and I wouldn’t want to be a man for anything in the world…but ladies—HAVE SOME UNIQUENESS OR ORIGINALITY ABOUT YOU!!!
So what’s insidious about all this?? I would repeat the title here and say “I just can’t quite put my finger on it”, but actually, my finger points to and lands on a dumbing-down of thought, a lack of curiosity or energy, a fear of thinking for oneself.
Our brains are in danger of turning into mush. Looks like it to me, anyway, from reading Facebook and blogs.
Coming up next Friday: Part 2, featuring “She’s the strongest woman I know.”
Mrs. Hate can’t wait!!
Mrs. Hate doesn’t know quite where to start with this subject that is so near and dear to her heart, so let’s all just take a deep breath and dive in:
There is no shame in having an accent; be authentic, talk like where you’re from, keep your regional identity, and don’t be ashamed of it.
If you’ve moved around a lot during your formative years and you’re not really from anywhere and your accent is a mishmash, keep the mishmash, but at least have a modulated voice.
Either be self-confident or imagine you’re self-confident, please, and just talk with the same inflection and such you’ve had since being able to form sentences into paragraphs and converse.
Just freaking talk with the voice God gave you.
Talk like a person instead of a hog raised on concrete.
Mrs. Hate feels like she’s getting her sea legs now, so let’s walk and stomp all over the dangerous, insidious, duplicitous, cunning MONSTROSITY that is vocal fry.
Mrs. Hate has an authentic, pure, soft, NOT syrupy Southern accent. Her voice might be a little low, maybe even the slightest bit nasally, but she has been told all along by the opposite sex that her voice is lovely. This is not any kind of posturing or vanity on Mrs. Hate’s part, it’s just a statement, and she guesses that a man is more comfortable saying things like that to a woman than a woman would be saying that to a woman—at least in this small town. Who knows? Mrs. Hate is not going down that path today; that’s a gender-based subject for another post.
While Mrs. Hate cannot imagine talking any other way than Southern, at the same time she enjoys—she LOVES—hearing other accents. She has no shame stating in a genuinely interested (and there’s a big difference between being interested and being nosy) way to someone she comes in contact with while out and about “you don’t sound like you’re from around here…where are you from?”. It’s just part of realizing that there is a world beyond this rural Southern town and a way to imagine a different way of talking, being, indeed living life.
So, authentic regional accents are totally fine, even if they are not Southern, and even if they might sound a little harsh or brisk to Mrs. Hate’s ears. They’re authentic, and that’s what counts in Mrs. Hate’s book.
How about inflection? Do random inflections and syllable stressors get a “pass” from Mrs. Hate? Probably. Different people may emphasize certain syllables in certain words differently, and their voice may rise or fall in a certain pattern, but it least it’s all (relatively) pure and/or recognizable.
A glaring exception to this point would be what is popularly known as “Valley Girl” speech pattern. Let’s be a little more precise here and quote from Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_rising_terminal):
The high rising terminal (HRT), also known as uptalk, upspeak, rising inflection, or high rising intonation (HRI), is a feature of some accents of English where statements have a rising intonation pattern in the final syllable or syllables of the utterance.
Hmmm…Valley Girl?? Possibly a precursor to vocal fry?? Hmmm…
And what if you moved around so much during your childhood—growing up in a military family seems to be the example used most often—and had just all sorts of accents around you and you developed your own “mishmash” accent? Fine enough—impressible years here.
But what we’ve arrived at here is THE CREEPING DANGER that is VOCAL FRY.
Why does Mrs. Hate have such hateful feelings about this?
Because it just sounds so, so, stupid. Why growl at the end of a sentence? Does the speaker (usually a female) think it makes her sound more in CHARGE, more SELF-ASSURED, more “ALL THAT”, maybe even more “SEXY”??
Well, let Mrs. Hate tell you something. It doesn’t. What you sound like is you don’t have wits enough to just talk with the voice God gave you and from the area you grew up in. It sounds like you don’t have a high enough level of independent thinking to NOT follow the legion of young women who, God only knows how, somehow DEVELOPED or HEARD this VOCAL FRY and decided it was…in charge, self-assured, “all that”, and “sexy”.
Furthermore, no matter how smart you are, you sound intellectually deficient. When Mrs. Hate sits at the computer type type typing away and hears the television going on in the background with a supposedly highly intelligent female interviewer/political type/entrepreneur/whatever spouting VOCAL FRY all over the listener—well, it just boggles her mind. She usually gets up and walks over and stands in front of the TV and starts waving her arms around and sputtering. Then, she becomes speechless with the gruesomeness of it all and just scurries back to the safety of the computer (where she usually searches for YouTube videos pertaining to vocal fry so that she can get upset all over again, validation-wise).
If Mrs. Hate were in a position of hiring and firing (which she most assuredly is not, as she just does her own thing in her own house and in her own life, just as happy as a dead pig in the sunshine), she has a strong feeling that a job applicant growling and creaking and yapping with vocal fry all over the place—NO MATTER HOW SMART SHE WAS—would be told whatever employers tell people that they don’t want to hire. Mrs. Hate does not know how one “gets around” not hiring somebody you don’t care for (laws and such), but that’s just not her problem here. Her problem is that she fears vocal fry is an indicator of a rising tide of stupidity and shallowness in the way people think, act, and even talk, leading to an increasing lack of authenticity in the very core of our being.
Perhaps it seems strange to get so worked up over phonation, in this case what is correctly termed “the vocal fry register” (vocal fry). It’s not cancer, it’s not abuse, it’s not war, it’s just…as unnatural as hogs raised on concrete. It’s just not right. And don’t say it’s an accent. It’s not. It’s an acquired speech pattern.
And where on earth did this phrase come from—“as unnatural as hogs raised on concrete?”
Well, Mrs. Hate’s father raised hogs for some years, and those hogs were kept in a dirt pen so they could root around and wallow and do what hogs do best…just be hoggish. How unnatural would it be to raise hogs on concrete? Very.
And that’s what vocal fry is like. Unnatural.
Grow up, ladies. Be yourself, whatever kind of accent you have. Just be authentic.