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.”
DISCLAIMER: MRS. HATE LOVES DOGS
I love to cuddle them and scratch their ears and all those affectionate things that come naturally if you love animals. I grieve when they get hit by a car and die or when they age and their bodies fail them, just as we humans age and die.
However, what I DON’T love and what bothers me is when people put grieving for a pet right up there with grieving for a human.
And again, this opinion is coming from an animal lover.
There are way too many scenarios to expound upon, but here’s a few, with a compassionate viewpoint filtered through the lens of perspective.
You’re old and housebound, your family has all died out, even your children have pre-deceased you, and all you have left to love is a cat or a dog. Is this a sad situation? Yes. When that pet dies, will it be sad for the owner? Yes…very.
You’re a child, and you love your pet. A snake bites your pet, or maybe a car runs over your pet, and pet dies. Is this a sad, traumatic time for the child? Yes. Will the child always remember this first pet death and the void that followed? Probably.
So what’s the problem here? Why the hate, Mrs. Hate??
Look at these situations:
You’ve just been told your child…let’s say he or she is around eight…has cancer, and the prognosis for healing is not good. This eight year-old is old enough to know that death means death and leaving loved ones and leaving playing with friends and leaving a future. You, the parent, get the agony of explaining sickness and death to your precious child. How would you feel if you overheard someone talking about how sad they were that their dog or cat had died?
You’re pregnant, getting close to delivery time, and you find out that your highly-anticipated child has died in utero. Do you want to hear about someone grieving over their dead pet?
Your only child has been born with multiple birth defects and his life will be spent twisted and contorted in a wheelchair, with catheters and such attached, and his measured intellect will remain at a two-year age level. Do you really want to hear about your neighbor’s ongoing sadness over her dog who just had its leg amputated?
You’re a loving family, and the full-of-life daughter and sister has been kidnapped, tortured, and killed. Her body is found desecrated and rotting in a garbage dumpster. Can you empathize with the person who’s talking about how much they miss their dog or cat who just died of old age?
People, put all this into perspective. Love your pet, be thankful for the joy and happiness it brings, but please don’t over-dramatize pet tragedies vs. human tragedies.
And, if you lack the insight to see the difference between grieving for a pet vs. grieving for a human and putting that grief IN PERSPECTIVE, at least don’t go on and on about your pet sadness in the presence of people who have human sadness going on in their lives.
I know if I had one of the human tragedies listed above, or anything of a comparable nature, it would be hard for me to keep a civil tongue in my head if I heard someone going on and on about their pet’s health problems.
Arise! O ye capturers with Nikons and Canons of life’s special moments …and stone and shun the infidel writing this rant.
A picture of Mrs. Hate at this “special life moment” (that would be writing this post) would capture her with an irritated, sour look on her face, because she’s thinking about the state of modern-day photography.
And what is that state, might you ask? Let’s crank it up.
How many pictures does one have to see of a model (usually female…in fact, HECK, I’ve never seen a male model pose this way) with her feet and her toes-ies pointed inward, all kind of knock-kneed? All it looks like to me is there better be a bathroom close at hand, or else that model is fixing to wet her pants.
I don’t get it!! What’s up with the pigeon-toed look? And, almost as bad as looking as if you have a bladder problem, is it supposed to look DEMURE??? What’s so special about a female looking demure??? Oh-my-gosh…I feel the irritation building.
Another “foot look” is the wham-mo picture of feet. The first “foot look” that came to mind is the shot where the camera is pointing down towards the feet/shoes (ADMISSION HERE: MRS. HATE IS PRETTY MUCH TECHNICALLY FEARFUL OF CAMERAS AND HOW TO WORK THEM…but she knows what kind of photographs she likes) and voila, a bee-you-ti-ful picture of feet in shoes. And..bonus!!…lots of times these shoes are peep-toe shoes, which gets into the whole “toe cleavage is so sexy” area. Blah. BUT WAIT!! there’s another type of foot photography…THE BAREFOOT foot photograph. Another oh-my-gosh. Mrs. Hate loves going barefoot, that’s not the problem, but WHY is it all of a sudden the trend to photograph people all dressed up (or shoot, just dressed in jeans/whatever) and their feet are naked?? Boring. Trite. Not original.
But wait again!! There’s more!! And this is where Mrs. Hate is thankful she’s anonymous, because the following photography “look” is all around her in her neck of the woods, and the local photographers might band together and put a bounty on her hateful little head…which would actually make a pretty good photo shoot—a covey of squawking photographers (again, probably female) twittering around in righteous indignation that a big bad meanie-head “attacked” them. HA!! But only if the photo shoot “captured” the covey positioned in front of an old rusted truck or some old rusted railroad tracks or an old weathered (with a rusted roof) barn.
And that’s what bothers me—and it ALWAYS boils down to originality with Mrs. Hate…always.
The first time someone took a picture of a happy couple or a beautifully dressed man or woman in front of an old rusted truck…fine…the photographer had a nice juxtaposition of rough and smooth, plain and fancy, however the artistic eye views it.
The second time?? Danger…ask yourself “might this become trite?”
After the ba-jillionth time, you don’t have to THINK about it becoming trite…it’s been trite six ways to Sunday and deserves to be given a merciful death.
Maybe the only way posing with an old rusted truck would be justifiable would be if that truck belonged to your family and had meaning for you. And it wouldn’t matter if the truck was five years old or fifty, so long as it was a REALLY important part of your memory life.
Railroad tracks?? Did you play on the tracks…did a family member work for the railroad…do you have a “thing” for creosote-treated railroad ties?? Again, I just don’t see the fascination with railroad tracks.
Maybe a photo shoot with the girl tied on the tracks as a damsel-in-distress, with the heroic man-boy saving her in the nick of time before the thundering train cuts her into bloody giblets, would be a little more creative. Photographers, if you use that idea, I’d appreciate a small commission 🙂 Just kidding, kids.
Old weathered barn?? Well, I admit, I have a fondness for the barns on the farm here, BUT ONLY because I GREW UP with them. I could almost throw a bone to those wanting their pictures taken in front of a barn, in that maybe they lived in an urban setting all their life and just wanted a taste of the rural life, but my feelings on that are still pretty much anti-barn pictures, unless a barn was your playhouse growing up.
So what would Mrs. Hate’s idea of a perfect picture be?
1. for individuals, a studio headshot, interestingly lit
2. for couples or groups, formal poses using chairs, divans, or the like…maybe some seasonally-appropriate props (Christmas tree, Easter baskets, dining table set for Thanksgiving dinner, such as that)
3. for that way-different look, get the book I Missed You by Francois-Marie Banier…ordinary everyday people living ordinary everyday life captured precisement
A studio headshot sure would be nice right now. It’s 5:30 in the morning, and this wore-out terrycloth bathrobe is comfy, but not how I envision myself. I am barefoot, however, and there are some old barns and a 1954 Ford truck all rusted out in the backyard…and have I mentioned I’m knock-kneed and pigeon-toed thanks to a full bladder??
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.
Mrs. Hate would say “this was the straw that broke the camel’s back”, but that camel’s back was broke a long time ago.
Furthermore, according to most any food-related article one has read over the past, say, ten years, a bar of chocolate or, heck, anything chocolate-related is just as sleazy and trashy as that carrot cake cookie.
What on earth is Mrs. Hate going on about here? Is this what she meant by saying “there will be diatribes”?
Well, yes. And it all started with her looking at a catalogue before tossing it in the trash. RIght there on page 17 was the decadent carrot cake cookie, tempting one to pay good money for its dissipated, deviant self.
The problem is that the word “decadent”, defined in Merriam-Webster as “having low morals”, is constantly being used to describe particular items of food, primarily those of a sweet nature. To be fair, way down at number three on the Merriam-Webster list of ranked meanings is the definition “characterized or appealing to self-indulgence”; Mrs. Hate guesses that, depending on your eating habits, eating a carrot cake cookie might be self-indulgent, but that’s going down another rabbit trail. Back to the number one definition of decadent.
Mrs. Hate feels that the word decadent is more so along the lines of Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart who said “I can’t define pornography, but I know it when I see it.” More importantly, if you grew up in a moral family, you knew that even a whiff of decadence was not something that would go over real well with the folks. But at least everyone was in unspoken agreement that decadency had to do with a HUMAN oh-my-gosh.
When, how, why—Mrs. Hate might start sputtering here—WHO on earth decided it was linguistically appropriate to start using the word DECADENT when describing poor old helpless cookies, candies, cakes, and other such sweets?
There’s probably no answer to this question; the word just started slowly infiltrating the culinary world, and now we toss the word around cavalierly and without thinking about the true meaning of the word. (Not to mention once everybody and their brother starts using a word overmuch, then it becomes laughably trite—one of Mrs. Hate’s major pet peeves.)
Why not refer to the carrot cake cookie as “debauched”, “depraved”, or “dissolute”? Those are all synonyms for “decadent”. Nope, “decadent” will refuse to give up the glory; she’s trashy like that.
Mrs. Hate can only hope that one day there will be a grand revolt against using this word to describe food, and said word will be used to describe those activities that are best left unsaid and in private.