Hey Lolo! Tweet On! And I Will Go Do Laundry

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By Guest Blogger Beth Pepoy

When I think back to early TV commercials I often remember a certain advertisement that was both annoying and much to my surprise would supply me with a philosophy that I have been applying to look at situations many times in my life.

Lolo Jones Knows Americans Can Shoot!

CC Image courtesy of KDSanders at en.wikipedia

All-Tempa- Cheer, a detergent from the 70’s, aired a commercial with a mother visiting her son at his first apartment.  By the end of grainy 30 second spot I would hear this:  “Three temperatures, one detergent, its All-Tempa- Cheer Harold!” I can still hear the shrilling sound of Harold’s mother’s voice running through my head as I stroke each key for this article while suppressing a sudden urge to do laundry.

What I came to discover that if I applied this concept to situations that have (and will) come up from time to time it would equate to something more like this:  One situation, three different reactions, that’s life. Not every event demands this type of pondering, but when applied properly it can and will help to determine where I am and how I feel about a situation.  Example: If I fall flat on my face; my mother might panic, I will feel like an idiot and my best friend will be laughing her butt off.  Get the picture? Since I use this regularly, being a mother, and managing people, it has helped me to put many situations into perspective. I refer to this as The Detergent Theory. 

According to Chris Chase at Yahoo Sports; Lolo Jones is another athlete who shouldn’t use Twitter.  Reading many of the comments on this article it would appear that most who did comment are on Lolo’s side.  While Chris Chase is a strong and entertaining blogger his position was far off the mark.  In his version of the Lolo Jones’ tweet he successfully hurdled pass the true intentions of what Miss Jones was trying to convey.  He did however, collect over 10,000 comments.  In his achievement of garnering vast amounts of attention to his post. In which he drastically includes his own unsuppressed spin that leans more towards the politicization of recent tragic events in America than the actual tweet. He then awarded his readers the conclusion that Miss Jones was indeed the insensitive one. That said let’s look at the replay…..

Here’s the tweet:

Lolo Jones Olympic Tweet

When's da Gun shooting competition?

Now read the article: http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/olympics-fourth-place-medal/lolo-jones-thinks-americans-well-da-gun-shooting-181436042–oly.html

After reading the article and seeing the tweet, it simply appeared a Team USA member was cheering on her fellow countrymen. There is only so much that can be said in 140 characters as Twitter allows, yet it merely sounded as if she was saying ‘Guys we may not have been Gold Medalist today, It’s okay—we’re Americans known to be cowboys, so hey when’s the shooting competition?’ Common knowledge is that Miss Jones is a staunch competitor.  She tweeted in a voice that demonstrates her usual bring it on attitude and excitement for competition.

Did she really deserve to be told she is insensitive and to keep her enthusiasm to herself?  Or was she just being a sports minded fan that really enjoys these precision types of competitions?  In truth Miss Jones an Alumni of LSU here in Baton Rouge, has spent time going on hunting expeditions that would amplify her interest in the these events.

And what about the next day when American Kimberly Rhode won the Skeet Shooting competition not by just the slightest of margins but by hitting 99 out 100 clay pigeons, setting an Olympic record?

A day before Ms. Rhode’s  competition, a quote found in a prediction article called Tenth of All Medals Will Be Gone by Monday— written for the Wall Street Journal by Matthew Futterman (for the full article click here) allows us to briefly see why there was more than average interest in shooting events:

“And Kimberly Rhode just might win the women’s skeet shooting event.

As Rhode’s shooting teammate Corey Cogdell has pointed out, ‘Americans live in one of the few industrialized countries where guns are legal. They should medal in shooting, where the recipe for success also includes intense discipline and practice’.”

Then there are the two (Greek Triple Jumper Paraskevi Papachristou, and Swiss Soccer Player Michel Morganella) Olympians, who were removed from competition play for having used Twitter for making egregiously racist comments.  Miss Jones’ tweet was not racist nor aimed at another country’s team.  She simply asked a question with hopes of gold medals being awarded to her Team USA members (at the time of this writing Chris Chase had yet blogged on these events).

Americans have had a cowboy persona for years.  We revel in it and never more so than around Olympic time.  It can be said it is partially due to the fact that in 1932 the Olympic Games were held in Los Angeles, only a stone’s throw away from Hollywood the home of the Westerns.  Furthermore, with limited resources to protect the first ever Olympic Village comprised of 550 portable cottages. A large fence was constructed to keep on-lookers out and for little pay those patrolling the perimeter were Cowboys with full attire of lassos, chaps, ten gallon hats, revolvers and rifles, hence ever cementing the image of Americans to the rest of the world.

Mr. Chase’s conclusion was that Miss Jones should have never made a comment at all and implying that she was less intelligent in her vigor for a sport that American should be strong at; in other words athletes should be seen and not heard.  The absurd part is that it’s okay for Mr. Chase to opine on her tweet in a similar public forum, but can deny Miss Jones, her right to tweet and apologize as she sees fit.  Maybe Mr. Chase should brush up on his 1st & 2nd Amendments.

However, this can also be chalked up to the Detergent Theory; One situation; a simple tweet.  Three reactions; 1) Mr. Chase’s blog calling on her to not use Twitter and that she is insensitive. 2) Her response defining what she meant. 3) The opinion, (myself included) as to how it was seen by others.

However, the court of public opinion has define it, the tweet has been deleted and I am stuck with Harold’s mother’s nasally voice rattling around in my head, squawking like a lost bird “Three reactions, one situation, that’s life Harold!” Yet, one question remains– how many times does one of those three reactions have to be about suppressing the right to speak freely because of a media spin?  It has gone beyond tiresome and contrite, hasn’t it?

My advice to Lolo; Be the Olympic Motto:  Swifter, Higher, Stronger, and Tweet on! If you need me, I’ll be in the laundry room with Harold’s Mom, I suddenly feel inspired.

Update:  Kim Rhode is the first 5-time Gold Medalist in this event.  Vincent Hancock, also of Team USA, received his second Gold Medal hitting 148 out 150 also an Olympic record, thus becoming the first man to win back to back Gold Medals in this event.

About the author: Beth Pepoy has written several published articles for Yahoo Voices and for Yahoo News. She has been featured on the website PolitiJim’s Rants for Reasonable People, and has been published on several on line newspapers including Redeye Daily.  This is Beth’s second guest blog on Media Absurdity.

She currently blogs on her own site: http://runinmystocking.wordpress.com

Beth resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Follow Beth on twitter: http://twitter.com/bpepoy or @bpepoy

Indiana High School Student Expelled Over Profane Tweet

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Austin CarrollEver wonder what schools can and can’t do to a student after school hours? Well, if you attend Indiana’s Garrett High School, they can expel you. According to a recent story, Garrett High senior Austin Carroll was recently expelled from school after he posted a rather profane tweet on his personal Twitter account.

Did the tweet target the school? No. Another student or teacher at the school? No. Was it threatening? No. Was it violent? Nope. Was it possibly stupid and unnecessary? Probably, but that still doesn’t justify the punishment. Austin’s exact tweet was as follows: “F*** is one of those F****** words you can F****** put anywhere in a F****** sentence and it still F******* makes sense.” If you can’t fill in the blanks then stop reading this immediately.

What we have here is a high school senior attempting to be funny on a site where, I’m assuming, many of his peers would be able to see the message. For this message and this message alone, Austin was removed from Garrett High School a mere three months before his senior graduation.

Many of you are probably trying to justify this in your heads. The only thing you can probably think of is whether or not Austin sent this tweet during school hours or from a school computer. And the answer to that is also no. According to Austin, he sent the tweet from his personal computer at around 2:30 in the morning.

Austin stated in an interview, “If my account is on my own personal account, I don’t think the school or anybody should be looking at it. Because it’s my own personal stuff and it’s none of their business.” But how did the school find out about the tweet? Is Austin followed by his teachers or did a brown-nosing student report him?

According to the school’s principal, regardless of whether the tweet was sent from home or, indeed, whether a school computer was used, the school may track students’ tweets. Austin may have simply logged onto the school’s internet connection the next day, hopped on Twitter and had all of his tweets tracked by the school’s system.

Regardless, there seems to be more than enough evidence that proves Austin sent the tweet in the early hours of the morning, even though the school is reportedly maintaining that the tweet was sent with its IP address. It honestly doesn’t matter where the tweet was sent from. Does something like this justify complete expulsion from school? I say nay, nay.

Garrett High School is no longer commenting on the incident per advice from its attorney, and students have gotten behind Austin. Some students even threatened to protest, so much so that the police were called to address the potential issue. What say you? Does Austin deserved to be expelled for his, albeit, dumb tweet?

Source: Yahoo! – High school expels student for tweeting f-word

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Media Political Correctness

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With the events unfolding after the Fort Hood shooting last week, many of the people I know have commented on the issue of “political correctness”. Reality is, we’re all politically correct most of the time, although we call it “social decency” or whatever euphemism you choose to use. We refrain from using vulgar language in front of our grandparents, children, bosses, etc. I know, its NOT really the same thing, but it kind of is, we avoid certain actions to prevent being offensive to someone else, which is totally okay for most of us. And in the wake of America electing the first African-American president (although, since we’re calling a spade a spade today, he’s half black and half white), race and religion have been hot button issues in this country. But there’s a fine line between not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings and reporting the news, unfortunately the American media takes it too far and will avoid offending anyone, at any cost.

The events of November 5th, 2009 were horrific, the nation was once again glued to the T.V., watching CNN, FOXNEWS or MSNBC to see what what happening. By the time the news broke, the situation was over and the speculation began. I was on twitter when the news of the shooters name was released, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, and instantly the tweets/conversations turned to anger. I saw tweets about how we need to ban all Muslim soldiers from the military since they can no longer be trusted, and others about how we should refrain from snap judgments solely based on the name of the (at the time) alleged shooter. Fine, we can all respect everyone’s point of views and opinions. But the weirdest thing was that almost no one used the word, “terrorist” or “terrorism” UNTIL the name of the shooter was made public.

Then we had the fall out from the news networks, reports that Shepard Smith (FOX) refused to say the name until it has been independently confirmed. Then there were some on the right and the left calling it a terrorist act, others simply said he snapped and went crazy. What I find to be utterly ridiculous is that if it had been a white male shooting an abortion clinic doctor…oh wait, yeah, back in June, when Dr. George Tiller was killed by a, oh what did Olbermann call him?? Oh yeah, A DOMESTIC TERRORIST. (courtesy of: Tim Graham, News Busters)

“Domestic terrorism: Dr. George Tiller — women’s health physician, performer of legal abortions — is assassinated in his church. And in the very same sentence, anti-choice zealots wash their hands of his murder and say he had it coming.

A religious jihad by fundamentalist crusaders who believe that murder is justified, their acts of violence having the intended effect of changing behavior. Our fifth story on the Countdown: Not the Taliban, not Hamas, not al Qaeda. If the brutal murder of Dr. George Tiller — the Wichita OB/GYN who, among many other things, provided abortions — does not qualify as an act domestic terrorism, what does? -Keith Olbermann”

THAT WAS THE SAME DAY OF THE SHOOTING IN KANSAS. But hey, lets contrast that with what he said the day of the Fort Hood shooting,

OLBERMANN: And there — is there an expectation that at some point, his goals and his personal goals got merged with some anti-American point of view? Is this going to wind up being classified as a terrorist act? What do you think about that aspect that so many people want to know about?

Um…really?? Its ok to call a crazy white man a domestic terrorist, but to call a man who yelled “ALLAH AKBAR!” before killing 13 of his fellow soldiers a TERRORIST is a concern? WOW.

Then we got this wonderful article by TIME, excusing the TERRORIST’S actions by saying that his mental breakdown was caused by ‘secondary trauma’. The article basically states that because he was a mental health professional who helped soldiers coming back from war (note: Maj Hasan had never seen combat) that he suffered from PTSD due to hearing about all the horrible things the soldiers had gone through. Yeah, that explains the fact that he was posting all kinds of crazy pants pro-homicide bomber crap on the internet, trying to contact Al Qaida, and why the FBI has a FILE on this guy. Good job TIME Magazine!

Why are so many people in the media afraid of hurting anyone’s feelings? The REAL peace loving Muslims won’t be offended (they really do exist, I know quite a few). Who will? The random fringe lefty groups that also hate it when you call women “chicks”, that’s it. Maybe the real problem is that all of the “news” outlets are doing so poorly that they can’t afford to offend anyone.

I don’t get why we as Americans STILL have to dance around race and religion, who the hell cares! If one black man kills another human being, do we label all black men as killers? Um, no. If a crazy white guy kills an abortion doctor, do we call ALL white people DOMESTIC TERRORISTS? (well…maybe the DHS does…but that’s another topic) No, we don’t. Same goes with Christians, Jews, and Muslims and any other religion. We understand that there are some bad people in this world and there are some really great people. If people would get their panties out of that tight bunch, we actually might be able to report the news accurately, if we could understand a few simple rules of humanity, and get rid of all the damn euphemisms, we could probably progress as a nation, you know, to actually get to that “Post-Racial America” that everyone keeps talking about but does nothing to achieve.