I live a simple life. It is what I would call a good life. I’m not extremely wealthy; nor do I live in a mansion, but I live in a beautiful part of the world, with the woman whom I love, Lee Hiller-London.
I have a few digital design, computer, and marketing skills, which makes it easy for me to choose a place I want to live. Thanks to the Internet combined with those basic skills, I can fairly easily make a living from my living room as can Lee after developing her photos from her hike. She knows the importance of me hiking several times a week with her as I bring along with my one of my professors told me to call “my genius pad”. Nature has a way of bringing out the genius in the most mundane of all of us. I remember telling him, “But I’m not a genius. What is the use of carrying the pad? “He responded, “You will be when you jot down the fleeting idea on paper that 99.9% continue to let fleet until they forget it by the time they got home.
This theory has proven itself over and over again; no I don’t consider myself a genius by any means but I clearly see why the brightest of the bright keep a pen and pad always within reach wherever they are.
This week was a very bad week. No, it wasn’t because I forgot my “genius pad” or couldn’t think up anything funny that would make it as a cartoon, it was people. Personality conflict.
I will start with facebook “friend #1. Let’s just call him FBF#1 for now. I rarely talk to him, but I always got along with him growing up. He seemed friendly and occasionally visited one of my more popular facebook groups about growing up southern. I occasionally like to kid around; just to see if people are awake and paying attention. I found an old movie marquee with Dorothy, Toto and one of the flying monkey-monsters and said, “You guys want believe this but I just discovered a new film on Netflix called “Wizard Of Oz”. It has cool special effects, flying monkeys, a wizard who speaks from behind a curtain, a tornado scene and all kinds of cool stuff. I think it’s going to be a hit. Most of my friends had this or that funny sarcastic thing to say except for one.
FBF#1 was someone I’d known in real life, but not that well…fortunately. He added, “Oh, and look at the monkey. It looks just like Obama and I didn’t know he was acting too”.
I didn’t take the post down immediately nor did I take his racial slur down. He is allegedly a respected man around my hometown, and I wanted people to see who he really was.
A few days later he sent me a private message telling me I was so wrong that…ready…..”Some of his best friends are black” (I kid you not); do people still fall for that old faux line? Worse yet, do people still use it? I guess so. But it gets better. When the event happened, his icon photo was that of a bright red Indianapolis 500 racecar. When he wrote me the private message to basically “go straight to hell” (not his exact working but I got the picture”, he had taken off the Indie 500 racecar and found a picture of himself in an office with a black man’s arm around him. Big buds. So, within 48 hours, he was able to find that photo to prove his point (thinking I didn’t remember what he had up) and change it to prove me a liar.
Sadly, he is not savvy in the least about facebook and bullying. He is more so now. I not only took a screenshot of what he actually said, and what I actually said, and kept one copy and sent one copy to facebook security. They are now monitoring his every move. Last I saw he started a group exactly like mine (so he is as original as he is IQ-challenged). I hope he gets 5 times the membership I have. Then he’ll get to have to play arbitrator and see what it’s like when a conflict occurs. And there will be many in his group. He offers no rules or terms of service. If he goes with what his philosophy is, racism is okay, as long as it is comparing a U.S. President he doesn’t like to a monkey. He’s in for the time of his life.
He told me in his private facebook mail to me that I called him a racist, bigot etc. Problem is I have the actual screenshot which is considered CYBER-DNA proof; and he is lying; so he’s probably lying to others as well. Good thing he is nobody of any significance. I get the feeling the people who run in his circle would be better off thinking I’m a liar and no good SOB. All is better that way. They stay out of my way and I stay out of theirs. But if it ever came to a head. Facebook security thanked me the screenshot; and if he ever causes trouble with it, he’s up against them, not me. Good luck big bad guy.
More irony is, I couldn’t care less if he doesn’t like Obama. He can even say so I a tactful way but not attack the candidate as that is not allowed in our group. The same is true of Romney. No personal attacks against people period, politicians or not. It has worked very well for me. With over 900 members, we’ve only had to ask 7 to leave in a year’s time.
So I finally caught my breath and that was over. We live in volatile sensitive times and I realize some people are ill (compulsion is an illness) and they cannot help themselves when posting such filth. I compare it to pornography and in many ways it is. The reaction of the creator of it is meant to do the same thing. And I don’t allow pornographers in my tweet stream.
As if that incident was not enough to raise my blood pressure (remember we are trying to keep it down); after 2 major heart attacks and my only arteries working on stents, that kind of behavior especially cannot be tolerated. In fact, my cardiologist says block it immediately. Do not get caught up in others neurosis, sociopathic, or psychotic behavior.
Then two days later I was blind-sided by another one. This time it was a librarian friend from many years ago; about 20 years to be precise. I welcomed her to facebook when I saw she’d just shown up and invited her to my Southern Group. I then left and went about my business of designing or promoting as I often do.
I usually check in every hour or so but something told me to do so earlier. People were posting their favorite childhood shows as we often do, but there was one problem. This university educated librarian who has worked with children for years, listed her very favorite as “Amos And Andy”. Though I understood the post, I did not understand the “no follow up. Let me explain.
Most of u were about three years old when that show was produced, and most of us found it funny. Of course we did not have a clue what “black face” meant; and that the show was specifically created to use white men and woman to depict African-American men and women to make them seem to have a lower IQ.
So she could have easily said, (and felt like I did); when I was 3 I loved Amos And Andy, but of course I was too young and immature to understand that the producers were utilizing the media to further their agenda of insidious (close to Machiavellian racism), and if I had known better at the time, chances are very slim I would have watched it. I can surely understand why it was taken off the air and removed from syndication and most if not all the law suits against it were lost (by the producers of the show).
The librarian didn’t understand I was trying to help her I did not say a word in public. I took it private; to her facebook message box. So she would know I had no intention of embarrassing her but I had to let her know the rules (TOS) which she’d not read. Of course she really wouldn’t have had to read the rules to know if that was right or wrong. She’d been to college and worked with kids for several decades.
Her answer was, “Then Rick, you might as well fight to keep people from talking about the Bill Cosby Show, Fat Albert, Sanford & Son. She really didn’t get it. She thought I was giving her a hard time and that my beef was with childhood favorites that had black characters.
My problem was with white racists who produced the shows in a manner that made them funny, hard to hate (the characters were likeable); I l enjoyed the whole cast of Amos And Andy, but I was 3 years old for goodness sake. I am 57 now and the librarian is nearly that age. Does she think the same now as she did when she was 3? I so, of course therapy is in order and soon.
I am not the man I was even ten years ago, and hope I never go back to who he was; he had a few good qualities but he did not live up to the ideals I had set for myself. And I sure as hell hope that ten years from now, I am still the man I am today. If I haven’t changed, someone just take me and stick needles in my eyes. I like a lot of my qualities. But I am not even close to the type of man I hope I am becoming.
But I must have learned and made some positive changes since I was three. For instance, I know without a doubt, that Amos And Andy (and any black face show) was created for a dual purpose. One was to entertain (and it often did that quite well) and the other was to subtly keep us in a vicious cycle of hating a race of good people, without even knowing why; to think we were better than them, again, for not even knowing why.
My hopes were to give the librarian another chance. I knew her to be a better person than what she was presenting herself to be. I’ve worked in major network TV. I know exactly how those slants and spins are done with “agenda shows” and though black face is no longer used, socio-political issues that were barely mentioned a decade ago; are so today. And sometimes that is a good thing. If it gets a message across such as explaining the U.S. Constitution in easy terms, I’m all for it. Some have a very hard time with it and get it mixed up with their early Sunday School teachings.
Sometimes the two parallel, and sometimes they are diametrically opposed. Our personal religions and faiths are for us, not for the world. And the USA is loaded with persons of all kinds of faiths (and many with no faiths at all). Everyone in this great country deserves equal rights, no matter what they believe, or not (believe). That is the main item on the “menu” of the U.S. Constitution that makes it so much different than the Constitutions of so many other countries. There are websites now in which you can read the Constitutions of the world; in fact; type in “Constitutions of the world” into Google and it may surprise you to see how very much all our Constitutions are; except for a few little subtleties which make America great. That one about equal rights for all is one of “the biggies” and unless it flies; we might as well be living in Syria or the former Iraq or Libya. I wish I were kidding, but any scholarly sociologist or other expert can easily back me up on it.
Rick London is an author, songwriter, designer and cartoonist. He founded Londons Times Cartoons in 1997 in an abandoned tin Ms. warehouse. It has been Google’s #1 offbeat Cartoon since 2005 and Bing’s #1 since 2008. They both also have his funny gifts ranked at #1. He is married to his love and best friend, nature photographer Lee Hiller London. who runs the very popular blog HikeOurPlanet.com. Both enjoy hiking and photographic their beloved Ouachita Mountains at Hot Springs National Park.