Me First

I find it ridiculous the number of people that have entitlement as a middle name. The feeling of importance is prevalent in today’s intsatwitter society. It has nothing to do with gender or race, rather it seems an American thing.

Somebody told you that you were the center of the universe and your poop is lemon scented. This is the attitude I see where ever I look. The 1 train at 59th street was well populated when I got on. I spent the weekend house/dog sitting and had a small piece of luggage. There was a couple of seats open, but between large people. I would have to sit on the edge and not be able to sit back and relax. I didn’t mind standing because I sat around watching NBA games and Tuna Wars all day.

Halfway down the car was a seat holding a lady’s purse. The lady next to her was busy with her face in her phone and couldn’t feel the people standing all around her. I very much wanted a true New Yorker to make her move it, but the car was full of tourists. It never occurred to this selfish harlot to simply place the purse in her lap so somebody could sit. Or worse, she used the purse on purpose to discourage anybody from sitting next to her. I gave thought to yell, “Excuse me, can you move your purse so somebody who paid just as much as you did to ride―unless you bought your purse a metro card―can sit down?” Instead, I set my eyes on stank in case she looked at me.

She’s lucky she didn’t because when you are on the business end of my particular stank eye you will know you did something wrong and feel bad about it.

William Stephenson

Won’t You Help

The public service announcements looking for dollars to help third world kids are really going in…hard.

One I’m seeing a lot of these days show a little boy scooping up multi-colored water into a bucket with many things floating in it. He’s learned how to dip from the section with the least chunks. The narrator intones soberly with shame, “If you saw your kids playing around this kind of filthy dirty water, you’d tell them to get the hell out of there. But poor Alphonso has no choice. He has to bring this water back to his family because it’s the only water available.” Now comes the great pitch; for only 9 cents a month Alphonso can have clean water. Every time I see this on TV I wonder how deep is that Poland Spring? We seem to be pulling a helluva lot of water from that one spot alone.

Another PSA tugs even harder on the heart strings. It’s the one for abused animals that shows dogs, cats and horses looking horrible and then imagine what they would say if they could talk.

“Why won’t they feed me?” asks an emaciated horse. The poor old chimp in this spot seems to be saying, “I’m just waiting for you to turn off the video camera so I can eat your face.” They show us a montage of terrified animals, looking as pitiful as possible. At the end of these spots, we are offered a shirt, jacket, blanket, coffee mug or some other trinket to let everyone know we care.

How about skipping the gifts and use the money to fix up these abused animals? Now we return to our regularly scheduled program. We watch as a judge on a cooking competition show examines a forkful of salmon, then proclaims it’s perfectly cooked. I’m thinking Alphonso is not quite so persnickety.

William Stephenson

Is Myers Briggs just more Mumbo Jumbo?

For those who are unfamiliar, the Myers & Briggs personality test is a psychologically based quiz. Mother/daughter duo, Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, extrapolated typology findings from the late Carl Jung’s research to help humans categorize themselves by personality type.

The Gist of it…

Carl Jung theorized that there are four principal psychological functions by which most experience the world around them: sensation, intuition, feeling, and thinking. One of the four functions is also believed to be dominant most of the time.That being said, people take the quiz and are given a 4 letter combination that offers an intricate explanation of their personality, as well as those around them. There are 16 types (some much more common than others) and these types are to be considered tools by which to bring about patience and overall understanding.

Is It Real?!

Who’s to say? Personally, after finding out that my own personality type was INFJ (the same as people such as Carl Jung and even reportedly, Hitler) many things about the world began to make more sense to me. That is to say, introverts are amongst the most misunderstood people on the planet simply because we have the tendency to think things rather than say them aloud. Furthermore, these types are based on more tangible things, unlike astrology (though I take interest in both) which is based solely on your date and time of birth. It seems that this quiz and line of questioning truly does get to the bottom of what makes us tick. The quiz explains personality types so that we can easily understand ourselves, as well as why and how we relate to others.

The Bottom line…

Don’t knock it until you try it (but keep in mind that nothing is 100% in this world and some will fall on the cusp of a couple and thusly may receive conflicting results. Personally, I get INFJ or INFP depending on which test I take). In fact, try it in couples and/or groups in order to gauge overall accuracy! You may find that you totally disagree with the findings. On the other hand, you may also find out that this is a missing link that will help bridge the gap between you and others who may happen to see and do things differently than you do. Either way, you won’t know until you take the test. Do it now!

Venus L

Deadliest Catch: on Why Catfishing is a Dangerous Game

Have you ever been catfished?! That is to say, have you ever been in an online relationship with someone, only to find out later that they are not all they pretended to be? Don’t be too sure, before you answer that question, do keep in mind that you may be in regular communication with one of these types on a daily basis.

Gone Fishin’

It’s no secret, this highly technological and social network infused society that we live in, has changed the face of dating forever. Indeed, approximately 1/3 of couples are now meeting online. That being said, there is clearly a large margin for error. Of the many people who meet and become happy couples, a slew of them meet and disappointingly cut ties while others still, never meet at all. Do you ever wonder why something seems so off about a person or situation but you just can’t put your finger on it? Keep reading…

What’s The Catch?

Catfish are everywhere! Virtually anyone who you communicate with online or via telephone without ever meeting them in person, is at the least somewhat fishy. Some of these people are professional con artists who prey on socially awkward people with big hearts as a means of income. Others are typically too shy and insecure to approach you as his or herself. Either way, figuring out someone who you trust and show intimate details of your life may be lying about everything they tell you is unnerving.

Where’s the Danger??

In any catfish situation, there is always a recipe for disaster. You may become totally head over heels with a fictional character or vice versa. There is also the possibility of dealing with a hardened criminal. Someone who is capable of rape, robbery, murder, or even identity theft may be contacting you. You may be handing her or him the keys to ruin your life. It may be someone you already know who is fishing for dirt to try to expose you with, or you it may even be someone who was obsessed with you long before sending a friend request. You may have to deal with feelings of betrayal, abandonment, etc. You could lose money, pride, dignity… You may even lose friends or sever relationships based on this new, fraudulent connection.

On the flip side, if you are the catfish and believe what you’re doing to be harmless, think again! There is something very dysfunctional about a person who goes such great lengths to get someone’s attention. Especially when you go so far as to use a fraudulent persona to do so. If you feel like your actions are justified due to the fact that society may have shunned you for one reason or another, think again! We all experience our fair share of adversity (yes, some more than others) but the only way to fight back is to be yourself unapologetically. Other than that, you are only validating that you aren’t good enough, which will likely cause deeper self-loathing in the future.

The Bottom Line

If you’ve ever seen MTV’s show Catfish, you are well aware of the fact that the twists and turns when dealing with these types of situations are plentiful. If you suspect you’re dealing with a catfish, your best bet may be to cut your losses and move on…before you get caught up in their net!

Venus L

Is Reality TV Scripted?

No matter where in the world you reside, there is no denying the fact that reality television is all the rage. From lavish lifestyles to deadly drama and everything in between. The main reason reality shows are so popular is because they feed our cultural curiosity―spying on people during their private time. On the flip side, there is a growing number of skeptics. Many believe that every detail is scripted (yet, most still continue to watch) and that the only real thing on reality TV are the cameras. That being said: Is reality TV scripted? Well, here’s my take on it…

No, But…

So, the short answer is no. Most reality shows are not composed of professional actors reading scripts. In fact, that’s the attraction of reality TV as a producer: little to no time wasted on writing and memorizing lines. On the flip side, many moments in these shows are very much instigated if not downright orchestrated. Why is that? Well, it boils down to this: no one wants to watch real reality. While it’s true that people are interested in people’s private lives, most care nothing about the mundane, everyday moments that would be seen if the producers did not intervene. That is to say, the purpose of filming a reality TV show is to walk away with a hit show…a notion that cannot simply be left to chance.

How it Works…

Rather than literally writing a script, producers do things such as instigate issues via confessional questioning and commentary, and orchestrate the outcome by getting the involved parties in the same room within days of pointing out said discrepancies. That is to say, in order to ensure that there is a certain level of drama, the producers utilize a guided line of questioning that is usually geared towards getting them to confront an adverse person or situation. They will then see to it that the person is in the position to be able to confront said issue within days or even hours of said interview/conversation. So, while they are not exactly telling these people what to say, they are the equivalent of a trouble making buddy who manipulates you into fighting a battle solely for their own amusement.

What’s more, this is magnified by the fact that casts of these shows usually are people who were not very good friends to begin with. Rather, these are usually people who live and work in similar arenas, but many of them rarely have if ever, taken the time to hang out and get to know each other. Add to that the fact that they often choose over-the-top personalities which are prone to conflict with one another, and this is a no-brainer recipe for turmoil. Reality TV queen, VH1’s Mona Scott-Young has been notoriously accused of utilizing these methods as a mean of orchestrating her contrived storylines.

Furthermore, let’s not discount the fact that much of the storyline comes from the cast members themselves. Many don’t realize the power of having a television audience weigh in on personal, plaguing issues. Subjects such as commitment, loyalty, marriage, and even reproduction are commonly discussed openly by members of reality show casts as a means of harvesting societal pressure in order to produce a desired outcome. That is to say, one can ignore their wife or husband’s concerns, but it becomes much more tricky when strangers on the street are stopping and inquiring, “So, when are you guys gonna have that baby already?!”

The Bottom Line…

Yes, I may be splitting hairs here, but there’s a huge difference between being scripted and orchestrated. The value of reality TV lies in the raw emotions and reactions of the cast as that is often the one thing that can’t be controlled or faked. On some level, these shows are fictitious. However, from a sociological perspective, this is the closest we may ever get to ethically snooping in on people’s personal lives. Indeed, all too often, all it takes to get someone to act out of character, is to give them an audience.

Venus L

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