I’m not a “nice” person. I was never really a “nice girl” and I sure as hell am not “nice” now.

I’m not. We all know this.

I try to be a kind person. I try to do the right thing. I think I am fairly generous, and that I do work towards being a better human being, but I’m aware that it’s a process and an ongoing one at that, because being a good human is hard. The entirety of western culture militates against me being “good”.

But I’ve never been “nice” and I’ve never wanted to be described that way.

“Nice” is bland. “Nice” is conformability. “Nice” is not rocking the boat.

“Nice” is the lowest bar of human behavior.

“Nice” is a cover for going-along-to-get-along. “Nice” is camouflage for people who don’t want to put any effort into other people’s problems and pain.

“Nice” is sending “thoughts and prayers” instead of action.

“Nice” is the coward’s social refuge, because its purpose is to keep the nice person out of the crosshairs.

Good people fight for others. They put themselves in at least a marginal path of danger. They are willing to risk something for others, in the service of all humankind and all the other “kinds” there are.

Good people change their minds when gifted with additional information. Good people confront the darkness, in themselves as well as the world, and act to effect change in both.

“Nice” people? You are the dark underside of why we cannot have the world we need.


nice people


All Publicity is Good Publicity?


When commercials like these come out, no matter how hard the company gets slammed, they mostly keep the commercial on for the length of the planned campaign. They rarely knuckle under to angry responses immediately.

They obviously know from the start that they’re going to get some push-back, and they seem okay with that.

How interesting it is, don’t you think, that when a company runs an egregiously outright racist/sexist commercial, or is caught perpetrating outmoded and offensive stereotypes, they act all surprised and “innocent”, and claim it was a “mistake” in judgement?

And yet, those ads, too, generally run for at least part of the planned campaign. They don’t disappear immediately.

I think that in both cases, the companies know exactly what they are doing, and have no illusions about the reactions they will get. It seems very unlikely that they wouldn’t: they all hire professional advertising agencies with decades of experience, and they do masses of market research before they ever book the airtime.

I think in the first instance, the company believes strongly enough in at least this much: that the bulk of their market will respond positively over the long haul to anti-racist/pro-equality messages and will associate the brand with their own core values.

It’s entirely possible that some of these ads are even less cynical than that, and that the people running these companies do, in fact, care about these issues, and are willing to publicly support them for purely ideological reasons.

It’s okay if it’s both.

The point is: they are doing it on purpose.

Which means, logically, that the companies who spend their advertising dollars on racist, anti-equality messaging also do it on purpose.



Additional Note: This, too, is part of the issue (pay attention to the presentation of both the fact and the wording of the “apology”… “some” call it offensive? That, in itself, tells you a lot right there.):

#NotAll fill-in-the-blank

Or: Whose ox is being gored here, anyway?


Have you ever had a FaceBook friend or Twitter follower who seemed to share your values, speak your “language”, and agree on the nefariousness and malice aforethought of some particular subsets of humanity…?

You think they’re cool. You think they’re on the same wavelength. You think they “get” you…

Right up until the moment you make a passing, mildly amusing generalization about some other subset – moms, or men, or deciduous trees – and all of a sudden, they are mortally offended and taking it all personally and serious, as if you had called out their mom, their husband, or the maple tree in their front yard: explicitly and by name.

It happens to me about once a month. I’ve tried to sum up a general economic problem like the foreclosure debacle of 2008, calling attention to the ways in which many people contributed to the bubble that inevitably burst by acquiring property with the full intention of doing cosmetic renos and then flipping that property just to make a few bucks…

And wham! Someone I respect and love goes ballistic about how *they* went under and were bankrupted and lost their home because of trusting the real estate agents and the banks and how dare I imply that their misfortune was in any way their fault?!?

I lost longtime and valued friends because I once used the @yesallwomen hash-tag to discuss the many, many ways in which women in western European cultures are dishonoured and robbed of their essential agency as human beings, every day, in small but significant ways that open the door wide open to the more egregious and frequently violent actions that destroy them.

A wardrobe-mistress of a ballet company, someone I had been close friends with for nearly two decades, unfriended me almost immediately,  because apparently, according to her parting DM, she had never once been disrespected by anyone identifying as male in her entire life, and that was proof positive that I was a hatemongering feminazi.

Because #notallmen, right?

The woman who loved my memes and snarky comments about “husbands” went ballistic on me when I made a similarly generalized comment about stereotypical toddler behaviors and the over-the-stratosphere reactions that their mothers frequently resort to.

“Not my child” and “How can I possibly understand how hard it is to raise a child in this world?” was the least of it.

It’s totally human and it’s everywhere, all the time, and I’m willing to bet that even a lot of people who pride themselves on being uniformly positive, empathetic, and kind 100% of the time have still, occasionally, met this reaction to what they thought, sincerely, was a mild and affirmative post or tweet.


As writers, we’re taught to use our knowledge, understanding, and experience of the world and its inhabitants to bring realism and believability to our work.

But if we had a character that did this in a novel, the editors and the readers would flag it IN NEON LETTERS A MILE HIGH as completely inconsistent, unbelievable, and wrong.

Go figure.


And then there were none…

free beach

‘On Friday, a woman at my office who I greatly respect came up to me and said, “I think what you are doing is courageous. Many people your age sit in jobs like yours and stay there for years, even when they are visibly miserable. There is a world of opportunity out there and what you’re doing is brilliant.” ‘


a) You won’t starve on the streets

b) Your kids won’t starve on the streets

c) That job you quit paid well enough that you saved some money

d) Your parents will pick up your slack.

I find articles like these problematic because they imply that people who are not able (for a variety of reasons including the ones I suggested) to simply quit their jobs are whiners, are cowards, or are in some other way culpable and to be looked down on.

The real guilty party is not merely the people who can do this (by exploiting those not in this enviable position of being able to pick and choose when/where/what they work at) but the system that literally depends on keeping a very sizable majority in place to be exploited.

And IF everyone did this, there would not be a single barista to get you your latte in the morning, or prep your salad at lunch. Your pristine office would be covered in dust and awash from the overflowing waste bin, the fluorescent lights would all be burnt out and unreplaced, and there would be no pick-up of your recyclables.

Who would mind your toddler at daycare?

Who would sweep the streets every day? Who would restock retail outlet shelves…or run the cash register when you wanted to buy something? Would anyone work the graveyard shift at 7-11? Who would clean the Slushie machine?

These are not jobs that people take for the existential fulfillment of life. These are not “careers”. These are the jobs that people take because they need to eat, to pay rent, to keep themselves and their families alive at the barest level of existence.

But all those people out there advising us to “Follow Our Bliss” depend on those jobs being filled – and indeed, bitch mightily to all and sundry when those jobs aren’t done efficiently and to their lofty expectations, and with a goddam smile on the flunky’s face, to boot.

Entitlement…it’s not just for millenials anymore.