Racism, And The Internet Veil Of Anonymity

Cheerios has a funny and touching ad on YouTube, shown above.  A cute little girl asks her mother if Cheerios is good for your heart, Mom reads the box and says yes, and next we see Dad waking up on the couch to discover to his surprise that there is a pile of Cheerios spilling off his chest.

Hard to believe that such an ad would provoke an outpouring of bigotry — but it did, because the Mom is white, the Dad is African-American, and the little girl is biracial.  The ad has provoked so many racist comments, in fact, that General Mills has shut down the comments function on the YouTube web address for the video in order to avoid collecting more hateful invective.

It’s very sad to get such direct confirmation that there are still so many racists in the world, but it should come as no surprise to anyone who does much browsing on the internet.  On many news websites, the comments sections are full of odious, bigoted statements from people who are hiding behind a pseudonym and therefore feel free to bare the dark, twisted kinks of their souls.  Whether it is racism, anti-Semitism, gay-bashing, anti-Catholicism, the repugnant Islamic jihadist lectures that apparently radicalized Tamerlan Tsarnaev, or some other benighted views of latter-day Know-Nothings, the internet is home to some awful, despicable sentiments.  My theory is that the form of anonymity that is available on the internet acts like the hoods worn by the KKK, and allows the racists to indulge their passions without being outed as stupid bigots.

I don’t want the government deciding what should and shouldn’t be said.  I’m a big believer in free speech, but sometimes free speech is ugly, offensive, idiotic speech.  Those of us who use the internet shouldn’t tolerate racist and bigoted comments and should call it out whenever we see it.

Unlucky Penny

Generally speaking, Penny is a well-behaved dog.  But sometimes, the ancient appetites are just too strong, and the animal urges will overpower even the most careful training.

Consider when you discover the enticing aroma of Cheerios in the kitchen, and see a cereal box invitingly perched near the edge of the counter.  How could any dog resist?  And once your head enters the box, and you taste the delectable, heart-healthy, crunchy oat goodness, of course you are going to thrust your head in ever deeper, so that each little O finds its way to your ravenous stomach.

And when you are done — not sated, perhaps, but done, because there is nothing left in the box — all there is to do is wait in cellophane silence for discovery, reprimand, and freedom, all the while savoring your succulent snack.

Lipstick On The Cup

It’s very early on a work day morning.  As part of my routine, I make some coffee.  I pull down one of our coffee cups from the cupboard, and there it is — that telltale half moon of red lipstick, left there when Kish used the cup.

Don’t get the wrong idea.  It’s not as if we don’t wash our coffee cups.  It’s just that our dishwasher doesn’t remove lipstick from cups.  I’m sure we’re not alone on this.  In our household, the only way to get the lipstick off the cup is to take one of our scouring pads and apply some elbow grease to scrub the cup clean.  As I was thinking when I was doing precisely that the other day:  why do you think they call it lipstick?

Lipstick is just one of those everyday consumer products that has unexpected properties.  Lipstick and a white coffee cup would come in handy if you wanted to leave an indelible message for future generations.  Lipstick apparently has the same mysterious bonding properties with dishes that also is found with cereal and milk.  Have you ever noticed that if you eat a bowl of cereal and leave it in the sink without immediate rinsing, the milk dries and the cereal becomes cemented to the bowl with epoxy-like strength?  You basically have to use a spoon and chisel the shriveled, dessicated Honey Nut Cheerios off the side of the bowl.  And nothing can leave a longer-lasting stain on shirts, human flesh, or gum tissue than the garish yellow dust of a few Cheetos.  These products, which are routinely consumed by modern Americans, have an odd permanence about them.

It gives you an entirely new appreciation for the apparent capabilities of the human digestive tract, doesn’t it?