Lately these memories have kept coming up – memories of times I was treated unfairly, bullied, ridiculed, misjudged, betrayed by people I trusted and loved (the kinds of things probably most people have experienced at some point) – and it was painful for me. But I knew there was some lesson I was supposed to get from these memories – something I still needed to learn from the past – so, this time, I didn’t just try to dance around them – I let the memories do what they needed to do for me. And then today this thought came to me: “What is it you think you’re lacking here? Do you not think you have enough love? Do you feel like you’ve been denied something you should have had, but didn’t?” And that caught me up short and I found myself shaking my head at my ricidulousness and laughing out loud. And I realized there was NEVER a moment when I lacked love – or when I lacked ANYthing real and good in my life! My life has overflowed with love! I am, and always have been, wealthy beyond fathoming with love! I’ve never been on the outside of Love and NOTHING has or ever could separate me from Love, God.
My dear Humoristian hooligans – When Humoristianity was established in 2007, I founded our one true fallacious faith on these tenets: 1) You must be able to laugh at yourself. 2) You must be able to recognize how ludicrous your beliefs might appear to others. 3) You must want nothing but good for everyone, everywhere in the universe. 4) You must have a natural aversion to meetings, committees, and scheduled events (as we will be having none of those). 5) You must enjoy the humor of… (I’m not going to even bother to name names here – what was true in 2007 isn’t necessarily true in 2021 – but I believe Monty Python might ALWAYS be included on the list.)
The last several years have been testing times for our faith. There have been times when I’ve found it very hard to laugh. There have been times when the ludicrous has seemed more sinister than laughable. There have been times when it felt it would have been inappropriate to ask people to laugh at their beliefs. Life took a very dark turn at some point, and what might have seemed laughable in 2007 didn’t seem so funny ten years later.
But this much HASN’T changed: The world still needs you. The world still needs your caring, kindness, and courage. The world still needs your irrepressible joy and irresistible good will to humankind. May the bullies, bigots, and busybodies be transformed by your good-humored, unruffled peace. May the stodgy, stuffy, and stingy be transformed by your generous hearts. May those inclined to shame, blame, and divide, see a better way in the way you live your lives.
You have the power to do incredible good. You are making the world a better place. Go out there and work your magic! Karen
So here’s what I just chose to waste precious life-minutes doing: I looked up the most popular names for 1980 so’s I could make a meme for people with those names. My intent was to shame them and blame them for all the crap our poor world is dealing with right now. I thought I’d do my little part in making the world a better place by finding us all a Generation X scapegoat this time. (I figured it was GenX’s turn now.)
Here’s what I found: The most popular names for boys born in 1980 were Michael, Christopher, and Matthew. The most popular names for girls born in that year were Jessica, Jennifer, and Amanda.
And, when I saw those names come up, all my nefarious plans for name-shaming just melted away. I thought of all my students over the years with those names and I smiled at the happy memories. I thought of how my young friend, Amanda, stood next to me at the local BLM rally and chanted, “Black lives matter!” with me. I thought of my former student, Michael, who’s all grown-up now and lives across the road and volunteers his time and energy in keeping our neighborhood spruced up by planting trees along the street and giving us gravel to smooth out our driveways. I thought of my journalist friend, Matthew, who wrote such a nice story about my dad. I thought of my former student, Jessica, who always greets me with a cheery smile when we run into each other at the supermarket. And I thought of my friend, Jennifer, who I’d met while she was walking her sweet dog, Maya – a dog she’d rescued from euthanasia at a shelter.
And I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do the name-shaming game – even if it meant diverting attention from people named “Karen.”
Dear Balogna and Dicker, I wish you would stop – I wish you would stop perpetuating the “Karen” meme and the name-shaming. “Huffington Post” is supposed to be one of the “good guys” of the magazine world – a bastion of progressivism, fairness, justice, equity. You guys are supposed to stand up to the bullies – not be bullies yourselves. Yet, just when I think the meme has died out and I’m seeing headlines that refer to “racist woman” or “Tennessee woman” or “maskless woman” instead of “Karen” – “Huffington Post” will publish a story about “Karenting” or “anti-mask Karen.” And…I just don’t get it…what’s the point? How is that helping anyone or anything? I don’t see the Karen meme helping the LGBTQ, Asian, or Black communities. I don’t see it saving our environment or ending wars or helping our veterans, or lowering health care costs. I don’t see it helping women find equity, or see it promoting compassion for the elderly or mentally ill or vulnerable. I don’t see the Karen meme adding anything good to the world at all. It’s as helpful as talking about a “maskless Balogna” or an “anti-vax Dicker.”
In the last week I’ve had to notarize papers, and co-sign other papers, and call the IRS to verify the identity of my deceased 101 year-old father and talk to a bank manager about an ATM machine with a glitch – and, believe me, none of this was stuff I WANTED to do. In my personal experience, I’ve found myself talking to managers because I’ve had life-responsibilities that gave me no choice but to talk to managers. I’d rather have gone on some nice walks.
You’d think a writer named “Ron Dicker” would be one of the last ones to use the “Karen” meme in his story.
Until now you’ve been one of my go-to places to get information – progressive, smart, witty and wise. But that just changed, for me. It turns out your writers, too, are bigoted, unkind, bullying, and mean-spirited. As if the inhabitants of our world don’t already have enough crap to deal with right now – dying friends, dying family, dying planet – let’s perpetuate that whole “Karen” thing, right?
Note: The maskless woman was named “Terry” – not “Karen.”
Words, people. Words matter. I expected more from your writers than old labels, unoriginal thought, stereotypes, sexism, ageism, and bigotry. What good were you adding to the world by using the Karen meme? How is that going to make our world a better place?
Bullying is not cool. Being a bully does not make you a winner, and it does not make you right. Insulting others, pushing others around, trying to stop others from expressing their opinions and beliefs, ganging up on others, harassing others, and using your power as a mob, or as an individual, to intimidate others is not okay. Bigotry is not okay. Brazen disregard for the rights, safety, and well-being of others is not okay.
Alrighty. Carry on then…
“It requires courage to utter truth; for the higher Truth lifts her voice, the louder will error scream, until its inarticulate sound is forever silenced in oblivion.”
– Mary Baker Eddy