It's been a long, tiring week, and today I can just feel my general annoyance with the world bubbling. It doesn't help that I feel like I'm surrounded by stupidity. Between the ridiculousness of this swine flu thing and the stupid bigotry of some people, I'm just exhausted.
Here are the things stuck in the proverbial craw today:
1. The Swine Flu: Is it just me or are we all overreacting a little here? What makes the whole thing even more annoying is that it becomes an opportunity for seemingly (or supposedly) educated people to become complete and total morons. Here at work, I have heard the most ridiculous stuff coming out of the mouths of COLLEGE EDUCATED people -- stuff like, "Oh, I wouldn't go to the Mexican restaurant for lunch today. You don't want to get swine flu" and "Well, you know, all these Mexican students are always going to Mexico for visits. I bet one of them brings it back." To once again quote my new favorite recurring character on SNL: "Bitch, please!"
2. Homophobia: Nowhere does the ignorance of others bother me more than right here. I overheard a teacher today in the lounge ranting and raving about "Every time you turn on the tv, you hear about Iowa allowing same sex marriage or Vermont. I'm so sick of it! It's so disgusting to see these people on tv getting married and kissing." Now, right here, I could really go on a profanity-laced rant, but I won't. (And oh, I really, really want to!) Instead, I will simply shake my head in profound disgust. Here's what I don't get about these people . . . why the f**k do you care? I get so annoyed with people who have certain rights and priveleges who then turn around and want to deny those same rights and priveleges to others. I also bristle at the argument that same sex marriage "destroys" marriage. How?? To me, it strengtens the sanctity of marriage because it allows more people to make that pledge to one another. Just because I drew the "lucky" sexual preference card, I have more rights than someone else? That doesn't make sense to me. Same sex marriage is not taking anything away from anyone; it's allowing for a subgroup of our population to enjoy the same privelege another subgroup enjoys -- to say to the world, "Hey, this is the person I love and want to spend the rest of my life with!" How can that be wrong? And if the sight of two men or two women showing that love is so "disgusting" to you, then don't freakin' look.
3. College Rivalries: Okay, a little background information here. I went to Knox College. I teach in Monmouth, home of Monmouth College. Knox and Monmouth are rivals. I guess that's a big deal. Personally, I've never really gotten all that into that whole thing. Don't get me wrong: I love Knox and value the time I spent there, but my love and devotion to my alma mater doesn't mean that I then turn around and "hate" other schools out of that love and devotion. I am part of a faculty that is full of Monmouth College graduates, and there are times when their anti-Knox rhetoric just, well, just gets me down. Last night we had our drama and speech banquet, and at the end, the seniors all stood and told what their future plans were. One of my students is going to Knox, and I commented how happy I was about that. (He's the first kid I've been able to successfully shepherd to Knox, and it's such a perfect fit! I hadn't lobbied him particularly hard and had been encouraging of him as he looked at other schools even though I knew Knox was the perfect school for him.) After a couple of other kids shared their plans, another student took the mic and said, "I'm going to Monmouth College because Knox sucks." WTF? Since I started teaching here, never have the words "Monmouth sucks" escaped my lips. It's just gauche! (And I should also point out that my student who is going to Knox did not apply to Monmouth, so it's not like I "stole" him.) I chalked that incident off to youth. Well, then today in the teachers' lounge, the Knox student's name came up and someone asked where he was going. Someone said, "Knox," and the other teacher's response was to roll her eyes and say, "Well, they can have him." (She has always kind of had a grudge against this kid, which is another long story) I mean, seriously? Is this rivalry that important? Sigh!
Okay, so I'm going to go try to spend some time outdoors and shake off all this ridiculousness. It's First Friday, which means free Packinghouse cinnamon rolls (for those who know Galesburg enough to know why that might be a lure to head downtown tonight).