Sunday, December 12, 2010

Daddy on the Edge of "Slacktivism"

Not plane, nor bird, nor even frog,
It's just little old me...UnderDog.

A few weeks ago, everyone on FaceBook was urged to change their profile pictures to cartoon characters. This was somehow going to fight child abuse.

Shortly after I gave in to peer pressure and changed my pic to Sweet Polly Purebread's main squeeze, a new FaceBook thang started circulating telling us that we had been duped, and that this seemingly innocent posting of animated childhood memories was instead a ploy of pedophiles so that children on FaceBook would accept their friend requests.

Turns out that neither story was
exactly true, which I had kind of assumed. I'm not going to get into that - you can read it yourself on if you want the whole history. What I found much more interesting was, in their discussing of this FaceBook hoopla, they brought up some bit of 21st century Newspeak that I was not privvy to -


They referred to slacktivism as "the idea that one can participate in effecting meaningful societal change by doing nothing."

Here's an expanded definition, also from;


We can't claim credit for having coined this term, nor do we know its actual origin, but we love it nonetheless. Slacktivism is the search for the ultimate feel-good that derives from having come to society's rescue without actually getting one's hands dirty, volunteering any of one's time, or opening one's wallet. It's slacktivism that prompts us to forward appeals for business cards on behalf of a dying child intent upon having his name recorded in the Guinness World Book of Records or exhortations to others to continue circulating a particular e-mail because some big company has supposedly promised that every forward will generate monies for the care of a languishing tot. Likewise, it's slacktivism that prompts us to want to join a boycott of designated gas companies or eschew buying gasoline on a particular day rather than reduce our personal consumption of fossil fuels by driving less and taking the bus more often. Slacktivism comes in many forms, but its defining characteristic is its central theme of doing good with little or no effort on the part of the person inspired to participate, through the mechanisms of forwarding, exhorting, collecting, or e-signing.

Why do we do it? 'Cause it feels good...and it's easy.'s masturbation. But in the end, like masturbation, it really only serves to make that one person feel good, and it certainly doesn't effect lasting societal change (well,
your masturbation might - far be it for me to assume to know the potential awesomeness of your personal orgasms, but I know mine aren't doing anything to benefit UNICEF.)

It's easy to click "Like" - too easy, so Daddy has decided not to do that anymore. I have a friend who goes to an animal shelter to play with the dogs - I think that's awesome. Sure, he had to leave FaceBook to do it, but he has fun, the dogs have fun and I would bet money that playing with lonely pups is more satisfying than
"clicking Like if you think Michael Vick's pitbulls should get a vacation in Cancun!"

Personally, Daddy buys hats. Not being a major sports fan, I don't feel the need to have any team logo splattered across my forehead. Instead, I look for causes I can get behind and I buy their hats. Anyone who's known me for the past few years will recognize this cap to the right. This is part of how I contribute to the Make It Right Foundation, which has been building new, energy efficient, flood resistant houses in New Orleans Lower Ninth Ward. Lucky for them, I beat the heck out of my hats, so I always need more.

Here's what my hats built;

This is just a small sampling of the homes that have been constructed. These homes weren't built with a click of the mouse; they were built with action; they were built with contribution - and, in my case, they were built...with a hat. If you'd like to help the good work of the Make It Right Foundation, please click on the link to the right. Check out their merchandise and maybe buy yourself something pretty. And hey, if you can't find anything you like for yourself, you could always get Daddy a present. Tis the season, after all. :)

I leave you with a final quote from Snopes. This is how the writer summed up the cartoon character story, and Daddy couldn't have said it better hisself.

"Real problems don't disappear as a consequence of acts of slacktivism; they're fought through the mechanism of donation of time and/or money. The character one needs display to the world is not that of a cartoon, but of a benefactor."

~Barbara "character reference" Mikkelson

Go buy me a hat,


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Daddy on the Edge Of Year Two

Welcome to the first day of Daddy on the Edge - Year Two!

(Huzzah, huzzah! General Merriment Ensues!)

Yes, today is the anniversary of this blog, and I've been taking the morning to reflect on year one of Daddy's run here in the blogosphorium. I can take solace in the fact that, unlike so many of our elected representatives, I kept my initial promises to the reader - here's what I wrote a year ago;

"What might you expect to find here? Yeah...I'm kinda wondering that myself. Random insights? Probably. Inspirational messages? Possibly - if we're lucky. An eclectic potpourri of whatever the hell happens to be on my mind at any given time of the day or night and then gets spewed across the screen before I can think about it enough to stop myself? Oh yeah...there's gonna be plenty of that."

I think I've done a damned good job in keeping to that. Lesson to politicians - Only make the promises you know you can keep. If it serves no other benefit than that you don't open your mouths as often, then it will still be a win.

So, what's in store for year two? More of the same, I would think. I can't seem to stop myself from blabbing my innermost thoughts into the digital ether, and enough of you seem to like it, so I'll just keep babbling, and hope that you'll politely tell me to shut the heck up when you've heard enough.

I'm also going to try to point out the success stories of people that are trying to make a real difference in this world. People that you may not have heard of, but who need to be known and spoken about hopefully on a par with the amount of times that Lindsay Lohan or Carrot Top or the name of any contestant on "Big Brother" comes up in the daily conversation. Here's the first guy- I have a hard time believing that this guy is real;

Here's another example of what can happen when you don't wait for congressional approval or a government mandate or any of that other..nonsense...

What one of the women in this video said grabbed me, and it will more than likely be the driving theme of Daddy on the Edge, Year 2 -

Who is the government to define progress for us when that progress does not reach everyone?

The government has shown us what it is largely about - tax cuts for the uber wealthy, tax giveaways for major corporations, rewards for shipping jobs overseas where labor is cheap - there's a lot of talk from the Hill about fighting for the American People. Well, it's pretty easy to see exactly which American People they're fighting for, and it ain't us. Waiting for a government that's "just not that into us" to change our world for the better cannot be the answer. Fighting over the talking points that right and left wing media insist we banter about is not the answer either - that is simply a diversion and makes us part of the problem. To be part of the solution, we need to follow the example of the people in these videos, and help ourselves... help those of us that need help the most. That is Daddy's Christmas wish; that each of us can do more to be part of the solution and less to be part of the problem.

That is Daddy's
Christmas wish. Since Daddy lives in an interfaith household, Daddy gets a Hanukkah wish as well, and that wish is this;

Have Fun With It.

It took me the better part of forty six years to realize this - Life on the planet works easier when you don't take it so seriously. Maybe you have to reach middle age to figure that out, because at this stage of the game, I have almost completely stopped caring about what other people think, and that has been a magnificently freeing experience. You feel lighter without others expectations of who you are weighing down on your psyche. "Yourself" is a fun person if you let them be "Yourself".

I will leave you with this final video. I have asked Christopher Walken to illustrate the concept of this last paragraph, and he has graciously agreed (okay, so that's BS, but it fits, so roll with it, k?). So, without further ado, I give you Christopher Walken;

Thanks for walking the Edge with me,


Monday, December 6, 2010

Daddy on the Edge of 2012

We know the theory - the Aztec calendar runs out when you get to the year 2012. Why? End of the World. Doomsday.

Scary shit, huh? The good news is, that's only one possible future. You and I, we're like Scrooge, staring at the visage of our own tombstone, begging, pleading - "Are these the shadows of things that must be, or are they the shadows of things that MIGHT be?" We know the answer - Scrooge changed his ways, his course, and his destiny. That future doomsday is real, and it is coming, but not in the way they portray it in Hollywood. The real end of the world looks a little something like this;

Don't think it could happen? Well, it can, and it will, unless we take drastic action. We need to stop this, and it starts now. Now, what I'm going to ask of you will sound strange, but I truly believe that this plan will work better than any other plan to defeat Palin in 2012. Ready? Here it is;

Buy stuff. Buy A Lot of Stuff.

"It's the Economy, Stupid". Remember that line? Clinton trashed Bush One with that line, and don't think that Palin won't run with it. We've waited long enough for the Dems in power to make things better (and they were so bad at running for office that they didn't even have the sense to brag over the things that they did do right) - we need to turn this economy around ourselves. And we need to do it now.

My wife is gonna be looking at this and wondering if she should call the guys in the white coats for me, because if Daddy, Frugality Miser extraordinaire is calling for a (gasp!) shopping spree, then surely Daddy must have completely lost his mind. Maybe I am a little off, but that's nothing compared to the full fledged maniac that Daddy would become under a Palin Administration. So please, for my sanity and the world's, buy things this Holiday season - as many domestically made, locally sold items as you can possibly afford to. Also, if it's not too much trouble, buying a house right now would really do a lot of good for the President's re-election campaign. If you can't buy a house, maybe you could help someone from having their home foreclosed upon. Could you buy a car? Daddy would, of course, love it if you bought a Prius, but seriously - any car would do! Can you give someone a job? Even part time? Please - whatever you can do to help make this economy better means the world...literally.

Much of America is on this Anyone But Obama kick. It's unfair, it's undeserved (because he's actually gotten a lot of really good work done), but it's there and you can't change some people's minds, no matter how persuasive your argument. The only thing that will bring people around is if things get better - on the basic level - if them and their's got a job, and a home, three squares and all the comforts.

We can do this. We need to do this because obviously, the folks with the real money just can't be bothered to help make things better. They're all about getting their tax breaks extended because they need that money so badly (and by the way, the next time you see someone that obviously makes more than $250k a year, throw 'em some pocket change, willya? Mitch McConnell tells me that they're realllly struggling.) So screw them. I know that if you and I really knuckle down here, we can spend like we did in the roaring '90's and turn this ship around.

So, what do ya say? Fired Up?? Ready to Go?? Let's Do This!

Buy me something pretty,