vrijdag 14 augustus 2015

Blog Comeback

Today I decided that I am just going to give it try because for the last few months I have been mostly silent while reading the news and analysing articles that I end up using for my IB classes.  Being a teacher is something that I do take very seriously and I am fully aware of how time consuming it can be too be always on top of things.  But hey, for my students I love going the distance.  Not that I am perfect... Oh no but there is already one reason why you have not found anything out here and that is something that is related to the behaviour that I have been witnessing in the media and beyond.

Stallie loves reading... I read constantly and I also love writing.  Words can trigger my creativity and I just love it to find out what moves people and what word combinations authors can come up to tell their story.  That the digital world came along with a revolution in the world of writing was to expect but I have noticed something that I just can't get my head around.  Okay, P calls me a Facebook addict and I share quite a lot on Twitter of my private life.  The days that I signed up for those two social networks I was fully aware of the pitfalls and so when Facebook comes up with new security features I will never forsake to look into those.   I just made some choices about my own profile and still I am fully aware that it is not a safe world out there in the digital world.

A few weeks ago someone who tried to become friends on Facebook told me face to face:'Hey S, if you don't wish to become friends with me then just be honest!'  Yeah, I am not that easily to find on Facebook and I did check most of the security boxes on there.  Plus no, friends of friends do not have the priveledge to just hit the friendrequest button.  Nope.  Now don't worry.  If we ever meet face to face and you will ask me very politely to become friends then chances are very likely that you are granted access. Your face I love to see first up close and personal and let us first share a piece of cake and nice cup of coffee or a gin&tonic before going digital.  That is what it takes for me to feel secure enough to share with you my adventures, some pics of my family or food that I had, some status updates that might be insane to you but have made me smile or cry or that I share a link to an article that I consider worthwhile to read.   My facebook page is surely a reflection of who I am and what my personal opinion is.  And this last one is linked to the issue I am facing for the moment....

The last few months more and more I ended up not sharing my personal opion about some issues.  Why?  Well, because I don't wish to unleash the same thing that is going on some of the forums that I end up while reading the digital newspaper.  That we now more openly can express our opinions is great.  That many of suddenly will speak up when they feel the urge I do dare to call progress.  Due to the digital revolutions there are seeds planted for real revolutions.   Ideas and creativity are easily exchanged.  Lessonplanning has become so different than when I was a student teacher when there was only the library and a photo copy machine to rely on.    And nope, I do not wish to go back to the time that I first had to locate  the books that my professor of Renaissance art got his images from before I could put together my own picture sylabus.   Looking back at that I do think this in some ways a waste of time... Seriously...That is honestly my opinion about this but this does not mean that I did think my professor was a not a nice guy.  Copy? 

Still, when I upload a picture, share a link or type a status update there is always my inner voice at work.    Now, I might have hurt some people while writing some things and some people might think that they know me very well when they analyse my Facebook page or Twitter account.  There is even scientific data available about what social network gives away about us.  People can use that data... I am fully aware of that.  Privacy in the 21st century is more and more abstract.   I am at risk out here and I can get hurt.  And I can hurt people... I have got the t-shirt!  Plus that I come across some people on forums that I just wonder what their IQ or rather what their EQ is.

Sorry,... You see that is now the whole dillemma that I am facing and that is when I do read articles, reviews, opinions it feels more and more as if I am obliged to pick a side ... That little 'thumbs up' icon on my Facebook page I do use and when I do I have a smile on my face or when I think an article is worth to share I have also read the article myself (because then I am fully prepared when friends or Twitterati will react) from A-Z and even have checked out the reviews and reactions.  Yeah, Stallie tries to be prepared.   And no, I don't start throwing with mud or using words that my grandparents, my parents, teachers and many people do not consider kosher.

Now let me tell you what goes on my brain when I read the news and forums.  The following events are the reason why Stallie has not been as active out here as she wishes because I just had second thaughts and did not wish to hurt anyone:

1.  Grexit:  

Believe me Stallie has a very outspoken meaning about and has spoken with tons of people about it (including Greecs some around the corner and some down under) and even on an airplane I had some interesting conversations about this.  Not that did it made it any eassier because when I did hear other people spitting out their opinion this is what went on in my mind:

'Oh, so when I do think that Greece should pay back the banks and the EU I am not considered a person who wishes that all Europeans can pursue hapiness.....So the Greecs just never ever questioned their government when it came down to spending money or when life time pensions to people even after they died... Strange?...You can't blame the Greec fisher who hardy makes any money due to this very low pension...Hmmm, it seems that I am a racist or not socialy engaged enough and do not have enough empathy when I say out loud that when you join a club that you are aware of what can happen when you do not live up to the conditions of your membership....Oh my dear, I am so naieve to believe in certain values... So I am not a social engaged European citizen..'

2.  IS and terror in general:

When I board a plane or get on the metro in Brussels and even when shopping at the Delhaize in my town (where terror has already paid a visit in the eighties, for those who remember 'De Bende van Nijvel') I am fully aware that I am entering the war zone.  It is a split second that I let the dark side running wild in my brain.

'Oh, so we are all to be blamed that we have not given people enough opportunities....  I am to blame that some people can not get a job due to his or her skin color or religion.....  It is because I have not spoken up hard enough that now young people join an organisation that promises them everything that they can't obtain here.... That girls are talked into going to Iran and Syria is very logic if they face an even unpredictable future here then... Interesting, so seems that I did cast the wrong vote then.....'

3.  The refugees on a sinking boat heading for the promised land (but also a sinking ship considered by many) the EU.

'Oh, why do they even come here when we have our own issues to deal with first.... Uhm, it is still better out here than having to live in a nation where you have a no future at all.  But hey, is it so wrong to wonder what their plan is.  Nothing comes for free anymore.... Can you give us your word that you are going to invest time, energy, money in the EU and make this a better place for all of us including me... Not sure that building a wall at your border will be the long term solution...I am expected to understand that you send back part of your welfare check or your pay check to less fortunate family at home but please can you also understand me that I wish for a social security system in shape in case I need it and this means that we need to invest at home in the first place.... Oh my dear,  I am going to upset people with expressing this out here but the long term planner thinks it is very essential to make all people aware that you are responsible for many and in the first place .....STOP IT Stallie right there....Who are you to judge that one person who tries to keep his grandparents, parents, siblings, cousins and nieces and nephews alive in Afghanistan by sending a few euros... Pff... Have I casted the wrong vote?'

4.  Sacrificing a sheep

'Oh, sheep do need to be fully conscious before the knife is planted into them because that is what holy word instructs you to do...hm so when I do think that this is all a bit too farfetched and do think we are wasting time on issues I am not taking you and your religion seriously... No, I don't agree what you always say or think about my relegion either..... The division between church and state in this nation seems to be a bit abstract as it seems... Hitler opposed against this way of dealing with animals so then means that I am like Hitler then... OMG it is all about votes.... COUNT ME OUT... I  need a gin&tonic tonight to digest most of the comments and reactions..... Oh look 'Shaun, the sheep, the movie' is out for rental on the paid movie channel. '

5. Trophy hunting

'Oh, no not Cecil... You must be serious that you consider taking a selfie with a dead lion is something cool.... I am not sure that people who kill living creatures for fun can be taken serious... If this is what you do with your fortune then I think that it is a bit sad out there in the world of milliounaires or the more fortunate ones... So now you end up being the haunted one... Oh, wait I don't understand you if you do think that endagered species don't need be preserved....Well I am naiev then..but the only lion that enters our house is a cuddling toy...'

6. Froome and the Tour de France:

'Oh, yeah well one look at how Froome makes his bike move and you can tell he stands out...Excuse me but Philippe Gilbert did not mention de d-word or am I mistaken?...Is it so wrong to say out loud that someone has a different style or is 'different' nowdays the word we are using for drugs..Oh nice Vanavermaet became a father... Vive le vélo has brighten up my summer nights in many ways so at least some positive news...Who wins next year? Froome again?'

7.  Trump for President

'Oh, so all it takes a lot of money and a very sharp tongue to become the next occupant of the White House... I am not sure that I can take someone serious who makes very offensive remarks about women, Mexicans and minorities in general.... So what is then your plan Donald to fix all the these problems.... Donald Duck...LOL...Still many people consider you the best option they have got?...Jimmy Kimmel his imitation of you made me LOL...You fired someone who says he resigned... Not sure if 'attack-invade-grab their oil' is going to make an impression on those fierce warriors who love Allah and gladly die for him and their principles.. I do think that you not fit in the same room with Putin... But then I am not an American and I do not have the right to vote there.'

8. Taxshift

'Oh, a taxshift that sounds like something politicians in Belgium have been talking about a lot but we never found out what this exactly is and what the implications are...So if I get this right we are going to pay just some extra taxes?... Hey wait, that about the cost for the electricity that must be a joke?...And those 100 euros some of us will get extra comes down to 30 euro after the taxes?... I think this taxshift is rather 'geschift!'... In the end it are always the same people who end up paying...Welcome in Belgium!  Did I vote for the political party who introduced this in first place?'

In case you wonder what I am trying to point out is that every time that I did come across something out there worth to write a blog entry about my brain suddenly got frozen because it never felt 'good enough'. Plus yes, I was a bit 'afraid' to express to my opinion. No, don't start me on political corect language now... DON'T YOU DARE... a few weeks ago even Barack Obama used de n-word and it amazed many of us but he did try to point out something very essential.  (no, I don't have the intentions to go into detail into this but he made sense or at least to me... You see... here we go again... stop it now Stallie!)

Stallie found out in the last few weeks that I won't be able not to 'hurt' some people their feelings or always share his or her opinion.  For someone who prefers to hang out in the grey zone and who tries to find the perfect balanace between her light and dark side this is very confronting.   Stallie does not like to pick sides or labelling people because of their skin color, religion, gender, etc.  I refuse to do so but I am fully aware that some of you who read the nonsense that I created won't share my opinion.   Does it matter?  Well, hard to say...Just as the thin line between fiction and reality there is not always a very clear difference between opinion and being justified.  I am very busy with figuring this out and trying to find a safe route amongst all the mines that are planted out there.  This summer I did spend in most of the time in no man's land.

But you know what?  Today I finally found someone who expressed partly what is going on in my brain and what I am facing constantly when I just give over to the rahter negative vibes that have taken my creative vibes hostage.  This Summer I have tried to come up with a recipe to write a blame free entry and I failed... Should I feel guilty about that?... At least I tried... The positive side of this I have taken the time to reflect and found out that I am not only facing this.  There is no escape of something you love as much I love writing...

PS: In case you understand Dutch you can read the following article/opinion.  And for once I did not read the reactions that people posted on there.  I bet that some people have found a loopholl in it and have come up with less nice language to describe the author of this article... Just a wild guess...

PS2:  Turns out that what I have been writing about does actualy have a name.  In the latest issue of The Atlantic they go into the depth what is called 'microagression'.  Read and find out what is happening out there. No, I don't think this is heading into the right direction. If professors are already scared of their own students and we might have to rewrite half our dictionary then this is getting a bit out of hand.  http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/09/the-coddling-of-the-american-mind/399356/

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