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Archive for October, 2008

“Put a Ring On It”

October 25, 2008 3 comments

I’ve always admired dancers for their ease of movement and the way they always seem intimately aware of & comfortable with their bodies.

I’m entranced by Dancer554 (aka “Shane”) and his interpretation of Beyoncé’s latest, “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It).” It’s amazing! Apparently seduced by the virtuosic, Fosse-inspired choreography of the original, several dance enthusiasts have posted their homages. But Shane, apparently a professional dancer, is the best. And contrary to some of the comments, I love the outfit!

Beyoncé has always graced us with her “Independent Woman” persona, which exudes an impossible self-esteem (in this song, she has the wherewithal to go dancing right after a breakup!) and a constant “all-about-me” assertiveness, which is attractive to those of us who have been known to give a little too much.

It’s a sharp contrast to her very blase “admission” of her marriage to Jay-Z, where she seems to dismiss the whole idea of a wedding or of newly wedded bliss. Why hide the happiness? Wouldn’t the “Miss Independent” of her songs be overjoyed at finally having the love & commitment that she deserves?

Who are we to know what’s in Beyoncé’s head or heart? Either way, “Put a Ring On It” is a fair response to R&B’s rampant mysogynistic lyrics and society’s celebration of commitmentphobic men. Apparently, the song’s protagonist has given three years of her life to yet another guy who wouldn’t move things along (maybe he used the oh-so-ubiquitous “just a piece of paper” argument).

I’ll confess: this type of guy, the “piece of paper” guy, has been a figure that haunted my nightmares for years. I was always worried that I’d get “stuck” with one. You know the type; the one who wants to “live together” indefinitely and have you do everything a married woman would — except be married. The one who says, “I’m not quite ready yet” — and says it for a million years in a row.

This fear remained with me until I , Beyoncé-style, experienced a surge of self-esteem and fearlessness, and realized that being with one of these guys has nothing to do with “waiting for love” and everything to do with rejecting his fear and selfishness, and acknowledging my worth as a woman worth committing to.

A great deal of relationship turmoil forced me to realize that it’s my choice whether or not to be reeled in by one of these Mr. Big types (who, on the surface, usually seem perfectly fine). Loneliness is uncomfortable, but it’s usually just temporary and preferable to being stuck in this endless loop. And if I do end up with a guy like that, you can be sure I’ll be singing this song on my way out the door.

Dreamworld: $100k a year

In this time of economic crisis, who would be crazy enough to ask for a raise?

Well, not me–but I can’t help but take notice of this op-ed in yesterday’s New York Times talking about this wonder-school that pays its teachers $125,000 per year. This is more than three times what I make as a teacher now, and it seems like a dream.

The writer speaks to me when she talks about teacher burnout, about the challenges of public school teaching, budget cuts, and overwhelmingly unreal expectations from parents & the general public (if I see one more “heroic teacher” movie..!).

Teachers are not viewed with much reverence, and we feel it in the classroom on a daily basis. I confess myself to feeling overworked and under-appreciated. We are subjected to endless meetings that don’t make sense, even to the people giving them. We spend our own money. The children are crazy. We baby-sit more often than we teach. Parents yell at us for not doing enough, and an over-abundance of laws and restrictions prevent us from doing what we should.

Unfortunately, neither the article nor many of the comments address the few joys of teaching, which include being rewarded wtih students who are learning, with whom you have made a difference; or the relationships formed, the daily interaction with kids who make me laugh at least once a day. But to be honest, the kind of self-sacrifice and abuse I put up with daily has, on many occasions, overshadowed these bright spots and has provoked thoughts of leaving the profession.

I’m not sure more money is the answer, though. Apparently teachers at these dreamlands charter schools work 12 to 15 hour days and end up doing even more non-teacher tasks than before (which seems like nothing more than an attempt to quell the masses, who already complain that teachers don’t even deserve the pay they get). But it’s a start.

I actually read an article about these schools for the first time last year. That means at least one of these places has been in the works for a little while now; where is the updated progress? I’ll try to find it.

No, you’re NOT “just like me”

What a nightmare. The success of America’s new Republican friend represents everything wrong with race relations in America right now.

I can’t count how many things irritated me about her performance in the vice presidential debate, but I was especially irritated at her “Just like you” crap. Think of the implications of this!

So, once again, her pitch is that we should vote for her because she, a white woman, best represents America, instead of the scary “other,” represented by Barack. Arrrgh!!! When will this stop? I am tired!

For years, black & white women have had an uncomfortable relationship. Going back to slavery, when the house slave was usually a black woman who performed all the same functions as the “wife” but without the legitimacy, there has always been the assumption that, as a black woman, or as a black person, you could do as well as a white person or even better — but it will never count for anything.

Ms. Sarah is yet another “white girl” whose rise to the top is meteoric almost unbelievable — if you didn’t consider America’s racial history and who she’s running against.

She is undeniably wrong, however. Instead of an elite, exclusionary “white Suburban woman” message (if I hear “hockey mom” one more time I will SCREAM), Barack represents and embodies everything we need to move forward in this country. Barack really is America, and everyone, black white or whatever, can see themselves in his face. This is so plainly obvious to me that I don’t understand why we even have to have discussions like this.

I’ve got to go find something happy to write about!