Sorry Not Sorry, New York Times

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Here We Are

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Screaming.

Blaming.

Judging.

Pointing.

But not listening.

It turns out the basket of deplorables is much deeper than we imagined.

It turns out Facebook was the basket of deplorables all along.

I laughed derisively at those who said Twitter was “about what you had for breakfast.”

“They don’t get it,” I thought.

I didn’t get it.

I happen to make part of my living in social media.

So I feed the beast and the beast feeds me.

I have some stuff to work out.

Andy Borowitz, on stage Friday night in Poughkeepsie, explained the election situation fairly simply.

He made a Breaking Bad analogy. I don’t think you need to have watched the show to understand.

In the show Breaking Bad, the main character, Walter White, finds out he has cancer. He must pay for treatment. He has no money. He discovers if he produces and sells crystal meth, he and his family can stay afloat.

Andy said, look at the media as Walter White. Their cancer: they were broke.

Their crystal meth: Donald Trump.

The networks gave him over 3 billion dollars in free air time.

And they got richer.

Andy reminded us of what Les Moonves said, “Donald Trump may not be good for America, but he’s good for CBS.”

I cancelled my cable on Friday morning.

And I cancelled the New York Times.

These are two things that will help me.

I hope you can find things that might help you.

Last night, I watched a clip of Dave Chappelle’s monologue on Saturday Night Live, and wondered if Lorne Michaels understands now, what he helped do. By having Trump on his show, so many times, for ratings dollars, he fed him to the viewing public as a plate of normal. He’s anything but.

Facebook feels like a screaming abyss of panic to me right now. Twitter is worse, because on Twitter, there’s no governor on the hatred.

Since 2008, when I joined Facebook, I’ve indulged in the selfie mentality of thinking what I was doing with my life should mean something to other people, instead of making damn sure it means something to me.

That’s 8 years! That’s a whole third grader.

Shit.

Narcissism is how we got here, fellow deplorables.

And addiction to social media, all media, feeds the narcissism.

Addiction I can do something about.

I’ll share what Andy said on Friday, at the end of his show.

It’s the same idea I hung on to, as I sat in the dark silence of Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

Change starts within. It’s all we can control.

To quote Andy again, “As Gandhi said – or maybe it was Melania Trump – I can’t remember – be the change you want to see.”

Thank you Andy, you’re one of our national treasures.

I need to put the phone down, and speak to people face to face.

For now, hello is enough.

And I’ll write.

Dispatch from the bubble

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God, I love you people — my tribe.
The messages, the calls, the hugs.
Yesterday, as my Zyban-like therapy for quitting social media (Zyban is the smoking cessation cure you get to take for 2 weeks while you’re quitting) – I spent time not unfriending, but blocking 37 people on Facebook.
Then, guess what?
I suddenly have entirely different things to say, on Facebook.
And outside of Facebook.
For now: here’s this.
More people voted for her.
Half of America didn’t vote.
Some people who voted for him are not hate-filled; they just needed a new system and this was the only avenue they saw.
(I’m still working on that one, but humor me.)
Things are broken. We broke them. WE, all of us.
We must fix them.
The Obamas are why we can’t have nice things.
This thing has been coming for a long, long time.
Since before many of the people who voted for him were born.
We must stop and think what and who it is we’re fighting, and then go fight it, with kindness.
Hint: it ain’t him.
Stay tuned.
ps: Did I mention how proud I am of my kids?

Never Trump

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A person I admire and respect sent this essay to me, and gave me permission to share it.

She, like many of us, is distressed and alarmed by the recorded sexually predatory talk from Donald Trump.  

Here’s her story. 

It’s been challenging being a part of the human race the last few months. The ugliness, the despair, the nasty rhetoric…it’s hard to justify any of it and even more difficult to face it day after day.  I guess, if you’re like me, you just care and want to recognize some humanity in humans again instead of all the hate.

Many of these assaults are “just” words. Social media as the format. A platform to hide behind and say horrible, awful things to friends and strangers.  So does any of it actually matter? Words, I mean, what do words hurt?

If only the last civilized thing about us could be the way we treat each other, the way we speak to each other…it would be easier if we could love each other again.

I’d love to say none of it has bothered me, but the bombardment of sexism, misogyny and anti-female rhetoric has become more than I can handle. I know it’s in fashion for some people to mock the oft used phrase “trigger warning” but for some of us, it’s a line of protection we need.

I was 18 years old, from a typical small Iowa town when I left for school at one of Iowa’s universities. I’d had a serious boyfriend but we decided to date other people.  I met a guy. He was a big deal. On the football team, which was in the middle of a run of many back to back appearances in national playoffs.  It started out fun.

Then we were sitting in his dorm room talking with his roommate who all of a sudden left. And things were getting kind of amorous while we sat talking on the couch when all of a sudden he is pushing me facedown on the floor. My clothes were off, his clothes were off.

He made it clear what he wanted to do and I said, “No, I can’t”.

I said, “Stop. Please stop. No, I don’t want to do that. Stop.”

I tried to move. I couldn’t move at all. I was 5 feet tall, 100 pounds. He was 6’4” and outweighed me by at least 130 pounds.  I was immobilized.

He didn’t stop.

He didn’t listen.

He ignored me.

I finally just whimpered into the pillow and waited for it to be over.

A guy I had just started dating sodomized me. I bled for three days.  I spent the next days in a state of confusion. I thought he liked me? Why would he do that? It was an odd shock and unsettling feeling to know what he wanted was the only thing he cared about.

I saw him again a few days later. I was not a confrontational person but I felt a nagging feeling to say something. I simply told him that I didn’t understand how that had happened and that it was not a cool thing to do.

He became angry. He practically spit at me, “What are you complaining about? It’s not my problem you’re inexperienced!”

I was so surprised but I bought it. His line. I BELIEVED HIM WHEN HE SAID IT WAS MY FAULT.

I never reported him. I was too scared. I mean, we’d been dating, who would have believed me?  No one, that’s who. No one.  To this day, all these years later, I still feel guilty I wasn’t brave enough to file charges because I don’t know if he did it to another girl and for that I’m truly sorry and ashamed.

Months later I was hanging out with friends and we were having one of those deep talks you only have with people you trust and I talked about it, and kind of laughed it off I guess. My friend Tyler looked at me with such shock and pain, “You were raped! That is not your fault! You said no, you said stop! You were raped!” Then he grabbed me and hugged me hard and told me he’d help me if I needed anything at all. Like friends are supposed to do.

It took someone else verbalizing it to admit to myself that I had, in fact, been raped. By someone I thought I knew. And they had blamed it on me.  It took an even longer time after that to even say aloud “I was raped. I am a rape survivor. I was a victim of sexual assault.” I didn’t say it aloud until well into my 30s.

I still have never said much but to a few trusted friends. It’s something I try to leave in the past. The last thing I want to keep feeling like is a victim because I’ve spent my adult life trying to be a strong, confident woman.  But it’s hard when I turn on the news and see a Brock Turner story…I’m angry and sad all over again.  I open up the newspaper and read real quotes from real politicians and I’m traumatized all over again.

I’m tired of being reminded I was once a victim when I see people who over and over and over treat women as less than, treat women as whores, treat women as slaves, treat women as trash. I’m afraid for my daughters. It keeps me up at night.

Maybe it’s just words. Sticks and stones, right? Just words.  I’m sorry….my bones feel very, very broken right now. And I’m not OK with that. I’m going to keep fighting for women to have a voice and be treated fairly. I hope more people will too.    -Anonymous

Never Trump: Let’s just take this one thing.

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Dear Trump bros (that includes you too, ladies),

Let’s just take this ONE thing. For now.

The FACT that the GOP candidate for president is on tape bragging that he can sexually assault women, because he’s a star.

Grabbing a woman by the genitals is sexual assault. FACT.

Stop saying it isn’t.

When you vote for Donald Trump, please own the truth.

You’re voting for a man who sexually assaults women. Oh, wait, he was just bragging about it? Um, no. As the tape unfolds, he leaves the bus with his pimp Billy Bush. Billypimp forces the woman they’ve been mocking and denigrating on the bus to hug both of them. They both grope her. Assault.

So, when you vote for Trump, you’re acknowledging you don’t care about this. “Those are just words, folks.”

Please explain that to your kids after you vote. They should know what hand they’ve been dealt, up front.

“Sweetheart, mommy and daddy had to vote for an accused rapist and serial misogynist because his opponent deleted some emails, plus she was MEAN to our guy. Mmmkay? Now go outside and play. But don’t wear that short skirt. And put on a sweater, for godsakes.”

I want to believe people I “know” couldn’t possibly vote for this man after they’ve heard him talk casually about sexual assault, call a woman “it” and so much worse.

But I’m not that dumb. I know they will. They may say they’re voting for his fiscal agenda. WHAT FISCAL AGENDA? He has none. He is a failed businessman who repeatedly stiffs the people he’s hired. Which is the role model some seek, I realize.

Back to the grabbing women by the genitals thing he said.

Actress, director and writer Amber Tamblyn recently shared a story detailing the night an ex did this very thing to her.

Women thanked her; men mocked her. Business as usual.

Kelly Oxford received over 8 MILLION responses online, when she asked women to tell their assault stories. Read them.

I know I’m not alone when I tell you this: my own degrading experiences, and those of my girlfriends, have flooded my memory since this man started demeaning people on a daily basis, months ago.

Like when a boy in our 6th grade class decided to call my best friend “Pig” and boys of all ages joined him, and called her that for years.

When a visiting male “superior” came into my office at one of my jobs as a writer, and told me to call a cab and book a hotel reservation for him. 

When I served as a sober cab for drunk men and one of them groped me from the backseat, the rest laughed. No one told him to chill. He asked me why I wasn’t nicer.

That last one reeks of the “Get over it, libtards!” response to the Trump Tape, from his male fans.

Ok, I’ll stop. These are the teeny tiny examples. I could go on. And on. And get far more graphic. But I’ll stop.

My point is Trump’s actions are faaaaaaaaaaar from unique in our culture. (Notice I didn’t say rape culture – at this point, it’s simply our culture.)

My dread and outrage are directed towards him, because he’s asked for it.

But please. Please, please, please don’t let this sick man become president of the United States. It’s okay to rethink it.

VOTE.

And lift a glass to Susan B. Anthony after you do.

15

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Fifteen.

Fifteen years ago, I decided enough was enough, in regard to drink and drugs. One witness concurred. Others didn’t, but they’re all gone now, one way or another.

I married the one who did.

There was a woman in the rooms when I first went, in my hometown, who was extra badass. A nurse.

We often had conversations outside meetings, especially during those first weeks, when I was a blank slate. She’d talk about feeling pride rather than gratitude. She told me to look for my pride every day.

Find what you’re proud of, she’d say, and feel good about it. It’s yours.

Ugh, there was so little, at first. Thank god that’s over.

Fifteen years. I’m so proud now of the changes I’ve made, and the chances I’ve taken. The little ways life just keeps getting better. That my pace has slowed down just enough to help me see the big picture more often, and that it’s usually not about me. That finally I’ve let yoga teach me things like, “balance happens when ease and effort are equal.” Man, I love that one. So much is good in my life. I’ve worked hard for that.

But today, on this day…I’m most proud of my beautiful daughter, and the way she gets up every day and goes back after it, using her creative and brilliant mind to try to figure out the puzzle of the world.

That’s never easy for any of us.

But damn, her persistence is inspiring. I’m so proud of her.

I’m proud of both of us.

Never Trump: Day 17

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Jorge Ramos: Judgment Day Is Coming For Those Who Stay Silent on Donald Trump

Jorge Ramos, a TIME 100 honoree, is the author of the upcoming book Take A Stand and a news anchor for Univision and Fusion.

This essay was posted on Time.com today. 

It doesn’t matter who you are—a journalist, a politician or a voter—we’ll all be judged by how we responded to Donald Trump. Like it or not, this election is a plebiscite on the most divisive, polarizing and disrupting figure in American politics in decades. And neutrality is not an option.

The day after the election will be too late. It was too late when we realized that there were no weapons of mass destruction after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. That horrible error of judgment by the Bush administration—and the lack of strength by those opposing the war—cost thousands of American and Iraqi lives. And nobody can even say that we won the war. But hopefully we can learn something from it.

Regardless of whether Donald Trump wins or loses, we will be asked on November 9th: What did you do? Did you support him? Were you brave enough, ethical enough, to challenge him when he insulted immigrants, Muslims, women, war heroes and people with disabilities? Are you on the record correcting his lies? Did you discuss with your friends and family that in a democracy like ours there is no room for racism and discrimination? Or did you just seat idly, silently, allowing others to decide the future of the United States?

Because you will be asked.

Trump has forced journalists to revisit rules of objectivity and fairness. Just providing both points of view is not enough in the current presidential campaign. If a candidate is making racist and sexist remarks, we cannot hide in the principle of neutrality. That’s a false equivalence.

Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite were right; sometimes you have to take a stand. They did it against the dangerous persecutions of Senator Joe McCarthy and in denouncing the pernicious official spin during the worst years of the Vietnam War.

Donald Trump’s candidacy has created the same moral dilemma and sense of urgency. So, yes, when it comes to racism, discrimination, corruption, public lies, dictatorships and the violation of human rights, we have to take a stand.

Politicians have the same responsibility. It is no coincidence that, as the election nears, more and more Republicans are deserting Trump, disavowing his extremist ideas and publicly stating that they will not vote for him.

There have been two crucial moments in which even Trump supporters couldn’t defend their own candidate: when he questioned judge Gonzalo Curiel’s capacity to rule in a case in which he was involved simply because of his Hispanic ethnicity and when he criticized the silence of a Muslim-American woman, Ghazala Khan, who had lost her son, a U.S. soldier, in the Iraq war. Those moments proved to be too much even for the most loyal party members.

Fifty prominent Republicans, who worked with Ronald Reagan and both Presidents Bush, wrote a letter recently saying that Trump’s candidacy was “dangerous.” Others, like Wadi Gaitan with the Republican Party of Florida and Ruth Guerra with the RNC, have quit their jobs because they couldn’t ask Latinos to vote for Trump. And Rosario Marin, a life-long Republican who served as Treasurer with George W. Bush, decided that Trump was too “tyrannical” and decided to vote for Hillary Clinton.

Many Republicans are going through the same process with a broken heart. They clearly dislike Hillary Clinton. Her continuous problems with the e-mails, and the questions about how the Clinton Foundation has operated, only reinforce their belief that she is not trustworthy. But how can they support Trump when he makes irrational and insensitive statements?

Even Trump’s jokes aren’t funny. He suggested that “Second Amendment people” do something about Hillary Clinton (which he later insisted was an attempt to motivate them to the polls, not assassinate her). He claimed his multiple comments accusing President Barack Obama of founding ISIS were “sarcastic.”

Trump, really, is no laughing matter. But he could be the next president. That’s how democracy works.

Judgment day is coming. Will you have peace of mind come November 9th?

Never Trump: Day 16

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Conversation overheard in Mexican restaurant in Iowa:

“Ok, we gotta keep THESE PEOPLE here when they build the wall. I need my margaritas.” (Big laugh.)

In Iowa, Trump is verrrrrry close in the polls to Hillary.

This amazes me. And saddens me.

Here’s what I’m over.

People in Iowa ranting that we must “take back our country.”

As they live in serially-remodeled expensive homes.

As they buy new cars that cost as much as a house that would work comfortably for most people.

As the unemployment rate in their state remains low. 

As they buy new boats and lake homes.

As they travel wherever they want, because they have the kind of discretionary income that could build a school in a starving nation.

As they buy new clothes just because it’s Tuesday, and they want something new to wear on Wednesday, when they go to the party at a friend’s house who’s selling stuff no one needs, stuff most likely made in China.

As they whine about welfare, but have no idea who’s actually ON welfare in their own community, or why. And quantify who deserves their “help” when they deign to dole it out.

As they rant about people who should be drug tested at jobs…but…oh, let’s just not go there.

As they yell, “Kill the bitch!” and “Lock her up!” then tsk tsk about disrespectful kids these days.

As they scream about Hillary’s lies, while their man Babyhands pulls stunts like this.

So, Iowans, I’m asking:

Take back our country, from what, exactly?

From the black president you hate because he’s black?

You have it all. What do you possibly need to take back, that you don’t already have?

I see you. I’m so over you.

Never Trump: Day 15

In which a focus group of Trump supporters are asked to give their opinion on a series of increasingly crazy campaign promise videos. The thing is, all the videos are fake.

OMG.