Soap Box 11: Things that bugged me in April

April, April, come she will. I actually had a rather pleasant month but hey, a cynical asshole never stops finding new things to complain about – it’s our secret superpower. So before I rage on, here’s some mellow music to get your heartrate lower because I love you and want to you stay healthy and not stress out too much.

So, do American Baristas hate their job?

I don’t get it. There are so many videos, articles and whatnot out there about coffee-shop-employees that complain about the customers that simply order coffee. It’s either the Baristas themselves who get weirdly angry about specific offers that their shop does offer (that’s like an H&M-salesperson getting really angry that you want to buy a dress and not a t-shirt) or questions about the beverages (which is not a surprise given that a lot of barista coffees have a shitload of non-coffee-related crap in them that doesn’t belong there in the first place). OR it’s those customers that obviously are super normal and cool and just happen to be in line with all the horrible people that usually go to these shops.

(To be honest, I don’t even know what the complaint is about in this video – I figure it’s either about the audacity to buy coffee in a coffee shop or the audacity to not let people who don’t buy and just want to use the toilet wait in line with the rest of the paying scumbag-customers).

I get that being in the service industry can be a pain in the ass because there are many horrible people out there who ignore you, treat you like garbage or complain about stupid stuff that’s not even your fault (like the price of the coffee or Obama’s health care). But in all those lists, most Baristas simply complain about customers being customers. So if you have 20 different coffee-varieties and offer a thousand sirups and frothy milk variations and seasonal spice-mixtures, don’t expect the customer to know them all by heart when they reach you (this is not Seinfeld and you’re not the soup-nazi). It’s normal to be a little overwhelmed by the number of offers. It sometimes takes some time but guess what – as you are not simultaneously making coffee and performing CPR on orphans, no one will actually get hurt if someone takes a little longer for their order.

It is also normal to have extra wishes if the shop offers them. If you don’t want to serve a freaking chai latte with soy milk, vanilla sirup, cinnamon sprinkles and a whole pineapple on top, then don’t fucking have it on your fucking menu! Pardon my French but what kind of asshole in the service industry complains about something like that? And yes, being a Barista is being someone in the service industry, because believe it or not but just because you can make some coffee with a super expensive machine doesn’t elevate you from waiters, bartenders or those people that make fresh crepés at the christmas market.

Oh, and also: If you are a customer and get annoyed by other customers that can’t decide within a nano-second or have a larger offer to make – congratulations, you are the best customer in the world and no one can measure up to your ability to order your coffee in two seconds, pay in cash without sorting out your change and not stand in the way. Here’s your invisible award for being annoyed that not everyone else is such a superior coffee-shop-customer.

“No means no” – unless you kinda force a “Yes”?

Urgh, so I stumbled upon this unfortunate story in which a dude told a rape-story on a podcast about him getting a massage and at some point nudging the masseuse to perform oral sex. When a backlash occurred, he said he had made the story up and that it was his art as a comedian to be offensive – you know, just like it is Victor Salva’s art to have very weird allusions to his raping of a minor in the 80s in every single movie he does. Ok, so Salva actually did it, this guy says he actually didn’t do it. But in the wake of the ongoing discussion about major sleaze-bag Terry Richardson – who supposedly never forced any of his lesser known and inexperienced models to perform sex-acts but simply relentlessly talked them into it by intimidating them – it seems obvious that some parts of society still have a very warped view on the whole “No means no”-issue. See, because in his story, David Choe said that she did perform the oral sex – only after she said “No” (but her eyes said “Yes”*) – but she didn’t throw him out when he pushed her to do it.

It shouldn’t even be just the “No” that indicates an unwillingness to a sexual act because fear and intimidation can do wonders to suppress any such thing. But for the sake of the argument, let’s just assume that there is a “No” in the mix – you would expect that this is the only thing necessary to stop any advances. I mean, that’s what the whole phrase “No means no” is about. If a woman (or man) doesn’t want to, they say “No” and no further sexual advances will be made without any further pressure and no fucking guilt trip if they didn’t do anything else to show that they meant it.

But apparently, that “No” has to be uttered over and over again, including shouting it, physically shoving the sexually aggressive person away, calling the police and running away. Admittedly, that is a little more complex than the usual definition of the word “No” indicates but maybe it’s somewhere in the Urban Dictionary and we just didn’t notice, how stupid and inconsiderate of us. Maybe – if so many sexual predators only accept this kind of “No” in their lives – we should all do this in all other contexts as well as they apparently wouldn’t understand otherwise. If someone asks them for change and they say “No” but don’t scream, kick or call the police, that person should just continue to ask them, follow them, hold their arm, slowly rummage through their bag to find their wallet to show them that they actually have change and want to give it away.

If they get asked if they want some more wine in a restaurant, and they don’t violently push away the glass and smash the bottle on the floor, the waiter should just pour more wine into their glass, maybe even convince them to drink it from the bottle and have another one right after.

If they get asked anything and reply “No” but don’t immediately pull out the pepper spray and their “No means no”-whistle, then we should just ask them over and over again, let our friends ask them as well, isolate them, so they feel crowded and surrounded, don’t let them leave, convince them that everything will be fine and that everyone is having fun and that no one has to do anything they don’t want to do but that they better do it if they want to have a nice future…after all, that’s the only way to interpret such a meak and obviously not serious answer such as “No”, right?

*Oh, and one other thing: Eyes don’t say “Yes”, because eyes can’t utter words, so whoever argues with that immense kind of bullshit – do eyes ever tell you that an “eye-yes” is a court room-“No” in any rape-case? No? Well, I suppose the victim’s attorney will do that then.

And another other thing: If someone has to differentiate between “rape”-behaviour and “rapey”-behaviour to explain their sex-stories, it’s safe to say that they in any semantic case should be called “predatory”.

“Political Correctness” is not taking your freedom, it’s asking for respect

Before I start this: I know that the term “Political Correctness” has only the worst connotation since it is used to discredit any attempt to make people more aware of the language and behaviour that discriminates other people but for lack of another word I will just keep using it because that’s how I roll!

Since the blackface-debate about “Wetten, dass..?” – the German talkshow that encouraged their audience to dress up as a black cartoon character and make sure that they use “shoe polish” for their maskerade – I had quite a few discussions about the issue which I didn’t expect.

It’s a weird topic. Since Germany doesn’t have the historical background of America, the terms of “minstrel” and “blackface” aren’t even that known which means that the issue demands explanation from the get-go. Now, as political incorrect behaviour/opinion goes, ignorance is the biggest motivator.

Most of the times, it was more about the fact WHY people get upset in the first place, because…

“It was all in good fun. This is not America, they didn’t mean it in a bad way, so I don’t see why people are so shaken up about it.”

Well, the intention of something and the actual perception are quite often two different beasts and if people get upset about something someone said and did, then why not asking them why and then evaluate their opinion instead of dismissing it as exaggerated?

I have a theory and it fits nicely into the general debate of political correctness because it applies to blackface, to any appropriation actually. It applies to rape jokes and it applies to general concerns about racial slurs, mysoginistic language, homophobic language and any other slip of the tongue/behaviour. Oh, and it’s probably not the most unique theory, so don’t expect the invention of the wheel here.

I think, that most people who not necessarily condone blackface but also don’t get what the fuzz is about, have the intentions of political correctness wrong. They fear that their right to say or do something is being taken away. They fear that their freedom of speech is being taken even though they didn’t mean it in any bad way.

But it’s not forbidding you to say something horrible. It’s not impaling your freedom of speech (or rather, it should not, that’s not what it should do). If you want to sound ignorant, you are welcome to do so.

No, political correctness is there to show respect towards other people. Sure, you can say whatever you want (as long as it doesn’t constitute as hate-speech or appeals to violence) but do you really have to say it if it hurts and/or insults others?

I know that during Fasching – the German carnival – you can accidentally stumble into a whole array of horribly racist costumes: From girls in blackface and bones in their hair to guys in yellowface and buckteeth. Carnival has been like that for decades, long before the discussion started whether it’s appropriate to dress like a drunk Mexican or half-naked painted Native American. But only because something has been blissfully done since ages because it hadn’t been an issue before (mainly because minorities didn’t have the social standing to even demand the sort of respect that political correctness tries to encourage) doesn’t mean that it’s not wrong.

Political correctness sometimes can be awkward and stupid because it often fails to explain WHY exactly it condones certain things. It’s also often treated by the media as an all-encompassing law to force people into a certain mindset, to force them into changing their worldview. But it shouldn’t. It actually can potentially offer ways to evade language and behaviour that disrespects (other) minorites. It tries to open the worldview or at least let people tolerate other worldviews (and tolerance can always lead to acceptance and even respect if someone wants to). There is no hidden agenda to overthrow and undermine the white class, there is no hidden agenda to make men our (meaning women’s) bitches (I tried, though, asked my feminist friends and they completely turned my proposal down).

Oh wait, Putin is against political correctness? I guess, I have to reconsider everything I know now!

There is just the agenda to make people aware that there are other religions, other mindsets, other worldviews out there and that ignorant remarks, behaviours and words – that we usually can give up quite easily – are hurting our efforts as humanity to come together instead of blowing each other’s heads off. Because that’s what most of these things – if they are amassed – do: They strengthen prejudices, they lower the respect towards other groups of people, they trivialize historical atrocities, they trivialize other people’s feelings, cultural backgrounds and histories and therefore make them less important than our own.

What does hurt more? Not to put on the shoe polish on for carnival and instead go as slutty banana or to see someone who usually has every advantage in society mocking you and your heritage?

By the way, there is an interesting and pretty balanced article on this topic on Buzzfeed, discussing a Tottenham football club’s affectionate nickname “Yids” for their fans. You may read and eye-roll your way through it, it’s a nice overview on the fact that most people who argue against the use of it just want people to consider the history behind the word.

Motivational videos suck so hard

Fuck you semi-motivational videos critizising technology and social networks!

I have 422 friends – all of them film and art students who spend their day looking meaningful into their Starbucks-coffee and think of video ideas that could go viral…

It’s not even the first of its kind because there is a bloody crapload of those things – usually beautifully shot (damn those film-students and their horrible course-work) – on the interweb and people keep posting them because the music is so inspirational and everything looks so MEANINGFUL! But it’s not. I tell you what. If these people venture out on a journey over the world to knock on people’s doors and recite this awful slam poetry IN PERSON then I might be impressed but as long as they use social fucking networks to complain about social fucking networks, I will gladly call BS on this crap and try not to comment sarcastically when my friends post this pile of pretentious garbage on Facebook.

It’s not like I have less of a social life because I am on Facebook, in fact, I wouldn’t meet half of my friends if it weren’t for Facebook and if some people have other uses for social networks and gather their 30000 friends to tweet to them, let’s just have them their speck of internet-fame and don’t whine about it. Urgh, if this at least would have been made by a 16 year old teenager, I could understand because at that age everything as half-assed as this seems super-meaningful but this is an adult male who wrote this, created a shiny video and hoped for it to go fucking viral.

It’s like someone wrote down all the stuff you babble on whenever you’re high (not that I ever was) and then – instead of sobering up and realizing that it was semi-philosophic stoner-trash – created a video out of it. I tell you what. If this guy wouldn’t be dressed like the republican candidate who sweats profusely during debate, he would obviously wear a poncho, dungaries and flowers in his hair and sing this Hippie-crap of yesteryear that was as useless for life and as shallow as it is now in this video.

By the way, selling your computer to buy a super expensive ring – haha, criticize social networks but go for stereotypical gender-roles/capitalism is priceless.

Oh, and I weep for all people who have phones and computers because obviously none of them is married or has kids or friends because ALL of them are isolated with their twitter-followers (that includes me and I don’t even have Twitter-followers!).

The only good reason to look up from your phone is to look out for the fucking traffic, so you don’t run into someone or get run over by a car.

Mic-Drop.

14 thoughts on “Soap Box 11: Things that bugged me in April

  1. This thing with the asshole baristas was also discussed on tumblr where I read that some of them would secretly put other ingredients than those requested in their customer’s drinks, like soy milk instead of cow’s milk and so on, which is really a dick move when people have allergies or other health issues.

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    1. Geez.My body doesn’t take well to soy milk so this is upsetting on both a general and personal level! And given that one of my best coffee-moments happened in an Italian restaurant with nothing more than coffee, espresso and cappuccino on their card, I keep my opinion that a barista does not a great coffee-experience make.

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    1. yeah, they have their own little crepé-pans and serve them with chocolate sauce, bananas or whatever else. It’s not as easy as it looks and probably needs some training just as making a barista coffee does. And yes, I laugh a little everytime I write ‘crepé’ in English…

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      1. I don’t mean to be a grammar Nazi, although I sometimes enjoy being one, but really, not in this case. In this case, I’m honest wondering if you’re intentionally being funny, if you’re referring something other than a crepe, or if you’re just placing your accents in a rather frivolous manner, as many people like to do.

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      2. Oh, I see. Yes, I add my accents like a crepe-maker adds chocolate sauce – with all the anarchy in the world!

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      3. It’s just that what you wrote would be pronounced “crepeee”, which would probably be an improvement over the original pronunciation, come to think of it.

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      4. A #hashtag-movement, a #movement, or a #crepé-movement?
        Your comment, again, leaves a lot of room for interpretation.
        (NOW I’m being a grammar Nazi. Kind of. It’s not actually grammar. But you know what I mean.)
        Anyway, I’m in it, but I’d hate to start participating on Twitter, so let’s say I do Facebook, and leave that other Network which shall not be named to you?

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      5. You mean the network you named in the previous sentence? ok. Also, considering that I said “hashtag-movement” and not “#movement” in the context of how to write the word “crepe”, I’d say you deliberately misread my comment (for humorous reasons, I suppose).

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