I hate Breast Cancer Awareness.
Well….at least in its current form.
OK you say, “Mr. McDoof you are a cold, heartless bastard.” I say, wait a second…
It is ubiquitous, every girl and every dude who wants to feign a compassionate heart is wearing some sort of pink anything. Now look I hate breast cancer, my aunt got it and is trying hard to recover so I can see how important it is to get checked often, not to be afraid of getting a mammogram etc.
So how about this:
85% of all diagnoses have no family history.
1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women between ages 40 and 55.
Bam! That’s my mom’s age and many of your mother’s ages. Who isn’t moved by the notion that there are women out there, our very mothers suffering from something that can be stopped. Why can’t we just do that?
Saying “I like it on a chair/I like it on the floor” etc. does not raise awareness for anything, except making me more aware that you are indeed a douchebag. The next time I say “That’s what she said” and you frown at such indiscretion, I am gonna smugly tell you I am raising awareness for prostate/testicular cancer.
Like everything else in life, tough issues like breast cancer need to be met with tough sacrifice and conviction. Waltzing around like a moron telling people you where you like to have sex, makes you an oafish horndog. People might giggle or laugh a little, but you’ve done actually zero work in doing anything for the cause for cancer. In fact, campaigns like these are distracting people from the more pertinent message of screenings and checkups. You wore a ribbon? Awesome, I am glad that I can see one now for the 467,854th time. OK, so I see pink a lot, but I am not sure what I am supposed do….
The most asinine part of all these awareness initiatives is that the people (upper-middle class folks who have the money and time to be able to parade around) who already know the most about breast cancer issues are the ones saturated with the message. The NFL has caught onto this with a lot of the players wearing pink gloves and shoes, so maybe it would hit a bigger audience. But still while the pink is undoubtedly effeminate and distracting, where were the ads or statements reminding us what many of us men should be doing for our wives, sisters, mothers and daughters? Couldn’t these awareness funds be used more directly for actual research or other initiatives? Something tells me the intention is good, but lacks any real benefit.
It makes sense though, people can pretend they are doing something noble and at the same time face no real cost to themselves. Real breast cancer awareness would actually entail work. Want to really raise awareness? How about visiting a family in a neighborhood that doesn’t have these resources. Want to be of help? How about visiting a woman suffering from the illness and facing a scary and lonely stage of her life. On a scale of 1-10 on doing something about breast cancer, wearing a ribbon and walking around your friends who are already inundated with this message is a 0.0001.
Maybe its me being a cynic, but why does every charity need to raise fanfare to do anything? What value is there is in a parade other than feeling good about ourselves while all you really are doing is causing traffic for everyone else? Is the only way we can donate money to a cause when people walk for a few miles, or if there is an enormous gala more dedicated to showing how rich and generous you are? All of this nonsense is 99% self-congratulatory and 1% “O wait, there’s a real issue here.”
It’s not just breast cancer, apparently there is a LINK event at Circle (korean nightclub)? Are you serious?
What’s the message? “Come support the cause by doing what you do every Friday, getting piss drunk.” Want to help North Koreans? I will promise you this will do very little to help North Koreans. Chasing fobby Korean girls with overpriced drinks in hand sounds like what old and sketchy Korean men do, not a way to bring freedom to North Korea. You wanna do that, fine whatever, lets not veil in under the premise of charity though please?
Is there something wrong with just, “Listen I am not gonna walk around or do anything, but breast cancer sucks. Can you donate to the cause?” OK, if parading is the only way we can raise money, fine I am all for it, but I wonder what this says about the state of the world right now. I am pretty sure that the reason why every celebrity has their own pet cause is not because of a sudden increase in “kindness” among them. Conspicuous Charity…apparently, our kindness is only worth something if everyone else can see it.
Listen, I hate cancer. Visiting my aunt in person, when she had a thinning head of hair shocked me. Seeing her in such a frail state made me wonder what we could do to help prevent/stop/help. Acting like a insufferable douche pretending to care for a cause is not one of them.
Gotta love the innocence and joy of kids….
Go to 1:30……(Warning Explicit)
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I will be making a few more videos with the website, wallstreetoasis.com. It will be a series taking you through, in little more depth, the life of an analyst.
My two readers! Be sure to stay tuned at my website or WSO for updates.
I would always remember visiting my mother’s grandparents after church. I never really enjoyed going there because it was far away and there was nothing to do at their small apartment. Most of time when we visited, my 할아버지 (grandfather) would give me and my brother a piece of candy hoping this would melt away our concerns that we would not have much to do during the next few hours. They would be watching a Korean TV channel but I would always show up and turn it to a sports game or show in English that I preferred watching.
I never fully realized how difficult his life was at the time. My grandmother had suffered a stroke and he took it upon himself to take care of her. The right side of her body was of little use so every daily task was made infinitely harder. She couldn’t cut her own food, so everything needed to cut into bite-sized chunks. She could not move well on her own, so he would always help her use an exercise bike for 10 minutes just to get her blood moving. Whenever she needed a helping hand, she would cry out, “아버지, 아버지 (father, father). Most of the time I saw them together he would sit next to her on her wheelchair and grasp her gnarled hand as they sat silently and peacefully together. My grandfather didn’t ever seem like his life was difficult or that he was struggling to get by each day. Without complaint, he got up each morning to take care of the person he loved so dearly.
My grandfather passed away around this time in the summer. He suffered a stroke and passed away quickly. It was a tough time for our family, especially my grandmother. Each night, she would cry out 아버지, 아버지 (father, father) only to realize he couldn’t be there anymore for her. I started learning that the beauty in their relationship was unseen and ineffable. I can’t seem to grasp that right now, but perhaps love can show me what better really is. My grandfather’s love showed me the importance of commitment and sacrifice.
I am not sure what commitment is, I am not even sure if I could ever make commitment. I tell myself that I will commit to studying hard during law school, which of course means writing garrulous and personal blog posts. I live in a culture that reminds me that there are always choices, in fact “better” choices. This is antithetical to the idea that I need to stay grounded, that “better” is not always better. I am not sure in my own life I can see this, but when I watched my grandfather I know that even when beauty fades, that charm is fleeting, that more things doesn’t equal more happiness. My mom would always tell me that he would always call my grandmother his “princess” whenever they did things together, whether he would wheel her outside to enjoy a nice sunny day or eat together the simple foods that he had made or bought.
My grandfather a simple man, taught me much about faith.
My faith tells me that in order for me to live, I need to “lay my life down for others”, that I need to “die to myself”. This paradox is not the way I view life. My needs are of first and fundamental importance to me. What I really need is to learn a thing or two about sacrifice.
My grandfather’s devotion has taught me much about sacrifice. His life was never his own, but he lived in service to my grandmother and showed me he could even give life through his dedication. They would pray together before each meal to a Father they believed held a deeper promise for them. Never once, did I see this man complain about the fact that his handicapped wife was a burden or chore, he loved her too deeply to even let such thoughts develop. Some people say he was too nice, whether it was his willingness to pay for all of his friends he knew whenever he took the bus or whether he would smile even during the toughest of times.
This sort of positive thinking extended and showed me a different aspect of faith: a hope for redemption. Whenever he would bring my grandmother to exercise and she said she didn’t want to do it, he would always find a way to coax her into exercising, telling her “you’re going to get better”. Everyday he seemed convinced she would be able to walk. Any doctor could tell him this would not be possible, but of course why would anybody dare say otherwise? I might dare say he was thinking of redemption far greater than just that current situation.
There’s a promise of redemption that I have as well. That when I have days where I cry out, “Father, Father”, that I know even though my insecurities remind me of my greatest issues and failures, my faith tells me I am deeply cared for. I go through life wondering how I can go through the next day, I am reminded of a Father that tells me He is by my side, telling me to fight on. I see a picture where even though my body will soon fall apart and breakdown, the resurrection tells me, “things will get better”, that I will be able to walk again.
Perhaps my goal shouldn’t always be to seek out the “better” choices. No, “better” isn’t better. Better is love. Not the asinine and sappy love of the movies, young ones frolicking about with not a single worry. My grandfather showed me that love is white-haired and wrinkly, grasping a gnarled hand damaged by a stroke; a quiet and lasting commitment that beats out my fleeting thoughts on what is true love.
I am watching this video:
My two readers have told me that I should really write about this in my typical sarcastic banter, telling me I should write a post and really rail into these guys and the producers for making such an asinine show. I suppose I could rant here and talk about how idiotic these guys are, how they need to get lives and how reality TV is the most self-aggrandizing form of entertainment. There might be some validity to that, but something tells me that is too easy.
For instance, I never understood why so many of my upper-middle class Asians needed to imitate every aspect of “ghetto culture” when they themselves never lived in anything resembling an inner-city. I despise the kid that needs to drop an F-bomb to show he’s “hardcore”. 99% of high school smokers seem like people who don’t have a backbone and just want to do what seems cool and edgy. I find it irritating that some kid who lives in upper-middle class suburbia will actually tell you, “let’s take this outside so I can kick your ass”.
But before I continue, I think I also need to realize that perhaps there is something more insidious brewing in my own heart. People watch these shows, not for the noble lessons they learn or the meaningful themes they can extract but for other reasons. One big thought that I think pervades most of the people watching this show is:
I’m not like them, I am not a loser.
When we watch these shows, we undoubtedly mock whoever is on it. Thank God I am not like that douchebag, with his popcorn muscles and fake tan. Or thank God I am not like that girl who is such a skank and attention-whore. This reality TV only attracts those who are so insecure they need the attention of a TV show to remind them of their self-worth. In essence, a show like this reassures us of our own self-worth. What makes us so special? Maybe nothing, but by comparing ourselves to these clown, perhaps we can tell subconsciously remind ourselves we are at least better than some of them. But I am not even sure that’s true.
I see a bunch of kids who are desperate for attention, even its notoriety of the “Snooki” type. We all want to be loved in some way, damn it if it means making ourselves look like fools. Of course, these reality TV show kids are more blatant and more viscerally disturbing but at the heart of it, what makes them any different from those who choose more refined paths?
This leads to my second point when we say “I know I am not a loser”. I hate to speak for others here (or perhaps I do too much of it), but I understand that my own life is an up and down battle with insecurity. I get irritated when people don’t fully recognize my accomplishments, I get annoyed when I say something and nobody listens, I get depressed when people tell me I am not good enough at something. In my mind, the most important reality TV show is me and I hope that everybody likes what they are watching.
I am not so sure what to say about these kids. I don’t have a bunch of tattoos and earrings. I rarely find myself partying late at night. Yet, at the heart of a show like that, I see a deeper reflection of self on the screen. I don’t need to act like a buffoon daily to realize maybe in many ways, I just don’t want anyone to think I am loser. So something tells me to do better. Inadequacy can be solved if I go to a better school, get a better job, get better friends, get more friends etc. Sure its not acting like a clown on TV, but attention and approval is what I really desire. In my own ways I lack a backbone, daily making decisions based solely on the perception of others. Sounds kind of depressing right?
Let me throw in a different reality TV story here. When we look at the Susan Boyle story, how awesome was it to see this frumpy, quirky and not so sexy woman astound all of us with her beautiful voice. I don’t need to go too deep to capture the joy of the video. Take a look at the video again and watch her reaction as each judge affirms her selection. She can’t believe it! Piers? Amanda? Simon! They all tell her in their own ways that she was indeed special.
We relate to this underdog story, because we see a bit of Susan Boyle in ourselves. There is definitely something unsexy about all of us, something that makes us far from being the belle of the ball or the master of the universe. As a Christian I know this isn’t the end either. You see perhaps a surly member of the audience could have stood up and told Susan that she sucked at singing and it would have made no difference. She had found the “right” source of approval. Who cares what somebody said, the authorities of the competition had already spoken.
As a Christian, I sometimes forget the “right” source of approval in my life; the most important Guy is watching the reality TV show of me. I know I don’t react the way Susan did when the judges gave their remarks; I still fidget at even the idea that someone knows that I am a vast collection of disappointment and failure. This is my “underdog” story. I know deep inside, I am nothing special, nothing sexy, in fact probably somebody undeserving of anything more than this life I have. The cross tells me that God knows this. The cross tells me of how far off I really am. Yet it also tells me not as an underdog no more, but of somebody He approves, somebody He affirms. I need not worry so much about all of my insecurities; something tells me to remind myself the Authority has already spoken for me.