The Wrong Lilies

The Wrong Lilies

Sunday, January 29, 2017

FROM AMERICA, by John Pavlovitz






Sunday, January 15, 2017



I have no credentials.  I'm not known.  I don't trend.  All that I am is a human being on a very small planet with a bunch of other human beings.

So read no further if you wish.
The other day an acquaintance of mine spoke up about how angry she was that our President-Elect wasn't getting the respect he rightfully deserves.  After all, he was to be President in a few short weeks, and whatever people thought of him, he would be speaking for us as a country.  So he was entitled to our respect and admiration.  

So I looked up the definition of the word "respect" to reacquaint myself with the actual meaning, because it seems to me that lately in social media people have been using words without understanding their real meanings, so I wanted to get this one right.

respect - A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievements.


Without going further and explaining the definitions of "abilities", "qualities", and "achievements", it has come to my attention that the aforementioned definition, with few exceptions, has never applied to anything that the President-Elect has done.  Remotely.

I can, however, come up with a word that the President-Elect would apply to the American people - disdain.  Disdain for being mentally and/or physically challenged, another race, another gender - you name it.

But what I really think it boils down to is that he has disdain for us simply because we are not him.

For he can do no wrong, never lies, and has absolutely no accountability for his actions.  In his eyes, if we were all him, the world would be a better place.

A world where anyone could say anything, regardless of it making sense or not, or even if it hurt anyone.  And any actions would only be a boon, not a burden.  Because after all, life is all about doing what's best for yourself.  Other people are just collateral.

But the President-Elect lucked out, actually.  No, he wasn't born into a world full of himself, but into a world where some people desperately want to be him.  They want him to succeed, because they believe that his success will be their success.

And that's where the disdain comes in, because to quote Ferris Bueller - "you can't respect someone who kisses your ass."

So the President-Elect will become President in a few short days, after an election that may or may not have been rigged by Russians, may or may not have been influenced by hate groups such as the alt-right, and may or may not have been just decided by a bunch of people who desperately wanted the world to be full of him.

So let's take a moment and take a peek into his head - so to speak - and you might discover his definition of "respect":

Why shouldn't you admire me?

I have an ability.  I have an ability to persuade people who are normally in their right minds to accept things that just aren't true, regardless of the evidence which suggests it.  Who are you gonna believe, them or me?

I have a quality.  You don't get to where I am without having something that appeals to a certain group of people.  And of course, that certain group of people's money.

I have achievements.  I have a lot of achievements.  I have the best achievements.  Just read my Twitter feed. 

So okay.  I'll go along with my acquaintance.  I have decided that, on Inauguration Day, I will respect him just as he has respected me:

1)  Expected me to believe things that aren't true because he doesn't believe I have the capacity to figure things out on my own, like truth.

2)  Promised to benefit the wealthy over me because hey, it's my fault I never made millions, right?

3)  Taken credit for things he either had nothing to do with, or even worse, did.     

So I will respect the President-Elect just as he has respected me, and for that matter, the American people.

Which is to say, not at all. 

Sunday, January 8, 2017


In a world where too many countries, including our own beloved America, are roiling with dissent and refusal to cooperate within themselves, personal foibles and frustrations really do not signify, in one sense.  But in another sense, words do matter.  It is important that we use our individual languages as accurately as possible, in order to communicate, because communication, along with organization, cooperation, and respect, are the four skills that we could use, if we only would, to help each other and ourselves.

So here is a small personal rant, shared by both of us. We have at least 3 major uses of the English language that we really do not appreciate. First is the use of the word 'hack' in articles about recipes or organizing the kitchen or whatever. 'Hacking' represents, to us, illegal and unauthorized access to personal information electronically and for it to be used casually is to us, to diminish its awfulness, when 'hacking' is despicable. :(

Secondly is the use of the word 'curate', a word overused in describing the grouping of everything imaginable, particularly in home magazines; someone 'curates' their salt and pepper shakers when what is really meant is that they like their salt and pepper shakers and like where they keep them. Museum curators curate, the rest of the world simply picks and chooses, according to us. :)

Finally, in articles about houses or celebrities or designers, the word 'bespoke' is used when they simply mean 'custom made'. But 'bespoke' must sound so very much more grand.

Well, phooey, we say. If any reader of this rant has not encountered this usage before, we apologize for bringing it to their attention.

Otherwise our personal solutions are to 1) stop reading those house magazines, 2) stop reading any article that uses these words, and 3) deleting any e-mails with the word 'hack' in the title, even if it is about cookies, etc. Enough for now!

Oh, and Happy New Year.