Friday, June 29, 2012

Sort of a Good Week

Yeah, for me it's been a good week.  I engineered a major move of items at work and had a real, genuine metal mail sorting cabinet installed instead of the shimmed up and caving in arrangement of plastic trays that was no longer serving the needs of our growing staff.  Rick had this cabinet at his warehouse - the foundation deals in computers, etc. - it was something he grabbed at an office give-away, thinking that I might want it for work.  Well, it took me about three months to get out to the warehouse to look at it.  But it was furniture love at first sight.  I called on all I remembered from The Art of War ; something about not beginning a battle until I had won it in my mind.  All on paper - reception desk goes out; better desk comes down from second floor; table from mail room goes where desk had been; mail cabinet goes in.  Crappy end table holding postage meter goes out; better small desk for meter comes in.  All in about half an hour!  I did it on paper..... Bill, our maintenance director and two of his guys plus Rick and Chuck did the actual moving.  I thought it was fun.  And I found a library stool at the warehouse, too.  People are liking the new arrangement a lot, but I feel odd taking credit for it.  Though maybe I will make a self aggrandizing label for the library stool:  This stool is made possible by a gift from the Richard A. and Ellyn S. von Huben Charitable Trust through a Gift from The St. Isidore Foundation.  I watch to much PBS - I know how to phrase these things.

I don't have the skills to weigh in on the Supreme Court's decision.  But I pulled it together to actualy write an email to Channel 9 to let them know they had offended me.  My basic policy when offended is to turn the other cheek, turn the page, turn the channel.  There was something that popped up on my usual fun morning news show that I couldn't let go:

Dear Wonderful People of WGN,

Your morning news brings great joy and fun to getting ready for work each weekday morning.  Nothing on your show has ever offended me.  Ever.  Until today.  I realize there are variables outside of your control when doing a 'man on the street' segment and I'm not particularly upset with you....but need to vent somehow about the woman who gave a shout out about how hot is was outside and said she was sweating like a priest at a little league game

I am a Catholic - loyal, but also honest enough to accede to the fact that some members of the clergy and others have done much to bring great shame and pain to the Church.  And that woman's comment alludes to the fact that our clergy is looked at as being highly suspect.  But there is something about it that seemed to also be an element of hate speech.  I can think of a lot of other words that, if they had been used instead of 'priest', would have been immediately apologized for.  If not 'bleeped', if a few second delay is part of your production.  I feel pain for all of the good priests, good Catholics, and all of those who may have been harmed by clergy abuse and had their pain minimized by such a crass comment.

As I said, there are some variables out of your control, but I just wanted to vent about how hurtful that was to me and probably many other viewers as well.  (besides helping to perpetuate a  negative stereotype).  I still love your morning news and am not one of the cranks who wants to leave a voicemail saying I'm jumping to Channel 7 or whatever.  I'll continue to watch in the future.  But I want you to know how horribly inappropriate that was.

Ellyn S. von Huben
Lake Bluff, IL

I just wanted to let them knowAnd I received a very nice reply from the new dirrector at WGN - with about twenty minutes.  (Makes me wonder if others called or wrote in to complain.  I hope they did!!!):

"Thank you for your email regarding our newscast this morning.
 My short reaction to your thought:  I agree.  That woman was out of line and ruined what was an otherwise fun segment.  Our mistake was that we should have known what her “joke” was before letting her say it on air.  We know better."

I appreciated that.  There had been a fun hot weather novelty news segment and that woman showed up like the proverbial fecal matter in a punch bowl. 

What still hurts is that there is a large segment of the population who would think that this is a funny joke; and with the confidence to assume others would find it funny, too.   People have negative thoughts about certain groups but know (if only for self-preservation rather than good manners) that it would be best not to shout them out on the sidewalk for a TV camera.  They wouldn't insert ethnic groups, LGBTQ people, people of color, disabled people, or fat people into that same joke; that would be stupid, look stupid, and maybe get them slugged right in the face.  But put in priest. Yeah, that's funny. 

I work with priests.  For over ten years I've worked for the Church and I've seen so many good things that our priests do.  And have felt the shame that bad priests have brought upon the Church.  Maybe it's my maternal streak, but I think if I had been on the sidewalk when that happpened I would have slugged her in the face.  Not a good thing for a Church employee to do.  And I certainly never want to spend a day down at 26th and California waiting to make bail.  But...

Sort of a good week.  I got a deal (gratis!) on some office equipment for my parish and I spoke up for once when there was a leering joke about the clergy.  So, maybe I did do a little good.  Sometimes my work feels so intangible; it's nice to look at something and say "That was pretty good."

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