Margins #7: White People Don’t Steal… They Borrow

LXI.  The greatest threat facing America is the decline of the white man. Do not be fooled by the prominence in our culture of white American heroes like Captain Kirk, Jason Borne, Batman, Captain America and Joe Biden. Don’t be encouraged by the composition of Congress or Pokemon Go players. Important white men have passed the albino zebra as the most endangered creature on this planet. When was the last time you even saw an all-white zebra? Okay, maybe the decline of albino zebras is the biggest threat to the America. Wait, zebras are from Africa, aren’t they?

LXII. Speaking of decline—let’s talk about the three cable news players. Fox News, whose chairman just resigned over sexual assault allegations and that’s the only progressive thing that’s happened at Fox in the last two decades. MSNBC, where Rachel Maddow and admitted liar Brian Williams attempt to herd gleeful liberals into some kind of news show. Then there’s CNN, which used to be the go-to channel for airport travelers and vanilla news. Today, CNN creates fake polls so they have something to talk about and believes that all news is breaking news. This was always the concern with cable news—it’s hard to fill 24 hours with news without becoming angry or stealing someone else’s work.

LXIII. Everyone was upset that Melania Trump plagiarized Michelle Obama. She really should have given Michelle credit. That’s why everyone knows about 19th century abolitionist minister Theodore Parker. Okay, maybe you don’t know about him, but he came up with two of the most famous lines in American History.  It was his idea that inspired the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s line, “The arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” He also first said the last line of the Gettysburg Address, “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Parker, I believe, would be pleased to have his legacy carried on by King and Abraham Lincoln. Just as Michelle Obama is proud to have her legacy carried by the Trumps.

LXIV. If I had submitted Michelle Obama’s speech in college as my own, the CU-Boulder Honor Code Tribunal would have expelled me. Actually, a professor threatened to send me to the Honor Code Tribunal because I wrote a crazy theory about The Merchant of Venice in college. He emailed me, asked for my phone number, called me and then asked from where I stole the idea. When I swore I made it up, he told me, “It’s good. It’s wrong, but it’s good.” The professor recently published a book based off the idea in that paper. It was my only paper that received an A in his class.

LXV. I would like to give one of our new correspondents an “A” for effort. Margins recruited a few correspondents to keep opinions fresh and new. One of the new recruits is an undercover reporter named Sicily Snake. Here’s her first report:

“I worked very hard to be in that room for the final meetings between Donald Trump and Pence. What’s Pence’s first name? Well, he’s the VP nominee now. I pretended to be an umbrella, which led to two problems. The first one, I looked out of place because it wasn’t raining. Second, I sneezed while going through security. No one wants a sneezing umbrella, so I was denied entry. I will try a new technique next time I’m sneaking up on Trump. Maybe a rainbow flag as my disguise?”

LXVI. I think that we should make Presidential candidates take care of an American flag. It would be similar to the way school kids support local wheat farmers by taking care of bags of flour. Taking care of an American flag is hard. You have to take the flag down at night and when it rains. You have to monitor national tragedies to put the flag at half-staff. You have to fold the flag a certain way. I would like to know if Trump and Clinton could take care of a flag. It would be very American and put them in touch with regular flag caretakers.

LXVII. Thanks for not flooding my inbox with emails when I didn’t send a Margins out last week. Maybe you didn’t notice. No matter, I’m going to assume that you were just trying to give me space and eagerly await the next installment. I needed a moment for reflection.

Last week was the four-year anniversary of the Aurora Theater shooting, an event I have written a lot about in the past. My thoughts continue to be with the families of those affected by the tragedy.

Please consider checking out the nonprofit Jessi’s Message on Facebook.

LXVIII. The first time social media and relationships became entangled for me was in the eighth grade. Back then, hunting for relationship statuses ruled my MySpace interactions.  Over a decade later, relationship status still seems important online. So much of Facebook is staged announcements about engagements, weddings and honeymoons.

With all of that noise bouncing around, broken relationships and engagements occupy only the shadows of Facebook. I seem to find out about broken engagements only by being a detective. The lessons of patience and healing after a broken engagement are numerous, but they do not get the attention of a staged wedding picture. No one likes a complainer on Facebook, but it’s important to realize which stories are not being told.

LXIX. Do not “live” a story. Stories have very specific constraints that we organize to make symbolic meaning out of the world. As someone studying stories this year, I understand the temptation to believe you are a character in a story. However, we are complex creatures who need to be open to all possibilities. To help combat this behavior, read Ryan Holiday’s writing, including The Biggest Threat to Your Success Is the Story You Tell Yourself About Success.

Live your life.
Craft stories.
Do not live a story or craft your life—life does not care about the narrative in your head.

LXX. I have about a month left at Experience Institute and there are still a few more stories to tell. I wrote my last blog post for Ei last week. Here’s a passage from the article—if you are not compelled to read more, you might want to go look at the piece just for the picture:

“You should find ways to laugh with others. When the world seems to be turning against you, call it on its joke and laugh to the heavens. The journey is easier with some irreverence.”