Tag Archives: agent

Politics of Petty Negativity: Oh, Jeb(!) Edition

So on Facebook this morning I posted a rant about Jeb(!) Bush(!)’s latest gaffe, in which he said, in a Town Hall on Saturday in South Carolina:

“Universities ought to have skin in the game,” the former Florida governor said at a South Carolina town hall with Sen. Tim Scott and Rep. Trey Gowdy. “When a student shows up, they ought to say ‘Hey, that psych major deal, that philosophy major thing, that’s great, it’s important to have liberal arts … but realize, you’re going to be working a Chick-fil-A.'”

“The number one degree program for students in this country … is psychology,” Bush said. “I don’t think we should dictate majors. But I just don’t think people are getting jobs as psych majors. We have huge shortages of electricians, welders, plumbers, information technologists, teachers.”

There is so much to unpack here, it’s insane.

Understandably, a LOT of people were upset about this bullshit he spouted, myself included.  My initial anger was due to the insult aimed at psychology majors in particular.  I feel very strongly about this, because:

A.) I know many psych majors who have gone on to land important, wonderful, and even high-paying(!) jobs, from medicine, to HR, to clinical psychology and research, to labor work, to writing…the list goes on.  To imply that psych majors have no career options is just wrong and shows that he doesn’t know what the ever-loving fuck he’s talking about.

B.) Dismissing psychology as a valid field of study is dangerous.  People who struggle with mental illness have to overcome enough stigma and red tape to seek psychological assistance (therapy, etc.) as it is, and for a major political figure to imply that this is an unimportant area of study doesn’t help matters.

C.) On a personal note, psychology saved my life.  My therapist (who, yeah, has a job!  It’s therapy! He gets paid and everything!), one of those lowly psych majors, helped me out of a major depression and suicidal episode earlier this year and continues to help me.  His is an essential profession, so to hear a major candidate say something that might dissuade others with an interest from pursuing it…well, it rubs me the wrong way.

As I re-read Jeb(!)’s comments in a later moment of relative calmness, however, I was struck by something – I agree with one of the statements he made!  I KNOW, RIGHT?  I’m all #FEELTHEBERN and #HILLARYROCKS and #OMALLEY…EXISTS but I agreed with a statement Jeb(!) Bush, of the Bushy McBushes, made.  Here it is:

“We have huge shortages of electricians, welders, plumbers, information technologists, teachers.” (implying, of course, that students should pursue these fields)

Jeb(!) is right!  There are millions of jobs opening up in the trades!  These jobs can be well-paying and are essential to the American economy and our everyday lives!  People should consider these jobs!

We also have a teacher shortage!  Teachers play an essential role in American life and the economy!  More people should be teachers!

SO WHY NOT JUST SAY THAT?*  THAT IS A GOOD THING!  JUST SAY THAT!  COME ON!

GOB COME ON

Why, Jeb(!) do you have to insult psychology majors (and, for that matter, philosophy and other liberal arts majors) to make that point?

Why, Jeb(!), do you have to insult the dignity of food service workers (he makes working at Chick-Fil-A sound like the worst possible fate a human being could have**) to make that point?

If you are trying to encourage young people to follow certain career paths, Jeb(!), why not just extoll the benefits of those paths instead of insulting others?  Why engage in negativity when positivity will get the same point across?

The answer to this for Jeb(!) personally is, I’m sure, complicated, and, ironically, would necessitate an in-depth examination of his psyche and how his upbringing in a rich, entitled family which has already produced two US Presidents affects his worldview.  But in general, I believe that Jeb(!) and other politicians engage in negativity politics because they believe it wins elections, and it’s become their default setting, even when trying to make a simple point encouraging young people to study the trades at a town hall.  Get that insult in, these politician’s aides constantly say to them in greenrooms and hotel suites and on tour buses, and people will start paying attention!  That’s what will get you the votes!

The good news for normal people is this hasn’t held true for the last two US presidential elections.  Say what you will about Obama, but he didn’t win in ’08 by denigrating college students and women and fast food workers – he won because his primary message was one of hope (again, whether or not you agree he has delivered on that is an entirely different post).  And in 2012, Romney guaranteed his loss the minute he called 47% of the country moochers.  The lesson? LOOKING DOWN ON REGULAR PEOPLE DOES NOT WIN NATIONAL ELECTIONS ANYMORE, GUYS!  WE HAVE TWITTER NOW!  WE WATCH JOHN OLIVER! WE WILL KNOW IF YOU SAY MEXICANS ARE RAPISTS, AND EVEN THOUGH THERE ARE LOTS OF RACISTS IN THE US THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH OF THEM TO KEEP YOU AT THE TOP OF THE POLLS!

I would love to see a day when politics (on both sides of the aisle, the GOP is not alone in this) leaves petty negativity entirely behind.  We’re not there yet, and who knows if we ever will be, but I do know that, after some blinding rage this morning, I’m feeling a little more mellow and sympathetic towards Jeb(!), who just doesn’t get that his politics of negativity is only going to bite him in the ass!  He’s so oblivious, it’s almost sad.

If only he’d taken a psychology course, you know? 😉

*To be fair, the reason he won’t say that is because he actually has no actual interest in helping anyone get any job through educational assistance and training in the trades or any other field.  He’s not been super great for education or teachers.  He mostly doesn’t care.

**Of course, no one, including Jeb(!), would feel like they could insult food service workers if they were paid a living minimum wage, but Jeb(!) would prefer to eliminate the federal minimum wage altogether, so…yeah.

On Writing II: The 15 Stages of Choosing a Book Title

All writers know the extreme pressure of having to choose a book title.  No matter how epic your sci fi fantasy semi-autobiographical post-apocalyptic vampire romance novel may be, if you don’t name it something somewhat catchy, ain’t NOBODY gonna read it.

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 7.59.41 AM
Actual title and pseudonym I may have considered at some point

The issue is, choosing a good title is like going to buy a pair of jeans: you think it will be easy and only take thirty minutes, but instead you end up sobbing and berating yourself after hours of fruitless effort.

Don’t believe me?  Well then, I present to you the 15 VERY REAL stages of choosing a book title:

Stage 1:  Finish writing your book and editing your manuscript.  Write down the first title that comes to mind – it’s perfect, and cute, and catchy, and everyone will like it! Now on to the query letter…

Stage 2: As you’re about to send out your polished query letter, decide to Google your chosen title just to make sure no one else (or very few others) have used it before.  You’re sure that all will be well because you’re so clever and original and definitely the only person who’s ever thought of this adorable turn of phrase, but better safe than sorry!

Stage 3: FOUR MILLION OTHER BOOKS HAVE THIS TITLE OMFG ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME.

Stage 4: Cry.

Stage 5: Spend hours scribbling possible titles on scraps of paper, hate all of them.

Ughhhh
Ughhhh

Stage 6: Find a title you don’t completely hate and yell “MWAHAHAHAH TITLE GODS I DEFY YOU!” while shaking your fist in the air.

Stage 7: Send out queries with new title, get agent*.  Agent reads MS and is like, “Overall pretty good; change these things, and also the title sucks.”

Stage 8: Cry.

Stage 9: Procrastinate trying to find a new title by meticulously addressing all of agent’s edits.

Stage 10: Procrastinate trying to find a new title by knitting.

Stage 11: Procrastinate trying to find a new title by cleaning out your closet.

Stage 12: Procrastinate trying to find a new title by drinking.

Stage 13: After fortifying yourself with alcohol, go back to your scribbles, scribble more title ideas. Cry.

Stage 14: After like 12 back and forth emails with agent, finally choose a new title.  Agent submits MS to editors.

Stage 15: Wait and resign yourself to the likelihood that if your book is sold that the publisher will immediately want you to change the title.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

AND SO THE WAITING HAS BEGUN.  MAY THE FORCE BE WITH ALL MY WRITER PEEPS OUT THERE!

*Of course, getting an agent takes a while, but that’s an entirely different post.  My agent is Sharon and she is great and despite the snark in this post I am very grateful that she told me to think up new titles because my original ones did, indeed, suck. ❤  

Writing Update – I Am This Dog

So anyone who has been reading my blog is aware that earlier this year I wrote a book.  It’s a memoir about my time as a chicken farmer in Kansas.  Ok, so that’s a lie, but it is an actual novel, with words and sentences and characters and stuff, and after writing it I was like, “Huh, I think this is ok.  I will try to get it published!”

Then I went online to learn about publishing, and cried because all the articles said, “Oh, you want to get published?  Never going to happen – HAHAHA #BYEFELICIA!”  And then I was like, well, screw this, I’m gonna try to get a literary agent anyways because I HAVE DREAMS.

I started querying (if you don’t know what that is, thank your lucky stars and move on with your life) and I was this dog:

I was this dog but less adorable.
I was this dog but less adorable.  And I didn’t wear a tie.

Publishing is a crazy business, and the more I queried and the more I read about queries online, the more I needed wine and a nap.  Then, something miraculous happened – I was referred to a couple of wonderful agencies, and they read my book and wanted to represent me!  When I was given this information, I was this guy:

canttellifserious

It turns out they were serious, and I said, “Are you aware that I’m a dog who has no idea what she’s doing?”  I actually only said that in my brain; outwardly, I pretended like I was confident and also that I am a professional human non-canine who knows things.  It was only 20% totally awkward.

Then I had to decide, and I was like, THIS IS AN EMBARRASSMENT OF RICHES (FYI: it took me four tries typing “embarrassment” before I got it right; thanks, spellcheck.  Yep, I’m a writer.).  And then I decided, and now I have an agent, and she is wonderful!  I’ve signed with Sharon Pelletier of DGLM, and she’s fantastic and funny and gets my book, but now I’m worried she’s going to see this blog and ask, why did I sign on to represent a dog who has no idea what she’s doing and also lacks opposable thumbs?

I don’t know, Sharon, but you’re stuck with me now.  Sorry!

So that’s my writing update.  As you might be able to tell, I’m pretty psyched.  I’m also scared, because I’m a dog who has no idea what she’s doing.  But honestly, aren’t we all that dog at some point in our lives?  I think that’s the moral of this blog post, and maybe the Bible, too.  Peace!

P.S. A completely unrelated shoutout – Happy 30th Birthday to my girl T of Tears. Sweat. Sea.  WE ARE GOING OUT TONIGHT!  I know I’m a dog, but I can still drink wine, I promise.