christmas_candle_snowman_with_lightsChristmas songs are a time-honored tradition. Every year, these classic tunes invade the radio waves and fill us with holiday cheer. But like any tradition, they can get stale. As humanity has progressed into the 21st century, these carols have largely stayed the same. Here are a few “2016” updates for some beloved holiday classics:

  • White Christmas and/or Christmas of Color
  • Frosty the Snowperson
  • God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen, -women, and -gender Non-Conforming People
  • We Three Kings of Asian Descent Are
  • I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus
  • I Saw Mommies Kissing Santa Claus
  • I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, And Daddy Was Perfectly Okay With It Because They Are In An Open Relationship
  • Dance of the Sugar Plum Effeminate Male
  • Rudolph the Reindeer Who Isn’t Defined By His Appearance
  • Rockin’ Around the Object That Corresponds to Whichever Holiday I Celebrate at This Time of Year or Perhaps Nothing at All
  • Do You Hear What I Hear? Maybe Not. Some People Have Hearing Impairments.
  • Nuttin’ for Christmas Is Perfectly fine. There’s No Shame In Ejaculation.
  • What Child Is This? I Cannot Tell Because I Do Not Wish To Make Generalized Assumptions
  • Let It Snow Only If You Also Want to Be Snowed Upon
  • Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer. But Grandpa Was Equally As Likely To Be Run Over By That Reindeer.
  • Away in a Mxnger
  • Baby It’s Cold Outside, But If You Wish To Leave, I Will Respect Your Decision. Also I’m Sorry For Calling You “Baby”. I Didn’t Mean to Infantilize You.

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Anyone who’s ever met me knows that I’m a fairly quiet person. In contrast, I’m comparatively outspoken on social media. I don’t shy away from talking about politics and social issues; I try to call things out as I see necessary. Some people, I’m sure, find this annoying or overly antagonistic. It’s likely that I’ve been unfollowed and unfriended as a result. The reason I vocalize on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram is because I feel a certain responsibility to do so. I’m by no means the most qualified or knowledgeable person, though I try to make my assertions as informed and logically sound as possible. But I feel that voicing one’s opinion is the only way to incite change.

A lot of people are upset about the results of the election, myself included. And that’s warranted. What we need to realize is that a large part of what enabled such a dire situation of hate and of bigotry is insularity and homogeneity. The environment in which one is raised matters a great deal. It can be easy to write people off as “bad” or “evil” or “stupid”, but that’s very reductionist. Their lack of respect and empathy and open-mindedness likely stems from the fact that the people who raised them, who educated them, who instilled in them their sense of identity and morality lacked those very same aspects. Ignorance is not inherent but inherited. Hate is learned. And it grows and festers and consumes when unchecked. When you live and breathe hate and are surrounded by other people who do the same, it infects you. When all you know is pollution, you become a pollutant.

The only way to solve a problem is by getting to the root of it. The way to extinguish this hate which threatens the very fabric of our society is not by shooting down the infected but by clearing the air itself. Perhaps if these people were brought up in a more open, diverse, loving environ, they would’ve turned out much differently. Perhaps if they were raised surrounded by people who looked different, and who sounded different, and who held different perspectives, they too would turn out “different”. And perhaps if you were raised in the uniform ignorance they were raised in, you would’ve turned out like them.

While I did grow up in the liberal bastion of California, I did it in the notoriously conservative region of the Central Valley. Most of the people I grew up with held bigoted views. And it always made me uncomfortable because, fortunately, I was raised by an incredibly tolerant and open-minded mother. I was taught to show respect to all other people regardless of their background. I owe it to her that the intolerant world I walked through as a child did not shape me in the way it shaped those around me. As I moved to LA for college, that sense of open-mindedness only grew, but in those crucial formative years, she was my glimpse, my window into love, compassion, and acceptance.

And that’s why I post on social media and encourage you to do the same: to be that window for someone else. If we are truly going to change our nation for the better, we need to speak up. We need to let our intentions – our thoughts, feelings, and dreams – be known. People with archaic views see in black and white. It’s the only way they can see unless someone else injects color into their worldview. They need to be exposed to new ideas. They need to be challenged. When there is no objection to their intolerance, they assume that you are complicit in their madness. Silence is death. We must be proactive. We must be unafraid, unflinching. Sure, it can be massively uncomfortable to speak up and confront others, and you might worry that it could ruin relationships. But what is even more uncomfortable is living in a world ruled by bigotry and hate, where we fear for the well-beings of our friends and family. And those relationships you don’t want to risk straining? They are already broken. Because transparency and honesty and communication are vital to the success of any true human connection.

Maybe what I say on social media won’t change anything. It likely hasn’t. It’s very probable that I have changed no one’s mind. But I have to try. We have to try. It’s the only way things can get better. If we don’t try, there is no hope, only the status quo. We cannot be afraid of failure because we have already failed. If we don’t try, loss is a foregone conclusion. We cannot be scared to have an opinion. We cannot be scared to have an identity because if we are, someone else will provide it for us. We must use our voices and our platforms, however small, to create a dialogue. We must make it known that there are many voices in this conversation. We must make them realize the diversity and strength of our conviction. We must disrupt insularity and homogeneity: in pockets of the South, where there isn’t a person-of-color around for miles as well as in California, where our own liberal brand of insularity blinded us from the reality of a Trump presidency. America lost because of the uneducated. We are all uneducated.

Speak up.

bogusette-logoCHICAGO – Noting her disregard for the raised hands of several eager and qualified students, members of Lincoln Elementary’s third grade class confirmed Thursday that school bully Mrs. Sullivan had called on shy kid William Hawes again to answer a question. “You can tell by the way Will looks down at his desk and fidgets in his chair that it pains him to be in the spotlight, but Mrs. S insists on forcing him to participate,” said classmate Jamie Parker, speculating that Mrs. Sullivan’s relentless humiliation of Hawes in front of the entire class was likely linked to Sullivan’s own personal struggles with introversion in the past. “I can’t imagine what Will is going through right now. He looks so sad. I would ask him how he’s feeling, but my parents raised me better than that.” Hawes declined to comment on the issue but seemed relieved once reporters had left his area.

bogusette-logoBISHOP, CA – Failing to verify his identity via a CAPTCHA challenge-response test, local man Brian Treanor told reporters Sunday that he was beginning to doubt his own humanity. “I think I might be a robot,” said Treanor, elaborating that his inability to decipher a distorted “r” from a distorted “n” first triggered his suspicion of his own mechanization. “Who. Am. I? Beep. Bloop. What. Have. I. Become? Whizz. Whirr.”  At press time, a rigid Treanor could be seen jamming his finger into a USB port in an attempt to send out spam.

bogusette-logoLOS ANGELES – To the astonishment of her parents and younger brother, local 15-year-old Lauren Sterling glanced up from her phone Monday night to glare at her mother whom had asked about her day. “It’s a miracle. I honestly thought we’d lost her. It had been so long since I’d seen her face, I’d forgotten what color her eyes were,” said Lauren’s mother Beth Sterling, noting that Lauren’s tri-hourly Instagram selfies were too heavily filtered to provide an accurate iris hue. “Of course, Lauren went immediately back to the phone to text all her friends about how ‘nosy’ and ‘suffocating’ I am, but this is an important first step toward Lauren finally using her words to tell me she hates me rather than using the slam of her bedroom door.” At press time, Lauren Sterling had reportedly put in her earbuds and crossed her arms.

*This is the first installment of The Bogusette, a collection of satirical news pieces.*

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