Today I had a meeting with a politician here in Philadelphia. He had the brass to lecture me extensively about how I ought to do my job, without any idea what sort of resources I had, what commitments I’d made, how many staff I have to work with, the mission of the organization, our name or really any of the other work that was and is already getting done by other people and other organizations. I am seriously so sick of old men I could start walking around with machetes. You know – for killing them with.
Or maybe just a black magic marker so I can write on their foreheads: YOUNGER MEN AREN’T A THREAT TO YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE GOING TO BE DEAD SO SOON ANYWAY
One of my favorite moments was toward the end of a meeting in which he’d interrupted me about fifteen times to go off about something inane and pointless that only demonstrated his ignorance of the program we’d come to talk about, he told me that he liked to tell people that they needed to learn about active listening.
Guess what: you’re not listening if you interrupt the people you are talking with over and over. It’s just that you have won enough power that no one calls you on it anymore.
But, he’s done pretty well in local politics, and I know that a part of the reason he does well is because no one he disagrees with ever gets a commitment out of him because they never get a word in edgewise when they see him.
Want to know what politician I’m talking about? Ask me in six months and I’ll tell you.
Anyway, of course I came to talk to him about environmental issue because I work for an environmental group, but he started going off to me about how I need to go out to community organizations. Actually, no asshole, I don’t. I know why I am going to politicians and that’s what I’m going to keep doing. Thanks.
But then he started telling me how to come off well to community groups and he said, “You don’t want them to think you are one of those ‘save the whales’ organizations.”
It was funny, to me, because no one has talked about “saving the whales” for a long time, which is kind of a bummer, but it’s not really a slogan any more. It struck me as a weird synchronicity, because I had written the script for this comic the night before and I plucked “save the whales” out of nowhere. I had “cure cancer” already but wanted a second thing. That felt better, comedically. So I was like, “what else?” and “save the whales” just came and I did it. And I remember thinking at the time: when’s the last time I heard anyone say anything about saving the whales?
It struck me as odd that I hadn’t heard that phrase for a while. At least to my memory.
Then the next day I hear it. From the mouths of fucking pricks, you know?
Anyway, just to be clear: I am 100% for anyone who wants to save the whales. You don’t even need to save all of them. Just save some of them. That’s totally cool. Save them. Definitely.
If there’s some way that feeding old men to the whales will help save them, then I am for that, too. Definitely.
In fact, on that note, here’s the Greenpeace page on Whaling. Read up. Whales still need saving.
TV: Hey, kid, why the long face?
Panel 2. Little girl looks up at TV.
Girl: I don't think I'm ever going to be pretty like the movie girls.
TV: Yeah. You're not going to cure cancer or save the whales either. Why don't you cry about that.
Little girl sniffs.
Girl: BECAUSE THAT STUFF IS STUPID WHO CARES?