Angie’s* Pink Elephant
“Hey, quit staring at me.”
“I’m not staring at you.”
“Yes, you are,” the pink elephant insisted. “You look like you want to dip me in boiling green wax or paint me yellow with purple polka dots or even better, throw me out the window. But you can’t because the window has a permanent screen.”
“I hate pink,” I replied, not trying to deny his accusations.
“But pink is such a cute color. The Powerpuff Girls use it a lot.”
“I didn’t even know what they were until some guy wrapped himself up in a blanket with the cartoon characters and called it a Halloween costume.”
The elephant turned his back on me and began smoothing down the non-existent hairs on top of his head. “Why don’t you like pink?”
“It’s so girly. It’s stuck in one niche. It doesn’t go anywhere. Pink is snobbish. Like a former calculus teacher of mine who decorated her entire classroom with pink. Pink curtains. Pink planters. Pink paper decorations. If people didn’t complain of illegibility, she would have used pink chalk and pink overhead pens. And she insisted on people using her title doctor as if it was her God-given right. She got all uppity whenever a student accidentally called her missus.”
“Well, pink is girly. You can’t change that even if you use scientology brainwashing techniques. Maybe your former calculus teacher is trying to show how proud she is that she is a woman. She worked hard for that doctorate, so she deserves to be called ‘doctor’.”
“Girl power, you mean?” I frowned when his eye turned to focus on me. “I don’t understand it. It’s like trying to say that you’re better than everyone else when you’re really not. People are equal, not better.”
“People won’t listen to you. They like being told that they’re better. It makes them feel good. What woman wouldn’t like to be told that she’s a goddess, a paragon without equal. What man, for that matter, wouldn’t like to be told that he’s stronger, smarter, wiser, than other men. People love praise–it makes them motivated to achieve more.”
“Praise?” I tapped my pen for emphasis. “Too much praise can be like too much cotton candy. You eat all of it and you get sick. You have to stay in bed and do nothing except to cry for mommy to bring you your favorite teddy bear. Too much praise is just like that–you end up doing nothing except bothering other people because you think you’re so much better than everyone else.”
The pink elephant finally turned to regard me with a tilt of his head. “Looks like you’ve got issues with the color pink. Like people, you’ll have to treat the colors equally.”
“Maybe I have synesthesia,” I said.
“No, you’ve got issues,” he replied waving his trunk emphatically like a psychiatrist with a stopwatch. “So. Are you going to throw me out the window?”
“Why are you asking me that? You’re just a damned plastic watering can.”
* A fake name for the AIM-addicted librarian’s former roommate.
Charles Murtaugh has some interesting recommended reading. I’m somewhat ambivalent to Lileks’ response to college students thinking that Western culture is not superior to Arab culture. College students aren’t all that experienced or knowledgable as some people would like to think. Here at Tech? Most people would prefer wasting time on Warcraft III than reading the news. College life is extremely insular, even if the student population is diverse. The 18-22 age range is most concerned with schoolwork and social life. In the whole context, culture is an amalgam of religion, politics, and society. But some people may have seen it as something separate. I’m not saying that college students condone subjugating minorities or killing for religion, but they may have seen culture as something different, i.e. holidays, dances, regional cuisine. Compare that to the commericalized west’s Mickey Mouse, McDonald’s, and the Gap and you might see why some students responded the way they did.
Want to Read This? Ask First. Very funny rant. If NPR doesn’t change its (useless) “linking policy” because of this, nothing will.