Suck it Up, Buttercup

Yesterday, along the lines of my blog post regarding my disgust with all the casual litterers around here, I posted a statement on my Facebook wall; verbatim:

Attention, hillbillies- Please stop using the side of the road, and all of nature for that matter, as your personal trash can. Do you think your trash just disappears when you throw it out your car window?

Literally, more people commented bitching about my use of the term “hillbillies” than the actual point of the post!    Remarks defending “hillbillies” and insinuating I was being racist (guess what– most of the people who live in this area not only ARE in fact white, but also ARE ACTUALLY racist…) abounded, and it felt like I spent more time “clarifying” the point than actually discussing the real problem– the fact that people feel it’s okay to casually trash the planet. The fact that so many people missed the point of the post in favor of getting all butthurt over my use of a fairly innocuous pejorative (that was directed at no one specific person incidentally) has caused me almost as much irritation as the topic about which I was initially posting.

Plainly put:  How about just put your trash where it fucking belongs no matter what color you are, who you marry, or where you live?

This may seem like a small thing, but maybe if more people focused on actual issues instead of every perceived slight, this world would be a nicer place to live.

Get your priorities straight, people.

 

*EDIT:

To be fair, here are three different definitions of the term “hillbilly.”  But to most people I know, there are country folks…and then there are hillbillies.

Hillbilly is a term (often derogatory) for people who dwell in rural, mountainous areas primarily in Appalachia but also parts of the Ozarks in the United States. Due to its strongly stereotypical connotations, the term can be offensive to those Americans of Appalachian heritage. (wikipedia)

A person who lives in the country far away from cities and who is often regarded as someone who lacks education, who is stupid, etc.(Merrium-Webster)

(derogatory usually)  an unsophisticated person, esp from the mountainous areas in the southeastern US (World English Dictionary)

The interesting thing about this is that, although the term is often considered derogatory, I’ve recently found a lot of people seem to actually self-identify as “hillbilly” to an extent, but still get offended when others use the term (much like the use of the n-word, only in the case of the term “hillbilly,” without the historical context to actually justify their hurt feelings.  Regardless of what some whiners may say, the two terms are not nearly equally offensive, given the history in this country of oppression of and violence against black people.)

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Dear Person Whose Job it is to Care About This Shit…

(Elected Official)

I live in Glasgow.  My best friend lives in Edmonton.  Consequently, I travel the stretch between quite often.  I have to say, as someone who used to live in a fairly big city, I am disgusted by the conditions of the roads and land around here.  I don’t mean potholes and overgrown grass.  I mean the way so many people around here use the side of the road and the surrounding countryside as their own personal trashcans.   McDonald’s  bags, plastic bags, Mt. Dew and Pepsi bottles, innumerable… Even full bags filled with garbage, strewn all over, especially in the little ditches and strips of grass alongside the road.

Beverage containers typically comprise 40% to 60% of roadside litter (in non-deposit states.)  In a 1999 statewide study, the Solid Waste Coordinators of Kentucky found that beverage containers and closures made up 52% of roadside litter.  (source)

I have actually witnessed people pitching trash from their car.  One day my husband and I were hanging out at the creek/river, and another group of people we had never met pulled up and were also just  “hanging out.”  Then I saw one toss an empty soda bottle right out of their vehicle onto the ground.  Apparently they are just an example of the type who feel entitled to enjoy nature, and feel free to trash it for everyone else.  Do these people think their trash mysteriously disappears once they pitch it?  Or do they even give it a second thought?  This attitude is the height of arrogance.  Will these same people trash a place beyond all enjoyment or redemption and then move on?  It’s bad enough this type of behavior is accepted on a global scale by industry and society, but now we can’t have any nice places?

There are a lot of people around here who literally make their living off of this land…and then there is everyone else trashing it.  This is the only world we have and it is becoming smaller and smaller, with more people occupying less space.  That means everyone has to be more careful in guarding our resources.

It is so frustrating to me, because I could spend eight hours a day walking the road side collecting this garbage (I would not complain without being willing to do something…) but how could I compete with so many people who just don’t have any respect for themselves or others, or else they wouldn’t trash their home.  It may seem silly.  It’s not like the highway around here is some endangered wildlife sanctuary, but that does not give anyone the right to trash it because they are too lazy and ignorant to use a garbage can.  How much of the litter and garbage will make its way to people’s crops or be eaten by their animals?

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These people that are too selfish to be aware or care how their litter impacts the earth and other people around them may need a little “push,” in the way of stricter and better enforced punishments and fines.

I should have addressed this letter to “the person whose job it is to create and enforce litter laws…”  or whatever.  Because, really, to “the person whose job it is to care” is not specifically accurate enough.  It should be everyone’s job to care.

roadside-litter

Sincerely,

Frustrated with Little Hope…

Weekend Introspection

–Sometimes I can be arrogant, and disdainful of other people… but I think at least some of the time, this stems from the frustration I feel at being unable to do anything significant to affect the bad behavior of others.

For instance, today while reading a blog entry on Own Your Shit, (don’t you just love that name?)  I realized after I posted it, how my comments could possibly be construed as arrogant.   I sound as if I feel superior, morally and intellectually, to those careless and self-involved enough to enjoy our beautiful world and yet pollute it with their garbage and ruin it for others.  In a way, I guess I do feel superior…but whether or not you agree with my assessment of their behavior or my own, I believe part of the reason I feel so resentful of them is my inability to reach enough of them to make a difference, and the very real likelihood that it wouldn’t make a difference even if I could.  You can’t argue with self-involved.  You can’t argue with stupid.

Image courtesy of http://littermob.blogspot.com/ .   Check out this site; their efforts on behalf of Mother Earth are commendable.

Image courtesy of “littermob“. Check out this site; their efforts on behalf of Mother Earth are commendable.

— The second “revelation” for the weekend is that maybe I need a change in my perspective when it comes to my smoking.  I should apply the same no bullshit philosophy I have on so many other things and with so many other people to myself.  Basically, you can’t have everything you want.  I should stop being selfish, because even though I enjoy smoking, it would be better for my health (and wallet) if I didn’t, and I owe it to my daughter to be healthy and provide a better example for her.

Oooor, I could just be rationalizing another excuse to quit smoking and thus reduce the anxiety I feel over it.