Sunday, January 25, 2015

Runaway Brides, the Art of Persuasion, and Katie Cat

This is a mixed up blog post because I'm going to throw out a few things I have on my mind, sort of telling it like it is (from my point of view, of course).

First, novels and movies, especially made-for-television movies, about runaway brides.

Stories about runaway brides make me gag--those women who change their mind at the last moment and run from the church (or whatever venue they favor), leaving a bewildered fiance standing there with his jaw sagging, his eyes tearing, and his extreme humiliation showing in the sag of his shoulders and his inability to make eye contact with any of the wedding guests, especially his mother who knew the bride was wrong for him all along.

I've watched way too many of these films, supposedly romantic comedies, and even if I find the groom less than desirable, and the guy who wins the bride a handsome, sexy hero, I find the bride totally despicable. The guy that finally ends up with her gets a flightly, cruel ditz who can't make up her mind and doesn't hesitate to destroy a man in public. I get tears in my eyes every time, but my tears are for the guy left at the altar. It's a sucky story and I'm boycotting all books and movies that pursue this theme.

Unless, of course, it's a crime novel and the bride gets what is coming to her.

Second, the gentle art of persuasion doesn't seem to exist in social media.

I cannot for the life of me figure out why people make a bunch of friends on Facebook or other social media sites and then set out to piss some of those friends off by spouting dumb ideological nonsense in the name of free speech. Their belligerent claim goes like this: "I have a right to express my opinion wherever I want and if you don't like it, you can unfriend me or hide my updates or go fly a kite."

Okay, I believe in the freedom of speech too. And there are points of view on issues I could be persuaded to embrace...but I won't be persuaded by dumb ideological rants--statements and memes that declare something is a fact or moral truth or solid statistic based on science when it's not. And when friends rush to support that kind of goofiness, I lose respect for all of them.

I don't mind engaging in civil debate from time to time, but that's really not possible on social media. There's always someone who charges into the discussion to make trouble. I've read discussions where very nice, reasonable, open-minded people were called "stupid" because they introduced an alternate idea or study about a controversial topic.

The worst thing about this "I have freedom of speech and I don't care what you think" attitude is that sometimes the person with the attitude has a friendly or business relationship with some of those online friends. Did I mention above that I lose respect when a friend or business associate tries to ram an ideology down my throat with nonsense, an ugly tone, and the implication that anyone who doesn't agree with him (or her) is an idiot? Yep, I did. I guess they don't care.

But just so you know, I'm done with it. I'm dumping the folks on social media who post stuff I find rude. I don't care either.

Third, and on a somewhat lighter subject, I've been working on Katie Cat to pose for photos, and I'm making progress.

For a long time, I'd try to take pictures of the cat and she'd be moving so fast, I'd only catch her tail. Lately, she's become more interested in my camera as well as sitting still for more than one second at  a time. I guess she's mellowing as she gets older. Or she just likes the attention.

I took a few new ones this month. I need to work on better lighting, but my focus for now is just to get her interested in posing. Here are two of the best so far this month.

In the top photo, Katie is on the window sill in my office. From this spot she can watch all the neighbors in the court, especially keeping an eye on Oswald, the orange kitty from next door who comes into our yard to use my garden as a litter box and lurk near the bird feeders for a chance to grab one of my birdies. Katie yowls and hisses when he gets too close to the house, and she always hears him when he jumps up on our gate to come in the yard.

That's when she runs to her spot in the bottom photo. She's on a towel-covered table we have in front of the window where she can watch the yard, the bird feeders, the squirrels and observe the approach of invaders (the gal who runs the scary vacuum cleaner, the members of my writing group who totally mess up Katie's lap-sitting schedule, or Oswald the orange kitty).

Do you have a pet you try to photograph? Do you have any luck catching the best moments?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

She's a pretty cat. Would she even know what to do if Oswald got too close?
Social media rants. That's why I don't do them. And don't respond to them either.
And thanks for speaking up on behalf of the poor dude who just got his heart, soul, and ego crushed in one fleeting moment. That does really suck.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Hi Alex -- we take Katie outside on harness and leash sometimes, and Oswald strolls over for a visit. Katie tries to stalk him, hissing and growling. The worst is when she's inside and faces him through the patio door. The yowling and spitting is downright scary. I think I'll have to give up my idea of getting another cat.

Anonymous said...

Pat - I couldn't possibly in the least bit agree with you more about civil interaction on social media. I really don't see the need for spouting off vitriol, and actually I've cut ties with a few people who do that. As you say, civil debate is one thing, and it's necessary to solve our problems. But spouting off? No, thank you.

Ditto to the 'runaway bride' romcom. Not my kind of thing, either.

But those Katie Cat 'photos are. She's just lovely, and I'm glad you shared them.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Thanks, Margot! I guess they're are a lot of folks in the world who enjoy seeing other people get beaten down, whether on social media or in "romantic" stories. I don't get it.

That cat rules my house, so when she actually stops and lets me take pictures, I feel like a servant doing her bidding. :D

Holly Jahangiri said...

Lovely cat! I have no pets, so I cannot indulge my inner film noir director and do a goth take on "Henri the Existential Cat" or "Lucy: World's Smallest Working Dog" or whoever we've got toting around the latest GoPro camera. *heavy sigh* Well, my husband told me when we got married that I'd have to choose between him or a house pet, and... well, I've not really regretted that in 30 years.

I hold freedom of speech sacred. That means upholding the right to be a jacka** in public. It also means the freedom to be wrong out loud, because if we can't do that, how can anyone know we're wrong and help us figure things out? If I insist that 2 plus 2 is seventy-eleven, and you patiently explain to me that it is not - and WHY it equals four, then I've learned and grown. If I continue to insist it's seventy-eleven, you've done your part and ought to leave me to my wrong-headedness (or unfriend me for it if I'm especially strident or rude).

BUT, there's no cause to be abusive towards others in any case. You know that I am liberal and my friends are probably evenly divided along party lines and fall all over the ideological spectrum. The only thing I don't tolerate on my own Facebook wall is abuse of others. (I will admit there've been times in the past I've wished I hadn't ever ventured OFF my wall or learned what lurks in the hearts of some people I'm acquainted with, but it's not too often.)

Of course, my friends are also wicked smart. Despite that, we all fall for the clever memes that play right into our core beliefs, from time to time. MY friends don't hesitate to challenge me - politely but very straightforwardly - when I post something of questionable value. (Being a fact-checker, myself, it's a double-edged sword and I wouldn't have it any other way.) That's what conversation and good rhetoric are for - to challenge ideas and to persuade others. Not JUST to share cute cats, surely... :)

That said, a well timed cat video can soothe the savage beasts and avert disaster, from time to time.

I agree with you on the "runaway bride" theme. I might make an exception for the sort that are built around arranged marriages, where neither of the couple are truly happy, and the bride - much to the secret relief of her young intended - finally grows a spine before it's too late and says, "No, enough, I'm not going through with this."

Patricia Stoltey said...

Ha! I knew I could lure you over here if I really tried. Welcome, Holly. I'm with you on the sacred, it's the strident and rude I don't want in my life. I have real-life friends who hold a variety of political and religious beliefs different from my own, and we talk, but we don't try to hurt each other. I avoid toxic folks who "discuss" by ridiculing others' beliefs. Why should it be any different on social media?

As for spouses versus pets, my husband and cat are best buds. If someone had to go, it would probably be me. :D

I had never considered the arranged marriage plot, but I can see this might happen in some cultures. I was thinking mostly of a Hallmark movie I watched a couple of weeks ago. I felt so bad after that movie I swore I'd never watch another one that even hinted of such a story line.

Mason Canyon said...

Love the photos of Katie. It does take some time getting them use to you taking photos of them. If I get the camera or my phone, Traveler usually goes and hides but he is getting a little better at it. The first photo of Katie looking out the window could lead to several interesting stories.

I believe in freedom of speech, but not in spouting off and being belligerent. Just don't understand people like that.

Carol Kilgore said...

Katie Cat is a bundle of cuteness. I can get good shots of one of our dogs but not the other.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Katie is so cute!

Remember that crazy runaway bride from Atlanta who ran to Vegas? What a nut job.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Your pictures brought a lump to my throat. Katie looks just like our cat that we lost after 18 years about this time last year. We miss her and wish we had more pictures.
I unfollow people who do the rude thing on social media. I just shake my head at those big arguments that get going.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Hi Mason -- I just wish Katie Cat had a better attitude about other kitties. I'd love to get another one, but I'm afraid it would be traumatized from day one.

Carol, I think dogs are much more agreeable about posing. For that matter, they're better about doing anything their human wants. Cats expect the humans to do anything they want.

Diane -- yes, I remember that runaway bride...and the publicity she got. Not a pretty story.

I'm so sorry about your kitty, Susan. We get so attached to our babies. I think I'm taking more pictures of the cat than I did of my kids....but let's blame the film/developing versus ease of digital cameras.

Unknown said...

Oh the cuteness of your Katie Cat!

I agree about the rants. I love the "hide from notifications" feature and have unchecked notifications or unfollowed (even though I stay friends) with frequency. I don't believe, even once, has anyone been persuaded to change their point of view from the words of a barbed status.

As for the jilted groom-- I either haven't watched enough of these movies or given it much thought. Sounds like a theme whose time has come and gone, however!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Hi Julie! I also discovered the Facebook option to unfollow without unfriending. I like it!

As for the jilted groom tales, I don't know who enjoys them. It would be interesting to get some feedback from the readers and movie audience and find out why those stories keep coming.

Kate Lansing said...

What a pretty kitty! She looks a bit like my cat, who I LOVE to photograph :-) I take more pictures of her than of anything else, lol.

The only movie I've seen with a jilted groom(s) was Runaway Bride with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. Not the best story, but I liked how they tried to show that she did what she did because she wasn't being true to herself (she'd never even taken the time to figure out what kind of eggs she liked!). Still, gotta feel sorry for those guys...

Patricia Stoltey said...

Greetings, Kate! Sometimes I follow the cat around the house like I'm a member of the paparazzi. I pretend I'm practicing with my new camera....

Too bad these brides can't figure out what kind of eggs they like before they beat 'em up. :D

Jemi Fraser said...

Katie Cat is growing up and gorgeous! :)

Rants drive me batty whether they're online or in person. Being entitled to an opinion is different from ramming it at other people

Arlee Bird said...

I don't do much on FB other than comment on the posts of others and I avoid the issue driven ones.

I might open the floor for ideas on my blog sometimes, but I try not to get too forceful with my own ideas. I just like to engage in discussions sometimes and lately most of them have been about music.

Arlee Bird
A to Z Challenge Co-host
Tossing It Out

Patricia Stoltey said...

Jemi, I agree. I'm tired of what I consider constant jibes and jabs from some folks.

Lee, there can't be a better topic to discuss and debate than music. I like that discussion of which group or band does a song best! It's fun.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear. I was working on one that wasn't a runaway bride, but she has a panic attack when he proposes. Just as bad? Ikes!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Much better to have the panic attack during the proposal than at the altar...although if the guy is doing the proposal at the Super Bowl and it's being shown to the world, that could certainly be an embarrassing moment when she runs for the exit. :D

Anonymous said...

No, not a public humiliation. Nor is she even not sure she wants the guy. It's a long story. I'll have to write it. ;-)

This gives me food for thought, though, in terms of how to characterize her and how to approach the whole situation.