"Character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next."
- - Ezra Taft Benson
February 06, 2015
No Ifs, Ands, or Butts
by Hannah Bird

I am not sure where the appropriate venue is for confessing this but I have seen Kim Kardashian's butt. Bottom. Patootie. Backside. Cakes. Whatever. I donít think there is a word that will make this less offensive or traumatic.

Itís odd that I have seen her butt. I donít know her. Iím sure sheíd find me just delightful if she met me but she is a rich fancy person of some sort and I hate people and leaving the house. Itís just as well. If I met her now it would certainly be pretty awkward. I am not really that sure what it is she does. But since what I do is nothing, I canít imagine where our paths would cross.

I must assure you that I donít make it a practice to look at other peopleís bare bottoms. When my last child was potty trained I was delighted that the endless butt train had ended. Mostly we are a bare butt-free household.

I feel good about that.

I wanted it to stay that way. I feel the butt is perhaps over featured at this exact moment in time. But I digress.

I have no business interests with Ms. K. I am not sure what she is selling but the nearest I can guess itís anaphylaxis and cameras. I am not sure how that became a market. But I am not buying so I donít exactly run into her at work. Also, usually when I run into people at work, they are wearing pants.

I donít watch any entertainment with her in it. I am not sure why looking bored is an entertainment but if I want to see someone pulling faces like they are just so above it all, I will turn on Blacklist and watch James Spader do it properly. He is above it all. Also, he pulls off a different caper every week. With his pants on.

I am not a fancy person. I let my hair go grey because it is twinkly and reminds me of people I love. I consider dressing up putting on more turquoise jewelry. If I am ever on a red carpet it will be because someone has spilled punch. Iíll probably be yelling.

I am unfancy, rural, middle aged, and introverted. I have never taken a selfie and canít imagine the kind of hostage situation that would have to be in play for me to do so.

Still, I have seen the butt of this woman who I do not know, whose products I do not buy, whose opinions I neither seek nor value.

I saw her butt because a photo of her bare (and worryingly shiny) bottom was put on a magazine. I didnít get the magazine. I didnít have to. There were pictures on the news. There were pictures all over the internet. There were pictures on Facebook. There were pictures on the shows of the late night funny guys.

I saw a butt that I did not seek to see, want to see or need to see.

We discuss cultural shifts and new norms. ďTurn it off,Ē we are told. If you donít want to see, just donít watch. But the problem with that argument is that culture does not stay outside of us. It isnít meant to. I never had to turn on a single thing to be shown her butt.

Telling me I can turn it off is like telling a fish not to worry about poison you put in a different part of the tank. It doesnít matter. We are all swimming in it. That is what culture is. It is a shared blend of experiences, norms and values.

Itís why we all get teary when we think about 9/11 or the Challenger disaster even if we werenít there. Itís why everyone started saying ďawesomeĒ in 1980. Prior to that the word was reserved for things that were actually awe-inspiring like the Grand Canyon, rather than merely pleasant like the teacher dropping a quiz on which you did badly.

No one sat down and said, ďWhat word should we grossly abuse for the next 40 years until it has lost all meaning?Ē It just started and moved from one person to another and another and another.

I will turn it off. I will make my kids turn it off. I will block it out. But we also have to talk about what we are introducing into our shared pond. No man is an island and all that.

Also, I donít want to see any more butts.

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About Hannah Bird

I am me. I live at my house with my husband and kids. Mostly because I have found that people get really touchy if you try to live at their house. Even after you explain that their towels are fluffier and none of the cheddar in their fridge is green.

I teach Relief Society and most of the sisters in the ward are still nice enough to come.

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