Posted in Communication, Leadership, trust

Surviving the Pandemic – Thoughts on Vulnerability and Ellen DeGeneres


I recently donated my newly purchased book Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts, by Brene Brown. Her rise to fame began with a her first TED Talk, “The Power of Vulnerability.” I’ve watched her and think she is fun and charming. I imagine, she would be a wonderful friend.

Being vulnerable has really not worked out very well for me, unlike Brene teaches. (Sorry I can’t figure out how to place the accent on her final “e”. Maybe somebody could help me out with that.) And, increasingly, with “cancel culture” I find that I don’t want to open myself to destruction, because that seems to be the result of vulnerability.

After seventeen years of hosting a super successful talk show, and no accusations of perceived negative off-screen behavior, Ellen DeGeneres is suddenly pelted with criticism to the extreme that her show has been cancelled in Australia and is under investigation in the U.S. That rarely ends well.

I’ll throw in this little bit. I am beginning to detect when the avalanche will come. Ellen did a “no-no” back in October and defended herself. What did she do? She sat and chatted with Republican, and former president, George Bush at a Dallas Cowboys game. They talked and laughed together.

Conservatives drew some hope from Ellen’s comments. But a certain element found this completely unacceptable.

Ellen said that she happened to be friends with George Bush and also with a lot of other people with whom she disagreed on some points. This may actually be what inclusivity looks like. But the mob came after her. She broke one of the commandments of the liberal far left, namely, you cannot endorse or give a platform to anyone on the right.

Ellen’s show focused on kindness and goodness and acceptance, and I’m sorry to hear she may not have been all of these things off screen at all times. But the way she was mobbed was unfair.

Let’s note that there are people who know her well and saw her in many different situations who have nothing but good to say about her. Her brother Vance DeGeneres wrote on Twitter,

If you think Ellen would knowingly allow bullying or racism on her show, you don’t know my sister. She has been and continues to be a bright light in a dark world. She’s one of the kindest, most generous people you’ll ever meet. And one of the funniest.

Maybe she is not the monster the media has made her out to be. Many of the allegations are unsupported, and many are about her staff, not even about Ellen. But it makes for plenty of fodder. News sites have become cheap tabloids.

I’ve thought recently about the statue of Jesus beheaded at a church in Florida and another in Indianapolis. The last prayer of Jesus Christ, as he hung on the cross, was, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Think for a moment. Jesus went about doing good, healing the sick, feeding the poor, teaching about forgiveness. I can only conclude that the people doing this know nothing about the significance of his life. Jesus was a peace-maker. But some people only want war.

praying hands

And speaking of war, the media is trying to prime us for war. Have you seen it? We do not want war. We do not want our men and women fighting and killing other men and women.

I’m going to throw something out here. It could be possible that the “influencers” who are behind the trouble we see in the U.S. are not even Americans, but people who do not have the best interest of the American people in mind.

Another intellectual has been forced to resign because of his scientific views. James Cantor resigned his 27-year-long membership in the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. Read here,

Top Canadian sex researcher quits scientific group after being blasted for views on transgender issues

The essay he posted on the listserv argues there is no defence for discrimination against transgender people in areas like housing, jobs, access to public washrooms and sports. But he says the dismissive acronym TERF — trans-exclusionary radical feminist — is used too broadly, including for Rowling or people who say children should not start transitioning before age 12, a view he says is backed up by science.

I learned yet another term from this article. It is sea-lioning. This professor was accused of sea-lioning. This is how the article ends:

Myeshia Price-Feeney, research scientist at the Trevor Project, a crisis-intervention group, said her only concern is to support transgender and non-binary people to live “their true authentic selves,” meaning that there is “literally nothing to debate here.”

Wayne State University PhD student Jami Pittman said “I would just like to express a great sense of violence that I feel from being exposed to this conversation.”

Finneran Muzzey, a PhD student at Michigan State University, wrote of having been subjected to Cantors’ “harmful tactics” previously on the forum.

Cantor responded forcefully to his critics on the listserv, asking them to point out any factual errors he had made. (my bold/italics)

Purnell, in turn, accused him of “sea-lioning,” an online trolling tactic that involves “pursuing people with persistent requests for evidence or repeated questions, while maintaining a pretense of civility and sincerity.”

Apparently you cannot discuss facts because some people feel “a great sense of violence” when they are exposed to facts. And requests for evidence are not welcome either. Your sincerity and civility is in question if you do this.

There is a saying that prophets mourn while the people are laughing and laugh while the masses are mourning. When the masses see catastrophe, they see deliverance coming. While others laugh and cast off restraint, the prophets see difficult times ahead and judgment on wickedness.

I don’t know if it was a prophet I heard speaking this week, but he was laughing. He was saying that this is the last act for the leftist activists. That is why they are so desperate and are behaving so irrationally. I don’t know if it is true. But it could be. Let’s not fool ourselves. We reap what we sow.

I’m not known for my vulnerability. When I try to be vulnerable it only comes across as pathetic. Not only that, I find people don’t value my vulnerability. They trample me when I am vulnerable. Sorry, Brene. Your book doesn’t work for me. Apparently it’s not working for Ellen DeGeneres either. Maybe we need another book.

Posted in COVID-19, Leadership, trust

Surviving the Pandemic – As the pandemic drags on, governments shouldn’t take our trust for granted

Instead of writing about my week, I am posting a link to an article that expresses some thoughts I’ve had this recently. We, the people, can be trusted with information. Here are two quotes:

Canadians have demonstrated that they’re prepared to sacrifice a lot if the evidence shows it will protect their neighbours and grandparents. But the onus is on political leaders to communicate the evidence and their underlying policy objectives in a clear and dispassionate way….

Tell us what the objective is and what we need to do to get our lives back. Be honest about the trade-offs. It isn’t about choosing between saving lives and saving jobs. That’s rightly regarded as a false choice. Instead it’s about understanding our objectives and the plans to get there.

Nothing will erode our confidence and our willingness to cooperate as quickly as learning that we have been deceived or manipulated, or treated as if we don’t have the capacity to understand.