pissing people off: 293/365

In episode 19 of season 1 of The West Wing, now available on Netflix, the administration is accused of never taking a stand. The president is apparently afraid of pissing people off and thereby not being re-elected. But by the end of the episode, which first aired in April of 2000 and which I’ve never forgotten, Let Bartlet be Bartlet had become his mantra, re-election be damned. Aaron Sorkin is a genius, his dialogue so quick and smart and that I bought The West Wing Script Book so I could study it.

Last week, at Writing by Writers in Tomales Bay, one of the panel topics was “How Hard Should We Be Trying to Piss People Off?” You can listen to some of the discussion between Dorothy Allison, Steve Almond, and Pam Houston courtesy of a Ben Hess Story Geometry podcast. As the panelists say, each in his or her own special way, the fear of pissing people off acts as a restraint, and although we don’t want pissing people off to be our goal, neither do we want the fear of it to hold us back from taking a stand or from being ourselves.

Many of you know that I have issues with my name–Cindy or Cynthia. When people ask what they should call me, I say whichever. Neither one suits me. I grew up as Cindy, which sounds like I should be modeling swimsuits, and each time I start a new profession, I re-try Cynthia, which I think sounds more serious but also a little priggish. As Evan S. Connell wrote at the beginning of Mrs. Bridge:

Her first name was India–she was never able to get used to it. It seemed to her that her parents must have been thinking of someone else when they named her. Or were they hoping for another sort of daughter?

So I’m just going to say, Let me be me.

~

 365 true things about me
why this daily practice

6 thoughts on “pissing people off: 293/365

  1. Thanks for the shout out! Wondering if you ever considered going by your middle name? I had a brief spell where I tried going by Benjamin … lasted like a week. 🙂

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    • I don’t think Newberry has quite the right ring to it : ) My original middle name was Lee and that’s better but not right either. Now I’m wondering what name I would choose if I could name myself… Kathleen maybe, which I named my daughter. Or Wynn, my granddaughter’s name. Or Carrie–she was a great aunt… Glad you stuck with Ben.

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