Thoughts on Mother's day
May 9, 2010 7:44 AM   Subscribe

today i realized that with every passing year, holding on to "mom" becomes that much more fragile. that one day my only link to my history, my home culture, my language - my mother's tongue(s) will be lost.
posted by infini at 8:10 AM on May 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

Betty White is hilarious - love her willingness to get right in there and be spontaneous.
posted by garnetgirl at 8:14 AM on May 9, 2010

Treat her right… treat your mother right
treat her right… treat her right

MOTHER. There is no other
Like mother. So treat her right.
Mother. I'll always love her,
My mother. So treat her right,
treat her right.

M is for the moans and the miserable groan
from the pain that she felt when I was born.

O is for the oven with the burning heat
where she stood making sure I had something to eat.

T is for the time that she stayed up nights
and took my temperature when I wasn't feeling right.

H is for the hard-earned money she spent
to keep clothes on my back and tried to pay the rent.

E is every wrinkle I put on her face
and every worry that I caused when I stayed out late.

The last letter, R, is that she taught me: RESPECT,
and for the room up in heaven that I know she'll get.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:17 AM on May 9, 2010 [3 favorites]

It's good to see so many women on SNL. The census sketch reminded me of Monty Python.
posted by anshuman at 8:33 AM on May 9, 2010

And I should add .. so good to see so many women being so funny on SNL.
posted by anshuman at 8:34 AM on May 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

I offer you this to break the silence.
posted by gman at 9:12 AM on May 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

my favorite mother's day song...cut from the musical "gypsy".

Send a dozen gardenias to your mother.
Tomorrow's Mother's Day.
You can never replace her with another.
No matter what they say!

Give her the earth!

Give her the earth!

That's what she's worth!

That's what she's worth!

Give her a little something. She gave you birth.
And by this time next year, She may not be here.
Remember Mother's Day!

Give her the earth!

Give her the earth!

That's what shes worth!

That's what she's worth!

Give her a little something. She gave you birth.
And by this time net year, She may not be here.
Remember Mother's Day!
posted by billybobtoo at 9:12 AM on May 9, 2010

It worked.
posted by gman at 9:13 AM on May 9, 2010

I think it's an appropriate and good thing to acknowledge that Mother's Day isn't just a warm and fuzzy Hallmark occasion. For women dealing with infertility wondering "will I ever be a mother?", for people who have suffered the horrific loss of a child who are so often not counted as mothers on this day, for mothers who have given up children in closed adoptions, for mothers of the lost and the missing who live with the agony of uncertainty, for children big and small who miss their mothers terribly on this holiday and for many, many other people who's life doesn't fit neatly into a mass-market card, it's a particularly painful day.

The kindest thing you can do is remember and acknowledge these people today. It costs less than a card.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:19 AM on May 9, 2010 [22 favorites]

Betty White isn't actually a mother, right?
posted by amro at 9:23 AM on May 9, 2010

Mod note: a few comments removed, that was pretty not-okay on both sides
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:23 AM on May 9, 2010

Betty White isn't actually a mother, right?
I don't believe so. But she is grandmother to many of us.
posted by WolfDaddy at 9:37 AM on May 9, 2010 [6 favorites]

Despite my resistance to the Hallmarkization of holidays and a strong desire to examine the underside of our assumptions about holidays, somehow I never, ever got to the big realization about my own family and Mother's Day.

We don't celebrate Mother's Day or Father's Day. My dad always tried to instill in us the ideas that corporate-sponsored holidays are no substitute for sentiment and that we should celebrate Mom every day.

Also, my mom's birthday falls in early May, so we always have a birthday party for her right around Mother's Day. As a kid, I always felt like that was a factor.

But now I realize that there were more layers there. My parents' first child died in infancy. Their first Mother's Day and Father's Day must have been heartbreaking. No wonder they decided not to establish it as a family tradition. Thank you, bunnycup, for helping me put some pieces together.
posted by Elsa at 9:39 AM on May 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

It's good to see so many women on SNL. The census sketch reminded me of Monty Python.

Reminded me, in a good way, of their LAST census sketch. Hell, I think it's the same building and hallway.

That's not a knock, it was definitely different but a nice nod.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 9:41 AM on May 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Thoughts on Mother's Day.
posted by mazola at 10:04 AM on May 9, 2010

The census sketch was about the only thing in last night's show that I even mildly chuckled at.

Really SNL, your cold open is Lawrence Welk? And not just Lawrence Welk, but a tired premise that you've done maybe half a dozen times that was barely amusing the first time. Way to be contemporary and culturally relevant there.

SNL wasn't great back when Tina Fey was writing for them, but they're especially not great this season.
posted by willnot at 10:23 AM on May 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

I must the the only person in the world who thought SNL last night was typically unfunny and boring. Betty White has been an accomplished comedian for--what--50-60 years and the best they could come up for her was "teehee old lady says something dirty"? I actually read a review that essentially said: "you would think is was tired and boring to spend 90 minutes trying to get an old lady to say dirty things, but they kept doing it! and even though it was totally the point of every skit they put her in, clearly they showed off how she's not just funny cause she's an old lady saying dirty things!"

My head exploded.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:27 AM on May 9, 2010 [4 favorites]

Betty White was indeed superb. Check out the two sketches that did NOT make it on the air: a hilarious "Bronx Beat" sketch (with Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Betty with Andy Samberg) and a "Debby Downer" (without Ms. White).
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 10:29 AM on May 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

I love Mother's Day.

I love that it celebrates moms. Sure, they should be celebrated every day, but we all know how life goes, and the annual reminder to stop and shower Mom with praise and joy is valuable. Sometimes, a corny, contrived holiday gives you just the right amount of push to remember to thank others for what they've done.

I love that in my lifetime, Mother's Day has expanded to include all sort of moms. The single mom. The stepmom. The adoptive mom. Heather's two moms. The women who never had their own kids but fill the role to countless children (or adults, for that matter) who need it. And the men who do the same thing.

I love that it encourages people like me, whose mothers have died, to remember and cherish the memories, instead of avoiding them because of our fear of grieving too much and too long.

I love that it reminds us what a healthy bond between a parent and child should be, and stands as an example to those kids currently trapped in a dysfunctional relationship with a parent. (Hang in there, kids, whoever you are).

I love that it was founded by Julia Ward Howe, the abolitionist and suffragist.

Does it have its problems with casual sexism and commercialism? Absolutely. But the good so outweighs the bad as to be practically minuscule.

I love Mother's Day. I love Father's Day, for many of the same reasons. And as a childless woman who will be planting flowers on her mother's grave this evening, I'm here to say that Annie Lamott can go pound sand.
posted by magstheaxe at 10:34 AM on May 9, 2010 [7 favorites]

I love Betty White and last night made me very happy. Just seeing her, that very first moment, made me grin in the dorkiest way. Even if yeah, it was all "tee hee old lady says dirty things," I still loved seeing her on screen clearly enjoying herself. And the expression on her face and how long she held it in place there in the first (IIRC) MacGruber sketch when he went off on her was priceless. That face was the best part, for sure.
posted by ifjuly at 10:41 AM on May 9, 2010

I don't know if its a derail but reading some of the comments, particularly magstheaxe, makes me want to scream out loud on behalf of all the women who are patronizingly and subtly looked down upon by their more prolific sisters for not having/being able to/whatever reasons, "achieved" their "destiny" (by virtue of having been born with a womb). With all due respect, anyone with half a brain can procreate but very few can create something out of nothing.

sometimes I think women are women's worst enemies...
posted by infini at 11:06 AM on May 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

I am estranged from my mother and have no children (both by grim choice). I hate being reminded of both. Mother's Day can pound sand. Love Betty White, though.
posted by airgirl at 11:11 AM on May 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

I am declaring this the last thing I write about Betty White for the next 6 months... even SHE can be overexposed.

The Lawrence Welk 'cold open' was not good... I worried.
Betty's monologue WAS good... I stopped worrying... loved her dissing of Facebook... could've been a 'damn kids get off my lawn' bit, but she handled it well (also will make it harder for FB to use their 'Betty White Triumph' for promotion... yay!)
The "Muffin" sketch worked for me, and I'm usually bored by bits that drag out one double-entendre joke.
MacGruber's Grandma? Okay, like all the MacGruber bits, good in small, short doses... I worried when they did 3 in a half-hour, but thankfully it stopped there... extending "MacGruber" into a full length movie? Guaranteed Disaster.
The Hispanic Talk Show was just silly, but everyone played it knowing it's just silly, and the dancing was a hoot.
The only time I was embarrassed for Betty was the sketch where her only line was "she's a lesbian".
Weekend Update was a mix. Most of the headline gags were good, but Whitney Houston? Totally meh. Betty took the piss out of the "I'm 50 years old!" character, but that was too easy. Bringing back the past anchors for "REALLY?!?" was the non-Betty highlight of the show (and they knew it would be).
I liked tossing Betty into the "Scared Straight" sketch with Kenan, (with no attempt to explain HOW she could be his grandma) but I enjoy the Nickelodeon dude more than most. But using Willy Wonka and Wizard of Oz references just reminded me that he is STILL the Nickelodeon Dude.
"CSI Sarasota" was way too obvious, but a good example of Betty's ability to make something funnier than it was written. (only the 137th time I'd heard the Depends joke)
The Digital Short almost lost me with the saccharine "Golden Girls" song but then the Death Metal twist happened and killed. Comedy whiplash at its best.
The census bit was good; I didn't know the connection to another sketch 10 years ago until I saw it written about, but it proved an incredible fact: Betty White IS the new Christopher Walken.
The Jay-Z musical segments gave me an opportunity to catch short naps, but that's just me.
Surprised and kinda disappointed they didn't revisit more obvious "Betty White" memes... the Muffin bit pre-empted any Sue Ann Nevins reference, but it was worth it... but no Snickers commercial parody? no 'boob hunting' from "The Proposal" or alligator feeding from "Lake Placid"? And after her "crazy bitch" line with Craig Ferguson went viral, I was positive she'd have a meeting with Tina Fey's Palin (I SAID IT IN MY FREAKING ARTICLE). But what they did added to her meme collection (the Muffins, the Caruso sunglasses, etc.)

Still, anytime SNL gets close to a .500 batting average for genuine funny, it's a rare and precious occasion. I would hate to be Alec Baldwin, next week's host, trying to follow that.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:11 AM on May 9, 2010

Y'know, my family doesn't celebrate any holiday between October and January. Those months are filled with death for us and the few of us that remain look upon those times when everyone's having candy and turkey and mistletoe and champagne with a more somber attitude than most everyone else.

In contrast both my mother and her mother were born on Mother's Day. It's one of the few celebrations left to my family that we can associate with happiness.

I don't often feel the need to mention either of these facts whenever any particular day of celebration comes around. Today I do. Life is sometimes hard. Let people find joy where they may.
posted by WolfDaddy at 11:22 AM on May 9, 2010 [6 favorites]

I despise Mother's Day, so I guess I can just go pound sand with Annie Lamott.

Infertility has stolen my joy w/r/t most holidays, but you can just imagine the fresh round of hurt that comes special with this holiday..."Mothers" who beat the shit out of their kids are getting happy little cards today...

I did my part, a card and a gift for my mother and MIL. That's all anyone is getting out of me, except a warm-as-I-can-muster Happy Mothers Day to my mommied friends.

Otherwise, I will be over here, pounding the sand.
posted by Grlnxtdr at 11:32 AM on May 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

I don't believe so. But she is grandmother to many of us.

I dunno, I'm finding it really weird that she's included in a Mother's Day post.
posted by amro at 12:45 PM on May 9, 2010

The SNL episode had a Mother's day theme to it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:49 PM on May 9, 2010

Once upon a time, Mother's Day posts ended in hugs and chocolate chip cookies for everyone: The Real Mother's Day?
posted by toodles at 12:50 PM on May 9, 2010

Betty White's an actor, but she seems to be true to herself when she's being interviewed, even when she's fed questions that expect, and possibly require, her to answer as if she were senile and happy to be thought so. IMO, she is gracious, dignified, witty, salty, no matter what vulgarity she's hired for (e.g. SNL, Ellen Show). She's still working in her field at the age of 88 and intends to continue on. She's a "trooper". I hope she's paid the serious coin she deserves that lets us laugh at her art.
posted by drogien at 1:02 PM on May 9, 2010

The woman who founded Mother's Day became so horrified at the commercialization of the holiday she spent the rest of her life campaigning against it.

She incorporated herself as the Mother’s Day International Association, trademarked the phrases "second Sunday in May" and "Mother's Day", and was once arrested for disturbing the peace. She and her sister Ellsinore spent their family inheritance campaigning against what the holiday had become.

"A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment." —Anna Jarvis.

posted by straight at 2:47 PM on May 9, 2010

Report from the (packed) DC gay bars showing last night's SNL: the great majority of the show was larded with laugh-out-loud funny moments and much joy was shared in seeing the improbable succeed. Liking things is fun!
posted by kittyprecious at 3:11 PM on May 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

Betty White has been an accomplished comedian for--what--50-60 years and the best they could come up for her was "teehee old lady says something dirty"?

To be fair that is what she's long been known for. She killed on one of the Comedy Central roasts ... can't remember which one. She can be very raunchy when given the opportunity, and usually hilarious.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:38 PM on May 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Report from the (packed) DC gay bars showing last night's SNL: the great majority of the show was larded with laugh-out-loud funny moments and much joy was shared in seeing the improbable succeed. Liking things is fun!

I went to a drag musical a few months ago. The audience was comprised of gay men who were mostly forty and up. I believe the crowd was also very educated and intelligent (the people I went with certainly were). The jokes that went over the best were sexual jokes that could have been written by a fourteen year old.

Gay men seem to enjoy obvious, vulgar sex jokes as much as or more than teenage boys. The difference, of course, is that the jokes the gay men enjoy have to be spoken by gay men or by women.
posted by flarbuse at 3:42 PM on May 9, 2010

It occurs to me that this has been a good Mother's Day because it's the first one in years that I haven't had some well-meaning acquaintance or stranger grill me about whether I've called my mother yet. Then I have to spend a while dancing around the answer, which is, "No, because she's dead. Thanks for bringing it up." The folks who assume I am a mother and the loud ad campaigns don't bother me, but, well, etiquette tip - if someone acts like they don't want to talk about how they're celebrating the day, let it drop.
posted by Karmakaze at 4:20 PM on May 9, 2010

She killed on one of the Comedy Central roasts ... can't remember which one.

William Shatner.
posted by amro at 6:07 PM on May 9, 2010

i really liked the show, and i thought it was really moving that betty white got to experience that level of appreciation, at this point in her career, from a new generation of entertainers. it was more a sense that she was a guest of honor. and yeah, it was neat that they fucked with her whole sweet-grandmother image. betty white has been in the industry for decades and has seen shit that would curl my hair.

it was also neat to see a lot of the women of SNL back on. i probably like more of their female actors in the past few years than the males. the show itself can be hit or miss, but i tend to be patient with it; i see it as less a final product than a process--it's on late saturday night for a reason. even the stuff that doesn't work has some interesting elements.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 8:29 PM on May 9, 2010

Happy Mothers day, from Tennessee.
via my brother's flickr
posted by nola at 8:56 PM on May 9, 2010

Save the Children’s eleventh annual Mothers’ Index compares the well-being of mothers and children in 160 countries.

Norway, Australia, Iceland and Sweden top the rankings this year. The top 10 countries attain very high scores for mothers’ and children’s health, educational and economic status. Afghanistan ranks last among the surveyed countries. Seven from 10 bottom-ranked countries are from sub-Saharan Africa. The United States places 28th.

Conditions for mothers and their children in the bottom 10 countries are grim. On average, 1 in 23 mothers will die from pregnancy-related causes. One child in 6 dies before his or her fifth birthday, and 1 child in 3 suffers from malnutrition. Nearly 50 percent of the population lack access to safe water and only 4 girls for every 5 boys are enrolled in primary school.

The gap in availability of maternal and child health services is especially dramatic when comparing Norway and Afghanistan. Skilled health personnel are present at virtually every birth in Norway, while only 14 percent of births are attended in Afghanistan.

posted by infini at 9:03 PM on May 9, 2010

posted by Eideteker at 10:11 PM on May 9, 2010

improv never dies, it just drops the ball
posted by infini at 10:20 PM on May 9, 2010

SNL’s Betty White Deleted Scenes.
posted by ericb at 2:01 PM on May 10, 2010

@infini: I will never understand that mentality. Do you want to scream on behalf of white people when Black History Month rolls around? Are people who aren't secretaries "patronizingly and subtly looked down" when Secretary's Day arrives? Why is it that when we take time out to celebrate a group, a bunch of people not in that group take offense?

Mother's Day is not about, and has never been about, marginalizing women who haven't given birth. As I said in my post, if anything it's gotten more inclusive over the years. There was a time when lesbian parents would have gone unacknowledged. A gentleman of my acquantience gets a Mother's Day card every year from a young man he nurtured in his lates teens and early twenties--the man says that my friend was more of a mother to him than his birth mother. I give Mother's Day cards to my childless aunt and my old Sunday School teacher, because those ladies were who I could run to on those rare occasions when my own mother didn't understand me. And on and on.

Ultimately, Mother's Day is about celebrating the people in your lives who have nurtured you in the way that a mother should. For a lot of people, that's their actual birth mothers. For a lot of people, it's not. Those folks have figured out something that you've decided a bunch of women haven't, which is that you don't have to have a working uterus or ovaries to love someone like a mom should.

@Grlnxtdr: I despise Mother's Day, so I guess I can just go pound sand with Annie Lamott. Infertility has stolen my joy w/r/t most holidays...

I can't have kids either. I decided I could choose to be jealous of parents and let that jealousy make me miserable, or I could choose to find happiness elsewhere. I'm glad for the people who have moms to celebrate, and children to celebrate them.
posted by magstheaxe at 12:32 PM on May 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

Nice old Biddy enunciates cuss-words to titillate jaded young whipper-snappers.

Now Undercover Woman, that was a classic.
posted by ovvl at 7:17 PM on May 12, 2010

magstheaxe: I'm sorry if what I said came across the way you've articulated. that was not my intent. in my own culture the life of a barren/childless/husbandless woman is meaningless and she has no role in traditional culture/society. this is changing but not very fast.
posted by infini at 1:15 AM on May 13, 2010

Oh my God, I demand a t-shirt that says BARREN.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:09 PM on May 14, 2010

DarlingBri, you can design one on
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:18 PM on May 14, 2010

Dear Brandon Blatcher, I love you so. Can I not have your babies?
posted by DarlingBri at 12:27 PM on May 14, 2010

Sure, don't call and we'll sure it never happens.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:44 PM on May 14, 2010

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