Closing Thoughts on 2012

By Holly A. Bell

As 2012 draws to a close, I have a few random thoughts I need to get off my chest before the end of the year:2012

On gender neutral toys:

If we truly want toys and other items to be gender neutral, why do we continue to insist on labeling colors as gender specific? Why can’t a boy play with a pink toy? Men have been wearing pink shirts and ties for years and I’ve never known a girl who refused to play with or wear something blue. Something icky or ugly perhaps, but never blue.

On preventing tragedy:

Humans have been trying to manage risk and control tragedy since we began throwing virgins into volcanoes, yet tragedy still exists. In spite of all our efforts to mitigate risks for our children, and ourselves it will never go away. We have to understand there is a difference between risk and uncertainty. Risk can be calculated and partially mitigated, but uncertainty cannot. The actions of nature and people are often uncertain.

On social media:

I like social media, I really do. But it seems like trying to discuss issues on Twitter has devolved—to put it academically—into a study of the density of the use of four letter words to convey ignorance of cause and effect. In addition to the types of four letter words I won’t repeat here, it includes words like work, evil, poor, guns, fair, owes, debt, and, of course, rich.

Related to other types of four letter words, civil discourse on the issues often seems rare, while shouting in all caps and name calling is not. Resorting to colorful metaphors does not strengthen your argument, make me to go away, or convince me that your point of view is better reasoned; therefore, superior to mine. I am also not likely to even consider your opinion, even if it has merit, if you add #moron to the end of your post. If you can’t find a polite way to make your point, please remain silent.

On the Fiscal Cliff, U. S. debt, gun control, Congress, the economy, and unemployment:

I’ve tried to make polite arguments about how to deal with these problems, but no one is listening. I have decided for the rest of 2012 to take my own advice and remain silent. Good luck.

Holly A. Bell is an Assistant Professor teaching business and economics in the University of Alaska system. She is also an experienced author, analyst, manager, and blogger who lives in the Mat-Su Valley of Alaska. You can visit her website at or follow her on Twitter at @HollyBell8

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2012 image courtesy of sdmania

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3 thoughts on “Closing Thoughts on 2012

  1. Very good points Holly. My son did play with a pink Nintendo, and I do think boys would play with more pink, if they made more boy toys in pink. Gender toys are a funny thing. I use to not believe in gender play, until I had both a son and daughter, and they both think very differently.

    I agree social media does bring out the worse in people, especially when they are some what anonymous. You should read the comments after a news piece in the anchorage daily news, some ate very poor in taste.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

    1. Debbie-I don\’t have to read the ADN comments to understand poor taste in comments. I can simply read the comments on my blog posts and responses to what I write on Twitter and the other social media sites I use to promote my blog. You can\’t do any writing without having pretty thick skin 🙂

      [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us \’0 which is not a hashcash value.

  2. Holly,

    I read all your posts, and since we are like-minded, don’t comment too often. Many of your posts are controversial, which brings out the worst in people, and I believe people will be nastier in print than they would be face to face. Please don’t let that deter you. I find your posts very interesting. In fact, many times they confirm what I believe to be true. Thanks!

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

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