Memorial Day: Remembering Marine Sergeant David Caruso

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Memorial Day, remembering our fallen heroes who have served our great country, is, if properly observed, a somber day. For a few moments this morning, I read a little bit about Memorial Day, found a quote I loved, shared it on Facebook and Twitter and then pinned a beautiful picture of a solidier on Pinterest. Here he is:

And then, I went swimming with my family.

When checking my email later in the day, a woman who knew the warrior, Sergeant David Caruso in my Pinterest picture sent me this note:

Hello Ms. Clouthier,

I’m a follower of yours on Pinterest and I noticed this morning that you had repinned a picture of a Marine in a pocket photo holder with a POW and US flag in honor of Memorial Day. I thought you’d like to know a little about the hero in that picture, as he was an acquaintance of mine and very good friend of my brother’s.

His name is David Caruso. He was born on October 25, 1979 in Winfield, IL, and raised in Naperville, both suburbs of Chicago. He was the youngest of three boys. He attended the same elementary, middle, and high schools as all the kids in our neighborhood, in the same class as my older brother. In high school he was a scholar and athlete, and a member of the football team. He was an Eagle Scout and is responsible for reviving a lovely little park in our childhood neighborhood as his Eagle Scout project. As a senior in high school, he joined the Marines. He graduated from Waubonsie Valley high school in 1998, and went on to graduate from Marine Recon School, Army Ranger School, Army Jump School, and Army Freefall School, attaining the rank of Sergeant. Throughout all of this, he kept in touch with his friends back home, and my brother often relayed his emails and letters to our family. He was able to be home attend my brother’s wedding on November 8, 2003.

Dave was deployed to Iraq in August 2004. He was assigned to the 2nd Force Reconnaissance Company, II Marine Expeditionary Force, based in Camp Lejune. He died on November 9, 2004 in the assault on Fallujah. When Dave arrived home for burial, the funeral procession took him past his home and grade school in our neighborhood. The local Boy Scout and Cub Scout troops lined the route with American flags and stood at attention for him as he passed. The photo in the Pin you posted is the same picture of Dave that is displayed in the local Catholic church our families attended, where a memorial to fallen members and friends was set up years ago.

I wish I could tell you more about Dave, but as a sister four years younger, I rarely paid much attention to my older brother’s friends beyond the ones who had sisters I admired. I do remember Dave always having a smile for me and being very quiet, but quick to laugh and always had a kind word for everyone. He was a fixture in my brother’s social circle and I have no memory in which my brother’s stories of their outings and adventures didn’t include the phrase “So then Dave says…”.

We are blessed indeed to have men like Dave willing to do what we cannot so we can remain behind to live in the freedom they secured for us at the highest price. Just thought you might want to know a little bit about the random face of a Marine who made you remember the sacrifices of all his brothers.

Best wishes and kindest regards,

Jill Wildermuth
Nashville, TN

By the end, I was crying.

Every death means something broadly for us Americans. Every death is also a personal, grievous loss for the family and friends of the fallen.

So to David Caruso’s family and friends, thank you for your sacrifice. And deepest condolences for your very personal loss. This American and her family is profoundly grateful.

Always remember.



Pinterest Is Sexist….Against Women Says Forbes Feminist

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Pinterest is sexist….against women. Seriously, that’s the position of Victoria Pynchon who says:

Pinterest Frames Women’s Interests within Tight Gender Boundaries

Go on over to Pinterest and try to find a category for business, marketing, management, entrepreneurism, politics, activism, reproductive choices, negotiation, finance, investing, law, consulting, journalism, or pretty much anything having to do with women working for a living.

This is, in a word, ridiculous.

Go to Barnes-N-Noble and what do you see? Racks of home improvement, cooking, house and garden, and fashion porn. That’s right, porn. It’s fantasy for the average woman, who comes home to her crappy couch and Hamburger Helper.

Where does she come home from? Work. What does she read because the last thing she wants to do is watch the news and/or think about business? Traditional Home, Better Homes & Garden, or in my bigwig President of a division at a Fortune 500 corporation sister: Rolling Stone (I know, I don’t get it either) and Conde Nast Travel or something.

What’s in these magazines? Beautiful pictures, mostly. Some human interest stories. Tips for living.

Why, just like Pinterest!

Yesterday, President Obama’s Pinterest team pinned some garbage about how awesome he is and so I trolled the pins. I linked to the truth. I disputed on a factual basis. No one disputed the facts, mind you. They disputed whether I should be talking about politics.

“Pinterest is a happy place,” one pinner said.

Okay then.

I’m figuring that Pinterest has done tons of market research and knows exactly what women want. Just as random porn sites know exactly what men want.

Is this a gross overgeneralization? Of course.

I noticed the constrained categories on Pinterest, too. Eh. I’ve worked around them. I have a Best Practices business page. I have a Tech Talk page. I have an America the Beautiful page. And then there’s the Politics of Freedom page.

They have lots of followers. My recipes page has more. Yes, I’ve used some of them–even women who own a couple business have to eat, and horrors! might like to cook.

What seems sexist to me is that a woman would consider a site dedicated to what most women consider interesting discriminatory.

After years of attempted gender reconstruction, and after years of women working (and nearly 80% of women do), women are still wired as women. That is, what stimulates them visually is, say, different than men. And that’s okay.

Being a girly girl is okay. I say that as a woman who has always liked “guy stuff” more–Google search metrics pegged me as a 50 to 60 year old man interested in technology and politics.

What bothers me is that to be a feminist, one cannot have traditionally feminine interests without being perceived as “less than”. Who is discriminating again?

If the majority of women like gardening, cooking, home improvement, kids crafts, and fashion, what do I care? Really? Why in the world should the difference bother any other woman?

I suggest the tomboys among us embrace Pinterest. It’s finally a female-dominated social media platform. It’s beautiful in form. It’s aspirational in substance.

Pinterest has the men joining in droves, too. As the demographics even out, categories will probably be added. Why? Because the market demands it.

It’s not discrimination. It’s Marketing 101 in practice.

But really, if men have to submit their boards to categories of the Matriachy’s standards, is that so bad?

Updated:

My friend Adrienne Royer says this:

There’s so much stupid here, I don’t know where to begin.

1. Pinterest is still in beta. You MUST ASK FOR AN INVITATION. The women who are there are there because they want to be. Pink, lace and pretty houses aren’t being forced down their throats.

2. You’d think a writer at Forbes could do some research. Pinterest was started by a group of guys. Unless these men miraculously understand women better than any XY chromosome in history, the adoption of the site by women was purely accidental.

In fact, Pinterest was started to be an idea board for creative thought leaders. The main founder has a degree in architecture and worked at Facebook. He was into design, typography and photography. He thought the site would take off in the creative class.

The way women have taken to it has shocked everyone, including Silicon Valley.

3. The real story isn’t that Pinterest isn’t forcing the patriarchy down our throats. The real story is that women love social networks, the ability to share information that is vetted by trusted people and the ability to research. The real story is how Silicon Valley is still a boy’s world and women are pretty much shut out. Right now, there are all kinds of venture capitalists scratching their heads and wondering how Pinterest became some popular because none of them ever thought about designing a social network that would draw women.

Why aren’t they harping on that?



Pinterest: Remember How People Made Fun Of Apple?

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Franklin Center is putting together a new website and I wrote a post for them about Pinterest. Here’s a snippet:

BONUS: Tips for Integrating Pinterest into your journalism:

1. Always have a picture in your post/article. Pictures are the way people search topics on Pinterest. There needs to be an “anchor”.

2. Make the picture in your post relevant and logical. Pinterest, like the internet, is literal. Clever and ironic pictures won’t make sense on Pinterest where no text is visible.

3. Put a Pinterest plugin on your Website. Make sure people can see what you follow.

4. Create a board on Pinterest of your work. People will follow and share your articles this way.

There’s much more at the link, including how Pinterest is the next Apple.