Ellen DeGeneres Sitting Next To George W. Bush Is Cool, Calling Him A Friend Isn't

Celebrities just don’t make friends like us common-folk do.

If you’re wondering why Ellen DeGeneres is absolutely everywhere right now, here’s the go: she was photographed sitting next to the former US President George W. Bush at an NFL game.

The photograph has left the internet divided: some are saying that she’s setting a good example of tolerance and kindness, others are saying it’s completely baffling and morally wrong. There is no in-between.

If you’ve been living under a rock or simply don’t know the deal with Bush, here’s the key information:

  1. In 2004, when Bush was President, he announced that he wanted to amend the US constitution to ban gay marriage.
  2. Bush was also the president who instructed the US army to enter into war with Iraq and Afghanistan. His motivation apparently stemmed from the belief that these countries were harbouring weapons of mass destruction. Those countries, however, were not harbouring weapons of mass destruction.

Degeneres received so much backlash for the shot, she ended up speaking out about it on her show on Monday:

“I’m friends with George Bush. In fact, I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have. We’re all different, and I think we’ve forgotten that that’s OK that we’re all different… Just because I don’t agree with someone on everything doesn’t mean that I am not going to be friends with them. When I say be kind to one another, I don’t mean only the people that think the same way you do. I mean be kind to everyone.”

Ellen Degeneres
It’s a hard pill to swallow.

The people applauding Ellen’s stance are saying it’s a good, healthy thing to hang with people who share opposing opinions and that spending time with someone certainly does not equate sharing their beliefs.

The photo, however, has angered quite a few. It probably doesn’t help Degeneres’ case that earlier this year she backed controversial comedian Kevin Hart even while he refused to apologise for a series of old, homophobic tweets.

It was a weird time for Degeneres.

The real question here: would Degeneres and Bush share chips, guac and a nice glass of red on a Friday night? That’s what friends do, after all. It’s hard to imagine a man who literally tried to ban gay marriage for an entire country would be down to dine with married lesbians.

Ellen Degeneres probably just wanted to “keep the peace” by calling Bush a friend, which is sort of, well, disappointing. It would’ve been much more interesting and cool if she’d used her platform to assert the fact that she disagreed with Bush’s opinions yet made an example of being kind anyway.

Scott Morrison, This Is How Things Turned Out For Trans Kids After Your 'Gender Whispers' Rant

He's dodged the word "transgender" again.

How does the Morrison Government plan to tackle mental health exactly when the the PM his throwing about terms like “gender whisperers”? That’s the life or death question trans activist Georgie Stone has raised, telling The Sydney Morning Herald that Scott Morrison’s comments about transgender issues were “really disappointing” and have fuelled the stigma surrounding trans people that puts them at greater risk of mental illness.

The activist says the PM’s attitude towards trans kids does not align with his focus on reducing youth suicide rates, a cause Morrison say’s his government is combatting by increasing funding to Headspace by $263.3 million over seven years.

“It’s ironic that his [Morrison’s] government are committed to eradicating mental illness and yet they perpetuate those same mindsets and ideals that are the reason that the statistics are so horrible,” Stone said.

She’s quite correct.

Stones says suicide attempts are five times higher for LGBTIQ+ people aged 16 to 27, and 11 times higher for trans people over 18.

Yet Morrison’s response to Stone’s comments on reducing suicide rates for trans people was vague. In fact, the Prime Minister failed to mention the word “transgender” once:

“The tragedy of youth suicide is all too common in Australia, particularly amongst younger Australians working through their identity and the pressures of identity politics.”

Scott Morrison
Everyone waiting for Morrison to use the word “transgender” like…

Since becoming PM in August 2018, Morrison has called the gender-neutral toilet sign at his office “not necessary” and made plans for its removal. He also got all judgy towards Cricket Australia for trying to do the right thing – they introduced guidelines for transgender people wanting to get involved in local games which the PM deemed “mystifying” and “heavy-handed.”

Last year Morrison even tweeted about a Daily Telegraph story which claimed school staff were being trained to spot transgender children in the classroom, supposedly contributing to more children wanting to change their sex.

The phrase ‘gender whisperers’ left a lot of Aussies feeling like the leader of Australia didn’t take transgender issues seriously.

“If they [people in power] actually want to do what they’re setting out to do, they need to look at themselves and their own attitudes and see what the message is that they are promoting and the effects that’s having.”

Georgie Stone

Stone sent an invitation to meet with Scott Morrison but it was met with no response, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

“I think he needs to meet some trans young people,” Stone said. “They’re the key to changing hearts and minds.”

It’s 2019, Of Course World Events Are Giving Us Serious Mental Health Issues

Can you get “gaslighted” by Donald Trump?

In the wake of some massive world events, like The United States’ election of Donald Trump, Brexit and the climate crisis, researchers are beginning to explore how these political developments are impacting our mental health.

Is it really possible for Donald Trump, a complete stranger albeit a public figure, to cause “toxic stress” in the lives of American citizens? Is eco-anxiety real? And what about that guy who experienced the first “Brexit-induced psychosis?”

The ultimate question here is: do these psychological terms describing our response to events have any real merit?

Let’s investigate.

Donald Trump Causing ‘Toxic Stress’ In The US

According to US academics, Dominic Sisti & Cynthia Baum-Baicker, those left stooped by Trump’s election “might now be experiencing a form of toxic stress.” Apparently, such stress may be heightened by the “belligerent, unpredictable, and sometimes bizarre behaviour of the President himself.”

‘Toxic stress’ is defined by prolonged exposure to stressful situations. According to these professors, the President’s ever-changing and random implementation of policies relating to travel, immigration, healthcare, small business and investment markets “leaves millions of people wondering what is next.”

But this duo of professors takes things further by stating that Trump may have the capacity to gaslight the public. They describe his denial of saying and doing things as “a common form of abuse sometimes called gaslighting.” They also highlight how the US’ Crisis Text Line, a support service for those contemplating suicide, experienced a dramatic spike in traffic a week after the election. 

That’s a bit yikes.

Climate Change Causing ‘Eco-Anxiety’ Across The World

‘Climate anxiety’ or ‘Eco-Anxiety’ are terms that have emerged out of our growing awareness of the climate crisis. In fact, in 2017, the first full report into mental health and climate change was published by the American Psychology Association (APA).

According to the journal, the term refers to “feelings of loss and fear as species go extinct, seas rise above creature’s habitats and plant life is ruined by climate disasters.” To cope with ‘Eco-Anxiety’ the researchers suggest fostering optimism, active coping skills, practices that provide a sense of meaning and staying connected to friends and family.


The Brexit Causing A ‘Psychotic Break’ In The UK

It’s a wild thought to have: the uncertainty perpetuated by the UK’s departure from the EU has led to one man’s mental breakdown but that’s exactly what’s happened.

A British man has experienced the first-ever diagnosed case of Brexit-induced psychosis, according to the British Medical Journal (BMJ). The man in his 40s was brought to the emergency room three weeks after the Brexit referendum in 2016. During psychosis, he attempted burrowing through the hospital floor. His wife attests that his symptoms began post-referendum. He also had no history of mental illness and wasn’t abusing alcohol or drugs. 

“Political events can be a source of significant psychological stress,” said Dr Mohammad Zia Ul Haq Katshu, who treated the man and contributed to the BMJ report on the episode.

Are we really, though?

Media attention towards phrases such as ‘eco-anxiety’ and ‘toxic stress’ can make it feel like these phenomena are pervasive and imminent. But the reality is that not enough time has passed since these world occurrences and there really hasn’t been enough research to verify the prevalence of these psychological experiences.

One thing’s for sure: if the world continues on its reckless path, perhaps terms like these will become quite recognised side-effects of our circumstances and I don’t think anyone’s ready for that.

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