when the status quo frustrates.

Time to Hurl

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

I’m sure everybody remembers this:

Aww, that’s such a romantic pict–! hmm, wait. Isn’t that guy about twenty years older than that barely pubescent girl..? I mean, I can see some serious crepe-like flesh going on under that manly-man jawline there–oh, well, it’s not like even the most superficial perusal of internet porn won’t immediately inform you that “barely legal” is an overwhelmingly common male fanta–uh, wait again. Is that hairy old dude that sweet little sex kitten is being manfully embraced by HER DAD–?

Now, now, maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe this is really meant to portray the pure innocence and beauty of the father-daughter bond, and I just have a dirty, corrupt mind. I’m sure another picture from the very same photo shoot will absolutely clear up any doubt I could possibly have about the theme of this particular series of Miley and Billy Ray Cyrus publicity photos–

Yep, that definitely cleared that up.

But this is old news! The new news is that the sexualization of children shown above is apparently way, way too subtle. The message has not been gotten across, dammit! And Billy Ray Cyrus clearly ain’t gonna let that happen. You know, he has another daughter, and to eliminate the confusing nature of using the daughter that might have actually entered puberty sometime around the date of the photo shoot, this one is clearly nowhere near even the beginnings of sexual maturation.

Because 9-year-olds need a sexy line of lingerie!

..little 9-year-old Noah Cyrus is set to become a lingerie model.

She’ll be teaming up with her pint-sized best friend Emily Grace to launch a children’s lingerie collection for ‘Ohh! La, La! Couture’.

The company’s website describes The Emily Grace Collection as having a “trendy, sweet, yet edgy feel, reminiscent of Emily’s true personality.”

Emily’s collection will appeal not just to little girls – the line also has an exclusive Teen Collection available to a size 14.

Goodness, I suspect you’re right about that. This collection won’t just appeal to little girls.

Polanski arrest worse than Nazi aid

Monday, September 28th, 2009

A woman named Joan Z. Shore from Belgium founded an organization called Women Overseas for Equality. Sounds like a good thing, right? I mean, I tend to be for equality whether or not you and I are separated by large bodies of water, but unless she’s straight-up old-school colonialist about it, I can endorse being concerned about the combination of Women, Equality, and Oversea-ness.

Now, last I checked, America was overseas from Belgium. And it has women in it. And sometimes those women are raped by famous movie directors who flee the country when a judge catches that person acting like an a-hole after making a plea deal that will get him off scot free.

Now, I could be completely hammer-to-the-head insane, but doesn’t it seem like “equality” is meant as a synonym for “justice,” and that justice for a woman who is raped is, at the very least, to see her attacker brought to justice? I realize Polanski’s victim just wants the case gone, but there’s also the question of the broader social implication of just letting rape go if you’re famous and rich enough to evade the law for a couple decades. That doesn’t seem like much equality to me.

Apparently Joan Z. Shore disagrees. But before we get into that, let’s be clear about something: The Swiss used to be cool.

I used to admire [The Swiss] — their clean, orderly, decorous way of life. Their stubborn independence and self-reliance. I forgave them for the years they never joined the United Nations, and even now, not joining the European Union.

I always love talking about a nation’s people like they’re identical beings popped right off the national assembly line. Who doesn’t love the Borg?

There was so much affection wafting from Shore towards the Swiss that she even waived the Wand of Dismissal o’er the Swiss collaboration with Nazi Germany:

When I learned, years ago, that they had blithely allowed German military trains to transit their country during the Second World War, while claiming Swiss “neutrality,” I was shocked, but tried to excuse them on grounds that they were protecting their country from invasion and armed warfare.

But now? This Roman Polanski extradition is, objectively, the most heinous act in the history of the multiverse.

Arresting Roman Polanski the other day in Zurich, where he was to receive an honorary award at a film festival, was disgraceful and unjustifiable. Polanski, now 76, has been living in France for over thirty years, and has been traveling and working in Europe unhindered, but the Swiss acted on an old extradition treaty with the U.S. and seized him!

So, we have understandable Nazi compliance, but “disgusting and unjustifiable” extradition of an admitted rapist escaping punishment. This seems like a clear-headed view of the situation.

Making this an even more sensitive equivocation by Ms. Shore, Polanski was a Holocaust refugee. I wonder what he’d say if you put this question to Polanski himself: is it easier to forgive a country for turning over a wanted criminal or for letting the Nazis ship troops and supplies on its railways?

I won’t answer for him, but I will say this: Switzerland may be brought to their knees by Shore’s uber-classy, enlightened call to action.

I suggest, in the finest American tradition, we protest this absurd and deplorable act by smashing our cuckoo clocks, pawning our Swiss watches, and banning Swiss cheese and chocolate.

And let them yodel all they like.

Sounds like a person totally invested in equality to me.

This is a news story?

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

CNN headline!

Jackson’s body moved from coroner’s office

Lest you think that there is actually some serious, exciting, unusual, even criminal! even remotely suspicious! action that is about to be breathlessly revealed:

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) — Michael Jackson’s body was moved from a Los Angeles, California, coroner’s office to a mortuary Friday evening, a coroner said.

Er. Yeah, I think that’s what they usually do with corpses.

Look…I understand that Michael Jackson was one of the most famous celebrities of our time…that he had a huge cultural impact on the pop music scene…that his scandals and strangenesses were even more piquant that your usual run-of-the-mill celebrity trainwrecks…

…but please. Have mercy. NOT tomorrow’s headline: “Mortician begins to pump embalming fluid through Jackson’s veins” or “Suit chosen to dress Michael’s corpse in” or–

The Passion of Ayn Rand

Monday, April 27th, 2009

That is the title of her biography, written by one of her ex-adherents who also happened to be the wife of a man Ayn had a long-term affair with–given all that, one would expect the tone of the book to be rather more unsympathetic than otherwise. However, that’s not really the case. I read it over a decade ago for a college class–the one and only women studies course I ever took required us to choose and write an in-depth paper about an influential woman of the first half of the twentieth century. I chose Ayn Rand, for three reasons: first, because she fit the criteria as presented; second, because I have a rebellious streak and knew full well that we were expected to choose a feminist, regardless of what the criteria explicitly stated; and third, because I was genuinely interested in the woman behind Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.


My Opinion

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Which I have been resisting giving for a while now, but really, at this point, I figure I may as well express myself to the limits of my interest, which I admit are pretty narrow. I’m sure you’ve all been waiting with bated breath for this.

Equivalent in interest generation, inducement of feelings of eeuuugh, and a strenuous and powerful wish that any minors involved in the situation do not end up messed up in the head as a result for life, but conscious that unless actual minor neglect or abuse occurs, it’s really none of my fucking business in either a moral or a legal sense:

Nadya Suleman, eight days before giving birth to the last eight of her fourteen kids. (hat tip)

Michelle Duggar, just after giving birth to her eighteenth child.

The Enigma, born Paul Lawrence, a sideshow performer who has undergone extensive body modification including horn implants, ear reshaping, multiple body piercings, and a full-body jigsaw-puzzle tattoo.

I doubt the mental health status and pecuniary and attention-seeking motives of the principals are much different, either. There. Now I never have to think about it again.

Ann and Nancy Wilson: Still Too Cool For Words

Monday, September 8th, 2008

In a statement posted today on the EW.com Web site, the Wilsons wrote:

“Sarah Palin’s views and values in NO WAY represent us as American women. We ask that our song ‘Barracuda’ no longer be used to promote her image. The song ‘Barracuda’ was written in the late ’70s as a scathing rant against the soulless, corporate nature of the music business, particularly for women. (The ‘barracuda’ represented the business.) While Heart did not and would not authorize the use of their song at the RNC, there’s irony in Republican strategists’ choice to make use of it there.”

Let’s Talk About Feminist Mothers

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

The first I actually heard about Rebecca Walker’s “Mommie Dearest”-style expose of the horrors of growing up as well-known feminist author Alice Walker’s daughter was on Michelle Malkin’s website–yeah, I admit, I periodically nip over there, mostly because she’s just so controversial that I just KNOW she must have SOMETHING to say that’ll really wow me…in an interesting and thought-provoking way, not like the time she talked about how she went and stalked that family whose kids were on some kind of government medical assistance, that did wow me, I admit, but not in the way I was LOOKING to get wowed…

It was a fairly short byte on her site–I read it, thought “Sad,” and didn’t give it much more thought til the issue started popping up on the feminist-oriented blogs I like to frequent. The latest entry into the fray I read was Feministing’s Courtney on Alternet: “Alice and Rebecca Walker Clash: Do Feminist Mothers Have to Choose Between Dreams and Diapers?” which included a link to Rebecca Walker’s original article. My own thoughts about my mother, a self-identified feminist, and her raising of me are complex enough that while I suspected in advance that I wouldn’t quite fall entirely in line with Rebecca Walker’s take on feminism specifically, I thought it’d be interesting and thought-provoking (I do spend a lot of time searching for those sensations, I admit) to see what another woman who perceived herself as having a somewhat poor experience being raised by a woman who strongly identified as a “feminist” had to say.

Not much, as it turns out. And she’s a bit old to be rebelling against Mommy’s beliefs because she’s pissed at her, so it isn’t really even excusable on those grounds.

I don’t want to turn this into a woe-is-me! rant about my childhood and adolescence. Really, all I want to say are two things–

1. Being neglected by your mother and then being cut off from her affections because you violated her ideological beliefs has nothing to do with the particular ideological beliefs you violated and everything to do with your relationship with your mother.

2. The fact that you personally are having fertility problems and love to be a stay-at-home mom has absolutely nothing to do with the philosophical validity or lack thereof of the idea that our society should not discriminate against members of it based upon their gender.

Honestly, I had a very similar experience with my mother when my first child was born–she really didn’t care about him at all (the second one, either). However, feminism was not to blame. She was. Not to put too fine a point upon it, but by that time in her life my mother was one fucked-up individual. If she’d been Wiccan, or Mormon, or Fundamentalist Christian, or a satanist, or a Ku Klux Klanner or a member of an anarchistic militia or even a Conservative Republican, she’d have been equally fucked-up. Sad but true.

There are reasons she was all fucked up and some of them even had to do with the opppression of women in general. None of them had to do with feminism. My mother was a very bright woman; she did understand what feminism actually meant and clearly recognized the rightness of that belief system. She was simply incapable of practicing it, crippled as she was by a haze of poorly suppressed rage at the course of her life, probably untreated bipolar disorder and substance abuse problems likely resulting from the same. She tried to seize all the feminist “advantages” she perceived and yet simultaneously tried to bank on the so-called “privileged” status of women in a patriarchy–recognizing the flawed nature of this attempt, she tried it all the same. She even got away with it to some extent, in her youth because she was very beautiful and charismatic, in her older age because she was scary as shit.

I don’t know what Alice Walker is truly like, as a mother or in any other aspect of her intimate personality. I sincerely doubt she ever matched the depths my mother sometimes sunk to and her daughter does not appear to be claiming this, which is a good thing–I’d still love The Color Purple even if she had, but it’d take a little of the joy out of it all the same. I’m sorry that she and her daughter have reached this unpleasant impasse of publicly aired outrage and I hope for both their sakes they pull out of it.

But it doesn’t really have anything to do with feminism.

McCain surge devastates Britney/America

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

Longtime PABers (well, longtime in el blogosphero) might remember the startling connections we discovered between the fates of Britney Spears and America itself. It was proven without a doubt that, like it or not, Britney Spears is the living embodiment of the United States.

I’ve stayed away from expounding on this theory because none of the recent developments Britney Spears’ life are funny, and because I’d hate to be mistaken for one of the jackals profiting off her evisceration.

But today I awoke to find these two pictures side by side @ Google News, and I couldn’t hide from the truth any longer:

Ignoring the unbelievably creepy site name of “Dog Flu Diet and Diseases” being placed under Britney Spears’ picture, the top two stories can really be condensed down to one:
McCain’s win in Florida
sent Britney to the hospital. And as unbelievable as this sounds, she was hospitalized earlier this month… on the exact same day evo-phobic Mike Huckabee won Iowa.

So here we sit, America, on the edge of psychological and emotional collapse. Why? Because what’s destroying Ms. Spears is destroying us. Our anti-intellectual, celebrity-porn-addicted, ignorant-by-choice [and overly-hyphenated] culture is imploding on itself. This site has been proclaiming the likelihood of a McCain victory in 2008 since the early days, and the condition of our national avatar should be cause for concern for anyone who still dismisses Republican chances. This is HAPPENING.

Like Britney, we need to accept some ugly truths about what we’ve become while simultaneously taking control of our lives from the greedy manipulators prodding us down the path of self-destruction for their own ends. Neither of these things will be easy. We’ve accepted our powerlessness, and change seems impossible. But I urge Britney, and thus all Americans, to resist the path of least resistance. Don’t take the bottle of McCain pills by the bed. Don’t let the Iraqarazzi win.

Don’t do gown without a fight.

Do you feel fat? How about now?

Thursday, June 28th, 2007


Slim-Fast’s new celebrity spokesperson is tall, slender Rachel Hunter. She’s never tried the diet drink herself, but she’s darn tootin’ sure it’s a good thing: “I haven’t started taking Slim-Fast,” she says, “My message is more that I agree with what they’re saying.”*

Not that meal replacements are ever a good idea, but even Newsweek seems to find the “Find Your Slim” campaign a bit odd.

Press materials urge consumers to log onto iVillage.com to join Hunter and enter a 10-week “Find Your Slim” before-and-after photo-and-essay contest. Press materials say Hunter “will incorporate Slim-Fast into her life as an approach to reaching her personal weight-loss goal and will encourage consumers to do the same by setting a simple, doable weight-loss goal of between 10 and 20 pounds.” A Slim-Fast spokesman attempted to clarify, saying: “We do anticipate that Rachel will, when she needs to, use Slim-Fast.” But he added: “She is not obliged to use Slim-Fast. … It’s less about the product and more about the campaign.”

The campaign, of course, boils down to “you can be any weight you want—as long as it’s skinny.” It’s couched in the usual language of self-esteem and empowerment (“being an individual and being a woman and finding your weight”) and health (despite Hunter’s admission that she skips breakfast).

But the message is clear: Even tall, skinny celebrities need diets. (Though, as always, the male gaze must be one’s primary consideration; Hunter demurs that she gets “horsey” when she drops below 140 pounds, and it’s “not attractive.”) Just because you basically fit the American standard template of beauty—just because you might have made a career out of it—is no excuse to get complacent. You might gain a pound.

* Which is that she’s fat, apparently.

Famous Mii

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

Ain’t seen much of me lately, have you?

That’s probably because I got myself a Wii.

I’m sure you’ve heard people rave about this thing before, but seriously, it’s the most fun I’ve had since I learned to masturbate.

The addictive games that come with the system, like tennis and bowling, provide hours of entertainment, but a big part of what makes them special is the character you play with, a.k.a. your mii. Which is you. The creation of personal avatars, many of which can be made to look an awful lot like their creators, really enhances the gaming experience.

Of course, you don’t have to make mii = you. You can make a mii of anyone. Daumen, a mad genius and friendly associate of mine, recently discovered the celebrity mii contest, and the winners are charming. While a Zach Braff look-a-like collected first prize, these are the entries I enjoyed the most:

Michael Crichton is the new Shirley MacLaine

Saturday, December 16th, 2006

I received an email this morn from friend and reader Quin addressing the whole Michael Crichton dust-up. I think it’s fabulous and worth sharing:

I just saw this and just felt the sudden urge to write you from my hotel room in Nagano, Japan, though it be past 3 in the morning and I have to be up in four hours.

As you know, Michael Crichton’s been getting some raised eyebrows in the lefty blogosphere because of his now-non-scientific consensus views about global warming, and for that matter, his non-scientific-consensus views about the validity of scientific consensus. I think there’s a story in there that has so far been missed, which could get some notice right now since he’s on the radar again, and really SHOULD be noticed.

See, Crichton is held up in the press as a writer whose stories are based in some kind of scientific reality, since he was once trained as a medical doctor, knows academia-speak, and likes to pepper his books with the latest new scientific theories that he read about in Omni magazine before any other hack writers get to them. But the fact is that, deep down, he is very anti-science (and I don’t only mean because nearly his entire ouvre has the dangers of science as its core theme). I am not sure why he has taken on the weird views he has about global warming, but the fact is that his opinions on science are not to be trusted at ALL.

The proof is all contained in his autobiographical memoir called “Travels”. Read the second half, which is his account of spiritual awakening. Basically, step by step, he goes completely Shirley MacLaine, while rationalizing it every step of the way with his self-supposedly brilliant scientific powers. What begins with meditation lessons quickly goes to aura reading to past-life regression to (literally, I’m not making it up) his multiple conversations with the spirit of a cactus that was on the grounds of a New Age retreat he went to for a couple of weeks. Yes, he actually heard the cactus speaking in his head. No, it was not meant as a literary device. Literary devices do not get bookended by earnest calls for Westerners to experience the cosmos with open eyes, that there is much science is not able to explain, blah blah blah.

I’m sure it’s an impossible book to find in Japan, or I’d buy it again just to find all the juicy bits for you. I remember it as an entertaining read. I read it as an impressionable teen, and I remember thinking “wow, maybe there’s something to this spiritual stuff after all.” Now I remember it mainly as a reminder that the people who have crazy religious experiences really do experience something subjectively, even if it’s something which could never be objectively measured (mainly because it doesn’t exist).

But the main point is that, at least back in the 1980s, and probably still today judging by his weird behavior, Michael Crichton was completely batshit crazy. Yet millions of people read his dangerous views on global warming, and think, “well, maybe I don’t have to worry about it after all, then.” I mean, State of Fear sold millions and was #1 on the NYT Bestseller List. (As well as winning the American Association of Petrolium Geologists 2006 Journalism Award, despite being a work of fiction.) This is a public figure in serious need of a takedown.

All the lefty blogs do is point out the factual errors in his works, or (now) make fun of him for his immaturity. But all the wingnuts who believe in him as a figure of actual scientific authority might have at least a couple of second thoughts if they found out just how spiritually nutty (in an anti-Jeebus kind of way) he is.

I Hate Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise

Thursday, December 7th, 2006

Consider this an experiment in search terms. We have a tradition to keep going:

tomkat.jpgI HATE TOMKAT. These two thankless souls couldn’t even remember to invite Oprah to their wedding. Can you believe that shit? Oprah! They even neglected to invite Oprah to their post-wedding party. Shit, I’ll bet even Jennifer Aniston was there.*

Cruise and Winfrey have been friends for many years, and Cruise made his infamous couch-jumping “I’m in love” speech regarding Holmes on the media mogul’s talk show last year.

Winfrey was noticeably left off the list to the November 18 ceremony in Bracciano, Italy — even though celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez and Jim Carrey, who are not known to be friends of Cruise or Holmes, were invited.

So, TomKat can invite people who aren’t even their friends to this fabulous Italian wedding, but leave the woman who televised Cruise’s couch-jumping (half-baked) PR stunt. Does Tom Cruise hate Oprah?

Not very classy, TomKat, and I hate you.


* Speaking of Jennifer Aniston, did you hear about The Break Up? Yes, Aniston and Vince Vaughn have broken up. I say it’s time because she’s way too good for him.