Wednesday, October 29, 2008

No-Spin Zone

Dear Right Wing Nutjobs,

Please remove the following from your vocabulary when pushing your agenda, defending yourself or whining:

These words were created to combat real problems, and your manipulation of them makes me sad.

Signed,

Someone who values denotation and historical context

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Hills compels me to write in all caps

I was just forced to watch a rerun of last night’s Hills episode because The Biggest Loser is TAKING OVER NETWORK TV. I’m not going to pretend I don’t like the show, but I’m definitely not one to (ahem) let a call from one of my best friends go to voicemail because it’s 9:05 on Monday night. I usually watch reruns (marathons if I’m lucky) during comatose weekend days because before two-hour monstrosities infiltrated primetime, there used to be better shows on during the week.

Anyway, the point is I haven’t seen every episode. Are they all as ridiculous as “I Want You To Be With Me”? Ooor… is it just a big, big mistake for me to watch this particular reality show when I’m not still drunk from the night before?

O. M. G. what is WRONG with Audrina?? She dumped a HOT Aussie who is totally into her for Justin Bobby or whatever the f that turd’s name is. And even worse, she can’t even be honest about why she did it—just admit that you like bad boys, Audrina! Just admit you like being treated like crap! This is not a new phenomenon. But no, she tells her co-worker that he “said all the right things” during a conversation that apparently convinced her that it will be different this time.

In case you are not drunk, I’ll save you from having to watch the episode and give you a sampling of what the little skull-capped goober said, or rather, mumbled:

  • “I’ll pretty much always be there for you.”
  • “90 percent of the time I’m with you is right on.”
  • “When I think about you, I don’t think of anything negative.”

Uh… WHAT? This conversation is perhaps the best defense against the accusation that The Hills is scripted. On the bright side, at least I have an answer for Charlize Theron, who doesn’t understand why “this f-ing show is huge.” I think it’s because we like watching skinny, rich, unfairly lucky twits make bad decisions. They may have giant designer sunglasses and blindingly white teeth, but they act just as ridiculous as we do (if not more)—except their mistakes are broadcasted across cable and the Web for our entertainment.

Related sidenote: I’m now watching The Real Housewives of Atlanta for the second time tonight (“Bring On The Bling”), and I need to point out how disturbingly creepy the lovefest between Kim and Sheree is—I almost puked a little in my mouth during the spa scene. Blech—I need to go read a book... ooor proof this blog until it’s time for Chelsea Lately.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sell-Out and the City

I’m about a month late on this “news,” but I recently bought the Sex and the City movie to complete my collection, and watching it this week reminded me of how annoyed I am that author Candace Bushnell is writing a teen novel about Carrie Bradshaw’s high school experience. Even before I read about this project, I’ve been saying I would LOVE there to be a prequel about how the girls met in New York when they were in their 20s, but I think a book for teens is kind of f-ed up.

The show even addressed this issue in episode 15 of the third season, “Hot Child in the City,” when Samantha has to organize a Bat Mitzvah for a brat who could pass for Blair Waldorf’s little sister: (Apologies for the amateur photography.)

video

While the show may be crass, this episode draws the line between sexy/smart and slutty/sad—when kids who are too young to understand sexuality try to use it to their advantage like they see on TV, they’re more likely to end up doing things they regret and allowing themselves to be taken advantage of. By now turning around and actively marketing Sex and the City to young adults, I think the brand is selling out.

It’s true that I watched the HBO show when I was in high school… and it’s true that teens and tweens today are watching and doing all kinds of disturbing, f-ed up things… so I guess what bothers me isn’t that it’s irresponsible of the brand to take advantage of an inappropriate market—although it is—what bothers me is that it’s lame. The Sex and the City movie is like the Carrie necklace: deliciously over-the-top. But this teen book thing is like Aiden’s first engagement ring: all wrong. Distracted by her unplanned pregnancy and (let’s be honest) being the least stylish of the foursome, Miranda defends her part in picking out the disastrous gold ring by comparing it to the gold necklace. But fabulous in one context can become tacky in another.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Columbus Day?

I have to admit, I was annoyed all day today to be at work while multiple friends and family members had Columbus Day off. I really could have used an extra day to recover from a weekend of pretending I was back in college. But unlike New Year's, the purpose of Columbus Day is not for me to nurse my hangoverits purpose is to honor an egomaniac who miscalculated a journey to Asia, lied to his backers about the land he came upon, and enslaved and murdered countless natives without provocation.

Howard Zinn quotes the celebrated hero's log on the first page of A People's History of the United States. Columbus wrote of the Bahama Islands' Arawak men and women who greeted him and his sailors:
"They...brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks' bells. They willingly traded everything they owned.... They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features.... They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance.... They would make fine servants.... With fifty men we could subjugate them and make them do whatever we want."
While wanting to celebrate Columbus Day by sleeping in and watching trash TV all day would certainly honor the selfish history of our great nation, the human in me is happy I worked through this ridiculous holiday. Now, what are we going to do about Thanksgiving next month?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

What came first—the nut or the flake?

In partaking in and observing many relationships (not all… wouldn’t want to make any rash generalizations…), I have to wonder: Did the crazy girlfriend beget the unreliable boyfriend, or was it the other way around? It’s a difficult process to deconstruct, as each party tends to hide unattractive tendencies in the early courtship stages.

Consider early dates, for example. As they’re (still) usually initiated by the male, it’s up to him to make a decision, plan a date and actually follow through—this may actually involve such amazing feats as looking up movie times, making reservations and arriving on time. And these early dates are often punctuated with spontaneous lunches, pop-ins or meet-ups, which are whole-heartedly welcomed by the female—as a result of her initial excitement and interest outweighing her need for schedules and structure, as well as her desire to be seen as a “cool chick.”

After a certain amount of time, however, this blissful charade begins to unravel. But whose fault is it? Did he decide to watch hours upon hours upon days of football with his “buddies” and forget to call because she started a wine-induced fight over nothing the night before? Or did she start the wine-induced fight over nothing because he had blown off a dinner date the weekend before to extend a hometown visit? And why did he extend his trip? To escape his crazy girlfriend? Or was it his disregard for plans and lack of consideration that drove his girlfriend off the edge?

It’s a snowball of a situation that can only be treated with open and honest communication … text messages unfortunately tend to exacerbate the symptoms. And a cure? I don’t think they’ve found one yet. But as for the cause, perhaps “what came first” is a trick question. I think maybe the Goddess begot the nut and the flake at the same time for the same purpose—the fraternal twins were supposed to grow up and foster understanding, acceptance and respect for same-sex relationships. Leave it up to the hopeless heterosexuals to make the worst of good intentions.

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