Archive for January, 2009

31
Jan
09

Happy Birthday, Carol Channing!

Carol Channing turns 88 years young today! Why are the post offices still open?

Off to Skidoo, since it’s the thing to do!

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31
Jan
09

Call Me Nostradamus If You Must…

…but I predict that, upon hearing Obama’s half-brother was just arrested for drug possession, Rush Limbaugh will:

Unless, of course, the Oxycontin has taken away all his sensitivity “down there.”

31
Jan
09

Of Snark And Malice

David Denby’s new book, Snark, puts me in mind of what seems to be a genuine disconnect between my generation and the previous ones.  And so, as my post’s title suggests, I feel I must distinguish between the two for this poor, misguided fellow:

Snark is inherently not malicious; rather, it is simply the opposite of reverence.  Just as apathy is more aptly the opposite of love than hate, snark is my generation’s answer to chronic disappointment in prominent figures.  I realize that we are not the first generation that was made aware that its heroes were people too, but I’m willing to wager one million dollars that we’re the first to know our leader fucked some fat chick with a cigar under his desk.  This has been the generation of full disclosure, in which the 24-hour news cycle has uncovered and reported on more disgusting, disturbing behavior from leaders than ever before.

Let me put it in language our more-aged Mr. Denby can understand: I know you probably watched the Vietnam “Police Action” on TV (he’s a film critic for The New Yorker, so I figure his being an ex-hippie is a safe bet).  Seeing the bodies fall in Vietnam on the television was moving, I’m sure.  It communicated in full-color visuals that the consequences of fighting for theoretical principles can be brutally real.  That was its moral.  Broadcasting the Watergate hearings also had a moral, a sort of updated and more cynical Washingtonian-cherry-tree cautionary tale against lying.  Good morals, right?

Let’s now take a look at the messages my generation has received.  The Iran Contra hearings were a joke.  They proved to us that, if you blatantly lie about nefarious dealings, you might have to wait 15 years to be a massively rich, well-respected radio personality (oh, Ollie, I will never understand how you slithered out from under that).  Follow that with Ken Starr, stained dresses, and Larry Flynt’s revenge.  We now have a fairly steady stream of disgusting pedophiles, closet cases, and deviants, all of whose sexploits are fully broadcast by real journalists, and not just the bloggers Denby credits with destroying civilization.  And what are the moral lessons we learn from these tales of glory-holing pederasts? That public figures are hypocritical, lying scumbags. Period. What causes more harm, really?  On the one hand you have a corner of the “internets” goofily postulating that Palin’s son, Trig, is actually her grandson; on the other, you have a CNN “Top Story” detailing Ted Haggard yankin’ it in front of one of his young, male parishioners.

See what I did there, Denby, my man?  I used a snarky phrase to describe Haggard’s higly disturbing sex crime.  Why?  It’s my generation’s defense mechanism, a way to distance ourselves from the horrors we hear on a daily basis about people who should command respect.  obamaWhy do we a-hole bloggers refer to Obama as Princess Sparkle Pony, Hopey the Unicorn King, and the like?  So we won’t be too heartbroken when–and I just can’t emphasize this enough–you and your colleagues uncover some undoubtedly horrible, shadowy activity in which he engages (feltching, perhaps?).

Long story short (too late): This snarky mess is of your own making.  It’s disrespectful, yes, but not with the intention of actually hurting the party against whom it’s directed.  Rather, the motive is self-preservation, and, as any lawyer will tell you, motive’s a pretty big deal when it comes to proving the commission of thought crimes.

(See what I did there again?  I likened your charge to an Orwellian attempt at thought control!)

Long story even shorter:

Sarcasm (read Malice) implies a derision explicitly intended to hurt or offend someone.

Sardonicism (read Snark) implies a cynical derision expressed either verbally or facially with no necessary intent to offend or cause emotional distress.

Of course, that’s according to an evil word-geek blog, so maybe it’s just mean-spirited crap.

31
Jan
09

Happy Weekend, Engrish Lovers!

This is mostly a shout-out to engrish.com, which chronicles the funniest moments in mistranslation in public places. I want to think they’re cheap shots, but durnit if I’m not a sucker for potty humor. *sigh*
Never thee mind, on to business:

engrish1

Best. Yard. Sign. Ever.

engrish8

Aww, kiddo, buck up!

engrish4

Is this the Courtney Love edition of the previous shirt?

engrish5

Ah, the culprit...

engrish7

See how much fun life can be if you choose regular coffee over Depresso! (egads, I feels as though I should embroider that on a pillow and sell it at State Fairs)

Well, they both do tend to explode...

Well, they both do tend to explode...

???

???

engrish9

Also it makes funny the jokes of the friendless bloggers!

29
Jan
09

Bunny and Clyde

As my husband so adroitly put, “Just when I was defending American cinema to our local Spaniards,” this happens:

Remake of “Bonnie and Clyde” Is A Go

That’s right, sugar fans: Hilary Duff will be Bonnie!

In the words of Ms. Dunaway…
”Couldn’t they at least cast a real actress?”

Bonnie Lasses

Answer?
Not if they wanted to go the ADORABLE route.

Seriously now, how much darker and disturbing will the film be at the end now?  It’s one thing to watch gritty, emaciated, no-‘count drifters get mowed down in a hail of machine gun fire, but cute and bubbly pop stars?  Now that is seriously dark:

(Yes, I know that likening Hilary Duff to a bunny could be construed as taking a shot at her veneers.  And it should.  Cause, really, in the words of my Pops, “That girl looks like she could eat pie through a screen door.”)

Hollywood is not–I repeat NOT–out of ideas!

29
Jan
09

Maybe “Envy” Really Isn’t The Right Word…

Laura Bennett (of Project Runway fame; she was the awesomely stylish mother of a litter of boys who made the super-cute “100% Nuts” dress, among others, but I digress) has an interesting blog in The Daily Beast today.

Exactly How Are Men Superior?

While I’m sure it’s a good read, in and of itself (I dare not incur the wrath of a woman always so perfectly put together that I would feel impelled to call her “MISS Laura Bennett,” were I ever to meet her), it puts me in mind of a theory I had immediately after giving birth.

If brevity is the soul of wit, my description of giving birth will be hilarious: It is absolutely not a great experience. That said, the payoff is pretty amazing. Hormones, society, and necessity intertwine to make the newly-minted fruit of your loins need you in ways heretofore unimagined. If you’re the mother. If you’re the father, you are still an integral part of the daily life of the child (one would hope), but the connection is different.

I was thinking about this phenomenon this morning when my partner-in-geekdom was dropping off his toddler at the same daycare my baby attends. He reiterated his grudging acceptance of the fact that, even though he spends more time with his son than his wife does, the boy still clings to his mother as his savior, champion, and general be-all-and-end-all. And he’s not alone in feeling this way.

In this, the 200-year anniversary of Darwin’s birth, it is appropriate to blame evolution, so I will. As a multitude of pop-culture self-help books will tell us, human men have evolved to spread their seed, and human women to nurture it. We’ve all heard this tons of times, used it as excuses for bad behavior (hey, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell!), and rejected it as irrelevant. And it is, up to a point.

Women are not hard-wired to stay at home and cook and clean. That’s fucking ludicrous. What we have evolved into, however, are single-bodied baby-caring machines: a house in which to grow, a way into the world, and the primary food source. That last part is especially important, since it is the reason we’ve evolved all sorts of fun toys: the hormones that cause the act of breastfeeding to bond mother and baby, the ability of a newborn to only see breast-face distance, the innate desire of a newborn to look for eyes and hold their gaze. Hell, breast milk is also an antibiotic (tell me that was just an accident, Sarah Palin). This is all by way of saying that women have evolved to be able to physically create a toddler without any outside influence.

It occurred to me that this must be frustrating, to say the very least, for new dads. How unbelievably awful to be confronted with the notion that a crazed nut like Valerie Solanas may have had a point. Maybe she was right in her “research” that noted that men were going to be evolved out of the species entirely in the future, deemed as a footnote to a new matriarchal rule. To be assaulted by nagging little doubts about your own relevance as a gender while simultaneously being forced to reassure a sobbing, sleep-deprived, hormonal mess that she will eventually fit into her favorite jeans again…well, that’s just adding insult to injury.

Putting myself in a new dad’s shoes, I suddenly understood the excessive need I would feel to voice my own relevance. Really, I get it: the urge to say you are absolutely necessary to the world, if only because the species-perpetuator over there is…erm, well I bet she sucks at math.  And basketball.  And she knows absolutely dick about allen wrenches.

This is not meant to be an excuse for misogyny, but I think I finally understand its genesis. Which, for a physics geek like me, means I can wrap my mind around it and deal with it.*

freud_woman

*This is all by way of saying I think Freud’s a douche.  Never trust a cokehead to level with you about anything.

29
Jan
09

A Sad Week For The Bookish

I would say this will just kill John Updike, but…

(too soon?)

Washington Post Announces the Death of Its Book World

idiocracy-tv-dvd1