Friday, August 28, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Here at Old Tiger Beatdown, meanwhile, you will find this venture into quirky indie cinema animation. Watch for 1:38, wherein we learn what popular anti-rape slogans lead to in practice! (HINT: Stabbin' dudes in the eyeball.)
Saturday, August 15, 2009
OH, IT GETS HEATED.
This week: The Importance of Print Media, and whether the Internet and/or Sady are destroying civilization as we know it!
SADY: It's just. Whenever I read something that says the Internet is destroying print media or whatever. I want to punch a hole in the wall.So, anyway. We let it drop. Then, last Thursday, the New York Times ran a story about how "hipsters" now have "pot bellies" if they are dudes! (It is a rebellion from the PERFECT BODY of President Barack H. "Ab Force One" Obama, apparently.) So here is the conversation I had this morning:
GENTLEMAN ASSOCIATE: But it is! It is destroying print media!
SADY: Maybe it is destroying print media. But maybe, also, it is salvaging the idea of media as connection and community! There are all these voices now that are livening up or shifting or challenging the discourse, and without the Internet they would not have access! So if print media is suffering maybe that's because it couldn't keep up with the needs of its readers.
GENTLEMAN ASSOCIATE: Good point, Ayn Rand!
SADY: All I am saying is that more voices are being heard! More conversations are being had! Conversations that are not bougie-ass NYT things about how you can't Tweet at Milk and Honey any more or how hard it is to live on a six-figure salary in New York or how the economy means your daughter will only get one pony for Christmas or whatever.
GENTLEMAN ASSOCIATE: Yes, but with the Internet, you only have the conversations that you want to have. You only hear what you want to. You're not participating in a national conversation as such. There's no community!
SADY: No, there are communities, and lots of them, which is great if your community is marginalized or excluded or inadequately represented or addressed by "the conversation" as it stands. Because "the conversation" has historically been straight, white, male, and middle to upper-class.
GENTLEMAN ASSOCIATE: But what about picking up the local paper, and seeing what is on the front page, and conversing with the people around you about what is in the paper? Even if what you are saying is "the paper sucks," there is a unifying thread. There is centrality.
SADY: Even if what you are saying is "the paper consistently fails to cover the issues that affect me and my community?" There is value in reading the paper if the paper is not relevant to your needs as a person who seeks to be informed?
GENTLEMAN ASSOCIATE: Yes! Because it ties you to place! It creates a sense of where you are! It connects you to the people around you.
SADY: This is ridiculous. This is A RIDICULOUS THING THAT YOU ARE SAYING. The thing you are saying is that the front page of the New York Times could consist of NOTHING BUT PICTURES OF MAUREEN DOWD'S POOPS, and we would all still have to read it. Because it is The Paper.
GENTLEMAN ASSOCIATE: Okay, so... what do you know about what is going on in Afghanistan right now?
SADY: Not much! Maybe I should LOOK IT UP. On GOOGLE.
GENTLEMAN ASSOCIATE: So, you know that conversation we had about print media? I think this pretty conclusively proves that I WIN.
SADY: Oh, God.
GENTLEMAN ASSOCIATE: Dear New York Times, I have an idea for your Style section! "Girls: Longer Hair Than Dudes, Most of the Time!"
SADY: Oh, GOD.
GENTLEMAN ASSOCIATE: "White People! They Are In All The Hottest Clubs!"
Friday, August 14, 2009
But what, you ask, could be so troublesome as to lure me from my blogcation paradise? (I read two books! I went to a concert! I learned to bake! It was nice.) Why, THE EVILS OF THE INTERNET ITSELF, of course. Also, nerds. For, behold! The lovely (and recently vacationed) Amanda Hess of Washington City Paper's The Sexist has uncovered a tragic tale of a young man who shared his hatred for his girlfriend (and love of bacon soap) (???) on the Reddit, a popular nerd website. His fellow nerds approved! His girlfriend, however...
SADY: why hello! i hear the nerds are UP TO NO GOOD.
AMANDA: are they exacting their ... revenge?
SADY: this is what they tell me! at least there are no gorilla masks and disturbingly rape-like scenarios this time around, though. only comments on the internet! and UNFORESEEABLE CONSEQUENCES.
AMANDA: so, why do internet commenters hate girlfriends?
SADY: well! i have been spending a really regrettable portion of my day looking up youtube clips of men railing against "feminists" on their "vlogs," so, one idea: it gives them something to talk about? also, the people who rail against girlfriends the hardest give the unmistakable impression that they are angry because they don't have them.
AMANDA: yes! this is what i wanted to talk about, because i need to figure something out and i think you can help me. i once (okay ... 2 hours ago) thought the very same thing: the phenomenon of "nerd sexism" may be a result of guys who think they're not cool, or attractive, or whatever, lashing out against the people who can make them cool and attractive: girls. and they can sort of get away with this, because it's not as if they're privileged or anything, like most men. they're pathetic nerds, and they're at the bottom of the social ladder
SADY: right. well, i also think so many of the things that are Nerd are gendered in the dudely direction: video games, comics, internet whozimatronical codes and what have you. not to say that girls don't use them, but they are generally considered For Boys. so the nerds end up in these all-dude or 99%-dude environments most of the time!
AMANDA: but then, some dude, who is really into kickball, posted this comment on my blog about why he doesn't like me, and he diagnosed exactly why i don't enjoy kickball: because i need a good fucking. and i realized that this is something i hear over and over again as a feminist: you "hate men" because you're single, you can't get dudes to fuck you, and you're ugly, etc. and they can tell all of this based on about 300 words i wrote about kicking balls in the air. and not to brag, but i do fuck, so i thought, maybe i am wrong about the nerds? maybe they do all have girlfriends?
SADY: true enough. perhaps there is an unfair nerd stereotype! for example, I will now brag by telling you that i had a roommate who specialized in the internet whozimatronical codes, and he had the various anime DVDs, and he suggested starting a concept band about robots. and i would say that this is Nerdy, but - BUT, and this is important - he was totally cool with all that. and he did have lady friends, sometimes lady friends who worked in the whozimatronical code industry.
AMANDA: the whozimatronical what now
SADY: I HAVE NO IDEA. the computer skills, i lack them! but it's easy to forget that Nerd or Geek or whatever is its own subculture, and the people therein are enthusiastic and happy about it. it is not like they are all in a leper colony. YET, they are marginalized, and looked down on, and here is a thing i have noticed about dudes who are marginalized and looked down on (and live in a very male-gendered environment): they DO, in fact, tend to lash out at the ladies!
AMANDA: i see. but they lash out at the cool dudes, the football players, too, right? but i guess the problem is that the quarterback is rarely actually an unseen minority lurking in the nerd forum, like female nerds are. although i love the idea of a quarterback wearing his football jersey and crying silent tears when his after-school activity is pwned on some WoW forum
SADY: oh, I BET IT HAPPENS. OFTEN.
AMANDA: haha. oh the layers
SADY: well, it's weird. because, basically, nerds are culturally emasculated. right? like the stereotype is that they are all unsuccessful, and can't get ladies, and can't beat anyone up, and that is what men are supposed to do. ALL THE TIME. like, if you are a dude and you are not either having sex or punching someone in the face right now, you're a gigantic pussy. unless you're just waiting for your truckload of cash to show up. so one way for dudes who feel emasculated to, like, reclaim their iron john manhood or whatever, is to talk shit about ladies. OR - just a suggestion - basically bring kelly lebrock to life using a computer and a barbie doll (RIP JOHN HUGHES). whereas, the nerd ladies i've met all tend to be really awesome and feministy! which, dealing with the double-stereotyping of Nerd and Lady, I can see why you would get tired of stereotypes and spend a lot of time talking about them.
SADY: oh, and also? some of this might be due to the evils of the internet itself? and not nerds?
AMANDA: that's true. there are a lot of assumptions made on these internets, and while i like to attribute stereotypes about women and feminists and lesbians or whatever to misogyny, i think a lot of times it's just carelessness. and it's still misogyny, but it's misogyny that can be addressed and explained and all a lot easier in face-to-face conversation
SADY: yeah, exactly. OR - controversial statement here - the fact that you can develop a fake personality on the internet for attention. like the dude you posted about! i am not saying he is not a douche, but the odds are high (in my mind) that a lot of his offensive statements were conceived, not while thinking, "oh how i hate the women of the world," but while thinking, "this will piss people off and/or prove what a loose cannon i am." see his shock when his girlfriend read his comments and was like, WOW, you come off as a dick here! if she thought he was a dick of that order in the first place, they wouldn't be dating.
AMANDA: yeah. totally. he then goes on to say that he's joked about her being a bitch to her face and she doesn't care when that happens. but obviously, there was some sort of disconnect where he didn't understand that the internet is not his real life, and taking the bitch joke behind her back to share with his internet friends she didn't know existed was not on the same plane of reality as he thought it was
SADY: right. there is a difference between tomfoolery and being like, "oh, ha ha, BITCH" in private and basically showing up in a googlable forum for all the world to see and saying that your girlfriend is a bitch because she doesn't like bacon soap (???). which: lesson for us all, there! with the twitters and the facebooks and the blogspots and what have you! people post hundreds of thousands of words a day and i think a lot of us don't understand that YOU CAN NEVER ERASE THEM and ANYONE IN THE WORLD CAN FIND THEM. as someone who has read my bosses' craigslist ads, i can attest to the foolishness of this endeavor.
AMANDA: and yet, for the people in this googlable forum, it's perfectly obvious that she IS a bitch.
SADY: yeah, people do show up to call his girlfriend a bitch. but that's their own form of posturing. like, i am so sure that the "don't let that girl push you around" "take the stick out" people would not weigh in this way were it a lady and a dude that they both knew.
AMANDA: that's probably true.
SADY: OR - alternate take - people on the internet are just jerks. i don't know. personally, i would have dumped him just for having the intense alternate life on reddit! NERD.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Anyway, since I will not be here to share my very important reflections on the Ladybusiness, I figured you should meet my substitute. His name is... oh, let's say Chet. He is Hal Sparks' weirder-looking cousin, and he has thoughts to share. Here are his thoughts!
Do you know why Chet does not have a girlfriend? Did you guess FEMINISM? Yeah, okay, me neither. It turns out to have something to do with toasters and his grandma, in the long run.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Okay. So, hey, has anyone noticed that they are basically the same trailer?
Weird, right? You can't attribute the different critical reactions to changing tastes, since they're only being released a few months apart. Nor can you attribute it to one movie being ripped off from the other, since they were probably being made at roughly the same time. I know that, last week, I did this fun little thought experiment where I compared mainstream frat-dude misogyny (DEPLORABLE!) to cute hip fashionable pseudo-indie misogyny (IRONIC!) and it turned out that they were basically the same thing and the differing reactions to them were attributable only to a phenomenon scientists refer to as "bullshit," but let's not jump to conclusions. Let's puzzle out the vastly differing critical reactions to these no-doubt vastly different trailers step by step, with this handy checklist:
1) BACHELOR PARTY: Check!So, there you have it. Zach Galifianakis is basically a pair of gold hologram leggings. Glad I could help you puzzle this one out.
2) BAND OF BROS: Check!
3) CASTRATING HARPY WHO DOESN'T WANT HER BOYFRIEND TO EVER HAVE ANY FUN EVER, AND THEREFORE EXPRESSES RESERVATIONS RE: BACHELOR PARTY WITH BAND OF BROS: Check.
4) CASTRATING HARPY WHO SCREAMS INTO THE PHONE ABOUT WHEREABOUTS OF HER BOYFRIEND: Check.
5) STRIPPERS AS PUNCHLINES: Check, indeed! (Andy from The Office gets married to one! You can hear him scream the comedy-gold line "I married a whore" in a different version of the trailer; presumably later he gets down with her on the basis that she is not a castrating harpy.)
6) CONFRONTATION WITH POLICE: Check, again! It is getting pretty tiresome running down the list, actually. Oh, but:
7) HILARIOUS FACIAL INJURY: Check, and:
8) PRESENCE OF BELOVED "INDIE" COMEDIAN (WHATEVER THE FUCK THAT MEANS) THAT ENSURES PEOPLE WILL GO SOFT ON THE WHOLE THING EVEN THOUGH SAID BELOVED INDIE COMEDIAN IS BASICALLY SIGNING UP TO BECOME WILL FERRELL (SOME OF US REFER TO THIS AS "SELLING OUT"): No! Sadly, I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell lacks this crucial element. Also, Tucker Max is beloved by gross sexist "frat boys" as opposed to gross sexist indie dudes (THOSE DON'T EXIST! INDIE DUDES ARE ALWAYS TOTES SENSITIVE AND COOL AND UNCONVENTIONAL, ha ha, J/K), so that's a strike against it. This movie looks terrible. Fire away, everybody!
Friday, August 7, 2009
So, here is something else going on with Lady Gaga: there is a video of her ladybits circulating the Internet. Some people claim that they appear to be the ladybits of an intersex lady! I have seen the video, though I'm not embedding it here (although it is at the link, because it is everywhere) because it is gross and ties into the whole fetishization of trans and intersex folks and also the whole "DECEPTIVE TRANNY" meme where it is somehow your business to know exactly what is happening in the underpants of everyone around you. But, yes, there is a video of Lady Gaga's ladybusiness on the Internet. And here is a quote attributed to Lady Gaga "about" her ladybits, and it runs like this:
"It’s not something that I’m ashamed of, just isn’t something that I go around telling everyone. Yes. I have both male and female genitalia, but I consider myself a female. It’s just a little bit of a penis and really doesn’t interfere much with my life. The reason I haven’t talked about it is that it’s not a big deal to me. Like come on. It’s not like we all go around talking about our vags. I think this is a great opportunity to make other multiple gendered people feel more comfortable with their bodies. I’m sexy, I’m hot. I have both a poon and a peener. Big f*cking deal."If were true, and Lady Gaga had said it: good job, Lady. This would be a very lovely thing to say, were you the first intersex pop star to be publicly outed as such, and it would quite possibly make me love her whole postmodern Sexy Lady Pop Star Sexiness project even more.
Oh, too bad it was all made up, though! The quote is from a "satire" site, apparently. And why a perfectly reasonable statement about being cool with your ladybits and your intersexness is "satire," I have no idea, but here's my first guess: the world hates intersex and trans people.
Oh, and here's the reaction on Bossip:
Not that anyone wanted to before but are any dudes still trying to chop this down now that she’s the one with the axe?Sex as an act of force? The idea that trans and intersex people are inherently unfuckable? Oh, hurrah! And the commenters file suit, contributing perceptive thoughts such as, "That’s just plain ol’ nasty….a dick & a pussy yet she say she is bi…I don’t get it," and, "Why are people staying “she?” Isn’t there a proper pronoun for hermaphrodite?" (Someone else weighs in with INTERSEX SENSITIVITY TRAINING, instructing "Yes, it’s she/he or it.") And, of course, there are the requisite promises to throw away her CDs.
So, yeah. It will always puzzle me when cisgendered people don't see how the marginalization and oppression of trans people affects them. Because the fact is that there are a ton of trans people in the world, and you don't necessarily know who they are, and they're not required to tell you. But when people get a case of the Deceptive Tranny Fever, nothing - not decency, not tolerance, not basic fact-checking, not even Google - will get in their way.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Why give him the attention, was the question? Why notice him? Why care? It only made him more popular! And so my vast network of findings about Roissy and the men who read him - links to a blog by an adult man about how he only dated teenage girls, endless comments about when it was okay to abuse a woman (answers: before sex, during sex, after sex, if she has ever had sex before, if she will not have sex with you), blog entries by Roissy himself about how he had to be "careful" with certain women so that they wouldn't "accuse him" of rape - which, you know, made it sound A WHOLE LOT as if he might have ACTUALLY RAPED SOMEONE: these went unreported. Because I agreed. Really, who wants to give Roissy more legitimacy? Who wants to acknowledge that he exists?
Say, you know who wants to give Roissy attention this week? Lots of people! Because a man who kept a blog about how women were monsters because they wouldn't sleep with him eventually, in a stunning twist, ended up shooting a whole lot of women, and himself. And Roissy, basically, approved:
When men kill women, the underlying reason is almost always an unfulfilled psychosexual need. This goes for spree shooters, rapists, and serial killers... celibacy is walking death and anything is justified in avoiding that miserable fate.There you have it, ladies: fuck or die.
Here is someone who never stopped covering Roissy: Amanda Hess of The Sexist! And, a week before Roissy's murder-approval post went up, she covered a post on his blog entitled "Shady Character Game." Which is, basically, about how women like murderers, and you should pretend to be one so that they'll fuck.
With the right props and an inscrutable demeanor, you can take advantage of women’s instincts to be attracted to violent, unpredictable, enigmatic men. What’s that you say? Hot babes don’t go for criminals, thugs, or cold-blooded soulkillers? Keep telling yourself that.Is it unpredictable that someone who buys into this kind of thinking - about how women owe men sex, about how women are worthless except for their ability to provide sex, about how force and cruelty can get you sex because women are "depraved" and only go for men who can hurt them - decided not to "pretend," and actually just killed people? No. No, it's not. Because the entire Game line, the entire Pick-Up Artist culture, is based on the idea that men are nothing unless they fuck, and women exist solely and entirely for the purpose of being fucked, and women matter so little that lying to them, coercing them into sex, or hurting them emotionally (or physically, apparently, in some cases) are actually good, desirable behaviors - behaviors women like, whether or not they'll admit it, the lying whores - because they result in men getting to fuck and therefore feel powerful.
If your lying eyes aren’t enough to convince you of the depraved nature of women’s desire, take it from the commenters at Roissy who have every incentive to prove me wrong... Do you want a woman eating out of your palm? Make her think you’ve killed people!
Of course some women got killed. Of course women get sexually assaulted. We can pretend that it's "fringe" behavior, and yeah, maybe some people on the extreme fringes of that fringe will take it to a level where everyone can agree that it's gone "too far" - like, for example, mass murder - but it's not. It's a bestselling book, and it's a series on VH1, and it is totally acceptable within a misogynist culture. We only notice that something is up when there are bodies on the floor.
So, basically, if anyone ever asks you why you're paying attention to this stuff, why you're giving it so much focus, why it matters - why you talk about publicity-based monsters like Paul Janka or Tucker Max or Mystery or Roissy in DC, when that only makes them stronger - I have a suggestion for how to explain it to them. Tell them you're afraid for your life.
For starters, you may not be aware of this, but you are reading a blog called Tiger Beatdown. When I look up "Tiger Beatdown" on the Google, I often come across lines such as, "Tiger Beatdown is fucking venomous." And that is from a positive review. The less positive reviews tend to use the word "cunt" a lot. Which is to say: I have a sharp tone. If you don't watch out, you might cut yourself. Whoops.
Is this incompatible with maintaining a safe space? I would argue that it is not! Because here is the subject of this blog: structural oppressions and privileges. Lady issues more often than not, but also issues relating to race, class, sexuality, and transness. I want people to come here and see that stuff subverted and resisted, not reinforced. I maintain a "safe" space in that I don't want anyone to be devalued on the basis of what they are.
As for who they are: well, that's different. Each and every one of us is a special and unique snowflake, and some snowflakes happen to be more obnoxious and tiresome than others. This blog is about structural oppressions and privileges, yes. But here is what it is not about: your parents' relationship, your pet cat, your favorite movie stars, or your personal awesomeness in general. The blog also isn't about my personal awesomeness in general - if it were, the posts would be called things like, "Will I Put On Pants Today? Sources Say No!" - so this does not mean that I don't like you. I like pretty much every single person I've spoken with on or through this blog! I feel very lucky to have the readers that I do! But that's not what the blog itself is about.
What does this mean? It means that, if I fuck up on covering structural issues - if I say something that is racist, or sexist, or anti-trans, or anti-queer - you can and should call me out. If I say that Cheerios are the best breakfast cereal, and you prefer Frosted Mini-Wheats, and you feel tempted to write a multi-part screed on how I just don't care about people who love Frosted Mini-Wheats and, you know, you don't see enough coverage of Fruit Loops either... well, have you considered NOT doing that? You should. You really, really should.
I know, I know. HARSH. And this gets particularly sticky when we are talking about things that are close to people's hearts - like their pet cats, or their parents' relationship. I do, in fact, have compassion for people who are extremely sensitive about those things. And I want to tell you why I have this genuine compassion by telling you a little about myself.
Throughout my early twenties, I was a very fucked-up individual.* This is because I was dealing with a variety of things: several incidences of sexual assault, a relationship with a fairly toxic dynamic (which I played a big part in creating, being fucked-up and all), my abusive dad (who FAKED HIS OWN DEATH, basically, in the middle of my junior year of college: literally, there were two months during which we actually thought he had actually died, and then he showed up, and it's a long fucking story). It reached a peak somewhere in the middle of that junior year, wherein I literally would not stop talking about how horrible my life was, maybe just to be heard, maybe to get empathy, but probably just to get pity. Like, I took all of these non-fiction writing courses and EVERY SINGLE ASSIGNMENT turned into me writing some hyperbolic J.T. LeRoy shit about something awful that had happened to me and then we'd get to the "workshop" portion where everyone would read it and look at me with these "YIKES" faces and, basically, just focus on the grammar, because what else do you say?
I will tell you what else you say. Because, on the last day of junior year, this other woman with a very sharp tone noticed me about to launch into yet another story about how awful my life was, and she said this:
"You do know that everyone else goes through hard times too, don't you?"
And she also said this:
"I'm really tired of being held hostage to your personal breakdown."
This is an unflattering story, in case you haven't noticed! It is a story in which I am the villain! But I get the sense that a lot of people might be in the same place I was, years ago, and that is why I need to speak to you about this. Focus on the issues: sure, fine, great. The issues are often about people being hurt, so noting the existence of pain isn't taboo either. But, for the love of God, do not try to turn this public forum into a referendum on whether or not your pain matters. Because, basically, that is also a referendum on whether or not you matter. And you have to decide that question for yourself. Some woman you've never met who runs a blog can't answer that question for you. Nor can you resolve it by hosting a My Life Sucks party on the Internet, derailing an entire conversation to talk about whether or not you have worth as a person and how much pain you're in and doing that passive-aggressive codependent bullshit wherein if people don't immediately weigh in to talk about how much they pity you they're all terrible monsters so they'd better do it RIGHT AWAY. You can get all the pity in the world, but at the end of the day, it matters fuck-all, because you still feel like shit. All that matters is where you stand with yourself. And if you don't get that: let me tell you, you will be chasing the pity forever. You will always want more. There are just not enough people in the world to love and support and care about you, there's not enough attention, there's not enough praise, there's not enough consideration, ever, because deciding that you matter is your fucking job and everything else that is offered to you just gets sucked into the black hole that's where your self-respect should be and almost instantly disappears.
So, yeah. I get that your life might be tough right now. But don't make me the person who's supposed to fix it. Because I'm just writing about ladybusiness.
And, on a ladybusiness-related note: have you noticed that it's pretty infantilizing, this stuff? I mean, we've been demanding the right to be treated like adults, proclaiming our strength, clamoring about how we want to be full participants in society and democracy, for over a hundred years. But here's the thing: democracy means one person, one voice. It means everyone gets to participate equally, everyone gets to be heard, no-one is privileged based on what they are and no-one is denied access because of what they are. It's a noble goal. But "one person, one voice" does not ever mean that all of the voices are going to agree with you. You can lay out your arguments, you can discuss, you can converse, but making it all about your personal pain at being challenged or disagreed with: well, shit, if you can't handle that, why did you get out of bed this morning? You're not a child. Don't ask people to treat you like one. Because people can pat you on the head and treat you like a special little princess and continually protect your fragile being, but when the time comes to go to war, to stand up, to be a force to be reckoned with, you're going to be completely unequipped.
The world is fucked, kids. You know it. You've seen it. If you are basically anyone other than a thin able-bodied white dude who likes the ladies and makes truckloads of cash, a substantial portion of the world is convinced that you just do not matter. Wishing aloud that the world catered more specifically to your personal wishes and desires... well, that's not how it works. It's missing the point, actually. Because the point is not, and never has been, you. The point is everybody. So you get up every morning, and you put on your armor, and you make things change.
*UPDATE: An e-mail from a reader suggests that this post may be insensitive to people with depression or other forms of mental illness. Some of the behavior that I am describing is, in fact, common to people who are depressed. Here is the official Tiger Beatdown position on this: if you are depressed, or think you might be depressed, please go to the doctor. Seriously. If I could possess your body for 24 hours and drive you there and get you the prescription or the referral or whatever it's going to take for you to treat your potentially lethal illness, I would do that. But I cannot! Which is good, since I cannot actually drive and would wreck your car! So that is - as I said above - your job! It is really super self-destructive to seek help via derailing Internet conversations: it not only puts people in the position of having to provide help they're neither trained to provide nor capable of providing, it can - if used as a substitute for real treatment - actually endanger your health still further. People have, historically, tried a lot of substitutes for medical treatment of depression - Jesus, beer, Livejournal - and really, they don't ever work out well. So don't try to make this blog one of them.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Crisis pushes men to therapy, women to handbagsBlammo! Yes, the men, poor dears (we all know that they are THE MORE AFFECTED BY THIS RECESSION, right? Right) are quite literally going insane due to the dark economic times that are upon us. Whereas women, as I believe Judith Butler once said, be shopping!
Do you know what is fun about this article? What is fun about this article is that it provides just about no supporting evidence that men are seeking therapy in greater numbers! What it does provide is some quotes from a "gender marketing expert" (oh, goody) named Diana Jaffe about the tortured male psyche and the fact that a man's very sanity depends on having a big fancy job, like so:
"Women are also worried about their jobs, but not to the extent that they feel their mere existence is being threatened...Many male managers are suffering from a huge loss of status, many feel under an enormous amount of pressure or are suffering from burnout. They just don't have the resources to think about buying luxury goods and prefer to go to a life coach," [Jaffe] said.Also, there is this, from a dude who has some job relating to handbags:
"Men are more affected psychologically by the crisis than women. A bag can be bought on impulse, whereas a jewelry or watch purchase is not."Actually, the bags being discussed in the piece are Hermes bags, which (a) cost more than just about anybody could afford without careful financial planning and saving up over a period of time, and (b) actually require you to register on an extensive waiting list in some cases, so "impulse" is pretty much exactly the opposite of what these purchases would be for many or most folks.
But, whatever. Let's talk about how women are buying more luxury goods than men! (Or just more handbags? Because we all know how the men were with their fancy handbags before the crisis, am I right, ladies?) And not how it is driving those men LITERALLY OUT OF THEIR MINDS WITH DESPAIR, or whatever, since the article seems not to prove that this is actually happening. Let's talk about the relationship women have to shopping: why we be shopping as often as we do.
Because we're ladies! And it's our job, basically! There are several entire industries devoted to convincing us that (a) our worth lies in how attractive we are, and (b) in order to be attractive, we need to buy stuff. LOTS of stuff. If you are a lady, you seriously need to be pretty and sexy and cute, because otherwise nobody will care about you. And, obviously, you can't do that in what you're wearing now. What are you wearing now? Yeah, that is terrible. Buy something else!
But here is the problem: if you actually buy into these things, and support these industries, then we get to talk about how frivolous and superficial and silly you are. Stupid woman! You are out buying handbags while the men are tightening their belts and crying noble tears over the economic future of our nation! Need we any further proof that you are of a lesser order?
Now, begone from my sight, empty-headed female! And take your butt-ugly shoes with you. Gladiator sandals are just so painfully last summer.
You know what I've never done, though? Designed a personality quiz. Luckily for me, my future husband Tucker Max has just released his new movie trailer. For "I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell!"
(Why is Tucker Max my future husband, you ask? Why, because I cannot think of him without kind of wanting to throw up or cry! There is not a man on this Earth who inspires me to more revulsion, and having watched several romantic comedies, including "The Ugly Truth," I now know that this means we are going to fall in love and be together forever.)
Anyway, here's my boyfriend's trailer!
Okay! Done throwing things at the computer monitor? Super! It's time for my awesome new personality quiz: Which Woman From The "I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell" Trailer Are You?
1) DO YOU TALK TO TURTLES? If you answered Yes, you are That Lady Who Talks To Turtles! You are crazy and stupid, like a woman would be. Also, you appear to be the only non-white person in the entire universe.
2) ARE YOU NOT A REAL PERSON? If you answered Yes, you are That Fat Girl Over There! You are a barrel full of laughs at your own expense, like all women, but especially fat ones. Also, it's okay to talk about killing you because you don't give Tucker Max a boner.
3) ARE YOU A CLINGING, CASTRATING HARPY WHO DOESN'T WANT YOUR BOYFRIEND TO EVER HAVE ANY AWESOME FUN WITH HIS BROS? If you answered Yes, you are The Girlfriend Who Yells Into The Phone! You are a very busy lady, as you were last seen yelling into the phone at Bradley Cooper in "The Hangover" trailer (OH HAI I THINK YOU MADE THE SAME MOVIE TWICE GUYS YOU MAYBE WANNA LOOK INTO THAT) and are currently scheduled to appear in several Judd Apatow movies. You are no fun, because you are a woman.
4) ARE YOU 98% OF THE WOMEN IN THIS TRAILER? If you answered Yes, you are a stripper! You probably don't have any lines. You do have boobies, though! Boobies that are presented for the delectation of Tucker Max and his awesome bro-band, because you are a woman.
5) ARE YOU FULL OF SELF-LOATHING AND GIGGLES? If you answered Yes, you are The Lady Who Makes Out With Tucker Max! You also do not have any lines, because you are basically a prop to show that Tucker Max can put his penis into a real live vagina if he wants to, because you are a woman.
6) ARE YOU KIND OF GROSSED OUT BY THE SIGHT OF SOMEONE MAKING OUT WITH TUCKER MAX, AND DO YOU EXPRESS THIS BY ACTING LIKE MARGARET DUMONT IN A MARX BROTHERS MOVIE? You are Gertrude. You're next!
7) DO YOU FIND THAT NONE OF THE ABOVE DESCRIPTIONS ARE AT ALL RELEVANT TO YOU, YOUR LIFE, OR YOUR PERSONALITY? Take it again! This is a professionally made movie, by professionals, who got paid to provide you with their professional film. It is not as if one can become a professional director or screenwriter if one has absolutely no functioning knowledge of what women are like and relies on obnoxious stereotype instead of insight or creativity! So, seriously, take the quiz again, because the only other option is that you are Tucker Max. And nobody wants that. Not even me. His lover.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Yes, that's right! My crankiness about the young people has turned out to be, in fact, merely another example of my crankiness about the moral codes of the white middle class! Which makes sense, given that the hipster thing is, in and of itself, a pretty white, middle-class phenomenon. This was the entire point of Stuff White People Like, right? This is not a new point that I am making! But, to explain how it ties into hip racism and sexism, I invite you to go on a journey with me. A journey many of you may have taken before. A journey to your white, middle-class parents' house for Thanksgiving.
(Don't have white, middle-class parents? No worries! This is a journey of education.)
Okay, so the first thing that happens at your white, middle-class parents' house is that some gay dudes have moved in next door. Everyone is making a big show of how tolerant they are! But then, somebody - let's say your mom - leans over to you, and lowers her voice, and says something really, really fucktacular about The Gays. And you gasp, and you go, "Mother! That's not OK!" And she looks at you, all wounded and indignant, and says, "honey, I am not a homophobe."
Welcome to the bougie dynamic. Prejudices are thought of as nasty and tasteless and unrefined and bad, and of course all of us white middle-class people aspire to taste and refinement, and also to having a whole lot of smooth jazz CDs, and so we imagine that racism and sexism and homophobia and the like are only engaged in by dirty poor people, also known as White Trash. (See, also: white people being dismayed by black male sexism and homophobia.) This is another thing pointed out by lots of people, like Barbara Ehrenreich and such! At a certain point, the privilege and prejudice of the middle class got projected onto the working class, because it was an undesirable characteristic and we love attributing those to poor people. So, no, we middle-class folk are not prejudiced! We just, um, say prejudiced things a lot?
Now, join us, as we go on another journey: a journey out for drinks with some white, middle-class hipsters! They are also cultured; you can tell, because they don't have any smooth jazz CDs. They are also totally not like their parents, and they want you to realize and appreciate this very important fact. And yet, at some point, during the drinks, somebody says something really fucktacular about The Gays. It is puzzling to you, because he is not actually lowering his voice, as his parents and yours would do; he is raising his voice and smiling and is clearly very proud of this thing he has said. He seems to feel it is quite iconoclastic and bold, this thing about The Gays he is saying! And yet, if you call him out on it, he will look at you all wounded and indignant and say, "look, I am not a homophobe."
Forget it, Jake; it's Bougie-Town. VICE-esque racism and sexism, and the hipster "rebellion" from middle-class mores, consists only of raising one's voice rather than lowering it when behaving like a jackass. Because it's cool, right? We're all cool? Cool because we think of prejudice as problematic, not on moral grounds, but on grounds of taste - and have innoculated ourselves against charges of prejudice by making sure our tastes are appropriately classy. Cool because we think saying aloud what our parents would whisper qualifies as "rebellious," rather than "the same old shit cranked up to 11."
Oh, and also, if you really lay into your friend, he'll misuse the word "ironic" and tell you that you can't take a joke. Which is not so much a cool young person thing as a thing your grandpa does after he's had a couple and has started calling you a Commie, but whatever.
So, for the record, here is some irredeemably crass titillation, beloved only by those with a deplorable lack of education, refinement or taste:
Here is something that it is totally cool to jerk off to:
Here is a woman who only plays hollow, personality-free fantasy sex objects, and whom we must all deplore for that reason:
Here is a woman who only plays hollow, personality-free fantasy sex objects, and is your imaginary girlfriend:
Here is an ad that is full of sexy fun times:
The Continuance of Sexism and Racism In Our Enlightened Post-Feminist, Post-Racial Era, Featuring More Grabbing
PLAYER 1: The thing is, there's nothing wrong with feeling superior to people because you have good taste!Anyway, I used to live right next to a Diesel store when that was happening! Here is a Diesel ad, via Racialicious.
PLAYER 2: Actually, maybe there is, because that means your sense of self is based on the stuff you buy.
PLAYER 1: Ah, but the entire culture is special in various ways, thus legitimating the sense of superiority!
PLAYER 2: How? Where does the "superiority" come from? Is it superiority of morals, of politics, of principle?
PLAYER 1: Sure! Why not?
PLAYER 2: Actually, Isaac Brock may have raped someone, "hipster racism" is so universally acknowledged as to be a catchphrase, and the class dynamics of "ironically" appropriating Poor White People or Poor Black People stuff whilst laughing about how awful it is are really troubling. And I've met a fuckload of misogynist hipsters. Also.
PLAYER 1: The thing is, there's nothing wrong with feeling superior to people because you have good taste!
PLAYER 2: Fair enough, I guess. I am not wearing a Nickelback shirt right now.
PLAYER 1: Ha ha, Nickelback. They suck!
PLAYER 2: They seriously do!
Oh, here's another one. Why the heck not!
One of these things is not like the others, yall.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Also, Peggy is better. Sorry! She just is.
Anyway, imagine my surprise at discovering that, when interviewers are not focusing specifically and entirely on the culturally significant breasts of Christina Hendricks, she has interesting things to say! Behold, from this recent piece in New York Magazine:
“What’s astounding is when people say things like, ‘Well, you know that episode where Joan sort of got raped?’ Or they say rape and use quotation marks with their fingers,” says Hendricks. “I’m like, ‘What is that you are doing? Joan got raped!’ It illustrates how similar people are today, because we’re still questioning whether it’s a rape. It’s almost like, ‘Why didn’t you just say bad date?’ ”Whoa hey! A solid point! About how Joan's rape would not have been recognized as such in 1962 (because her rapist was the dude to whom she was engaged) and, honestly, many people still have trouble calling such incidents "rape" now!
The interview concludes with Christina Hendricks answering a question about her breasts.
Like, for example, this! In which noted white person Sally Quinn promises "The Ugly, Honest Truth About Race In America." Hurrah! A white person is here to tell us what is up! And she makes it through several entire paragraphs before landing on this:
What nobody will say publicly, for fear of being called a racistBAM.
Now: here is how this works. Let's say there is a brutal system of privilege - really, pick your brutal system! I'm going to say Race, today - that continually privileges the experiences, comforts, and lives of some people (let's say, White People!) over others. Let's say that these privileges are so very intrinsic to the way we live that most people have trouble even recognizing that they exist. Let's say, thirdly, that there has been continual pushback, over the course of centuries, on the behalf of folks who have noticed that the privilege exists, and have been working to identify and analyze the dynamics of it. And let's say, finally, that we live in the Year of Our Lord 2009, and this business has been going on for at least a couple hundred years and the progress we have made is: now, when someone is being a racist, you can say that. Even though you will probably be called "angry" and a "fringe-dweller" and be marginalized for your godless Communist views, at least you can say the word "racist" because people have some vague idea as to what it means.
What does this mean? It means, of course, that we have GONE TOO FAR! The forces of PC censorship are upon us, suppressing our rights! Or, at least, they are suppressing our rights if we are privileged people; if we are not, our rights are being suppressed in many other creative ways. For example, we could be Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who was arrested in his own home and then got angry and then was penalized and blamed for not "cooperating." But, whatever! Back to the White People! Who, like Sally Quinn, WILL NOT BE SILENCED about the Gates thing. The fact that you might get called a racist for being all racist-like is sheer tyranny, and she will not put up with it. And so she, like many before her, has cast herself as a fearless truth-teller, willing to point out that there are things people simply will not say for fear of being called racist. Such as racist things! Or:
[Gates] is notorious, especially among many of his colleagues (black and white) at Harvard, for being short-tempered and arrogant. I have had personal dealings with him in which his behavior was not honorable.WOW. We have "short-tempered," we have "arrogant," we have various unspecified sources who don't like him, we have various unspecified incidents in which Sally Quinn, Noted White Person and Non-Racist, was not pleased with him... can we work the word "uppity" into this sentence, Sally? No? Okay, then. Good try.
Gosh, we've certainly learned a lot from Sally Quinn today about not being called racists! Let's run down the list:
1. DON'T POSIT "BEING CALLED OUT FOR YOUR RACISM" AS WORSE THAN ACTUALLY BEING THE TARGET OF RACISM. It makes you look like a total whiner! And also, a racist.My goodness! So much information! And in such a short space, too. Are there any other common blunders that may result in being called racist that you would like to share, Sally?
2. DON'T SAY THAT THE TEXTBOOK RACIST THING WE ARE TALKING ABOUT WAS PROBABLY THE BLACK DUDE'S FAULT. If possible, you should also try not to supply vague anecdotal data about how nobody likes him because of how "arrogant" he is! This is because it is racist, and people might say so.
in response to the Gates & Crowley incident, many of my white friends and colleagues have been discussing reverse discrimination.BAM.
Here is a thing I was writing in e-mails to everybody late last week: I seriously never thought I would see a movie more offensive to all of my many delicate sensibilities than Observe & Report! But I did. I saw that movie. And then I wrote about it, for Comment is Free:
Anyone who goes to the movies looking for sexism has her work cut out for her. Most movies are directed by men. The vast majority of top studio executives are men. Male demographics are prized. And, maybe because of the above-mentioned facts about who is producing and creating movies, most movies tend to focus on male experiences and male heroes, while movies made "for women" tend to be tossed-off, patronising and terrible. It's more challenging, actually, to look for movies that aren't sexist.
Nevertheless, when every single review of a movie mentions its misogyny, I pay attention. Particularly when it comes from a screenplay written by three ladies, and when one of those very few female studio executives – Amy Pascal, of Sony Pictures Entertainment – was responsible for green-lighting it.
This was why I ended up going out to a theatre in Queens, New York, in the middle of the day, to see The Ugly Truth, the beautiful, terrible brainchild of screenwriters Nicole Eastman, Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith. Readers: If there is any experience more humiliating for a girl than uttering the phrase "One for The Ugly Truth, please," I haven't had it yet. As I took the ticket, I realised that to any outside observer, this would appear to be the absolute worst-case scenario for my life.
Oh, it is long and it is angry. Read it, please, that my suffering may not be in vain.