Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Madge was never my role model ...

She was never actually on my radar much.  A male friend of mine adored and still adores her.  He has always claimed to enjoy his "Madonnarama" of marathon Madonna music.  Sure, she was an icon of the '80s (my generation), but I was more of a Pat Benatar person.

It simply annoys me to still read so much about her in modern press.  I'll give her the fact that she branded herself well enough to still be relevant now, and she is super versatile in re-inventing her image.  But it was probably the Britanny kiss that changed my mind about her.  In my opinion, it was no different than wanna-be lesbians getting attention in a bar or party setting by kissing each other.  Pure "look at me" syndrome.  It's attention whoring.

Now Madonna is back ... again.  She's popping up in pop culture "news" because of her new album.  She's getting attention, so good for her.  It just pisses me off to have women of a certain age being referred to as menopausal, as it that is a classification for them.  

Madonna's Mighty Menopausal Comeback, Still Sexy or Still Selling Sex

These types of articles also beg the question, why do women have to use sex to sell themselves (literally and figuratively).  I don't think shaking your ass or spreading your legs in a video is role-model material.  As I've said before, it's all about perfection and touting an image that an aging woman can still be "viable" if she looks good enough.  

That has been the case all throughout movie history.  A film where an older woman is with a younger man, ala "The Graduate," is all about a so-called cougar (*gagging on that word*) chasing a kid.  Of course, the woman has to look especially good, like Mrs. Robinson in her day, to be able to score the man-ling.  It makes me think of the beautiful Julie Christie and a young Jonny Lee Miller in the '90s flick Afterglow.  Their affair, and her age, were central to the story line.

However, any movie -- and they're usually all doing it -- about an older man involved with a young woman is just a plain ol' movie.  Case in point, the biggie, is 1999's Entrapment with Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones and a 39-year difference in their ages.  Whoa.  Their love affair was a bit of an issue but not the central plot line.  There's The Island from 2005 with Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson, and the 13-year differences in their ages ... not a factor.  Another is Knight and Day from 2010 with Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise and their 10-year age gap ... not a big deal.  In 2011's Crazy, Stupid, Love, at least Ryan Gosling only has eight years on Emma Stone.  And relatively closer in age were Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks, paired in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, in 2011 with only nine years  between their ages.  These older leading men with young leading women are totally commonplace and hardly, if ever, mentioned within the plot or any hype surrounding the films.  Why is this?

Which leads me to the menopause issue ... none of these iconic males are ever gigged for their ages.  Neither are they ridiculed for wrinkles or fat.  The timeline of a male's presence on earth is never considered relevant, much less a factor regarding his talent or notoriety.  Is there a male menopause they'll reach when their age will be a topic of conversation?  Hell to the no.  Their body chemistry is certainly never mentioned in any headline about a "come back" to fame.  

We all age.  Celebrities are human, and they age, too.  The viewing/listening masses would like to think these people are super human and do not grow old or go to ruin.  Except women AGE and men mature.  Males become more distinguished ... Sean Connery, hello ... or sexy with age, or so people say.

Maybe Madge is considered a role-model type because of her brazen behavior and against-the-grain choices made throughout her career.  And she seems to be intelligent when interviewed.  I just don't agree with the "shake your money maker" attitude of fame.  It comes with a high price, self-respect and dignity among those costs.  Pretty soon you're kissing a young woman at an awards show to stay in the headlines and placed as the butt of menopause jokes later.  If these women let the criticism wear on them enough, they may end up still grasping for perfection but in re-hab with Demi Moore as a result of their frantic efforts to look young and keep partying to feel young for the moment.  

No man has had to publicly defend his Peter Pan syndrome (except maybe Chaz Sheen), a weak prostate, or use of erectile dysfunction aids.  He's instead applauded as a renaissance man with a solid body of work in his past.  His face, gut, and butt stay virtually off the radar.  His "change of life" doesn't suffer a public examination.    

It's the human condition.  We all grow older, and our bodies change.  We can all rage against these facts, but aging remains a factual circumstance all the same.

I hope the newer generations evolve enough to try to equal such gender disparity in general and hyper-criticism of women specifically in the media.  Sure, lofty hopes but we can only try to set things right.  How can any of us be role models for children otherwise? 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Open letter to Rih Rih


My dear, you are a totally hot mess, not to mention a disappointment to most of your fans.  Well, the female fans with half a brain at least.  Get over #downwithchrisbrown.  Period.  Leave him alone, shed yourself of any connection to him (twitter or otherwise), and move on with your life!  Forget about any business collaboration. Otherwise, I hope your music career stands to suffer.

You've set a poor enough example for all young people who listen to your music.  As if it wasn't bad enough to you wear a mesh shirt in public with no bra, now you're tweeting racist remarks about his next inevitable abuse victim.  Anyone who saw that shirt couldn't help but consider you tacky, tacky, tacky.

Haven't you an iota of self-respect left?  I should have known you must not when I read about you and your friends calling each other the "c" word and thinking it was endearing.  That, and you, are not cute.

Don't play the victim any more.  It's not attractive on you.  Think of all the strong young women for whom you serve as an influence.  How would you feel if she lashed back with a racial epithet, too?

And as much as I thought I liked your latest single, I will not buy the CD.  I don't want my young, impressionable, feminist son to hear music from the self-loathing likes of you.

Former Fan

Monday, March 19, 2012

What a bucket full of idiots.

In regards to nail files, such an innocuous object, here's the most sexist thing I've read today:

"Wedding parties: Either for the Bride’s Maids or even as a table gift for every lady present."

Conde Systems Sublimation blog

The company is Conde.  Apparently they have freaking eegits for marketing "gurus."   The blogger (honestly) quotes a customer as saying, "Every woman loves a good nail file and my wife tells me this one is the best. "

Every woman loves a good nail file?  Not particularly.  I'll settle for one of those plain ol' mini-emery boards, thank you.  Does this mean guys don't use them?  If they have jaggy fingernails, maybe they should!  Toward the end, the blogger even recommends, "Consider using these as gifts to your lady clients."

Those lady clients would probably find this comment to be very sexist.  If they only knew.

I find the categorization of "lady gifts" to be a total over-generalization of women based on their "lady parts."  This sales genius basically denotes the vagina as pre-requisite to owning a nail file.  Why doesn't he realize how insulting it is to make this type of generalization?  This is a time when I wish I tweeted so I could gig this company for such a blatantly sexist comment.

True, it's only 1:30 CST, so there's sure to be more misogynistic ignorance penned before day's end.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Life, death, and all that matters

I got a ring last night from a student caller at my alma mater asking for money, as usual.  My first thought was that I had only recently made an alumni donation for the year, so it seemed too soon for another one.  The young woman asked if I remembered a particular professor from the Comm Studies department there.  Of course I do, as she was one of my favorite instructors.  Come to find out, they're creating a scholarship in her name because she died back in December. 

The news struck me.  Dr. Koehler and I had corresponded just back in November, less than four months ago.  I had no idea she had since had open-heart surgery and later died at home.  My email was sent because I wanted her to know what an important influence she had been for me in college and that I had mentioned her in my novella.  She was basically the person referenced with the main character's line, 
Noting some wise words from a former college professor, she tried to remember never to treat anyone there as if she was better than them.  She had sought out the mentor's advice about her apprehension of moving back to small-town life.
There are people in life who ground you.  I needed to hear those words from my own real-life mentor at a time when being humble was necessary.  It makes me wonder if the universe sends people your way specifically, but I'm not a big believer in fate.  Let's call it serendipity or a lucky coincidence.  

Regardless, she said to stay in touch and asked me to send her my address, but I hadn't done that.  My vacation and the holidays were coming up, and I didn't get around to it.  Now I regret it so much.  Never put off doing something that you may not be able to do tomorrow.  While I feel overwhelming grateful to have heard from her in a couple different emails, I am sorry for not staying touch.  It would have been right before her surgery, and now it's too late.   
Her obituary mentioned doing a selfless thing for another person in Carol's honor.  A "pay it forward" type of thing was what she would want people to do in her memory.  It was sad to learn so many wonderful things about her from the obit that I wished I had known while she was alive.  She was so insightful, no doubt from her experiences and travels.  There were over a hundred comments just on that condolence site.  I can't imagine knowing that many people, much less having them give online praise like she deservedly received.  

Hers was a life that touched so many people in such outstanding positive ways.  I can't remember reading the word "love" so many times in one place online.  A multitude of expressions of love given and received there.  There are so few truly inspirational people in this world, and we're definitely missing one of them now.  

‎"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." - Dr. Seuss 
(in honor of Dr. Carol M. Koehler, 1938-2011)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Newspaper follow-up

Being disappointed in myself from not expressing my opinion via the local newspaper online, I decided to email the reporter.  I first explained that my concerns did not directly address his article but more the subject of hydro-fracking dangers in general.  He responded, much to my pleasure, and is going to pass along what I wrote to the editorial department.  It sounds kind of like a "food for thought" type of situation where they might choose to do an editorial piece on the subject.  So I didn't actually have my say, but then again I did.  Now they can take all the backlash from nutjobs expounding their idiocy through online responses instead of it being deflected to me for writing a letter to the newspaper editor.

It was refreshing to have the reporter not dismiss me as a general kook and ignore my email.  So many people expel their b.s. anonymously online (*clears guilty throat*), and I was glad he didn't take my email that way.  I passed along yet another link to more online information from a Cornell University study about animal health being affected by fracking.  Perhaps Midwestern citizens might pay attention if their livelihoods (farming and livestock) are potentially impacted.

People only seem to care about ecology when it affects their financial bottom line, not when it affects our planet, human kind, and animals.  How about their kids' kids' kids?  With more and more greed and disdain in the world, I'm glad others actually care what we're doing to our planet and try to do something about it.  It's science, folks, not just a bunch of crazy liberals jumping on the Al Gore bandwagon.  Seriously, what would we have to personally benefit from lessening the abuses except helping preserve life in the future?  We're not making any money off the effort.  Some of us simply still care about generations to come and not just about using up and destroying everything we have now.  Drill, baby, drill ... my ass!

Can't wait to see what happens with the newspaper, if anything.  Maybe I will write the letter based on what I already said to the reporter if I don't see anything on the subject in the next few weeks.  Remaining silent just seems too complicit.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What I was going to post in a local newspaper comment ...

"Why NOT buy even more lower-cost power from the grid?  Because the detrimental effects on human health and damage related to fracking are more important than profits.  Look at any example from the east coast battle (NY, PA, VA, WV) and across the U.S. (TX, ID & ND) against hydraulic fracturing."  

Article titled "Cheap Natural gas is saving for C.U." at City-Utilities-power-plant  

I was also going to link to the New York Times archive of all their commentary and articles there about hydro-fracking at NYT archives.  But my FB account profile popped up, as that's the only way to comment, and it listed my employer next to my name.  So many people around here would connect my thoughts to me speaking on behalf of my job.  

Funny that I've complained so much about the crackpots who use the anonymity of the internet to spew their opinions everywhere through online responses and comments, and I was joining their ranks.  Here is my forum instead!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I hate tiaras!

     Walking through the lobby at work yesterday my eyes caught (to my horror) a pair of middle-aged women on the television wearing tiaras on their heads.  Was this some sort of Disney-induced, walking nightmare?  
     No.  It was apparently an afternoon info-rama called The Doctors, where Dr. Lisa and her interviewee sported matching headgear in an episode called "Menopause Party."  The esteemed t.v. doctor had many "menopause must-haves" in her box (no pun intended), including some hot-flash spray and a tiara.  I was aghast. No kidding, the episode is on their website, Menopause Party
     A tiara ... of course!  Right along with my own surgically-induced menopause from an early-in-life hysterectomy, I ran right out and grabbed a freaking tiara for my menopause party. 
     This past the weekend I was nauseated to see that you can make your own tiara from a kit at Hobby Lobby.  If you are self-absorbed enough to want a tiara, for any reason, would you buy a DIY version at Hobby Lobby?  Surely there's one on ebay pretty cheap.
     See, I just don't understand this whole societal princess obsession. The princess fantasy seems to be about being beautiful (in a socially acceptable American way), wearing lush gowns, batting your eyelids, and waiting to be rescued by some only-existing-in-fairy-tales prince.  Guess what, girls? Prince William got married.  Kate Windsor, you are not!  That's the only kind of princess there can be today.  Lil' Harry is too much of a player to get hitched, and you don't have a shot anyway!  It's such a daydream waster to imagine being a celebrity on that level.

     Maybe tiaras are kind of a fun accessory, in a wry bachlorette party sort of way.  The last hurrah of being single thing, you've found your Prince Charming, all that shite.  But how do females get sucked into it in the first place?  I blame it on that damn Disney.  Society feeds little girls such lies of how playing the damsel in distress is how to snag a man.  He'd be lucky to have you, sister, if you'd only believe it.
     The lies are ever present in modern media depictions.  I'm not saying all media is evil.  It's there because we want it.  We want to watch imagined lives to at least momentarily escape our own.  Escapism is why we go to the movies in the first place.  I simply wish adults wouldn't feed into this princess nonsense.  Sure, kids should be able to make believe.  Why not make believe about being a scientist, a musician, or going on a safari instead?  I would have loved to fly an airplane or drive a motorcycle.  Meh ... princesses.  
     So many people watch that god awful Toddlers and Tiaras, too, it's frightening.  Those over-the-top megalomaniac moms who subject their young daughters to this mania at such a young age.  The young ones are living the "look at me" nightmare early on, as if only their looks and shaking their booties are what will get them somewhere in the world.  It sure didn't seem to get their moms anywhere beyond their prom queen pasts and subsequent suburban existences lived vicariously through their children. 
     My last soapbox point here questions the value of these fairy tale fantasies.  According to Bruno Bettleheim (Bettleheim), American psychologist, there are specific uses for enchantment.  He claimed children gain courage by envisioning themselves as heroines or heroes who battle evil and win, thereby overcoming subconscious fears (Enchantment book).  
     But alas, the ways little girls see it, princesses are always saved by their prince.  They lift not a finger in preventing their own demise.  The ultimate goal is, after all, winning his love and that prized crown.  I'd rather see a character like Fiona kicking ass for herself, ala Shrek The Third.  Apparently she even saved the day in Shrek Forever After.  Missed that one.
     On a more somber note, one of my childhood fears was living in poverty.  We were somewhat poor, so I worried more about having enough groceries than having nice clothes, dates and being popular.  I obviously didn't want to remain poor as an adult and knew I had to make sure that didn't happen.  But ... not by marrying a rich man!  I was the only one who could work hard, go to college, and make a wage above the poverty-level so apparent in mid-America.  For myself.  
     No frilly diamond-encrusted crowns and happily-ever-afters can ensure a dreamy future. Little girls shouldn't depend on that happening for them either.  Maybe my worry was a heavy burden for a little girl growing up in the '70s, but Sunday nights spent watching Wonderful World of Disney weren't going to solve any problems facing females in the world.  Neither were Cinderella, Snow White or Sleeping Beauty.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Missing My Monkee

Dear Davy, 

We sure will miss you! Thanks for signing my copy of your book, They Made a Monkee out of Me, in 1987. I was such a teenage nerd that I called the radio station 101 the Fox in Kansas City specifically to talk to you.  Never mind that your group's created-by-the-networks,  lip-synced music was most popular the year I was born.  It didn't matter that you had a daughter around my age.  I still thought you were sexy cool (must have been the British accent).

Even though you donned a mullet wig and fake muscles inside spandex at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, I still loved seeing you there, too.  I even forced my friend's young daughter to go with me so I didn't look like a complete 20-year old dork.   You also kind of looked like a guy I used to date in high school.  Unfortunately, he had your same haircut in 1983.  The redeeming factor for my nerdy obsession with you was the Hard Day's Night-esque effort of "Head."  You were The Beatles minus the maharishi and hallucinogenics.    

The complete volume of your band's work in cassette format are specially preserved in my craft room music collection, all there for the sake of my reminiscing.  I could never find "Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd."  That was, after all, before ebay or Amazon.  As for my walk down memory lane, I remember: 


The Greatest Hits
The Best of the Monkees
The Monkees Present
Birds, Bees and the Monkees

Remember signing my copy of the liner notes from Pool It?  Thanks for that, too!  It's a shame that reunion tour didn't bring you all back into the limelight.  It would have a mistake to carry on without Michael, though.  I could have been your tour manager.  It was that wife of yours who must have dropped the ball!  

So I'm letting my parasocial relationship with you finally come to rest, perhaps.  You will remain a rock legend, albeit a faux legacy to leave.  At least your time came before the ultra-saturation of the media through the internet where we know watch the minutia of celebrity lives and feel our commentary is valuable.  You were able to leave without a modern-day scandal,and there are probably plenty of groupies out there who could tell a tale or two.  I was born late or I probably would have been one of them (*blush*).  

I'm sure you were a great father, jockey, and wonderful human being.  Goodbye, Love!  :)

Your Biggest Old-Souled Fan

Monkees "Head" clip