Thursday, July 21, 2005

Random Kvetching

Tonight my brain is saturated with Rovegate, Mr. Roberts Goes to Washington, What the Hell is Wrong with the Democrats, and Modern Myths: Elves, Unicorns and Compassionate Conservatives. I need a break. New posts are pending some rather time-consuming research, so you'll humor me while I procrastinate just a bit longer. In the meantime, in a fit of resplendent self-indulgence, I'm starting this new column, which will be the home for all the nonsense that irritates, exasperates and annoys (though clearly, "redundancy" should top the list, no?) I'll update as the need arises (which, damnit, it does nearly every day), so check back often if this sort of thing gives you some kind of vicarious thrill. Otherwise, move along, and go read something meaningful (my tiny collection of links should keep you busy for days).

  • Today, I actually heard (well, read) someone say that "nuk-ya-ler" is a "permissible pronunciation" now. Can you believe it? As if Bush's habitual slaughter of the word is now enough to cloak it in legitimacy. What's next? "Birfday"? "Pasketti"? "Bidness"? Good grief!! And we wonder why we have a literacy problem in this country…
  • Goddamn tourists. I live in one of those small towns easily accessible by, and catering to, summer vacationers. Now, the value of their impact on the local economy is not beyond me, and I do appreciate their business. And, having spent nearly all of my life in Los Angeles, I know how hard it is to down-shift at the end of the week and r..e..l..a..x. However, this does not entitle them to come galloping into my sleepy little hamlet and tailgate, cut-off, rush around and generally frustrate the locals. So, if YOU happen to be one of those city dwellers that escapes on the weekends, PLEASE. Chill the fuck out. You're annoying the natives. Be nice or we'll price-gouge yer asses.
  • Is that crank-up-the-volume for commercial spots REALLY an effective tactic? I mean, seriously. If I'm watching Banal Show #342 one evening, at a comfortable "5" on my TV volume, am I to believe that ROI is significantly enhanced when commercials come blaring in at "10"???
  • Why, in the name of everything holy, do we give a rat's ass about Jessica Simpson? Or Linsday Lohan? Or Nicole Richie? I am SO up to here with being force-fed these teenagers as if they represent some kind of Ideal American Woman. Want to impress me? Bring back Maude. I loved her. How about Tyne Daly a la "Judging Amy"? Another stellar creature. Katherine Hepburn. Anne Bancroft (and a dozen more). Goddesses of the silver/TV screen. These are REAL women. But no. Instead we get vacant little babes with tits by Dow, hips by Buchenwald, and as much to contribute to American culture as Amish butt plugs.


Lily said...

I think that on a certain level, these vacuous pop culture icons represent a preference for escapism in a world of self indulgence, instant gratification, and a perpetual context of selfless pursuits, disguised by the "birthright" of individualism and the American Way. They are women packaged a certain way, everything else. Who even knows what they really are. Who wants to see truth in America?
Amy Goodman, on the topic of media reporting in wartime, commented that if the world saw the true face of war, the children, the devastation- war would be eradicated. But as long as it is somewhere distant, removed- someone else's child in uniform- we are reticent complacent creatures. Notice the different attitudes about war, terror, death- in countries where this is witnessed firsthand, where children help their parents lug their dead siblings to mass graves...
So shame on us, we say. Shame on us for watching "American Idol" instead of becoming versed in policy, world events, news, truth. Shame on us for shopping where the price of toilet paper is cheapest. Shame on us for so many things. Where to start?
Your "Buchenwald hips" (notice I did not go off on that description in the name of blog diplomacy) reminds me of my trip to Buchenwald- and images like piles of baby shoes from dead children. We NEED to see truth, we need to talk about it. I do not mean by getting in people's faces or even saying "Why don't you care" like Little Red Hen. But by connecting to people and what matters to them, and showing them somehow that these things are relevant.
Jessica Simpson is an admittedly sexy woman we love to hate because we want to be liked for our minds, right ladies? Many would give a million of their most feminist brain cells to look like her though- why? because at the end of the day life in America is about symbols that represent what we aspire to, trophy girlfriends, big homes, green grass...we watch them because we are all pathetically soul-less. We can forget that for a while.

Cantankerous Bitch said...

Of course you're right about our escapist tendencies. We're all guilty to a degree. But it's simply a hard thing for me to swallow when I deliberately spend as much as my free time as I can reading, thinking, positioning and re-positioning, all in an attempt to be better informed so I can offer something better to my son. At the end of that process, I then wonder why people that do likewise seem to be in the minority (or is it just that I can't hear them?) An hour's diversion over sitcoms is one thing, but to buy into the Madison Avenue trip of All Consumpion, All the Time is something else entirely. Well, maybe not something else, just the far end of the spectrum....
Still, I talk to people about their social and political pursuasions and find that the majority of them just don't know, don't care. The ones with substantive opinions (like you, for instance) seem the exception to the rule. And for this, I rage.
Except that yelling and screaming doesn't work anymore. Our TVs blare, our stereos belt out a cacaphony of sound and empty fury, traffic and industry relentlessly hum their white noise over us, and when we get home in the evenings, tired and spent, watching Frontline feels like homework. Instead, they voyeuristic thrill of watching starletts is appealing for the fantasy they allow us to indulge: that it could be us in that swanky mansion, that we might drive the purring Italian sports car, that our most profound dilemma of the day would involve only the choice between Prada or Manolo. Oh believe me, I get it. It's exhausting to give a shit. But that we have lowered our standard such that this is the ideal, grieves me so.
Is it trite to say that instead I dream of military obsolescence? That I dream of clean air and giggling children and gregarious neighbors? Yes, probably. Seems I'm still a hippie after all. Maybe I'll confront the irony of QVC's Birkenstock Bonanza and quit shaving my legs in protest.

'Thought & Humor' said...

We work like a horse.
We eat like a pig.
We like to play chicken.
You can get someone's goat.
We can be as slippery as a snake.
We get dog tired.
We can be as quiet as a mouse.
We can be as quick as a cat.
Some of us are as strong as an ox.
People try to buffalo others.
Some are as ugly as a toad.
We can be as gentle as a lamb.
Sometimes we are as happy as a lark.
Some of us drink like a fish.
We can be as proud as a peacock.
A few of us are as hairy as a gorilla.
You can get a frog in your throat.
We can be a lone wolf.
But I'm having a whale of a time!

You have a riveting web log
and undoubtedly must have
atypical & quiescent potential
for your intended readership.
May I suggest that you do
everything in your power to
honor your encyclopedic/omniscient
Designer/Architect as well
as your revering audience.

Please remember to never
restrict anyone's opportunities
for ascertaining uninterrupted
existence for their quintessence.

There is a time for everything,
a season for every activity
under heaven. A time to be
born and a time to die. A
time to plant and a time to
harvest. A time to kill and
a time to heal. A time to
tear down and a time to
rebuild. A time to cry and
a time to laugh. A time to
grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones
and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a
time to turn away. A time to
search and a time to lose. A
time to keep and a time to
throw away. A time to tear
and a time to mend. A time
to be quiet and a time to
speak up. A time to love
and a time to hate. A time
for war and a time for peace.

Best wishes for continued ascendancy,

P.S. One thing of which I am sure is
that the common culture of my youth
is gone for good. It was hollowed out
by the rise of ethnic "identity politics,"
then splintered beyond hope of repair
by the emergence of the web-based
technologies that so maximized and
facilitated cultural choice as to make
the broad-based offerings of the old
mass media look bland and unchallenging
by comparison."

'Thought & Humor' by Howdy
CyberHumor, CyberThought
CyberRiddles for your divertissement!!!

Lily said...

I have some reservations about this part of the previous comment:
" It was hollowed out
by the rise of ethnic "identity politics,"
then splintered beyond hope of repair
by the emergence of the web-based
technologies that so maximized and
facilitated cultural choice as to make...." I wish the writer would explain the meaning more clearly of that remark. It can be interpreted, I think, two ways.
Cantbtch, I think we are here writing because of this "rage". (my point i think in refuting the narcissism) Not rage that your or my opinions or efforts are not shared- because I would not impose my thoughts upon another- but the idea that the exercise of ARRIVING at these opinions in informed, deliberate ways seems to be a practice that is not of much interest to people nowadays...
I once said that if we can ever discover what makes a mother disconnected to the world of her child, the future, the legacy- if we can find whatever it is that so compellingly afflicts such a promising soul- we can discern the nature of indifference. But the parent that watches the child play in traffic strikes me as coming from a very similar place as the person who "can't be bothered" with thinking past whatever is on tv.
We also need to acknowledge a cultural elitism here- I struggled with family, career, academics for years trying to permit myself the "luxury" of reading and processing information. It does not come easily to many people, or to me, and certainly when I worked nights, went to graduate school by day, and raised kids- I did not consider myself the most informed!!! I chose sleep. You cannot judge everyone by the same circumstances. Ultimately I decided it is a far greater gift to my family than more toys and more video games- to enhance their skills for a more competent stance, a richer texture of the mind- so to speak.

tmp00 said...

Ohkay, I removed the overly snarky swipe at Ms. Simpson that was, I hope beneath me (oh who am I kidding?).

*I believe that the correct pronunciation is "puh-shkeddi"

*Vacationers won't change. We will go to your town and roll through your stop signs and serve dangerously across your bow for a place selling antiques or frozen custard, y'all will drive through my neighborhood at exactly 23 MPH looking for the Bead Pitt exiting the Ivy. We all have our crosses; we all gouge.

*Having been friends with a sound man, I have been informed that there are actual laws governing this- they are actually not allowed to turn up the volume. They are turning up the "compression". The fact that Jessica Simpson's ProActive commercial just peeled the top layer off your skin is due to compression. Feel better?

*I can't agree with you more. The idea that we are asked to accept these barely pubescent "women" as the new ideal- damaged children already buying into the idea that a face full of poison and a chest full of seawater is a good idea to stave off the scourge that is age is just wrong. What's the answer? The new Dove campaign with the women who may have actually eaten in the past year or so, but still are air-brushed to perfection, all to sell anti-cellulite cream? I don't know- I play into that myself. While this 'Mo hasn't turned to the 'bo, I am the first one at the N-M counter, getting samples of every bit of gook-de-femme, trying to convince myself that I can cream myself into Tom Cruise boyishness for a few years more...

Gary said...