Category Archives: Diatribes

Conquering Modern American Social Apathy Borne of Privilege

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Map created by the folks at Brilliant Maps. Click for their article and associated credits.

 

If you or a loved one suffer from apathy to social justice issues, politics, and the stark intersection of the two, and exhibit any of the following sentiments:

  • my voice doesn’t matter because I don’t believe in the power of aggregate opinion
  • I don’t care about the problems of others, even though my silence is precisely what enables their continued plight
  • lending my voice to amplify the concerns of others conflicts with my own pursuit of happiness
  • I personally do not experience a problem, therefore I don’t care about it
  • I personally do not experience a problem, therefore I don’t believe that it truly exists
  • I personally do not experience a problem, therefore I believe its victims must deserve to experience its trappings

….please use your voice and example to change their minds. In the same way that the silence of the apathetic allows subjugation of the minority to flourish, so too does our own apathy towards the apathetic allow apathy to bubble over into the sad map of national indifference pictured above. If your loved ones are shocked that a bumbling, blathering buffoon was elected by only a misguided but passionate minority, explain that they shouldn’t be; that inaction, more than any other factor, is what empowers and emboldens the worst in society.

Apathy is extinguished one person at a time through our efforts. Its sufferers can have an effect for change, just as they currently have an effect for regression. Inaction is also a type of action, as the map more than illustrates. Being at liberty to choose inaction is a privilege that many do not have, because for them inaction directly threatens their access or protections related to their workplace, income, home, healthcare, legal protections…. even their abilities to have families of their own.

So, let’s start with the bare minimum and work up from there: Please ask your apathetic loved ones to show up at least one day a year [at their polling place] to exercise the human condition known as empathy.


New Male Tears Campaign in India

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See Bust for more (don’t give the source any clicks)

Powerful, isn’t it?

No, not the message. The gall. To feel so victimized as to proudly equate feminist appeals to stop raping and killing women with the self-inflicted duties of …holding doors and handbags.

Pour one out for the meninists and their struggles on Ladies Night Thursdays, when half-price cosmos challenge their holds on their masculine identities.

Women don’t want free drinks, your seat on the subway or your sympathy. Women want equal pay, equal job opportunities and to walk home late at night without their keys poised between their fingers. – Elissa Sanci for Bust.com


I’m not afraid of trying new things; I’m afraid I won’t like them

With every new relationship one fights the inner battle of “be yourself” against the opposing impulse to please a partner. For over thinkers, a meta-battle also wages behind that; the question of which side is more true to the situation? E.g., are these my true feelings, or have I convinced myself of something in an effort to please?

Chronic people-pleasers deal with this phenomenon, and I’m sorry to have counted myself among their number in the past. Recently, a longtime friend said these words to me over dinner: “I’m glad [prev. relationship] ended. It seemed as though you’d lost something of yourself, but I’m happy to see you’re yourself again.” My friend had thought for years & easily recognized what I had only just then begun to consider: I had said yes to everything that was Him and held on to precious little of what was Me.

Knowing this, whenever I’m with my current partner I am conscious about maintaining my identity against all influences, perhaps to a point now where I’m getting paranoid and questioning every detail. “Am I actually interested in this? Would I actually try this? Do I care? Am I being honest with all parties, including myself?”

The paranoia might seem extreme, but I think it’s a natural backlash from people-pleasing, a behavior of mine that was so rampant with [prev. partner] that I can barely stomach to think about all the ways in which it manifested. I could not possibly archive all my people-pleasing sins I committed with him, but a simple and quick example to paint a picture for you would be music. He always played his music. He’d sometimes offer for me to play mine in the car, but I honestly preferred silence to hearing negative comments and/or sensing the lip curling that went on during mine. I am very empathetic, and so if I perceive any disapproval, I get anxious and just want to escape the situation in the easiest way. So, I went nearly four out of our six years together never playing music. I held keeping him pleased above most of my own desires, and he was more than happy to accept my deference to his whims.

After a while though, as my friend alluded, identity degrades under such pseudo nonconsensual weight, and our lack of connection (him being so boldly outward with his identity and me becoming so inward with mine) morphed into permanent boredom and loss of communication. There was nothing to discuss–our relationship was us both enjoying his identity and hobbies. There was no I, only he or us. And I allowed it; often encouraged it or was its architect.

So, eventually I dissipated into space: fantasizing about made up characters, writing fan fiction, creating tumblrs, binge television, watching porn…. anything unreal was a thousand times more interesting. And, again due to his natural selfishness, he kept to himself and devoted all of his time to his own hobbies during that era, only to be alarmed and disappointed at how I “didn’t talk to him anymore”. Talking requires two parties, of course, but selfish people don’t think this way. We didn’t talk; ergo, I was ignoring him, and it was my fault. Simple. He surely doesn’t remember all the times I asked him questions in the car or at the table to a resounding silence as he scrolled through his phone not hearing me. Oh, how I hated his phone the first few years. I fantasized about lighting it on fire, hitting it with a hammer, beating it to a battery acid pulp, throwing it under bridges…. You name a violent thought, and I can cite you a phone-related violent fantasy I’ve had. Eventually, though, and perhaps in defense of my sanity, I gave in and stared at my own phone in return.

I don’t want to imply poor things of [prev. partner] as a person, because–as I’ve written before–the crux of our issues was our incompatibility; he was a naturally selfish person, and I was an emotionally subordinate pleaser. That has Bad News written all over it, but I was too emotionally invested to ever rationalize a breakup. He’s not a bad kind of selfish, per se. Rather, he is the kind of selfish that requires a particular kind of partner–one that is not, for example, an amiable doormat, but instead someone who will openly and proudly challenge him and bullhorn him back with her own demands and her own gas lighting; someone to act as a mirror and who can lead to self-evaluation. I was not capable of this. My stalwart silence and bending to his whims were not capable of this. A selfish person thinks “she’s not talking to me, so I am on my phone.” An empath thinks, “he’s on his phone, so I won’t talk to him.”

The challenge with romance is staying true to every important aspect of my identity while simultaneously being open to exploring someone else’s. This is a dance I will need to dance with eyes wide open going forward.

Which…. brings me back to my original impetus for this post. I am not afraid of trying new things that are important to him. I’m afraid of not liking them. While I’m dancing in the empty space that comes beforehand, I can relish the idea that maybe I’ll like it. There’s an excitement in the possibility of it all. But, I know that in protecting my identity’s validity I won’t hide my reactions, which means that once I try things and hate them, it’s over. He’ll be gone. And that makes me very melancholy.

In my quest for perfect compatibility, how many potential partners will I drive away? What’s a red flag and what’s a red herring to a paranoid, ex people-pleaser?


The Handmaid’s Tale Viewing Notes, Episodes 1-3

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The power of the Handmaid’s Tale is how perfectly believable it is. It’s a modern woman’s nightmare. Men (and certainly numerous women as well) like to think we’re in a post-racial and post-sexist society in the United States because everyone has equal rights on paper. However, regressives frequently challenge those rights in courts or through legislative gymnastics. Women made incredible strides this century to be sure, but modern women fear the recoil. After all, the first African American girl to attend a desegregated school is still alive today. She is only 62 years old. American women have held the right to vote for fewer than 100 years. Let that sink in. The men who wanted women to be voiceless raised an entire generation that is still alive and, in many cases, in power today. In fact, they whittle away at women’s reproductive agency and bodily autonomy every day at their jobs. Watching the Handmaid’s Tale while a woman (WHTwW) will surely be a buzzy health condition this month. I wonder how many right-wing viewers will miss the mark, though. “Isn’t it just the pits that women aren’t trusted to make their own bodily decisions?” an anti-choice viewer will muse to his or her neighbor.

In an emotionally grueling scene, one of the handmaids opens up about her horrific gang rape experience at school. Afterward, the other handmaids are forced (by threat of bodily harm) to shame her for “leading the boys on” and bringing the gang rape upon herself. In the Handmaid’s Tale, as in many real-life modern societal circles, women are unironically viewed as powerless and meek at the very same time that they’re thought to wield the all-powerful weapon of sex. From the show’s reception, these scenes clearly strike deep chords with women today. Rape victims are generally viewed as liars until proven raped in a court of law (see: nearly any case involving sports figures or celebrities ad nauseum), senators and congressmen argue whether pregnancies can biologically result from “legitimate rapes”, judges ask if victims bothered to move their butt around to avoid the penetration or if they kept their knees together, and even legislators go so far as to uphold rapists’ parental decision and visitation rights.

Still not convinced? Still think women’s closeness to this novel and mini-series is self-indulgent paranoia? Try playing Refinery29’s game, “Republican or Handmaid’s Tale” and see how well you do.

Another blogger delved into Atwood’s real-world influences for the novel that make it almost biographical:

“When Atwood was writing it in Berlin in 1984, she determined that she would put nothing into it that hadn’t already happened to women somewhere on earth. …. The novel has its origins in the 17th-century Puritans who settled in America, and in contemporary Afghanistan, and in Romania’s Decree 770, which dealt with a plummeting birth rate in the 1960s by outlawing contraception and abortion. That so many women feel so keenly attuned to it now demonstrates an acute awareness that the impulse to police women’s behavior and reproductive systems is as old as history itself.” – Sophie Gilbert for The Atlantic

Beyond the glaring premise of the show are other human rights atrocities that are just as believable. LGBTQ people gathered up and executed? Happening right now in Uganda, Russia, and Chechnya to name a few off the top of my head. And who can forget the ISIS video last year of a gay man being flung from a roof in execution. Female genital mutilation? Rampant in northern Africa and some parts of the middle east. Rape? No citations needed. These are common human rights crises happening at this very moment around the globe. One does not need a tinfoil hat to see the plausibility of American society’s downward spiral as illustrated by this television show. In the story, all it took was desperation and fear. One gruesome, alleged terrorist attack, and the bible belt handed the reigns of governance over to martial law. Welp, have you watched Fox News yet today? Its viewers are frothing at the mouth to do just that and support every idea that reroutes funding from critical services to the ever fattening military industrial complex (while inexplicably fighting for the right to stockpile guns in case a tyrannical government turns on them?) And did the show’s march for women’s rights remind you of a certain Women’s March on Washington in defense of women’s healthcare (among many other issues)? It’s startling to think that this scene was likely written and filmed long before our real march occurred. Yet, here we are.

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Front and center to the show are the women of privilege–the military wives–who seem to help enforce the new social constructs and keep select women enslaved. We hate them at first as we view the plot through a lens of the “have everything”s versus the “have none”s. Almost as soon as we begin watching, though, we see that many of the privileges the wives enjoy are barely that, as they still cannot work, own property, or have their own money. We’re also led to believe they may not have chosen their husbands and that all companionships are assigned. Take Mrs. Waterford. She looks pristine and clean at all times: hair, makeup, dress, high heels while she walks around the house. Her husband is out of town, yet she must still don her uniform of the privileged woman. She may visit friends that day, but that is the totality of her freedoms. She can’t even enter her husband’s study in their home. Privileges are thrown at these military wives like bones–nice homes, macarons and ice cream, fancy clothes–but bones are all they are. And these women, desperate to maintain what little status and few privileges they have, will do anything to keep them, including keep slaves. In this same way, the Handmaid program’s leader, Aunt Lydia, takes delight in lesbian Ofglen’s court-ordered “reformation”, a genital mutilation to remove sexual arousal for the wrong gender. Aunt Lydia rose to power for her pious devotion to conveniently cherry-picked dogma that supports the current powers, and she won’t abide women whose positions (or very existence, in Ofglen’s case) challenge her. This show does an incredible job of including the reactionary ways in which women help to uphold patriarchy and the ways in which women’s complicity are integral to its continued existence. It would have been easy and safe to focus on the male over female power structure in this adaptation, but that would not have been entirely true to Atwood’s tale nor to the reality of patriarchal structures.

When I was reading reaction blogs today, a piece in The Atlantic echoed my thoughts on this topic:

“The complicity of many wealthy women in the tyranny of Gilead is another aspect of the show that sharpens its topical relevance, particularly after an election in which a majority of white women voted against a female president. But casting women as co-oppressors in the novel, Atwood told me, was merely another way of remixing history. ‘They’re the roles that women have always played,’ she said. If someone were creating Gilead from scratch, she said, the most intuitive thing to do would be to enlist women in the policing of it, offering them limited power over other women. ‘There are always takers for that.'” – Sophie Gilbert for The Atlantic

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In the same way women are antagonists, the show is also careful to include men in an ally role. In the women’s march scene, men are gunned down on the front lines alongside the women, and of course we start the show with Offred’s husband dying in order to give his wife and daughter a running shot at reaching Canada. This inclusion is, of course, great on its own. But every now and then, it did make me laugh out loud. For example, while taking notice of men during the march scene I had the simultaneous thought, “this is to placate the MRAs who will surely frame this show as us versus them, anti-men propaganda.” If it had been a few men included in the march scene, I would have smiled at the simple inclusion and moved on. But, it was a gratuitous, slow motion homage to men at the women’s march. It even looked like a 50/50 gender split. It was as if the episode director was shouting preemptively, “See? We KNOOOOW #notallmen, you guys. We get it. Just look at all the men we put in this protest scene for you!” See, I know they had to, and that annoys the living shit out of me. But, as I find myself saying a lot lately, “here we are.”

In conclusion, it is the law of the internet that comments on any post about feminism justify the need for feminism. And, where men can look at the entirety of human history and still have the absence of mind to find the Handmaid’s Tale (novel, movie, or Hulu miniseries)  “hysterical, criminally unerotic, and a symptom of the author’s misandry“, let these same rules apply.


Something to be basic and white about in the summer


The day arrived: unicorn frappuccino day. The marketing was pointed and strong, and I was Rainbow Pepe the whole week prior to product launch, pressing refresh on the home page and waiting for it like a 16 year old standing outside the movie theater (e.g., full of giggles and thirsty for a frappuccino).

What is the unicorn frappuccino? A preteen fantasy: a maelstrom of creamy, fruity sweet tarts topped with whip and colored sugar crystal sprinkles. It’s a liquid Fruity Pebbles, if you will. It’s a tropical dreamsicle push-pop, but in a cup. It’s Halloween candy, but none of the chocolate ones, and during the summer. It’s a Nickelodeon slime drop over your senses, but instead of slime it’s a tarty pink and blue cream. It’s like if a mango and a squirt of vanilla got lost in the creme frappuccino assembly line, but the baristas just went with it. It’s a sugary smurf poop. It’s like if Spengler asked sweet tarts and pixie sticks not to cross the streams, but they did it anyway because they’re candy and don’t understand English. It’s like if Starbucks had its own Master Chef Junior where the kids were the baristas, and this is what they presented to Gordon Ramsay. It is colorful and silly and sugary and whimsical but also kind of disgusting, and it will cost me 90 minutes of bikram in caloric intake. Someone on my facebook feed called it “mixed berry confetti cake”, but my taste buds didn’t pick up any cake. I might have enjoyed it more if they had.

This drink is not for me despite my love for both unciorns and fun beverages. I made it a grand total of five sips, and that’s only because I kept drawing new, curious flavors into the straw, and I wanted to be able to accurately describe it.

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Pusheen approved, though.

In closing, this was not one of my prouder moments, but I can’t turn my head away from amazing marketing.

 


Narcissists

Just a reminder that there is no room for your hopes, dreams, jokes, or problems in the headspace of a narcissist. Your words deserve more than to live in the vapid limbo where a narcissist is waiting to speak again.


Darcy-ism

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^ Yeah no. I saw this and sundry other doormat lifestyle posts today on the web about giving people chances and finding the good, and I arched a brow and made a pfft noise into my coffee. I don’t subscribe to the social requirement to abide toxic relationships. I am no martyr, I do not give of myself ceaselessly, and I see no reason why people should give back to those who hurt them. Those are the types of people who are chronically unhappy despite the smile they force themselves to wear while being stepped on. So, why take the wrong lessons from them? The biblical stories of Jesus are parables, but not in the way their devotees think. Give of yourself completely, and the world will take everything from you in kind; that’s the lesson of Jesus’ murder from the gospels, folks (but also, don’t be a political rabblerouser in classical Roman colonies?)

On a serious note, humanity is not all good, nor is it all evil; it’s a marbled mixture of millions of walks of life. You will not and can not be compatible with everyone. Some people are not meant for you, although you know them personally through family, friendships, romances, colleagues, clubs, or casual encounters. And I’m here to tell you that it’s fucking OK not to reciprocate interactions with toxically incompatible people purely because they want you to. It’s also OK to hold on to your bitterness about it (albeit in a way that doesn’t overtake your psyche) because that shit will evolve you for future endeavors. Never miss an opportunity for a teachable moment.

Want healthy social wisdom? Try these gems that I live by:

My good opinion, once lost, is lost forever. – Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. – Maya Angelou

Once you learn to be happy, you won’t tolerate being around people who make you feel anything less. – Germany Kent

Self-respect knows no considerations. – Ghandi

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I realize that happiness is a maelstrom of variables such as environment, privilege, skill sets, and other circumstantial items in addition to personal choices, but I firmly believe that regularly excising toxic people from your bubble (and then keeping them out) is central to your well being and happiness.


Closure

I didn’t want to write this. For as long as this has been going on, I’ve avoided discussing it, but I don’t think I could say I truly moved on without it. And I am ready to move on. Last year the longest chapter of my adult life came to a close; longer than college, longer than grad school, longer than any professional project. My relationship with Matt ended.

We were an It couple; a reliable duo always in tandem. Presidential campaigns came and went, a few nations were rearranged on atlases, and a rover landed on Mars, and through it all Mary and Matt were a unit of measurement. We were together long enough to acquire holiday traditions, accumulate years of running gags, and to travel the country. We survived three moves, nightmare roommates, two schools, multiple bands and albums, unemployment, crippling debt, two health crises, a family intervention, and even one breakup. You could say that I had faith in us for better or worse, in sickness or in health. I may be at a place now where I can sound clinical as I dissect its closure, but don’t let that minimize your perception of the impact this had on me. Losing my rock was a devastating reality regardless of how stable or unstable that rock may have been.

It’s not difficult to understand why we got together at first. There we were at 24 & 25, two single-and-ready-to-mingle musicians brought together by chance on an obscure project. We met twice a week to make art (already an intimate endeavor). Sharing little in common with our families, colleagues, and even most of our friends (at the time), we bonded hard and fast. We found each other attractive, sure, but we also shared intellect, nerdy interests, political leanings, brooding outlooks, and short term goals. It’s easy for twenty-somethings with this much in common to fall in love. So few logistics and long-term planning come into play. It’s not until later in a relationship–long after most tie the knot–that the hot burn of new love fizzles out and youthful optimism and naivete wear off; where things like long-term compatibility and partnership become real questions… And a testament to my faith in us: that it took so long for my commitment fog to dissipate enough to ask these real questions.

What constitutes long-term compatibility? At 30 I can’t say for sure. I can only relay what I understand in contrast to where mine failed. We looked good on paper. Our interests were similar. But, they were tangentially so; they never intersected. We would like the same music but never the same bands. We liked the same film genres but never the same movies or tv shows. We liked videogames but never wanted to play the same ones. We liked to travel but not to the same places. We liked to go out, but not to do the same things when we got there. We had strong attention to detail, but never on the things we each felt mattered. Most critical of all, I think: we had similar goals but never the same priorities.

With each passing year it should have become easier to fit into each other’s lives, not increasingly difficult. Time together was forced and often silent. It was a duty of schedule that we fulfilled before returning to our preferred passions and pursuits. It was a costume that we wore to events when we could hardly participate in the same conversations for want of differing company. Everything was routine, and dates were exciting things that you did Platonically with other people. Trying to make us work felt like throwing a pebble into a well and listening for it to hit the bottom, but I wanted to keep trying to rescue us because I loved us. He may even have tried too. I don’t want to know because it doesn’t matter now.

What made the breakup difficult to understand and cope with at first was that ultimately there weren’t any “he did this” or “she did this” to tip the blame. We were incompatible in the long-term through no faults of our own (although we worked long and hard on each other to find ways in which it was our fault). The fact of the matter is that sometimes two good people with good chemistry isn’t enough to sustain a lifetime together. Commitment alone does not get you over the finish line, and sometimes quitting the race before you hate each other is the right choice, as difficult as that choice may be to hear.

In the long-term, I need more than a buddy. What I need is a partner. That requires long-term compatibility, the definition for which seems like a moving goalpost as I get older and which of course is highly nuanced and subjective depending on who you ask. Whatever this mystical conglomerate of traits looks like for me, though, I am wholly determined now to demand it. I think real partnership requires an intersectionality of similarity, sacrifice, and general goodness. A partner should want to give of themselves to you, not just show themselves to you.


A Brief Reflection on Self Esteem

Do you ever get the “self respect” comments from people with regard to your looks? Has anyone lambasted you for going to the store, the gas station, the coffee shop, class, or any other errand not “looking your best”? Well, people mostly leave me alone now, but I used to get this in college. I remember one conversation in particular when a friend [male, of course] professed his hatred of sweatpants (I was the daily sweatpants queen). He dressed dapper (shirt, vest, tie, slacks) for class every day and proclaimed to me one morning that students dressing down for class don’t respect themselves or their peers. I didn’t have the words to decry this at the time. Truly, I think I just snorted and rolled my eyes and let it go. Yet, sometimes–even today, ten years later–I think about this scene. It pops into my head in full detail.

I laugh now remembering that in college I tried to work as close to 30 hours a week as I could, overloaded on credits to have two majors and a minor (e.g., 5 classes per semester), play a sport, sing twice a week in chamber choir plus concerts & trips, exercise regularly, and have a social life all while being constantly ill due to a sickly constitution. I think one of the very last things I thought about at night was whether my peers liked the way I dressed or wore my makeup and hair. I didn’t attend college to be looked at, and I certainly didn’t feel the need to seek the superficial approval of my peers in order to coexist and learn beside them or to work as their manager. I feel bad for my accuser now, looking back and realizing that it wasn’t pride he spoke from but deep, raw insecurity. He wasn’t offended at my looks. He was offended that I didn’t need to manicure them. He was upset that I was regularly happy without the outward appearance of trying while he tried so very, very much.

Comparing that person with some similar folks I know in modern time, it seems to me that the people who require validation the most are so often the first to snap at a vague, easily misconstrued comment, the most easily offended, the “high maintenance” friends with whom you must always walk on eggshells. They’re the ones who say “I look awful, and I don’t even care today!” while in nicely pressed clothes, a full 30 minutes’ worth of makeup (if applicable), and hair done.

As a fun aside, I used to go camping with someone who would slink off to the restrooms and do her makeup every morning. On a camping trip. I shit you not. “Roughing it!” her selfies would say, to the pregnant pause of the audience.

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My typical reaction to camping girl

Anyway, I have never thought I needed to present a dashing front at the grocery store, and I still don’t. That level of “no fucks” feels amazing, and I highly recommend it.


I Watched Those Divergent Movies

All right, all right, everyone knows I love trash scifi movies. When the supernatural and/or dystopian scifi young adult trend exploded, I lost my shit. Twilight, Hunger Games, Teen Wolf, True Blood, Vampire Diaries, you name it.

I grew up on Tolkien, Shelley, and Anne Rice, which bourgeois adults consider to be “more cerebral” than the current YA media scene. The language, characters, and history were certainly more intellectually elevating; however, in response to that argument I offer a resounding “so what”. If these dumbed-down books help teens become interested in reading, I think it’s short-sighted to scoff and demean the fans of these literature stepping stones. Additionally, a love for trash media can coexist with an appreciation for Dickens and Dostoevsky, and the publishing industry is not worse off for it.

It’s big news right now that the final Divergent Series film has been bounced from the big screen. The lackluster ticket sales appeared to be due to the lower quality final book, the studio’s slicing said book across two films, and the overall lover interest in this series compared to other YA hits like Twilight and The Hunger Games (which had its own struggle stretching the final book across two films). Curious and hungry for high-production value, low-brow YA scifi-fantasy, I finally got around to watching these (thanks to a combination of Amazon Video Streaming rentals and HBO Now). I found myself in total disagreement with the buzz. Here’s my breakdown:

  • Divergent was the most enjoyable
  • Insurgent was the most suspenseful
  • and Allegiant was the most interesting

Theo James perfectly plays the sulky, alpha male hunk, and Shailene wins at the fierce, confident wunderkind. Kate Winslet wins at being Kate Winslet *shrug* My particular issue with the casting team was the collection of generic, babyfaced white boys with scraggly dark hair that I was somehow supposed to keep straight. It was a struggle, and I had to rewind the cliff scene and then IMDB the character when Tris said the culprit’s name. OK, it was Al….. Good. ….Which one was Al? Luckily, it got easier because the series killed off these guys systematically until only two remained. This series suffered from a severe lack of Nicholas Cage or Jeff Goldblum types, but whaddya gonna do.

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We run to class! We run home! Tank tops and cargo pants! You can’t control us, mom!

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Me at home, watching these kids run everywhere

As predictable as it was, I was still annoyed that Tori–the only interesting adult character–was killed the moment she began to do stuff again.  However, she surprised me by surviving Divergent, so that tells you how low the bar was in the first place. You know what the scifi bible says: Thou shalt not suffer the cool asians to live. Meanwhile, walking wastebaskets of cells, Miles Teller & her brother, were allowed to live over and over again. Sometimes forgiveness isn’t a virtue, kids; it’s a weakness. Let those toxic people out of your life! You do not need to surround yourself with people actively working against your interests & who constantly betray you just because they “feel bad” or have nowhere better to go or they’re “really really sorry”. That’s called emotional manipulation and is a favored tactic of abusers. Maybe she excises them from her life in part 2 of Allegiant, but I doubt it. They’re far more likely to be #redeemed because #secondchances (#thirdchances, #fourthchances….)

In summary, they were fine, and I’m disappointed the fourth one’s been cancelled. Here’s to bloated budgets for young adult scifi-fantasy dystopias! And may they never stop coming.


Men define “plus size” for us every time they look at us

I was part of a veritable row of can-can dancers on Elliptical Lane tonight at the gym. Like breathing cycles in a camping tent, we all began to sync and fall into each other’s rhythm. To add to the oddity, we all had the same body types. I suppose the elliptical speaks to us on a particular frequency.

That experience brought back a whole slew of memories; one in particular that makes me laugh and cringe…  For some reason I felt strongly about penning it in the blog for posterity. Allow me to set the scene:

I was much younger and thinner. I was dating an egregiously unsound individual who needed help and who was looking for it in the wrong places (to be fair, I was in a similar boat). He always talked about his ex by whom he was recently dumped (before meeting me online). Obviously, he was grieving, and I liked him enough that I wanted to help and support that process. At the time, I was a good samaritan type of girl who saw red flags and rallied instead of running. Anyway, he painted her as a “big girl”. It always seemed important to him that I know she was a “big girl”. I wouldn’t see that as a relevant detail when regaling someone with tales of heartbreak, but he thought so (again, red flags. Whoooosh, and over my head they went).

One day while at his apartment he laid out a dress of hers that he still had. He planned to mail it back. He might even have joked about giving it to me & that I wouldn’t fit it because, again, she was a big girl. I agreed he should send it back. It was still pressed and clean from the dry cleaners, and it was laid on the bed at such an angle that I could clearly see the label.

Me: I thought you said she was a “big girl”.

Him: Yeah?
Me: ……This is an 8.
Him: …
Me: -_-
Him: Yeah?
Me: …
Him: …
Me: I’m an 8.

I still laugh about this awkward exchange…. all of his absurd concepts of feminine beauty came crashing in at once as I put it all together. THIS, from a man so thin and Gollum-esque I was barely sexually attracted to him at all (but I thought he had a wonderful face and personality *snort*). It reminds me of the controversy over Amy Schumer’s being labeled “plus size” in Glamour last month even though she is a 6. A SIX!

Christ, this is why women have eating disorders, are constantly obsessive and upset about their appearance, and in many cases are pushing a body positivity movement. But that movement is difficult to get traction when so many women (and men like the one in the anecdote who reinforce these thoughts) think the quintessential feminine body is 90’s Kate Moss.


The Bandwagon-like Rise of the “I’m anti-bandwagon” Punditry

Widely known internet fact: It is nearly impossible to talk about something topical without getting hit by some soapboxing idiot’s scepter, dubbing you disingenuous, attention-seeking, or (my personal favorite) a fake geek.

Welp, don’t you fucking try to “fake geek girl” me about Alan Rickman today, Internet. I will combust into the Phoenix and take you down with me into hell. You’re seriously going to suggest women are fake geek girls for fandom(s) primarily made up of women?!? You want to play gatekeeper for our own fandoms too? Fucking christ, patriarchy. You are on fleek today.

alan2

 


Let’s play “Bible or Quran?”

What do you think? Can you distinguish between the so-titled sharia laws of the Quran and those of the Christian Bible?

 

You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days….if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks….The priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.

To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children; yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray.

When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are.

Now kill all the boys and kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

If [a woman] vowed in her husband’s house or bound herself by a pledge with an oath and her husband heard of it and said nothing to her and did not oppose her, then all her vows shall stand, and every pledge by which she bound herself shall stand. But if her husband makes them null and void on the day that he hears them, then whatever proceeds out of her lips concerning her vows or concerning her pledge of herself shall not stand. Her husband has made them void.

Women should remain silent in congregations. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says.

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

Do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. ….Women will be saved through childbearing if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

When you go out to war against your enemies…and you see among the captives a beautiful woman and you desire to take her to be your wife and you bring her home to your house, she shall shave her head and pare her nails. And she shall take off the clothes in which she was captured and shall remain in your house and lament her father and her mother a full month. After that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife.

If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death.

If a man takes a wife and, after sleeping with her, dislikes her and slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, “I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity,” then the young woman’s father and mother shall bring to the town elders at the gate proof that she was a virgin. ….Then her parents shall display the cloth before the elders of the town, and the elders shall take the man and punish him. They shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give them to the young woman’s father, because this man has given a virgin a bad name. If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the young woman’s virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death.

If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity.

A holy man should only take a virgin of his own people to wife.

 

Surprise, they’re all from the Christian Bible! But please, America, cherry pick away and continue proposing bills using this misogynistic, racist, inane drivel as your source of infinite wisdom.


Star Wars: The Force Awakened the Trolls

You know the types. The ones who have notoriously contrarian taste, and not for unknown gems or under-the-radar breakout talent or film festival hits that we just haven’t heard of yet…. but for things that are commonly thought of—even sometimes universally agreed upon—as bad. The kind of people that think Ben Carson makes some good points actually, Roger Moore was the best James Bond, Kanye West is a superior writer/performer to Freddie Mercury, Gamergate got a bad rap because the feminists complained, McDonalds makes the best burger, the Star Wars prequels are the best Star Wars movies, men just sing rock better than women #notmyfault #itsjustscience, Boondock Saints is so cerebral dude it really makes you think, ….

Yeah, you’ve got one. Everyone’s got one. I bet that dude doesn’t like Rey from The Force Awakens and he can’t really tell you why. If Daisy’s constant Keira Knightley overbite bothered him during her dialogue, I might roll my eyes, but at least that would be a reason (by definition only). Maybe he has an aversion to overbite. Who knows? But he can’t express why Rey upsets him so much; she just does. His growing awareness of women coexisting in all of his most cherished fandoms is upsetting, but he can’t say that because in his mind the feminazis would bear down on him, crush all his dreams with a flurry of tweets, and turn his friends against him. See, all these fake geek girls are participating in what he used to do alone with the guys! (Read: he never noticed them before because they didn’t have strong platforms to represent their interests, they used agender usernames, and/or they never talked about their gender because who cares.)

Nevermind that Star Wars has been an award-winning, multi billion $ franchise for over 40 years! This guy is upset that he liked it when few others did (?) and now others are onboard because the new movie release makes it suddenly topical (??). UGH, the vapors! Look at all these people who grew up watching these films with their parents now expressing delight at a new movie release for the franchise! Only he has liked Star Wars for long enough to justify a heavy level of engagement in Star Wars “subculture”.

Newsflash, bud. The audience for the biggest film of all time does not a subculture make. At that point, it’s just culture.

After all, Rey is a female lead character “taking over” what he and his male friends have exclusively (*snort*) enjoyed all their lives. Yes. By one woman starring in one fucking blockbuster that can still boast a primarily male ensemble, women are “taking over” the genre. It’s like that whole “Women have not been judged on the grounds of whether they talk more than men, but of whether they talk more than silent women.” It doesn’t matter whether we exist equally with men in film leads or even less than men in the fandom; the fact that women exist in the fandom at all and on screen in the lead role at all is seen as too much by this archetype and his vociferously insular cronies.

So how does he get you to understand that Rey just sucks? Well, let me tell you! He says the same line over and over again. He says it on every friend’s Facebook wall. He says it on every blog. He says it in the comment section of every article. He says some variation of it every day for three months and won’t step down, explain his case, or even introduce variation in the wording:

Rey has no character development or depth.

All I can do is blink a few times and remark, “K.” and make this face into the computer screen ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

We watched her suffer in the desert. We saw her desperation and loneliness. We watched her mourn and finally let go of her hope on Jakku and start a new life. We saw her struggle with abandonment issues throughout the film and make the decision to do good. We saw her slowly give up waiting on phantoms and pick life on her own terms. We saw her make friends, find courage and strength, get lost in self-doubt along the way, and come face to face with her past. We saw her reform her identity as a force user, experiment with her abilities, use her intelligence and wit to escape, and be saddened by the loss of a father figure. We watched her conquer her fears and tap into her inner strength to take on the dangerous Kylo Ren in order save her friend. We laughed with her, cried with her, feared for her, rooted for her, and cheered for her accomplishments for two riveting hours in IMAX 3-D.

So when you say “Rey has no character development”…..

newsroom

Were you asleep? Were you looking around the whole time waiting for the male protagonist to show up? I can’t help you, son.


I don’t use fact checkers! Facts are all part of the liberal agenda of the MSM!!!

The internet is an interesting place. Just last week, a loon I know proudly identified a quote as being wrongfully attributed to Pope Francis. It was one of those awkward attempts at a viral pic that’s so obviously out-of-character for the alleged speaker that you wonder why anyone would think it were true in the first place. But, apparently it was taken seriously enough to get thousands of shares. Not by this loon, though! She shared it only to make a point about not sharing it (o.0). She claimed that she used snopes.com to learn about the history of this falsely attributed quote and expressed a sincere hope that people will check things before mindlessly sharing them.

Start us off on the cringe waterfall, Reza.

Start us off on the cringe waterfall, Reza.

It was the most meta fucking thing. I stared and blinked at the screen and thought surely she was making a tongue-in-cheek joke at her own expense. This was a sarcastic charade, right? I realized, though, that someone in her position would never have a reason to joke about it. She’s the kind of person who shares Hitler/Obama memes. She shares effortlessly debunked nonsense on the daily right alongside odes to the gun lobby that are so twisted in their premise that you have to wonder if she’s ever been pro-life (particularly since U.S. toddlers shoot themselves, siblings, or parents every single day). ….The kind of person who shares chain emails and takes ten minutes to type things like, If this is true, then shame on {….} instead of taking the three seconds to just google it. ….The kind of person who will join any and all bandwagons that put her positions on pedestals regardless of the ethics of such a movement (e.g., Who cares if the KKK are the leaders of this movement?). ….The kind of person whose political positions share more in common with religious beliefs because they (1) are not naturally developed but taught, (2) must be respected as an equal to any other position regardless of the factual merits, research, or careful consideration of those positions, and (3) are recklessly held in the face of any and all evidence to the contrary. ….The kind of person who is almost unintelligible in any communication channel (in person, print, or computer) but who will proudly proclaim that one of the most rational, careful, and well spoken leaders of the decade is a “moran” (sic) because he thinks bombing other cultures back to the Stone Age isn’t a successful long term foreign policy. THIS person would like you to please kindly snope before you dope.

door

Dear loon,

Thank you for debunking the erroneous Pope Francis quote among your friend circle. You have done important societal detective work today, but I’m actually very disappointed to hear that you know what snopes is; that you’re aware, at least in a minimal and elementary way, that fact-checking bodies exist on the internet. Perhaps you can’t name any others, but you know of and have used at least one. How, then, do you explain the last three years of prolific and unconscionably false, inflammatory shares, posts, and comments on the internet? Before this admission, you were just a proudly ignorant loon, happy to hide in a bubble of your own experiences and privileges at the expense of others. Now you have outted yourself as doing so with knowledge of fact-checkers and that you choose to be this way on purpose. That is far, far worse. I didn’t realize there was a bar even lower for you to reach for, but you found it.

One more for the road.

considering the subject matter, ironic Clint gif FTW!

considering the subject matter, ironic Clint gif FTW!


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