September 18th, 2010

Peter G

1K Posts? Really?

Looking over my profile, I see that this is going to be my 1,000 post.

I've only had this jounal for about a year and a half.

I held out getting a journal because, as I told mornblade , "I don't think  I have that much to say."


So now, here I am, amazed that I really did have that much to say, and continue to have much to say.  I'm hoping this weekend to get to things computer related (VMWare buying Novell), news related (the Chicago mayor race), bad jokes, and just other general things that I haven't had a chance to talk about.

Here's the thing I find most amazing, though.  When you experience the Intertubes like I do, you expect flaming and drama and all kinds of things.  It's partly why I told the otaku to go fuck themselves.

Since I've started this blog, commenting on things from the swine flu scare to Obama to religion to sexual politics to art to cheap shots about Twilight and Paris Hilton to whatever, the people here have been great.  I've been called out on some of my opinions by people like ying_ko_4  and mongrelheart , but when the discussion is said and done, even when there is disagreement or radical division in perspective, there is still respect.  They challenge my thoughts, they accept my limitations, I say my piece, they say theirs.  Other just enjoy giving my shit, like Mornblade and boxwatcher .  Once again, it's fun, not malicious.  And others just enjoy chiming in, like ozma914  and clionona  and the_disillusion  and...actually, too many to name here without really bogging things down (Mornblade give me enough tl;dr grief as it is).

I know LJ has a reputation for drama.  And I know that, if the number of people reading and posting here was higher (and not as select), there'd probably be more of that.  But there isn't.  I have said many times that one of my favorite episodes of Turn Ben Stein On was when Al Franken was his guest.  The two are on opposite ends of the political spectrum, but listening to them, there was no shouting, no insulting, just two people talking, exploring their own ideas just as much as their own.  It was beautiful.  I wanted to see more shows like this, where understanding was the goal, not forcing people to choose your side over another.  Conflict sells, but this little corner?  It's one of the greatest koffeeklatches in the world.

So, a toast.  Please join me in raising a cranberry tea, not only for this venue where I explore my thoughts, but also to everyone that makes it worthwhile to do so.  Thank you for letting this verbose Pole be who he is, and making looking in a daily treat for me.

Dress Rehearsal

I'm going to bury my lead here.  I am about to discuss Ines Sainz.  What she has done has ignited a firestorm about women's rights and feminism (if you don't know, don't worry, I'll explain who she is and what happened soon enough).  The problem being, any time such general concepts are discussed, detractors will seize on anything they can as proof that the speaker has some sort of bias that renders their points worthless, contradictory, or whatever.  The points are not important, finding a reason, ANY reason, to ignore the person is the goal.  I still expect ad hominem attacks, I'm just looking to minimize them as much as I can.

See, the points I wish to make and the ideas I seek to explore are complex.  Not that complex (this ain't the Unified Theory we're talking about here), but everyone advancing opinions so far is keeping them short and simple, like something they can put on a bumper sticker.  It's understandable.  You fall back on a simple absolute because arguing and defending your stance takes work, effort, and investment.  Investment is the tough one, because a lot of things people argue about simply aren't worth the effort.  So I'm going to ask everyone to please keep an eye on the shell with the pea under it.

First, my basic rule.  This is the one that all actions are judged against.  It is not absolute, but when something is done counter to it, that's when it's time to start wondering -- what prompted this deviation from the rule?  And the rule is this:  EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT TO BE LEFT ALONE.  Everyone has the right to do what they want when they want as long as it doesn't interfere with anyone else.  Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose.  But outside my nose, you are free.  People are free to smoke cigarettes in public, and if I don't like it, I don't go where the smokers are.  People have the right to worship as they see fit, and as long as they aren't violating human rights, all I can do is shrug, maybe make some jokes, but move on and let them do what they want.  People are free to make jokes about me, and as long as I can laugh along or simply ignore them, that's how it should be.

Now, the basic principal of feminism, that a lot of people get wrong, is that women are empowered to do what they want when they want.  But somewhere along the line, "feminism", like the words "liberal" and "conservative," got corrupted into a political shorthand completely at odds with what it is supposed to be.  It was no longer free will.  According to true feminism, if a woman is perfectly happy being a stay-at-home mom, then as long as that is her choice, she is free to be so.  But such women are branded as the enemy.  Feminism has become a label for radicalism and creating a siege mentality.  From the bunker of their own label, women can attach labels to men that reduce them to brain dead gender roles who deserve to be attacked.  In other words, the same treatment they fight, just applied to a target they approve of.  Because it is based on emotional hot buttons for both sides, everyone lashes out, and a fight starts over something that has no business being the basis of a fight.  Because the only thing ultimately settled is who has the right to demean the other, not what is the best way to live and let live.

The fight continues because of a fatal flaw -- both sides are applying general characteristics to an individual.  Any group of people, certain behaviors will come to light.  There is a general behavior of geeks, for example.  But that's only for examining the group at large.  When you attempt to push an individual person through this Play-Doh Fun Factory of sociology, they rebel.  Geeks are supposed to love energy drinks, for example.  I don't.  But no one says I should like them and I am a failure and traitor to my clique if I refuse.  Women and men, as a group, have certain patterns of behavior.  All you have to do is look at Lifetime, TV For Women, and Spike, The First Network For Men.  They both show things that reinforce and celebrate gender stereotypes.  But no one is protesting, and in fact, anything that tries to be different is ignored.  The complaints about generalities don't apply when people subject themselves to them, but when others force those generalities upon them.

Everybody still with me so far?  That's good!

So, let's zoom in on sports and the locker room.  When women reporters won the right by court ruling to cover the locker room, men started screaming about violating the sanctity of manly bonding places.  Women had it tough, putting up with the trolling of male players.  Some women became legends for how they handled it.  A woman reporter famously went into the men's locker room for the first time.  A player in the nude stood in front of her, spread his legs, and pointed down, saying, "Hey, honey!  You know what this is?"  Without batting an eye, she said, "If it was bigger, I'd say it was a penis."  NOBODY fucked with her after that.  Yeah, kind of schoolyard, but it got the job done and was funny as hell.

This isn't helped by the dichotomy of women and sports.  Women are supposed to be just as good as men for covering sports.  Yet, Erin Andrews is promoted for being cute and pretty.  Sport shows feature overweight guys in casual wear or sharp suits while the women wear sexy clothes and play up their looks.  For all the talk about women being just as capable of covering the game, they are still treated like eye candy.  I don't recall a woman providing play by play, only being sideline reporters.  That's not progress, that's the same pandering to the demographic, it's just getting away with being more overt about it, thanks to paying lip service to the notion of equality.

Which brings me to Ines Sainz.  She is a reporter for Mexico's TV Azteca network.  She claimed she felt "discomfort" when she went into the New York Jets locker room, and now a bunch of people are white knighting about how she should be left alone and treated as an equal and all kinds of other things no one has bothered with yet.

Now, remember my first rule.  EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT TO BE LEFT ALONE.  That applies to Sainz.  Just because she's a woman in a locker room does not give the players the right to give her a hard time.  Also remember, that means, when exceptions happen, they must be measured against the first rule.  So what might prompt the exception?

During the media day before the 2007 Super Bowl, Sainz was asking Chicago Bears players if they would marry her (this got her an interview with Megan Mawicke on WBBM-Channel 2 news).  That makes it sound to me like she enjoys goofing around, like a Stephen Colbert of sports.  My guess is, she tried her shtick with the Jets, the joke went too far, and she got more than she bargained for.  Someone propositioning football players during a formal press conference is not building a "RESPECT ME AS AN EQUAL, GODDAMMIT!!!" reputation.

I know all the stuff about it being a boys' club in the locker room and women are equal and everything.  But this overlooks that Sainz may have just been a publicity hound who is using people's gender based reactions (protect women vs. "This is our clubhouse, no girls allowed") to get attention.  Everyone is either white knighting or being sexist morons.  All the while overlooking that maybe, just maybe, Sainz brought her treatment on herself.

There are women who want to be seen as equal and capable.  A woman like Sainz who makes them all look like opportunists and weak does them a disservice and sets back the advances they make.  And if you act like an idiot, don't be surprised when people treat you like one.

Got Myself A Crying, Walking, Sleeping, Talking, Living Doll....

You know, there are some days, the jokes just write themselves and my only concern is how do I keep up with them.

First, I want to get this out there.  Years ago, when I saw the Britney Spears doll in toy stores, I quipped it was an excellent likeness -- the breasts were plastic and the head was hollow.  I've done some modifications to it since then (and have ever reworked it into a joke for Project X), but it still stands as one of my great smartass comments.

Why do I bring this up?  Well....

Kim Kardashian is in the news for something superficial and immaterial.  Yes, again.  What's that?  Can I narrow it down?  Okay, I will.  You see this here on the right?  This is the "Kinky Kim" doll by Pipedream.  Porn has a long tradition of modifying existing things in their quest to get your money.  First, they did porn parodies of mainstream movies (I just think some of the titles are hilarious.  Titty Titty Gang Bang, On Golden Blonde, Schindler's Fist, Position Impossible, Batman In Robin, Dyke Hard, Driving Into Miss Daisy, Sorest Hump, How Stella Got Her Tube Packed, In Diana Jones and the Temple Of Poon, Throbin Hood (Prince of Beaves), Blown in 60 Seconds, You've Got Male, Free My Willy...any time I need a fast laugh, I know exactly where to look).  Things have, you should pardon the expression, expanded.  We got Mary Carey, a porn star with a more than passing resemblance to Mariah Carey.  There's also apparently a woman named Jessie Alba, who looks a lot like Jessica Alba.  There's a wave of porn movies now based on superheroes, with Batman XXX leading the charge.  It's all based on, people find this sexy, how do we make a buck off of it without coughing up for likeness rights?  They already make blow-up dolls for space aliens and anime girls.  So they decided to go with an even more unrealistic woman, Kim Kardashian.

You know, when I hear the phrase, "blow up Kim Kardashian," this isn't the image that comes to mind.

Now, keep in mind, I find sex dolls inherently funny.  When I shot my movie Firewater! years ago, there was a scene centered around a CPR doll that was replaced with a sex doll, and it took all my will power not to bust up during the takes.  "It just lays there with this stunned bunny look, staring at nothing and not moving as you hump it.  Sort of like my ex."  The faces of these things alone can reduce me to hysterics.  Combine it with the Kim Kardashian "mystique" (it's an excellent likeness of her -- it's completely plastic and the head is full of air), and I'm tempted to get one just for the lulz.

Kardashian is offended by the doll and has sent Pipedream a C&D.  It seems the idea of a sex doll based on her offends her.  Poor little lamb.  Posing for Playboy and Harper's Bazaar?  Okay.  Talking in Allure magazine about how lasers have made her completely hairless?  No problem.  Rising to fame on a sex tape she made with a boyfriend where she gets golden showered?  Absolutely.  Hmmm...the key difference between these things and the doll is that she gets a cut of the sales for the previous ones, but nothing for the doll... Naaaaaaaah.  You're talking crazy now, Peter.

Also keep in mind the women I crush out on.  They have class.  Kylie Minogue controls her sexuality, she doesn't desperately throw it out in a bid for attention.  Jaclyn Smith will always make me swoon.  Caroline Munro was damn good looking in Star Crash, but conducts herself like a lady, it's not an act.  Jessica Alba avoids the party girl crowd.  I fell in love with Basia Trzetrzelewska by listening to her sing.  By way of contrast, someone sent me pictures of Heidi Montag in an Ariel The Little Mermaid Halloween costume, one of the Kardashian sisters dressed as a mermaid, and Paris Hilton in an ad for her perfume dressed as a mermaid.  Know anybody that needs a penis?  I won't be using mine for a while.... (This joke was stolen from Drew Carey.  Peace and love, brother.)

Attention whores are a turn-off for me.  I dealt with those selfish, brain dead bitches throughout school, and my tolerance of them has not gotten any better since they became a cottage industry.  So hearing someone who rose to fame for shameless exploitation complaining about shameless exploitation is so ironic, I need a tetanus shot just from listening to them.  Given the whole Rule 34 thing, she had to know SOMEONE was going to come up with this.

Kardashian's behavior suggests that the only reason she objects to things is when they don't benefit her directly.  Whether it is being sexually gross like in the sex tape video or acting like a vapid materialist on a TV show built for her, she invites people to view her as a thing instead of a person.  She shouldn't be surprised when things like this happen.  As they say on the Internet, she was asking for it.