Thursday, February 25, 2016

Nietzsche Called

Every day is a question.
How many existential crises can one man have?
I cannot help you if you don't let me.
If you silence me.
If you ignore me.

Crisis crisis crisis
Question question question

Yes, please, question authority
But questioning everything simply for
       the sake


I don't have an emoji for that.

I'm beginning to suspect
You just like the drama.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Matched: A Review

Matched (Matched #1)Matched by Ally Condie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There were times that I was willing to write off this book as yet another YA, dystopian lit. knock-off, focused on "does he really like me?" What separates this book (and hopefully the whole series) from the herd, I think, is its focus on art and creativity. The ruling class ("the Society") doesn't just control food, (read entire review on Goodreads for spoiler) That aspect made this futuristic Society very real for me, more so than most other novels, because it refers to things we have here and now in tangible manner.

Yes, there is the teenager love-triangle issue, although I imagine that all dystopian fiction has to have some aspect of love/want/desire to fuel the protagonist's fight for change. (At least in the The Hunger Games, the initial love was familial and not romantic.)

Condie's novel kept me reading and interested (which is saying a lot), and I will be pursuing the next book in the series to see where it goes. Hopefully she can maintain this momentum and interest through all three books (and not fall flat by the third, as so many do -- Allegiant, I'm looking at you).

View all my reviews

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

CeeLo Green

They say
You cannot forget a person if you still hate them;
the feelings mean you must still care.
So when I see your --

fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fucking fuck

Look at that.
I guess I care.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Anti-Valentine's Day Mix

I made a copy of this mix for my two co-workers, but I thought I'd share it with the masses as well.

Please note:  Leonard has nothing against Valentine's Day in theory.  As I've grown older, it means less to me, especially as my Unit and I typically typically have work, a show, a blizzard, etc. on February 14th.  So it's not a big deal for us.  If you like it, great!  If you don't, don't get hung up on it.  There is no need to feel bad on a made-up holiday.  But Ludo's "Love Me Dead" inspired me to make this somewhat ironic list.  It has changed over time.  Here's the most recent incarnation:

  1. "Bad Reputation" (Joan Jett)
  2. "Before He Cheats" (Carrie Underwood)
  3. "Coin-Operated Boy" (The Dresden Dolls)
  4. "Cowboy Casanova" (Carrie Underwood)
  5. "Every You Every Me" (Placebo)
  6. "Fuck You" (CeeLo Green)
  7. "Heart-Shaped Glasses" (Marilyn Manson)
  8. "Leave Me Alone (I'm Lonely)" (P!nk)
  9. "Love Me Dead" (Ludo)
  10. "She Hates Me" (Puddle of Mudd)
  11. "She's So Mean" (Matchbox 20)
  12. "U + Ur Hand" (P!nk)
Enjoy my "Anti-Valentine's Day" list!  Or, as the lady who lives in my iPod calls is, my "AN-teh-vel-EN-tin-us" Day mix.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Casual Misogyny: An Open Letter

Dear Y98 DJ:

I can't remember your name.  You're not one of the regular DJ's.  I heard you over the weekend, during some off-hour.  You were introducing a Taylor Swift song and said, "Y'know, for having such a clean-cut, good girl image, she sure has a lot of songs about being a bad girl."  And then you mentioned another song coming up, by someone "Taylor hasn't dated."

Here's the problem with everything you said:

What exactly makes Taylor Swift a "good girl"?  Is it because she's pale and blonde and (to quote her own song) "has that classic, red-lipped" look?  Perhaps it's because she went to a private Christian high school and had a 4.0 GPA?  Maybe it's because many of her first songs were somewhat "innocent" in their subject matter or stories of crushes on boys (which is probably because Swift was only 16 when her first album was released)?

And what about these new songs makes her "bad"?  Because she talks about breaking up?  About having sex?  About being an adult?

Let Leonard lay down some Gender 101 for ya because clearly you don't know.  Here's an exercise usually done in the first day or two of class.

List all the words you can think of for a woman who has a lot of sex:  slut, whore, easy, skank(y), hooker, prostitute, loose, trollop, tramp, harlot, strumpet, hussy, tart, floozy, etc., etc.
List all the words you can think of for a man who has a lot of sex:  stud.
See the difference?  Oh sure, sometimes we can throw "man-whore" in there for the guys, but we even have to add the qualifier "man" to indicate this whore is not female.  Women with healthy sex lives are treated as "bad" women, whores, et cetera, while men are celebrated for the same fact.  You, sir, are perpetuating this age-old stereotype with your comments about Taylor Swift's "goodness" or badness."

But, Leonard, it was just said in passing!

Welcome, my friends, to the world of casual misogyny.  Women of all ages face comments like this on a daily basis.  This DJ's comment is yet another thrown in our collective female face. Please stop reinforcing the "Madonna/whore" false dichotomy.  Please stop implying women can't have healthy sex lives (and also sing about those lives).  Male artists sing about relationships all the time.  When was the last time someone commented on their works in a similar fashion?

Lastly, let Leonard get all "New Criticism 101" on you:  please don't confuse the speaker/narrator (the "I") of a song, poem, or work of art with the actual artist.  Yes, even if it sounds just like that person, down to some of the biographical details, we still allow a small amount of "space" between the two.

But Leonard, it was only said by some DJ whose name you can't even remember!

People in the public eye (or ear, in this case) like DJ's and broadcasters must be especially careful with their words as their words reach a larger audience.  That's part of the job and responsibility of being/having a public persona.  People listen to you, and you never know when someone like me is going to quote you verbatim to point out your casual misogyny.  Every piece of daily sexism adds up; the only way to break it down is to take personal responsibility and STOP SAYING IT, whether you be a DJ or listener, artist or audience.

Try to make sure yours don't suck.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Downton Rant-y

Now that most of the U.S. masses have caught up, I can post this small rant regarding this most recent (and final) season of Downton Abbey.  What has stood out to me most so far are the incorrect literary references made by the upper-class characters!  What the hell, Julian Fellowes?  Let's take a look-see.  (WARNING:  Spoilers for episodes 6.1-6.5)

Episode 6.1:
The family is all atwitter about another great estate being forced to sell their home and family heirlooms.  When getting ready to go view said auction, Mary comments, "The Fall of the House of Usher."

Oh, Mary dear.  Perhaps do more research next time, rather than trying to sound smart.  In Edgar Allan Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher, the "great house" is ruined not because of (lack of) money, but because of incest. illnesses (mental and physical, possibly results of said incest), and lack of an heir.  Unless you know something about the Darnleys that we don't, I'd say this one is way off the mark.

Episode 6.4:  This one's a two-fer.

I'm sure we've all commented and ranted about the family's inability to call the new Mrs. Carson "Mrs. Carson."  But Lady Rosamund takes it a step too far.  During the welcome back party for the newlyweds, Lady Rosamund says it's like "Jane Eyre insisting she be called Mrs. Rochester."

No, Lady R, it's nothing like that.  While Jane is well within her rights to be called by her married name, she did, indeed, marry far outside of her sphere -- a governess to a landed gentleman.  (Although technically, governesses were neither servants nor family, but existed in a strange limbo in between, but that's for another time.)  Carson and the former Mrs. Hughes are both servants. Moreover, they are "equal servants," if that makes any sense.  They are both at the top of their respective household lines as housekeeper and butler, as opposed to a scullery maid marrying the head butler, or a kitchen boy marrying a lady's maid, or, I don't know, the chauffeur marrying the daughter of the house.  I love Rosamund (that woman can work a chair!), but she would have been better off keeping this remark to herself.

Posture, bitches!
Screen grab courtesy of Tom and Lorenzo

In the same scene, Lady Mary actually says something kind to her sister, Lady Edith; she encourages the hiring of a woman as editor as "it is a woman's magazine."  When Lady Rosamund remarks on her unusual niceness, Mary says, "A monkey could type out the Bible if you leave it long enough."

You were so close on this one, Mary!  Emile Borel's theory, commonly called "the infinite monkey theorem," states that an infinite number of monkeys typing on an infinite number of typewriters would eventually type out a specific text (usually Shakespeare's Hamlet).  Some people say they will type out the Bible, so I may be able to let this one pass -- if the other two weren't so egregious.

Now one could posit that Fellowes made these incorrect allusions purposefully, in order to make the upper classes look foolish.  I call shenanigans on that theory!  Since when has Fellowes ever allowed his upstairs characters to be or look stupid without someone calling them on their stupidity?  Nope, I think this is just bad writing.  Perhaps less time should have been spent on making sure Lord Grantham's demise was grotesque and medically accurate, and a little more spent on researching actual dialogue.