Archive | May, 2010

Mindless sartorial waffling

27 May

We all remember the ridiculous black pumps I bought back in March, right? Well, now the exact same type is on sale, but this time in blue and canary yellow:

If I were the sort of person who could use bright colors with reckless abandon, I would hurry to purchase these fun fun shoes in a panoply of colors. But honestly, my palette is somewhat limited to black, grey, and various earthy browns and greens. I’m pretty sure these would match absolutely nothing that I own, and even with them on sale, sale, SALE! I simply can’t justify the expense.

Meanwhile, I’ve worn my black pair of Carrie pumps today for the occasion of SATC2, which I am off to see with a gaggle of ladies after work, to my great and public shame. I suspect it will be a horrendous vehicle for faux-couture advertisements, but nevertheless, I will shell out my $10.75 out of some sense of solidarity and/or obligation.

No. 1 Most Innovative Use for a Mason Jar

19 May

If you’re anything like me, you spill your java all over the place during your morning commute. Travel mugs are always leaking from the seam, regular mugs have no lids and so must be held, leaving only one hand free for tricky maneuvering around other cranky commuters, and often end up rolling around in the footwell of the passenger seat, after thoroughly soaking either a lap, laptop bag or upholstery.

So, when a recent housewarming gift of a set of Mason jars coincided with the misplacing of my $2.95 teal plastic portable coffee mug, it was time to perform experiments. COFFEE EXPERIMENTS:

The Mason jar is the world’s most perfect coffee-transportation mechanism, so long as you don’t need to sip while driving. Fill with cafe du jour, cap and throw it wherever, and you’ll arrive at your destination with nary a drip nor stain. You can even put it in your laptop bag. Not that I’m advocating that. Ahem.

You may be thinking, “Mason jars are a slightly odd housewarming gift. Aren’t chip-and-dips the customary gift?” Well, my friend, let me tell you about Mason jars. Specifically, let me tell you about how much I love the Bye and Bye’s eponymous pink beverage, served in a GIANT Mason jar. Consisting of peach-infused vodka, peach-infused bourbon, cranberry juice and lemon, it’s a one-way ticket to blammo-ville. Can’t go wrong with a bar that serves Brussels sprouts as pub grub, too.

The set came from a guest aware of my love for the booze delivery mechanism known as the Mason jar, and accompanied a bottle of whiskey, 1/4 of which was promptly spilled on the new house’s hardwood floors. C’est la vie!

The Tyranny of Coming Out

13 May

I was recently asked via formspring whether I’d come out to my parents, and if so, how it went. The answer is both simple and complex*, but before I get to that, let me start at the beginning, with my philosophy of coming out in general.

In brief, I think coming out is a necessary evil. In not-so-brief, I think coming out is a tyrannical byproduct of a ruling-by-exception culture of sexuality. We need to reevaluate our blind acceptance of the necessity of sitting down to explain romantic gender preferences to friends/family/co-workers/entitled strangers. When was the last time you saw a straight person forced to submit to a battery of questions about his or her sex life by people who claim to love him or her?

The idea that I, as a queer person, owe an explanation of my sexual preferences to anyone (be that my parents, my coworkers or the “gay community”) is flawed. Yes, I understand that education is a key part of any social justice movement. Yes, I understand that people who bother to get to know awesome queer people like myself are statistically less likely to commit hate crimes and more likely to vote for aforementioned social justice. But I do not exist to serve as a “teachable moment” for straight people.

The awesome “this ain’t livin’” blog has much to say on the teaching role that disadvantaged groups are so often thrust into by well-meaning (or not-so-well-meaning) privileged people:

“There is a common expectation in social justice movements that people experiencing oppression should educate other people about their oppression; that, in fact, one the things they need to do, as activists, is to use themselves and their experiences as teachable moments. This even as people living in marginalised bodies protest that one of the key parts of activism is self education, and that, in fact, people who want to learn things should seek out that information on their own rather than demanding it.

So while I get that every person who goes through the formal “coming out” process makes it easier for the next person, I still can’t find the motivation for making an example out of myself, particularly when doing so can be dangerous, both physically and otherwise.

*Stay tuned for the actual answer. And feel free to ask me more random questions via formspring, Twitter, email (adventuresinmediocrity at gmail dot com)or Facebook. I promise to answer them all, so long as they are not too creepy.

Taking Down Tina Fey

11 May

I’ve disliked Tina Fey for years. It all started when SNL got not-funny (either that or I stopped being a guffawing frat boy). My distaste for Fey has grown in inverse proportion to pop culture’s fawning love for her — much like a band I liked “before it was cool,” I just can’t abide popular things. This is my one hipster characteristic I just can’t seem to shake. Well, it’s time to say “Fey? Feh!”

Please consider the following:

  1. Tina Fey was not beloved by faux-intellectuals until she “got hot.”
  2. Politics notwithstanding, Fey contributed to (and cashed in on) the rampant sexism surrounding Sarah Palin’s veep candidacy
  3. A pillar of the “30 Rock” schtick is calling Fey ugly when it’s clear she isn’t. This is not highbrow humor, people. And yet, people insist on trumpeting the show’s commitment to authenticity and using really big words when writing about it.
  4. She “writes her own stuff,” which is supposed to be indicative of her talent, but instead makes it harder to forgive bits like this:

http://widget.nbc.com/videos/nbcshort_at.swf?CXNID=1000004.10045NXC&widID=4727a250e66f9723&clipID=1217986&showID=61&siteurl=http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/update-women's-news/1217986

Blaming the other woman for a man’s infidelity is not new, it’s not humor, and certainly doesn’t fit the “cutting edge” mold the press paints Fey with. It’s sexist, and it’s classist, and it works because her target audience is a bunch of white upper-middles that dig sexist, classist humor.

Fey? Feh. I prefer the comical stylings of Maria Bamford.

Happy Mother’s Day, pedophobes!

10 May

An amusing, kind of weird Mother’s Day-themed video sent to me by one of my favorite anonymous commenters:

Enjoy! If for some reason the embed isn’t working you can go straight to YouTube by clicking here.

Short people got no reason

7 May

On NPR the other day, I heard the oft-repeated phrase, “Although she’s a diminuitive 5’2”, Sylvia is a fierce advocate for workers’ rights.”

This is a categorization that will be familiar to anyone acquainted with the horrendous Manic Pixie Dreamgirl archetype (see spot-on posts about that here and here). The diminutive category, however, deviates from MPDG in that the only requirement is a sub-average vertical measurement coexisting in the same body with a noteworthy (or not noteworthy, in some cases) talent or skill.

Some examples:

But don’t worry, this cliché isn’t limited to musicians. To wit:

You can be a matriarch of Chicago Jewish society:

  • Although “diminutive in size,” says Weiss, Mrs. Shusterman was “immensely powerful in her determination and spirit.”

You can even be a man:

To recap, if you are short, we are supposed to be surprised if:

  • You have talent
  • You have a spine
  • You have any personality traits other than “shrinking violet”

So what if you’re tall and talented or brave? Or worse – what if you’re tall and shy? Does your huge stature belie your diminutive personality?

If we compare Mary, a tall, slightly overweight woman with a domineering personality to Madge, a short, slender woman with a domineering personality, I posit that the perception of each woman will differ widely. Folks will call Mary a bitter, jealous shrew; whereas Madge will be called “fiery,” “fierce,” and “a firecracker,” all while being given a condescending pat on the head.

So “fierceness” or “loudness,” when present in short women (read: short, thin women), are seen as cute and endearing. The same characteristics in a Madge are not so condescendingly beloved. This is frustrating for humans of all heights.

Any kindergartner could tell you that it is ridiculous to equate any physical characteristic with a personality trait, but it’s so pervasive that it’s almost invisible in the adult world. Good journalists would do well to remember their schooling and root out such tripe from their reporting before broadcasting, going to print, or posting their blogs.

*Footnote: Amazingly, NPR has done a story on the Manic Pixie Dreamgirl. This has not cut down on the number of times they use clichéd phrases describing short women with talent. In fact, the number of clichés in general remains unchanged, despite NPR’s extremely annoying membership drive.

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