Friday, August 29, 2008

An Open Letter to John McCain

Dear John McCain,

I noticed that you've picked Sarah Palin as your running mate for the 2008 election. Well, that's awfully nice of you.

But, honestly: do you think you can win women over simply by choosing a person who happens to have been born with a double X-chromosome? I'm confused as to whose votes you're gunning for. Are you trying to be more "diverse"? Let me give you a tip here: you cannot compete with Obama's diversity. So don't try. And choosing a woman because she's a woman, not because she's a competent running-mate, well, it worries me about your ability to lead the country.

I'm sure Sarah Palin is very nice lady, aside from the fact that she is a pro-lifer, a christian conservative, a gun-fiend, and by all accounts, mostly likely a total and complete hater. (Hater, def: A bigoted asshole).

But then again, I guess you'd have to be pro-life to run with someone who supports an all out BAN on abortion in EVERY STATE. Oh, but he does allow for abortion in cases of rape and incest. GEE, THANKS! Aside from her politics, which of course, I disagree with, she's inexperienced, McCain! Less than two years as a Governor and a controversial one at that! You know what this looks like. It looks like you grabbed the nearest female and slapped the VP hat on her. Oh wait. It looks that way because that's exactly what you've done.

Look, I know you aren't as stupid as some conservatives I know.

But why alienate your base?

I mean, for chrissake, women can't clean house AND be Vice-President! Who will make sure the kids don't go gay?

Clearly, McCain, you are not playing for keeps. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have come to stand for two groups of oppressed Americans, and they fought damn hard and well to get where they are today. When Hillary Clinton decided to run for President, she was fulfilling a life-long dream of hers, because she believed she could actually do something to make this country a better place.

And yeah, women's rights DO completely stem on our reproductive rights. If a woman has no choice in carrying a fetus for nine months, much less taking care of it for her entire life, she's not a woman. She's not even a person. Without that choice, we have nothing. So be honest. You couldn't give a rat's-ass about women's rights. I find this to be a purely political move, and yes, I find it insulting to all the women who have busted their ass to protect women's rights.

In the future, stick to your fucking guns.



Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Woody Allen's Spanish Diary from the making of Vicky Cristina Barcelona made my day today.

Review to follow!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

How I Learned to Love the Olympics

Yeah, yeah. I'm one of those "I don't understand the point of all this fuss" people when it comes to the Olympics. First of all, I'm not an athlete and I pretty much hate exercise. If I were a naturally thin rake I'd probably never go to the gym and I'd eat whatever I want. Of course I have more energy when I do go to the gym, but while I'm on that treadmill all I can think about is how great it's going to be when I step off it, so I can go home and eat a taco.

The bubbling nationalism and fascism of pitting athletes against each other based on their country sort of terrifies me. Yes, does raise a patriotic crocodile tear to my eye when America's national anthem is played if one of "ours" wins the Gold, but at the same time I wonder: did they really win that medal for the U.S.A.? I can't help but see athleticism as perhaps the most individualistic, selfish endeavor: and to make it your whole life, your absolute being and reason for breathing strikes me as the pinnacle of narcissism.

Yes, I understand that it's about pushing limits and it's also about entertainment. And I do find some sports entertaining: namely basketball, tennis, and gymnastics. Swimming has suddenly become something to watch because of Michael Phelps, but other than that, I could really care less.

That is, until NBC revealed the incredible feature that is THE MOM CAM.

Some genius finally picked up on the fact that watching someone win is a lot more entertaining if one can see his or her Mom's reaction. So when Michael Phelps broke like, ten million world records and won his eighth gold medal on Saturday night, not only did we get to see his body rippling in some sort of hyper-adrenaline craze, we also got to see his mother collapse out of pride and shock at her son's acheivement.

Jezebel's got this covered to the max. Check out their video of Phelps and his mama here. Really, check it out. It makes me cry. ME, the ultimate skeptic.

The one that really got me, though, was Shalane Flanagan's win for the silver medal in women's 10,000 meter race, making her the second American woman to medal in that event. Her mom, Cheryl, is a women's marathon record holder, and her reaction to her daughter's win just brings tears to my eyes. I really feel as though this one video makes the entire Olympic games worth it. So watch it. NOW.

My Mom has always supported me in everything I was ever interested in, from guitar lessons to acting to singing to writing to moving to New York, and just generally fostering who I am and encouraging me to "go for the gold." She told me a story once about my performance of "I Dreamed a Dream" at the age of (what was it Mom?) six? at my elementary school's talent show, and how she was so nervous for me that her hands as she held the video camera shook so much that the picture is all wobbly and jumpy. Now, that is love.

I think I didn't quite understand the drive and the amount of work it takes to become an Olympic athlete until I saw these Moms practically pass out from joy when their kids pass the finish line. Presumably, this moment is something they have been working and waiting for for quite some time, i.e. pretty much since their children were born and able to swim / run / jump / catapult / etc.

So thanks, Mom. I may not be able to swim like my hands are made of dolphins, but you've always been there cheering me on in the stands, no matter what. And that is hell of a lot more important than some stupid gold medal.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Knocked Up (and Down) Women
and the Men Who (Maybe) Love Them

I must first apologize for the long-ass delay in posting. Believe it or not, I've been doing more blogging than ever the past two weeks, just not on this site! (Yes, vague statement. Hopefully I will be able to clear it up for you, dear readers, very soon).

A few months ago, I watched Knocked Up, Judd Apatow's offensively endearing movie about pregnancy. Heard of it? My boyfriend and his roommate were big fans, along with just about every other guy I've ever met, so I figured since I had labeled myself as a "cultural critic," I had better engage with this thing. Prior to my viewing I had heard Knocked Up described as everything from "offensive" to "sweet." And granted, yes, I had read some of the reviews, which were fairly bipolar However, I will say that my beloved Jezebelles really loved the movie, especially Moe.

My own bias prevents me from seeing Katherine Heigel's character as a real person since she never fully weighs the pros and cons of keeping her baby. (So Moe, I disagree). I understand that as a plot device, maybe Apatow doesn't have the writing chops or the time to give Alison the "holy shit what the fuck do I do now I don't even know this guy" panic sequence. Instead, she takes a pregnancy test, tells her sister and mom about being with child, and when her mother asks if she's thought about aborting it, simply replies, "No." Juno, which I haven't seen, is probably even worse about this sort of thing: a woman resigning herself to the swell predicament she's found herself in.

I have an issue with films that treat pregnancy as just the "TERMS" (forgive the puns) of women's lives. Sure, women get pregnant. Shit happens. They also have abortions. Not all of them do. And I'm all for women who decide to keep their babies. Hell, I promote the survival of the human-race, and you know what? I love babies. I love looking at them, I love holding them, I love making faces at them, and I kind of want to have a lot of them eventually. That said it's hard for me to believe that there are women (aside from very religious ones) who DON'T EVEN CONSIDER the possibility of abortion, especially if they are independent, and want a career.

And aside from those issues, there are a whole lot of vagina jokes in Knocked Up that I just find a) stupid, and b) stupid, oh and c) not funny. But then again, I'm the girl who hates dead baby jokes and period jokes. Dear God, if you are reading this right now, please strike down any male who makes a period joke with ULTIMATE MENSTRUATION for the rest of his life. Then we'll see who's laughing.

When I told my boyfriend I "hated" Knocked Up he was surprised. "But you were laughing!" he said. "I saw you!" his roommate said. Yeah, guys. I was laughing. Then I went home and I thought about what the hell I would do if I found myself in the same situation, and generally about the way men and women function and what they want out of life and things suddenly became very serious.

The women in Knocked Up struck me as shrill shrews. Especially Debbie, who is constantly complaining that her near-perfect husband Pete (played by the delicious Paul Rudd) isn't giving her what she needs. Pete is a great Dad. He might not be a great husband, but he's also a DUDE. Since when are dudes great husbands? In fact, since when do men make "good" husbands? Do we know any? If so I'd really like to hear about them.

Cause here's the thing I've realized: Men don't make good partners according to women. And that's because women and men are so crazy different that there's no way in hell a guy would ever do exactly what you want him to do 100% of the time unless he was telepathic and he loved you enough to go out of his way to make you happy. Some guys are capable of the second option, but clearly not all the time. Which makes women upset. In turn, we become SHRILL. Maybe not all women are like this. Let me hear from you if you aren't so I can bottle your DNA and study your brain to figure out how to be more like you.

So, yeah. The women in Knocked Up are emotional and they are shrill. Because women are that way. And it isn't as if the men come off any better. They're fat, lazy, stupid, and almost completely non-functional across the board. I think guys like this movie maybe because it makes them feel a little better about themselves: especially if they weren't the most popular jock at the sock hop.

But there are some brilliant fucking moments in this movie. When Debbie discovers that Pete, her husband, isn't actually cheating on her but instead is running off to play fantasy baseball with his friends, she's still upset. You know why? Because she just wants to be included in his decisions, in his life. He says he went to see a movie without her because he didn't think she would like his choice of film. She responds by saying she just wants to be asked even if she ends up not going. I can't think of anything more beautiful than this exchange: it communicates the fundamental difference between men and women. Men need to do their own thing and feel like they have no obligations (even if its achingly apparent that they do), and women need to feel like men care about them and consider their feelings (even if they don't).

Later, when the guys are in Vegas together, acting like assholes, they realize (with the help of shrooms) that they really don't deserve the love of these awesome women who for some crazy reason want to be with them despite their insane loser-dom. Even if Debbie and Alison are still, emotional, and pregnant (in Alison's case), their dudes somehow find a way to suck-it up and stay the course. And that's pretty cool. Because if you really love someone, you deal with the fact that they might get pissed if you forget to call and check-in.

So, Knocked Up isn't perfect. But neither are we.