Thursday, May 26, 2011

Our communal ass seems to be getting tighter

I've been noticing a somewhat disturbing trend as of late - a rising wave of moral conservatism, and most distressingly, in younger generations than my own. 

To be fair, it doesn't take much for me to consider something conservative. My personal heroes are all people who push the envelope. They're rude, crude and hysterically funny. They're also incredibly intelligent and highly successful. For example, Seth MacFarlane, Chelsea Handler, Sarah Silverman, Bill Maher, etc... You get the idea.

Fairly recently I was admonished for a somewhat rude, yet very true statement. I found this quite odd indeed. Why so serious? I was simply stating a fact, only in a more entertaining manner. I try to be very respectful of other people's values and beliefs, and as much as possible, refrain from telling them they're full of shit and OMG would they chill the f*ck out already. 

Here's my theory: any dummy can be morally or politically conservative - it's easy because you simply adopt other people's beliefs and don't ask any questions. Satirists, libertines and outcasts are usually highly astute, courageous people who constantly challenge the status quo. They don't take all the ideas they were fed as children to be fact. They sift through them, ask questions as to their validity, and if these ideas don't stand up to interrogation, they're tossed aside to make room for new, possibly better ideas. 

Take, for instance, Family Guy. Is it offensive? Well, that depends on who you talk to but for the sake of this argument let's say that yes, it is. However, its insolence is its most powerful tool, encapsulating legitimate social commentary. To really "get" a show like Family Guy, you need to be a fairly well-rounded, shrewd person. A broad knowledge of pop culture also helps. It's not a program for the dumb and dogmatic who simply think it's some irrelevant cartoon with fart jokes or the devil incarnate.

Conservative folks, in general, also seem to have an inability to laugh at themselves, hence their abhorrence of fart jokes or any humourous allusion to other not-so-pleasant bodily functions, sex, religion or morally charged issues like abortion. As the French say: "Il faut rire pour ne pas pleurer." We must laugh so as not to cry.

It seems as if humour, especially "offensive" humour, is perceived as a lower, unsophisticated form of expression, when in reality, it takes on some very heady issues without blinking instead of side stepping topics that may, heaven forbid, cause some controversy.

One should also keep in mind that arrogant, morally inflexible people tend to be the worst offenders behind closed doors. Like Catholic priests, for example. Instead of airing their dirty laundry and having a public debate about contentious issues, they deny their questionable actions and the urges that led to them, and present a totally false image. Instead of trying to fully understand the human animal, they prefer to simply sit in the dark and wank to porn, not wanting to know why they're sitting in the dark, wanking to porn and probably feeling guilty about it. 

Having been raised Catholic, I received the full brunt of guilt-laden messaging so pervasive in that religion. I learned that I was inherently bad, that my body was bad, that sex was bad and should only be had to procreate, and that my life should basically be dedicated to preparing for an eternal life in heaven. In other words, don't enjoy your earthly life too much you useless sack of shit. 

I don't know about you but I find fault in this kind of thinking. I'm shacked up with my boyfriend, have no plans to marry and don't want kids of my own. According to the Catholic Church, I shouldn't ever have sex because it's not for procreation, and I'm not married but living with a man, so I'm basically going to burn in the hungry fires of hell. To which I say: Great! 'Cause really, are there any fun people in heaven? I doubt it.

As George Carlin and many famous philosophers and thinkers have said: "Question everything." In other words, don't ever consider anything as truth until you've tested it out for yourself. And if it doesn't hold up, it's probably bullshit.

To conclude, some classic Carlin:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Oh Ahhh-nold. You won't be back. Not if Maria has anything to say about it.

Ok, was anyone really surprised that Ahhh-nold fathered a child out of wedlock? I mean, come on, there were complaints of sexual harassment by some of his female co-stars on movie sets years ago. 

And let's face it, if you're a Kennedy, like Maria Shriver, you're destined for tragedy. I mean, if I were her, I'd look at it this way: at least I wasn't shot in the head or killed in a plane crash.

Now Maria's hired a P.I. to dig into Arnold's past as she prepares for divorce proceedings. There are rumours of other children out of wedlock and Maria wants to know exactly what her philandering husband's been up to.

I didn't even bat an eyelash when I found out about this fiasco, and I got to thinking (no good can ever come of this, but I do it anyway) how tragic it is that I'm not in the least surprised about this most hurtful indiscretion. I would even label my reaction as almost apathetic.

Are we so accustomed to bad behaviour that it's become commonplace? Like "Oh, that's too bad about his heinous deception, pass the Cheetos." 

Or perhaps a sly smile appears on our face as yet again, something crummy has happened to rich and/or famous people - people we assume are happier than we are because they're rich and/or famous, and we glean some joy from their misery.

Personally, I feel bad for Maria. It blows that she married such a douche. She deserves better. So I've conducted my own investigation and have come up with additional individuals I believe may be Arnold's out of wedlock love children:

Stephen Dorff:  Daddy?

 Yes. Doh! I mean, who are you?

Brigitte Nielsen: Daddy?

Ok, you were WAY before Maria, you don't count.

Prince Harry: Daddy? Oh, wait, wrong paternity suit.

Dolph Lundgren: Daddy?

You're actually Brigitte's half brother. Sorry about that.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The French have a word for it...

I recently read a newspaper article about a French magazine called l'Égoïste. The editor's tastes are so discerning, it's only been published about 17 times since 1977 because one single publication takes years to produce. A single copy of this saught-after magazine costs about $47. A new edition was recently published and sold out almost immediately since only a limited number of copies are printed. 

This is something I love about the French. Yes, I'm generalizing. No, not all French people are like this... They love the finer things in life and don't apologize for being elitist.

They also drink wine over two hour lunches, smoke, eat fatty foods all the while staying thin and are impossibly fashionable, even in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. They are incredibly sensual, love sex and are not ashamed to admit it.

They're a wonderful contrast to our incredibly dull, tight-ass Western puritanical work ethic and views on sex. A two-hour lunch? How DARE you! Get back to your cubicle worker bee! Eating white bread baguette and fat-laden, yummy cheeses? You carb-eating criminal! Bloody, crazy violence in a movie?  No problem. Explicit, loving sex scenes? Eeewwwwww. Slap an NC-17 rating on that! It's unacceptable!

The French would never have impeached a President for lying about getting a blow job from an intern but they probably would have if he'd lied to justify invading a country without a valid reason or international support, and started a fictitious war, killing thousands. But I digress.

The French also remind me of a more general European "joie de vivre" that is simply absent in North America. We work too hard and don't remember how to relax and have fun. We're made to feel guilty if we don't "tow the line" and work, work, work! Come in early, skip lunch, leave late, work from home. Wake up in forty years and wonder where your life went. Keel over of a massive heart attack six months after retiring 'cause you didn't kick back and play hard. 

Europeans, in general, are just as productive as we are. So why are we slowly killing ourselves while they're indulging in an afternoon siesta? 

One should never underestimate the healing power of a leisurely lunch or a fine Brie. And just as the editor of l'Égoïste makes no apologies for forcing her devout readers to wait years for a new edition, we should make no apologies for seeking out pleasure and being un peu égoïste.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Not getting shanked in your sleep has many advantages

This past Mother's Day, I awoke, like any other weekend morning, and got up to make a pot of coffee. My boyfriend sees this and says: "What are you doin'?" To which I reply: "Goin' to make some coffee". To which he replies "Maybe you should go down in the basement first." Then I thought: Is that where stepmothers have to go on Mother's Day? but my actual reply was "Oh, ok." My boyfriend, seeing my hesitation at being banished to the basement, tells me there's a surprise down there for me.

So I'm all like: "Oooohhh, I love surprises!" I head down to the dungeon basement, look around for a bit and don't see anything out of the ordinary. Then, as I turn and look under the stairs, a brand new set of golf clubs, with tees and balls is sitting there innocently. And everything is PINK. To say that I love pink would be an understatement. That I now have pink golf clubs makes my life complete. 

But it didn't end there. My stepdaughter made me this beautiful card, and coupons for free hugs and homemade pasta dinners and other cool stuff. I was completely taken by surprise. I mean, I'm just glad my stepdaughter hasn't murdered me in my sleep. Anything beyond that is simply icing on the cake. 

Being a stepmother is a strange and fascinating thing. I'm not a mom per se, I'm more of an older female person that my boyfriend's kids can hang out with. A hip, young aunt if you will. (YES, I'm still young, you know, down with the homies and shit. Ok, I have no idea what that means but it sounds like something a young person would say). But I digress. 

There's really no social language for step-parents, no clear designations. We're basically navigating in uncharted territory, hoping for the best.

No one ever expects or aspires to be a step-parent. It's one of those things in life that always appears to be a scary prospect, wrought with difficulty. But I've learned that within that hard shell exterior lies a beautiful, shiny pearl. (I have a heart. Who knew?)

I always told myself I wanted to live an unconventional life. I didn't know what shape it would take but my wish was granted and I definitely got something singular and rare. 

Then there are days like last Sunday, days that make me realize I've somehow made a positive contribution to a young person's life, despite the lack of blood relations. And it's in those moments that I know I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Assis talkitis: when one talks out of one's ass to the detriment of humanity

So check this out.... Sean Avery, a notoriously bratty, pain in the ass, annoys the crap out of everyone NHL hockey player has publicly stated that he supports gay marriage and got bashed for it by some sports agent dude. 

Sean is apparently quite the fashionista, has been spotted at independent film and hip music festivals and his friends consist of artists, musicians, actresses and models. Ok, those last two are endemic to any professional athlete's life, but artists? musicians? Tres impressive. The guy has other interests besides chasing a puck around and beating up other guys on a slippery surface.

He appears in a video campaign for New Yorkers for Marriage Equality along with some other celebs. Apparently, it's quite rare for professional athletes to publicly support gay or lesbian causes. So, kudos to you Sean for having some balls and coming out, in a manner of speaking.

So this sports agent dude, Todd Reynolds, tweets that he's all against gay marriage and shit. Some excerpts from his tweets: "Very sad to read Sean Avery's misguided support of same-gender 'marriage'". He goes on to say: "This is not hatred or bigotry towards gays. It is not intolerance in any way, shape or form. I believe we are all equal. But I believe in the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman. This is my personal viewpoint. I do not hate anyone."

Umm, yeah. I don't know whether to laugh or try to find this guy and punch him in the head. Not hatred or bigotry? That's EXACTLY what it is! It's like saying people of different races shouldn't marry. WTF? 

And throwing the "sanctity" of marriage in there? Really, are you gonna keep flogging that dead horse? Would you invest in a stock with a 50% failure rate? 'Cause that's how well "marriage" is doing these days. Not great odds.

But to deny anyone the opportunity to be miserable in a crappy marriage, that ain't cool. Dude says he believes "we are all equal". Clearly, he DOES NOT. Being against gay marriage is basically saying heterosexuals are better than homosexuals and only they should have the opportunity to make their love legal. 

Frankly, if there's one group of people who don't know how to get their shit together when it comes to relationships, it's heterosexuals. So why should they get first dibs on walking down the aisle?

I think people are confusing religious dogma and reality. The truth is that marriage is a legally binding union between two people. Period. 

This whole "Oh, it's got to be between a man and a woman" bullshit has to go. It's based on some archaic religious belief that the sole purpose of marriage is to procreate. Well, the planet's already overpopulated folks. We don't need no more babies. So it's time to redefine what marriage means in the 21st Century, minus the completely irrational religious overtones.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Facebook fame whoring

My stepdaughter and I were talking recently about Facebook. Due to a federal election here in Canada, there were some heated exchanges between our right-leaning and left-leaning family members, and a knock 'em down, drag 'em out blow-out occurred right there in the comments section. 

It definitely made for some interesting reading. Then, my stepdaughter started to outline ways in which people  violate tasteful Facebook etiquette:

1) the "status updaters": those who apparently have no life and want to constantly advertise this fact to all their Facebook friends. A sampling of lame status updates: Just got up... what should I have for breakfast? You know what? No one really cares what you have for breakfast. Just eat and shut up about it already. In line at the grocery store. Wow, really? Now that is exciting. Tell me more! Boo... rain again! No one cares about the weather unless a natural disaster is occurring and you're in the middle of it.

2) the "photo uploaders": it's all well and good to post photos on Facebook but there are some who abuse the privilege and are constantly posting inane photos of themselves. Ooh, here's me shopping. Really? Are you shopping for a vibrator or a dominatrix outfit? No? Then we don't care! Ahh, here's me in a bikini in my bathroom, with sunglasses on. Oh wait. That was Demi Moore on Twitter. But still, LAME.

3) the "likers": these people will "Like" anything anyone posts on Facebook, from saving the planet by using old newspapers as toilet tissue to denying that climate change exists. It's ok to have taste, people. Just because it's posted on Facebook, doesn't mean it's legit or worthy of recognition. 

Personally, my Facebook activities are driven by one goal: to make all my Friends and Friends of Friends envious of my fabulous life. So I try to limit my status updates to stuff that's uncommon or funny, and I pretty much only upload photos of trips I've taken so people can see what a cosmopolitan life I lead. 

Of course, everything is highly edited and any bad photos of me are never uploaded. It's like I'm my own publicist. One could argue that this isn't a true representation of my life. And they would be right.

I mean, do I really want people to know that sometimes these would be my status updates: I'm having a f*cking shitty day and am developing homicidal tendencies towards my coworkers or I'm having menstrual cramps from hell and want to rip out my uterus or, my personal favourite, Life seems to have lost all meaning. Why am I here?

I find it ironic that my natural tendency on Facebook is to do the very same thing as celebrity spin doctors and hide my flaws in order to present a polished version of myself that will be acceptable to my audience. On the other hand, one could say I'm focusing on the positive aspects of my life, and what's so wrong with that?

Facebook has tremendous power as a tool for social change and communication. There's no doubt about that. I guess it's like anything, its tendency to be good or bad is all in how you use it. Although I suspect Facebook has turned me into a bit of a fame whore.

By the way, if you enjoy this blog, "Like" me bitches!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Royal Wedding Fever - Part Deux

So... me, of the non-morning person persuasion, got my ass out of bed at 5 am last Friday morning to witness history in the making - the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. I must say, the hour leading up to the wedding was far more exciting and interesting than the ceremony itself. It's like the arrivals on the red carpet before an awards show - way more fun than the actual awards ceremony.

Once the vows were done and yet more singing of boring hymns had begun, I felt myself fading and needing a nap before having to get up, once again, to go to work. Even the guests attending the wedding looked bored, including the bride and groom at certain moments, so I didn't feel so bad for baling halfway through the ceremony in favour of sleep.

Of course, whatever I missed I was able to catch in highlights offered by practically every news channel, and TLC, which surprisingly, had the best commentary, in my opinion. Those Say Yes to the Dress dudes were hilarious and Rupert Everett's comments on people's wedding outfits and those silly hats were spot on. He pulled no punches and I laughed heartily.

Of course, these types of events always spark a bit of an obsession with the Royal Family which television is so quick to address. We watched specials on the evolution of William and Kate's relationship, on comparisons of Diana and Kate, on how Harry is now the hot, new bachelor every girl has her eye on, despite having a long-term, on-again, off-again girlfriend.

I also did a bit of research on the question of Harry's paternity - there are persistent rumours that James Hewitt, a formerly handsome redhead and ex-lover of Diana's is actually Harry's father. 

Upon further examination of photos and articles online - a trustworthy source if  ever there was one to determine someone's paternity, I've deduced that Charles is indeed Harry's father. I used to firmly believe that Hewitt was Harry's daddy but, following my in-depth research, I'm now convinced Harry is Charles' son. It's all in the facial features which resemble Charles more than Hewitt, and apparently red hair is also a Spencer family trait.

My stepdaughter has decided that she will marry Prince Harry. I support her in this endeavour. Sure, she's 12 years younger than Harry but I can only see that as an advantage. He's a bit of a wild child and when he's finally ready to settle down, my stepdaughter will be in her prime child bearing years, able to produce a spare to the heir. And we'll get to hang with the Royals. It's a win-win situation. 


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