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Archive for October, 2009

The third stroke

I’ve been re-reading Dubliners, and it’s wonderful.  This time I find myself identifying very strongly with the characters, which is probably a sign of pathology since they are all paralyzed, angry drunks.  Oh, well.  After this, I will read Ulysses and perhaps blog about it.  And maybe I will blog about Dubliners, too, after I’ve thought about it some more.

Today I ordered the following used books:

Nicomachean Ethics,  because I’ve been craving Aristotle, and because I lost my old copy of The Basic Works. And by “lost,” I mean someone I didn’t know THREW AWAY a box of my books for no reason.  I am still angry about it.

On the Genealogy of Morals I haven’t read it, and I thought it would be interesting to compare to the Nicomachean Ethics.  Although I should probably re-read The Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals in between.  Going straight from Aristotle to Nietzsche might be too much of a mindfuck.

The Theory of the Leisure Class I am very excited to read this.  It is so timely!  Plus, I’ve wanted to read it forever, and now that I know things about economics it’ll be even better.

And just for fun, I might go to Half Price books and look for some Shirley Jackson novels.

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Today my ex-boyfriend (who knows me well) sent me this little  gem of a blogpost.  It’s written by a guy–no, a dad–who got in some really precious father-son bonding time by taking his eleven year old to that exemplar of family-style chain restaurants, Hooters.  The post and its comments are chock-full of stupidity, and I have had a bad day and am not in the mood to take stupidity seriously.  So we’re going to play a game of, “re-write the stupid statements for comic effect.”  Ready?

I am sure that my children’s interest in all things sexual is stamped in their DNA somewhere and not subject to rise and fall based on how many boobs they see over a cheeseburger.

Sexuality is TOTALLY impervious to social conditioning.  That’s what DNA means.  Impervious to social conditioning. It’s also why I had to put my son in an artificial setting with hyper-sexualized women in order to help him understand how to be the right kind of guy.

In the end, I would rather my kids be exposed to such things and see their reaction rather than driving through McDonald’s for yet another Happy Meal in which nothing is gained but a 1,000 extra calories of processed food.

When my son was two, I was like, hey sweetie! come over here! daddy has a treat for you! And then I gave him a bottle with lemon juice in it, and he grimaced and spit it out, but you know what?  He could’ve been drinking canola oil, and that would’ve been worse because it would’ve made him fat.  No one has sex with fat people.

The trip to Hooters, I saw, as an opportunity to see how he conducts himself around women. If he drooled and couldn’t take his eyes of the waitress, then that would be an unmistakable cue to me to start preparing another birds and the bees talk.  If he acted embarrassed and shy, then that would be a sign that such a pointed talk could wait a bit.

The great thing about my son is that he would never be embarrassed and shy because he knew I was intently watching his reaction to a pair of DD boobs a foot away from his face.  He’s cool like that.

And from the comments:

Wow. I can’t believe how uptight some people are. Seriously, this is some Puritanical stuff going on right now.

Look, I don’t understand why you guys don’t get it.  It’s so simple.  There are two choices; you can either be a Hugh Hefner, or a Jim Bob Duggar.  Pick one. I personally chose Hugh Hefner because he has better hair.  Although Jim Bob does have a bigger harem.  I go back and forth.

And:

She’s [the Hooter’s waitress] not being sexually molested. She’s not a stripper. No one is attacking her in way. . . I, personally, have been to a strip club with my father when I was 18. My dad is a great father and one hell of a person. He’s been married to my mom for 32 years and they’re still together. But you know what? He’s human! I know he looks at other women, because it’s only natural.

I can’t make fun of this one, because when I read it all I can think about is this Lifetime movie I saw years ago.  The protagonist was a prim, artsy girl, an aspiring actress, who got into stripping to pay for her acting classes because her super WASPy parents wanted her to be a lawyer and refused to help her out.  So she keeps it a secret and gets this cokehead roommate who steals all her money (natch) and then DIES when she has a botched breast implant operation.  (Way to show those hussies that get fake boobs, lifetime!)  And then one day her father and brother visit the strip club for kicks, and they see her stripping!  Yelling and tears ensue, and she ultimately goes home with them, but no one, not one person, asks why it was ok for her father and brother to go to the strip club, but not for her to be a stripper.

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During my extensive study of pick-up artistry, I came to the conclusion that most guys who embrace its strategy do so in the following manner:

Lonely Dude: “Girls don’t like me! I haven’t had sex in never!”

Mystery/PUA artist: “Well, I just had sex fifteen minutes ago with an 8.9 I met in a bar.”

Dude: “What? How did you do that?”

PUA: “Easy! First, chicks like assholes, so you have to act like an asshole.  Also, you have to touch them in unexpected places at unexpected times.  Can you juggle scarves?”

Dude: “?????”

PUA: “Whatever, look, here are some pick-up lines.  Go to a bar tonight and use them on the ten most attractive women you see.  If they throw their drinks in your face, don’t worry, that’s just their bitch shields talking and they’re probably only 6s or 7s anyway.  Just go to another bar, and I guarantee you’ll find someone who’ll have sex with you.”*

See, it’s a numbers game.  If you go to a bar, chances are that it contains some people who are looking to have sex, and some of those people will be women.  And if you approach enough of those women at enough bars, chances are that at least one of them is going to be drunk enough and/or desperate enough for sex to overlook the fact that you sort of remind her of her abusive ex-boyfriend when you tell her that her nose is adorably crooked.  Or maybe she will be drawn to you because of your resemblance to said ex-boyfriend because she has issues.  Either way, it’s not about the seductive genius of PUA techniques, it’s about spreading your bait as far as it can go.

This, my friends, is how I feel when looking for jobs.  Sort of.  Actually, it’s even worse, because unlike the lonely guys, I am not particularly disadvantaged; I know how to write a good cover letter,  and I’m professional and smart and competent and all that, but I still know that it is almost wholly a game of chance, the odds of which are not in my favor.  And so there’s nothing to do expect keep trying.  Because it’s not about me.

*as for whether she’ll want to date you, well, that’s dubious.

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the color blue

So says eccentric crazypants Bertram Cooper as he and Roger look at a picture of the founders of Sterling Cooper taken forty years previously.  If only he knew that 1963, like 1923, was a year on the cusp of enormous, groundbreaking change!

He doesn’t, of course, and therein lies one of the show’s central themes: some characters profit from the status quo (oh, hi, Paul Kinsey!), and others suffer because of it (Betty, Sal, Joan, etc.) , but no one knows how different everything is going to be in ten years, or even in a few months, after the Kennedy assassination.  Normally this is a good thing, because it adds tension and enhances the drama of each character’s story line.  But lately I’ve felt that the show is nothing but simmering, mounting build-up, and the suspense was beginning to kill me.  Don is more repulsive than he’s ever been; Betty is completely broken; Joan and Sal are getting fucked over, and Peggy hasn’t gotten much screen time at all.  It’s too much to take on a Sunday night, I tell you.

So I was relieved when last night’s episode broke some of all that festering tension.  A few thoughts:

1. BETTY OPENED DON’S SECRET DRAWER OH SHIT!SHIT!

Such was my reaction.  Actually, it was more like, “why do they keep showing Betty doing laundry? did I miss something about laundry? oooh is that a key to the teacher’s place? oh, WAIT. OH, SHIT.”  I’ve been wanting this to happen for so, so, long, and my stomach was in sympathetic knots as I watched Betty sit up with the box, waiting for Don to get home.  I don’t think she suspects his secret identity yet, but she knows about his divorce from Anna Draper, and really, that’s enough to bring the whole carefully constructed facade crashing down on his oiled head.

2. Paul Kinsey is still a douche, but he may have realized that Peggy is a better copywriter than he is.

I wasn’t sure if his incredulous, “oh my God” was supposed to indicate that he was awed by Peggy’s quick thinking or merely furious that she had upstaged him in front of Don again.  At any rate, I think we can all agree that his literally masturbating to his own copy was exceedingly gross.  Also, it was interesting that his lost idea and the telegram theme both highlight the permanence of the written word: Betty wouldn’t have discovered Don’s secrets if he hadn’t left a paper trail.

3.  Don is still screwing that awful teacher

Not only is Miss Farrell less mature and far less interesting than his earlier paramours, she has more than a whiff of craziness about her.  She doesn’t care about his marriage as long as she knows he’s really and truly with her?  Seriously?  I predict that it will end in tears, and they’d better not be Sally’s.

4. Sterling Cooper is for sale.

Does this mean all the brouhaha over Don’s contract is moot?

UPDATE:

Did you know that if you Google, “Betty Draper smiling” Google asks, “did you mean Betty Draper smoking?” Hilarious.

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Strange Bedfellows, indeed

From a pretty interesting New York Times article on the instability of American relationships:

Paradoxically, those who call for family values also tout the wonders of an unregulated market without observing the subtle cultural links between the family they seek to regulate and the market they hold free.

The author presents this as a strange fact, but is it?  Isn’t the modern Republican party the offspring of an unholy alliance between free-market Randians and social conservatives who left the Democratic party because of its stance on Civil Rights?

Sure, the religious right now follows the free market party line, and vice versa.  And both sides seem to believe that unregulated market/regulated bedrooms is a naturally winning combination.  But I think the current situation has more to do with political happenstance than any inherent affinity between Christian doctrine and free market ideology.*

*unless, of course, you believe in the whole Calvinism/free market connection, which I do.  But Calvinism =/= the 20th century brand of American bible-thumping.

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you find yourself googling, “what should I do with my life?” By yourself.  On a Friday night.

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Threads

Today–the day before I begin my very serious job search in a new city–I went shopping with my mom for interview and work clothes.  It was more fun than I expected, partly because I had more money to work with than usual (thanks to generous relatives) and partly because seeing myself in grown-up, expensive professional clothing was a new experience for me.  Also, if you go to Nordstrom and look helpless, someone will swoop over to you and start bringing you things so you don’t have to sort through dozens of pairs of dress slacks and pencil skirts on your own.

Anyhow, the clothes were not cheap, and I started thinking of how it’s always necessary to have some money in order to get more.  My interview prospects would be seriously limited if I didn’t look like a member of the prosperous middle class.  After this shopping trip, I do.   Lucky for me.

I almost got this dress, which looked way more Joan Holloway on me than it does on this model.  But I did get this dress, which is AWESOME.

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