Today, the “American Dream” means clinging fiercely to your role as a battery in the Matrix

This is what happens when people are mad as hell and utterly determined to continue taking it.

Before continuing to a piece from Peggy Noonan from last summer in the Wall Street Journal, let’s define what we mean by the metaphor “the Matrix.”  No doubt we could fill the comments section with minutia and hair splitting, but I’m talking a very high-level definition.  Some talk about red pill vs. blue pill thinking and actions; I might mention buying hard into “the system,” such Leif Erikson buying into Being a Nice Boy, or Hannah Horvath’s parents buying into Narcissism as Helicopter Parenting.

Those are each mere tactics, i.e., methods to reach a desired destination.  Leif wants comfortable lazy bear life with sex on demand, Hannah’s parents want a life accessory they can #humblebrag to their friends about.  Buying into a system means: pull the lever and get a cookie.  But what state do we seek to attain?  Here’s a hint:  what do you do with a cookie?

You consume it.  Let’s skip to the thesis:  the Matrix is consumption as a state of being.  The Matrix = consumption.

But here’s where we understand only half of it, because when you consume (you are in the Matrix) then the Matrix is also in you.  Yeah, kind of a co-dependence I guess, except while you may care deeply and individually for all the life-giving the Matrix seems to have for you, the Matrix does not care about you so much as it cares about Everyone.  We all need the Matrix to live, and so we all need Everyone to shut the fuck up and keep on producing/consuming.  Thus the new American Dream!

Go back to sleep, Neo.

Incidentally, unless you’re firing up some child pornography or pirating a song, Google, Apple and the NSA don’t give half of one shit about what you do online.  Google doesn’t care about what you do as much as it cares about what Everyone does.  Capitalism in a Big Data age.

“Dude, I’m 100% Occupy Wall Street and I’m against these goddamn capitalists and bankers and bailouts!”  I can totally tell you are, because you typed that on the iPhone your parents still pay for, using a cellular network built by filthy capitalists and bankers.  I won’t bother mentioning the Chinese peasants who built your iPhone for you.

I know Neo sees the Matrix as slimy people-batteries in pods, but I look at the Matrix like this (also the tagline for this blog):

Oar-rowing slaves in a Roman galley.  “We keep you alive to serve this ship.  So row well, and live.”  If you are unfamiliar with the novel and film Ben-Hur, it follows a Jewish prince just during the times of Christ who was unjustly accused and then condemned to live the remainder of life his as a galley slave.  He subsides on the life/sustenance provided by his jailors and in turn helps power their ship.  If you think life for you/Neo in that other version of the Matrix is any better, then sweet mother of Jesus will the red pill hurt your stomach when it goes down.

(Eventually Judah Ben-Hur happens to save the life of the centurion in the film, and the centurion recognizes him as a strong/worthy man, frees him, and adopts him as a son.)

That’s all nice, but where does the American Dream, Peggy Noonan, and the Matrix as consumerism come into this?

Obvious first point we left out for a reason so far:  the American Dream used to mean self improvement, doing better and making more money than the previous generation.  Greater success upon greater success.  Parents working toward an even better life for their kids.  Instead, today, we have an ultra-consumerist Dumbest Generation of Narcissists in the History of the World that will soon finish raising the much-maligned Generation Y, the Millennials.

Making a better life for their children became children as life accessories, i.e., something I do for just for me.  Their kids are discovering what less fortunate people (middle/lower class, many non-whites, basically everyone except for upper-middle class white liberals) have been mucking around in for years now (back to Peggy Noonan):

“I am sick and tired of giving bailouts to the folks at the top and handouts to the folks at the bottom. I’m going to fire people [politicians] until my life gets better.”

That is as succinct a summation as I’ve seen of how the American middle class has been thinking the past few years: The guys at the top and the bottom are taken care of while I get squeezed.

(Here’s the link to Peggy Noonan’s piece, but it’s behind the subscriber wall.  It’s actually mostly about how Obama still somehow managed to convince the middle-class guy from the quote above that, hey, at least Obama wasn’t as rich as that bastard Romney!  “Yeah, screw him!  And he’s Mormon and stuff!”  If you don’t think that many people voted with that in mind, then I’m not sure how you found this blog.)

Yep, the middle-class guy’s sentiment is indeed frustrating, and I feel you, brother.  But there our agreement ends, because I think this system exists because we need it to exist—it’s the Matrix.  The Matrix needs rich people and Everyone to consume and be consumed.  Saving money is only for people who already spend a lot as it is, e.g., rich people.  The Matrix demands complete obedience toward everyone consuming as much as possible, otherwise there will be riots in the streets.  Don’t believe me?  Remember what happened in Greece when the government started limiting the Greek equivalent of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?

You see the problem already.  We absolutely want as much consumption as possible, but not everyone is willing to work (have viable employment) toward that end.  What’s the ultimate answer (at least to keep people from rioting)?  We just mentioned them in the previous paragraph–Social Security, SSI, SSDI, WIC, food stamps, TANF, years of unemployment income… it’s a long list, folks.  If you won’t/can’t work, at least take this so you can consume at some level.  In environments where there are no poor people or non-white people, like say Cambridge, Mass., nice white upper-middle class liberals call this “universal income.”

I call it today’s American Dream.

“WTF, you are such mean creep, would you rather those people starve and just go without the basics until they die??”  No, jackass, I don’t want to change a goddamn thing—I don’t want my leisurely Starbucks run marred by poor people rioting.

But rather than feed them to the Matrix, why can’t we permit them to hope for something better?  Instead, we keep them alive to serve this ship.  So row well, and live.  “Hey, wait, are you implying I’m the Romans in this analogy, and I’m keeping the poor slaves there powering my lifestyle?”

I am definitely implying that, and if we all want to be feudal lords (rich, or at least not work hard or make difficult life changes) then we will need to use up a lot of peasants.  Thank God for all those Chinese workers, am I right?

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NPR and CBS drink diet soda, get fat, kill their own brain cells.

That video uses the same sleight of hand that other media outlets used about a different study, below.  My headline:  Diet soda doesn’t work, fat people hardest hit!

NPR headline:  Diet Soda: Fewer Calories In The Glass May Mean More On The Plate.

CBS headline:  Diet soda drinkers end up consuming more calories: Study.

Terrible.  Damn you, Big Soda.

*

Because the Matrix has you, it created another disingenuous public health study precisely for the misinterpretation of the mainstream media.  Aside from those other scary stories about how diet soda in general is the same as embalming fluid (So I’ll look this young forever? Awesome!), you’d think the copy editor would catch this type of dogshit reporting before you step in it.

Here’s the template: drink your Coke Zero only if you want to get fatter.

Stories and studies like this make me insane.  Like a Buzzfeed health-food listicle, these types of articles are made so you can scroll through a slideshow of fat people, i.e., it’s for you to feel better about yourself because you aren’t as fat as they are.  Go ahead and get back to those snack crackers, at least you aren’t eating Doritos!

That’s the problem with relative comparisons—they hide the absolute starting point from you and make it hard to think critically.  What is necessary and sufficient for increased and sustained weight gain?  Deep into the NPR story they at least tell you the trendy angle about how diet soda (damn you, Big Soda) confuses your poor brain and makes it think it got a rush of sugar energy when really all your body got was nothing.  Thus your brain thinks you need to eat more.

I love Coke Zero and I’ve never felt anything like that.  But the absolutely necessary and sufficient next step is, you know… actually eating more  Since NPR and CBS want to click-bait you with dogshit and not science, they leave that part out of the first few paragraphs.  Wait just a second, let’s at least look at the original study:

Overweight and obese adults drink more diet beverages than healthy-weight adults and consume significantly more solid-food calories and a comparable total calories than overweight and obese adults who drink [sugar-sweetened beverages].

I might be confused, but it sure sounds like they said fat people eat more calories than healthy people, and diet soda might help maintain the status quo.  The whole point of diet soda for a fat person is keep things the way they are (i.e., fat).  The poor obese guy reading NPR and CBS about diet soda isn’t going to spring up and make deep life changes, he’s just going to get frustrated about how his imagined self improvement isn’t working.  Diet soda doesn’t have anything to do with it changing his health for better or worse because he’s already obese.  It’s neither necessary nor sufficient.  Eating more is.

C’mon now, this is the same thing as saying Wal*Mart scooter users have a high correlation to diabetes and unhealthy weight gain.  Do they really, now?  Maybe we should dump some heavy regulations on Big Scooter for all the harm they are doing.

Seriously, which came first, the fatness or the diet soda?  Thankfully, NPR and CBS eventually admit deep into each story that diet soda is not making anyone fat—it’s the calorie consumption.  That makes for a really boring and straight-forward headline, though:  Diet soda does not really affect anything.  Sigh.  Click-baited again.

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How to know it’s definitely not even close to being love, episode 3

This will be the worst one.

Start by watching this decent video about a supplicating beta male and an outcome independent alpha male.  If you can forgive yourself for using those trite terms.

I realize the response to this is somewhat bifurcated.  Some people rarely see the alpha kind of guy, or if they do, he’s much less suave/funny and more a rude narcissist.  Some people don’t see the supplicating beta male very often, and the men they do see are of even lower status than our plucky button-down boy in the video above.  I mean, at least that doofus was out in a bar talking to girls.

*

Here is the kind of guy I suspect you’ve seen a lot of.  His story is so thoroughly what I’d expect… couldn’t have made it up better myself.  Let’s peek at the unhappy family:

Someone is hiding her wedding ring, and someone else is displaying his.  Oh, wait, I get it.

“They don’t look unhappy at all, dude!”  I know, right?  It’s actually only the woman, Jenny Erikson, who is unhappy.  For some reason, she dumped her husband Leif and is in the process of divorcing him.  In fact, she planned to do it secretly and then spring a bunch of paperwork on him late on a Friday.  Yep, just like in “Office Space.”

Don’t get me wrong, men divorce women viciously at times, too.  Cheats on wife, takes mistress to Europe, moves out later and takes the money.  Wife doesn’t know what to do.  You know the cliche.  But yeah, 100% not the case here.  Let’s walk through this rancid dumpster fire step by step, much of it in Jenny’s own words.

Leif was my best friend in the entire world. He knew everything about me. He was my shoulder to cry on when I went on bad dates… But we were just friends.

Doh, friend-zoned.  But he kept orbiting her, hanging around, just a hopeful lil’ puppy.  Remember at this point the invisible alpha males (who otherwise do not come into this story) are dating/fucking Jenny, who keeps getting surprised that a guy will semi-happily fuck her but not marry her.  (The inverse is just as shocking for men.)  Anyway, at one point they watched a movie and it got much worse:

When it ended, he leaned over and kissed me. I hit him. And then I said three words that changed everything.  “Do it again.”

So he did. And we kissed. For a while. And then, this man that I loved more than life itself, but only in a platonic fashion just the hour before, asked me to marry him.

FUCK ME IN THE EAR… the sweet mother of God took a shit in someone’s breakfast.  A few minutes of making out, and Jenny agrees to marry Leif.  Slam, bang, thank you, ma’am.

Don’t forget when she hit or slapped him when he (after years of beta orbiting) made his move.  That was the last time Jenny was honest with Leif or herself for the next 10 years.  Maybe I’m crazy and in the tiny minority, but I’ve never, ever had an experience like that with any girl.  Not a single customer complaint.

I am guessing that Leif did not have the same reaction as Jenny.  I bet he was ecstatic, smitten forever, his cock as hard as it’s ever been.  It’s not love, bro, it’s beta supplication.  The wedding day:

Seven months later I… looked down to my groom. He looked like he was going to have a hernia of happiness. And the only thought that ran through my brain at that second was, “Where the FUCK are my car keys? There’s still time!”

In grad school we called this “cognitive dissonance.”  She did not want to marry (much less have sex with) this guy but implied social pressure shoved her over the finish line.  Two kids (they are adorable) and ten years later, Jenny plots to divorce him shock-and-awe style.  In a crazy bit of luck, Leif got word beforehand, and Jenny was annoyed the surprise was spoiled:

So there you go. My Pastor had actually told my husband, based on a fourth-hand rumor, without talking to me first, that I was planning on leaving him. That. Just. Happened.

“I filed for divorce last week,” I told him flatly. “I was planning on telling you this Friday.”

The insane part is that, about 10 months before, she wrote yet another blog post of love for Leif and celebrated their 10th anniversary.  So, to the otherwise uninitiated, what unholy horseshit happened between divorce and anniversary?

Don’t know.  Jenny said she has her reasons.  My instinct says she ran into one or more guys that (finally) tingled her vagina after years of slow-dripping uninterested drudgery sex on Leif, the poor dumb bastard.  “She can’t control who she’s attracted to, man!”  Right, but she could have totally controlled who she married.  “The romantic feelings don’t always last, come on.”  Wrong, they were simply one-sided the whole time.

Here’s the way a normal relationship works: girls fucks boy pretty much whenever and however he wants.  They really, really like each other.  That’s my default, anyway.

“Dude, my wife/GF just isn’t as in to sex as I am.  She doesn’t like the kinks and weird stuff.”  Again, she just doesn’t like all that with you.  I sincerely don’t mean to be cruel, and I’m not blaming Jenny for doing what she should have done 10 years ago.  Jenny’s bad actions started with not hitting Leif again and kicking him out.

Leif’s bad actions are an encyclopedia of supplicating beta male behavior:

  1. Acted like an emotional tampon for an undetermined amount of time.  Leif is the male equivalent of a poorly-skilled booty call.
  2. Showed impossible over-eager beta/puppy love by asking Jenny to marry him after a few kisses.  LOL.
  3. An equally impossible list of beta/comfort social skills and zero alpha skills.  I have no words.
  4. Consistent servant/follower behavior, to the point where he dutifully does her housework, lets her blog as a “job,” drives her drunken self around.  I again have no words.

*

Folks, don’t read this wrong.  No one says doing sweet/loving things for your wife/GF is bad.  Doing all that for a woman who is not so in love with you that she is your own sincere porn star… is a waste.  It will only make her despise your weak beta self more and more.  The best time to rub her feet?  After you’ve smacked her ass, fucked her senseless, and finished that post-coital sandwich she made you.

Believe me, she will be utterly, completely, incorrigibly  in love with you.  Hold on there, feminists, read this next sentence:  The first step, as always, is to be the kind of person who can enjoy with her all the stuff I listed three sentences ago. That kind of cool, intuitive, collected, fit, funny, dominant alpha male who occasionally hints at a soft heart and makes good money.  Be that guy.

“I dunno man, I’m sort of nerdy and I hate working out and taking math classes.  I’m not much of a ‘dominant’ personality.”  Then stop blaming women for not having sex with you or even knowing you exist.  The problem isn’t women, the problem is you.

*

Again, I’m not blaming Jenny for doing what a normal hypergamy-infused vagina does.  I’m not blaming Leif too much, either—he bought hard into the system of Being a Nice Boy, and expected the promised rewards.  Even now he is pouring on the beta/nice to Jenny, thinking that if he tries hard enough, nothing will change.

And that is exactly what he wants to defend against:  needed life change.  He resists it to his core.  I’m not saying it’s wrong that he has an adorable family or that they should have divorced regardless, but Jesus Christ does this guy resist growing as a person.

It’s definitely not even close to being love; it’s beta supplication.

(Additional thoughts from another blogger here.)

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How to know it’s definitely not even close to being love, episode 2.

Ladies, maybe don’t read further.  I’m kinda giving away some state secrets.

*

It won’t be hard to wrap your lizard brain around this one.  To be fair, more than a few folks have never experienced what I’m about to talk about.  You possibly never will, but we can talk about that at the end.

To start with, grab some lotion and a couple of tissues (or hop into the bathtub) and listen to Avril Lavigne’s love song (featuring Marilyn Manson, a little bit):

I sincerely wish I could see each reader’s visceral response to this.  Examples:

  • “I mean, what a slut, amiright?”
  • “Damn, I’d like to find her at the club after she’s had a few drinks!”
  • “That poor girl has a lot of problems and was probably abused; we should help her.”
  • “That song is really degrading toward women.”
  • “Meh, she’s like pretty much most women at my church.”

You only get one guess to pick the response that does not fit with the others (hint: it’s not the last one).  Let’s be clear—this is an obvious example of what love is not, but what the fuck are we looking at then?

We’re going to dispense with any analysis regarding advertising/The Matrix/resistance because this won’t be hard.  What is Avril saying to her lover in this song?  What does she want to be true?

I’ll let you walk all over me, me / You know that I’m a little tease, tease / But I wanna play there please, please

Pretty straight forward.  She likes your penis.  There’s more, though:

You know you know you know I’m crazy / I just wanna be your baby / You can fuck me, you can play me / You can love and you can hate me

Translation:  I’m not like this with my boyfriend; he mainly does what I tell him.  I know it sounds like I’m telling you what to do, too, but I don’t care in this case.  When my boyfriend does what I want, I honestly resent him sort of; but you get a pass this time.  Crazy, I know.

“Hold on now, you think she’s cheating on someone??  That’s very presumptuous.”  I am saying that but I’m not blaming her; calm down.

Choke me because I said so / Stroke me and feed my ego / I’ve been a bad girl, don’t you know? / Come get it now or never / I’ll let you do whatever / I’ll be your bad girl, here we go

Jesus, a guy’s gotta choke you, too, while his dick thrashes you through the mattress?  Guess we signed up for some major cardio.  No need to copy any more lyrics; Avril is looking for a one-night stand—she found some sperm she can’t live without.  It’s not love, it’s lizard brain sex.

“I didn’t read the Wikipedia link, so what’s this ‘lizard brain’ you speak of, and what does it have to do with sex?”  I can TL;DR it for you:  a heterosexual girl wants two things from you:  1)  the best quality of sperm she can reasonably get, and 2) the best quality provision/social status she can reasonably get.  I know it’s over-simplified, but basically a girl only has enough blood to operate one brain at a time.

*

We’re going to go off the rails for a minute.  I truly did mean to apply that simile to women (we ever only hear about how a guy  uses his head or his penis to make decisions).  Here’s what will melt the brain of most guys:  a woman will semi-happily marry you even if she doesn’t (or rarely) wants to fuck you.   “Holy shit, so you’re saying I’m the boyfriend Avril is cheating on in that song??”  I don’t know.  I hope not.

Don’t be a hater.  The only reason you are alive today is because assholes and fertile women with normal vaginas made babies.  “In that song her vagina isn’t normal, she’s a crazy slut!”  Nope, I’m saying a normal vagina is a crazy slut.  “Whatever, my girlfriend would never want me to dominate/choke/spank her.”  Well, she doesn’t want to do that stuff with you.

I don’t want all this to sound cruel, but it’s important to point out that lizard brain sex isn’t love—it’s just evolution at work.  The most pitiable person is the guy who thinks he’s repulsed by, or terrified by, Avril Lavigne’s utterly naked and normal female sexuality.  Bro, let me tell you—your girlfriend/wife is playing this game with both her brains, and if you limit yourself to only using one, it’s a huge disadvantage.

A man can never be happy unless he knows his true value to women and the world.  Seriously, your white knight armor looks stupid anyway.  Just for fun, here is the the sanitized version of this whole subject:

Makes me think a tad differently about Taylor Swift when we realize she and Avril are both singing about the same thing.  Yikes.  Before we forget, let’s touch on the people who have never experienced this, or can’t even imagine it.  Louis CK always has tact when addressing cruel fates:

You might still have a chance at love (or something), but remember that lizard brain sex is not love.  Although I’m certain most of us will admit that it’s absolutely fucking awesome.

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How to know it’s definitely not even close to being love, episode 1.

There are many different love songs—the classic, beta-male love song crooned by an obvious alpha male (everything Justin Timberlake; the contradiction works wonders), the burned by love but still longing song (the Scorpions “No One Like You,”), the femme-power boy-stealing hard rock of some of Avril Lavigne’s catalog, etc.  But our point today is how to know it’s definitely not love.  Let’s meta-analyze Gotye and Kimbra for now:

First up:

Dang, if that is not a First World break-up of two upper middle class white people, I don’t know what is.  This kind of conundrum sure sounds irritating:  Told myself that you were right for me / But felt so lonely in your company.  He’s literally saying that he’s tried to convince himself this New Zealander chick was the right one, but you know, the feelings just weren’t what he was expecting.  We’ll get back to this, but let me interject that chicks from New Zealand sound like a great idea.

*

A couple lines later, second verse:  You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness / Like resignation to the end, always the end.  Let me say in all sincerity this is a goddamned fact and the only bit of this song that is not a lie.  Let’s dig into this.

Why would a person get addicted to sadness?  Being sad is a response to stimulus that helps you know what to do next.  Let’s say your new puppy gets hit by a car.  You are sad; you tearfully bury the puppy your backyard.  You may later get a new puppy.

You have such tender expectations for this puppy—and why not, your last experience was heart-breaking.  There’s something kind of different this time, though—the feelings aren’t quite the same.  It’s just not the way you expected it to be.  What are you going to do?

You may not feel sad yet, but if you were sad then you would know what to do.

You told yourself that this puppy was right for you, but you didn’t feel the same with this puppy.  It should have been different; you don’t know what’s wrong or why.  It doesn’t seem fair or right.  Good, good, the sadness is swelling in you now.

Now that you’ve achieved sadness, you can do what you’ve learned to do when you’re sad about a puppy.  You bury it and move on.

Jesus Christ, what kind of psychopath do we have here??  You don’t just murder a puppy by burying it alive.  But…. PSYCH, the story changes here because before you can bury the puppy, it decides to leave you.  Let’s cue up some rage:

But you didn’t have to cut me off / Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing / And I don’t even need your love / But you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough.

You might see the point of this already.  Although I’m confused now about whether the song is about a girl or a puppy.  Both can be quite cuddly I guess.  Just kidding, it was about a puppy the whole time.

Do you see?  We used the puppy metaphor on purpose because Gotye is singing about a object he owns, not a person who’s chosen to be with him.  An object has no agency—if you aren’t getting the feelings you want from an object, you replace it because you are the one who decides.  The object doesn’t get to decide, and when it violates your ego, it better watch the fuck out.  You are the main character in your life movie; all others are supportive side-kicks at best.

*

Now, let’s dump Gotye’s slow-cooked crock of narcissistic horseshit onto Kimbra the New Zealander girl.

Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over / But had me believing it was always something that I’d done / But I don’t wanna live that way / Reading into every word you say

Sorry, I don’t want to be mean to Kimbra, but there’s still a strong undercurrent of narcissistic control here.  Remember the addiction to a certain kind of sadness?  Third verse, same as the first.  Now, I get that our guy Gotye is a controlling dick in a beta-male suit, but for a girl who believes it was always something that she’s done… isn’t Gotye exactly the kind of guy she’d be with?

Okay, in other words (similar to Gotye), this is not Kimbra’s first attempt to explain her relationships via her sadness addiction.  Gotye uses his sadness (and the scars therein) to explain a situation that may be completely unlike his previous relationship(s).  And it fits precisely with Kimbra’s version of sadness that she also addictively uses to explain her previous relationship(s).  It’s pretty convenient, you know, but it’s not love—it’s symbiotic narcissism.

It’s not that things can’t work out—there’s barely any mention of an actual human relationship here at all, but maybe there can be later.  The problem isn’t their circumstances or personalities or that they need to (fuck me in the ear) “work on their relationship” Dr. Phil style.

The problem is themselves.  They haven’t even gotten to the stage of love when Dr. Phil could help.  They haven’t even really grown beyond being self-centered preteens.  “Damn it, why are you so mean to me?!”  said no one over 30 ever.  Oh wait, you’re telling me 30 is the new 13?  Now I get it.

*

Not that I blame their parents, but being raised into narcissism by the Dumbest Generation of Narcissists in the History of the World sure does feel rough.  Never was one generation so helicoptered and copiloted by their parents.  What is a Millennial young person to do when their parents organized their whole lives as though kiddo is the center of the universe?

Might be that a lot of relationships for you are like the relationship between a person (you) and an accessory you’ve chosen for your life—like a puppy, or a girlfriend.  Or a child.  But let’s not blame your parents—once you’re done with college they become somebody that you used to know, too.

It’s definitely not even close to being love, it’s symbiotic narcissism.

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What’s worse: your girlfriend talking about how fat she feels, or “fighting fat talk”?

In a swerve that shocked absolutely no one, women in the U.K. and U.S. did not feel 100% warm squishy thoughts about Special K (healthy/diet cereal brand of Kelloggs) and their new “Fight Fat Talk” campaign.  However, as the Last Shrink said, if you are watching it… then it’s for you.

To begin with, let’s look at women not accepting compliments, much less cutting out that mean fat talk:

Fortunately, fat talk and compliment talk serve the same purpose for heterosexual women, so this first part is easy.  Let’s read the answer from the back of the book:  Compliment talk and fat talk both make the speaker the arbiter of attraction/beauty.  For extra credit, let’s remember why to bother being attractive—it’s so you can win (more) at life and mating.

So if you are attempting to lead (compete with) your horse-shoe of friends as the arbiter of attraction, then all this compliment talk and fat talk is, at best, simple sexually competitive behavior.

I.e., it’s stuff that as a woman you pretty much have had hard-wired into you by mean old evolutionary biology/psychology for the last 100,000 years or so.  “But hey man, my girlfriend says this kind of thing all the time, and I’m righteously indignant in my defense of her inner beauty!”  Oops, then you failed already—two times in fact!  Your girlfriend already knows she’s kinda tubby, she’s just judging your current state of sexual loyalty to her and your understanding of her (and your) value in the sexual marketplace.

“WTF bro!  She’s just sensitive!”  No, she’s judging you for trying so hard to show contentment with someone like her.  It’s super tough to give a spur-of-the-moment blow job through a white knight’s armor.

She tells you how fat she feels after she sees the Cowboys cheerleaders for the 100th time on Fox (since we pause football games every four seconds by rule).  Yeah, she probably saw you take a little longer glance than was needed–but I can’t emphasize enough that her fat talk is merely grade-school level loyalty testing (are you loyal to her specifically) and sexual valuation (do you understand your and her value in the sexual marketplace).

Wait, let’s put that white knight armor back on for a second.  There’s is not much more unsettling for a heterosexual woman than to confirm her man is loyal to a fake idea of herself.  It’s so awkward up on that pedestal.  She’s constantly evaluating her standing with you and her standing against other competing women–if you tard it up and act like you aren’t aware of even that basic information, then she’ll get edgy.  Maybe you’re way dumber than she thought.  Maybe (worst feeling ever), it’s actually her incorrect valuation of the sexual marketplace that put her with you.  Better get back to the football game; this will all blow over.

A valuable mate is a man with easily attainable sexual options who chooses to be with her only.

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Right, fine, we’re coming back to Special K.  Jesus.

Here is the homepage of this shitstorm in a teapot.  Yep, perfect skin, perfectly manicured and painted nails, expensive lipstick, nose of Greek goddess—damn, it’s almost like Kelloggs is putting one over on the girls here.  And that’s exactly what the smarter women are thinking!  “HEY.  I’m on to you, Special K!  Don’t your products have carbs??  Didn’t you just tell me to take the Special K challenge and lose weight??”

Remember the point of all advertising is not the message, because the medium is the message.  Advertising is always aspirational.  Special K is especially obvious about what they want in this case:  don’t worry about anything, you don’t need to change your life.  You’re okay, you’re okay, you’re okay.  Hell with them.  Oh, by the way, buy Special K stuff.  No need for any products in this ad, the point is painfully clear:  feel good, brought to you by Kelloggs!

The really irritating part about this ad for women isn’t any “irony” or the carbs or the fat talk (least of all the fat talk).  It’s the blunt reminder that their diet plans and workout regimen has fallen by the wayside over and over.  It’s the reminder that the women sort of tried but never followed through on making positive life change.  “You are kinda fat, but we won’t embarrass you by saying it to your face.  Feel good anyway–oh, by the way, buy Special K stuff!”

Special K is fighting 100,000 years of female evolution. Women are absolutely hard-wired to compete and get the best life and mate they can get.  They are often willing to trade up given some time and a clearly better opportunity.  (That’s not a dig against women—it’s just a fact/thing in the universe, like gravity or comets.  You accept it.  If you hate comets, you’re just ignorant.)

If Special K says, “Don’t worry about competing so hard,” every healthy heterosexual woman will hear a passive aggressive competitor telling her how pretty she looks and TOTALLY NOT FAT AT ALL.  Remember the hyper-competitive hyper-passive-aggressive bitches on Amy Schumer’s skit?

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I hypothesize the “Fight Fat Talk” concept came partly from a guy.  I bet his girlfriend got tired of him misunderstanding fat talk, too.  That guy, with a room full of unrealized Amy Schumers.

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(Or, disregard all the above and look at Much Worse Option 2:  Your girlfriend is objectively evaluating her physical health and preparing an action plan.  In which case, turn off the fucking cheerleaders and follow her to the gym; time is way shorter than you think.)

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Mixed metaphors: Where have all the good bicycles gone?

Time to mix a bunch of metaphors, folks:

“A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.”

— Irina Dunn (popularized by Gloria Steinem)

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“Propaganda doesn’t succeed because it is manipulative, it works because people WANT it, NEED it, it gives their life a direction and meaning and guards against change.”

— The Last Psychiatrist (Sept. 25, 2013)

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In terms of fish and bicycles, post-postmodern feminism is receiving today exactly the type of men it deserves.  The next time someone asks, “Where have all the good men gone?” the correct response is:  You flooded all the bike paths and forced them to seek higher ground.

I know, I know: “They should man up, get good jobs, and quit playing video games and watching porn!”

Duh, at what point in cultural history did we start getting such awesome porn?  Hold on, I know this one, let me look up when Ms. Steinem first started repeating that fishy sentence.

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Re-translation:

Irina Dunn:  “We don’t need you losers so haha!”

Whew, sweet, I’m taking a long break then.

The bikes aren’t stupid.  You want to have the cake and eat it, too?  Everyone knows this means we must require someone to pay for the cake without having or eating it.  You know, like indentured servitude or something.  There will be no fish on bikes because the bikes will go on strike.

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“The Truman Show” should have ended a lot sooner, but Truman didn’t want it to.

You may know and love “The Truman Show” as much as I have over the years, but it’s only recently I realized something was dead wrong with this Wikipedia plot summary:

The film chronicles the life of a man who is initially unaware that he is living in a constructed reality television show, broadcast around the clock to billions of people across the globe. Truman becomes suspicious of his perceived reality and embarks on a quest to discover the truth about his life.

That synopsis is exactly what we’d agree with if we only saw the first 10 minutes of the film, and then read a brief summary of the remaining 90 minutes.  But there’s more:

Truman interacts with people and environments that, to our life experience, are obviously off.  How often does your wife advertise a “Chef’s Pal” to you with the same inflection as the “As Seen on TV” guy?

Here is what we’re supposed to see:  As the film continues, Truman suspects more and more that his world is a fake—and he tries to escape it.

The kindergarten meta-interpretation of this is that Truman is us, we think the whole world revolves around us.  You identify with Truman because you like to see everything as your own life movie, with you as main character.  Right?  You’ve heard the narcissism interpretation before.  And then he escapes it, gets out of his own head, into reality.  Kind of like Neo in the Matrix.

That’s not what happens in the movie, though.

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For many years (most of his life) Truman collected bits and pieces of hints (some obvious) that things are not what they seem—and scrap-booked them.  He has an entire room in his house devoted to the fact that he knows this is not real life.  In fact, he doesn’t spend the film discovering that he’s in false reality, he clearly already allowed his own wife to know about what he knows.  Meryl comes down stairs to his not-at-all-secret place, and runs her Chef’s Pal ad in that creepy Seen on TV voice.

“No way, he was trying to get with that girl, Sylvia or whoever, that whole time.”  If you mean Sylvia is like his totem, i.e. “Inception,” then you are right.  Truman interacts with Sylvia (and later, her artifacts/memories) mainly to reassure himself that it’s all still a dream, he can’t find her, she’s in Fiji.  Nothing has changed, he hasn’t woken up yet.  Whew.

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Truman knows it’s all fake because no wife would ever respond to such a secret lair with such stunning unawareness.  He knows that she knows what it is.  She knows that he knows.  Guess what’s most important at the time?  Advertising a kitchen utensil.  If you think this could never happen in your (real) life, then you are in serious trouble.  Advertisements feel better than ever because Google knows what kind of porn you like and Amazon remembers everything you’ve ever thought about buying.

As the movie continues, we see flashbacks of Truman’s “life” and environment clearly revealing themselves to him, clearly propelling him to question the place and people around him.

Do you see?  The show in “The Truman Show” should have ended a lot sooner.

Here’s what you haven’t thought of yet:  why did Truman take decades (I’m guessing he’s in his mid-30s or so) to finally decide to make this one important change in his existence?

Because that is the hidden story here—intense resistance to obvious, desperately needed life change.  The kindergarten meta-interpretation is okay, but it misses the point and merely reinforces our own desire to not really have to change until it’s on our own terms.  Truman didn’t heroically figure out and overcome his problem in the course of a few days, he dragged his heels and masturbated for decades.

Wikipedia’s summary should read:

The film chronicles the life of a man who is initially has always been unaware that he is living in a constructed reality television show, broadcast around the clock to billions of people across the globe. Truman becomes suspicious of his perceived realityfinally gets bored/fed up enough and embarks on a quest to discover the truth about his life.

What’s funny is that GenX parents in the 2010s are so surprised that their kids are still “finding themselves” in their 30s, when it’s GenXers who wrote scripts like “The Truman Show.”

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Here is what was unsettling about Hannah Horvath and HBO’s “Girls”

I finished the first season of HBO’s “Girls,” yep, the one with that kinda chubby girl who’s naked in almost every episode.  You’ll need to read this twice:

Critics lauded [HBO’s “Girls”] for its raw nature, humor, and refreshing tone, applauding [Lena Dunham’s] more realistic portrayal of women and their relationships than mainstream media tends to present.

By “critics” they mean the Huffington Post, Entertainment Weekly, the New York Times, etc.  Hey wait–they tricked us, those guys are the mainstream media.

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Don’t worry, they did trick you, but only because you wanted it.  If the “realistic” nudity or selfish daddy’s girls or not enough black people in this show is the most unsettling or offensive thing about it, then they tricked you and you wanted it badly.  The real unsettling controversy about Hannah Horvath and friends starts with their godawful parents.  No, not because they owned guns or watched The O’Reilly Factor, it’s actually much worse.

Hannah is what, about 25 years old?  Assume she made it through Oberlin in four/five-ish years and gave the milk away for free at her “internship” for 2+ years.  That’s a lot of time, tuition, and rent (and cell phones, and internet bills, and health care) for mom and dad to have paid for (especially at Oberlin and later New York).  But they are done with that now–they are cutting her off, goddamn it.  It’s time she stood on her own two feet.

Because the Matrix has you, it also published this infamous gem in Oct. 2010.  Summary: student loan debt-free, parent-supported Scott hasn’t been able to find a good, paying job since 2008.  Holy shit, he’s been looking for almost 2.5 years??  The economy must be terrible.  Same for Hannah Horvath, I guess?

Actually it is the same–exactly the same.  Both had parents who, pretty obviously, paid for, arranged, planned, explained, guided, and absolutely helicoptered the fuck out of their children.  Make sure they drive straight to violin practice right after school and then study for the PSATs (there’s an app for that).  Getting into Oberlin isn’t that easy, there are Asian kids to contend with.  It’s just that they worked so hard for their children to be successful–they want them to have every opportunity, but also a safety net for a while.  For at least 2.5 years.

I mean, the NYT said it, so while it  may not be true, it’s probably what most upper-middle-class white people want to think.  “Wait, you forgot that her parents cut her off at the start of everything–no more safety net!”  Wrong, I remembered that they paid for a nice dinner, carefully explained the reasons and dad desperately tried to soften/reverse the blow.  Mom offered the same later.

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The NYT and Hannah/Scott’s parents got it all backwards, and you know it by this line: “The Great Recession damaged the self-confidence of the young, and that is beginning to happen now, according to pollsters, sociologists and economists.”

That’s not how it works–hard things happen and then you find out who you are by your actions in response to those hard things. “You probably support Patriarchy, too!”  Guilty, I do, but remember that Haagen Daz, whiskey, therapists, your mega-church, your parents, the NYT, and HBO all support your never having to find out what a hard thing is like.

In the Great Depression, some people found out they were resourceful, hard-working, and could even win a World War.  In our Great Recession, we found out that it’s important to have safety nets all the time.  Like helicopter parents, or legacy admissions, or volunteer work on your resume.  Can you guess which generation ended up with the self confidence?

Is that why Hannah Horvath is unsettling?  Not enough self confidence?

God no, and I don’t blame her parents specifically–they just bought hard into the system.  Here is why Hannah and friends are so unsettling:

As a person, she has absolutely not changed or grown or overcome or learned one thing about herself.  For her entire life.  She’s the same person at 25 as she was at 12.

She’s not selfish (like everyone says, more red herring), she’s just a normal, stupid little kid.  “Oh, is that why Adam calls her ‘kid’ all the time?”  Meh, I guess you can have partial credit for that one.

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What single fact does she mention about herself in the season 1 finale?  That she’s exactly 13 pounds overweight and it’s terrible to have to live with.  Yeah yeah, I know she’s lying about how overweight she is.  The important thing is that she learned that solitary fact about herself from the system/mainstream media, which also praised her realism.

(Hint in case you missed it–the system did not tell her how overweight she was, it told her that being overweight is terrible, but we have some great ice cream ads and a gym membership to help with that.  Yes, you’ll need both.)

Her parents failed her because they so completely protected her from pain/challenge that leads to profound change and personal growth; the system/media failed her because it taught her to want the wrong things.  Together, they created perhaps the best defense against positive personal change that any generation has experienced.

Not busy tonight? Want to find yourself, figure out who you are?  Don’t go with your friends to that trendy party/bar.  Instead find a dive bar (or better yet, an Applebees) and start a fight.  And lose.

Just kidding, requisite Palahniuk reference.  But hey, the show is about these girls finding themselves.  Similar to Sex and the City, right?  That’s what the critics said anyway.  I mean, seriously, I remember how different Carrie Bradshaw was at the end of Sex and the City, how much she had grown as a person.

Oh, wait, has this trick already been played on me before…?

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