Archive for June, 2006

The Love Between Men

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

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It is my opinion that every major American movie is about the Love between Men. More than an opinion, it is a conviction. You can argue with me, but you will be wrong. You can say, like someone did last week, “What about African Queen?” Before I could even reply that in that movie, Katharine Hepburn is essentially a man, he guessed it himself!

I’m not even talking about “Lord of the Rings,” which anyone can see is totally gay. I’m not talking about Top Gun or Lawrence of Arabia, which are blatant festivals of homoerotic love. How about “Proof”, has anyone seen that? It’s really about the love between Jake Whatsisname and Gwyneth’s father, not Jake and Gwyneth. “Syriana?” The love between George Clooney and the doomed Prince. “Pirates of the Carribean” – Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom. The looks exchanged between the men in these movies are more loaded with passion and longing than anything that transpires between a man and woman.

You might think you’ve found an exception, and exceptions prove the rule. But remember: any movie (or TV series, for that matter) where the plot revolves around an enmity between two men is really about their thwarted love. “Deadwood”, my current favorite TV series, is full of relationships, but all the action, really, is riding on the deep love between the Swearengen and Bullock, the saloon owner and the sherrif. Their love is beyond mere friendship or sex: it is Destiny Itself. Noble, unshakable, and gay as the day is long.

This has been my conviction for so many years, my husband just looks at me out of the corner of his eye when we watch the pivotal scene in every movie where the Two Men exchange The Look. “Say it,” he taunts me. “I don’t even have to say it” I have come to reply. Sometimes I let him say the words himself: “It’s the love between Men!” Sometimes, like in “Heat”, with Al Pacino and Robert DiNiro as the lovesick mortal enemies, I can barely watch.

For most of us, this is probably old news. I didn’t need Quentin Tarantino to explain it to me. When I saw Top Gun, I wanted to yell: Just Kiss Already! each time Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer glared at each other. So I’m not claiming to be breaking any new ground here. I’m just wondering if anyone wants to either back me up or pretend I’m wrong.

Youth in Asia

Monday, June 26th, 2006

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Today, I read an op-ed piece in the LA Times about euthanasia, along with a sidebar thing saying that new legislation on this subject is up for a vote in California. First of all, I will always be bothered by the word euthanasia, since like all kids I thought it has something to do with Youth in Asia. Second, I am already obsessed with death, so I resent having new angles from which to contemplate it. Third, I am sick of hearing people’s self-serving accounts of how they helped kill a dying loved one.

This was the nature of today’s op-ed, written by Anne Lamott, a novelist whose work I haven’t read. I never liked her (based on nothing, just an irrational bias) and now I like her less. She tells the story of how a dear friend of hers, Mel, learned he had cancer, with only a shot at 6 more months if he underwent chemo therapy. Mel chose to forgo the treatment, deciding instead to try to enjoy the time he had left until he couldn’t enjoy it.

So Mel asks Anne if she will help kill him when the time comes that he is too sick to go on. She agrees, but feels bad, thinking back to when her dying father asked her and her brother to help kill him. Back then she refused. Now, she feels it would have been the right thing to do. So weeks pass and Mel and his wife call Anne, who has managed to score some barbiturates and has read instructions put out by the Hemlock Society. Mel has a lovely last night on earth, surrounded by friends, and Anne gives him the overdose, mashed up in apple sauce. Mel dies peacefully in his sleep while the friends sit around with their wine, feeling sentimental.

What do you guys think? My feeling upon reading this was: Fuck. Good for you Anne, you killed an old man. Happy? Want a fucking medal? I want to know why Mel’s wife didn’t do it. Why did they choose Anne as executioner? Is she the meanest one in their social circle? I once worked with a woman I’ll call S, who confided to me that she’d helped kill not one but TWO people: Her father and a close friend who had AIDS. I must say, there was a certain note of pride in her disclosure. I listened to the details and just thought eeoow. Both stories involved groups of friends sitting around like vultures for the Event.

I am kind of torn on this issue: People shouldn’t suffer if their suffering can be relieved, but I’m not happy with people killing their loved ones. Most people can kill themselves, unless they are paralyzed. Let them kill their own self if they have selected that option. Don’t ask me, that’s for sure. Think ahead! Find a doctor or drug dealer and get your shit together beforehand. Either way, I don’t want the government involved. I don’t want them to specify the conditions under which some doctor can kill me; and I don’t want them to make it a crime if some 88 year old guy takes out his dying wife. The government can just mind its business, i.e. starting WWIII.

One day someone may ask you to help them die. My mom asked me, when she was dying of cancer. I didn’t need to mull it over. I told her that I couldn’t do it, and that she wasn’t ready to go yet. I think the latter turned out to be true. Death is a process, just like life. When I’m on my deathbed, I hope I don’t start asking people to kill me. If they won’t kill me right now, while I’m still young enough to enjoy it, fuck them. I want to leave this life under my own steam, hopefully with an inane comment, like Larry David when he calls his best friend over to whisper: “You use too much mayonnaise.”

Entourage Exegesis

Monday, June 19th, 2006

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Thinking about Entourage, I realize how little about it I am able to grasp. The tone, the target audience, the reason it’s so popular, these elements remain a mystery to me, even though I’ve seen most of the series since the stunningly stupid pilot episode. I know it’s supposed to be a comedy, but I can’t tell if it’s being ironic about its subject matter. I thought it was a spoof, but now I hear people saying how realistic a portrait it is of the “New Hollywood.â€? I know the lead character, Vince, is supposed to be incredibly attractive, but to me he is somewhere between Ben Stiller and a generic swarthy Terrorist. i.e., icky in the extreme.

Okay, so here is my understanding so far: A bunch of creeps from somewhere come to Hollywood so that the Good-Looking one, Vince, can become a movie star. His buddy Eric, a midget, is acting as his manager, even though he has no experience at this. Their pal “Dramaâ€? is Vince’s retarded half-brother, who looks around 20 years older and once had an acting career. Their friend “Turtleâ€? is an overweight loser who wants to get laid, but not quite as much as the others. Vince has an agent named Ari, who is the consummate Hollywood prick, and is played by a guy with a reputation for same.

Vince and his entourage (get it?!) spend most of their time either arguing or ogling hot skinny chicks wearing bikinis. There is lots of sex, but we don’t actually see it, thank god. Vince has had a relationship with a girl played by either Mandy Moore or Jessica Alba (I get those two confused.) She plays an actress who keeps dumping him. Vince scores big when he gets cast as “Aquamanâ€? in a blockbuster directed by that guy who made Titanic, who plays himself. Despite major stardom, Vince and his pals are still moron yokels who speak every line as though trying to be heard by a deaf person. I can never figure out when something is supposed to be funny, so I turn to my Husband to look for cues. Since he has asked me to stop screaming at the TV, I have learned to maintain my composure until the closing credits, at which time I allow myself to curse freely, If you watch Entourage and don’t do likewise, please get in touch and explain before next Sunday.

Why Men Hate Women

Friday, June 16th, 2006

Before you get all excited, let me say that I am no feminist, far from it. I don’t think women should play lead guitar in rock bands, and I don’t want them to be sports commentators. I don’t want men to be strippers or nurses, either. If you need explanations for this, you know where to find me.

So, let’s examine why men hate women! Maybe you disagree with the premise, in which case, try thinking about Bhurkas, Chadors, clitorectomy, honor killings in India and Pakistan, blah blah blah. Now, all men are affected to some degree by their fear and loathing of women. This is not to say they don’t also love and desire women, but the fear and loathing exists at a primal subconscious level, and is played out continually in all societies. Bottom line cause: The first authority figure in every man’s life is a woman, whose power over him is absolute. She can withhold the breast, the bottle, all forms of comfort, life itself. Bad Mommy! She is not always there to provide what he wants, and later, she will probably even yell at him when he pees on the floor. He will never get over this early experience, and he will project it upon every woman he meets for the rest of his life.

You might be asking why women don’t grow up hating women, but maybe you realize that because every female infant will grow up to be like mommy, they internalize her instead. She is not the enemy: she is their gender role model.

If you’re reading this and you’re a man, by now you’re either mad or snickering with distain. If you’re a woman, you’re going either Yes, thank you for articulating this Unconscious Knowledge, Sister Wolf! Or else you’re going Big duh. Men: WE KNOW YOU FEAR AND LOATHE US! We still love you and we need you for all kinds of things! We need you for sex, for money, for opening bottles and taking out the trash. We just can’t quit you! Don’t even worry. But we see your hatred every day, all over the world. You fear our sexuality, so you make us wear big blue beehives and cover our hair. Or you make us get breast implants in order to get your attention and/or demean us. You hate us when we’re assertive. Every male insult for women has to do with power: we are bitches, cunts, ball-breakers, shrews, battle-axes! Men don’t even try to insult us by calling us weaklings, or babies. Because those traits don’t make  us feel threatened (i.e. mad.)

Men love our bodies, but they must first overcome their fear and loathing of our V area, which in the adult woman is covered with hair. Eeow, get rid of that hair, it’s too scary! If we wax it off for you, though, it will look like a child’s V area, which is harmless. Not only that, a waxed V area is naked in a sad, vulnerable kind of way, like a sheared lamb. If you disagree with this last point, on aesthetic grounds, okay (you pederast!) but before I would wax my precious V, I would have to say: “First wax your balls, pal and then we’ll talk about it.” Finally, there is female armpit hair, the scariest sight you can impose upon any man in the Western hemisphere. If you’re a woman with unshaven armpits, you are a woman with THREE PUSSIES, and few men are up to that challenge. My husband however is one of them, I am happy to report. But the average man will react like a vampire faced with the sign of a cross.

There you have it. I feel this is enough to set you on the right track. I could elaborate for a hundred pages, but my pigsty awaits me, and my husband has rented a movie. Since he handles my armpits with such courage and grace, I will go and join him for the stupid movie.

Why Did God Make Ann Coulter?

Saturday, June 10th, 2006

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Even though I’m a devout atheist, I sometimes wonder what the hell He is thinking. Ann Coulter! That is some fucked up shit. Up to now, I have just thought of her as a horse-faced anorexic with a strange turn of mind. But considering her recent statements, I see she is a real problem. I don’t think there are enough pies in the world to throw at this woman. Although, perhaps she is just hungry, and not really unhinged! If she could just sit down and eat one of those pies, perhaps she would stop hallucinating.

Now, to promote her new book, she is going around badmouthing the “9/11 Widows”, a group of women who lost their husbands in the attacks and have been vocal about various political issues. Ann wants them to shut up, and accuses them of taking undue pleasure in their widowhood. I don’t know what else to say besides, What a fucking cunt! Is there some other position a sane person can take here? Even Bill O’Reilly isn’t thrilled.

I am no authority on Ann Coulter. I don’t know how she has achieved credibility as a pundit, but I assume she has some level of scholarship in her background. The more I hear about her, the more I am reminded of Camille Paglia, who used a similar method of shock and awe to achieve notoriety. Camille Paglia would, and did, say anything that would get her on a TV talk show. But there was something endearing about her; maybe it was her sheer neediness, which always seemed to temper her arrogance and ridiculous pronouncements. Ann Coulter, though, is really a bitter pill. She’s like an old- fashioned Disney villainess! Too malevolent to be real, but still scary.

I guess we live in an age where if you look like a Barbie gone bad and have a preposterous point of view, the whole world will look up and pay at attention to you. It would be too hypocritical for me, of all people, to denounce someone just for being a provocateur. Getting a reaction is sometimes even more fun than eating, and I think I can speak for Ann in that regard. But this woman is so egregious, in every way, that it reflects poorly on all of us if she is given one more second of serious thought by “the media”or anyone else. One of my kids used to love to be shocking, and he is still good at it. His favorite statement was: “I eat my own shit!” He devised a perfect piece of theater: it’s stupid, disgusting, pathetic, but always gets a pissed off response. Just like Ann Coulter. Next time she announces that she eats her own shit, let’s all just ignore her.

Leave My Vag Out Of It

Friday, June 9th, 2006

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In the last week, to my great dismay, two women I know have imposed the V word on me. I realize that by admitting a dislike for it, I am inviting an endless barrage of V word comments and messages, but that’s the price of public dissent. I can’t stand to hear the word, even though I don’t really have a good one to offer in exchange. It bothers me so much that I cringe when someone says “ginormous”, a supid word even without the V thing. “Angina”: not good either. The idea of actually sitting through a performance of The V Monologues is too horrible to contemplate. I know I’d have a stroke, or a complete mental breakdown, if not both.

It’s not because I’m squeamish! And I’m not a prude. But I do have a sensitivity to words that those funny Germans even have a word for: sprachgefuhl. It is a gift and a curse, like so many things. So I’m gonna use that as my excuse. God knows I like having a V, it just doesn’t wanna do a monologue. It might be up for a dialogue, but that is off-topic.

When I was around six years old, my sister and I went to visit our cousins, Diane and Carol, who were slightly younger. We taught them the V word, which we thought was pronounced “pagina.” All four of us ran around laughing our heads off. We called each other Mr. and Mrs. Pagina, until the adults made us stop. The reason I remember this so clearly is that my sister and I were banished from our cousins house for the next 10 years! And clearly with good reason: Diane grew up to be a militant lesbian, and Carol ran away to join a hippie commune. The pagina is that powerful!

Okay, so what word would I like instead? That’s a problem. Love Canal would be okay, except I think that’s the name of some place full of carcinogenic toxins or something. Crotch is okay, but maybe not. That sounds like some place that either itches, or you get kicked in it.

I once came into posession of some email correspondence between two people who were married to others. Their letters were hilarious, and wonderful in every way. A favorite quote among my friends is the part where the man recalls making out in one of their offices: when he stroked her thigh (it might have even been her “pantihose”!) he “thought about that little bit of heaven between [your] legs…..”

Ha! I happen to know that he never did gain entry in that LBOH. I think I will have to go with “Honeypot”. It’s silly, it’s affectionate, Winnie the Pooh was down with it, and it reminds me of “Candy” by Terry Southern, still the filthiest book I’ve ever read.

Haven’t Been There, Haven’t Done That

Tuesday, June 6th, 2006

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Nobody likes a snob, but we Reverse-snobs can be even more obnoxious. I’ve come to take pride in the fact that I haven’t seen any Star Wars movies. Or Jaws, or the Godfather. I never saw The Brady Bunch or Starsky and Hutch or Full House or countless other staples of American pop culture. I didn’t avoid these things to prove a point or anything; they just didn’t interest me. But now, it’s like a talking point when the discussion turns to contemporary mass entertainment. Lots of people I know can boast, with all honesty, of never having seen a single episode of Survivor, That 70s Show or even Friends. It’s a feather in their caps! Our ignorance of these stupid totems makes us feel superior. Untainted. Just better than the rest of you!The other day, at a casual get-together, the conversation turned to Angelina. My son’s girlfriend didn’t know what “Angelina” meant. God, were the rest of us envious! What a cool accomplishment! My son, being a strong competitor in the Reverse-Snob arena, came back with, “I’ve never seen a single episode of Sex in the City or Friends.” My husband raised the ante with “I’ve never seen a single episode of Seinfeld!” I shot back with “I’ve only seen 3 Seinfelds!” Due to my son’s fierce interrogation, I had to admit to seeing 4 Seinfelds. His girlfriend announced that she hasn’t seen The Sopranos. We weren’t impressed: Big deal, she doesn’t have HBO.

We all saluted ourselves for missing out on every “reality” show we could name. The Girlfriend then confessed to being addicted to American Idol. She felt so disgraced that I announced, “That’s okay, I once saw one of the winners sing. Her name was Fabulosity!” My husband corrected me — apparently, it was actually “Fantasia.”

Soon the competition for Most Ignorance became fierce. No one had ever seen ER, Law and Order, Lost, Desperate Housewives, it went on and on. We felt like fucking Kings! We were miles and miles above the Common Man. We knew Nothing of Anything popular and mainstream! Finally, my husband called out to my son, “Well, I don’t even know YOU!” to which my son replied “I don’t even hear you talking!” I think someone closed the conversation with “I’m not even in this room!”

It was a great evening. I haven’t seen the O.C, no CSI crap, no Marry a Millionaire or Apprentice or The Batchelor or Everybody Loves Raymond or that one with the woman who has big red hair and her gay best friend, and I don’t give a shit how good The Godfather is, I’m not gonna see it. I’ve never seen anyone eat maggots or sing show tunes for Paula Abdul. I don’t wanna see cops or lawyers or psychics or doctors or real-or-fake families. Oprah, though, I fucking LOVE. I mean it. Oprah should run for president, and that will be a whole new manifesto.