Saturday, March 29, 2008

Nancy Drew a Blank

So I’m watching the new “Nancy Drew” movie tonight and I can’t help but think that I missed the boat somehow. Actually I didn’t just miss one boat, but perhaps more accurately, I missed the entire fleet (not to be confused with Fleet Enemas, which I am more than happy to avoid). If you include some embarrassing quick “dates” I had post-high school, I missed the entire Spanish Armada.

You see, although the movie made had all the excitement of watching carpet re-fluff after you step off of it, I found myself rather jealous of the child stars. Not for their youth did I get all green with envy, but for the opportunities they are embracing in life. These pimply, nasty little creatures obviously reached out to fame with both hands, clawed after it when it tried to elude them, and then rapaciously clutched onto it when it finally managed to get close enough to capture. Granted the star, Emma Roberts, probably didn’t have to step over too many bodies given her famous father Eric or aunt Julia, but still, not every tween in the picture had such illustrious lineage. The grotesquely fat “comedy” relief in the picture MUST have begged for the roll and peed himself silly when he got that call from the director. These kids worked it.

And despite having a f**king bus-load of similar potential and energy when I was their age, I chose to feign away from fame like it had an open sore and a potential for lifelong recurrences. I hesitate to use such an expansive and overly inclusive phrase like “failure” when referring to myself, but if it has a blow hole and swims in the ocean folks it’s not a Volkswagen. So, yes, I’m a failure.

But I digress.

I meant really to tell people not to spend any money renting “Nancy Drew” because it’s just dull (like napping on the couch, wipe the drool from your chin, now my hair looks like crap, dull). But my actual intention to write a movie review was derailed by one recurring thought: people were paid to write the film, direct it, and star in it. And no matter how great or awful they thought it was, they had the confidence, courage, and determination to get it made regardless of any obstacles they encountered.

Lord, give me that courage!

And, if you’re feeling especially generous, a refund on “Nancy Drew”. Haven’t I suffered enough?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I'm Back (Again)...and Off Topic for the Moment

I have been long absent from these boards, a combination of health problems, time constraints and just a general, down-in-the-dumps, what's it all for? sort of nihilism. Translated into English, that means, "Ugh! Do I have really have to get up again today? Didn't I just get up yesterday?"

Now this goes against the grain of my innate, Pollyanna-like optimism. But I think I just had to write one too many stories at my weekend job as a television news producer about some cretin who thought he just had to have sex with a four-month-old baby...his daughter, his nephew, some baby in a day care didn't matter except that it ruined the innocent child's life.

After I wrote the third story in less than two weeks, I just collapsed psychologically. What kind of world are we living in where grown men can look at a baby and think, "Hmm, sexy!" The way so many young girls are handing it out like it was Halloween candy (because we raise them to think that's what they are supposed to do), no man should ever have trouble finding someone to bang. And yet these children keep getting targeted.

I think I know at least part of the reason why. Last year, I went to buy a cute little outfit for my then two-year-old niece. Even though I was shopping at an "upscale" store in an "upscale" Galleria type shopping mall, I was absolutely shocked at what I found in the toddler department. Without exception, the outfits all looked like they were designed for hookers, with plunging necklines, sparkly appliques right where a stripper would have pasties, shirring and fullness meant to emphasize the non-existent "bustline" of these babies. I thought to myself at the time, what sort of brain dead woman would put her kid in these things?

Turns out, not many and thank God. I ended up in an long discussion with the salesperson, who was a veteran employee. She said their sales had plummeted because most moms didn't want to dress their toddler girls like dance hall floozies, but the buyers didn't get it. And when the salespeople challenged them about what they bought to put in the toddler department, they became defensive and said that was all that was available.

I designed children's clothing for almost 10 years back in the 70s and early 80s (before I became a journalist) so I well remember the fun of selecting the soft colors and designing cute little bunny or ducky appliques. We used ruffles and bows and lace to show that little girls were feminine, but never ever did we trick them out like streetwalkers. Maybe there's a business here, for someone to design clothing to make little girls look like little girls again, and not wannabe centerfolds.

As a nation, we lament the increase in child pornography and the growing sexual victimization of our children. Yet we do nothing about the commercial sexualization of children. We push them into watching movies and television shows that were never meant for their young eyes and ears, we routinely expose them to violence and sexual situations, and parade them around as objects of sexual desire in kiddie beauty pageants, then act surprised when someone who is unbalanced acts upon the visual stimulation his impaired mind is receiving constantly, but cannot control rationally.

I ended up not buying any clothing for my niece; I got her the Disney "Sleeping Beauty" DVD instead and she loves it. She parades around the house with her little plastic tiara balanced on her head, and lords it over her baby brother. In other words, she's doing what God meant all children to do, playing innocently in a protected environment while she grows into a young woman.

Sad to say, once she is a young woman, her danger will increase exponentially. You only have to pick up a paper or turn on the TV to see how many woman and girls are assaulted and murdered in this country each day. It seems to be open season on women, particularly on women who are independent. Every day, female joggers and hikers are snatched off trails, never to seen or heard from again. That 19-year-old who was killed in Utah a few weeks ago was kidnapped from her friend's sofa in the middle of the night while she was sleeping.

I know that violence against women has existed since the dawn of time, but I do in part blame the media for the current flood of incidents. Our movies are glorifying "torture porn" where girls are kidnapped, tortured, raped repeatedly and then finally killed, all in excruciating detail and gory technicolor. Why do people pay to see this? Why is it even legal to show this? There are plenty of countries where it is not legal. And since when is this sort of stuff considered "entertainment?" That scares the hell out of me, that there are millions of men in this country who think nothing of going to see films like this, who enjoy seeing women terrorized, humiliated, sexually abused, tortured and then killed for "entertainment." What in the world are their dates supposed to think while they sit there and watch their "boyfriends" hoot it up while women are attacked on screen? I know one thing. First, I would never set foot in a theater with such a man. Or, if I ever somehow got tricked into attending such a movie, I would run, not walk for the exit at the first hint of violence.

For filmmakers, it is strictly a business of making money. The sad fact is that these films makes money. And the more money they make, the more this type of film will be pushed into the theaters and the more dangerous day-to-day life will become for ordinary women.

The daily violence against women is so epidemic it is now routine and elicits barely a response from many overworked police departments. It is one of the reasons that drove my daughter out of this country. She was living in a city where a serial rapist was targeting a couple of women every weekend, breaking into their apartments while they were sleeping and attacking them. Each week, the attacks grew a little more violent and bloody, and a little closer to my daughter's apartment. She couldn't live with the stress of worrying about whether or not she would be next, so she moved to a country where personal violence basically doesn't exist. She has been there almost four years, and in that time, there has been only one widely publicized violent attack by a deranged individual copying something he saw happen in the United States. That one attack caused the death of four students and sent the country into a state of mourning for a full month. She saw people crying on the trams, saying that now Finland would be just like the United States, full of hatred and violence. And this after just one attack!

We have hundreds of murders every single day, thousands of rapes and armed robberies, yet we are so inured to the violence, it has become such a part of the fabric of our daily lives, that each new incident produces barely a ripple in our subconscious minds. We are too busy surviving economically and psychologically to worry about whether we are going to survive physically.

We have to change this. Evil prospers when good men and women remain silent. I for one, cannot be silent anymore.

Well, I guess that's enough for this rant. I promise to post more soon, and to get back on topic. But please feel free to weigh in with your comments on this topic. It affects us all.

Planet Fat Cat

Monday, March 24, 2008

Domo Origato

Hey! Guess what? It’s Monday again and time for another enthusiastic report on the excellent progress I have made on my super-swell, happy-time Joy Pop weight loss program for life!

223.5! Sweet! I gained three pounds in two weeks!

Wait. That’s not right. I GAINED THREE POUNDS. Unless my brains have added neurons and synapses at an alarming rate and now weigh roughly twice what they did fourteen days ago, I am just a very positive, exuberant fat-ass.

And since I don’t feel particularly clever or more thoughtful this evening, I’m gonna go with the whole “Excuse me sir, but your down-stairs neighbors have complained of hearing a moose in your apartment… and you can see clearly on line seven of the lease that this is prohibited…”

Oh sure, the clever and kind amongst you will claim that all the Krav Maga classes have simply added muscle mass and that if I check my shorts I will see they have extra room in them. But the truth is I have checked my shorts, and there is nothing there anyone wants to get a closer look at, lately.

And also they are snug, very very snug. Seems even elastic has its limits.

But after the whiney post a few days ago, I decided that instead of a groaning and pitiful account of how much I exercised but still failed to lose fat, I would try to put a positive spin on creating yet more yummy fat cells. Hey, whales spend their whole lives trying to gain weight and look how happy they seem on those grainy Greenpeace videos.

Until someone harpoons them of course and then they realize too late that the big whale ass just made a much easier to spot target. But unless I see a bunch of Japanese fishermen circling my apartment, I’m gold!

So there we have it. I don’t care anymore. If I’m going to be fat, I might as well be jolly. No one likes a bitchy fat person; at least six people in Samoa are known to love fleshy, jokey guys.

Now all that’s left is a snorkel, a map to Samoa, and a book of recipes for raw plankton.

How can I go wrong?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

99% Perspiration

Okay I haven’t written a word in over a month, either on this blog or in “real” life… anywhere. My grocery lists have become mere notations, such is my apparent reluctance to write anything coherent or purposeful. Forget a blog, an article, a screenplay, book, novel, or even dirty memoirs from my ridiculously sinful 20’s. In the past six weeks I have become a net consumer of entertainment, happy to allow others to create all the images that rattle around in my brain.

I lack inspiration; I fear mental exertion.

Which is odd to say because I never stop thinking, rethinking, examining, theorizing, and plotting all day long. I even put myself to sleep by imagining plots and then adding dialogue to characters (a favorite is David Letterman interviews as I wish they were conducted). But none of the endless thoughts I have on any day take any real effort, no strain. Wondering about my noisy neighbors and creating a scenario where they are arrested for running a prostitution ring, and thus alleviating their constant disturbance of my musings, takes little time and fewer neurons. Simple creation, short storytelling, exerts my mind about as much as chewing a doughnut strengthens my jaws. I live in a very flabby, waking dream-world of imagination and no production.

And because I still have food to eat, apparently, I am not inspired to work harder to change a minute of it.

I have tried to argue with myself that I wish for great wealth, but I don’t really. That Elysian vision looks nice, but other than providing security in the future, great comforts don’t compel me. Fame allows for a giant ego and a great many sexual conquests I imagine, but neither of those has spurred me to action since college. And worst of all, accomplishment means nothing to me without a Love to share it with, so what will make me stop imagining and start producing?

If only finding a Muse were as easy as advertising for a boarder on Craig’s List:

“Looking for roommate to share the apartment in my head. Must be clean and inspiring and have good bathroom habits. Creativity a must. Rent due immediately as the landlord, Father Time, refuses to change the lease agreement.”

Of course on second thought, perhaps I have answered one of my own questions: maybe it’s time to stop waiting for Inspiration to come unbidden and start looking for her instead. Like playing the lottery: you may never win, but you certainly won’t if you don’t buy a ticket.