Sunday, July 5, 2015

Macy's 4th of July Spectacular ... Fail

Been chatting about this on a friend's Wall today, and I figured I'd bring the convo here to open it up to y'all cuz the topic's been bugging me since last night.

What did you think of the Macy's 4th of July Spectacular programming last night? My immediate reaction was that it was a complete SNOOZEFEST. I tuned in late, so maybe there were some more exciting numbers earlier in the evening, but I'd have thought that they'd work to build *excitement* ahead of the fireworks rather than put people to sleep.

On a deeper level, assuming that the focus of the programming was intended to be "Look! This is America!"--you know, given that it was the 4th of July and all--the vision of the U.S. that it presented was, well, kinda sad.

The few reviews of the show that I've seen online so far have given the country performances the biggest thumbs up, cuz "what's more American than country music?" So let's start there. Coming to the show late, the most upbeat song I heard was from the country guy who performed immediately before the fireworks started. I found his message of "what's more American than hating your boss and hating your job and suffering through the shitty week just to get to the weekend parties?" deeply moving. [cough] Apparently a different country dude had opened the show with an all-American anthem we can all relate to: "Drunk on a Plane." U! S! A! U! S! A!

Immediately before the boss-hating guy--again, leading straight into the Big Show--were two quiet ballads in a row that seemed to go on for years. One from James Taylor (cue sweeping audience shots of old white people seated on a lawn, looking very civilized, at least most of whom appeared to be awake--a testament to the Great American Tenet of hard work?) and the other from Ed Sheeran (cue sweeping audience shots of young white girls, looking sweaty and moony-eyed). Interestingly, Sheeran performed solo acoustic, making his quiet song even more sedate than usual. I like Sheeran's song, I love solo acoustic performances, heck, I even like James Taylor, but the timing was weird.

Kelly Clarkson was there, too. I missed her. She's white, but she gets diversity points for rocking her beautiful Mama body without apology, which frankly takes balls of steel in her industry. And she sang a song that wasn't a ballad or about beer. So at least there's that.

What's whiter? These fireworks, or the Macy's 4th of July Spectacular itself?
Photo by Jason DeCrow for AP, original located at Spectators brave tight security for NYC fireworks show. wasn't ALL white! I know, I know...all the pre-show publicity made a big deal about Gloria Estefan performing during the fireworks itself, but somehow I actually missed that(!), and apparently Flo Rida performed at some point--with Robin "(white) Sexist Pig" Thicke. Somehow this still isn't saying "diversity" to me as much as it says "tokenism."

Is that honestly the best they could do? Holy crap.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Beyond the Pale (Gray)

OK, so, I'm generally the last person on earth to comment on how someone looks. I'm faceblind, generally focused on where I'm going, and frankly don't really give a shit. But waiting in line for the elevator at Century 21 this afternoon, in an ill-fated attempt to introduce the Muppets to Peppa and George Pig, I had the rare occasion to observe trendy New Yorkers in their natural habitat. And the I spotted for the first time in the flesh a phenomenon I'd read about but assumed was surely just a flight of some fashion writer's whimsy: the gray dye job
There she was, waif-thin and Amazon-tall, with what was probably lovely olive skin under a thick coat of orange-tinged Spackle. But I wouldn't have noticed any of that if it weren't for the long, wavy locks of mousy gray hair hanging over her shoulders from quarter-inch JET BLACK ROOTS.
Seriously?! J. Buddy Christ, why not just etch "I do what the fashion magazines tell me to do" right across your forehead-Spackle? Why on EARTH would someone...just...WHY?
I dunno why this irritates me so much. Obviously I have no problem with dying hair weird colors, but that's just it: Gray isn't a "weird color." It's a fucking DESTINATION. You will all get there, young grasshoppers. But you must wait until it is your time. Gray is experience. It is sacred. It is earned. You can get aaaaany other color from a bottle or a tube, but gray comes from LIFE. 
Not a tube. Life.
Gray is not a passing fad. Gray is a state of mind. It is miles traveled and lessons learned. It is strictly the realm of "old ladies" and those of us who, through trauma or genetics, prematurely bore the hue--along with the stigma to match. Our grays, from white to slate to silver, chose US, and we in turn found ourselves in the ways in which we embraced them.
So back away from the tube, Spackle Lady. Your gray will come when you're good and ready.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I've got a Nose for Love

I fell in love for the first time when I was a freshman in high school. I knew it was the Real Thing because the emotion inspired in me a hormonal surge that sprouted a zit on the very tip of my nose the size of which had, to my knowledge, never been seen before within the city limits.

The target of my affection, a man who was very beautiful, a little dangerous, and very, very gay, was duly impressed at this visual manifestation of my feelings for him--so much so that he drew a happy face on it with a black felt-tipped art pen. 

We named her Bertha. Bertha the Love Zit.

Thus began a tradition of naming my most spectacular blemishes. So allow me to introduce you to today's special guest, Glenda. 

Glenda must have heard that I'll be seeing The Breakfast Club on the big screen next week and assumed it was 1985, because it's been a while since I've seen the likes of her. This is only Day 1, so she'll prolly be extra sexy when I go back to teach tomorrow. Go for the gold, Glenda! There are 80 kids in my first class, and you don't want the ones in the back row to miss you!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Thank you, 16-year-old Giantess...

...for dressing like a demented granny instead of a cheerleader. Cuz THAT would be a lot harder for me to pull off these days.

Yes, still with my feet planted firmly (and ever more gleefully) in Midlife Crisis Mode, it is now time to replace my formerly reasonable responsible depressing summer wardrobe with . . . clothes I would have worn in high school. 

I'm 40. I gather it's how we roll. 

Now, before you glance at the photo below and jump to vile conclusions about how I spent my tender youth, I'll have you know that this is, according to Amazon, a "50s sundress." 

I guess that explains why both my parents come from such large families.

Aaaaaanyway, although my current shift toward a work-at-home lifestyle would, in fact, make such attire completely office-appropriate, I went ahead and opted for something slightly more demure. Though my newly rediscovered interest in polka-dot swing dresses and 60s-print paisley shifts is probably no more age-appropriate at 40 than it was when I was 16, I feel pretty good about the fact that I give even less of a damn now than I did back then what anyone has to say about it. #mymidlifemyrules

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Hobby Lobby lobby

The reaction to today's SCOTUS ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby has wakened the Sleeping Giantess. For those of you reading this from outside the US, here's a short version of the case history:

Obama ran for president largely on a platform that promised to reform health care and make it more accessible to more Americans. After much partisan debate, he passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was basically a combined and bastardized version of any number of bills that might have been helpful as they were originally written--but with the vast majority of the helpful stuff cut out. One of the few things that made lots of Americans happy, particularly those with vaginas, was that the ACA mandated that all insurance plans, private or public, must include contraceptive coverage. Yay!

But Big Money was not excited about the ACA, and therefore many politicians who are beholden to that money were not excited about the ACA. Providing health care to employees not already covered and/or expanding coverage that was deemed inadequate under the new law would be expensive. What's worse (and surely the larger point), support for the ACA meant support for the country's liberal (read: "anti-corporation") lobby and thus could lead to the creation of more "anti-business" policies down the pike. So stopping the ACA was important to what one might typically classify as "right-wing" interests.

After a mind-boggling number of misinformation- and propaganda-based campaigns failed to convince enough Americans that caring for their own health was not in their own best interest (imagine that!), the anti-ACA camp needed to find a new angle from which to chip away at the bill. It didn't take them long to find comfy bedfellows in social conservatives (note that I'm refraining from using the words Republican or Christians here), who were appalled that their religious organizations--many of whom employ secular women--would end up footing the bill for their employees' recreational sex acts. Oh Noez!

So Obama goes all 'don't worry, religious organizations won't have to pay, we'll work it out,' and the people were all like 'OK, that's still kinda creepy, but cool, fine, everyone gets what they want,' and the media were like, '[static]' cuz they're not really equipped to deal when a sudden, rational response interrupts what might have been a perfectly good national crisis.

But meanwhile Big Money was like 'oh crap, people really seem to be settling into the idea of health care as a human right, and that's gonna suck for us one way or another.' So they hit up the social conservatives again to see if they've got anything else cooking, and it turns out they've got an ace in the hole--a for-profit but "religious" company that, because it's for profit, isn't covered by Obama's Big Compromise with religious organizations.

Hobby Lobby was the anti-ACA lobby's wet dream: a nice, white, midwestern, all-I-needed-was-Jesus-and-my-own-bootstraps success story, the American Dream at work. How on earth could the government expect this God-fearing all-American family to financially support the sexual promiscuity of its employees? It's just plain anti-religious and unAmerican.

Of course, the idea of covering contraceptive stuff in its insurance plans hadn't bothered Hobby Lobby enough prior to the mandate to compel them to ever check their own policies to ensure such coverage was excluded when it would have been optional for them to do so (see p. 14, #55), and at least as recently as December 2012 the company appeared to take no issue with investing in retirement funds that come, at least in part, from the sale of contraceptive items up to and including that babykilling "abortion pill" that we ignorant nonbelievers call Plan B.

Long story short (too late), the Hobby Lobby case went to the Supreme Court, and five of our Justices sided with the store. I'd like to get all up in arms about it being an anti-woman thing, cuz it is, of course, anti-woman. Sure, that pisses me off. But what bothers me the most is that I sometimes wonder whether the backlash of (especially anti-Christian) objections from feminist and secular organizations almost feeds into a larger plan of alienating us from each other (women against men, secular against religious), of weakening our bonds with one another in the face of a much more powerful enemy.

So it seems to me that we oversimplify the issue--and maybe even disadvantage ourselves--when we look at this as a case about women's rights...or sexual freedom or reproductive health. It never was. And it wasn't even about "religious freedom"--the general lack of support for Hobby Lobby's case from religious organizations demonstrates that. This case was nothing but a grand political maneuver aimed at reminding us "little people"--and, more importantly, anyone left in government who would like to protect us--that policies aimed at helping lower- and (what's left of) middle-income families at the expense of the wealthy Will Not Be Tolerated. We women just basically "took one for the [corporate] team," that's all. It was about Big Money putting on a power play for the rest of us to see, and now we know (if we didn't already) that five of our Justices are bona fide cast members.

I find it profoundly sad.

All we really have at this point is each other and the few dollars we can still manage to scrape together. It is now more than ever our obligation to use those powers--the powers inherent in the bonds we form with each other and in where we choose to spend our time and money--to stand up for ourselves. So...

If you:

  • Have a vagina
  • Enjoy vaginas 
  • Love people who have vaginas

...don't spend your money at Hobby Lobby, and for the love of all that's sparkly and scrapbookable, DON'T WORK THERE!!!

It's that simple. Don't shop there, don't work there. Don't support Hobby Lobby's role in the latest corporate power play. If we stand together on this, they'll get the message eventually: Using women as pawns is Not OK. We see what you're doing, and we won't stop fighting back.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Caught in the Net: A PSA

OK, before I begin, let me make a couple of things clear. First, I'm totally not into the celebrity thing, so you'll rarely see me comment on anything they say or do unless it dovetails with an issue that's dear to me. Second, I'm FAR from the Fashion Police. Wear what makes you feel good--who cares what people think? The whole concept of shows like What Not to Wear rubs me the wrong way.

With that said, I am compelled to post the following as a Public Service Announcement.

If you should ever decide to suddenly take on the nakeder side of dark/fetish style, and you choose to wear a very low-cut bottom, NEVER--AND I MEAN NEVER--should your fishnets be visible above the panty.

And unless you're going for an Urkel fetish or something (hey, whatever you're into is cool with me), they should CERTAINLY not reach above your belly button.

Good rule of thumb--if you can't figure out how to hide your hosiery's center crotch seam, for the love of Buddy Christ, go with thigh high stockings.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Help me change the world!

The lack of awareness of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders among the general public as well as the medical and psychiatric communities can have devastating consequences for expecting and new mothers and their families. Sadly, I only know this because a misdiagnosed case of postpartum OCD almost destroyed me and tore apart my family in fall 2013.

Suffering alone--as most women do--is hard enough, but as a recent survivor of psychiatric malpractice directly related to the medical community's massive blind spot when it comes to diagnosing these disorders, it is my mission to raise awareness on a large scale so that other women will not have to suffer what my family and I were forced to endure.

Someday I will tell my story here, but for now, I am simply asking for your support in my first (hopefully annual) Climb Out of the Darkness, to be held this Saturday in Lower Manhattan. On the same day, over 100 other teams will conduct their own climbs across the country and around the world.

Click on this link to donate, come out and walk with me this Saturday, share this post to help spread the word--any small effort could make a huge difference.