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"I want you to show me a stronger biological urge to procreate!"
You may already have gathered that I am fair-minded and incisive about everything, everything, with the the exception of gender essentialism. It's like an allergy: when people say things like "well, he is a man, after all" as though that explains all pernicious forms of behaviour, or "she's not just looking for a dalliance, because, after all, she is a woman and is therefore going to sabotage her birth control in order to give herself a baby" I come over all funny and have a near-uncontrollable urge to stab myself in the upper thigh with a pen.

I don't care whether Primitive Man was forced to develop certain coping mechanisms in order to hunt and gather or whether Primitive Woman was forced to develop different strategies in order to safely furnish and decorate her primitive hut. I've never understood why biology is destiny, when it's obvious that human beings are able in many circumstances to adopt behaviours that seem to mitigate against the propagation and survival of the species (vehicular traffic! self-doubt! men wearing sandals!). 

Many things support my view, which I would continue to support myself even in the absence of such supportive things. Many neurologists, it appears, are crazy proponents of the theory that women like hugs and relationships and men like math and nuclear war, and have devised skewed experiments and/or misrepresented experiments in order to prove it. There's no evidence that girls and boys learn in different ways, or that they benefit from single-sex schooling.

And yet, it's comforting, I suppose, in an age when we aren't allowed to stereotype other races quite so much, to be able to generalize wildly about large groups of people based on their private bits.

Just this week, Rotten Tomatoes' Greg Dean Schmitz wrote the following annoying thing: "Marvel may be setting a pattern with Thor 2, as this week, it was revealed that Marvel's top choice is director Patty Jenkins, whose one feature film was 2003's  Monster [...] and the pilot episode of AMC's series The Killing. If Marvel does indeed sign Patty Jenkins to direct Thor 2, this choice seems to suggest a story more female-centric than people generally think of when they think 'Asgardian mythology.'"

"Female-centric." What in God's name does that mean? Are all female directors interested in female things? And what are female things? I mean, if Marvel was kicking around the idea of signing, say, Nora Ephron, I'd concede they might be going in a softer, gentler direction (which still wouldn't make it unavoidably appealing to all women). But the woman who made Monster? That movie about the vicious lady serial killer? It certainly dealt with a woman, but it can't be said to represent any kind of "feminine" perspective. And, as far as recall, there are no 30-year-spanning female friendships punctuated by tragic cardiac conditions and songs in that film. If Patty Jenkins makes Thor 2, will she be unable to prevent herself from casting only women in all roles and turning it into a multi-generational tale of loss, perseverance, love, and casserole-making?

Then there's the new movie that should star Sarah Michelle Gellar and instead stars Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz. The director describes it as "a psychological thriller with horror overtones and detective story overtones, but essentially, deep down it's a love story." "We've made the kind of movie with thriller and horror elements," he continues, desperate to ensure I'll never want to date him, "but women will like it." He's so right. If a movie has thrills and chills, but makes no attempt to represent a love relationship, my womb just refuses to sit still and pay attention.


Send the Catastrophizer your requests for advice and/or rationalizations using the form conveniently provided HERE. I will publish my responses on the THE CATASTROPHIZER page.

POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough. Also, I'm not very good at copy-editing, so if something looks wrong, it was put there by accident.
 
 
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While it's true that the following things created a great deal of outrage a number of weeks ago, I feel that outrage can often get richer and more potent given time to sit.

A two-year-old ad for an Edmonton hair salon was recently thrust back into the spotlight after a blogger found it obscurely offensive.
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The ad features a fancy prairie lady sporting a black eye presumably given her by the man standing behind their Eisenhower-era couch (I suppose that should be "St-Laurent-era", but I know more about Eisenhower because all I ever learned from those "A Part of Our Heritage" commercials was that most Canadian actors are suspect and that epileptic seizures are often heralded by the smell of burnt toast).

So the woman has been abused, but, Fluid Hair tells us, that's no reason for her to let herself go. A Fluid woman, presumably, would also take the time to gussy up during a hurricane, terrorist attack, or nuclear meltdown. Think of all the other topical and offensive print-ad possibilities!


The hair-salon owner, Sarah Cameron, was, surprisingly enough, both surprised and defensive, because:

“The ads were our interpretation of a particular ‘art form'. Is it cutting edge advertising? Yes. Is it intended to be a satirical look at real life situations that ignites [sic] conversation and debate? Of course. Is it to everyone’s taste? Probably not.”

This leads to my first suggestion: whatever "art form" this ad is ostensibly "interpreting" should be immediately outlawed. My second suggestion is that anyone wanting to make what they believe to be satirical art should be forced to apply for a permit. They should be forced to apply for that permit to ME, so that when I rejected them, I could also say some very mean and petty things.

The next distasteful images related to domestic violence bring us into the realm of inconsistent, prime-time, musical television shows. Heather Morris, who plays Brittany on Glee, was photographed by Tyler Shields with a fake black eye, and various 1950's domestic accessories.

The close-up of Morris with the black eye is not the worst thing ever, and Shield's admittedly tedious claim that "even Barbie bruises" could be said to provide some theoretical underpinning for the work. But his suggestion that these shots are all about showing that attractive, blonde women can be victims of violence is undermined by the fact that the other photos look like out-takes from the cover-shoot for an unreleased Warrant album. 
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If these photos aren't sexualizing a victim of some kind of violence, then Tyler Shields is an interesting and cutting-edge artist.

Making it possible for me to hate more people involved in this situation, US Weekly kicked off its story about the photo shoot with: "She's got that boom boom pow!" 

Both the hair-salon ad and the Morris photos seem weirdly to nostalgically fetishize 1950s-ish, 1960-ish domestic bondage and violence against women. It's like a stupid ad exec and a stupid photographer watched an episode of Mad Men while drunk and thought, "Those dresses are awesome! Retro's really in right now!" and then made some really questionable and embarrassing creative decisions.


Send the Catastrophizer your requests for advice and/or rationalizations using the form conveniently provided HERE. I will publish my responses on the THE CATASTROPHIZER page.

POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough. Also, I'm not very good at copy-editing, so if something looks wrong, it was put there by accident.
 
 
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The Self is often misunderstood in Society.
It's been an exciting week for disapproving of things. Many of the things offered up by the world for my disapproval were offered up at the CNN Tea Party GOP Presidential debate. 

When Wolf Blitzer, who always asks my favourite hypothetical-comatose-patient questions, asked the candidates who should pay for the care of an uninsured coma victim, and responded to Ron Paul's response with "Are you saying that society should just let him die?" a number of audience members I would very much like to meet and date cheered and someone yelled "yeah!"

Michele Bachmann spoke piercingly about "little girls" (11 and 12 year-olds; still young, sure, but not the pig-tailed, thumb-sucking cuties she piercingly evoked) being given "government injections" (HPV vaccinations) and yesterday managed to up the ante on her own stupidness and lyingness by indicating that the vaccine might cause mental retardation (which it doesn't). When various people, among them quite an unsurprising number of doctors, told her she was wrong, she said, "I am not a doctor. I am not a scientist. I am not a physician. All I was doing was reporting what a woman told me last night at the debate." She's referring to a random member of the public who came up to after the debate and told her the vaccine had harmed her daughter.

So one is apparently allowed to report ignorant, unfounded claims about something as long as one has oneself no knowledge or expertise related to the subject. 

Except when that's not the case. There's an astonishingly discouraging story out of York University this week, for once not related to a faculty strike. Cameron Johnston, a York prof, was teaching a Social Science class ("Self, Culture and Society" - a staggeringly descriptive title) and stated that not everyone was entitled to have and express an opinion. "All Jews should be sterilized", he said, was the kind of opinion that was egregious and inexcusable. At that point, a student stormed out. I assumed it was some kind of free-speech defender, rushing out to fetch Noam Chomsky (who waits out in the car for just such an eventuality), but, no - it was a student convinced that Johnston had just asserted that Jews should be sterilized. Sarah Grunfeld immediately contacted a campus Israel advocacy group, and it immediately sent out news releases calling for his prompt dismissal. 

The best part of this whole story isn't that some poor man who'd really rather be thinking about your Self and its Culture and Society was plunged into controversy by way of a complete misunderstanding, but Grunfeld's response to being told that it was a complete misunderstanding: "The words, ‘Jews should be sterilized’ still came out of his mouth, so regardless of the context I still think that’s pretty serious.”

Actually, Bachmann and Grunfeld have at least one thing in common: both failed to consider the larger context surrounding the words they heard (i.e. some stranger at a public event with an unsubstantiated story not supported by science in the first case, and quotation marks and total condemnation in the second). What's so wonderful and inspiring is that it's the listener who decides whether something should be believed in with no cause or denounced for no reason. I'm so inspired, I might just ambush Hudak after a debate and tell him cuts to social services cause Muskoka cottages to spontaneously burn down. After all, there's a good chance he's no smarter than a potential presidential candidate or York university undergraduate. 


 
Send the Catastrophizer your requests for advice and/or rationalizations using the form conveniently provided HERE. I will publish my responses on the THE CATASTROPHIZER page.

POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough. Also, I'm not very good at copy-editing, so if something looks wrong, it was put there by accident.


 
 
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Unfortunately, circumstances have obliged me to revisit my conclusions of last week. I am often obliged to revisit my conclusions, as they are frequently wrong. Perhaps thinking about things more thoroughly or researching would help, but I avoid such activities on point of principle as they are hallmarks of Socialism.

At any rate, last week I concluded that gender equality would eventually be achieved at least in part through offensive bibs.  But recently, a news item reminded me that we still have a long way to go when it comes to degrading boys as much as girls.

Most episodes of Toddlers and Tiaras are remarkable for their awfulness and for helping you realize that, whatever you might think, your parents were classy and your youthful fashion sense sophisticated (and - full disclosure, I occasionally watch Toddlers and Tiaras. And Hoarders: Buried Alive. There's probably a German word for how they make me feel and why I keep watching them.). The show, though, has now lowered the bar of good taste to unprecedentedly low levels. 

Wendy Dickey, pageant mom and self-professed Good Christian Woman, dressed her 3-year-old up as Julia Robert's Pretty Woman prostitute character, clearly in a misguided attempt to illustrate some of the more obscure teachings of Christ. 

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I immediately tried to figure out what the boy-child equivalent would be. A pint-sized Joe Buck would probably go unrecognized by a pageant audience; My Own Private Idaho is most likely too private for the public Idaho and a reference to it would also perplex. And I don't remember The Basketball Diaries being a heart-warming crowd-pleaser or involving snooty retail salespeople getting their comeuppance. 

Really, a caring Christian mother looking for the male equivalent of Roberts' beloved movie prostitute would find herself at a loss. I guess she could always stick to the Pretty Woman theme instead, and dress her beloved Bentley or Ethan or Jayden up as a knee-high Richard Gere. My utopic vision of a future in which both and girls are equally objectified and in much the same way might never be realized, but I'm somewhat comforted by the prospect of toddler hookers and toddler johns.


Send the Catastrophizer your requests for advice and/or rationalizations using the form conveniently provided HERE. I will publish my responses on the THE CATASTROPHIZER page.

POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough. Also, I'm not very good at copy-editing, so if something looks wrong, it was put there by accident.