Jul 162012
 

Ladies, you’re as much to blame as the men. I’m serious.

July 16, 2012

Women, we need to talk.

To say that women have had body issues is like saying the Titanic suffered from a leaky bulkhead. The triggers are everywhere: movies, magazines, sexism, and the prevalent belief that women can’t be powerful, confident, AND beautiful. It’s enough to make you sick. Recent incidents have made me think it’s not just the men, though.

Ladies, you need to pick up the slack.

I’m convinced that women put themselves down more than men put them down. That’s not to say men don’t do their fair of damage. I’m saying that women need to at least put themselves up on a pedestal. It’s not a matter of being conceited or full of yourselves. It’s about knowing what you’re good at, knowing that you’re a beautiful person, knowing that no one can put you down but yourself at the end of the day.


beauty by ~paraplexus007 on deviantART

Look at these actresses that play “ugly” people on TV. Seriously… skew the makeup a little, put on some frumpy clothes… and that’s enough to qualify otherwise beautiful women as unattractive? I watch science fiction and even I find that one a stretch. Warp drive’s more believable.

The thing that really set me off, though, was the protest at Teen Vogue earlier this month. Young women protested the magazine’s use of photo-manipulation to make the models look “prettier.” They felt it sent the wrong message. It does. And how did this all end? Vogue invited some of the protestors up to talk… and gave them a five minute lecture on how they should try harder to be prettier.

Just imagine the alpha bitch at any high school and you get the idea of what these protestors sat through.

Then you have actual websites that track how skinniness… and one particular website has targeted Kate Upton as too fat.

Kate Upton? Really?


Anorexia by ~xCutxUpxAngelxVx on deviantART

Beauty is a matter of attitude. How well do you handle yourself? It’s not entirely about how thin, fat, toned, blond, brown, or short you are, and it has zero to do with the size of your breasts. Your beauty is something you dictate. A confident woman is ten times more attractive than someone who is insecure. A woman who is kind and laughs is more beautiful than a woman who is cold and distant.

Ladies, you have to be nicer to yourselves just as men have to learn to not be superficial. Feeling good about yourself is not narcissism. Saying you are beautiful is not being conceited.

We all need work. Let’s start by calling the women in our lives “beautiful.” Not because we need to build them up. Not because we need to balance anything out. We should do it because they truly are beautiful.

And now, let’s enjoy some much-needed humor this Monday morning. Enjoy!

Jan 202012
 

That glow? It's pure evil. And diabetes. Mostly evil, though. Diabetes doesn't glow like that. You need a black light to see diabetes.

January 20, 2012

You know what? I’m going to say it.

I’m glad Paula Dean has diabetes.

I don’t mean that in the personal sense. Diabetes isn’t something fun to have. It affects your life and your choices and makes you plan activities based on sugar. It can be managed and you can lead a fairly normal life, but it’s always there.

I mean this in the professional sense. I’m glad she has diabetes because she hid it for years, makes her money off of showing people how to make ridiculously unhealthy food, she will make money from having this disease, and she takes pride in the last two.

That butter-chugging money whore…


Paula Deen by ~urielstempest on deviantART

And no, I’m not being too mean. I’m being nice. This is being nice. Being mean would involve Photoshopped images of Dean bathing in a tub of melted butter while she eats salt logs covered in bacon. This? This is justice. She willingly made and ate food that would give most of us a heart attack after the first helping. She indulged in trying to convince others to have her intestinal abominations. There really is such a thing as too much bacon and butter. When you have to measure the ingredients by the pound, you’ve crossed a line. You’ve gone to a dark, dark palce, my friend.

She did all of this in a time where obesity is a national epidemic. She made her fame and fortune from encouraging people to hurt themselves and, when she finally suffered the inevitable consequences of her actions, she hid the fact until she made a deal to make MORE money.

The kicker? She’s not going to stop cooking and eating the way she’s been doing it for years.

This is like a pro-skater breaking every bone in his body after an attempted stunt in a career where he urged his fans to never use safety gear. Said skater then keeps acting stupid.

This is like a porn star encouraging people to not use condoms even after getting 47 types of VD and getting pregnant.


Paula Dean by ~imthinkinarby on deviantART

Make no mistake, though. I love food. I love a good steak, a great pasta dish, and have been known, from time to time, to indulge in fine spirits and ales. And bacon? Get out of my way. I will cut you. I will show you’re your still-beating heart and make you regret the microsecond it took you to get between me and pork heaven.

But to everything… moderation.

Dean is not the only cooking star to show how to make dishes to clog your arteries with butter and salt, but she turned up to eleven. She has butter-flavored lip balm with her name on it. No, it’s not a joke. And now she’s selling diabetes medication? This is like Newt Gingrich becoming the spokesman for marriage. Or Rick Santorum shilling for GLAAD. Or me endorsing Twilight.

It’s not the best it.

To Paula Dean, the person, I’m sorry you have diabetes and will have it for the rest of your life. To Paula Dean, the cook and businesswoman, I hope this teaches you a lesson, you hypocritical bacon-munching sack of carbs.

And now, let’s wash bad thoughts away by embracing the awesomeness of the COOLEST 8 year old EVER. No joke. Check it out, and I’ll see you on Monday.

Sep 162011
 

September 16, 2011

It’s Mexican Independence day! To me, this is a bittersweet holiday. Yes, it marks Mexico proclaiming itself a sovereign nation. On the other hand, the country is enslaved by the cartels. Right across the border, just a few miles from where I wright this, two people were tortured and publicly displayed for writing negative things about the Zetas. We have a long way to go, but I’d like to start by ending this stupid war on drugs.

And speaking of things that were probably influenced by drugs, let’s get some links out there and catch up with the week’s stories.

  • To all the new freshmen in college, please, for the love of Bob, don’t do this.
  • And speaking of bad decisions, could celebrities please stop taking naked pics of themselves with their phones? You, the thing that can be hacked? Unlike that camera that you need to physically get to retrieve said pictures? The reaction to Scarlet Johansson’s leaked nude pics has ranged from everything from an FBI investigation to the internet having a collective seizure. Because the internet, as you know, has been seen naked boobs and butt.
  • Nancy Upton entered a contest for American Apparel. She satirized what I can only describe as really unflattering images of women that look like they need a sandwich. Her pics were… well, they were unique. She’s confident, has a sense of humor about herself and the company, she looks wonderful and natural, and she won the contest by a large margin… and now American Apparel is saying they won’t go with her because she’s not targeting their demographic. Hypocrites, anyone?
  • Disney does not have the best record when it comes to acknowledging the audience’s intelligence. However, some of their older animators didn’t react too kindly to the higher-ups changing the name of a movie to make it more descriptive since audiences “might not get it.” The result is pure sarcasm and gold.
  • And finally, Nice Peter came out with another Epic Rap Battle. Mister Rogers all the way! Represent! And I’ll see you all on Monday!

Jun 272011
 

Next up we'll have a Dalek barbershop quartet.

June 27, 2011

Well, I called it.

We now have fully synthetic pop stars, and not just virtual copies of anime or video game characters. I’m talking full-blown people.

Japan actually had a completely virtual pop star for about a month until her digital identity was revealed this week.

Eguchi Aimi was the latest member of Japan’s AKB48, an all-girl group that consists of several different teams of performers. She was featured in a commercial, a magazine spread, and was listed on the group’s website. For all intents and purpose, she seemed to be a real person.

Then we find out that she’s actually a composite, which really begs the question…

Japan, this group had sixty-plus members, all attractive young women who were willing to work and perform. Did you really need a completely virtual singer?

I’ll give the management credit. The fact that people were even debating whether Aimi was real or not speaks volumes to the level of detail put into her design. Furthermore, the stills, while looking Photoshopped, are nevertheless quite impressive. She sings, she takes photos, and she’ll never ask for a raise. She’s the perfect client for her creators.


Fame by ~ShimmiChan on deviantART

Of course, this doesn’t answer the question of why anyone would even make her. It’s not like they have a shortage of starlets. In fact, Aimi is a composite of other members of the group. This could easily be a test of the new technology, a stunt to show everyone just how far the programming and hardware can go.

Me? I’m terrified. Management managed to pass off this construct as a real person for a respectable amount of time, and given a year or two, the technology might easily be good enough to do away with the tiny imperfections that tipped off some fans. Think about it. Any recording company with sufficient money will be able to make pop stars on demand.

Combine that with this little study that shows there is a scientific basis for what we consider to be “catchy,” that we might be able to scientifically determine if a song will be a hit in the next few years, and we have everything we need for companies to start churning out Justin Beibers, Lady Gagas, and Rebecca Blacks. Given how Facebook and Google can target ads based on your likes, this will make it so much easier to target specific demographics.


Skynet Nokia parody by ~paulelder on deviantART

Do you think the Grammys will give the award to the programmer or the virtual person?

And if you don’t think a company will invest some money in a pop star that doesn’t eat, drink, sleep, and will do anything and everything without complaining or going on a cocaine binge…

Hi. Welcome to America. Land of the free. Home of the Whopper.


Commercialism. by *WhatIfItAllWouldEnd on deviantART

Let’s get the links out there.

  • It looks like Nine Inch Nails’ Year Zero is going to be a miniseries for HBO. I have fond memories of that album. I used to listen to it as I walked around the Capitol on my lunch break. The dissonance was amazing for clearing my head.
  • Evanescence is coming out with a new album. Without sounding too hipster, I remember hearing them before they got big. Their REALLY early stuff (the albums you can only find on eBay now) is really haunting and a lot more personal, but I’m looking forward to this new one.
  • And finally, seeing as how I ripped the Miss Universe contestants for not understanding basic scientific vocabulary, someone was kind enough to further show how dumb their arguments were by replacing one little word in some of the responses. Enjoy, and I’ll see you on Wednesday.

Nov 152010
 

And has three gold records.

November 15, 2010

I am a nerd. Pure and simple. I make no apologies for being able to cite Star Wars, being able to spot physics mistakes in movies, and playing D&D on a weekly basis. I embrace technology. Whenever a new development makes it possible to do something once confined to science fiction films, I get a little tingle.

Except this time. I saw the following video and felt a creepy, cold, snake coil around my neck.

A singing hologram. Hundreds of audience members singing along. A hologram that makes it possible to have Roger Rabbit-like scenes in real life.

Did I mention that, despite the live band, this is a recording?

There’s a theory called the Technological Singularity. It states that the rate of technological progress has been steadily growing and, at one point, we will in fact create machines that can think and create faster than we can. At that point, humanity’s history will end. Progress will be out of our hands. In essence, we will cease to matter.

I saw that video and instantly thought of the Art Singularity.

Never heard of it? It’s a theory I have. The number of people who create art is increasing each year. This means more possibility for new types of art, new creations, and a greater opportunity for others to get their work out. However, it also means the art world is flooded with many people and works that are, quite frankly, copies of other works. I don’t have to tell you that most works that find mass appeal do so without actually having anything behind them. Twilight, boy bands, reality TV, most pop music, and others are nothing more than candy filler, carefully calculated to appeal to the lowest-common denominator.

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And maybe it’s me, but it seems like things are getting more and more artificial. Eventually, we will have “art” that is nothing but a machine creating beats and images designed to appeal to the masses.

It’s not that I don’t think popular music and movies and art were never calculated to some extent. As much as I want this to be a free expression of everything I want to say, I do edit these posts and make sure I say what I want to say as best as I can.

But I don’t do it to appease a demographic. I do it because I want it to sound good. I want to say and I create something that speaks to the reader and is appealing.

I saw that hologram singing, saw the crowd singing back and reacting… and it was a recording. She doesn’t exist. The talent belongs to a computer programmer who wrote the code, to an engineer who designed the holographic technology, and to a composer who wrote the music.

And we will likely never know their names.


Little Artist by *antontang on deviantART

I’m probably building a slippery slope here, but I think we don’t appreciate real artists, if we ever did within my lifetime. We focus on the end result, the bands and the flashy glitter on screen, and we don’t really appreciate the artists and designers who created the end product. Who can name a single writer in Hollywood? Who designed the graphics in the latest video game?

The Art Singularity is making art more and more artificial, more and more the result of mathematics than heart.

A few years ago, I met a writer who imagined a future where traditional art was eclipsed by “pop art” that required no talent and appealed to the attention-deficit audience of the day. Traditional artists protested by going to parks, street corners, and other public places and painting or drawing the most beautiful images they could create.

The artists then set these works of art on fire and used the ashes to make black paint they then used to recreate the original. Why? Because something made by a person has imperfections, bits of the artist’s personality, and is unique in that it will never be reproduced exactly. There will only be one. Ever.


an artist by ~atimarap on deviantART

Machines and pop art mass-produce these images and cheapen the process.

Look, I’m all for new technology and finding new and better ways of creating. I have nothing against using Photoshop or holograms or whatever else comes along. I’m just afraid that one day we’ll just have machines spit out whatever we want to see. Art isn’t just about showing us pretty things.

Art is about showing us the things we don’t want to see. It’s about seeing the artist and learning about ourselves in the process.

And now that we can expect the Robot Apocalypse to include the takeover of the art world, let’s get some links goign to soften the blow of our impending doom.

  • To anyone who thinks that models need to be a size double-zero, please take a look at these models. They probably represent more women than the waifs on fashion magazines… but they look damn good. Ladies, take note. Thin, large, black, white, blonde, whatever. You’re beautiful.
  • Ever wanted to eat some Koopa steaks? What about filet de Yoshi? Here’s a handy guide for your next 8-bit culinary adventure.
  • Speaking of pop stars, Justin Beiber has a documentary on his life coming out. The kid can’t even buy beer and he has a documentary? Thankfully, some intrepid souls went and made their own parody trailer. Personally, I’d rather see the parody.
  • Mila Kunis talks about her sex scene with Natalie Portman in the upcoming The Black Swan. You know, I like Kunis better since That 70′s Show ended. Her character got on my nerves.
  • Households with lesbian parents have a surprising amount of child abuse… Zero. Take THAT, right wing!
  • I’ve been using The Call of Cthulhu film in my ESL class because we can use the subtitles. The HP Lovecraft Historical Society is also working on a “talkie” adaptation of “The Whisperer in the Darkness.” Check out the trailer and see what you think.
  • And finally… I want this movie to be good. I really do. The music is creepy, the visuals look good, and it’s got Aaron Eckhart and Michelle Rodriguez. I. Want. It. To. Be. Good.