It’s been at least one or two posts since I’ve moaned about technology, so I think I should mention how my new computer is aggravating me. It didn’t come with a disc drive, which used to be included on all computers. I know that a lot of people don’t even have physical copies of their media, but DVDs and CDs aren’t that old. The last movie released on VHS was A History of Violence in 2005, and VHS tapes have been around since the 1970s. Can’t DVDs get a little bit more time in the sun before being ushered out by Blu Ray or downloads and shit? I still like DVDs. I’m even a little bit proud of my collection. So please don’t make me shell out more money and wait several days just to get an add-on for my computer that can play discs. (Although I have to admit that swapping out the extra fan for the disc drive is kind of cool.) The fun didn’t end there, by the way. I got on a plane with my DVDs, then discovered that the computer did not come with software that would play the DVDs. Great. So now I had to find some other way to occupy myself for the next seven or eight hours. I have to pay extra to download a program that will play the DVDs. Any day now, I expect to hear that yes, you did pay for a car, but if you want one that has seats and runs, you have to buy the premium package. Also, my computer didn’t come with a word processor. I have to pay extra for Microsoft Office. Fuck you, Windows 8. Didn’t this shit used to come standard?
There’s no way to easily summarize what’s been going on these past few days. A lot has been floating around in my head, so I’ll start with this thing that really pissed me off. Frank Bruni–a writer I’ve always admired–wrote a characteristically pointed blog post not too long ago in which he expressed dismay that if you are gay, you are at risk for physical and verbal harassment no matter where you live. It’s a simple point, one that should not generate too much controversy, but as always, somebody had to turn it into the Oppression Olympics. Female commenters pointed out that single women get harassed, too. One, who calls herself californiagal11, even said his comments were “rife with male privilege”. It takes a lot of nerve to tell somebody who has just opened up about the fear that they feel when their partner takes their hand in public that they are full of privilege. Bruni wasn’t talking about the pressure that he feels as a single gay man, but as a partnered one. So the only prejudices that are analogous are those faced by straight and lesbian couples. Lesbian couples deal with shit, but 56.7% of the harassment that couples face based on sexual orientation is anti-male, according to the FBI. And last time I checked, straight people get harassed for being straight…never. So I think it’s fair to say that gay guys have it worst here. The irony of the Oppression Olympics is that the person who starts it almost always loses.
I feel now that I should talk about body image, except I don’t have much to say. There’s this TLC song that I saw on MTV back when MTV played music. I think it contains a valuable message for young women.
There’s also that new Robin Thicke song, which is the source of much controversy for its ultra-rapeyness (with a liberal sprinkling of rape for good measure). Honestly, watching the video (which I won’t embed, so seek it out if you must), I was speechless. Thicke apparently thinks that women should feel liberated by the message that inside every good girl is a bad girl fighting to get out. Not true, but what’s especially troubling is Thicke’s misconception that the only way to free that bad girl is to put his penis inside her. You ever hear that expression that conditional love is not love at all? I think that’s what they were talking about. There’s a funny parody here, which shows that the problem isn’t so much objectification as the notion that objectification is automatically empowering. It isn’t. Objectification is fine only if you consent to it. I’ve always said that while I appreciate Game of Thrones/Song of Ice and Fire for its badass women (seriously, it doesn’t just pass the Bechdel test, but passes it over and over again), I find George R.R. Martin’s loving descriptions of the womens’ anatomies just a bit pervy. The show might have benefited for a hardcore assfucking scene between Renly and Loras, but alas, it was not to be. Oh, well.
(For those who have seen the Robin Thicke video: I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a better way to get the word out about one’s enormous penis than spelling it out with balloons. Who ever heard of fucking people, then letting the word spread? No, you should totally broadcast your insecurities, Robin. That will make them go away.)
I’m not really sure where I’m going with all this. It’s been a weird couple weeks. I guess I’m just baffled by the way so many people have to take every discussion and make it all about them. The frustrating thing about being young is that nobody seems to stay in one place for very long. I have friends in California who have no intention of moving to the East Coast. That’s fine. But I don’t much like travelling, and I’ve never tried Skype. So how exactly am I supposed to keep in touch with them? If you’re young and liberal, you flock to the big cities, but I’m in my mid-twenties, and already, I wonder if I shouldn’t buy a house in rural Michigan. Honestly, it seems like fun. For some reason, I’ve been listening to goth metal lately. I have no idea why. Perhaps it has something to do with my exploration of the horror genre? Horror can be fun, but I see it as something to dabble in rather than live in. Many of my favorite writers (Neil Gaiman, to name one) are heavily influenced by H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe, and I recently finished season two of The X-Files, one of the only TV shows I can name that is consistently scary. (More on that in a later post.) Just how much of this is escapism? I’ve always said that real life resembles fiction in more ways than we realize. Maybe I just need to get my ass to a RenFaire, but one nearest to NYC is a long, long drive away. And of course, I have no money.
I’ll just post this song. I used to think “One” was my favorite U2 song, but now, I’m leaning towards this one. In his prime, Bono had a real gift for writing lyrics that were open to interpretation without just being vague and meaningless. These days, I kind of wish they’d just break up and get it over with.
Apropos of nothing, this is one of my favorite Christmas songs. It will warm your heart, trust me.
And here’s more Weird Al for you.
Someday, we’ll have a serious conversation about race in this country. Someday.