Inappropriate sharing, incomprehensible ramblings, uncalled-for hostility: yup, it's a blog.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I, Sextius

Reagan pulls the mighty sword from the wooden block and is declared king (1980)
Perhaps it's time to admit that Anthony Weiner enjoys sexting the way some politicians enjoy golfing or fishing or clearing brush. Certainly he has no real talent for sexting--his form is ham-fisted to say the least--but he's quite an avid sexter nontheless, and it helps him relax. I mean, I don't know of many golfing politicians who are good enough at their hobby to turn pro; and to Weiner's credit, he hasn't turned pro either.

Obama is not likely to play the Masters anytime soon. Weiner is not likely to enter the US National Texting Competition.

Weiner sexts. It's what he does in his spare time. It keeps his hands busy, his wits sharp, and his staff employed. It's like Rosey Grier needle-pointing. (Rosey Grier was a football player for the NFL. He did needlepoint to keep his dexterity up. That is all I know about Rosey Grier. Here's a picture.)


Seriously. I have no idea what team he was on. But he's kind of awesome.
Two years ago, I wrote a non-defense non-blog post about anything other than Anthony Weiner.

It was a different time. Weiner was one of the few liberals in Congress showing any staying power. He was being slapped around by a pun-hungry media. He was one of the few Democrats standing up to the opposition. In fact, the excitement over Weiner led to the inevitable leakage of... wait. I'm doing it wrong. This time, rather than not speak about Weiner, I'm trying to address this issue with a clear head.

Look. It's not 1960s America.  Rather than adapt a wide stance or be babied, Weiner has reiterated his need to sext. Having sext'd myself, I cannot fault him. His wife, Huma Abedin, issued a statement that must've been hard for her--but she issued that statement of her own free will, and since her husband was not diapered and wide-standing the stage, I'm inclined to believe Abedin's take on the whole affair--which is that it is a non-affair.

Not a pipe. Not a peep. The only thing Anthony Weiner has done is to get bored and go online, chat up a few women, and.. (oh christ) use the pseudonym 'Carlos Danger'.

In the 1960s, no one cared what the wife really thought. In 2013, we care what the wife thinks. And the wife, Huma Abedin, is standing by her husband. Again. For the second time, she's stating to the world (or at least the media, which is now technically the world) that she doesn't care if her husband gets bored while she's off doing State things.

Here's a secret: G and I sext people.

Shhh. Don't tell anyone.

When I was discussing this very thing with straight couples earlier, I was informed that straight couples consider it a cheating offense if a spouse sexts with another person. Fair enough. Straights consider a spouse sex-talking with someone else 'cheating'. Gays consider it 'oh god, I can get some sleep.'

Politicians, apparently, consider it 'At least I'm not Vitter.'

 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Zimmeran/Martin

Here's a fun thing about being a Southern transplant in New York City: people are always surprised when you don't have a Southern accent.
It's true.

I've lived here for nearly a decade, and people are still concerned about my accent. "But you don't sound like you're from the south," the Yankees will say. And I give my stock response: "I blame too much television."

And we all laugh.

When the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman verdict came down, there were three sets of gay couples and a straight guy sitting in a room in an apartment in Manhattan, NYC. One part of those gay men--me--was drunk on mojitos, and another part of those couples--Greg--was rather stoned. Only one of those couples was Southern. What follows is a very accurate account of the rage....

Let me qualify this.

What follows is an attempt to contain the rage both G and I feel when Northerners think the South is just like the North.

"Oh," half of a gay couple said, glancing at his phone. "George Zimmerman's verdict is in. He's innocent."

"Oh," other half of gay couple echoed, "Nice."

Greg, who was stoned and beer'd, looked at me, shrugged, and then announced, "Fuck, I hope Florida is rioting."

Gay Northern Couple: "It wasn't murder."

Me: "Yes. Of course it was."

And yes. Of course it was. My instincts were to yell at this person, but recently I've been told, by Greg, that I should be more sociable. So, rather than scream, I simply swallowed the bile and smiled.

"It wasn't murder." Gay Northern Couple adjusted himself. He is a teacher. He deals with Trayvon Martins all the time. "Martin attacked George. If I'm walking through SoHo and some kid comes at me with his fists, you're damn right I'm gonna shoot him if I have a gun." There was a reference to recent homophobic attacks in the city, which, while true, made me wonder if the Gay Northern Couple knew about Bull Connor.

Three things went through my head: 1) You, Gay Northern Couple, are a teacher; 2) This is why you shouldn't have a gun--you're a big guy who can overpower a teenager; 3) You are completely an idiot when it comes to Southern politics.

Well, a fourth thing went through my head: I'm a guest, not my birthday, be polite.

[Big breath; rant in progress]

But you know what? It was murder. Fuck being polite. Fuck Florida. Fuck everything.

Trayvon Martin was stalked, and shot dead because he was Black. The idiot Gay Northern Couple maintained that Zimmerman was in the right because Martin did not live in the neighborhood, or something--GNC kept implying that because Martin's father didn't have a home in the neighborhood, Martin should've been respectful of Zimmerman's weak-ass broke-down neighborhood watches.

Fuck you.

Fuck you. You, Yankee, don't get what it's like to be a minority in the South. Yeah, you're gay up north, and that shit is bad, but that doesn't hold a candle to the difficulty of being just--JUST--a minority down South. You know how bad it is down south? It's so bad that when you--a WHITE PERSON--come up north, you're introduced as being Southern, and then spending 10 minutes explaining why you don't have a southern accent. Fuck the accent. Jesus. Who the shit cares about accents?

Trayvon Martin was murdered. I cannot believe I spent 30 minutes of my life debating with an absolute moron about why it was murder. But I did. And I spent that entire 30 minutes trying to remind myself that I was a guest in someone else's home, and needed to be polite, and whatever.

Being Southern does not mean Greg nor I are a sideshow act. We don't have to maintain an accent. Assholes are assholes.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

How to Be an Asshole Without Even Trying

Some years back, I worked in advertising.

This was before 'Mad Men,' so it wasn't a fad thing. It was a real thing. I really thought I'd be good at advertising, and not in an ironic way. However, in a very unironic way, it turned out I was woefully unqualified for the ad world--one of my first tasks was to sell myself, for instance, which I couldn't do, and failed to get jobs at several top agencies despite top-notch recommendations; another early task was to help sell Swiffers and I was even worse at that.

Swiffers, by the way, are one of the more mundane conspiracies pushed upon the American public. Not as huge as 9/11 conspiracies or JFK conspiracies, but they're pretty prevalent. If you own a Swiffer, make sure you keep it in a closet. Don't let it enjoy the freedom afforded to your run-of-the-mill brooms and mops, which may linger in the corners of your kitchen for days or years without revealing anything about you to focus groups. Swiffers are observing you. They are collecting data, and that data is being parsed by many people so that they may work out how to sell you more Swiffers. Brooms and mops are simply in the corner; the Swiffer is counting how many times your children open the refrigerator, or how many times your spouse simply grabs a dirty glass for a quick drink of water instead of reaching for a clean one.

Swiffers are not cleaning implements. They are data collection devices. Buy one, and you are in a demographic, not a kitchen.

Truth.

(Not 'truth,' really. I didn't try to sell you Swiffers. But I felt as if I did. Really, is there anything so useless as a Swiffer? And spending three hours looking up images to match the word 'comfort' did me in. So long, advertising.)

(For the record, this image is what I came up with for 'comfort')

I was reminded of my time in advertising just today when Greg said, of a recent night watching movies, "There were three people watching what you chose for us, and two of the people were very uncomfortable."

It's true. Three of us--me, Greg, and a friend--spent Thursday night watching movies, each of us choosing one film to foist upon the other, and my selection made both Greg and the friend uncomfortable. I was unaware of just how uncomfortable both Greg and the friend were. I was too in love with the film to notice.

To be fair to me: the film is supposed to make one uncomfortable. That's part of its charm. Todd Solondz's Happiness is a notoriously uncomfortable film. And I, for whatever reason, do not like being comfortable. Which is possibly why my visual definition of 'comfort' is a puppy sleeping on a plastic bottle.

Even now, I'm typing this while sitting in an Iron Maiden with my legs bent behind my back and a white-hot poker pressed against my left buttock. Talk about uncomfortable!

Our friend brought over three movies: Airplane!, The Muppet Movie, and State and Main. He was for some reason under the impression that I had not seen Airplane! ("Don't call me surely") or The Muppet Movie. He also knew I've been very down on David Mamet since Mamet's recent declaration to become a Swiffer... or, rather, since Mamet's denouncement of All Things Liberal. 

Given the choice of three movies--which, admittedly, was a nice thing for the friend to do, since I later just declared my own choice of viewing, and did not present anyone with a choice of three films--I went with State and Main, a pedestrian satire on the Hollywood film industry that in no way compares to the master-class satire of Altman's The Player or even the avuncular satire of Alan Alda's Sweet Liberty.

Seriously, as far as satires of The Biz go, State and Main is a notch under the film version of Noises Off, even if Alec Baldwin is preserved at his since-diminished prime hotness. State and Main is to showbiz satires what Grandpa Simpson is to dentures: toothless.

Happiness, however, is a hard sell. Its treatment of pedophilia alone makes one squirm, and in fact did make advertisers squirm. But then there's the treatment of the female characters--the film is, as Greg observed, the anti-Hannah and Her Sisters, as it tracks the relationships of three sisters and their dysfunctional, elderly parents  over the course of a year (or so). "There's no Hannah," Greg said at one point during our very uncomfortable viewing of Happiness. "This film needs a Hannah."

Our friend, watching from the recliner, mumbled something about how the film seemed to be an art-house movie, which I denied. He texted and fiddled with his phone. At the end of the film, he jetted out of the apartment, and Greg made his way to the bedroom for sleep.

The next day, Greg pointed out, quite rightly, that I'd chosen a film he didn't need to see again. This came up in a conversation where I discovered that some amusement parks have a 'single rider' line.

"That's what we do," I said. "We can go to Six Flags and pretend not to know one another, and get through the lines faster."

Swiffer the lines.

"You don't really get companionship, do you?" Greg responded.

"What do you mean? The ride is the thing. That's what we're experiencing. Why do we need to sit together? It's like--"

"The whole point is to experience something together. I'm not--"

"--going to a movie that's sold out. You don't have to sit beside one another. You're going to the movie. The movie is the thing, not the proximity of seating. You're going to see--"

"--you don't need to defend yourself. You just don't get companionship. Sharing the experience means you are together, sharing the experience. You don't take the next car, or sit three rows behind."

"You realize I've spent most of my life riding rides with my glasses off, right? The queen of England could be sitting beside me and I wouldn't know it."

"You don't--"

"It has an isolating effect."

"--need to defend yourself. I'm just saying you don't understand companionship. It's why I feel lonely sometimes."

"Okay."

When Happiness was released, it was a hard sell. It played in a few theatres, unrated, because if it had gotten a rating it would have been NC-17, which, because of our Swiffer culture, would have meant death to the movie. The recently late Roger Ebert loved the film. Gave it four stars. He was a great ad man.

If there is ever a demographic for 'uncomfortable,' I may give advertising a shot. Until then, here's a puppy sleeping on a pillow rather than a plastic bottle.




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