It could be argued that complaining, and/or actively listening to the things that annoy you is even more time-wasting and stupid than the initial causes of annoyance. OR, as m.snowe would like to imagine, annoyances can be turned upside down and regurgitated, creatively. So in her attempts to neuter, or perhaps even humorize her daily pain–here is a lovely site devoted to the ridiculous. m.snowe realizes that all these things are taken out of context and therefore funnier than they actually sound in real time. She also apologizes to any publishing folks who take offense. The only thing she can say in her defense is that like this blog, the identity of the multiple INTERNS is kept strictly anonymous.
Remember, this isn’t to make fun–it’s to make light.
m.snowe had a whole long rant composed for this blog tackling the insidious comments about women and sports made by some men she sat near on a subway the other day, which were said when the men thought they were out of the earshot of women (or at least the women they play sports with). But in the interest of not making the reader’s eyes bleed, m.snowe would rather explore sexual appeal, its relation to sport, and the sometimes unfair judgments made upon one when examining the other.
m.snowe doesn’t want to be considered a sexist towards males, so she will immediately admit that she, and of course most women, have often made comments about a male athlete’s attractiveness, or lack thereof. We are all human, sexual beings and to ignore that would be idiotic. But if this was the end of it–that both sexes just happened to do this, then there’d be no need to post anymore. But m.snowe was still miffed about something during and after her attempts to negate her overzealous (though possibly righteous) anger.
Conclusion: When male sport players are judged, be it in regards to their sporting abilities, sexual attractiveness, personality, etc., all these aspects are usually (by and large, for the most part, regularly, more often than not–take your pick) separated out and judged by their own unique merits. Example: Roger Federer is an exceptional tennis player. m.snowe also recognizes that many people find him attractive. However, his ability to break hearts is not in any way proportional in his ability to break serves. And regardless of his attractiveness, people would continue to watch his matches. It doesn’t hurt that hes good-looking, but it’s not why people spend hundreds of dollars on Wimbledon tickets.
Women athletes, on the other hand, are judged in tandem–sporting ability and attractiveness, and it seems that for women, the two aspects of their persona are stickier for people of both sexes to detach from each other. And this can translate into multiple scenarios: Woman gets acclaim because she’s athletic and hot (“Wow, what a rarity!”), or woman gets written off because she’s hot, and not that athletic (“Yeah, Anna Kornakova’s 200-seed match is only on television for one reason…”). Contradictorily, women who are not attractive (in as much as ‘attractiveness’ can be universally quantified) are considered, by some, less deserving of athletic acclaim. But the reverse argument is also used: women who are attractive are not “serious” athletes. You might be shaking your head in disagreement, but just reflect upon this for a moment. How often have you heard a brilliant woman athlete labeled “butch,” or mannish? Or when Maria Sharapova gets on a court, aren’t comments made on her backside just as much as her backhand? m.snowe’s humble analysis is this: women are de-feminized or hyperfeminized…out of, fear? Either the woman is good at sports and attractive, and therefore a victim of hypersexualization so as to remind us we’re still dealing with a chick, or the less attractive woman good at sports is accused of being in some way unnatural because she is excelling at something that men also take pride in being tops at. And women are not blameless here–they play into the marketing campaigns of major sponsors that play up their looks or even lack thereof. But honestly, they’d be foolish not to if they want to earn a living at their sport.
You still unsure? Well back in the days of The Gay Recluse (now MatthewGallaway.com) this post on beach volleyballers spiked so many site hits, it was ridiculous. m.snowe is sorry, but you can bet that many of the people who bought tickets to this event at the Olympics were more or less motivated by an unfair mix of things, not just the technical prowess of the competitors. And it’s not like the people who made those “uniforms,” or those on the US committee that required players to wear them, weren’t aware of it.
m.snowe will leave you with quotes that support her point, but prove nothing, because they’re from A League of Their Own:
“Dave Hooch: I know my girl ain’t so pretty as these girls, but that’s my fault. I raised her like I would a boy. I didn’t know any better. She loves to play. Don’t make my little girl suffer because I messed up raising her. Please.”
“Announcer: Then there’s pretty Dottie Henson, who plays like Gehrig, and looks like Garbo. Uh-uh, fellas, keep your mitts to yourself; she’s married. And there’s her kid sister Kit, who’s as single as they come. Enough concentrated oomph for a whole carload of Hollywood starlets.”
In general, m.snowe likes her some Slate articles. Usually, she can find one or two that grab her interest every day. But sometimes, the columnists are just regrettably behind the times. The Double X Blog is woefully one of the repeat offenders in this category. For instance, today’s article on how Vampirism is “bad” for women. Um, yeah, we knew this, even if we don’t entirely agree with how you posed the argument.
In case you want to take a peek at something else on Slate that sounds interesting (and has a sort-of vampire connection), m.snowe recommends this review of the newest Byron biography. m.snowe might like Slate, but she loves her some Katha Pollitt, especially when combined with stories of Romantic-Period Sexy Time.
So inevitably, dear readers, you’ve been bombarded with news story after news story re: the Michael Jackson Memorial. Instead of ya’ll thinking m.snowe has been invoking some grotesque show of poetic silence by not writing about this public outpouring of gratuitous grief, m.snowe will clearly state she thinks while he was an exceptional cultural icon and breakthrough artist, all this fuss is a bit ridiculous. But let’s make it into something ridiculous and enjoyable then, shall we?
So the cold and emaciated corpse of Michael got these people to show up and/or contribute:
- Kobe Bryant
- Wesley Snipes
- Spike Lee
- Smokey Robinson
- Nelson Mandela (wrote an address, didn’t attend)
- Diana Ross
- Queen Latifa
- Maya Angelou (sent a [bland] poem for the occasion)
- Mariah Carey
m.snowe’s statement and question to her noble readers is thus: You’re all clearly awesome and worthy of a star-studded affair once you kick the proverbial bucket–so who would you want singing, addressing, poeticizing, etc., for you?
m.snowe won’t tell you all of her own picks yet, but let’s just say Derek Jeter will start by hitting a 50-home run salute, followed by a poetic reading of Rod Stewart’s “Have I Told You Lately” by Dominic West, followed by a dramatic interpretation of m.snowe’s life performed by Maggie Gyllenhaal.
So, m.snowe just started Then We Came to the End—an assigned book club book, by Josh Ferris. This will sound horribly hypocritical, but m.snowe does not like the way the narrative is told from a “royal we” perspective.Yes, m.snowe refers to herself in the 3rd person because she prefers to avoid that short yet obnoxious “I-word”. But at the very least, m.snowe is a distinguishable character who defines herself by what she writes on this blog–and it’s fairly easy to glean how she leans in most topics, be it literature, politics, etc. and so on. But the whole facade of a first-person plural pronoun telling a story is a shoddy gimmick that cannot possibly sustain itself through almost 400 pages–and it leaves m.snowe wanting. Wanting an actual, literally-tangible narrator. Upon picking up the book, the nosism was interesting and a good way to indoctrinate readers into the advertising agency in Chicago in which the book is set. But as the first chapter went on, m.snowe couldn’t help but hope that this was just an introductory chapter, and that the real meat of the book would come through some more focused, and less omnipresent cipher.
It’s understandable that Ferris is trying to cultivate a notion of collective singularity, and perhaps suggest that we are all drones in whatever corporate mechanism we happen to find ourselves in and this in turn binds us together—but no one worker’s experience is the same as another, and to try and synchronize the 9-5er’s experience isn’t just lame, it’s downright degrading. m.snowe is all about books that explore the tedium and ridiculousness of work culture (especially in downturn years), but there must be better ways to do it. And this first-person plural, if truly trying to grasp the language of the heaping conglomerate mass of coworkers, should be much less impressed with it’s own vocabulary and turn of metaphors. The best thing that could possibly happen right now, is that upon reading the rest of the book (Disclaimer: m.snowe just started the book, 80 pages down, 300 to go.) a less shadowy narrator appears from beyond the dark environs of the cubicles Ferris has so neatly sketched out for us.
Also, another book club member expressed her concerns with the novel, and made two points:
a. It’s really not as funny as she hoped,
b. It struck her as needlessly laconic.
We’ll see what happens once m.snowe (i.e. me, myself and I, and nobody else) finishes.
Update: We didn’t like the Lynn Mason perspective either. Ferris, we wash our hands of you…in the office break room sink.
m.snowe is no seasoned movie critic, however, she left the theater with an unsure feeling after seeing UP. One thing m.snowe wasn’t questioning was the effectiveness of the movie itself–it was entertaining and to some extent, (m.snowe cringes to admit) moving. The Pixar people know how to make a movie visually pleasing, and their knack for picking crazy, eclectic stories that actually work for mainstream audiences verges on the occult.
But here’s the rub–how much should we like a finished product, when said product combines good presentation and gratuitous emotional lubrication to slide hackneyed, pre-sexual-revolution values down our throats?
First off, there is a ~15-minute montage of the main (male) character Carl’s life, starting with when and how he met his wife when they were both children. His future wife, Ellie, is everything a rambunctious kid should be–she’s adventurous, talkative, bright, happy, and physically active. Once the characters establish their friendship, the montage is set to music and the characters cease speaking, and we see the progression of their lives together as a couple. But it was a very, very traditional life–as if the writers had taken Walt Disney’s head out of the freezer and asked him to plot out the story–the good wife straightening her husband’s tie as he goes off to work, the good wife cooking, etc. Haven’t we evolved past the housewife model for our married couples?
The only two women characters in the story are decidedly the catalysts for the male action (the two older male characters, anyway). Both of the men believe (wrongly) that attaining some end goal will either please themselves or the women they’ve thrown upon a pedestal. But this is the problem. Catalysts and revered people in this movie don’t have their own voices–they are simply drivers that the true characters invoke in order to do what they want. They are being exploited. In fact, the only time in the movie that Ellie has a speaking line is in her childhood–even though we see the entire progression of her life. Carl speaks for her, and as the ending of the movie proves (in a sappy way) he mischaracterizes. Also, the only time Ellie “appears” unhappy is when we are clued into the fact that she cannot have children. Clearly, that would be any woman’s only disappointment in life. Right.
M.snowe couldn’t help but feel transported back to the time she read David Copperfield as she left the theater and threw out her 3D glasses for UP—both were flat, and two-dimensional despite their best efforts, and both were Bildungsromans that ended with a similar protagonist self-realization. The main similarity has to do with the female characters of Ellie in Up and Agnes in Copperfield. Both are these shadowy, yet instinctively strong women that are invoked to lead the male protagonist to some enlightenment, yet they never get a true voice of their own. And the line that sticks out the most, and speaks volumes of both Carl’s and David’s (mis)understanding of their female companions is this:
“O Agnes, O my soul, so may thy face be by me when I close my life indeed; so may I, when realities are melting from me, like the shadows which I now dismiss, still find thee near me, pointing upward!”
He sets up Agnes as some godlike creature, “pointing upward,” because she clearly knows better than David, and is the “domestic angel” of his dreams…but her role in life (i.e. the book, and in Ellie’s case, the movie) is only to point–not to live. Living a fun, varied, sometimes messy life is left to the men.
So the wrap up: Enlightening as UP is, and as moral-inducing as it is for the main male characters, m.snowe can’t get over the fact that these good lessons are learned at the expense of the female characters who aren’t even allowed a voice. The woman serves as an example of the idea that “real adventures” need not be what you initially dreamed, and that domestic happiness is just as pleasing as a future of discovery and daring. Excuse me, but have we crash landed upon the 1950’s? Although Pixar hasn’t been consciously picking male-dominated movies on purpose (hopefully!), it would be nice if they entertained an ingenious story of a feisty woman character. Because there must be some out there…