Friday, November 19, 2004

Thoughts for Singletons on a Friday Night

My roomie has a date tonight, and I'm sitting here watching Rocky movies, eating Thai food, doing line edits and arguing with myself again about what a lame person I must be to be sitting here finding some kind of happiness in line edits and Rocky movies. Aren't I incomplete? Isn't there something wrong with me? All the magazines say so. The TV says so. They say how I'm supposed to be, and how I'm supposed to feel, and I'm supposed to feel lame, sitting here at home by myself, doing line edits and watching movies.

I should go out tonight. Go to Second City. Go around the corner to the Green Mill. Really should go out tonight. Should do something.

I should be dating.


Scratch that. Go back. Rewind.

Me: We've discussed this.

Evil Kameron: You're a freak.

Me: Whoa. Hold on. First: you're channeling all the bullshit pressure again. You were totally fine until your roomie started dating. You're internalizing social expectations for the way women are supposed to live. Step back, deep breath. Are you wholly comfortable yet with the idea of being in a relationship? Are you secure enough in your sense of self that you know you wouldn't let it be subsumed by the desires of someone else? We've been down this road before, honey - if you want to be strong, if you want this life, if you want to be happy right now, this is how you have to play it. Once you've got your stuff together, once you're more comfortable in your skin, with who you are, we'll have this conversation again. That's what the journey's about, honey. That's what the traveling is about, the writing is about. That's everything. And until you have a handle on yourself, you can't go dragging anybody into your life.

Evil Kameron: But isn't that really cynical? Why the hell are you sitting around here on a Friday night eating Thai food and doing line edits on some fantasy book nobody's ever expressed any interest in and watching lame Rocky movies?

Me: Cause it's the one day a week I get Thai food, I'd rather write fantasy books than do anything else, and I've got boxing class tomorrow.

Evil Kameron: So this is the life you chose for yourself?

Me: Yea. For now. This is a journey, like all the rest of them. And when you're traveling, you'll have some lonely Friday nights. That's what makes you love the crazy, people-filled nights all the more.

Evil Kameron: Dammit, you're getting all philosophical and Old Woman Wise again.

Me: It's called perspective. I know what it is to be in the corner, in the shitter, in poverty, without anything or any hope for anything else. This world, this night, these things I've chosen - I'm so fucking lucky to be here. I'm so happy to be here.

Evil Kameron: Get yourself a drink. You have another 680 pages to work on.

Me: Damn straight.

Evil Kameron: Bungee jumping in New Zealand next year?

Me: Count on it.

Evil Kameron: Dorky guy in tow?

Me: Don't push it.

Have a great weekend, all.

Teaching Gaiman

And, one more before I get started on these 700 pages of line edits (arg): check out Matt Cheney's reflections on teaching Neil Gaiman's American Gods to his highschool AP English class.

I just think it's damn cool he got away assigning a real book - with swearing and vagina dentate and non-white people and non-Christian mythology and everything.

I would have killed to get assigned books like this in highschool.

Random Linkage, My Chiklits

Charge `em by the pound. Yea, that's right, fat girls. What the hell is up with places like Eddie Bauer and L.L. Bean that don't charge you for plus sizes? Who do they think they are? Hey, let's start putting a "woman tax" on shirts. Afterall, if a woman's got breasts bigger than a B, she should be paying extra, lousy bitty.

And here are some local blue-state hysterics who are pitching fits about the idea of the existence of Bad Ass coffee. No, no, they're not even protesting by just not going to the place (you know, boycotting is the usual sort of protest for this thing) they're just pissed that the damn place even exists. Messes up their cozy view of the world, apparently. Only good asses live in their world.

Speaking of boycotting and freedom of speech, Jeff Jarvis has been doing some research into the big bout of FCC fining bullshit that's been going on this year (showing a white woman jumping into the arms of a black quarterback still rankles, apparently). Want to know how many of the 260M Americans in this country it takes to get a show fined and send all the networks into a censorship frenzy?

About three.

Over a million women had to march on Washington to get the government just to *think twice* about further tampering with reproductive rights and enforcing the ban on partial birth abortion.

But three people can scare the media into censorship.

Stand up. Write back. Send letters to the FCC saying that you're against the censorship of free speech. Even 30,000 is more than 3, last time I checked. But then, this administration has fuzzy math.

Enough, Already. No, Really, ENOUGH.

I did a bad thing last night.

I rented and watched Enough with Jennifer Lopez.

Oh, gag me with a spoon.

To be fair, I knew this was going to be a wretched movie, but I'd heard she learned a bunch of Krav Maga for it, and I've had a higher-than-usual interest in fighting movies since I've started learning to fight. I enjoy watching training sequences now and going, "I've done that! I know how to do that!"

And I've also begun to understand why my buddy Patrick - who's a fifth-degree black belt in Kenpo karate - gets so frustrated with fight scenes.

"Enough" is one of those domestic-abuse movies that's obviously been written and directed by a man.

"What, you mean, he'll just hit her, and she'll be a stay-home mom, and he makes all the money? That's not scary enough! How about he has serial affairs, too? No, no, MORE, EVIL! How about he hires thugs to pose as FBI agents and go after her? How about he taps her phones? No, more! How about we find out that he conspired with a friend to get her into bed in the first time! Yay!"

Oh, puleez.

Want to know the scariest moment in the movie? It's not when the pseudo-FBI agents come after her, or when some other guy is tracking her, or whatever else totally over-the-top crap happened that was thrown in there to make the guy REALLY SCARY. It's the moment when, after he's hit her, he goes into her purse and takes her keys and her wallet.

Really, that's scary enough. So is canceling all of her credit cards and closing her accounts. That's what it's all about, keeping control over women. That's why women owning their own property was such a big deal of a law to change, and why so many men balked at it for thousands of years. That's why women still aren't allowed to drive in some countries. Take away the money and the transport, and you control people.

So, unfortunately, instead of being a woman-training-to-kick-ass-and-finding-the-strength-in-herself-movie, this movie was just a really poor knockoff of Sleeping With the Enemy (which was way better, in my opinion), only really disjointed, over-the-top and bordering on the frickin' ridiculous. I started fast-forwading through the husband-stalking-the-wife scenes, and about 2/3rds of the way through the movie, I realized I wasn't going to get much Krav Maga, and the point of the movie wasn't about the awesome realization of her power as a human being or anything. It was just about killing her husband.

"Oh, crap," I said to my roomie, "it's going to be one of those two-and-a-half-minute training sequences, isn't it? The one's with the music, where she learns how to move like a super ninja in three days?"

And, lo and behold:

All the Krav Maga we got was one of those two-and-a-half-minute training sequences with a nameless trainer, complete with the music.

And, BAM: Jennifer Lopez is a super ninja.

No, no really: she goes into the husband's house and climbs around in the rafters and sets up this fighting trap for him, and moves all the guns around and closes her eyes and figures out the number of steps to all the furniture, and brings a bag of gear so that she can scamble cell phone signals in the house. It's like the Karate Kid, only without all the actual, you know, training and self-discovery and shit like that. And, obviously, without any attempt whatsoever at realism.

That's right, two-and-a-half-minutes of Krav Maga, and a former waitress has becomes James Bond.

Me, screaming in the background, "What the fuck is this???"

So Jennifer Lopez the Super Krav Maga Ninja kills her husband with her Krav Maga super powers, and the police arrive, and tell her she's lucky to be alive, and then super ninja and her daughter go back to Seattle to shack up with the nice dorky guy she broke up with in high school and should have married in the first place.

The End.

What a lame movie.

Good Women Are Thin Women is sponsoring a series of rather dull, boring short movies that then try and "make money" by advertising products seen in the short. They've got one up with Minnie Driver called "Portrait" in which the office fat girl - who's seen eating in *every damn scene* - at a modeling agency gets her photo taken at a Glamour Shots type of place that says she'll have her "inner beauty" revealed by the photographer.

At work, she's looked down on by all the thin-bitch-women who've screamed their way to the top, and she's always walking three steps behind everyone. She's a sloppy dresser, hesitant, unnoticed, and flighty. Did I mention she's eating ALL the time? Nobody seemed to realize that lots of overweight women actually don't eat in front of people - yea, there are binge sessions at home, but most of them don't consist of enough food to take up THE ENTIRETY OF THE COUCH AND COFFEE TABLE. And hello, jerk-offs, skinny people binge too: they either have happy metabolisms that slough it back out, or they vomit it up. Don't throw your fat girl stereotypes at me.

So, after having her photo taken, our heroine wakes up the next morning, and ta-da!!

She's thin.

Yes. That's right. Her inner "goodness" has shone through and sloughed off all the fat that was hiding the "good" thin woman inside of her! Now, she goes to work wearing stylish clothes, tosses her hair a lot, flirts with guys at the watercooler, gets a better job, and becomes the envy of the thin-bitch-women.

Imagine me screaming in the background, "What the fuck is this???"

As someone who's gone up and done the sliding size-scale from a 12-22 (since I was twelve years old - yea, that's right I was a size 12 at 12, again at 16, again at 20, and likely will be again at 25 - see a pattern here?) and back again, once, twice, working on three times down the size loop again, I can tell you this: I'm the exact same person at a 22 as I am at a 12. I guess this must mean that I'm not a "good" person on the inside, as I'm not thin and blond, and really don't have much desire to be.

I think what always offends me so much about thin actresses going around in fat drag is that the women who do it may have a deep, deep fear of being fat, but they've never *been* fat. They don't realize that life goes on, that you're the same person, that the world doesn't end. For most actresses in Hollywood, and in the minds of some ridiculous amount of women, being fat is the absolute worst thing that can happen to them. How can you have people who think this giving us the popular media idea of fat women? How can you so blantantly tell people that "goodness" means being thin, and "badness" means being fat?

And how come fat girls have to dress like shit, and walk five steps behind everybody? Why can't they laugh out loud and dress really great, and not be flighty and stupid? Why do they have to show fat women gorging themselves at work all the time?

These writers and directors and actors need to move the hell out of Hollywood and go write something from the real world.