Tuesday, September 17, 2013

An' it harm none, do as thou wilt.

My favorite tenant in Wicca. I think it's akin to the inherent wisdom of The Golden Rule.

In my baby moleskine on 9/14/13 I wrote the following:

"Figuring out where you fit in a world (any world, be it highschool, marriage, as an art major...) isn't worth the turmoil. Be a world unto yourself."

What I mean by this...

A person can waste a life worrying about what others think and squelching their natural reactions.

Today I tried to stop myself from smelling souvenirs a friend was giving me from Iceland. But, I ALWAYS smell things! That's how I know I like them. If they smell good. It helps me get the full sensory experience. I suppose this is one of the things I'm learning as an Aspergirl...to just let myself have the reactions. I tend to have to get STINKING WASTED DRUNK in order to do some of the things I naturally want to do in life like a/ hug ppl, b/ scream "you're the hotness!" at the top of my lungs, c/ lay in the grass, and d/ prance. I will get upset if I don't remember doing these things when drunk, but I'm not at all surprised. I do those things then because I do what I feel in that state. I really do love my friends and think they're the "hotness" and I want to dance and sing and prance and act like a freaking weirdo, because that's what I fucking am.

Here's a gif of Buffy drinking. I love her post-shot face. It makes me happy:

So my point, and I do have one, is that as long as you're not hurting anyone else by your behavior, please just be yourself. Do your thing and others that are just as whatever-the-fuck-you-are will be attracted to your aura and shit. I swear, I'm only on my second beer as I write this...

Anyway, this is not at all a new sentiment. I'm not saying anything interesting here. I do want you to know that you've got specialness, bitch! Flaunt it.

Friday, September 6, 2013

My "unreasonable" expectations.

I recently learned about this phenomenon called the Bechdel Test for movies. Essentially, it is thus: For a movie to pass the Bechdel Test, it has to a) have two or more NAMED female characters that b) talk to each OTHER c) about a topic other than MEN.

Sounds simple, yeah? NO. It is unfortunately not FUCKING SIMPLE at all. I am angry.

So, after finding out about this thing I decided that I would check on the status of my favorite movies and every potential movie in the theatre I wanted to see. I have, for now, refused to see any movie that doesn't pass. Guess what doesn't pass? "Star Trek" barely has two female characters and they sure as shit don't talk to each other. A movie about the future doesn't include women, apparently. Gene Roddenberry would NOT approve. "World's End" (wtf, Simon Pegg? What the ACTUAL fuck?) has two or more named female characters but all they do is talk about the men. This movie is ostensibly (and I don't know, because I prevented myself from seeing a film that I SHOULD really enjoy) about a bunch of friends drinking and hanging out waiting for the end of the world. God, that sounds like a riot. I want to watch this movie, but it's on the surface a film that doesn't care enough about half the population to have them talking about something other than their male counterparts.

This thing has RUINED TV and movies for me, but it needed to be done, so I hope it ruins it for you too.

After the "World's End" debacle I asked myself if I was being too strict. I decided I was not. In the year 2013 women (again, 50% of the population of Earth? You know, HALF?!?!?) should be respected enough to appear in movies for reasons other than support of men in the form of sexuality and pep talks. I happen to know a lot of women (being that we're HALF the population of Earth) and you know what? We barely ever talk about men, especially for the purposes of trying to figure them out and never, I repeat NEVER, to worship them. There's the occasional, "He's so dreamy" but then we shake the stars out of our eyes and talk about our creative projects and music and pop culture and politics and literature and....

*deep cleansing breath*

When you think about it, this Bechdel Test is a really low expectation. All a movie has to do is have named females talking to each other about something, ANYTHING, but boys. How hard is that? A lot of terrible movies can pass the test. The test was created in the '80s and we still need it. This pisses me off to such a ginormous degree that I can actually feel my heart slamming against my rib cage right now. We deserve better, Simon Pegg. How hard would it have been to include three or four females in your pack of boy BFFs in your damn blockbuster movie?

One ray of hope is Paul Feig, the creator of "Bridesmaids" and "The Heat". "The Heat" is the only movie I've been able (As in wanted to watch and then succeeded in going to watch, time and funds allowing. There are others I have yet to see that pass.) to watch this summer. It is hilarious. See it. Paul has stated he strives to make everything he creates pass the Bechdel Test. Thanks for being on our side, Feig. Thank you so much.

Another pet peeve that's so far in our hypothetical future that it's like four post-Bechdel Tests from now: men in graphic sex scenes are never shown with a hand to the vagina during coitus. Most women need clitoral stimulation to have an orgasm during sex. As in the majority. But the women in movies and TV are shown losing their fucking minds during sex while the dudes are just jackhammering away (I'm talking to you, Bill Compton) without any regard to the nerve-centric pleasure center on the female body. Cliteracy, people!

My favorite movie of all time (as stated in this blog after extensive hours of analysis) is "High Fidelity" and it doesn't pass. There are many named female characters, but the only conversation between two of them occurs at a lunch between the characters of Laura and Liz and they're just talking about Rob the whole time. I had to reorganize my brain to explain away this betrayal by telling myself that they probably talked about several other topics too but because this movie is told from the point of view of Rob, this conversation could have been entirely in his head anyway and he's a selfish character so why would he think they talked about anything BUT him? Check out bechdeltest.com to see if your favorite movies pass.

The Bechdel test can be modified for minorities as well. Are there two or more named (insert minority here) characters? Do they speak to each other? about something other than the main white male characters?

Why the fuck is our society so backwards? We're just now letting same sex people get married but we still act as if women and people of color are second class citizens decades/centuries after legally giving them "equal rights" so how long will gay people still have stigma-status after their rights have been equalized? We're backsliding. I hate us so much right now.

*drops mic*

Thursday, September 5, 2013

TV in the kitchen.

I worry about the effects of forever-connectivity on our social culture.

Also, the last few days I've been thinking about how massive smartphones are getting. Like physically massive. They're getting so ridiculously huge that they might as well be called tablets. And what's the difference between a phone and a tablet these days if the size doesn't distinguish? Why do I have a laptop and a tablet and an ereader and an iPod and a phone? If phones keep getting bigger will we eventually reach a point where we just say "fuck it" and just carry our laptops with us everywhere? I mean, we might as well.

I listened to a podcast today that was speaking to this issue and the hosts brought up examples...like, we make reservations for dinner from an app on our phone and then check in on foursquare when we get to the restaurant and then we upload pictures of our food to Instagram when it gets to the table and on and on. Frequently, when out at dinner or a bar or a show all I can see are blue-light tinged faces sucked into their "dream machines" as my mom calls all handheld devices since my GameBoy in the '90s. The boys on the podcast mentioned an article comparing our relatively new smartphone era (the iPhone has only been out 6 years, though it feels longer) to the "TV in the Kitchen" phase when TVs had become such a member of American families that we started letting them interrupt our dinner. But this phase arguably (though I still know people with televisions in their kitchen) didn't last long. One can hope that smartphones will fade into our pockets in a few more years and they won't be the downfall of human interaction like a lot of us are foretelling.

I am so torn on this issue. On the one hand, I'm hopelessly in love with aluminum electronic devices that keep me plugged into the Matrix. But I worry about how fragmented my time has become by checking my phone every five minutes. I used to be very strict about keeping my phone out-of-sight out-of mind in social situations. I still hardly ever take pictures in the presence of others and I never answer my phone when I'm with friends, but so many of my friends just have their phone's screen up-and-at-the-ready on the table and I've started doing it too. But I want to be present. I still will not take my phone out at concerts because the pictures/videos you take will be crappy and distract from your experience in the moment. The lens through which we view the world organically (our eyeballs/brains/etc) is still farrrr superior to the 8MP lens on our phone camera. The sensory world is something I feel I am missing more and more. While I relish the opportunity to plug in and tune out the world sometimes, I'm overusing this tool. For fuck's sake, as I'm writing this blog I'm getting texts that alert me on my phone, my tablet, and my computer simultaneously in case I miss a single emoticon.

Don't even get me started on social media. There's TOO much! Google +, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest...ahhhh. They all have their advantages, of course. I go to Facebook to actually get ahold of people I know in my life. I go to Instagram to upload pictures of my animals. I go to tumblr to get validation for being a weirdo. I avoid Twitter and Pinterest and Google+ most of the time....but they're tools too. I'll use them to promote this blog. It's maddening. It would be nice if we were all connected to one conglomerate social media that was infinitely customizable...oh, wait, that's just sitting in front of a person and fucking talking to them. What?

As introverted as I am, I still prefer face-to-face when it comes to my real connections, my top ten friends and family.

All this blathering is to say that I'd like to make some parameters for myself...boundaries between me and my technology. My first move was to delete all but Tumblr, Facebook, and Instagram from my social media folder in my phone. Next, I think it would behoove me to unfollow a chunk of people on my Instagram and Tumblr to remove the temptation to get sucked into those worlds. I tend to scroll through those sites until I'm updated on EVERYTHING, which has got to be the mark of insanity. I get up every morning two hours before work in order to play with my tablet while drinking my coffee. True, I got up that early before the smartphone era, but then I was READING and/or WRITING.

And how much do you hate Facebook these days? It's gotten to the point that people seem to think just because you're friends on Facebook that you have seen and memorized all the details of their lives and the lives of our mutual friends. It often seems that people are continuing a conversation with me in person that started with a pictures of someone's granddaughter online assuming I have seen every single update on Facebook. Or that I want to see every single update on Facebook. And how weird is it when someone from high school you haven't seen SINCE high school runs into you at Target and already knows everything that's going on with you because you posted it on Facebook and forgot to make your post "friends only"? Social media is this weird privacy invasion we all signed up for!

Just in the time it's taken me to write this blog I've gotten an email and a dozen or so text messages. Maybe I should turn the alerts off on my phone too. This world of immediacy is driving me bonkers. I feel like I don't hone in on a task anymore...the distractions are constant. I feel like I'm about to have some sort of meltdown and go back to my pink Razr, sell my tablet, and just log onto the internet for an hour at the end of the day like I did back in high school. I had a social life back then. And I got lots of exercise too. Damn screens are ruining my life!! I don't really mean that. I love you, screens. Don't ever leave me.