The Fly in the Ointment

We all know that Bill Cosby is a rapist now, right? Like, twenty public accusers into this thing, I assume that we know all that it’s happening. But there are people who still blindly defend him and many of those people, maddeningly but unsurprisingly, are women. Since the Bill Cosby story broke there have been so many baffling variations of, “Well, how do we know these women aren’t just looking for [fame/money/attention/twitter followers/cake]?” I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that women who knew neither Cosby nor his accusers could be so sure that the women were lying. Recently clarity appeared on the subject from an unexpected place.

Last week, someone posted in an online forum that a teacher at a school where I take classes behaved inappropriately towards his students*. A woman posted in the comments section that the initial poster was brave because “no one wants to be that woman,” meaning (I think) the one who can’t be cool when people are just joking around, the one who always thinks that dudes want her, the one who ruins a good guy’s reputation by being an uptight bitch. “That woman” doesn’t get invited to parties. She is a person we can all universally hate, ladies included! She thinks she’s hot shit or she wants attention regardless of what collateral damage it might cause the victim of her inability to just roll with things. She can’t laugh at a joke or appreciate that attention is meant to be a compliment.

The impulse to not be labeled “that woman” is infinitely relatable. You hear a bunch of co-workers make a shitty joke about the war against women or your boyfriend’s friend says a bunch of shitty sexist crap about the cheerleaders during a football game or a shitty guy on a date calls you “sweetie” when you ask a question about current events. And you say nothing. It’s the same impulse that makes you smile when some asshole on the street tells you to as you walk by. We’re cool and please don’t single us out as anything else because God forbid we say something and someone doesn’t like it.

This isn’t a paranoid delusion of neurotic ladies. Women are ostracized daily for standing up to a man or a system because he or it mistreated her. It happens all over the world to every race, class, and creed. And the quickest way to avoid this exile is to show that you would never betray that man or that system by rocking the boat. The fear of being considered “that woman” keeps real victims from coming forward and allows predators to be seen as victims. It even obfuscates the vision of people who judge where they should only empathize.

*I don’t know what’s being done, but it’s nice to study at a school where a teacher being a dick to his students is a big deal both to the school and to the male and female members of the community around said school.

So This is the Kind of Movie Judd Apatow Writes Now

I loved Knocked Up, a movie that put Seth Rogan and Katherine Heigl on the map. What a fun movie that established a relatively believable base reality. So I was thrilled to finally watch the tangential sequel, This is 40, starring Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann’s characters from Knocked Up, also written and directed by Judd Apatow. What a very different viewing experience!

Guys, there’s a lot to love, but the most fun part of the whole movie is that Judd Apatow, a rich man who has a bunch of rich Hollywood friends, wrote a movie about people with absolutely obscene money problems. A quick calculation puts them around one hundred thousand dollars in debt with two failing small businesses, a huge house on which they can’t make mortgage payments, and a baby on the way. All of these issues make the movie so fun because they are never seriously addressed and the movie ends [SPOILERS] with the two of them confidently believing that it will all work out for the best!

I’m not sure if it’s because it’s a comedy or because Apatow can’t imagine what money troubles would feel like, but the movie doesn’t let itself get bogged down in the fact that these two people are totally, insanely fucked. Like, in real life, Paul Rudd’s awful, constantly-pooping, man-child character would have to get a second job to support the family. They would have to actually go through with selling the house. Leslie Mann would have to fire both her employees and work there open to close. It would be so boring because in reality, people with crippling debt and no prospects would be panicking and budgeting and not going to nice resorts and throwing elaborate parties at their house unless they were ultimately going to end up filing Chapter Eleven. Instead, they focus on having more sex and being more forgiving of each other. So much more rewarding for an audience!

Two refreshing cameos round out this incredible film, in order of relevance to the plot: a subliminal corporate sponsorship from Sprinkles Cupcakes, and Billy Joe from Green Day. Melissa McCarthy is also in the film, but her character is so interesting and well written, I assume she just wandered on set thinking she was filming some other movie and the editors just decided to keep it in. “The longer the movie, the more seriously people will take it!”, they must have all said to each other in a congratulatory way!

It’s nice to see someone in a position of privilege and power in the entertainment industry shit all over the idea of monetary problems without ever giving them any weight and it’s really cool to see a movie talk about serious issues in a really irresponsible way. I hope that people who are actually struggling with these things really enjoyed this whimsical take on those issues and that if there’s ever a violent uprising in America against the one percent that the first place the we go to is Judd Apatow’s house to thank him for his great work!

Below is a list of all the unresolved plots in This is 40. Which one is your favorite?

Plots

  • Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd are husband and wife who don’t have enough sex.
  • Their kids fight.
  • One is a teen coming of age.
  • Leslie Mann’s dad is an absentee father. They have issues.
  • Leslie Mann’s dad has teen kids.
  • Paul Rudd’s dad is a mooch. He has triplet toddlers. Everyone has issues.
  • No one wants the triplet toddlers.
  • Leslie Mann’s trainer wants to fuck her. (Jason Segal, giving a great performance.)
  • Leslie Mann’s store is missing $12,000. She tries to figure out who took it.
  • Paul Rudd’s record business is failing. He’s trying to fix it.
  • Paul Rudd hasn’t disclosed any money problems to his wife ($80,000 loaned to his dad, a missed mortgage payment, failing record business).
  • Paul Rudd secretly puts their house on the market.
  • Megan Fox is a retail worker who is also a highly paid escort.
  • Leslie Mann’s sister, played by Katherine Heigle in the much better Apatow movie, Knocked Up does not exist nor does her boyfriend, Seth Rogan, or their baby, infant from the movie Knocked Up.
  • Paul Rudd hates his whole family, but likes his dad who is a piece of shit.
  • Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd both threaten a teen at their daughter’s school.
  • Leslie Mann gets unnecessarily pregnant halfway through the movie.
  • Their money manager is the main provider of exposition.
  • Subplot : Paul Rudd is always farting or pooping. Always.
  • Second subplot: They don’t know any normal people! Every single character is a zany [gynecologist, sexless friend, coworker/pill addict/lothario/uptight principal, man you get in a car accident with, etc.].
  • There is marijuana use in the movie, to no end.
  • Paul Rudd exposes himself to more than one room service person.

One More Disaster I Can Add to My Generous Supply

No Good Deed, a movie starring Idris Elba as a man who continually abuses and murders women (strangers and girlfriends alike) and Taraji P. Henson as a woman who is brutally stalked and terrified in her own home while caring for two young children, made $24.5 million at the box office this weekend and sixty percent of ticket buyers were women.

Great. Perfection.

No Good Deed

I know that after a long, stressful week of the NFL’s lies, Ray Rice’s horrific video. Oscar Pistorius’ essential acquittal, Rhianna’s pulled performance (domestic violence victims are such an unpleasant distraction from the game) and countless other stressors, I can’t think of anything I’d rather do more than watch a giant man terrorize and brutalize a woman in her own home. I need me time or I just can’t function and I know for me, being reminded that women are all just helpless sexy marks in the face of monstrous sexy psychos is a great way to settle down.

After a week of being slapped repeatedly in the face with images, videos, and press releases reminding me that women get brutalized all the time, I can’t think of any better way to chill right out than to sit through eighty four minutes of a sexy film about violence against women.

Thank goodness that Sony had the good sense to cancel all press screenings of No Good Deed in advance of the film’s opening. I’m really glad it didn’t have the opportunity to spark advance discussions of why we glorify violence against women. That would have been a heady bummer on a weekend treat. I’m so glad that Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson decided to star in this film, since they are talented, charismatic actors who could draw audiences to literally anything, even I bet, a steaming pile of shit if they were in it. I’m delighted that Sony chose to make this film, since high production values are key in nabbing a large audience. I’m thrilled to see a movie perpetuating the idea that men who abuse are sick but the women who allow themselves to be treated badly are just stupid. And I am so grateful that so many women turned out to see No Good Deed because it’s important that studios know exactly how we feel about these issues and how willing we are to stand up for where we fit into society.

No Good Deed 2

I hope you feel as great as I do about this, because movies like this help preserve a status quo where nothing changes, which is clearly was $24.5 million worth of people want. Unfortunately, not everyone can appreciate when we all need to unwind and just focus on a fun thing. CBS Sports anchor, James Brown, participated in an hour-long discussion before the Ravens – Steelers game and had this to say about domestic violence:

“…this problem is bigger than football. There has been, appropriately so, intense and widespread outrage following the release of the video showing what happened inside the elevator at the casino. But wouldn’t it be productive if this collective outrage, as my colleagues have said, could be channeled to truly hear and address the long-suffering cries for help by so many women? And as they said, do something about it? Like an on-going education of men about what healthy, respectful manhood is all about.

And it starts with how we view women. Our language is important. For instance, when a guy says, ‘you throw the ball like a girl’ or ‘you’re a little sissy,’ it reflects an attitude that devalues women and attitudes will eventually manifest in some fashion. Women have been at the forefront in the domestic violence awareness and prevention arena. And whether Janay Rice considers herself a victim or not, millions of women in this country are.

Consider this: According to domestic violence experts, more than three women per day lose their lives at the hands of their partners. That means that since the night February 15th in Atlantic City [when the elevator incident occurred] more than 600 women have died.”

Fortunately, Sony doesn’t have to worry about those women because way more than 600 showed up to the opening weekend of No Good Deed.

Life is Disappointing, No?

Goddammit you guys. Everything is the worst. Picture it: A nice girl lives in Brooklyn off the G train. The G train goes out of commission for the entire month of August. This girl has to take three trains to work. She has to be patient with extra wait times and crowded trains and getting up early and getting home late. It’s fine, she tells herself. Come September, all will be resolved. The girl takes the G through its full route on September 2nd to find MTA workers handing out fliers promising the girl that the G train was new and improved, never to return to its previous inefficiency.

"The G Train is Back". Hah.

“The G is Back”. Hah.

Trouble is, the girl is me. And me waited for the fucking G train for 25 minutes this morning. No explanations, no excuses. The conductor just kept yelling at us to stand clear of the closing doors. Some of us were clear, sir. Some of us were clear.

But, unlike the G train, there were several opportunities to quickly jump on disappointment today. Guys, Nev from MTV’s Catfish is a piece of shit. Who could have imagined that someone who makes a living following the emotionally delicate journeys of people who are willingly fooled on the Internet would turn out to be a total craphole? Who could have foreseen that someone on reality TV wasn’t as genuine as he appeared. Nev, second cutest host in a set of two, posted a hilarious and/or poignant photo of himself in an “abuse free” elevator onto the Twitter today. Fun fact about Nev, he punched a girl in the face in college. At Sarah Lawrence University. She was trying to get him to stop taking photos of her kissing her partner. Fuuuucckkkkk. Next thing you’ll tell me Roger Goodell had plenty of opportunities to see that video.

But all of this is just disappointment Funfetti on a disappointment cupcake. Guys, Taylor Swift is fighting with Katy Perry. And Taylor promised us it wasn’t even about a guy! And I, sucker for the ages, believed her. I figured they had professional beef, which I totally understand. There was this bitch at my old restaurant who never mise en place-d properly and I would have loved the opportunity to shade her in Rolling Stone. Women fighting over business in the media is the next step in kicking through the glass ceiling, right? Nope, wrong.

Tense cheekbones of rage.

Tense cheekbones of rage.

Not only are Taylor Swift and Katy Perry* fighting over a guy, they are fighting over human wet sneeze, John Mayer. Of all the men in all the corners unnecessarily playing guitar in the world, they are fighting over John “David Duke dick” Mayer. Taylor, it wasn’t supposed to be about a guy, and it’s about the guy.

G train, Nev, Katy and Taylor most of all, I can’t with you, so I’ll hand the mic to Tyra:

*My mom mentioned Katy Perry three times this weekend. This cannot be a coincidence.

#NotAllComissioners

I am the worst liar. I just don’t have the facial control. Fortunately, I’m awesome at spotting disgusting, cowardly liars, which is why I so appreciate the National Football League and the Baltimore Ravens’ honesty.

The non-profit organization and it’s Maryland branch bravely expelled worker Ray Rice just 30 weeks after Rice knocked his fiancé unconscious in an elevator and then dragged her body out of it. Commissioner, and natural blonde, Roger Goodell initially suspended Rice for two games and people were outraged. Fortunately, Goodell’s flippancy about a league player’s displaying such public and brutal domestic violence has been explained: Roger Goodell, everyone at the NFL, and everyone at the Balitmore Ravens’ offices simply hadn’t seen the 30 weeks old video.

Roger Goodell’s assistant must be in really hot water. Goodell is out there doing God and George Washington’s work, comissing the league, and it’s like, can’t someone just please take a look at his inbox or twitter feed or watch goddamn Sports Center or check his Facebook or texts or do a quick Google search on the people he’s in charge of disciplining or something? Don’t even get me started on the administrative staff of the Baltimore Ravens.

Ravens, NFL, I have a full time job, but I’d be happy to volunteer my time to help you guys clean up your voicemail and Outlook system. Simply using categories and filters could really be helpful. If you guys aren’t more careful something really damning could have happened, like mistakenly sending the message  that the National Football League doesn’t give a single fuck about anything but the bottom line and that it puts such low value on human life that it assumes that no one else will give a single fuck about a vicious assault and might certainly be complicit in covering it up in the interest of touchdowns and ratings.

I sincerely hope that an oversight like this won’t reflect badly on an organization that has time and time again displayed an unprecedented value for human life and especially the lives of the women attached to its players. And I sincerely hope there will be no adverse consequences for Roger Goodell, head Ravens’ coach John Harbaugh, assistant head coach Jerry Rosburg, or anyone else who I’m sure was trying his very best.

 

T.J. from Two Episodes of Empty Nest is Here to Save Us All

Everything happens for a reason is hard to hear that when you’re in the throes of a tragedy like a drunk girl dropping her phone on the subway tracks or the victim of a tsunami that hits the entire eastern part of your country. But morn not me in 2012 or all citizens the eastern half of Japan; your suffering is all part of a synchronicity that child and teen star Andrew Keegan keyed into and used to start his own religion. Zack Dell from Camp Nowhere, bless us all.

Taken from vice.com

Taken from vice.com

You see, Andrew Keegan or the guy from the fold out poster I hung on my wall after cutting it out of Tiger Beat has started his own religion based on the premise that all the world’s suffering is synched up because he and two of his bros got mugged at the same time that 15,889 people perished, $34 billion worth of damage occurred, and nuclear reactors exploded in one of the largest tsunamis in recorded history hit Japan. Time truly is a flat circle and I for one am shocked. Not just because I would have pegged one or both of the Carter brothers as the heartthrob(s) from the late 90’s / early aughts as the one(s) to start a cult. And not just because Larry Miller seemed to be the most natural spiritual leader of the cast of Ten Things I Hate About You. And not just because Keegan’s followers seem to be people who got sidetracked on their way home from Coachella and those kinds of people usually hate hipster bullshit that includes crystals and a nostalgia-inspiring figurehead.

 

giphy

I’m shocked because it took this long for us to get a hot religious leader. What the heck, religious world? Buddha seems like a dad, depictions of Jesus are way too photo-shopped to tell, and I’ve never even seen an image of Muhammad. In terms of more modern leaders, David Miscavige is too intense, Manson too needy, Oprah is too unwilling to consistently lead. Finally, there’s someone who knows how to smolder as he incites our spirits burn with fervor. And while I would prefer to follow Matt Camden of Seventh Heaven over Mary Camden-Rivera’s cast-off, Wilson West, I’m in one hundred percent.

From the book of T-Shirts, 4:54

From the book of T-Shirts, 4:54

 

How Privilege Comes to Your Door

I was on the elliptical today watching ESPN because the news depresses me at the gym. Fortunately, ESPN showed a snippet of their “Outside the Lines”* interview with Redskins team owner, Daniel Snyder. He took this interview not to defend his team’s shitty preseason performance but to defend his football team’s name because it’s a rich tradition and he has never met a Native American who objects to the name. He somehow missed the Oneida Indian Nation, the Hoh Indian Tribe, the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, and the other twenty tribes and fifty Native American groups protesting the name.

To be fair to Mr. Snyder, everyone understands the importance of tradition. The Native Americans slurred in his team name probably understand and appreciate tradition better than anyone. Their tradition is a little bit different than wearing another culture’s ceremonial headdress to celebrate adult men giving each other concussions. Their tradition is one of persecution and subjugation under people who look and sound an awful like Dan Snyder. Different traditions, but both special in their own ways.Ugh

Dan Snyder’s position is one of privilege**, standing on the field, wearing a shirt he was given for owning a team he inherited. He has never known poverty or being mistreated for the color of his skin.

But we learned today that, though it helps, you don’t have to be a white man to enjoy privilege. CeeLo Green, songwriter of the ironically titled, “Fuck You” and previous co-host of The Voice pled no contest last Friday to giving a woman ecstasy during a dinner date. The woman alleges she was slipped the ecstasy, passed out, and woke up in CeeLo Green’s bed the next morning***. A rape charge wasn’t filed due to lack of evidence. Mr. Lo Green then tweeted the following:

CeeLo Green Tweet

Followed by: “If someone is passed out they’re not even WITH you consciously! so WITH Implies consent,” which I think means that awake, I’m allowed to decide but if I’m passed out (whether I got myself there or was helped by a spiked drink) I’m a hollow shell to be used as any man sees fit. Also, maybe that just being with a man means you’re DTF. I slept through my inarticulate rapist classes in college, so I’m not sure if I even agreed to take them. The tweets and his account have since been deleted.

Bieber committed his crimes in Canada today, so i don’t have a great celebrity candidate for abusing white privilege. Even without a figurehead, many of us enjoy the privilege of not being hassled by police just because of the color of our skin. We enjoy walking up to a porch looking for help when our cars break down without being shot to death. We enjoy the right to protest without being harassed and moved to multiple locations without being told why we were in police custody. Black Americans face a systematic betrayal by the American justice system day in and day out. I do not have the authority to speak about systematic racism but I will say that not shutting up about Ferguson (both the death of Michael Brown and the subsequent mistreatment of protesters there), Eric Garner, John Crawford, Ezell Ford, and countless others is key. Talk about all of it. If you’re among the privileged, those conversations will be uncomfortable and guilt inducing. That’s pretty small compared with being denied equal rights; privilege at its core. Enjoying a privilege denied to others is profiting from systematic prejudice. And tolerating any kind of privilege legitimizes all of it.

Ferguson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Respect for ESPN’s pun game.

** A special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people.

***To be fair, if CeeLo’s date had never gone out with him or if she’d worn date rape drug detecting finger nail polish or not been audacious enough to have a vagina at all, she might have been fine.

 

From the Bottom of My Broken Heart

Guys, it’s taken me a long time to talk about this because betrayal is something I take really seriously. When I make an agreement with someone, especially when it’s personal, it may as well be a blood oath.

A few months ago, I was in my bathroom inspecting my eyebrows. Sacred time. That’s when I saw him. We locked eyes in the mirror and though I knew we’d never be in love, that moment changed what we were to each other and ourselves, forever. There was the face of the biggest cockroach in the world, staring from the linen cabinet directly behind me.

I am never great when I meet someone new. I froze and then slowly backed out of the bathroom, closing the door behind me and resolving to think about this in the morning, when I could stand it.

Over the next few weeks, a grudging respect grew between us. He stayed in or on the cabinet and I made a lot of noise before entering the bathroom. It wasn’t comfortable, but it was honest. We had an understanding.

So you can imagine my heartbreak when I came into my apartment one night and found that my stalemate had turned into an out and out war. My giant cockroach roommate had stormed the beaches and was now standing on the blinds over my bed. My fidelity was for naught.

IMG_0052

“It was a mistake,” you said. But the cruel thing was, it felt like the mistake was mine, for trusting you.” ― David Levithan,

I picked up my Lavender Scented Raid* and went to town. Of course, because a roach is only that close to your bed in a personal Hell, he writhed and fell into a bunched up Snuggie I’d crammed into my windowsill to block out cold wind in the winter.

Snuggie Biz

The Snuggie, during happier times.

Two glasses of rosé, three hysterical phone calls, and thirty minutes later, I pulled out my bed, unbunched the Snuggie and found his still twitching body. I flushed him, crying both from disappointment in our broken gentlemen’s agreement and ickiness, all the while thinking, “This must be how the President feels about Putin.”

Since then, I’ve moved out and I’ve moved on. But when I see a cockroach now, I kill him instantly. I hate that I’m just not ready to trust again.

 

 

*So refreshing as you breathe in brain cell-killing poison.