Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Can you pass the Alka-Seltzer?

I was surfing the AM dial when I encountered some unfunny female comic, talking about how she was hoping that recently resigned New York Representative Anthony Weiner’s so-called “sex scandal” would not end; she freely confessed that she was busy searching for new dirt on the ex-congressman. This is an example of the cannibalism that many so-called “liberals” and “progressives” engage in. Weiner, a Democrat, apparently sent cell phone snaps of himself to women he did not know, showing off his “buff” physique while working out at the gym. At least one of these women thought she could get some free publicity on network morning shows and CNN by “exposing” him. Nothing illegal, just plain dumb in this day and age where anything of an even vaguely sexual nature will be played for its fullest TV ratings potential.

The radio program the above mentioned "comic" was airing out her desires on was the “The Stephanie Miller Show.” Miller is not a “liberal” or a “progressive”; she is a raging narcissist. Her biggest concern is gay and lesbian issues, and frequently displays her disdain for (hetero) men; when I caught her show this time, she was also whining about some kids on an airplane, aiming her distaste at the father rather than the mother. There is an audience for this type of thing, and if Miller can make a living from it, fine for her. The problem is that Republicans and Democrats are skewered with equal delight, as on Comedy Channel’s Jon Stewart show. I suppose you can call this “fair and balanced”—like two ends of a see-saw. One problem is that it is playground stuff; another is that you would never hear any of the right-wing blowhards attacking Republicans no matter what they do. People like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity put their fundaments on one end of that see-saw, and stay put. Miller does provides an alternative “perspective,” except that it has nothing to do with righting the political rhetoric imbalance, but engaging in her personal (sexual) politics.

Which somehow leads me to a recent “event” that took place in Seattle. Now, I’ve always said that my impression of Seattle is that it is less defined by “progressiveness ” than it is by narcissism. A perfect example of this is the so-called “Slutwalk,” one of those throw coherence-out-the-window-in-your-face events staged by people with self-image issues. I don’t blame them; dressing-up in absurd costumes or outfits that tend to counter their “point” can’t help but bring-out the odd quizzical expression. What makes it more absurd is that these people are claiming that because they dress-up in what they call “slut” attire, they are seen as candidates for rationalized rape. Despite what these people may have told a credulous Seattle Times reporter, most of these them have probably not been raped or sexually assaulted; but that is not their real point; these superstars-in-their-own-mind are frustrated that the world does not have as high opinion of themselves as they do. Somebody must be blamed. Men, of course, will be blamed. And in this country, just making accusations of sex crimes is sufficient to justify media attention—which of course, is the point of all of this.

Count on some women to turn positives into negatives. In this day and age, most men in this country would more likely be surprised than filled with uncontrollable lust if a woman wears a skirt, something like a one-in-a-hundred occurrence. When I attended a Catholic school in my youth, all the girls had to wear a dress. This might surprise some of these “slutwalk” people, but familiarity breeds indifference; back then it was just routine. I mean, I might notice if a girl was “pretty,” but how she was dressed rarely entered into it (I once mentioned to an incredulous faculty overseer of my college newspaper that I knew one “perfect” person; it happened to be a girl in my Catholic school class). Today, I’ve reached the age where if I see a woman wearing a skirt, I might take notice, but only out of boredom. I also notice that a few woman in Seattle who think they are dressing “provocatively”—i.e. wearing shorts—seem to make a point of trying to catch a male looking at them; it’s all political: Their contemptuous expression toward anyone foolish enough to actually have their head tilted in the wrong direction merely “confirms” their “I am a victim of an objective society” certainty. Earth-to-“Slut”: Every heard of the phrase “ships passing in the night?” I didn’t think so.

According to the Times story (why they covered this hypocrisy I don’t know), many of the participants were wearing jeans and sweatshirts, which is frankly more typical female attire. One woman stated that this is was “as bold as I get.” Snore. This has nothing to do with being “bold,” but because you can wear a pair of jeans all week without worrying about how dirty they get, and it cuts down on laundry costs. More to the point, the “casual” has become the “formal” in many settings. Meanwhile, other women, according to the Times story, were dressed “provocatively.” Again, it’s time to throw logic out the window, especially when people are busy expectorating women’s studies department propaganda. “Provocative” and “sexual” are not necessarily interchangeable terms. I saw a woman on the bus the other day wearing fishnet stockings. Maybe different; but otherwise Big Deal. Some people at the march were dressed less like “sluts” than ridiculous. Corsets have not been standard issue articles of attire since the early 1900s; today the corset is just an accessory for sexuality games. Those who wear them in parades just look stupid. And anyone who wants to look like Lady Gaga is welcome to it; just stay out of my sight until I fully digested my lunch. "You're welcome to flirt with me, just don't touch me, or you'll lose a hand,” said one of the participants. Someone should have told her that anyone who felt compelled to “touch” her—let alone “flirt” with her—is probably someone who isn’t embarrassed or uncomfortable to be seen with someone who dresses like a self-described "tramp," even in private; the walls have eyes, you know.

I don’t mean to be “condescending,” as an editor of the Times recently accused me of being; frankly, this society has taught me well, and this dog bites now. I have very little patience for hypocrisy, especially of the self-serving variety. Even though I’ve never seen a sexual assault, I grant that they occur. How often is a matter of definition; but if these “slutwalk” participants believe that shouting the usual slogans while dressing-up in outfits that only elicit laughter or incredulity (rather than "lust") is the most proficient means of bringing attention to their issue, then their method of communication is sorely missing the mark; they only bring attention to themselves. They seem unmindful of the fact that some spectators only see them as people who have a need to make spectacles of themselves just so that they can get the “personal attention” they crave, and this has little or nothing to do with their chosen topic of discussion. I, on the other hand, can at least say I don’t have the problem of being “ignored”: However people react with their instinctively-ingrained prejudice and stereotypes, how I dress has nothing at all to do with it.

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