From the category archives:

rants

16 Ways To Ruin Valentine’s Day

by anna on February 14, 2011

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  1. Have it on a Monday.
  2. Watch this video.
  3. Zofran and seltzer cocktails for everybody!
  4. Go out to eat at — well, pretty much any restaurant, but especially ones that are ordinarily good, because the prix fixe crap will both ruin it and make it more expensive.
  5. Wrap it in a Benny Bear.
  6. Give her something (anything) that plugs in. Even if you bought it at the Apple Store.
  7. Involve Justin Bieber in any way.
  8. No really: watch this video and tell me what on earth Lamar is thinking? Is he thinking?
  9. Wonder if there any time that the Kardashians aren’t thinking about a marketing/cash-in opportunity?
  10. Keep your husband abreast, in detail, of all of the developments of Zofran’s lovely side effects, in the manner of a play-by-play basketball broadcaster.
  11. Grandiose declarations about refusing to buy roses in February.
  12. Describe it as a “Hallmark Holiday.”
  13. Even if it is.
  14. Invite Christina Aguliera to sing the national anthem.
  15. Put the Black Eyed Peas in charge of the halftime show.
  16. Announce a silent takeover of your company by Microsoft.

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Lately, scandals in the mommyblogosphere have been discussed through the use one of two equally inadequate rhetorical devices: 1) the passive aggressive “anonymous” accusation post; or 2) the fairy tale allegorical reveal. I’m fucking sick of both of these practices, and I think it’s time to let them die their natural deaths.

The passive-aggressive “anonymous” accusation post makes you look like a not-nice weakling who is so afraid of being thought of as “not nice” that you will allow others to do your dirty work for you.

The reasoning behind the passive-aggressive “anonymous” accusation post is pretty obvious: somebody wants to accuse someone of wrongdoing but is too chickenshit to do it by using actual names. This was the method used by Karen Sugarpants with Penisgate, and it lead to the obvious conclusion — a commenter came to the post and named who she was talking about (though because of the Jezebel post everyone will always think it was me who first revealed the name of the alleged junk texter, when actually it was not me, it was Casey from Moosh in Indy (a nice girl), in the comments of Sugarpants’ post. I know this because I had no idea who the alleged junk texter was until I saw that comment by Casey, as I would guess was the case with many people that day.

The reason I hate the passive-aggressive “anonymous” accusation method is obvious: if you want to start a fight, start a fight. Or you know, don’t start a fight, whatever. I don’t care. But don’t post something publicly and then let somebody else do your dirty work. Doing this just makes you look like a chickenshit. No more explanation is really needed.

Fairy tales are not-true stories designed to make the unpleasantries of life more palatable to an immature audience who is not yet mature enough to accept them.

The fairy tale allegory method of starting an internet fight is a little more complicated. It is also exponentially more childish because it involves all of the passive aggressive chickenshittiness of the “anonymous” accusation post, but ups the ante by infantilizing both its author and its audience. Let’s talk about fairy tales for a moment: even if you don’t know anything about the history and derivation of fairy tales, you must surely be acquainted with the fact that they are fantastical, improbable tales we tell to children. This means that, if you want people to believe you were screwed over in a business deal, and you have couched this accusation in a fairy tale, you are sending two subliminal messages to your audience: 1) “THIS TALE IS SO IMPROBABLE, THAT IT CANNOT POSSIBLY BE TRUE,” and 2) “I THINK THAT YOU ARE CHILDREN.”

Why on earth would you choose rhetoric like this for something you want people to believe? Do you want people to immediately dismiss what you are saying? Why would you infantilize your audience? Have you stopped to consider any of this?

But let’s look a little more deeply into this problem of using the fairy tale to get your point accross. Because it’s not just that fairy tales are not-true stories, and it’s not just that they are intended for children (though that should have certainly been enough to keep “Sarah” from telling her tale of PR woe in the form of a fairy tale, or Karla from venting her Blissdom partnership woes in the form of a fairy tale).

No, using the fairy tale is the worst because the history of fairy tales is one of reinforcing and perpetuating the patriarchal tradition in which women are weak, helpless creatures in need of rescue by the strong, heteronormative (and nearly exclusively white Anglo Saxon) male “prince” character. Fairy tales depict women incapacitated by their own femininity (Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty), and show innocents being capriciously cast out and/or marginalized by other women (Cinderella, Snow White). They encourage women to overlook glaring problems in men in order to fulfil the roles that patriarchy wants them to inhabit (Beauty and the Beast, The Frog Prince), and provide the literary precursor to what become the Mad Woman in the Attic in 19th century literature (Hansel & Gretel, in addition to pretty much every other fairy tale I’ve ever read).

What a tradition with which to align oneself!

Have I made my point? Can we give it a rest?

On The Fact That I Will Never Learn

by anna on February 2, 2011

redacted out of spite

Allow me to rant about Hollywood for a while, friends.

I’ve written elsewhere about how attending PR events are often a waste of time (for me) due to traffic and time constraints. I end up driving for like eighty five bazillion hours just to get across town, and then get there and I don’t know why I’m there anyway. This has led me to adopting a general policy of not bothering with the (very) few local events to which I’m invited, except when there is a very clear incentive for me to go.

But for some reason, I will never learn.

On Friday, I agreed to go to an event View definition in a new window for an upcoming animated film (the title of which I am stubbornly refusing to mention by name, purely out of spite, even though you can easily guess it, and even though I am totally going to go see it because Mini is already begging to do so). I’m frustrated with the studio who put on this event View definition in a new window (also not named, also out of spite) that I am loathe to do anything to inadvertently promote them, even if the promotion they receive here is totally insignificant in light of the amount of money they are throwing at the promotion of this film.

jamie foxx at rio event

I agreed to make the trek because I was offered a chance to interview two bonafide movie stars (one with an Oscar, and another with an Oscar nomination), plus another celebrity about whom I know nothing, at a small blogger roundtable after the event View definition in a new window. It would only have been me and four other bloggers there with each star, so I was planning to ask things like:

  1. Did you and Tom Cruise really have a falling out over religion? (for Jett)
  2. What is your response to critics who say that you have been miscast as Catwoman in the new Batman movie? Can you say “Oooh, Popeye?”
  3. Your castmate, will.i.am, was recently hired as director of creative innovation for Intel. Can you see yourself serving in a similar capacity for a brand, as opposed to doing a straight endorsement deal? If you had your choice of brands to represent, what would you choose?
  4. One of my readers informs me that you “melt her butter.” Do you have any tidbits to share on dating, or how you keep up your sex appeal?
  5. And the like.

Problem is, I had overlooked the fact that Hollywood people tend to be douchebags, and that, regardless of how well planned an event View definition in a new window is, you cannot count on anybody in that industry doing what they say they are going to do unless there are millions of dollars involved (and sometimes not even then). (And in that sense, it is not unlike blogging, except with less money and decidedly homelier luminaries.) So I shouldn’t have been surprised that the event View definition in a new window ran late and the roundtable interviews (my only motive for attending) were cancelled in favor of a 40-person press conference where asking obnoxious questions was impossible. I should have realized they would figure out a way to maneuver things so that the blogger roundtable would get cancelled, but for some reason I took everything at face value.

And even as I write this, I feel like a douchebag, because 1) who cares?; and 2) it is not the fault of the PR company who invited me to attend the event View definition in a new window that I’m frustrated, and I hate to blame them for something that I’m pretty certain was not their fault. Because in between me and the PR company who offered me a spot at a roundtable with movie stars are about eighty layers of pass-the-buck people who will figure out a means of baiting and switching me. Because if a movie star doesn’t want to sit down with six parenting bloggers, all they have to do is figure out a way to make the event View definition in a new window take too long to allow for it. And that’s exactly what happened here.

It is definitely not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it does piss me off, because I think that the studio involved assumes that the bumpkin bloggers will be so charmed by having been invited to a press event View definition in a new window, served gratis Brazillian rum drinks and empenadas, and been within spitting distance of Jamie Foxx (oops) that they will just go ahead and write about it anyway. Tell them they are getting a roundtable, but figure out way of not giving it to them, because they aren’t going to care in the end. And perhaps this is petty of me (ding ding!), but even if I’m not getting $12 million per picture, my time is worth something, too — and last I checked, a glass of cantaloupe punch was way below my quoted rate for an afternoon of work.