Archive for November, 2009

In Which It Was The Worst Project Runway Ever

November 20th, 2009 No comments

It’s pretty well known that “reality TV” is far from “real”. Pretty goddamn far from real.  I talked with a woman who participated in one of them who told me, “what they didn’t show was how much we really liked each other and how much we laughed. It was all about conflict and the few fights that we had.  For the most part, I really enjoyed them and still keep in touch with a few of them.” During the writers’ strike it came to light that the poor bastards that piece together the narrative for show’s work 60-80+ hours and get paid for 40. I could fill the digital space with endless links to the bullshit that is “reality TV” but that’s not the point.

I watch one plotted show (as opposed to America’s Most Fucking AWESOME Car Crashes, which, for some reason, it comforting when I’m in a shitty mood). And that’s Project Runway.

No. I’m not gay or bi-sexual.

(Parenthetically, I think I’ve talked in the past about the logic that most American men are gay (or bi-sexual) since if you give them a choice between a magazine filled with pictures of sweaty, bloody men (Sports Illustrated) and the hottest women in the world (Vogue), most will choose to look at men. Weird, huh?)

I watch Project Runway not only for the hot chicks, but because something actually gets created during it.  You get to see the designers doing something, other than sniping at and plotting against each other.  Plus, c’mon, you can’t beat a room full of gay guys for instant drama.

With the move to Lifetime, the franchise took a major stumble. First off, the seeming doubling of commercials pointed out just how shitty a channel Lifetime is.  Obviously, I’m a guy so I’m not the target audience but at no time during the entire season did my wife or two daughters ever say, “wow, I’ve gotta tape that. When is that on again?”.  The reactions ranged from mild eye rolling to the age appropriate version of  “jesus fucking christ, is that a joke?!”  I mean, look at this ad


But, as I said, you can fast forward through that.

What you can’t fast forward through is the odd fact that all three finalists magically turned out to be straight women.  On a channel dedicated to…straight women.  In fact, it was one of the straightest seasons I can remember, even to the point of focusing, not on the straight black designer, but on the straight white designer and how all the straight women thought he was the hottest thing on earth.

When Project Runway aired on the much more gay-friendly Bravo, the commercials pushed the boundaries. You had commercials with actual gay couples in them acting, not as objects of novelty or derision, but as humans in a relationship – going on vacation, buying insurance – ya know, living in the world (or a commercial representation of it).  To a certain extent, you can’t fault Lifetime for catering to their audience but you can fault them for changing the whole tone of the show.

I’m not sure what it means (nor do I have the time to think about it) but links to the sales site for the show.  Which is fine, but from a user-design standpoint, there doesn’t seem to be a direct link to the show itself. So maybe even the franchise hates Lifetime as much as I do.

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In Which Tony Perkins Hates Alaska, Hawaii And Muslims

November 13th, 2009 No comments


When I talk of Tony Perkins here, I don’t speak of the gay actor that dressed up in his mother’s clothing and killed Janet Leigh in the shower. Nor the actor who played the closeted photographer in Mahogony. When I talk of Tony Perkins, I speak of James Dobson’s bully boy and head of the Family Research Council. Tony is a capital-X Xtian who, I’m sure, if it wasn’t for those pesky “government laws” would have no problem killing his kid, as God urges you to do in Leviticus. He knows that God doesn’t like gays, that abortion is murder and that God forgave Sen. David Vitter for hiring whores to dress him up in a diaper so there’s no need to contest Vitter’s re-election bid. All of this is to say that, while he may not suck dicks, he’s a dick and he sucks.

Tony (the not gay one) bleats about the important issues of the day and why liberals will go to Hell on Washington Watch Weekly. While most shows fill the average listener with dread over what a theocracy might look like NOT GAY people like Tony Perkins (the not gay one) in charge, this past week’s points out just how fucking insane Dobson and the crew are.

It’s been proven by xtians that once upon a time in America there was no crime, no drug, no pre-marital sex, no gays, all wars were just wars and people only voted Republican. It was a simpler, better time because only xtians lived in America and you could beat the shit out your child without fear of prosecution.  To that end, xtians love looking backwards. Even to the extent that they favor dictionaries from 1912 and rely on previous drafts of state’s constitutions to prove that God created America.

This past Wednesday, the country celebrated Veterans’ Day. Tony did, as well, by flying a very special flag.  This flag represents a time when Americans believed in America and compassion for the enemies of America simply did not exist.  We gunned them down in cold blood, pissed on the dead and Jesus laughed, laughed, laughed. It’s a flag that flew over Pearl Harbor before the filthy, yellow Japs bombed it.  Which means it only has 48 stars.  Which means it doesn’t represent the whole country.  Which means that, mercifully, all the darker skinned Americans of Hawaii and Alaska get shunted aside.  God Bless (most of) America!

Tony (the not-gay one) knows that among Jesus’ wonderful messages, His message of helping your fellow man stands in the center of it.  One way to help your fellow man is, when they knock up their girlfriend in high school, to force them to have a child they’re not mature enough to raise.  In doing this, you ensure the child gets neglected and (hopefully) beaten.  Why? Because not only will the child want to get the hell out of that house and joined the Army, but when they do, they’ll already be battle hardened.  Some “Pro-Lifers” (at least pro-American lifers) praised the Stupid Stupak amendment to the rapidly toothless healthcare bill for making sure that xtians wouldn’t go to Hell because they paid for a girl to abort their daddy’s baby.  Tony (tngo) knows you have to cruel to be kind and that allowing the bill to become law means victory for the harbinger of the End Times, Barak Obama.  After all, you don’t need health insurance if you live your life in accordance to biblical principals.  What’s the point of Stupid Stupak amendment when the more important goals are 1) to actively work against the President of the United States and 2) let the people who don’t live their life by following biblical principles to die.  Yes, God is Love and sometimes love means killing that uppity bitch that refuses to do what you tell her to.

Lastly, as the Conservative Bible Project plans to make clear, Jesus was NOT a liberal.  When Jesus said “fellow man” he didn’t mean everyone. He meant (in the original Aramaic) “like-minded people” or, in the parlance of today’s vernacular “NOT TOWELHEADS.” Tony doesn’t truck with “intellectuals” who “think” and “analyze” and rely on “political correctness” and “other people” to inform their decisions. So, when a Muslim like Nidal Hassan opens fire and kills 13 at Ft. Hood, Texas, the way to make sure this never happens again is clear: kick the fucking Muslims out of the US Armed Forces.  Now.  Didn’t this same thing happen 6 years ago?!  Don’t you people get it?! Do you not see a trend?!  As most xtians, will tell you – when you become a Muslim you take an oath to kill as many Americans as you can. We are the enemy.  To hell with all this “diversity” and “inclusion”.  Letting Muslims into the military de facto means more dead American soldiers on the soil of our glorious homeland.

Do you think Jesus wants to see that?  Tony Perkins doesn’t.  But then again, he doesn’t like to acknowledge the 49th and 50th states of the Union, either.

In Which I Post My Portion Of The Lay Service

November 6th, 2009 2 comments

[Note: I was asked to contribute to a lay service at my UU Church on the topic of how my UU faith sustains me in difficult times.  It’s not the final version, but it’s probably pretty close]

Frankly, I’m probably the wrong person to talk about this subject.  As Norah might tell you, I’m not the most outwardly introspective person on the face of the earth.  I’m more comfortable talking about why I’m NOT comfortable talking about issues and problems than I am talking about the issues and problems themselves.  I’m pretty good at that – mid-western parents passing on the long-standing tradition of “grin-and-bear-it”, “no pain, no gain” and “children are starving in India so what are you complaining about”.  Thus, in the culture I grew up in, the phrase “difficult times” was code for “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the only thing you sustained was the façade that everything was just fine, thank you very much and how are you.

I was pretty sure that not everyone behaved this way.  I was pretty sure that the near schizophrenia wherein my mother, in the middle of her Medea impression, could answer the telephone with, “Hello, this is Carol Day!” was somehow not correct.  Pretty sure.  Although in my suburb filled with mostly White Anglo Saxon Protestant families, only my second generation Italian friend’s family ever seemed to not hide what was going on.  Let me explain the extent of it.  In our development (the suburb code for “neighborhood” for those of you who didn’t grow up there) a house got burgled.  The burglar turned out to be a kid in my high school who lived a few doors down.  His mom worked at the high school.  Normally, the kid goes to juvie and the parents get demonized.  In this case, though, since the family had a certain standing, an agreement was reach – return the stuff, leave town and we won’t prosecute.  Moral: cut out the cancer so you carry on pretending that no cancer exists.

Ours was the typical 1970’s “Ordinary People” household.  The Randy Newman song, “My Country” has his family quietly watching TV and, in the event they needed to say something, bouncing the words off of the screen.  In difficult times, our house got very quiet until the times got bored and left or exploded and all of us prayed they’d just get bored.

Well, “prayed” in quotes because, like most Americans, my parents (or at least my mom) would tell a pollster they were Christians because they went to church most Sundays.  But God’s (or Jesus’ or the Holy Ghost’s, I could never quite get it right) His influence never quite made it in the front door of our house.  The only folks that relied on Jesus and felt sustained by him lived not in our suburb, but on TV and radio.  We prayed over our food on the major religious holidays when God (or Jesus or the Holy Ghost) sent out the memo that they’d be taking attendance.  I’m not even sure that I understood that in times of trouble, Jesus was even an option.  Sure, you could ask him for stuff, but I didn’t know that He could sit by your bedside or carry you on the beach so that you only saw one set of footprints.  And He rarely granted favors.  I’m not even sure we have a family bible.

So, the thought of religious faith sustaining you in difficult times…it’s kind of a foreign concept.
I moved to Boston from suburban Rochester, NY not only to get away from that kind of closed system, but to make sure that my kids (which, when I moved, I wasn’t convinced I’d live to have) didn’t have to live in the same paradigm that I grew up in.  I wanted them to live in a neighborhood not a development.  I wanted them to walk around the corner for a candy bar, not to ride their bikes for twenty minutes to the store.  I wanted them to be a part of their surroundings, not apart FROM their surroundings.  Or, at least have the option to do so.

Until Norah and I went church shopping, I knew nothing of Unitarian Universalism.  If you’d said “UU” to me, I’d have come back with “me me”.  “Church” meant “Jesus” and Jesus did nothing for me and vice versa.  So just the fact that an Easter sermon could consist of reading “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” piqued my interest.  The lack of some pre-written prayer wherein all congregants confessed to sins regardless of whether they’d committed them or not made me happy, too.  Take out the dogma of the bible being the inerrant word of God and the deal was pretty much sealed.
Now here’s the part where I tie it back to the topic I’m supposed to be speaking about – How does the UU faith sustain me through difficult times?

It doesn’t.

It’s not the faith that sustains me.  It’s you, the people that come here week after week.  It’s the energy, love and wisdom of all of you that allow somewhat detached little me to sit with you and feel included.  It’s knowing that in difficult times, a lifeline exists in this community that I could grab onto.  That if I light a candle in joy or sorrow, people will clap me on the back or give me a hug.

We are all different.  All of probably have slightly different version of what UU means.  The beauty of it is that that there is no real dogma to argue over and thus, no splintering or sects or denominations to look down on or demonize.  There is no central figure whose words we can bicker over.  We simply come together to (and, please, don’t tell anyone I used these words) join souls.

The kindness and empathy of the people that are drawn to UU sustain me.  I’m not sure that I’d call that faith, but you might.  And it’s that exact tolerance that, in difficult times, sustains me.

Categories: Navel (Gazing At) Tags: