Monday, November 07, 2005

The World is Going to Hell

There are some pretty f-upped things going on lately:

1. Body Sushi.

I’ve heard about this bizarre dining experience from friends who lived in Japan. Apparently now it is available in Chicago, too. It involves using a woman’s bare body as the buffet/tabletop/charger/platter/ serve sushi upon. Too weird. This seems to be some sort of uber-objectification – plus, how friggin’ creepy! Imagine how weird it would be to have even a clothed, motionless person lying in the middle of your dining table – now take of her clothes and put the food atop her.

This was a businessmen event in Japan – I’d be very worried about the confidentiality of a business deal when there is another person listening in. It seems like in order to not be self-conscious about the experience, you’d have to completely forget that the woman can hear, feel and think. Success would be denying this woman her intelligence (and dignity); failure is just a really expensive, awkward experience.

Anyway, I don’t think this is at all cool. What a bizarre job. Too bad it didn’t stay in Japan.

2. The Religious Right heats up for Christmas.

God, what a bunch of assholes worship you. Doesn’t it seem weird that in order to prepare for this religious celebration, the diehards wage battle? Where exactly is the ‘Christmas Spirit’ in this sort of demonstration? How is it possible that they believe that they are somehow being oppressed in America? It appears to me that schools and other public institutions have been bending over backwards to continuously try to keep Christmas in the schools. They offer token nods to Kwanza and Hanaka only so they can claim that they aren’t promoting any single religion.

This country is overwhelmingly Christian. We have prison and military chaplains – the vast majority of them are Christian. Churches get tax breaks. Our ‘winter breaks’ are truly Christmas breaks in disguise. We have ‘holiday’ parties, parades and other government-sponsored events, but once again these are really just secular Christmas celebrations.
The branding of the ACLU as the devil intent on destroying Christianity is just absurd. The ACLU is interested in upholding the separation of church and state, as outlined in the Constitution. This separation has been shoddy for many years and the Christian Right just keeps trying to further push its religious views into the public sphere, including government. Why they seem to strive for a watered-down version of Christianity on the courthouse steps or school plays is beyond me anyway. It seems that along with the commercialization of the Season, this continued watering down of the religious aspects in order to try to get it over the Church/State dividing wall is doing more to devalue the meaning of Christmas than the ACLU ever will.

My non-Christian eyes see the continued over-commercialization of Christmas as much more harmful than not having a bunch of squirming second-graders refrain from singing "Silent Night" off-key. Gaudy angels and ostentatious nativity scenes shouldn’t be the be-all to celebrating a religious holiday. What about the poor? What about forgiveness? What about love? Aren’t these part of the Christian/Christmas tradition? Where exactly are these values when the Christian Right vows to go to war over fourth grade concerts and city ‘holiday decorations’? I also seem to remember something about false idols......... Oh yeah, if you are celebrating the season by getting your son the newest copy of grand theft auto, and sending your pre-teen daughter to a spa, you might want to re-evaluate your priorities.

3. The American Girl boycott.

I am truly, truly conflicted on this issue. I *hate* the people who *love* American Girl. A red American Girl bag is almost a sure sign that the carrier is a dumbass. There are different profiles of AG purchasers and I definitely think both the red and blue states have their own annoying breed. The red state AG purchaser is super-patriotic, in a flag-waving, magnetic ribbon on their SUV type of way. They consider themselves to be good, god-fearing, honest people. The blue-state AG purchaser is very interested in developing their girls’ self-esteem and creativity. All of them think it is perfectly acceptable to buy their girls expensive dolls.

The AG store is a huge tourist mecca in downtown Chicago. I think the blue-staters come from the ‘burbs, but the red-states are tourists from out of town. Besides their penchant for spoiling
their girls with high-priced status-symbol dolls, they also Do Not Know How To Move In A City.

This is how my hatred of them developed. They are the people who obliviously walk six abreast in downtown Chicago, stopping randomly and frustrating all of the other people with whom they are sharing the sidewalk. Everything about the El and other CTA is perplexing – the ticket machines, the schedules, the turnstiles, the etiquette, the idea that the currently stopped train/bus will actually begin moving and everything is amazing. Once again, they will clog up a train station or bus stop without knowing how many people they are inconvienencing or annoying.

Basically these people don’t have any idea how to behave in close proximity with others. They don’t know how to share space. They also don’t have any concept that most of the people on the sidewalk or El actually have places to go – namely jobs to arrive on time. To them the city and all its people and sites are all an elaborate creation to provide a setting for their vacation. Fuckers. Oh yeah, they also are pretty blatantly scared/impressed/nervous/excited that there are black people around, along with Asians, women with headscarves, people speaking other languages, street performers, beggars and the wonderful fabric of diversity woven in urban areas. Staring, pointing, laughing and fearful clutching of purses and children are the typical reactions. Dumbasses.

So anyway, I started realizing that the most annoying people tended to have these red American Girl bags in their hands. I began seeing the bags and then noting the behavior. Sure enough – there is an amazingly strong correlation between head-up-their-asses tourist behavior and theses red bags. Now they are an early warning sign of people to try to avoid lest they be given the slightest opportunity to annoy me.

Oh – The Boycott. Some pro-lifer’s underpants got twisted when they realized that AG supports Girls, Inc., a group that among many other things Promotes the Following Anti-FamilyAgenda:
  • "Girls Incorporated supports a woman's freedom of choice, a constitutional right established by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 in Roe vs. Wade."
  • "To make responsible decisions about sexuality, pregnancy and parenthood, girls need and have a right to sensitive, truthful sexuality education; convenient access to safe, effective methods of contraception and protection from disease; and referral to comprehensive information, counseling, clinical and other services that support their responsible decisions."
  • "Girls have a right to positive, supportive environments and linkages to community resources for dealing with issues of sexual orientation."

In addition, Girls Inc.'s list [PDF] of "Sexuality Resources for Girls" includes books promoting premarital sex, birth control, contraception and abortion. And while Girls Inc. says they promote abstinence, their program for pregnancy prevention depends on providing birth control, and Girls Inc. opposed additional funding for abstinence education in the U.S. Senate.

"While Girls Inc. has some good programs, they also support abortion, oppose abstinence-only education for girls, and condone lesbianism."

So here is my conflict – do I scoff at the boycott because it is retarded – OR – do I delight in it because it might hurt the AG store? Some of the quotes regarding this boycott are hilarious, because they demonstrate grossly materialistic values being held dearly with super-religious pro-life values. Many of the quotes are along these lines, "I usually spend thousands of dollars every Christmas on AG dolls for my daughters/granddaughters. I was really looking forward to continuing this tradition, but I just have to stand up for what I believe in." Really? You spend thousands of dollars on dolls for Christmas? That doesn’t sound like a very Christian lifestyle.

Also -- the abstinence-only education just needs to stop. Studies show that it doesn't do anything that its proponents hope. It doesn’t reduce the rate of teenage/premarital sex among those who are taught it. Nor does it reduce the rates of STDs or unplanned pregnancy. Nor does it reduce the rate of abortion. In kids who are taught abstinence-only sexual education often have higher rates of STDs and pregnancies than their peers. Abortions also rise.

Nice job. Strangely, the statistics bear out some interesting facts. Most importantly, abortions are sought by pro-choice and pro-life women in about the same frequency. Funny. Catholics have the same rate of abortions as other women. Hmmm......

People who push for abstinence-only education have their heads up their asses. Just another stupid example of the ass-backward results of ignoring science and statistics. Now these rocket scientists are boycotting a doll manufacturer for giving money to a charity that doesn’t comply with their retarded, non-sensical dogma.


At 2:45 AM, Blogger Jill said...

I felt like adding those GPS panties that track women wherever they go, but then I found out that was a hoax.

At 6:52 PM, Anonymous Jeremy said...

I'm a little disturbed by the 2nd "body sushi" photo in that there are women eating food off this other naked woman. i would expect it from some wealthy cocky male business types; i have a hard time accepting that there are women out there truly comfortable with this (i guess there are straight women who go to strip clubs, but like aretha franklin sang "sisters are doing it to themselves). except maybe ann coulter. world going to hell indeed...
what, by the way, is American Girl? please excuse my canadian ignorance...

At 7:47 PM, Blogger jojo said...

American Girl dolls are expensive and status symbols among wealthy girls & middle class girls.

It started out with 'historical dolls' that came with a book describing their lives in different time periods (colonial, pioneer, native american, turn of the century, great depression....). They originally were pretty education and tried to teach history along with showing the girl protagonists as bold, smart and courageous.

Then the dolls could be customized to match the the little girl (skin, hair, eye color..). Both girls and dolls can wear matching outfits:

Now many spoiled girls have huge collections of dolls/outfits/accesories... I think the educational/historical component has been diluted.

People come to the "American Girl Place" in Chicago to have tea parties with their dolls and other spoiled girls. They leave with more merchandise. The whole thing seems to encourage a more More More; me Me ME type of attitude.

At 11:45 AM, Anonymous Jeremy said...

Wow - that is a bit bizarre. kind of like the beannie baby obsession, but a little more self-involved. I heard / read somewhere that the demographic with the most buying power is children under the age of 10. despite having no money of their own, they dictate the purchases their partents make, from toys to cereal to bigger and bigger cars (w/ built in DVD players) to keep them "safe". we're a nation of adults ruled by children. it's like lord of the flies.
on another note, there was an article in the Globe and Mail about an entrepeneur in the middle east who has released a barbie-type doll for muslims. she has black hair, darker features and wears a headscarf, etc. i guess no matter where you go, little girls are being sold idols of what they are supposed to become...

At 12:52 PM, Blogger Gilby said...

When I was in 4th grade, I read all the books and began saving up my allowance (which was about 50 cents a week) and birthday-gift money to buy a doll. The next year, I was halfway there. My parents pitched in the other half as my Christmas gift. Historical fiction got me interested in reading more non-fiction history. I'm glad that AG is supporting Girls Inc., but bummed that the typical AG fan sucks.

At 12:56 PM, Blogger hereNT said...

To be fair, the body sushi guy is interviewing for male models, too. So far there's only one female um... platter. Who's also a belly dancer...

At 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Someone DOES need to get laid. Excuse me- I mean get laid by a boy who knows how to screw.

Anyway- does anyone else see similarities between Jojo's complaints about AG fan traffic in the city (American Girl paragraphs 3-5) and many motorists' complaints about cyclists in the city?
Jojo. We live in this close-quarters habitat and we must learn to tolerate others in the public spaces.


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