Monday, January 28, 2013

Babies Be Trippin

Once upon a time, in a living room far far less covered in desiccated bits of egg and chewed-up crayons, I swore on my stolen HBO Go password that I would not let my sweet baby's eyes fall on a television screen until he was done becoming a neurophysicist, or at least old enough to appreciate the subtleties of Amanda Woodward's eye-flashing oeuvre on vintage MP.

If I home-schooled, I would teach a class in Power Bitching. In related news, I should probably not home-school. 
Fast-forward to now. As I wrote in my most recent Observer column:
Every morning, after getting up, emptying his bowels and painstakingly bestowing at least four spoonfuls of yogurt onto the living-room carpet, my 15-month-old son turns and jabs a stubby finger in the general direction of our television. “Dis!” he cries insistently. “DIS.”
Spolier alert: I cave. I cave every time. Our new breakfast ritual is me, bleary-eyed and dressed like a less put-together Jeff Lebowski feeding a pantsless Sam yogurt while he alternately stares at/dances to Yo Gabba Gabba! or a 1970s episode of Sesame Street (Jeff has an aversion to Elmo, which I suspect  has nothing to do with the recent sex scandal and everything to do with the fact that Elmo speaks in falsetto AND has no anus.)

I could also teach a course called "Innocence Lost: Projecting My Perverse Sense of Humor Onto Children's Book Illustrations" (Subtitle: "But Seriously, Guys, You Had To Know That Looks Kind of Wrong")
Anyway. I realize that I am late to the Yo Gabba Gabba! thing, but dudes. Kid's shows are kind of fucked up. Even when they're fun, you have to wonder why the only beings that populate them are mentally and physically... let's just say "special."

Like, close your eyes and listen to DJ Lance Rock talk some time. Now, picture that instead of his retro Power Ranger outfit, he's wearing a standard-issue hospital gown, and instead of playing with dolls in a  nondescript white room, he's... okay, he's still doing that, but now imagine that the walls are padded. Easy, right? Because DJ Lance Rock is actually a character in American Horror Story: Asylum.

"Hear that, children? It's the big red dildo cyclops that orders me to KILL!"
So, yeah, the human characters on kid's shows are always kind of annoying, and prone to speaking as if they're an extremely friendly person with an IQ of 10 trying to ask for directions in a foreign country, but it's really the non-human things that give me pause. Like, I've never studied children's education, but judging from TV shows I have to guess that kids learn better from neon-colored animals with extremely specific and random genetic mutations.

Exhibit A:

Did someone throw a handful of Skittles, a TV antenna, and four mice into a TARDIS? I mean, seriously, what the fuck are those things and how do they affect brain development other than creating a new and terrifying category of nightmares?

Exhibit B:

I love Sesame Street. I love the Muppets. I have a heart. But look closer, underneath the protective cotton candy clouds of nostalgia. Now what do you see? A seven foot-tall bird who talks like Lennie from Of Mice and Men, and who hallucinates a giant, depressed scrotum for a friend? Yeah, me too.

Exhibit C:

Here we have:
  1. A big bumpy red phallus with one eye and fangs named Muno
  2. A Peptol Bismol-colored buttplug who wears a collar named Foofa (NOT Fupa, to my great disappointment)
  3. A striped, unibrowed, horned, noseless monster named Brobee with freakishly long arms (not pictured)
  4. A turquoise cat with gills named Toodee (NOT Tootie, to my--and I imagine Kim Fields'--great disappointment)
  5. A yellow robot named Plex
  6.  DJ Crazypants Orangina
And here are my questions: 
  1. Why do they have to be so unique to the point of being terrifying? What's wrong with a regular cat, or a dog, or a bear, or, I don't know, a dildo with TWO eyes?
  2. Why is it that every kids' show is also a great example of something that extremely stoned people would be captivated by? Is being a toddler basically like being really high? Or like being Joey Lawrence? Are their minds just in a constant state of woah? Everything made for kids is fucking trippy. Even Thomas the Tank Engine, which is boring as hell. (If I had the right pharmaceuticals, I feel like I could spend about two hours trying to decipher why Sir Topham Hatt is a really snazzy dresser but has no ears.) I must conclude from this that children actually lose brain cells, not gain them. And do not even say "Baby Einstein" to me--I have seen that low-budget shit and there is no way that watching a circa-1989 lava lamp for ten seconds is turning my baby into a genius. By that logic I could flush my toilet seventeen times a day while humming Fur Elise and Sam would be at Harvard by 2016. 
  3. Why do all children's shows have to have a character with a unibrow who is also a total dipshit buzzkill? It's giving us a bad name, for real. (Side-eye, Brobee, be cool for like one second. How hard is that?)
I am seriously thinking of getting rid of our TV. But not, of course, the Melrose Place DVDs. Maintaining a rich cultural environment is key to raising well-rounded kids. Or so I'm told.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

2013 Golden Globes Fashion Throwdown, Part II: The Return of J. Peterman

A few years back I gave Helena Bonham Carter the J. Peterman treatment, and damn if I didn't just drink a bowl of wine and get wistful. My apologies in advance to Mr. Peterman and his inimitable sense of verbose whimsy.

It was her night.

The kind of night you only get once in a lifetime, the kind of night that calls for SEQUINS in all capitals, and then TEQUILA suckled out of the bellybutton of a stranger.

She was nervous, but she hid it well, beneath her chainmail. The armor was a metaphor; and her bust line, like a tin foil seatbelt, a simile.

Her posture could have silenced a flock of lambs. The sheepskin lining of her cryogenic chamber actually did.

The Coming Out Dress (No. 3588).

Women's sizes 2 through 18.

Color: Justice.

"A doily is a small table mat," the waiter explained hurriedly for the second time, amid the clatter of silverware being bussed from nearby booths. "They're not meant for wearing." It was almost closing time; he shouldn't have to be doing this, he thought.

The nude woman looked up at him with wet eyes. How had she come to this out-of-the-way diner, the waiter wondered... and how, for that matter, had she managed to eat a lobster tail?

"I don't seem to have a choice," she said, eyeing the ketchup packets.

The waiter sighed. He would help her, he decided. After all, she had promised to introduce him to Ryan Seacrest.

The Path of Lace Resistance Dress (No. 4209).

Women's sizes XXS through XS.

Color: Desperation.

The Countess had never liked paint. So messy, so streaky, so, well, gauche, especially on the nineteen-foot walls of her shabby-chic castle in Finland.

It would have to be wallpaper. But what kind? And how would she know if it was right?

You couldn't really audition wallpaper.

Or could you?

The Inexplicable Bush Dress (No. 2375).

Women's one size fits all, paste not included, sold by the sheet.

Color: Huh.

"Peter," said Wendy, as she stitched the final bit of his shadow back on to his shin, "Do you think I need a breast reduction?"

"I don't know," he laughed. "Either that or your nightgown's two sizes too big!"

Tinkerbell flitted angrily about the room.

"Don't mind her," Peter sighed. "She's just jealous."

"I know," Wendy said. "I know."

The Dust Ruffle Dress (No. 4342).

Women's sizes 0 to 12.

Color: Stankface Photobomb (hahahaha, look behind you, Jessica!)



Monday, January 14, 2013

2013 Golden Globes Fashion Throwdown, Part I

January is the month of SADs. Seasonal Affective Disorder. Secret Afternoon Drinking. Sudden Arm-fat Discovery. Slippers All Day.

I'm actually wearing my bunny slippers right now, along with ill-fitting jeggings and a maternity tank top, so let me say up front that writing this particular post is like lobbing boulders underhand from my ramshackle glass house. Still, it's a great joy to be able to take break from my busy pants-avoiding schedule to critique celebrity outfits. So let's get started!

First, I want to get anything nice I have to say out of the way quickly. I think we can all agree that the best way to do this is in poetry form:
At this year's Golden Globes, some stars chose well.
Eschewing droopy boobs/
Distasteful nudes;
Like Claire Danes, Kristen Wiig, and Zooey Deschanel--
Or my future BFF Adele.
Others were simply screwed;
I must be rude!
As so many dresses begged the question, what the fuck what the hell?                                  
-Undated bitchy fashion sonnet, William Shakespeare
I noticed a few troubling trends this year, trends that went beyond my normal complaints about gowns the color of waterlogged Band-Aids, or the ill-advised placement of enormous ass bows.

Like, if I had to choose a theme for this year's red carpet style choices, it would be "Teen Mother of the Bride."

Exhibit A: The fact that when I first saw Lena Dunham, my first thought was, "Wow, Laurie Metcalf is looking kind of matronly these days."

And look, I LOVE Lena. I think she's gorgeous. And as much as I give props to Jessica McClintock for expanding her mall prom dress line to include funeral drapery, rich mahogany just doesn't look right on anyone but George Hamilton.

Exhibit B:

Despite my long-standing feud with Anne Hathaway, I will concede that she is beautiful, extremely talented, and seems very smart. But WHY, then, would she age herself several decades in this admittedly elegant but oddly boxy two piece? This is the evening wear equivalent of a tankini and Anne can do way better.

Naomi Watts also went dowdy-chic in a kind of droopy bordeaux (incidentally, the name of my future winery!)...

... while Rosario Dawson went as a Drunk Seahorse Bridesmaid.

Eh, you know what, she can come to my wedding. That bitch looks fun.

Speaking of which, you know who can do Mother of the Bride and not give a fuck?

Glenn Motherfucking Close, that's who. Respect.

The next category I'll call the Scroll Down Surprise. Take a gander at these three lovely ladies:

Lady Mary!
Lady Weisz!!
Lady Hamm!!!
 But then:

Why must designers continue to insist on creating these sartorial mullets? No one should have to utter sentences like, "No, I'm not actually wearing a cap sleeve midi-bolero; that's just a trompe l'oeil," or "It's like Fritz Lang's sexy Metropolis robot meets Grimace from McDonaldland." And seriously, WTF is up with Weisz's leg veil? What did her knees do?

To be continued tomorrow...

Friday, January 11, 2013

The 7 Year Itch

I started this blog seven years ago this month. Seven YEARS. That's almost as long as Lincoln, you guys. (Not that I've seen it. I don't see movies anymore. That kind of fanciness is for people who remember to put on deodorant before they accidentally catch a whiff of themselves while reaching for the peanut M&Ms they hid on the top pantry shelf because one of their New Year's resolutions is to stop eating so much candy and/or things left by their toddler on the living room rug--at the very least the wet things. But I digress.) And for the past few weeks I've felt totally uninspired. You could say "blocked," I guess, but there's no pent-up energy waiting to burst forth. It's more like... apathy.

I know that sounds dramatic, and I'm not quitting the blog or anything. But this blah feeling got me thinking deep thoughts.

Like, how Rudolph Steiner said that every seven years you change. That literally every cell in your body has turned over and you are made up of different matter. That you're a completely different person.

Or how blogs are the ultimate existential crisis. I mean, what better way to affirm your existence than to put your life experience--every mundane detail, or at least everything you're willing to cop to--out into the great Internet void?

I think every blogger reaches a point at which they've said most of what they need to say. You know, that point where stories start getting repeated and tired old jokes get trotted out to keep up the illusion of freshness. For example, in my case, every time I write "y'all," or make a reference to Ryan Gosling or Clive Owen or John Krasinski, or joke about my unibrow, you can tell I'm reaching.

I don't want to go down like that. I don't want to be season 8 of The Office. (And sorry, John, if that's a burn, because I really am sexually attracted to you, that part was not a joke.)

But I also don't want to quit and start again.

This, what you're reading right now, is cell turnover in action. It's itchy. And it's boring. It's definitely not a Marilyn Monroe upskirt shot, and I apologize to anyone who got here under false Google pretenses.

Luckily for me, I have kick-ass readers, and a lot of you gave me suggestions on Facebook for amazing, non-navel-gazey pop culture-based posts. I am so going to write them.

Right after this nap.
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