There’s so much we could say about this article (patronizing, pronouns, utter confusion), but perhaps the most egregious of all is this: Nicole Fabien-Weber seems to think that her granting - or denying - permission for gay boys (or transgender girls) to be crowned prom queens matters. To which we say: Who cares? We are all for gay boys as prom queens, straight jocks as prom kings, straight jocks as prom queens, gay jocks as prom queens, little highschool butches as prom kings, genderqueer folks as prom kings, femmes as prom kings, butches as prom queens - honestly, pretty much any combination you can come up with - as long as the new royalty is happy with their title. And unlike Fabien-Weber, we don’t expect any high school students to be waiting with bated breath for our blog’s opinion on the matter.
Blogic likely agrees with some fraction of the author’s argument, but there’s so much insanity it’s impossible to make sense of it. (For the record, the concept we agree with is that we should cut prom royalty pageants all together).
*interestingly enough, this blog post came from the same people at “thestir.cafemom.com” who also brought us this worthwhile blog post. They sure do have a thing for royalty and backhanded homophobia.
Another reason to ditch that long-distance partner, lose contact with your family
The cell phones and cancer story is back, and Blogic is digging out our walkie talkies. In the frighteningly vague, panic-inducing way that science often presents its findings, the article concludes: Dr Jonathan Samet (University of Southern California, USA), overall Chairman of the Working Group, indicated that “the evidence, while still accumulating, is strong enough to support a conclusion and the 2B classification. The conclusion means that there could be some risk, and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cell phones and cancer risk.” But just earlier in the article, we read “one study of past cell phone use (up to the year 2004), showed a 40% increased risk for gliomas in the highest category of heavy users (reported average: 30 minutes per day over a 10‐year period).”
According to the WHO list, however, risk takers should consider careers in firefighting, dry cleaning, or welding — or, just sit around drinking coffee and talking on your cell phone.
4. Her advice sounds like it was culled from a 7th grade birthday-sleepover-party: “if you’re kissing and he’s kissing you back but you find his eyes are open and he’s looking around, you should know that’s a sign to consider.”
*Galtime.com, we know we’ve been harsh (see here). Thanks for keeping the welschmertz at bay, though!
On a recent excursion in the real world (outside the domain of the interwebs!), blogic discovered this incredibly perplexing advertisement. So perplexing, in fact, that we thought it was worth sharing for several reasons:
The model in the photo bears a striking resemblance to That Girl That You Went To High School With - the one who you’re friends with on facebook and who causes you to say what is your life? to your computer screenas you click through endless photos of her doing increasingly inane activities in what appears to be an unlimited supply of Summer Dresses That Seem Cute But Somehow Look Skanky On Her or something.
Who are these people? Donate a boat or car to Boat Angel by calling 1-800-car-angel or visiting www.boatangel.com. What is their real name? Also, that’s not how you write the letter “T.” We see what they’re trying to do, but instead of witty, it just reads as though it says “Boa Angel.” Can snakes be angels? (Apparently, yes.)
What could possibly explain the decision to put the instruction Call us! into quotation marks? Is it their slogan? Did they think that “Call us!” would make it seem like That Girl was really talking to you from the wall?
This advertisement was found in a public transit station. How many transit riders have spare boats and cars laying around? If they did, then wouldn’t they be boating or driving to work?
What do they do with people’s old boats? Back in our natural habitat, internet research revealed that Boat Angel, while more than willing to take your extra vehicles off your hands and show you videos about child kidnapping or the hazards of hard drug use, is reluctant to give out any details of their operation (except, of course, to your most pressing questions as featured in their FAQ, like “What about the INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE what is their view?”).
Creepy goggles and hot coffins: Blogic of the Day, Teen Edition
Teenage readers, and/or readers with insight into teenbrains: we are dying to know, why would anyone willingly put themselves inside a scary, UV-cancer-wrinkle ray coffin whilst wearing the creepiest goggles ever?
A blogger at “thestir.cafemom.com” offers a revolutionary (heh) perspective on the Royal Wedding in her post, “Kate and William’s Kiss Has Me Worried.” While we’re sure that Kate and William appreciate the author’s concern, we’re not so sure that articles like this are the best use of the author’s time (Lindsay Ferrier is a busy lady).
GIRL INTERPRETATION: “He really likes me! Awww and he misses me!! So cute!” BLOGIC INTERPRETATION: We don’t have high hopes for this relationship. For one thing, Unidentified Text Messenger is so cool that he only speaks in Pink Floyd album titles, while Girl has rewatched Sally Field’s Oscar win too many times.
Text: Are you going out tonight/ What are you doing later?
GIRL INTERPRETATION: “He wants to hang out with me! He can’t stop thinking about me!” BLOGIC INTERPRETATION: At last, someone is telling the truth about how girls only think in exclamation points! Or, on special occasions, hybrid question marks/exclamation points?! BONUS: “Ensley,” commentator, offers this helpful text interpretation: “Maybe I can get this one in the bag before I have to buy her too many drinks.”
Text: Can we reschedule for another night? I am not feeling well.
GIRL INTERPRETATION: Poor little boo boo! He needs me to bring him chicken soup and some lotion-infused Kleenex! BLOGIC INTERPRETATION: Girl’s following thought: “Too bad I can’t bring him any of those things. I’m too young to drive.”
Text: I’ll text you later.
GIRL INTERPRETATION: He must be really busy right now. He has such a stressful job! Why can’t his boss give him a break?! BLOGIC INTERPRETATION: What? No texting at work?!? This Girl seems fundamentally confused about the real-world demands of a job - but that’s probably because her full time job is providing in-depth relationship analysis in 140 character increments.
Blogic is all about making communication easier (if, at the very least, to avoid these situations), but Galtime’s “advice” is does more to perpetuate absurd gender stereotypes than provide any real technological insights. Besides, trying (and failing) to provide insight into relationships via canned stereotypes is so 90s.
So reads the rallying cry issued by the potato industry last week. This amped-up effort to defend “America’ s favorite vegetable” comes on the heels of the USDA’s proposal to limit school children to one cup of starchy vegetables a week.
The potato industry has been waving around research to back up its argument. The ultimate conclusion of the study most frequently cited? “Potatoes belong within the diet.” While these results seem to provide a legitimate, scientific argument in Big Potato’s favor, a closer look reveals that this study was funded by none other than the United States Potato Board itself.
It should surprise no one that a study about potatoes, by potatoes - and released at a time when potatoes are being scrutinized in cafeterias across the country - would end up ruling in favor of spuds. In fact, one research study looked at this very phenomenon of nutrition-related scientific studies funded by the food industry and came to this same unsurprising (but nonetheless unsettling) conclusion: “Industry funding of nutrition-related scientific articles may bias conclusions in favor of sponsors’ products, with potentially significant implications for public health.”
Potatoes are, to be fair, a perfectly satisfying and nutritious food in their own right. But no matter how nutritious a vegetable in its unadulterated state might be, those benefits are all but negated when it’s sliced into slivers, plunged into a piping hot vat of oil, sprinkled with salt, and emerges as greasy, fatty, calorically dense sticks. (Which is how potatoes are most frequently consumed. Particularly among children.) In fact, while the potato industry is largely taking credit for the increase in kids’ consumption of vegetables, they fail to mention that French Fries account for about one-quarter of children’s vegetable intake. The potato industry’s romanticized campaign, highlighting the many health benefits of this vegetable,
doesn’t quite reflect reality.
As you come across statements singing the praises of this “gateway vegetable,” be sure to take them with a grain of salt. The food industry has been, and always will be, motivated by increasing profits, not advancing health. Don’t let the marketing campaigns convince you otherwise.
PG lives in San Francisco and enjoys all things food related - particularly eating. She can frequently be found watching bad reality television, having 90s music sing-a-longs, and avoiding eye contact with people on BART.
A young computer programmer on his way to a pheasant-hunting trip last November offered a cri de coeur about government groping: Just substitute “Leave the copter, take the corpse” for “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.” Was this, I wondered, the same guy who sometimes showed up in the ’70s with mismatched shoes? Talk about your misty watercolor memories. What’s too painful to remember, we simply choose to forget.
Once upon a time, Cinderella fell out of favor. Nevertheless, Rand is blazing back as an icon of the Tea Party, which overlooks her atheism, amorality in romance and vigorous support for abortion. Our heroine, starting with a family disadvantage, faces hypocrisies, cruelties and obstacles on a perilous journey to a thrilling new world, and uses her wits and integrity to triumph. A new documentary about Cunningham offers a tonic of simplicity and a paean to women after Sheen’s excesses and contempt for women. Jerry Brown doesn’t know who Charlie Sheen is.
We’re bargaining with the shadow of a shadow. Once funeral homes began live-streaming funerals, it was probably inevitable. The antisocial nerd, surrounded by his army of slaving minions, has been holed up making something so revolutionary and magical that it turns him into a force that could conquer the world.
The doomed caribou gazed calmly across the Alaska tundra at Caribou Barbie. Hunting seems more sporting with birds — at least they have a better chance to get away. Unless the hunter is Dick Cheney, who would shoot pheasants that were pen-raised and released from a net to make slaughtering them easier. Hey, dude, you’re a politician. Act like one.
Sound familiar? That’s because all of the above is pieced together from lines out of NYTimes columnist Maureen Dowd’s columns.
Rom-com enthusiasts and lady-audiences, demand more from your movie-going experiences! Welcome to Boy + Girl = Movie?, Blogic’s segment in which we watch previews for upcoming rom-coms and, with bizarre specificity, attempt to predict their plots. After completing our prediction, we’ll subject ourselves to real rom-com viewing in the theater in order to confirm - or correct - our predictions. Ultimately, our task is to demonstrate the mediocrity of most mainstream movies geared towards women.
Blogic predicts the rom-com plot: Something Borrowed
Quiet lawyer Ginnifer Goodwin has always been upstaged by best friend Kate Hudson, even back when they were in grade school and hung out with Jim from the office (who was also in grade school at the time, not a pedophile). Kate is life-of-the-party (in fact, she resembles a modern-day Penny Lane) while bff Ginnifer (yes, that’s how she spells it) walks around with her nose in a book (sidenote: Ginnifer should consider cutting her hair short again if she really wants to get any attention). The movie opens with a flashback, as any good rom-com should (see No Strings Attached or Just Go With It). As a law student in NYC, Ginnie fell hard for Whatshisname - who might have liked her back, but alas the two shy youths never speak up, and unfortunately, Gwinnie introduced bff Kate to Whatshisname and Kate worked her blonde magicks. Now, six years later, they’re engaged to be married, while weepy Ginnie is alone on her 30th birthday. The horror!
Cut to: “Another round of drinks!” followed by another, and another. This pre-wedding celebration (30th birthday party?) is a quite hoot, until Kate has to leave (lost purse? too much drinking?) leaving Mousy Ginnie and handsome Whatshisname all alone. No big deal - they’re just friends! Or are they?
But, as happens frequently in rom-coms, the friends accidentally have sex and thus, the real drama begins. Ginnie and Whatshisface should probably stop sleeping together, but, they can’t, and instead use her unassuming mousiness and Kate’s self-centered drama whirlwind to their advantage. Soon, one night of passionate regret evolves into a secret relationship of illicit love. The problem? Kate and Whatshisname are getting married, and the wedding is fast approaching.
The plot thickens. Will Ginnie tell Kate, profess her love for Whatshisname, and throw years of friendship to down the drain? (To be fair, it’s not the honesty, but the sleeping with her bestie’s fiance that technically caused the upset, but - potato, pa-ta-toh). Will Whatshisname call off the wedding? What if Whatshisname is not the man we thought he was, and Ginnie’s actually in love with Jim Halpert, who loves her back, despite the trailer’s requisite hollywood gaydar hints (Smarmy side comments, Oprah reference)? Blogic says: Yes, yes, and yes. We spy additional plot twists: while Gwinnie and Whatshisname ultimately will not end up together, neither will Whatshisname and Kate, potentially due to some similar sneaking around on Kate’s part.
Frequency with which Ginnie is shown to be working as a busy lawyer: 1
Sex Scenes: 3
Weddings: at least 1
Crowd of guests left baffled at a last-minute wedding cancellation: 1
Kate Hudson’s career: PR (or publishing?)
offensive jokes: 0
Trips to the Hamptons: 1
Characters running - nay, chasing - after love: 3
Scenes in which Kate Hudson is embarrassingly intoxicated: 3
"Vibrators Carry the Conversation:" ORLY? Blogic reacts
A New York Times piece last week generated a lot of buzz (heh) with its analysis of the increasingly mainstream availability of vibrators. Despite being firm supporters of sex positivity and access to sex education, condoms, contraception, toys etc. etc., we found this article lacking. Hints of a feminist analysis appear, but never quite come to fruition; instead, readers are bombarded with product placement. Below, blogic reacts:
Tag line: As women take ownership of their sexuality, device makers begin to make more money: Basically, “feminism’s changing the world: because women want to buy more/other things?” Please - we’ve heard that before.
"For years, vibrators were bought quietly in sex shops, and later online, arriving in discreet unmarked packages. They were rarely discussed, other than perhaps during a late-night girl-talk session fueled by many glasses of pinot grigio." Ugh, untrue. This author has stupid friends.
"…it wasn’t until an episode of HBO’s “Sex and the City” —called “The Turtle and the Hare,” featuring an actual device called the Rabbit Pearl — that the vibrator truly emerged from the nightstand drawer." Readers, remember that episode? The one that gets mentioned in every article on "female sexual liberation" because it was just that groundbreaking? Let’s refresh your memory, dear readers: Big tells Carrie he’ll never marry again, Charlotte gets a vibrator and then doesn’t want do anything else ever again, and Miranda and Samantha do other things (internet research has revealed that Samantha has a “harsh dumping” - really, HBO summary guide? Really?). The point here: can we all please agree to stop attributing the feminist movement to that show?
Dr Laura Berman, the sex therapist from “Sexual Healing,” the short-lived but well-loved HBO show, is quoted. We have to ask, what are you doing in this article? You deserve better.
"Jeremy, 31, a content strategist in the entertainment business who lives in New York and wanted his last name omitted for privacy, said…" Jeremy and his girlfriend Kate, hoping for anonymity, still gave their first names and job titles? Anyone with access to the internet should be able to crack that code. Poor planning, team.
We are getting the distinct impression that the author seems to think that only straight ladies use vibrators. Newsflash: Untrue!
"And “Hysteria,” a romantic comedy in post-production that will star Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dancy, will recount the same point in Victorian history. The plot revolves around Mr. Dancy’s character, a young earnest doctor who takes a job massaging women’s pelvises into “paroxysms.” But when the doctor develops carpal tunnel syndrome, his best friend (Rupert Everett), who is obsessed with electricity, invents a device that has impressively efficient curative powers." Did somebody say rom com? Boy + Girl = Movie, anyone?
We’re all for both the press and mainstream public having frank, open conversations about sexuality - but let’s do it genuinely, and leave product placement out of it.
Today, thousands of people ran Boston’s legendary Boston Marathon. One of them, Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya, ran the 26 miles in the fastest time ever (2:03:02). In celebration of everyone who participated, Blogic declares this Marathon Monday. While we might not be up for running 26.2 miles today (or any day, for that matter), here are some other things we love times 26.2.
lebvs would eat 26.2 cadbury creme eggs:
ev would eat 26.2 cups of popcorn with Crystal hot sauce:
lebvs and ev would both read this Q&A by the hairpin on tampons in the office at least 26.2 times (and actually, probably already have). lebvs calls it “the best piece of internet [she’s] read in weeks.”
John Denny has taken a “tongue-in-cheek look at the women who scare him the most - in a good way.” Expecting to find the Blair Witch and that girl from The Ring, we instead found a list of women who are actually just really good at their jobs: Helen Hanna Casey is one of the most successful women business leaders in Pennsylvania…. Helen also makes sure the company gives back to the community – to the tune of $5.5 million to the Children’s Hospital Free Care Fund. Or Ann McGuinn, a passionate, tireless leader of many causes, of whom Denny cleverly says: “There is only one person more scared of Ann McGuinn than me and that’s her husband Marty McGuinn.”
Given the tone of the piece, we must believe that Denny is joking - but this is a stale joke. Instead of adding smart commentary, or mocking other journalists who perpetuate this kind of thinking, Denny rests on sexism’s laurels and his piece comes off as pure chauvinism (women! powerful! ballbusters! scary! good one!). We’re certainly not the first ones to point this out, but calling strong women scary is the oldest trick in the book to diminish their power. This “scare” tactic is clearly rooted in gender stereotypes and perpetuates norms about who should be in control. Men who attain similarly lofty goals are not “scary,” they’re skilled leaders - even if their companies are big and scary. After all, who’s afraid of Bill Gates?
While if some might find it commendable that Denny bothered to make a list of Pennsylvanian women leaders in the first place, we would prefer that he had left the job to someone capable of honoring these women without diminishing their accomplishments, even if for a few quick laughs. Sexist articles like this one do more to perpetuate gender power imbalances than to right them.
Blogic decided to create our own list of scary men. These are the type of people who deserve to be associated with the adjective “scary:”
Mel Gibson: Remember him? With Charlie Sheen taking up so much celebcrazy, it’s all too easy to forget the man who, perhaps most (in)famously, left racist, sexist and violent messages on ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva’s machine (click here to see the 20 worst things Mel said in that call, as presented by kittens). He’s also been known to make homophobic and antisemitic statements, and year later, still refuses to apologize for them. Also, that beard. Basically, we’re afraid of Mel because he hates almost everyone who isn’t like him, he’s famous and people apparently still like him, and he looks like a Robot Devil.
That Creepy Guy lebvs Recently Saw on The Street: “Join the church of the places and why would you not my children only if you can’t see the truth of truths to stay true! Or else you will become [mumble mumble mumble].” Also, he was wearing a tattered choir boy outfit. It was dark out, and he came out of nowhere.
Babe bracket: It's like March Madness, only sexist!
In honor of March Madness, Men’s Health Magazine has developed a bracket of its own: The Babe Bracket 2011. According to the website, "It’s like March Madness, only hotter!" 64 female athletes faced one another in successive rounds, and voters selected the winners of each round in a method similar to that of kittenwar.com.
The contest focuses on female athletes, which seems like something that blogic would support - except, the athletes are judged not on their athletic abilities but on their levels of relative hotness. In fact, the two finalists’ photos do not even depict them doing their sports, (unless, that is, Julia Mancuso typically races down the mountain without pants). The finalists’ athletic abilities do not seem to correlate with their success in the Babe Bracket. Golfer Anna Rawson has “LPGA Tour Member” listed as her “accomplishment.” Now, we’re not golf experts, but we’re pretty sure that “member” is not synonymous with “winner” when it comes to the LPGA tour.
Scientific world pranked: How Science Daily does April Fool's
Science Daily has let loose a slew of fake headlines in the past 24 hours in celebration of April Fools Day. Below are Blogic’s faves:
Molar Power: Milk Teeth Wanted for Stem Cell Palace Art Project: Children across Britain are being asked to donate their milk teeth to create “Palaces” — a spectacular glittering sculpture made from crystal resin and decorated with retired pearly whites. Tooth fairy forced to turn to black market.* [Also, do they mean baby teeth? What is a “milk tooth?” British readership, fill us in.]
Rom-com enthusiasts and lady-audiences, demand more from your movie-going experiences! Welcome to Boy + Girl = Movie?, Blogic’s segment in which we watch previews for upcoming rom-coms and, with bizarre specificity, attempt to predict their plots. After completing our prediction, we’ll subject ourselves to real rom-com viewing in the theater in order to confirm - or correct - our predictions. Ultimately, our task is to demonstrate the mediocrity of most mainstream movies geared towards women. Read Part 1 on "Just Go With It" here.
*SPOILER ALERT* “Just Go With It” is a pretty bad movie, but it’s not the worst we’ve seen. For a rom com, the movie was light on the romance (which we predicted/hoped for, considering the casting of Adam Sandler); in fact, we might label it a com rom. In general, the jokes fell flat; it’s fair to say that we did more laughing at the movie than with it, though there were a couple of jokes that made us chuckle (most notably, the puns about crazy eyebrows, including “brows gone wild,” and “browch” - like ouch, but brow-related). That we giggled at this should (we hope) speak less to the caliber of our humor, and instead offer insight into the overall comedic prowess of the movie. Blogic was surprised at two ill-advised cameo appearances, from both Dave Matthews and Nicole Kidman. The movie did have a plot, but it was superficial and peppered with unbelievable events (e.g. a nighttime walk on beach transitions into waking up on beach; “wait, where did those blankets come from? how do they get back to work in their sandy clothes?” and “that sheep he’s giving the Heimlich to doesn’t look real at all!” [yes, for those of you keeping tabs, pretending to be a sheep specialist and then having to perform a life-saving maneuver on a sheep is almost the same plotline as an episode of Seinfeld]).
We did learn a few key lessons from this movie:
If you’re on the path to becoming a successful cardiac surgeon but you have a hilaaariously large nose, it’s best to switch your career track to plastic surgery. Also, it seems like movie stars aren’t afraid to make fun of themselves when it comes to plastic surgery: Heidi Montag, Jennifer Aniston, and Nicole Kidman, notorious patrons of cosmetic surgery, all appear in a movie in which plastic surgery plays a role in 1 in 3 jokes. (or, perhaps these stars aren’t aware of the coincidence?)
If you meet a Hot Girl and you want to win her heart, but in doing so are forced to tell lie upon lie, you will never be caught and will experience zero consequences. You might, however, fall happily-ever-after-in-love with your assistant in the meantime.
Frenemies: you can become friends again by entering a hula competition and a stomach-churning game involving your respective partners and a coconut. Followed by next-day drunken honesty. (Note: this only works if you are both way more miserable in life than you initially let on)
For Men: the best way to protect your heart while seeking an NSA love life is to pretend to be married. For Ladies: The best way to protect your heart is to have 2 kids and never have time for yourself.
Per usual, anything other than heterosexuality is the punchline to a joke. Real original.
Bonus Predictions, the talley:
Sex scenes - predicted: 2 In reality, 0. Thank goodness.
Number of times Blogic is offended - predicted: 3 In reality, 1, due to an unnecessary joke about Hurricane Katrina. Screenwriters, take note: ill-timed jokes about Hurricane Katrina will probably never be a good idea.
Number of jokes that center on Jenny and Adam not knowing basic details that a married couple would normally know about each other - predicted: 4 Actually, 2.
Frequency with which Jennifer is shown to be doing her job - predicted: 3 Reality? 2. Also worth noting: Jennifer is not a physician (as we had predicted), she’s an assistant. Adam Sandler is the physician, and her boss.
Weddings - predicted: 1. In reality, 3 total: 2 shown, 1 off-screen. Rom com note: there will always be more weddings than you expect.
Funerals - predicted: 0. Got that one right!
Beach scenes panning from one bikini-clad women to another - Predicted: 3. This did not happen, but, there were plenty of bikini scenes featuring Hot Girl.
Makeover montage - predicted: 1. Yep, Adam and Jennifer were featured in a makeover montage scene complete with shoe shopping, dress shopping, and new hair.
Predictions we didn’t make, but wish we had: Characters who take on fake accents: 2.
Unfortunately, for a piece that should be ultra-modern (technology! the interwebs!), the post reads like nothing more than tired gender stereotypes. It quickly becomes clear that by “rule the internet” the author meant “shop on the internet:”
"Sites like Zappos (>$1 billion in revenue last year), Groupon ($760m last year), Gilt Groupe ($500m projected revenue this year), Etsy (over $300m in GMV last year), and Diapers ($300m estimated revenue last year) are all driven by a majority of female customers."
These shopping sites struck us as relatively one dimensional (women love shoes! and clipping coupons! and jewelry! and crafting! and BABIES!). The next paragraph begins: “Women even shop more on Chegg, which offers textbook rentals on college campuses across the country.” Is it just us, or does this sentence read as incredibly offensive? Women even buy textbooks!? What do they need those for? They’ll buy ANYTHING!
The article does move beyond women’s purchasing patterns and on to their collective social skills, pointing out that women are both the majority and the most active users on facebook, twitter, and other social networking sites. Why? The author breaks it down for us: “Women are thought to be more social, more interested in relationships and connections, better at multi-tasking." That’s right ladies! Tweet your friends, poke your exes, update your online dating profile - all at once. What a skill!
"And more women use Twitter, which has a reputation for being a techie insider’s (i.e., male) product." First of all, is Twitter really a “techie insider’s” product? We have to say, we think it’s pretty mainstream (everyone from your 13-year-old cousin to 80-year-old William Shatner has a twitter account). And, what’s with this “i.e. male” assertion? Perhaps the author meant that technology is thought to be generally male-dominated (lady engineer readers, what say you?), but this over-simplified statement just reads as offensive.
Blogic firmly believes that ruling the internet does not mean shopping and catching up with friends. So who does rule the internet, and how is that defined? We brainstormed a short list of categories, and we know that there are plenty of talented, powerful women in each.
Apparently, Big Potato (the National Potato Council) is worried that bolstered nutrition standards for schools might leave the big, starchy vegetable behind. In an attempt to regain popularity, they have launched a new website, www.potatoesinschools.com, which gives the American public the tools they need to lobby the USDA on behalf of Big Potato. Blogic asked our guest nutritionist, PG, to weigh in: “Well, potatoes aren’t good for you, and they aren’t inherently bad for you either. But typically, kids consume them in fried form, which is obviously unhealthy.” Regardless of how you feel about Big Potato’s place in the school cafeteria, we think everyone can agree that their campaign needs a bit of work. The following gems were pulled directly from Big Potato’s website:
Let’s face it—kids love potatoes and schools love to serve them!
Potatoes are known as a “gateway vegetable.” Let’s face it, if you don’t talk to your kid about potatoes, someone else will.* Students can be introduced to other vegetables that are in, around and on top of potatoes.
Baked potato bars are gaining popularity, and there is no end to what kids can top their potatoes with.
Sorry for our recent absence - we’ve been struck by a case of welstchmerz.
Definition: from the German, meaning world-pain or world-weariness, pronounced [ˈvɛltʃmɛɐ̯ts].
According to wikipedia, weltschmerz used to denote the feeling of sadness when thinking about the evils of the world. In light of the tragedy unfolding across the Pacific Ocean and the coordinated attacks on the people of Libya, we are heavily weighed down with feelings of our own inability to do much more than sit in front of our televisions or computer screens and watch people’s lives unravel. Simultaneously, the landscape of our own country - especially the political - appears increasingly bleak. All of the following might be causing weltschmerz on you too, readers, and we thought we’d air it out:
Outrageous spending cuts proposed in the House of Representatives, including significant cuts to National Public Radio. Does anyone remember the tax cuts for the wealthy that were passed at tremendous cost last December? Anyone?
Global warming can no longer be called a “theory” (though some GOPers seem bent on continuing to refer to it as such) - its impact on our earth has become obvious this winter, with severe and unprecedented storms sweeping the nation. Farmers in the developing world have been dealing with global warming for years, and according to the New York Times, soon oblivious Americans will not be able to ignore its impact on even something as simple as their morning coffee.
In Wisconsin, Republican senators destroyed collective bargaining power for state employees and undermined union rights.
James O’Keefe and his pointless and repugnant attacks on important institutions like NPR, or Planned Parenthood.
International Women's Day is not an excuse to bring us flowers
With all this buzz about International Women’s Day in our news and twitter feeds, we found ourselves wondering what this day is really all about. Because a day dedicated to women couldn’t really only be about creating lists of “the most powerful women on twitter,” James Bond dressing as a woman, or buying flowers for women in our lives.
ding to their website, IWD started more than 100 years ago as a day of unified, collective activism. Many of the first Days focused on labor rights and suffrage. As the event became international in scope, more advocacy campaigns were incorporated, including protests against WWI.
IWD sticks to a narrow definition of gender (trans and genderqueer voices are notably absent from its narrative). But besides just ignoring a wider definition of gender equality, IWD in the US fails to address plain ol’ sexism.
Don’t despair, women around the world are making use of the day to engage in advocacy. For example, one million women marched in Cairo to call for women’s input on the drafting of Egypt’s constitution, legislative changes that will ensure gender equality, and in tribute to the 12 women that died in protest of former Pres. Hosni Mubarak. And in Mexico City and Turkey, women protested violence against women.
Outerspace and other news: Not all stellar explosions expand spherically, not all cats are in it just for the food
"Asymmetric supernovae: not all stellar explosions expand spherically” Stars are balls of glowing gas, with a nearly spherical shape. Accordingly, one would expect that when some stars explode as supernovae at the end of their lives, the resulting colossal fireballs should share this spherical symmetry. However, recent investigations are revealing that some of these events are not round….Recent developments in the observation of supernovae are providing increasing evidence that the explosion of a (nearly round) star can result in a strongly deformed fireball. (Science Daily, 2/27/11)
The article continues, This sloppy handiwork lends new meaning to the song “Champagne Supernovae”*
Rom-com enthusiasts and lady-audiences, demand more from your movie-going experiences! Welcome to Boy + Girl = Movie?, in which we watch previews for upcoming rom-coms and, with bizarre specificity, attempt to predict their plots. After completing our prediction, we’ll subject ourselves to real rom-com viewing in the theater in order to confirm - or correct - our predictions. Ultimately, our task is to demonstrate the mediocrity of most mainstream movies geared towards women. Read part 1 on “No Strings Attached” here.
*SPOILER ALERT* “No Strings Attached” is an awful, awful movie. The plot is practically non-existent and flimsy; the characters are sorely under-developed and unrealistic; the two leads have no chemistry; the editing is sloppy; the writing is tired and the jokes are painfully un-funny. We recommend that Ashton Kutcher never participate in another film. As for Natalie Portman, if you’ve seen her on Between Two Ferns you know that comedy isn’t really her forte (although, to be fair, this is wonderful). Shall we go on?
We did learn a few key lessons from this movie:
As with many rom-coms, audiences want to know what the two romantic leads really “saw” in one another. Natalie made it all clear for us. Ashton is everything one needs in a partner: “Very tall, annoyingly happy, and the best heart.” The best!
When it comes to relationships, we have two options: a) snuggle-free, breakfast-free, care-free NSA relationships and b) whole-hearted monogamy, which always leads to marriage. “Some strings attached” is just not an option, these days.
Helpful advice for frat parties: “you just have to be drunk and look hot!”
Helpful advice for marriage and drugs: “blow is blind.”
Anything other than heterosexuality is a punchline to a joke, whether it be two girls making out, or a secondary male character’s foray into a supply closet with another man. So hilarious, amiright?
Bonus predictions, the tally:
Number of times Blogic is offended by a “joke” - Predicted: 5+ In reality, maybe just once. The entire movie was so not funny that the attempted jokes were more embarrassing than anything. We did not expect to leave the movie advocating for a laugh track.
Sex scenes between Natalie and Ashton - Predicted: 6. In the theater, we lost count. There were at least 5, not counting the poorly edited sex montage.
Number of weddings - Predicted: 1. We were correct.
Number of funerals - Predicted: 0. There was 1 funeral; we did not see that coming.
Frequency with which Natalie is shown to be doing her job - Predicted: 4 scenes (80 hours a week? Please.). In reality, maybe 3, but only if working as a Resident in a hospital consists of walking the halls and drinking coffee with co-workers, having sex in a handicapped bathroom stall, and attending very fancy holiday parties (while sloshed). Doctor-readers, does that sound about right? However, we did see many scenes of Ashton working at a Glee-esque show about kids who “sing, dance and blog.”
Times the two main leads run into each other unexpectedly - Predicted: 3. Turned out to be 4 “unexpected” run-ins. Close!
Role of cell phones: iPhone emerges as a supporting character: So, so accurate. The iPhone was an integral player in nearly every scene. The funniest iPhone line was a Contact named “DoNotCallHer.” Really clever, guys.
Awkward dates gone on by the two leads, but not with each other - Prediction: Natalie: 0, Ashton: 4. Damn, zero on both counts. But there was plenty of awkwardness, first dates or no.
Physically running, nay chasing after love!: Natalie: 1, Ashton: 2: Natalie: 2, Ashton: We’re honestly not sure. 0? 2?
Prediction we didn’t make, but wish we did: 3 musical numbers. 3!
Red Sox fans have a distinct mentality: always the underdog, eternal hatred for the Yankees, and the fervent belief that “new” fans don’t know what it means to truly suffer like the long-term fans have experienced. We know, because exactly 1/2 of blogic is a die-hard Red Sox fan. The team’s success and elevated national profile over the past decade has challenged that mentality, bringing new fans into the fold and leaving certain fans disgruntled or - in this case - sexist.
In his sports blog post today, “Not pretty in pink,” Matt Gelfand attacks a group that he believes is threatening the legitimacy of Red Sox fanhood: Pink Hats. Calling someone a Pink Hat fan means they are "the ultimate posers. Bandwagon fans." Temporarily ignoring the obvious reference to (commercialized) femininity, let’s learn more about this particular brand of fan. Matt Gelfand describes them as the "I don’t know how many innings are in a game, but my team is good now so I’ll spend $50 on a stylish hat and tight T’ fans." In case we missed the words “stylish” and “tight T,” which apparently symbolize women everywhere, Gelfand explains "the pink hats come in all shapes and sizes, but in all likelihood are female with little actual knowledge of the game of baseball."
Gelfand rightly anticipates outrage from the bleachers and tries to assuage us, writing "the pink-hat controversy isn’t about sexism, as some feminists might argue.” Gelfand even admits that "there are plenty of passionate female Red Sox fans." But by defining a bad fan as one who wears a Pink Hat, an obvious female/feminine signifier, Gelfand suggests that a) all bandwagon fans are women and b) “real” women fans are the exception, not the rule. At its core, his argument is sexist. Gelfand seems to think that male bandwagon fans aren’t as big of a threat to Red Sox fandom - as if, because of their gender, men have an inherent claim to liking the Red Sox.
This issue goes beyond the Red Sox; it is about who can be a real sports fan, regardless of team affiliation. Ultimately, it is about policing where women - and men - belong. The use of the pink hat as a symbol for newcomers (meaning, female newcomers) is prevalent in Red Sox culture. Like Gelfend’s blog post, this notion is filled with stale stereotypes and unstable assumptions, and says more about one’s feelings toward women than it does about a passion for the Red Sox. And that sentiment doesn’t belong in a sports blog or a baseball park.
As a rule, Blogically Speaking is opposed to all phony marketing ploys directed at women, whether they be ugly, pepto-bismol colored hats or stupid skinny cans.
Pepsico’s new online forum for women, the Women’s Inspiration Network: "An online interactive network offering global female perspective, inspiration, and idea sharing through the involvement of experts, influencers and real women. It’s a network for all who are interested in listening, engaging, enabling and supporting women."
Outerspace and other news: Stars who've been jilted learn to forgive
"Two-Timing Spacecraft Has Date With Another Comet" NASA’s Stardust spacecraft… is hurtling at more than 24,000 miles an hour toward a Valentine’s Day encounter with comet Tempel 1.… The spacecraft flew within 150 miles of comet Wild 2 in 2004, when it collected thousands of tiny dust particles streaming from the comet’s nucleus for laboratory analysis... But Stardust, still healthy and with fuel to spare, soon went back onto the interplanetary market, looking for a second mission.(Science Daily, 2/11/11)
Guest post: djs reviews "The King's Speech" with hyphen-less abandon
Blogically Speaking is proud to welcome our first guest post by the illustrious and talented djs. We are excited to highlight a new voice (also, she agreed to spread blogically speaking to Thailand in exchange for a day of blogic fame #logrolling).
Maybe Oscar season means you finally have an excuse to sit at home amidst a movie marathon in a pile of old US weekly’s and discarded vitamin water bottles, or maybe you just want a two and a half hour distraction from the fact that you legitimately had to STEP OVER A PILE OF HUMAN EXCREMENT on your way to work this morning. Either way, there are a few good movies out and in case you want to have some foresight before you make those Oscar bets and play some Oscar drinking games; I suggest you go out and see (or, if possible, ask your genius robot building Asian students to download) “The King’s Speech.” Since you’re all just going to Wikipedia the synopsis anyway, I’ll spare you the plot overview in favor of a few reasons why this is not the film to miss:
Second of all, this movie took the “student-teacher” archetypal relationship and explored it in a pithy, matter-of-fact way without the headache-inducing “I was supposed to teach him….BUT HE REALLY TAUGHT ME” clichés. While Albert (King George VI) has a clear character transition throughout the movie, his speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) remains steadfast, comforting, and flawed in all the best human ways. Like Mary Poppins, only less motherly. And he can’t fly (yet). Also, the movie lacks any of that embarrassing white guilt that so many of those other teacher movies throw about with wild abandon.
And thirdly, in the spirit of “the types of things that make work less boring” it brings to light the oft forgotten drama behind George VI’s brief predecessor, who ascended the throne but then abdicated in favor of marrying his twice divorced American wife (Wallis Simpson). Wikipedia/Google hopping this drama occupied a solid five hours of my work day, and took me deep into the recesses of British royal history. I now know more things about the royal line than any American ever should.
djs lives and teaches in Bangkok, Thailand, where she has too many hours of down time at work, during which she writes about pointless things and re-reads all the Young Adult novels in the school library. She enjoys watching, thinking about, and drinking with TV. According to the CDC, she is very well-vaccinated and fit to travel anywhere.
Diet Pepsi presents the taller, sassier new Skinny Can at New York’s Fall 2011 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week
"Diet Pepsi has a long history of celebrating women through iconic fashion imagery seen in our infamous and historical campaigns, and we’re proud to continue that tradition as an official sponsor of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week," said Jill Beraud, Chief Marketing Officer, PepsiCo.
So, fashion(able) = slimmer and taller? That’s original.
How exactly does this “celebrate” women? It seems more like it reduces women’s value to little more than the 5-cent deposit on an aluminum can (okay, 10-cents in one state!).
Just to be clear, it’s the same old pepsi inside the can. We won’t be sprinting to the store for a taste of this “new” beverage.
"Infamous" doesn’t mean what you think it means, Jill. (Or maybe it does, and she’s just being honest?)
The merger is considered a boon for the tv channel, whose popularity has dwindled since the 1990s. In fact, most of the American public was largely unaware that the network still existed until it made headlines for its purchase of Blogically Speaking.
When asked to describe this merger’s effect on Blogically Speaking though the use of bizarre transportation imagery, ev and lebvs said:
Far from changing our editorial approach, our culture, or our mission, this moment will be for BlogicSpeak like stepping off a fast-moving train and onto a supersonic jet. We’re still traveling toward the same destination, with the same people at the wheel, and with the same goals, but we’re now going to get there much, much faster.
Outerspace and other news: star, mailman on the run
"Runaway star plows through space" A massive star flung away from its former companion is plowing through space dust. The result is a brilliant bow shock, seen as a yellow arc in a new image from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. (Science Daily, 1/24/11)
The photo* to the right could be a real image of the prodigal star. Alternatively, NASA might have invented a clever excuse for the malfunctioning flash on their camera.
log·roll·ing: the exchange of support or favors, esp. by legislators for mutual political gain as by voting for each other’s bills; cronyism or mutual favoritism among writers, editors, or critics, as in the form of reciprocal flattering reviews (“back scratching”); the action of rolling logs to a particular place (duh); the action of rotating a log rapidly in the water by treading upon it, esp. as a competitive sport; birling. The NYT put it well in 1921: “Admirable is the ardor with which our young geniuses go on discovering each other.”
Warning: for SF Bay Area literary geeks only. Apparently, McSweeney’s “Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales” is nothing more than a giant literary logroll. The backstory includes Dave Eggers saying to his pal Michael Chabon, “If I let you guest-edit an issue of McSweeney’s, can we please stop talking about this?”
The San Jose Mercury gives the "list of powerful women" concept a go. This list is in some ways superior to that of a certain other publication—for one thing, the women’s credentials aren’t accompanied by photographs or details on their marital and reproductive status. The article also lists its criteria for ‘powerful’: “size of their company or organization; number of people under their management; and scope of their influence beyond their company.” Certainly better than offering no definition whatsoever (thanks again, Forbes). Yet, O’Brien follows this with "Though in talking with Theresia Gouw Ranzetta, another one of the 10, I realized women might have their own way of defining power that’s very different from men."
Is this true? While at least one woman on this list supports this theory, does that support his conclusion that women define power as: “helping others succeed or having an impact on their community”? Everyone is hurt by narrow, gendered definitions of power and success. Women who do not fit into the definition O’Brien highlights are often referred to as “bitches” or “ball-busters” (Martha Stewart), and men who do are seen as too weak to be truly powerful.
Even some of the lauded successes are questionably framed:
“Sandberg [chief operating officer, Facebook] provided much-needed maturity to a company that had sometimes resembled a rowdy college dormitory.” Good thing Frat-house Facebook hired a woman to play housemother and keep them organized!
And, of Katie Cotton, vice president at Apple: "Here is a woman who possesses the greatest of all superpowers: invisibility… Not only does she do a masterful job of stoking the cultlike fervor for Apple products, but she’s also considered to be the cultivator of Steve Jobs’ image." Media, take note: praising women for their “invisibility” is nothing more than good old-fashioned sexism in disguise.
By the end of our read, we were scratching our heads as to whose was worse - the Forbes piece or this one - what do you think?
Outerspace and other news: a new planet, a new latte size
"UC Berkeley, NASA astronomers find smallest exoplanet to date" The planet - dubbed Kepler-10b and first announced last week at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle - orbits a star very similar to the sun. It is the smallest exoplanet - a planet outside of this solar system - found to date, with a diameter that is 40 percent larger than Earth’s. But unlike Earth or any other planet in this solar system, Kepler-10b orbits its star in about 20 hours, whereas the Earth orbits the sun in 365 days. Therefore, because the exoplanet is 30 times closer to its star than Earth is to the sun, it is entirely too hot to harbor life. (The Daily Cal, 1/19/11)
The article continues: “Every time a planet passes in front (of a star), that star will dim just a little bit, just like if a fly landed on a light bulb,” Marcy said. “And every time someone says ‘I don’t believe in fairies,’ a fairy dies.”*
Members of the household are restricted to a set number of items of clothing and a single box of keepsakes. The family does not purchase any food items with packaging, instead shopping the bulk and deli sections with their own reusable glass jars and visiting local markets for “sticker free” produce. While the notion of thriftiness and the attempt to reduce rampant materialism is appreciated, we were left with more questions than inspiration.
How are environmental priorities set? If a family writes a letter to netflix complaining about the plastic strip on the return envelope sticker (yep, that little strip) yet owns two cars and flies across the Atlantic once-yearly, how do they define environmentalism? Products seem to be catering to this confused-yuppie brand of green: the family buys these compost-able toothbrushes imported from Australia.
While Sunset Magazine glorifies the family as the pinnacle of environmental consciousness, are their methods accessible to the average family? This family lives in Mill Valley, one of the richest zip codes in the US. And unlike the zero-waste home, most households do not have one stay-at-home-parent to search high-and-low for package-free products or the space to support a full-blown compost operation.
"The less I have, the richer I feel" proclaims Bea Johnson. But to what extent is the related mantra "the less I have, the richer you think I am" true? Will we know who had the most not by the things they accrue or empires they create, but instead by who leaves the least behind?