Your Curmudgeon hasn't done one of these in a while, mainly because "big" stories and ideas have been flowing fairly thickly for some months. But he's off from (paid) work today, has quite a lot of (unpaid) work to do -- some of which (growl) is for his (paid) employer -- and feels no tug from any major story or theme in the national news, so here we go.
Given the material below, your Curmudgeon has decided that it's time for a segment of the long-awaited taboo-word desensitization campaign. Persons of immature years or mentality, and persons with zero courage, would be best advised to skip this post.
Don't like it? Read someone else.
1. The Camera Does Add Ten Pounds, Y'know.
Zooey Deschanel isn't a terrific actress. She's moderately pretty, has (according to "sources") a "quirky sense of humor," and if your Curmudgeon can believe the reports, she can apparently carry a sitcom role adequately, though that's no great accomplishment in the grand scheme of things. All that to the side, she's quite sensible about one subject, at least:
"Women I admired growing up— Debra Winger, Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep—were all beautiful and thin, but not too thin,” she said in the February issue of the magazine. “There are a lot of actresses who are unhealthy-skinny—much, much too skinny. You can’t Pilates to that. I’m a very small person, and if I lost 15 pounds, I’d look like them; it’s scary. For young girls, what does that say? You need to look this way to be successful? That’s not true. You do not need to look or be anorexic to be successful in Hollywood. The range of what’s acceptable is larger than what people believe."
You'd think, given the extraordinary appeal of Christina Hendricks, Kim Kardashian, Kate Upton, and other somewhat fuller-figured celebrities, that this would no longer be in dispute. But it is, for a simple reason: fashion marketing.
Fashion designers, like anyone in any other business, are there to make money. The success of a high-ticket clothing line depends critically on the success of its advertising campaign, which must perforce be a high-impact visual extravaganza. And unfortunately, a photograph or video of a clothed model looks most appealing, and thus makes her outfit most appealing, when the model herself is underweight.
Why does the photo of a clothed model look best when she's underweight? Your Curmudgeon has no idea. The old saying is that "the camera adds ten pounds," but it's unclear from the laws of physics why that should be so.
(With thanks to your Curmudgeon's gook friend Duyen, who's in that game, who agrees with the premise of this article, and who has asked your Curmudgeon to assure you, Gentle Reader, that it's not because all fashion designers are faggots. She's absolutely certain they're not. Well, most of them, anyway.)
2. Some Instructive Fun.
"I don't understand your viewpoint," she said. "You broke his nose, yet he had done you no harm of any sort. You expect me to approve that?"
"But Persephone," he protested, "you ignore the fact that he called me a most insulting name."
"I don't see the connection," she said. "He made a noise with his mouth -- a verbal label. If the label does not fit you, the noise is meaningless. If the label is true in your case -- if you are the thing the noise refers to, you are neither more, nor less, that thing by reason of some one uttering the verbal label."
[Robert A. Heinlein, "Coventry."]
Have a gander at this report on an interview of actor Samuel L. Jackson:
Samuel L. Jackson took a unique approach to discussing the controversy surrounding Quentin Tarantino’s new film “Django Unchained.”
The movie, which has been criticized for its portrayal of slavery, also took heat for its use of the n-word, and when interviewer Jake Hamilton attempted to ask the actor about the n-word controversy he got more drama than he expected.
“No? Nobody? None? The word would be?” Jackson said, trying to get Hamilton to say the word.
When Hamilton answered that he was not comfortable saying it, Jackson tried harder, refusing to answer the question unless Hamilton obliged.
They argued over it for a few moments before moving on to another question.
What's the secret word? (No prompting, Groucho.) Why, nigger, of course.
Jackson, an accomplished actor with several memorable performances to his credit, might have been making either of two points. On the one hand, he might have been attempting to display how silly the taboo is. On the other, he might have been enjoying a sense of superiority from demonstrating that a white interviewer is self-censored against saying the dreaded word, while he, a nigger, suffers no such inhibitions.
Your Curmudgeon suspects the latter to be the case. Niggers freely and routinely employ the dreaded word. Indeed, racial and ethnic epithets of all sorts are common in their lexicon. It's their way of flaunting their immunity from a variety of opprobrium that would descend on virtually anyone else.
The proprietor of the provocative yet informative website Stuff Black People Don't Like has frequently used the phrase "Black-Run America" in his observations of the special legal and social status of the American nigger. However, your Curmudgeon has not yet encountered The N-Word That Shall Not Be Spoken, Written, Or Cast Into Pixels even at his site. He can't imagine why.
This mick-wop papist honky and his kike wife derive great amusement from these displays of linguistic prissiness, especially when manifest among persons, so common these days, for whom fuck, shit, motherfucker, and cocksucker are terms of ordinary discourse. That includes persons of all races, ethnicities, creeds, and sexual orientations, just in case you've been hiding behind the barred door of your house these past three or four decades.
Whence cometh the reluctance to use such terms? The persons to whom they refer use them freely among themselves! If they're genuinely offensive, why do they use them? And yes, it's true: the first thing we ofays do upon being introduced to one another is to exchange business cards! So what?
Shattering the taboos is the first step to informing the various identity groups that attempt to enforce them that they have no special privileges -- linguistic or otherwise.
"Don't make me get mad, and act like a nigger!" -- Stevie Wonder, "Sweet Little Girl," from the album Music of My Mind.
3. A Short Political Diatribe.
...because without one, you'd hardly know this is Liberty's Torch, right?
Freshly re-elected Speaker of the House John Boehner (R, OH) has made an interesting promise:
John Boehner's first order of business in his second term as speaker is no more one-on-one meetings with President Obama.
An aide to the speaker, who won re-election to the leadership post Thursday afternoon, confirmed to Fox News that Boehner is done with closed-door talks with the president.
Boehner and Obama over the past two years have made two unsuccessful attempts at striking a "grand bargain" deficit-reduction deal. The last set of talks, in the context of crafting a bill to avert the fiscal crisis, ended with Boehner exiting the negotiations and pushing a failed "Plan B" and then being forced to bring a Senate-passed bill to the floor. Though the bill passed the House, Republicans largely opposed it.
Going forward, Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said, "he is recommitting himself and the House to what we've done, which is working through regular order and letting the House work its will."
This is significant for three reasons:
- Boehner made the same promise when he was elevated to the gavel in 2011;
- He broke it whenever it struck him as convenient;
- His caucus allowed him to do so.
Your Curmudgeon can't see a reason to believe that Boehner will honor his repeated promise any more than he did after he first made it. But what's most interesting about the matter is that an elected official sworn to obedience to the Constitution of the United States should have thought it necessary to make such a promise even once. Isn't his oath of office sufficient to pin him to the "regular order" of the House of Representatives, which exercises the authority it does solely because the Constitution grants it?
Why would the Republican caucus in the House permit the Speaker to behave in such a fashion? Don't its members realize that it casts doubt on their fidelity to their oaths? But then, few are the Republicans who haven't supported a blatant violation of the Constitution in recent years.
Your Curmudgeon is still trying to figure out why anyone trusts a politician of any party.
4. In Closing, And Before You Write To Chide Me...
...Your Curmudgeon didn't forget to mention:
- The Dykes,
- The Spics,
- The Nips,
- The Polacks,
- The Ragheads,
- Or the Limeys;
...he just couldn't find a news hook from which to hang those epithets. Never let it be said that your Curmudgeon is not an Equal Opportunity Offender.
Heinlein's question deserves to be asked at every eruption of this sort:
Think about it.