Pop culture has become as much of a religious powerhouse as Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism or any other faith. Don’t believe me? Sit in a college classroom. Better yet, attend a fan convention or simply rent the film Trekkies. Films, shows, bands, comic books and their like have become, for some, sources of spiritual nourishment. Do you feel the power?
12. What was once DVR-able is now weekly appointment television.
“Appointment TV” doesn’t begin to describe your weekly ritual. All pressing engagements are pushed aside, phones are silenced, and ritual food is laid out on the coffee table to be partaken in as the ceremony commences. You still DVR the show for good measure, being sure to re-watch at least once, if not multiple times in deep study so that you may discuss the meanings of both text and subtext with fellow fans.
10. If guys didn’t look like heroin-addicted street dwellers…
Before committing suicide, musician Kurt Cobain copyrighted the grunge look that came to define Gen-X/millennial crossovers in the ’90s. A reaction to the preppie style made famous by ’80s yuppies, grunge involved a level of disheveled that transcended even the dirtiest of ’60s hippie looks. Grunge trademarks included wrinkled, untucked clothing complemented by greasy, knotted hair and an expression best defined as heroin chic. The style depicted an “I don’t care” attitude that took punk’s anti-authoritarian attitude to a darker, more disengaged level. Grunge became the look of resigned defeat among American males.
Hiding the ugly face of Marxism has become a real science.
– Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa
We get it: Intellectuals who fall to the Left of the political spectrum dig Marx. Cultural critics like Ben Shapiro and Ben Stein have already made the excellent argument that academia is ideologically corrupted by said intellectuals, arguments that can be backed up by practically every conservative college graduate in the country. Now the focus has turned to public education, specifically the battle over Common Core Curriculum Standards (CCCS). You know what I’m talking about: Those crazy grammar assignments or math problems-cum-memes that pepper your Facebook and Twitter feed, usually accompanied by sarcastic comments like “Common Core is making me stupider.”
From a governmental point of view, Obama’s CCCS look like Bush’s No Child Left Behind on steroids: high-impact grant funding legislation that increases federal influence at the local level. Public school districts must report boatloads of data showing quantifiable achievements if they are to be rewarded with government funds. Many Americans doubt that a quality education can be quantified, but as Stalin was fond of saying: “Bureaucracy is the price we pay for impartiality.”
Which brings to mind Pacepa’s remark:
After the Kremlin expelled Romania’s King and declared the country a Popular Republic, the new government nationalized the school system, and decided to create its own type of intellectual — the “new man”.
Romania had its intellectuals before the Revolution. Most fled to Western Europe with death sentences hanging over their heads, still more wound up in gulags, and yet others elected to support the communist regime. A new generation of intellectuals would grow up behind the Iron Curtain, cultivating a subculture all their own filled with bootleg records and western media. They’d take menial bureaucratic jobs that would give them enough time to think and write – secretly of course – and maintain the culture their government denied them. Today’s Russian intellectuals have inherited the complacency of their parents’ generation, willing to “make do” as the government clamps down on free speech. It would seem, as Pacepa puts it, that their “vital arteries [have] been calcified by 70 years of disinformation and dismal feudalism.”
The harsh reality is that most citizens of the former Soviet Union do not know how to defend freedom because they’ve been educated to live without it. As the Wizard so kindly explained, the Scarecrow didn’t need a brain; he needed his intelligence to be quantified through a degree conferred by an authoritative source. This doesn’t mean that public education is a sham; on the contrary, this should illustrate how powerful an education can be in the hands of the educators as well as the minds of the educated.
We’ve discussed Marxist influences in our contemporary culture, but do we have the courage to confront Marxism in our daily discourse? Stay tuned for the next installment of Pacepa’s Seeds of Knowledge.
You know that article that’s been going around, about how we should stop throwing bridal showers and baby showers, and throw more parties to celebrate women when they get promotions, travel somewhere cool, or pass an educational milestone?
If you’re asking “which one?” it’s because that seems to be all the internet can talk about lately: the Non-Traditional Female Achievement Shower, or how women should be celebrated more often for all the stuff they do before getting married and starting a family.
The argument is, roughly, that women have been feted for centuries for getting married and having babies, but if we want to encourage female achievement, we should throw women Promotion Showers and New Job Parties instead. One blogger even argues she should get a party for backpacking across Asia.
This is in the name of equality (because, as you know, men have been getting special parties all along). Oh, you haven’t recently attended a party to celebrate the fact that one of your male friends completed a backpacking trip? Maybe because that’s not a thing. Okay, it is a thing, and that thing is called a “welcome home party,” and I’m only going to throw you one if I haven’t seen you in, like, five years. I’ve successfully returned from vacation many times without mourning the lack of a party to greet me.
The InvestmentWatch blog seems puzzled. They ask “Is Obama Depressed?”
The health care website is a bomb. Immigration overhaul is looking more and more like a bust. The allies are aggrieved about surveillance issues. Israel feels betrayed on Iran. The first black president didn’t even bother to go to Gettysburg, where the 150th anniversary of the most important 270-word speech ever given — the 270 words that welded the nation forever to the all-men-are-created-equal doctrine of the Declaration of Independence — would have given him a respite, and maybe a reset.
Puzzling issues indeed. The least-engaged, most ideologically ambitious president in history messed up a lot of things and now doesn’t know what to do about it. Wasn’t this the man who in his biography said that no one ever punished him or corrected him because his grandparents thought of him as a “poor fatherless boy”? Then he got whisked into the magic-carpet-ride academia and politics reserved for those of a leftist enough bent (he looked for communist professors, after all) with an interesting personal history (for those with oikophobia, a father from a third world country is a bonus). That he also has a hereditary tan doesn’t hurt him at all in those circles, either.
BUT none of that prepared him to be effective or engaged or even to understand the real world.
Ending up in time-out at 52 for the first time in your life is not just difficult. It’s unendurable. He can’t cope with it and he will find excuses, probably excuses that make him a martyr of undeserved failure/reproach.
The fault of course lies in those who deluded themselves into seeing in this non-entity the Light Bringer: academics, political operatives and most of all what used to be the free press of the United States of America. What use is it to be free from governmental control when you will sell your ability to think for a mess of coolness?
According to The Telegraph,
Maternity and paternity pay will not be protected from the Government’s new benefits cap, David Cameron has said, fuelling concerns that it could be cut in the future.
The Prime Minister said that the only welfare spending that was exempt from a new overall cap announced in the Autumn Statement last week would be the state pension.
The comments raised speculation that maternity and paternity pay could be cut if spending on benefits threatened to breach the cap once it is in force, although these fears were downplayed by Government sources.
It came as Rachel Reeves, the shadow Work and Pensions secretary, clarified comments she made on national television, which suggested the state pension could also be included in a welfare cap if Labour wins the next election.
George Osborne, the Chancellor, said that a cap on total benefits spending would start from 2015, with the precise limit being set out in spring next year.
This is a sign of the straits the UK finds itself in. but what I found interesting was this:
New mothers are legally entitled to a weekly rate equal to 90 per cent of your average weekly earnings for the first six weeks of their baby’s life. They receive £136.78 a week for the remaining 33 weeks.
New fathers are presently allowed to take up to two weeks off work to look after their babies. The statutory rate is £136.78 a week, or 90 per cent of the father’s average weekly earnings of that is less.
My question is why this government benefit exists at all.
Paying for babies under “welfare benefits” is of course supposed to give the little mites something to live on. But why pay people who have jobs to have children?
Either they want to anyway, or they don’t. And if they don’t, you can’t pay them enough. Sweden has shown that, since they started the most generous parenthood benefits in the world, by my recollection, sometime in the seventies.
Socialism always seems to be the best contraception money can buy, either by removing the central role of the family and replacing it with government, or by removing the hope for a better future that makes people want to have children. Every socialist state has crashing demographics.
So I say remove the parenthood benefits, do. And the welfare benefits too. And then maybe there will be hope for Britain without taking in a large, indigestible group of immigrants.
As Powerline blog notes, commenting on this same article, it’s getting harder and harder to distinguish supposedly serious news sites from the Onion.
According to the ever-entertaining and self-aggrandizing Huffington Post, Nadine Schweigert married herself and “opened up about self marriage.”
A 36-year-old North Dakota woman who married herself in a commitment ceremony last March has now spoken about her self-marriage choice in an interview with Anderson Cooper.
The marriage took place among friends and family who were encouraged to “blow kisses to the world” after she exchanged rings with her “inner groom”, My Fox Phoenix reports.
“I feel very empowered, very happy, very joyous … I want to share that with people, and also the people that were in attendance, it’s a form of accountability,” Nadien Schweigert told Anderson Cooper.
Schweigert said the ceremony was a celebration of how far she’d come since her painful divorce six years ago that led to her two children to decide to live with her ex-husband.
“Six years ago I would’ve handled a problem by going out and drinking,” she said. “I smoked, I was 50 pounds overweight … this is just celebrating how far I’ve come in my life.”
Note the delicate construction in that whole passage — six years ago she left her husband, and that’s how she handled “a problem” then — so what problem does she still have? Presumably the fact that she remains alone, since women who have remarried rarely have to “marry themselves.”
And what form of “accountability” is she emphasizing? What exactly is she promising herself? To do the best she can for herself? I thought that was just what we owed ourselves and society?
Or is her “commitment” and accountability to make the best of being alone? And make it sound like a grand adventure?
Marriage by definition is the union of two individuals, who commit to each other. Committing to… yourself?
Oh, honey, in my day we just called that being a spinster.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock,© Frantisek Czanner
With her husband stymied on the world stage and pivoting (yet again) to the economy, the first lady is once again passionately concerned with what you eat and drink.
The pair is set to kick off the water-drinking push at a high school in the aptly named Watertown, Wisc., community on Thursday, The Hill reported. It’s the next step in Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign to fight obesity rates around the nation and especially among America’s youth.
Image courtesy shutterstock.com, © Aivolie
Yes, I know, right now you’re wondering what is so surprising about that. Apparently there has been a myth that German Aces of the Air were disciplined and dignified and only the British side kicked it up.
I am not sure how this myth can subsist, since — having studied the biography of the Red Baron for an eventual book — it is mentioned that Freiherr von Richthofen was unusually disciplined by refusing to unbutton his uniform or behave unseemly while in the officer’s mess.
So, this article from The Telegraph and the pictures (there are more pictures with the original article) did not surprise me at all when it said:
The black and white snaps depict the men in uniform having a roaring and raucous time in their mess, far removed from the hell and misery of the trenches on the Western Front.
The officers of the Imperial German Flying Corps are seen smoking cigars and cigarettes and having a good old knees up.
It did however raise some thoughts. The Telegraph also says:
It is thought the album was seized as a souvenir by a British serviceman after the Germans surrendered in 1918 and was kept in his family.
It is being sold by Essex auctioneers Reeman Dansie and has a pre-sale estimate of £1,500.
James Grinter, of Reeman Dansie, said: “I have never seen anything like this photo album before.
“If it was a Royal Flying Corps album, then it would be rare but to have a German one from the same period is unheard of.
“The survival rate of these flyers was terrible and it looks like these men lived life to the full while they had the chance.
I beg to differ from James Grinter of Reeman Dansie. These men were not living life to the full. They were enjoying themselves as much as they could because they knew most of them would not get to live life to the full. They’d never get to have spouses or children, or experience the joy of growing old and respected. The fleeting happiness of champagne and songs were what they could have instead.
Equating revelry with “living life to the full” is what leads to songs about the joys of dying young and with the — sixties — notion of living fast and leaving a beautiful corpse. (All corpses are the same. Dead.)
What is important to remember is that whatever consolations these men — and their British counterparts — sought, they were volunteering to give their lives in service of an ideal each believed bigger than themselves.
And knowing that, I’m glad they got to enjoy a bit of champagne and song along the way.
Some days I wake up and I think I fell headlong into one of the dreams — or was that nightmares? — of my teachers back in the good bad seventies. They claimed that women were so super-competent, so special that all they had to do was compete “on an equal footing” with men to supersede them and relegate men to the roles that had been historically feminine.
Of course, the last forty years have shown that equality needs a continuous and pushy boost from government, to make sure that some animals are more equal than others.
However, it appears to be true that if you keep men from having superiority — or even equality — in their traditional fields of endeavor, they turn to feminine tricks to attract mates.
The fact that both men and women report being unhappier — and children are often cast adrift — in this brave new world of reverse discrimination is just one of those things, I guess.
The New York Post (who doesn’t want me to sleep at night) informs us that Guys just wanna have fun — by stripping down and posing for sexy “dudeoir” pec-torials.
It’s a recent Sunday afternoon in Midtown, and Lionel Zanar is standing in nothing but a snug pair of boxer-briefs, while his girlfriend, Meiko, looks on.
The super-fit contractor and self-defense trainer from Brooklyn is sitting for a saucy photo shoot — known in the photography business as “dudeoir,” a tongue-in-cheek play on the “boudoir” trend, in which women pose for pictures in their lingerie.
“I love the photos,” laughs Zanar, 33, who in one particularly racy shot stands stark naked while Meiko crouches behind, covering his manhood with her hands. “Meiko will be getting a really big version of it, framed.”
The gesture is perhaps the least Zanar can do for his sweetheart, who paid about $500 for the sultry 90-minute shoot. The divorced dad does, however, point out that she “pretty much bought the session as a gift to herself.”
I believe that when men pay for the equivalent for a girlfriend, feminists scream “objectification.” Does it still hold when the shoe is on the other pretty-pretty foot?
*****Photo courtesy Shutterstock © Vladimir Wrangel
Being over twenty and a virgin in NYC is enough of a radical act that a woman turned it into a one-woman show and built an entire comedy routine on it.
Alexis Lambright was a confirmed virgin in NYC for 10 years. Determined to hold on to her innocence, the Catholic schoolgirl was committed to a life of celibacy — until marriage. But when she realized that dating in the most superficial city in the world wasn’t virgin-friendly, the 28-year-old funnywoman living in Sunnyside, Queens, turned to comedy as therapy: She created the one-woman show “The Alexis Lambright Tell-A-Thon: Combating Adult Virginity,” which is running at the New York International Fringe Festival on select dates from Saturday to Aug. 24.
It used to be perfectly normal to be a virgin till marriage, at least for women. In fact, in most societies it was the expected thing. The pivotal turning point in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice comes when one daughter, Lydia, elopes and lives with a man who has no intention of marrying her.
Even during my own upbringing, which, granted, took place in Portugal where things were twenty years behind the times, while virginity before marriage was no longer universal, girls at least still pretended to be holding out.
But I’d heard from Scandinavian friends that in their lands it was considered strange and indicative of something wrong with you if you were a virgin much past puberty – and that culture seems now to be here too.
To be sure, we always knew it was coming, since movies like Splendor in the Grass made it sound like not having sex could send an otherwise sane woman clean off her rocker. In a way it is a logical consequence of safe and reliable contraception. Whether you believe that women are naturally as sex-crazed as men, or that women would have as much consequence-free sex as men given the chance, the fact remains that all of us, men and women, are in fact social animals.
When the society we live in decides that “normal” people are all rutting like deer in fall, and that if you don’t do it there’s something wrong with you, those who don’t fit the model will at least try to pretend they do.
Under those circumstances, holding on to your chastity becomes an act of radical defiance.
Submit your questions about friendship, relationships, careers, family, or life decisions to PJMBadAdvice@gmail.com or leave a question in the comments section, and I’ll answer it in Bad Advice, PJ Lifestyle’s new advice column every Wednesday!
Dear Bad Advice,
My friend is absolutely driving me up the wall! She complains about everything. I know not a lot of things are going great for her in her life right now, but I wish she had a better attitude. If I tell her to have a better attitude when she’s complaining about things, she gets mad and storms off. How do I handle her? She’s fun and a great friend most of the time, but her complaining is getting on my last nerve.
- Not a whine appreciator
This is going to sound like bad advice, but quit complaining about your complaining friend.
Watch out, ladies in the dating world: Family Guy’s prized demographic is totally Petarded.
According to the show’s creator, Family Guy’s target audience is men ages 18-34. This happens to be one of the most desirable demographics for advertisers and women looking to eventually get married and settle down.
Who hasn’t dreamed of a life with Peter Griffin?
Obviously, not all men between the ages of 18 and 34 are going to find the humor of Family Guy appealing. Yet a growing majority of them do. I long ago learned as a woman not to attempt to comment on the male psyche; why these men find Family Guy so appealing is not in my realm of interest. However, the message Family Guy sends about masculinity is so apparent that I can’t help but laugh at this not-so-subtle irony: Most women looking for men, the ladies trolling the clubs and hitting Happy Hours at the bars, are the ones who tend to stereotype men exactly the way they are portrayed on the show.
Part 1 of a 4 Part series Deconstructing Family Guy
When Seth MacFarlane sang about boobs at the Oscars, I’m pretty sure he was referring to his own fans.
Most of the time it is taken for granted that we recognize the latent moronic nature of most television programming today.
Then again, do we?
If we agreed as a culture that television programming like Family Guy is so moronic, why would a collective cheer rise up at the sight of another Emmy win? Would we be told by media commentary royalty to worship Seth MacFarlane, the show’s creator, as fascinating? Not only does the guy have mega street cred in the pop culture universe, the primetime structure he’s so wholeheartedly mocked is singing his praises. In fact, it could be said that Family Guy’s seemingly counterculture humor has been legalized by the mainstream.
What’s more, like a bad addiction, Family Guy is the drug that has turned a generation of Boob-Tube addicts into junkies. So, what are the signs, Doctor? How do you know when a co-worker, a friend, even a loved one has become a total Boob? Let’s play MediaMD as we examine the 5 most common side effects of watching Family Guy.
Okay, last week was on Thanksgiving survival; this week is the aftermath, and then I’ll talk about high intensity training. But first the aftermath.
Basically, I gained about 6 pounds directly after Thanksgiving. Now, as I said last week, there was no way that was “real” weight gain — that would have implied I’d eaten 21,000 kcals over what I need to keep my weight level in the span of a couple of days, when in fact by my food diary I’d eaten 7,700 kcals under. And as I’ve said all along, this is an experiment to see what happens, especially to my blood sugar, not about weight.
Well, I talk a big game, but the fact is that with 50 years of baggage, I can’t help but pay attention to the weight loss, and I was pretty unhappy about the whole thing. Not unhappy enough that I was tempted off my eating plan, mind you. I was really uncomfortable the weekend after Thanksgiving. If I ever ramp up the carbs, it’ll be very carefully.
The first 4 pounds came back off in a couple of days, and then I plateaued — I hit 281 or thereabouts and bounced along for five days. Five freaking days. Now, 280 has been a hard level for me for several years — I could lose down to there but hard to break through. (To end the suspense, yes I did finally — I’m back to 279.)
Here’s what the weights would have looked like if I only weighed on Sunday, just as I only do measurements on Sunday:
Matching the scale etc, the Thanksgiving weight gain is a very small alteration; the trend line is still down. In fact, since the long plateau isn’t included, the slope of the trend line is rather greater — 0.27 pounds a day versus 0.21. Once again, I think the lesson is that normally, maybe weighing yourself every week is enough, if you can stand it. (I couldn’t: I’d have to throw away my scale or hire someone to bring it over once a week.) Now, let’s get to what I’ve promised for a couple weeks, and talk about the training routines I’ve followed. That will start right below the fold, so follow this on to the next page.
A recent article on Yahoo extolled “The Benefits of Marrying Later in Life.” The writer, who waited until age 46 to marry, listed the benefits of delaying marriage:
– Learning to love herself and accept her self-worth
– Time to become her own person
– Benefit of knowing who she is
– Experiencing life as her own complete person
With all due respect to the author, her list looks like a recipe for perpetual singleness. A decade or more of doing what’s best for “me” and learning to love and complete “myself” is not the best way to prepare for the sacrifices and selflessness required to be one half of a couple. Be honest: Would you want to marry someone who has spent two entire decades of her life “learning to love herself”? She’s going to be a tough act to follow.
According to the Pew Research Center, the median age for marriage in the United States has risen to a record 28.7 for men and 26.5 for women, which means that half are older than the median when they marry. Marriage overall has declined as well; barely half of Americans are currently married, a record low, compared to 72% in 1960.
But those averages don’t tell the whole story. More and more in our society, success is defined as progressing along a pathway that includes high school, college, graduate or professional school, a career with a 6-figure salary, and, after a long succession of “practice” relationships, perhaps marriage and children (if the woman’s AARP-eligible eggs hold out that long).
Of course, it hasn’t always been that way. Until the early 1900s, no one had ever heard the words “teenager” and “adolescence.” Upon reaching the age of maturity (usually in the late teens), young people were expected to court and marry in short order. If a 20-something lived in his parents’ basement, he usually had a good excuse — such as missing hands and feet, or being in a permanent comatose state. In the book From Front Porch to Back Seat: Courtship in Twentieth Century America, Beth Bailey describes the societal changes that led to our current dating and marriage culture and the new phase of life we now know as extended adolescence:
Because young people were released, to a great extent, from adult responsibilities and decisions, the act of choosing a lifelong mate did not seem so immediately important. Within youth culture, the emphasis in courtship shifted to the social and recreational process of dating…
In a span of about 50 years, we went from supervised courtship with the expectation that marriage would be the end result to casual, recreational dating and, eventually, cohabitation as an accepted precursor or replacement for marriage. As a result of these cultural changes, not only has the marriage age crept steadily upward, but so has the divorce rate. Currently around 50% of new marriages end in divorce, compared to 8% in 1900 and 25% in the early 70s, when no-fault divorce laws appeared.
In light of these statistics, I’d like to suggest four compelling reasons why marrying earlier in life (perhaps by the mid-20s) might be beneficial.