If you’ve been anywhere on the internet in the last couple of years, there’s probably a good chance that you’ve heard of Bronies —Older, typically male fans of the children’s cartoon My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. There’s also a good chance that you may not have seen them in the best light. Often Bronies are presented as socially awkward, slovenly, and generally pathetic for liking a show for little girls… but is there more to the show and its fans than one would assume based on first glance? I called up a friend of mine, Adam Young, to ask him what led him to become a Brony and just what it is about this seemingly saccharine show that could inspire it’s legions of older fans to have such devotion to it.
Adam is 28 years old and resides in Champaign, Illinois. He attended Illinois State University and graduated in 2007 after obtaining a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Studio Arts. He is a huge fan of several movies and television shows, including Star Trek, Star Wars, The Simpsons, and Back to the Future. He is also an avid gamer, enjoying several Nintendo titles in the RPG genre such as Pokémon, Earthbound, and Paper Mario. Adam currently works for an outdoor specialty retailer.
How did you become a Brony?
Well, um… It was a very gradual process. I go to a lot of various message boards on the internet for artwork and games or whatever. Around probably winter of 2010, maybe spring of 2011, I kept seeing all these strange memes and image macros, and user avatar images of these weird horse-looking things popping up all over my message boards that I go to frequently.
At first I just kinda thought that was weird and didn’t think too much about it, and then the more they kept popping up I thought “What the hell is this? I gotta figure out what the hell this is.” The art style was very reminiscent of either Gennedy Tartakovsky or Craig McCraken, or any of the 1990’s Cartoon Network people. First I iMDB’d Craig McCracken, the Powerpuff Girls guy. He had recently done Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, and it looked quite similar. I saw that his name was not on the credits list for this show, but coincidentally enough, his wife Lauren Faust was. She was the executive producer of Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, and she got her start in the industry working on Powerpuff Girls in the later seasons, so I was familiar with her work.
After seeing that she was the one who developed My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, I was like “Well that’s kinda weird, I guess she really needed money or something,” and left it at that because of the preconceived notions a show like that would have attached to it, being based on a line of dolls for little girls and all.
So I really didn’t think too much about it, and then later I subscribed to a lot of Youtube channels, especially ones that review cartoons, video games and anime. One of the channels I subscribed to was because they were doing reviews of the series Madoka Magica, which I was watching at the time. I really liked their Madoka reviews, and one day out of the blue this really, really long video of theirs, almost an hour long, popped up in my subscription feed. It turned out to be about the new My Little Pony show that I had seen all over the internet, and I was like “Okay, if these guys are reviewing it, I guess it’s worth a look?”
So I went to Youtube and did a search for My Little Pony, and by that point most of the first season was already over, but there were still a few episodes left. I immediately tried to catch up as soon as I could, and after giving it a fair chance, I turned out to really, really enjoy the show. After watching all of the first season, I was like “Well, I guess I’m not really allowed to judge a book by its cover ever again.”
Former President Bill Clinton, who just joined Twitter this month, applauded the decision of NBA player Jason Collins to come out as gay.
Collins, a center for the Washington Wizards, wrote a lengthy piece for the May 6 issue of Sports Illustrated explaining his decision.
“I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, ‘I’m different.’ If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand,” Collins wrote.
Many well-known names quickly rallied to his defense on Twitter, including Clinton.
“I’m proud to call Jason Collins a friend,” Clinton tweeted, linking to a longer statement at his foundation’s website.
“I have known Jason Collins since he was Chelsea’s classmate and friend at Stanford. Jason’s announcement today is an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community,” Clinton said. “It is also the straightforward statement of a good man who wants no more than what so many of us seek: to be able to be who we are; to do our work; to build families and to contribute to our communities. For so many members of the LGBT community, these simple goals remain elusive. I hope that everyone, particularly Jason’s colleagues in the NBA, the media and his many fans extend to him their support and the respect he has earned.”
Jason Collins quietly paid tribute to Matthew Shephard, a young gay man who was murdered in 1998, when he changed his number to 98 in 2012.
— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) April 29, 2013
It was obvious. Jason Collins is the only guy in the NBA not defending a paternity suit. #gaydar
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) April 29, 2013
PJ Lifestyle Editor’s Note:
This is Part 11, the conclusion, of Volume 1 of Robert Spencer’s Jazz and Islam series. Yes — Volume 1 does imply the intent for Robert to return to this subject again in the future so we can someday produce a Volume 2. As the Islamic War Against Freedom has intensified and arisen again into the foreground of public consciousness, Robert and I have decided on a new cultural angle through which he will seek to illuminate each week’s dark, confusing stories of jihad terrorism. I won’t reveal the secret yet of just what Robert’s new focus will be. But perhaps this astounding article today revealing the troubled story of a lost young man who poisoned his mind with deadly ideas will provide a hint of what’s to come…
– David Swindle
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who along with his brother Dzhokhar murdered three people and wounded nearly 200 more with twin bombs at the Boston Marathon, was a musician. John Curran, Tamerlan’s boxing coach, recalled: “He also played the piano very well.” The Lowell Sun reported that “Tsarnaev also studied music at a school in Russia and played piano and violin.”
As late as 2010, according to Gene McCarthy of the Somerville Boxing Club in Massachusetts, Tsarnaev was still playing:
“I brought him to the registration” for a boxing tournament, “and while he was waiting in line, he saw a piano and was playing classical music like it was Symphony Hall.”
However, the Associated Press reported Wednesday that “in the years before the Boston Marathon bombings, Tamerlan Tsarnaev fell under the influence of a new friend, a Muslim convert who steered the religiously apathetic young man toward a strict strain of Islam, family members said.”
Throughout this series I’ve questioned where the line is drawn between reflecting and affecting when it comes to the media’s relationship with real life. Either way, the determining factor is relatability. You aren’t going to imitate something unless you can relate to it, and if you can’t relate to a show, chances are it isn’t anywhere near a reflection of who you are.
So, in the interest of all things entertainment, let’s take a simple quiz to determine your relatability factor when it comes to the portrayal of “traditional family” on television using two popular prime-time family-themed shows: Family Guy and The Middle.
Family Guy: The show is apathetic, even nihilistic at times, mocks the same politically correct values it thrives on, and typifies men and women in terms taught best in Gender Studies 101. The Middle is one of a handful of shows to make it to the air that depicted exactly what its title intimated: a middle -lass, middle-of-the-road family living in the middle of nowhere, America. As working middle class as the Griffins, the Hecks are a family of five that mirrors the demographics of the Quahog clan: father, mother, two sons with a daughter in the middle.
So, what’s your relatability factor? And how does your relatability compare with the ratings? Take this simple five-question quiz to find out!
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.
I’ll be traveling over Easter and don’t think I’ll have time to blog, so I’ll leave a few mini-reviews to unroll day by day for your holiday viewing pleasure — or not.
— Oh, man, I so wanted to like this. Liam Neeson killing evil Muslims to get his kidnapped wife back? It worked once, why not again? Plus the critics hated it while the public ate it up, so I was all ready to side with the public. But, really, no. The characters are terribly written, the action is poorly choreographed. Poor Neeson looks like he needs to be rescued more than his family. There’s one scene where he’s in a Mexican standoff — evil Muslims have him and his wife at gunpoint; he’s holding a gun on them — and, so help me, he pauses to make a phone call! I was hoping he was calling his agent: “Get me out of here!” No such luck. A few days after I saw this, I was on the elliptical and Taken 1 came on TV. I was struck again by its taut structure, its expert suspense. Take my advice: watch the first one twice and forget 2.
If Chuck Norris gets a pedicure so that his toes will feel more comfortable when he kicks people in the face, will you think he is a wimp? No. If R. Lee Ermey wants to drink a Cosmopolitan because he feels that it will keep his throat perfectly primed to yell at people, he can get away with it. If UFC light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones likes to unwind by watching Twilight after choking someone unconscious in a cage fight, who are we to argue?
Still, there are some things that even the manliest of masculine manly men can’t get away with on their most masculinely manly days without having their man card permanently pulled. For example:
1) Geeking out on children’s entertainment
It’s one thing for a man to listen to the awful music of Justin Bieber and think, “Wow, that’s not the worst thing I’ve ever heard.” It’s quite another to actually go to one of his concerts for the fun of it or, worse yet, refer to himself as a “Belieber.” Wanna go to a comic-book convention? Ok, but if you’re a dude who dresses up like Thor and starts speculating about whether you can defeat the Hulk in a fight, you have a “man problem” you need to address. Don’t even get me started on being a damn brony and walking around in public talking about My Little Pony. Are you a five-year-old girl? If the answer to that question is “no,” then you don’t have any business being a fan of a show aimed at five-year-old girls.
Action movies are just as American as motherhood, apple pie, and capitalism. Movies like Unforgiven, Gladiator, Rooster Cogburn, Conan, Dirty Harry, Die Hard, The Dark Knight, High Noon, Man on Fire, Red Dawn, Tombstone, and True Grit speak to men in a primal language that transcends the story line on the screen. Men like these films because they capture qualities we’d like to think we have ourselves. We like the idea of being billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne and fighting crime in our spare time, pointing a gun at a punk and asking him if he feels lucky, or responding to the question, “What is best in life?” with “To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women!“ While there are dozens of deserving action movies, there are seven that are particularly good at revealing parts of the male psyche.
1) First Blood
John Rambo is a damaged character. His fighting in Vietnam left him with mental problems, made him ill-equipped to fit into society, and led to him ultimately having a difficult and lonely existence. However, there are two things about him that make the character click with men. The first is this:
Teasle: Are you telling me that 200 men against your boy is a no-win situation for us?
Trautman: You send that many, don’t forget one thing.
Trautman: A good supply of body bags.
Rambo doesn’t pick the fight, but when he is backed up against a wall, he is a one-man army. This theme is repeated over and over in action movies because it’s something men aspire to all the way down in their souls.
The other, more subtle thing that makes Rambo appealing is that he shares a grievance that most men have on some level or another: his sacrifices are largely unappreciated. He went through hell to do what had to be done, paid a terrible price for it, saw his suffering shrugged off by men unfit to say his name, and was left holding the bag. There are millions of men who feel the exact same way. They’ve provided, they’ve struggled, they’ve done things they didn’t want to do for other people, and, ultimately, they found that it wasn’t valued. That makes it easy to relate to a character like Rambo, even if you’re not planning to shoot at anybody with a machine gun.
Is America in decline?
I’ve been hearing the United States compared to the Roman Empire since around the 1970s, and I’m sure those apocalyptic sentiments were being expressed long before I was born.
However, it’s difficult to read and watch all the depressing stuff posted here on PJ Media and elsewhere and not conclude that, this time, it’s on.
America’s going Gibbon.
Some books propose possible ways to avert this catastrophe.
Aaron Clarey’s Enjoy the Decline isn’t one of them.
As his subtitle suggests, this book is about “accepting and living with the death of the United States.”
It’s full of counterintuitive, amusing, and sometimes infuriating advice:
What country should I move to?
What should I pack in a bug-out bag?
Why don’t black people go to national parks?
This book features something to offend everyone.
It finally had to be done. I had to catch up with the rest of the world and watch Lena Dunham’s Girls. After fortifying myself with three days or prayer and fasting, I dove in. I purchased season one, and watched the season two marathon on HBO.
Girls has been overanalyzed, so I won’t offer a broad interpretation. I can only point out what I think is Girls most glaring flaw: Lena Dunham did not include any control.
As in a control in a scientific experiment that serves as a “normal” component that you are not conducting the experiment on. Girls is the story of four twenty-something women in Brooklyn and the pathetic “men” that they date. There is Adam, the attention-deficit artist who always seems to be banging on something and has degrading sexual fantasies. There’s Ray, the schlub who manages a coffee shop and is almost too insecure to function. There’s Charlie, the soft-spoken musician who is so passive he can barely open doors. There’s Thomas-John, who has a job making real money but is written so one-dimensionally we really don’t know that much about him. And then there’s Booth Jordan (seriously?), an artist who locks one of the girls inside one of his works of art. He’s short and vulgar. (Doesn’t a single one of these guys–New Yorkers!–like or play sports?)
Girls creator Lena Dunham is very talented, and she’s only twenty-six, but it has to be said: like so many liberal Hollywood and New York artists, she has a powerful streak of cowardice. Girls would have been a much more compelling and less narcissistic show if Dunham had the guts to introduce a control into her Brooklyn petri dish.
Most people think Marv is crazy, but I don’t believe that. I’m no shrink and I’m not saying I’ve got Marv all figured out or anything, but “crazy” just doesn’t explain him. Not to me. Sometimes I think he’s retarded, a big, brutal kid who never learned the ground rules about how people are supposed to act around each other. But that doesn’t have the right ring to it either. No, it’s more like there’s nothing wrong with Marv, nothing at all — except that he had the rotten luck of being born at the wrong time in history. He’d have been okay if he’d been born a couple of thousand years ago. He’d be right at home on some ancient battlefield, swinging an ax into somebody’s face. Or in a Roman Arena, taking a sword to other gladiators like him. They’d have tossed him girls like Nancy, back then. — Sin City
Ever watched a classic action flick? Of course you have. Movies like Die Hard, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Lethal Weapon, First Blood, and 300 have become fixtures in the American psyche. All these movies feature either a lone man or a small group fighting in a desperate, violent struggle and yet, somehow, coming out on top. Throughout most of America’s history, the average man could more easily relate to the experiences in those movies the way someone who shoots hoops at the park could relate to watching an NBA game. Sure, they might not have been able to do what they were seeing on the screen, but they were well-acquainted with violence. Either they had inflicted it, suffered it, or seen it up close and personal. We’re a nation that was birthed in a bloody revolution, where feuds and dueling were frequent occurrences, where intermittent battles with Indians occurred until the twenties, where roughly twenty percent of the male population served in WWII, and where fist fights and brawling were relatively common.
The average man may have seen hundreds of thousands of murders on his TV screen and committed tens of thousands more playing video games, but he has also probably never struck another human being in anger in his entire adult lifetime. In other words, he may be captivated by the imagery he sees at the movies, but he goes home knowing that he will never even live out a pale imitation of what he’s just seen.
America’s muddle in Afghanistan is not merely an unwise policy. Two prominent American authors — one a serious analyst (and former badass warrior), the other a bestselling novelist (who created one of our biggest badass heroes) — worry that it is an affront to American manhood as well.
For years Bing West has argued that our carrot with no stick approach to counterinsurgency and nation building in Afghanistan is sapping the “martial spirit” of our armed forces. Recently, he even wrote a column titled “We’re Too Nice to Win in Afghanistan,” detailing how a wimpy approach to a truly savage enemy is making victory impossible.
West proposes we change from a counterinsurgency protocol (winning hearts and minds in order to recruit allies against the terrorists while building a civil society) to a counter-terror strategy (kill them whenever and wherever we can find them and let the Afghan government build its own society).
Vince Flynn, in his new book The Last Man, has his fictional alter ego, Mitch Rapp, take a very direct approach. Upon being introduced to a former Taliban official the CIA has recruited to be part of the Afghan security infrastructure as America prepares to leave the country, and who is certainly playing both sides, he sees only one incentive structure that can work:
Pistol-whip the sneaky bastard and threaten to kill him if he doesn’t cooperate.
So, based on West’s superb book on the war in Afghanistan, The Wrong War, and Flynn’s best thriller to date, here are 5 ways that Obama’s approach to Afghanistan is an affront to American manhood.
If you missed the exciting LAPD film End of Watch in the theaters, it’s worth getting it on DVD. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena play a couple of hot dog cruiser cops on L.A.’s mean streets. The film, written by Training Day guy David Ayer, is done “found footage” or documentary-style, which sometimes leads to some distracting moments when you’re thinking — “Wait, who’s holding the camera now?” But aside from that — a minor problem — it’s gritty, well-acted and moving. And it represents the cops fairly and well.
Being me, I especially liked the macho ethos of it all. Lots of good cop partner moments, and high respect for marriage and wives in the manner of real men. There’s a funny and touching wedding scene in which one cop’s wife explains to the newbie how she’s got to give it up without restraint if she wants to keep her husband from straying. Excellent advice. Plus, the bride was played by Anna Kendrick, who was the high point of the overrated George Clooney film Up in the Air. She’s a superb and extremely appealing actress. She ought to get a lead role soon.
Recently, I was blown away by Heather Mac Donald’s City Journal piece “Courts v. Cops.” It tells how the NYCLU and other self-appointed defenders of black rights are interfering with the NYPD and thus insuring more black people get murdered and victimized. Heather — one of the best reporters in the country — points out that the law-abiding black citizen who is grateful for the police “seemingly lies outside the conceptual universe of the advocates and their enablers in elite law firms and the media.” So it was nice to see a film in which the true guardians of the lives of the poor get some props.
Read the article, watch the movie.
Related at PJ Lifestyle on masculinity:
Do you ever look at another human being and just want to say, “Stop it!” — except, before the words leave your mouth, you realize that what you really want the person to do is to stop being himself? Asking a complete ass to stop annoying you is like asking a bird not to chirp or a fish not to swim. No matter how much you try to wish it away, it’s just what he’s chosen to be.
1) The Male Feminist
Maybe no one has informed you of this, but you are a dude. A man is not supposed to be a neutered, pansy-ass, emasculated weenie who trashes his own sex and spouts off lines Gloria Steinem didn’t even really believe when she first said them. Are guys like this trying to impress chicks? Were they brainwashed in a women’s studies class in college? Are they just uncomfortable with the fact that they have a penis? Whatever the case may be, these losers are so irritating that you get the feeling that even most liberal feminists have to choke back the intrinsic revulsion that they feel for these Nancy Boys.
I still lived in Austin, Texas in 1999. That summer, against all odds, Lance Armstrong, cancer survivor, new husband, father-to-be, won his first Tour de France in an impressive display of athleticism.
He was a hero, an inspiration. When he returned to Austin, the city held a victory rally, in which park I can’t recall as Austin is loaded with large and picturesque gathering spots. A couple of friends and I went to the rally early to grab a patch of ground close enough to see Armstrong and his miracle-pregnant wife. It wasn’t all about Lance. Austinites need only the flimsiest of reasons to gather outside for a couple of beers. But we did love him. We were so proud of him. Even now, when the whole truth has outed, I can still remember the energy and joy at that rally. And the yellow. Everyone wore yellow.
A few months later, his wife gave birth to their son. The following summer he repeated his Tour victory. Soon, he welcomed twin daughters and claimed another Tour de France victory. Our pride in Armstrong overflowed. He could have done anything.
But then Lance Armstrong took off his hero mask. Sometime after his twins arrived, he left his family. I can’t remember if he already had Sheryl Crow waiting for him. It doesn’t matter really. His marriage didn’t have high conflict, at least not on her part. He might have been cheating or she might have left him due to his doping habit. But in hindsight-enhanced scenarios, he was the culpable party.
My shock at the truth about Lance Armstrong came with the split. I have a few girlfriends who spilled tears over the news. The kind of guy who can abruptly walk away from his wife and his children is capable of almost anything in service of self. So current shock at the truth surprises me. We learned that Lance Armstrong lacked honor back in 2003. The doping simply provides more details and removes any pretense for keeping that scar in the heart of Austin.
“It must be him, it must be him, oh dear God, it must be him or I shall die.”
Before the advent of answering machines, and decades before mobile communications and social media, waiting by the phone for your man to call was an ancient mating tradition that single women of all ages thankfully will never again have to endure.
I was reminded of this dating ritual since we are on the cusp of celebrating what is traditionally known as the greatest date night of all, New Year’s Eve.
While wracking my brain thinking of a suitable baby boomer topic applicable to this holiday, it hit me… New Year’s Eve, 1971, when I was a high school sophomore and my boyfriend was a senior.
All that stands out about that evening was my having to wait by the phone for my boyfriend to call to tell me the time he was coming by to take me to a house party (where someone’s parents were out of town).
As 5 pm turned into 6 pm, turned into 7 pm, turned into 8 pm, I became extremely anxious, especially when my mother said, “Would it be so bad if you stayed home?” (Yea mom, how about the end of the world as I know it.)
When Mr. Considerate finally called at 8 pm the trauma ceased. But thinking back upon that 1971 New Year’s Eve, it was how waiting by the phone helped form five positive personality traits that women like me did not even realize we were developing. Eventually these five traits served baby boomer women extremely well as we made our way through the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s taking advantage of all the new career opportunities that the women’s movement afforded.
Here are the five personality traits aging baby boomer women learned while waiting by the phone.
When you were forced to accept someone else’s timetable you learned it was not just all about you. Waiting by the phone developed patience and was superb training for almost any career and life in general.
This feeling was experienced when you finally realized that he was not going to call after he said (or you assumed) he would. Learning to cope with rejection without feeling like a complete loser was an important life lesson. The key was to think about all your positive attributes that this man was obviously missing. Then move ahead and don’t look back. This concept was easily applied to the professional world, especially if you were a business owner or involved in sales of any kind. Women of a certain age who experienced sitting by the phone waiting for him to call learned how to be resilient in the face of rejection.
3. Self worth/Self esteem
You waited by the phone and he did call. High five! You were on top of your game. All your flirting skills worked and you were the master of the feminine universe. (But sometimes you discovered that he was not worth waiting for!)
Later in life this same initial exhilaration was experienced when you landed a new job or a new client/contract/project was won. But you never let it go to your head. One learned early on that you must never be cocky because rejection in love or life could be lurking right around the corner.
He called, (maybe even weeks after he said he would) and you refrained from telling him that he was an insensitive jerk. But since you were really glad to hear from him you said no such thing. Later in the business world this skill came in handy when “the customer was always right” even if he/she was not.
5. Playing the Game
Once while chatting with some guy friends in my high school classes they admitted to me that often they did not call a girl after they said they would because they did not want to appear “pussy whipped.” (Yes, that was the operative term at the time.) So from this conversation I learned that there was a lot of game playing going on when it came to the timing of “the call.”
As a result, my friends and I would discuss when it was time to stop waiting and time to start living. (However, flirting with his friends was always an appropriate response.) The lesson “stop waiting and start living” developed into positive personality traits that were applicable to many future life situations.
But alas, girls/women today don’t have to deal with any of this waiting by the phone. In fact, waiting is a thing of the past since now there is no stigma attached to calling a boy before he calls you. Girls today will call, text, tweet, Facebook, or email and if that does not get his attention they will have their friends call, text, email, Facebook or tweet. From what I have heard about today’s dating habits, “whatever it takes” to catch the attention of the man of the moment seems to be acceptable behavior.
This behavior is a result of both the instant communications revolution and the women’s movement which generally has made the girls/women of today much more aggressive than my friends or I ever were in high school and college.
Perhaps this more aggressive behavior is cultural “payback” for all the countless hours their baby boomer mothers and grandmothers spent waiting by the phone especially in the weeks leading up to important date nights like New Year’s Eve. For around that time whenever the phone rang, teenage girls and young women were conditioned into thinking, “It must be him, it must be him, please be him or I will die.”
Happy New Year’s everyone!
More on generations at PJ Lifestyle:
Related at PJ Lifestyle:
Did you happen to notice there were 63 million views of this Stairway to Heaven video?
As a loyal reader of this weekly series you know, (even at my advanced age) I am not ashamed of being obsessed with Led Zeppelin, so it is no surprise that Stairway to Heaven is my favorite classic rock song of all time.
When I hear it on the car radio it still “makes me wonder” what is the force that commands me to sit in the car listening to the very end – even after I have reached my destination.
Did you know that Stairway to Heaven has even become a popular funeral song?
But do not expect to hear it played at Robert Plant’s funeral some day because apparently he “loathes” the song.
So why is this 41-year-old eight minute masterpiece with the mysterious lyrics #1 on the “greatest ever” charts?
For starters, unlike most rock songs there is no repeat chorus. Instead the song slowly climbs, like musical stairs, up to an explosive instrumental segment where Jimmy Page shows us why he is Jimmy Page. After which Robert Plant launches into his “rock god” falsetto voice and in the process releases enough raw sexual power and energy to set off a musical “orgasm.”
Maybe that is why generations of young men and women love this song. It symbolizes pure passion without any commitment!
Curious about what my contemporaries now think of Stairway to Heaven I asked two old friends, who both happen to be musically hip aging baby boomers (aging exceptionally well I might add.)
The first, a media consultant who often appears on national cable news shows responded with this pithy one line email: “Stairway to Heaven was the soundtrack to my life in high school.”
The other is a classic rock radio DJ, so I consider his comments about Stairway to Heaven to be “expert opinion.”
He emailed: “Yes, I do like it….it’s ingrained into the fabric of my life!”
Interesting how both these comments reflect a “life” impact.
Then Mr. Classic Rock DJ continues his email with this startling calculation:
I’ve been on the radio for around 34 years….and played Stairway at least once or twice a week…
Let’s look at the numbers… (This is the low ball figure)
Song is about 8 minutes long…
8 minutes times 52 weeks = 416 minutes or 6.9 Hours
6.9 hours times 34 years = 234.6 hours
234.6 hours divided by 24 hours in a day = 9.8 days
10 days of my life have been spent listening to “Stairway.”
That’s just on the air….doesn’t include the amount of times
I heard the song from 1971 (when it came out) to 1978 when
I started in radio!
My takeaway on the song…
“No matter how much opulence she displays on the planet, she still can’t buy her way into the Kingdom!”
Was that the message of Robert Plant’s infamous lyrics? For decades later questions still remain over whether Stairway to Heaven’s music and message was divinely inspired or satanic.
While contemplating heaven or hell may I suggest a nice bubbly to further stimulate the brain.
In past columns, I mentioned my fondness for Prosecco (Italian Sparking Wine) which is growing in popularity because of its light pleasing taste.
Today, I recommend a brand called LaMarca priced at $15.00 or less.
So now, with a glass of LaMarca in hand, let’s toast to the greatest classic rock song of all time and sing some familiar lyrics to which every aging baby boomer can contemplate and relate.
Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
There’s still time to change the road you’re on.
And it makes me wonder.
I wonder if someone will remember to play Stairway to Heaven at my funeral many decades from now. (I hope.)
Related at PJ Lifestyle:
For Americans over 40, Leave It To Beaver is an iconic television show, complete with archetypal American characters. Every week during its Eisenhower/Kennedy heyday, Americans watched a handful of naifs (Beaver and Wally Cleaver, and their innocent little friends) stumble into dangerous or embarrassing situations thanks to Eddie Haskell’s slick, dishonest machinations. Eddie, a skinny, duplicitous young man, was adept at ingratiating himself with adults when called upon to do so, but his main goal remained to upset the placid social order prevailing amongst Beaver-ville‘s young. When anarchy threatened, Beaver and Wally always knew that their mother June would express worry and dispense kisses, while their father, Ward, acting in a lovingly magisterial way, would impart wisdom, impose appropriate consequences, and generally restore sanity.
Although the show ran for only six seasons (1957-1963) and pre-dated the upheavals of the 1960s, decades of repeats ensured that it resonated in the American psyche. Generations of Americans have laughed with (and yes, sneered at) the tight little world of Beaver-ville, one predicated upon stable nuclear families: wise fathers, stay-at-home mothers, and grateful children.
Perhaps the scenario is a fairy tale that never reflected the majority of American families, but it’s a lovely fairy-tale, one that promises lasting security for the child who can escape the bad boy’s enticements and embrace the elders’ wisdom. It presents an America as we wish it would be, although we’d be glad to update its monochromatic cast. In the 21st century, Beaver’s neighborhood would have different races, colors, and creeds, and it would probably be home to a conservative gay couple down the block, raising an adopted orphan from China.
What’s so satisfying about Leave It To Beaver is that it presents a time-tested way of ordering the world: it trusts maturity. Even the best-intentioned young people lack the wisdom and knowledge to cope with instability, danger, dishonesty, and disorder. Their innocence and naivete mean that they’ll too easily trust demagogues and make foolish, hurtful, and potentially harmful mistakes.
What kept the show from being a tragedy, and turned it into an amusing morality tale, was that week in and week out, the grown-ups in the room were able to sort out the child’s chaotic world. Sadly, real life isn’t like that. Too often, naive voters put their faith in demagogues and there is no rescue. This election, though, there’s still a chance that Ward Cleaver’s political stand-in can win the vote and save the day.
From the moment Mitt Romney became the presumptive Republican candidate, this election took on the trappings of a contest between Ward Cleaver (played by Mitt Romney) and Eddie Haskell (played by Barack Obama). The comparison was easy at a superficial level: Romney bears an almost uncanny resemblance to Ward Cleaver, complete with commanding height, combed-back black hair, square jaw, and fatherly meme. Obama, too, is Eddie Haskell’s double since he shares the youthful face, lanky body, and manipulative, hustler’s demeanor.
If one digs beneath the superficial similarities, it’s uncanny how Mitt and Obama still stay close to the Ward and Eddie characters. Let me count the ways…
Scientists working in a secret laboratory around the clock have created an amazingly realistic female android programmed to show life-long affection for conservative comedian Steven Crowder. No other narrative is sufficient to explain the photograph above in which a young woman of breathtaking beauty seems for all the world actually to be marrying the guy. Believe me, Steven is a friend of mine and I can tell you from personal experience: There is absolutely no other way he scores a babe like that.
Now normally if a thought about Crowder’s sex life entered my mind I would naturally try to put out my eyes and pour boric acid into my ears in an attempt to clean out my brain. But hey, he started it. Writing at the Fox News Opinion blog (where apparently they let just anybody weigh in), Steven produced this provocative and extremely interesting post-marriage column called “Waiting for the Wedding Night — Getting Married the Right Way.”
Steven begins by confirming that, yes, he and his new missus waited to have sex until they were married — and then goes on to say that this is the right thing to do, as opposed to, you know, the wrong thing to do:
Feeling judged? I couldn’t care less. You know why? Because my wife and I were judged all throughout our relationship. People laughed, scoffed and poked fun at the young, celibate, naive Christian couple.
We’d certainly never make it to the wedding without schtupping, and if we did, our “wedding night would be awkward and terrible,” they said.
Turns out that people couldn’t have been more wrong. Looking back, I think that the women saying those things felt like the floozies they ultimately were, and the men, with their fickle manhood tied to their pathetic sexual conquests, felt threatened.
The column is worth reading in itself, but even more fascinating is the predictable reaction: the filth, hatred, and rage with which floozies and fickle manhood men have been responding in comments, blogs and on the entertaining @scrowder Twitter feed.
Obviously, such reactions tend to confirm Crowder’s outlook. Why hate on the guy if you don’t secretly feel ashamed of yourself?
As Barry Rubin wrote about this week at his blog, we’ve reached an age where to state what used to be common sense about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will get you labeled a bigot. To acknowledge that the Palestinians do not want peace with Israel and have rejected every very generous deal put in front of them means you’re “racist against Muslims.”
But just as cultural Marxists invested decades in obscuring the reality of Palestinian intransigence, they also worked to confuse people about the sordid reality of unrestrained male sexual nature. State what used to be common sense for women to avoid sleazy men and all of a sudden you’re the American Taliban blaming women for provoking their rapists.
In my blog post yesterday – What Father Would Permit His Young Daughter to Wear a Bikini? — I knew what paragraph would provoke the most anger and confusion, the one that simply restated the conventional wisdom we all know to be true but don’t like to acknowledge:
But let me spell it out for those who want to deny it: when a woman wears a skimpy swimsuit, she is sending off the signal to every man and boy that she is a self-proclaimed slut and the most interesting thing about her is her body. If a woman didn’t want a man to look at her breasts, if she did not want to use them to attract the kind of men who have no self-control, she would not flash them around.
I find this statement to be a huge over generalization, to put it kindly. Look, I am married, in my 30s, educated, and I wear a bikini. I’m not a slut, and I don’t think my choice of swimwear projects that to anyone. Bikinis are worn all over the world, by all sorts of women. I doubt all of us believe the most interesting thing about ourselves is our body. I certainly don’t.
In the passage you quote I didn’t say “bikini” I said “skimpy swimsuit.” Not every bikini is going to make the woman wearing it look like she’s offering herself up for the world. I’m not saying that every time a woman wears a bikini she’s telling the world she’s a slut. That would be nuts.
Don’t some bikinis scream “I’m a tramp looking for attention from the wrong kind of men” more than others? As a man I certainly see the ones that do versus those that are tasteful. For little girls though I don’t think they should be wearing 2 piece swimsuits at all, though, but maybe I’m being too harsh?
[... A second comment from me later following up...]
“she is sending off the signal to every man and boy”
I am not saying that you or anyone who wears a bikini is a slut. What I am saying is that when a woman wears a sexy, skimpy swimsuit she is giving off the hint to the men around her that she is more sexually liberated than a woman who is not showing off her body. Again: I’m not making a moral judgment with the observation here, just stating what should be common sense. Wear a sexy swimsuit, and men will think that you’re more interested in sex than a woman who wears a modest swimsuit. Girls need to know that when picking their swim wear.
Vesta could tell that I had a moral objection to promiscuity hiding behind my argument, but the point I was trying to make remained out of view when she responded. She was still thinking about the real world — instead of the male world.
Cassy Fiano has a post here at PJ Lifestyle entitled “Five Things Men Do That Secretly Annoy Women.” I have to say that I read it with amusement, especially when Fiano’s main question seems to be “What’s the deal with all the toilet time?”:
…what is it about men and taking forever in the bathroom? Now that there are smart phones and tablets, the problem’s even worse. There are endless forms of bathroom entertainment nowadays for men to take advantage of, which means that men have an excuse to take even longer to spend an hour doing something that really, should only take two minutes. And why is that? Sure, you can sit in there and play Angry Birds to your heart’s content. But couldn’t you just do that, I don’t know, on the couch or something?
When I was researching my forthcoming book called “Male Strike:” Society’s War on Men,” I wrote a section on the decline of male space, even in their own home. Brett McKay, the author of The Art of Manliness: Classic Skills and Manners for the Modern Man had this to say about a man’s lowly position in their own house in modern times:
The rise of suburban culture with its emphasis on creating a domestic nest, usually meant sacrificing male space for the good of the family. Home designs in the 1950s exchanged the numerous, smaller rooms of the Victorian home for fewer, larger rooms. The goal was to create more open space where families could congregate together and bond while watching the Honeymooners on TV.
With no room to call their own, men were forced to build their male sanctuaries in the most uninhabitable parts of a home. Garages, attics, and basements quickly became the designated space for men, while the women and children had free reign over the rest of the house.
Commenters to Fiano’s post on all that bathroom time reiterated what many men feel, they have no space at home of their own so they have taken to using the toilet as a sanctuary:
I heard one older guy claim that his wife had completely taken over the rest of the house so the bathroom was the only place he felt was his own.
I remember my grand dad– when he got home from work, he’d have a glass of bourbon and read the paper. Today… if a man ever sits down in the presence of his wife, she’ll (a) complain about how tough her life is, (b) start a fight about something, or (c) iterate through the “honey do” list.
So men have made the toilet into their sanctuary. Maybe asking why these “annoying” men spend so much time in the toilet is the wrong question and the right one is: why don’t men have anywhere else in the house to go to get some peace and quiet?