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6 Reasons Why The Good Wife Trumps House of Cards

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014 - by David Forsmark

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Here is your one and only warning: I am going to discuss some House of Cards plot points from season two. But don’t write and say I spoiled the show for you. The writers did that.

While the first season of House of Cards was hardly realistic, the plotting–especially the moves of its main character, Congressman Frank Underwood–was adroit and fascinating.

But in season two Frank Underwood has gone from being an amoral scheming man of unquenchable ambition to a monster with fewer human feelings than Tony Soprano—much fewer.  Unlike Breaking Bad, where we saw a man’s gradual slide from compromising with evil to embracing it, House of Cards lurched into full-blown sociopathy with jarring fashion.

So if you tuned back in to House of Cards this season looking for moments of sheer brilliance like Frank Underwood’s eulogy at the funeral of the girl who drove off the road while texting about the giant-peach water tower—with its mix of pathos, compassion and, yes, self-interest–you will be severely disappointed.

Instead, we are treated to an impenetrable plot about Chinese trade negotiations and illegal campaign finance, and the way Frank is going to use it to undermine the president since he is next in line. But nearly everything about this plot is not how it would, or could, happen in real life—and is weirdly confusing and obvious at the same time.

Worst of all, the House of Cards’ ideological slip is showing, with a complete nonsensical portrait of a “Tea Party” senator who votes “no” on the biggest entitlement reform since entitlements were invented because… well, just because he’s an idiot.

This is in sharp contrast to the CBS legal/political drama The Good Wife. Most of the campaign events and media kerfuffles make sense—as does the public’s reaction to them.  You can’t tell the good guys from the bad guys (or the smart guys from the stupid guys) by their ideology (although extreme leftists like a global warming obsessed federal judge are generally the kookiest characters).

But best of all, good people can do less than admirable things they shouldn’t in the heat of the moment, while antagonists are not always evil or stupid, they are just on the other side of the issue. Though sometimes they are evil or stupid.

Kind of like life outside the political bubble.

Oh yeah, and here’s how every Eliot Spitzer/Anthony Weiner/Mark Sanford press conference should end:

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10 Reasons Why Camille Paglia Is the Champion of the Feminist Right

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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She is an unabashed liberal. In a culture increasingly governed by Marxist Nomenklatura masking itself as “liberal”, conservatives should be bold enough to reclaim that much maligned political descriptor as one of our own. We are, after all, the ideological descendants of classical liberals, making the outspoken once Liberal Democrat, now Libertarian Camille Paglia the perfect match for contemporary politically conservative feminists.

Can’t possibly imagine the lady who, even when she smiles, gives you a look that says, “I know you’re full of s**t,” could possibly fit in the ranks of the right wing? Here are 10 reasons why you need to throw out the stereotypical baby with your lukewarm bathwater thinking and get hot for the fast-talking, heavy thinking, pop culture-loving Camille Paglia.

10. Paglia embraces the idea of electing public leaders with military experience.

“The entire elite class now, in finance, in politics and so on, none of them have military service—hardly anyone, there are a few. But there is no prestige attached to it anymore. That is a recipe for disaster,” she says. “These people don’t think in military ways, so there’s this illusion out there that people are basically nice, people are basically kind, if we’re just nice and benevolent to everyone they’ll be nice too. They literally don’t have any sense of evil or criminality.”

9. Paglia is Pro-Individual, Pro-Manual Trade, Pro-Free Market.

“We need a revalorization of the trades that would allow students to enter [manual trades] without social prejudice (which often emanates from parents eager for the false cachet of an Ivy League sticker on the car). Among my students at art schools, for example, have been virtuoso woodworkers who were already earning income as craft furniture-makers. Artists should learn to see themselves as entrepreneurs.”

8. Paglia is Pro-Capitalist and Anti-Socialist.

“…it is capitalism that ended the stranglehold of the hereditary aristocracies, raised the standard of living for most of the world and enabled the emancipation of women. The routine defamation of capitalism by armchair leftists in academe and the mainstream media has cut young artists and thinkers off from the authentic cultural energies of our time.”

“In my view, comparing the evidence of the 20th century, that socialism in a nation ultimately does lead to economic stagnation and eventually of the creative impulse, in terms of new technology and other things.”

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How to Build the World’s Manliest Paper Towel Holder…

Thursday, October 24th, 2013 - by Builder Bob

When I start a new project I often dive in head first and make a big mess in the process. Paint splatters, sawdust, motor oil, spilled glue, calf’s blood, dismembered limbs–you know the usual workshop messes. So after I’m done digging wells and building hospitals for the underprivileged in Africa, I need a bunch of paper towels to clean up the aftermath of my construction destruction.

Sure I could just buy a cheap plastic paper towel holder for my workshop and  be done with it, or I could build an everlasting testament of testosterone for my man cave. Using 3/4″ iron pipe and some rust preventative you can build a beefy bar for your towels that will one day be discovered by future archeologist, inspire them to power down their construction bots, rediscover their masculinity, build something awesome, and stop making babies in the lab and start making them the old fashion way, thus reintroducing genetic diversity to the world and saving the future of mankind.

So for the sake of humanity I need everyone to to build their own beacon of badassery, to ensure they are found for future generations.  Here’s how you do it.

Supplies Needed:

Supplies

Supplies

Instructions:

1. The first step is to secure the fender washers to the end cap and base so the paper towels don’t move around or slide off the bar.  I used a combination of E6000 automotive glue–which works great on metal–on the contact surface of the washer and cap. Then I wrapped a bead of JB weld epoxy putty around the outside. The last step is overkill for the amount of stress put on this project, but hey, if you’re building something to survive the apocalypse why not?  Make sure you clean any glue over run out of the pipe threads before it has a chance to set, otherwise you will have a hard time fitting the pieces together later. Clamp the parts overnight to let the glue and epoxy cure fully.

2. I advise coating the iron pipe with a protective finish to prevent rust. Either a clear acrylic finish or rust-inhibiting spray paint (black is the only acceptable manly color). Tape off the thread areas of the pipe before you spray or it could interfere with joining the pieces.

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My 5 Favorite Ann Coulter Columns

Monday, October 21st, 2013 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Ann Coulter is brilliant because she possesses the unique ability to eviscerate hypocrites with thorough research and quick wit. Her brilliance is further proven by the fact that the most her detractors (notably the ones commenting on my review of her latest book) can ever do is criticize her appearance — after all, why not make grossly sexist remarks about someone you just don’t like when they happen to be a woman? Needless to say, it was quite a challenge to cull my top 5 favorite columns from Never Trust a Liberal Over 3, Especially a Republican. Somehow I managed to rise to the challenge — albeit with a few notable runner-ups for good measure.

5. America Nears El Tipping Pointo (December 5, 2012)

Runner-ups: Romney Doing the Job Republican Establishment Just Won’t Do and If the GOP Is This Stupid, It Deserves to Die

In this keen look at voter statistics, Ann reveals that Romney won the majority of the vote among 18-29 year olds … who are white. “Even the Lena Dunham demographic — white women under thirty — favored Romney,” she quips. At this point, liberals would be reeling with accusations of racism and Romney’s obvious membership in the KKK. However, those bold enough to read on will not only receive a valuable comparison of voter stats from Reagan to Romney, they’ll also learn something their public education failed to teach them: the practical fiscal and electoral impact of Ted Kennedy’s 1965 Immigration Act.

One of the many articles that highlight the patronizing racism of liberals, “El Tipping Pointo” details the difference between honest and manipulative immigration over the course of the last 40 years. Drawing a sharp comparison between America as “the land of opportunity” and the land of “the soulless rich who want cheap labor,” Ann illustrates exactly how liberal pundits and elite Republicans take advantage of “phony ‘family reunification’ rules” to bloat the welfare system and liberal voting rolls while presenting a stereotypical image of hardworking Hispanics (versus the “recent Hispanic immigrants who …are the poorest of the world’s poor”) to gain public support for policies that bankrupt America and keep real change from ever happening in D.C.

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What the International Gendercide Crisis Must Teach America About Abortion

Monday, October 14th, 2013 - by Paul Cooper

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One month ago my wife and I did something that would be illegal in some parts of the world. We had our third child, and for the third time we had a girl.

It was one of the most joy-filled moments of our lives, but for millions of parents, having even a second or sometimes a first daughter is an impossibility. In China, India, and other parts of the world, girls are unwanted. They are viewed as having no value to the government and little value in society or even to their own families. The result has been widespread gendercide, the systematic and deliberate destruction of girls, typically through abortion. Sometimes through infanticide.

Some estimates say the world is missing over 200 million girls thanks to the practice of gendercide. Most of those come from China and India, where they eliminate more girls every year than America has births.

Since 1979, China has had a one-child policy, and boys are the preferred of the two choices for mostly economical reasons. The government penalizes families monetarily for having more than one child and also takes part in forced abortion and forced sterilizations if the women don’t take care of it themselves. This obviously has created an unbalanced male population, and some of the side effects have been increased child abuse and sex trafficking.

In India the government officially frowns on gendercide, yet they turn a blind eye to it. They outlawed using ultrasounds to determine gender because it led to so many abortions of girls. However, they ignore that the practice still goes on.

One study of 8000 abortions in India, for example, showed that 7999 of the aborted babies were girls.

In India, the problem is plain economics for families. Arranged marriages work in a way where the parents of the bride have to pay a large dowry to the parents of the groom. Having boys creates wealth, while having girls diminishes it. The girls who do manage to live often are born into a family that rejects them. In fact, one of the most common names for girls in this situation in India is a Hindi name that means “unwanted.”

The once ignored problem of gendercide is just starting to get attention in media, culture, and even among a few politicians. In fact, a new documentary was recently released called It’s a Girl! that looks at sex-selective abortions and infanticide of girls in depth. The movie is a heartbreaking expose, painfully declaring that the three most deadly words in the world are “it’s a girl.”

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The film is sparking a growing conversation in America. The filmmaker has even screened the film to feminist and pro-choice groups in hopes of getting everyone unified against gendercide. But we should take this conversation a step further: we should be asking if the elimination of female babies in other nations can teach us about abortion right here in America.

By asking questions about the commonalities gendercide shares with abortion in America, we might all learn something. Following are five thought-provoking questions, the answers to which require pro-choice Americans to question how they can support abortion in America while being against gendercide elsewhere.

You may find the first question and quote along with it a bit disturbing.

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4 Childhood Activities You Should Never Give Up

Thursday, June 6th, 2013 - by Hannah Sternberg

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I still treasure the memory of the day when my friends and I were walking home through the park at the end of a long afternoon of educational play (wandering museums, visiting landmarks) and one of them started a game of Red Rover and we all ditched our bags to join in.

I was twenty-three at the time.

Growing up isn’t just inevitable — it is a good thing. Growing up, when done properly, hopefully results in being wiser, less selfish, and potentially taller, which is helpful for reaching things. But while there is a time for setting aside your childish things, there are a few childhood activities that grown-ups could stand to gain a lot from reintroducing into their lives.

1. Random, Unannounced Racing

Remember when you were all walking along to some destination and one person broke out into a sprint, the universal signal for everyone else to start running to catch or overtake him? Have you stopped doing that because you’ll ruin your shoes, or you’re just plain scared of appearing undignified? Whenever you’re scared to do something fun, ask yourself: whom exactly are you trying to impress?

When you grow up, something weird happens to your view of physical activity: instead of being a possibility in all situations, exercise becomes something you confine to the gym or running club or organized sports, and when you’re not at one of those, you’re supposed to sedately float along through your work and social life. At your next gathering, challenge yourself: what could you do with all your friends besides just sit or stand around?

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3 TV Shows You’ll Love Not Watching

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013 - by Hannah Sternberg

I am hopelessly addicted to TV show recaps. I’ll read them for shows I’ve never watched and have no intention of watching. I read them to keep up with what’s moving in pop culture, and for the curiosity of seeing how many ways a single hour of television can be interpreted — humorously, solemnly as a cultural commentary, or passionately by people who care about the characters as deeply as if they were real people.

It speaks to the power of these programs that viewers become so immersed they start to feel as though they know the characters better than the director, the writers, or even the actors. Writing up a weekly criticism of a bad show is a boring waste of time. The fact that a show is painstakingly critiqued every week is, ironically enough, proof that it must be pretty good; or at least, significant in some way (good or bad).

These are my favorite shows not to watch. Okay, I cheated — I do watch some of them, but I tend to read the recaps before I get around to seeing the latest episodes.

3. Mad Men

I stopped watching Mad Men after marathoning the third season left me in a blue funk for two weeks. But the recaps didn’t end there. The virtue of Mad Men recaps is getting all the drama and cultural commentary with less than half the depression. Since it sounds like the show is starting up the long ramp toward jumping the shark, I don’t regret tuning out — but I do enjoy checking in, if simply to answer the question, “How much more miserable can they all get?”

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Seduce Your Way to the Top? Meet the Anne Boleyns of Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013 - by Becky Graebner
King Henry VIII and infamous seductress, Anne Boleyn

Infamous seductress, Anne Boleyn, and her ticket to power–King Henry VIII

This week’s House of Cards essay will expand on last week’s piece, “The House of Cards Vision of Infidelity: More Fact than Fiction.” Yes, unfortunately we remain stuck with this slimy theme of infidelity. This week let’s talk about the women.

Men have had a leg up in the world, especially in the workplace. Females are still trying to catch up. Salary comparisons and lack of women in certain fields will underline this fact. Unfortunately, some women feel like they are faced with two options: be ruthless and work really hard to achieve their goals at the risk of the “ice queen” label, or take an easier route and use other means. Some women do decide to use medieval methods (think Anne Boleyn in the Tudor days) in order to succeed in the workplace — and this is all too evident in big cities like Washington, D.C.

Women have employed method #2 for centuries (men have as well). But dabbling in this kind of currency can lead to two very different ends: career destruction or the attainment of dreams. Last week, we talked about how scandals tend to be both concentrated and magnified in D.C. The cutthroat culture here seems to breed an underground marketplace of give-and-gets, with scandal as the most likely outcome. Ultimately, Washingtonians must decide if they are going to enter that market — or try to forge their own way up the ambition ladder.

* …Spoilers on coming pages…*

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The 5 Most Annoying Things Bikers Do

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013 - by Hannah Sternberg

This week is Bike to Work Week in Washington, D.C., which is a perfect opportunity to point out why the vast majority of bikers are huge jerks who ruin the road for the rest of us. I’m not saying they’re jerks all the time; just when they’re on their bikes. Kind of like how someone turns into a Mr Hyde version of himself when he climbs into a Prius.

I’m not even saying all bikers are this awful. Just most of them. Enough of them to give bikers a bad rep, even when some of us actually try to be considerate, safe, and respectful. So this Bike to Work Week, please do bike to work — just don’t be a jerk about it.

5. Biking on the road, without following the rules of the road

You know what I’m talking about — the bikers who use the bike lane or actually drive in the traffic lanes, but breeze through stop signs without pause, creep past red lights, cross lanes when they turn, and generally act like the rest of traffic should bend around them. This is incredibly unsafe — for bikers, drivers, and pedestrians. As someone who walks to work every day here in D.C., I could count on two hands (and a few toes) the number of times I’ve nearly been run down by a bike that had no intention of stopping for a red. Hills are no excuse. If your brakes are too poor to come to a full stop when you’re pointing downhill — or your legs are too weak to stop then start again while climbing uphill — then you shouldn’t be biking on the road. Get in shape, get a tune-up, and come back when you’re ready to bike safely.

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Walter Hudson’s Guide For Making Peace Between Christians and Objectivists

Thursday, May 9th, 2013 - by Walter Hudson

Editor’s Note:

In the coming years my friend Walter Hudson is going to emerge as one of his generation’s most effective, engaging voices fighting on behalf of freedom and American values. It’s been a great joy to work with Walter and see him continue to explore a variety of different subjects and styles. He’s proven himself as one of my most reliable regular writers, turning in polished, well-thought pieces each week that challenge and entertain. I’m convinced that someday everyone else will come to the conclusion that I have: he’s his generation’s equivalent of Dennis Prager — a welcoming, accessible, but still challenging, honest voice, capable of changing hearts and minds simultaneously. And he’s a Tea Party activist out in the grassroots doing work in his own state and community. 

I’ll highlight some of Walter’s most engaging articles in several free miniature e-book collections here at PJ Lifestyle in the future. So far, I plan to bring together some of his writings on video games, race, Good and Evil, popular culture and the joys of capitalism. But first, I would like to begin showcasing Walter’s talent with this collection of four articles he wrote during February on a mission that he and I both fight together, the attempt to reconcile two warring philosophies and their activist movements: the Judeo-Christian tradition and Ayn Rand’s Objectivism. The battle between secular radicals and religious fundamentalists is a false one. We can be both Bible-based people of faith and reason-minded, science enthusiasts. Walter makes the case in an invigorating, compelling way and I invite everyone to dive in to his engaging arguments.

Below you can click to see the original articles and the spirited debate they produced or jump to the articles in this collection. The pieces in this compilation feature new editorial afterwords by me. 

- David Swindle, PJ Lifestyle Editor

First published February 7, 2013:

5 Common Accusations Leveled at Christianity

Objectivst philosopher Andrew Bernstein debates Judeo-Christian apologist Dinesh D’Souza. Click here to start at the beginning of the series on page 2.

First published February 14, 2013:

Christianity on Trial

Objectivist philosopher Andrew Bernstein accused Christianity of rejecting reason in his recent debate with apologist Dinesh D’Souza. Click to jump to part 2 on page 8.

First published February 21, 2013:

6 Fatal Misconceptions

As a dialogue begins between advocates of Ayn Rand’s objectivist philosophy and professing Christians, it’s vitally important to clarify terms. Click here to jump to part 3 on page 14.

First published: February 28, 2013:

Onward Christian Egoist

Adherents of Ayn Rand and followers of Jesus Christ must set aside differences to secure individual rights. Click here to jump to the conclusion on page 21.

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The 5 Most Overrated Male Musicians, Part Two

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013 - by Kathy Shaidle

Last time around, I started quite a conversation about the merits, or lack thereof, of Pink Floyd and Bob Marley.

Now we’re dispatching three additional sacred musical cows to the slaughterhouse:

#3: Stevie Wonder

At the risk of wandering into Elvis Costello territory — yes, he really did say this — I’m gonna come right out with it:

If Stevie Wonder wasn’t black and blind, there’s no way he’d be as highly esteemed as he is.

A white guy who named himself “Wonder” would never hear the end of it. Instead, we never hear the end of Stevie’s songs, especially on American Idol.

OK, so that’s not his fault, but you know what is?

Besides The Secret Life of Plants and “I Just Called To Say I Love You” and “Ebony and Ivory”?

The song below.

I’m indebted to David Stubbs for putting my incoherent dislike of Songs in the Key of Life into words:

“Isn’t She Lovely” transcribes to vinyl every last icky-cooing dollop of sentimental gloop to which once-sentient adults are reduced when they have babies and, true to the album’s form, lasts longer than purgatory. Several minutes into this, with no light at the end of the tunnel of choruses, King Herod seems like one of the Bible’s more engaging and reasonable characters. “I Wish” contains the most ridiculously misty-eyed and excruciatingly doggerel-ridden reminiscence on childhood.

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4 Easy Steps to Pitching Your Own TV Sitcom

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

So, you want to pitch a TV show — a sitcom no less! Or maybe you’re just an armchair TV enthusiast, a mental writer playing out episodes of the ideal sitcom in your head. Whether your concept is ideal or idyllic, if you want to get it off the ground, you need to get your head out of the clouds and start viewing your human reality in terms of numbers — good numbers. Take a tip from Seth MacFarlane: Be sure to include an African American, a disabled character, and an Asian reporter if you want to stand a chance in TV land.

In other words, start counting your minorities.

It’s all in the spirit of being fair that we view people based on their color, class, gender, or physical ability. Not only is it fair, it is super easy to follow the 4-step program for crafting your perfectly pitch-able TV sitcom.

So, get out your calculators and get ready for a math lesson in how to write a situation comedy for television!

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6 Reasons Why Rational Thinkers Choose to Believe in God

Monday, April 22nd, 2013 - by Dave Swindle

1. Belief in God Is Logical. God’s Fingerprints Cover the Universe. It Is Irrational to Believe That the Universe Was Created Out of Nothingness.

Dear [Insert Name of Your Secularist Friend or Family Member Who Does Not Understand Why You No Longer Share Their Hatred of Traditional Religion Anymore],

It seems like our arguments on Facebook and over email have been increasing lately with all the horrific news stories. And again you continue to misunderstand why I approach the stories of the day from Kermit Gosnell to the Boston Bombers with a good and evil, Bible-based perspective.

One of the best places online you can go to better understand my approach to these issues is Prager University. Every month they release two five-minute courses designed to educate people in a quick, entertaining way about history, philosophy, religion, and politics. I discovered Prager University’s videos when I noticed that they decided to start featuring every new one at PJ Lifestyle, a publication that I enjoy reading which shares the same goals of reaching out and engaging with the culture at large instead of just preaching to the choir.

I’ve collected six of Prager University’s videos on God and religion, starting with their newest one above that they just released yesterday featuring Boston College philosophy professor Peter Kreeft answering the question “God or Atheism — Which is More Rational?” I hope if you want to understand better how it is that I’ve come to reject your ideology and returned to faith in the God of the Bible you would consider these videos along with these six points I’ve written in relation to them.

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Quiz! What’s Your TV Sitcom Family Lifestyle?

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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!

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Who’s to Blame for Fueling Pop Culture’s 5 Worst Female Stereotypes?

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

 

Poor Seth MacFarlane. The guy sings one song about boobs and suddenly he’s #1 on the Hates Women List with a Steinem next to his name.  (That means if they capture him, she gets to rag on him incessantly. Who wouldn’t want a bullet after that?)

It’d be too easy to join the chorus singing, “MacFarlane hates women.” As a woman, I despise the cop-outs women often take, chiding every man as being both the desired master of her universe and the despised crafter of her fate. If we really believe in Girl Power, what’s our responsibility in all of this? Are we allowing the fate scripted by guys like MacFarlane to come true?

It took about 10 minutes to pull video for the following five most common stereotypes about women portrayed in Family Guy. The sad news is that it took about 15 to pull five examples of the same behavior from the most popular Girl Power reality television show out there: The Kardashians. Praised by some feminists as career women comfortable in their own skin, it has been observed that “50 years ago, the Kardashians could never live the way they do. It’s all thanks to the Feminist movement that they are who they are – and they embrace every benefit from it fully.”

So, culture judges that you are, tell me: Is the evidence compelling? Is MacFarlane a He-Man Woman Hater, or do the Kardashians prove that girls finally busted through the glass ceiling in the tree house and joined the club?

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Totally Petarded: The Top 5 Masculinity Myths on Family Guy

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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.

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Boob Alert: Top 5 Side Effects of Watching Family Guy

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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.

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TV’s Best and Worst Fictional Political Campaigns

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013 - by David Forsmark

Most Overrated: The West Wing

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I have to confess I didn’t watch much of this show, after the first episode featured a group of antisemitic “conservative” teachers (as though that’s a bigger problem with conservatives) and President Martin Sheen, I mean Josiah Bartlett, telling a bunch of conservative pastors (in real life, Israel’s best friends) to “get your fat asses out of my office.” That easy, clichéd slander was enough for me.

This show was constant liberal wish fulfillment throughout its run, like any production from the much-overrated Aaron Sorkin that directly deals with politics. Knock down straw men that represent liberal nightmares about conservatives, then be all self-congratulatory for taking on the “tough issues.”

In 2002, President Bartlett’s campaign was against the typical Republican candidate, a stupid, Southern right-wing governor, so it was an easy victory — despite the fact that the most recent president was someone that Hollywood considered a stupid, Southern right-wing governor. And a year after 9/11, the central issue seemed to be green energy; and, of course, liberal goodness and farsightedness won the day because the president had the good sense to embrace it.

In 2005, the show presented the “ideal” Republican candidate. The one that liberals supposedly fear the most. A pro-choice moderate played by… wait for it… Alan Alda!

His most triumphant moment is his refusal to go to a conservative mega-church and a declaration against religious tests. But, alas, he is a Republican, so of course he is most afraid of a dynamic Latino candidate on the Democrat side, the idealistic Jimmy Smits, and uses immigration as a wedge issue to hurt him in his own primary, leading to this slapdown by a close aide:

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But aside from the constant liberal fantasy, there are two things that anyone who has ever worked for — or even with — government has to find laughable. First, the idea that government at any level doesn’t move with the speed of a glacier.

And second — adding to the ponderous pretentiousness of the show — did the White House not pay its light bill? The noirish atmosphere may be dramatic, but government buildings are anything but dimly lit, and their favorite type of lighting tends to be fluorescent.

During the run of The West Wing, every successful Republican for president in a generation had run as a conservative, while every successful Democrat had run disguised as a moderate. Of course, 2012 changed all that…

GRADE:  The Show Overall — C, the Campaign — D

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Admiring Ann: 5 Coulterisms for Counterculture Conservatives

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

 

I used to hate politics. Then I met Ann Coulter.

In case you haven’t seen PCU, allow me to explain: I am only one of many in my generation who grew into adulthood harboring a strong desire to avoid all forms of political discussion. For many of us growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, the deafening liberal attacks coming across cable news, talk radio, and then the internet defined politics as a source of talking-head tsuris and therefore best avoided at all costs.

The unavoidable reality hit when I enrolled in grad school and promptly learned the phrase: “Everything is political.” And that was before I got the chance to interview the prospective film studies professor who declared himself a communist without blinking an eye.

Critical theory, my chosen area of study, comes in many forms. The most memorable (and popular) being a series of schools based on race/ethnicity/gender/sexual demarcations that could easily be classified under the heading “White Men Are Coming To Get You Studies.” All theories are taught under the general pseudo-philosophical guideline of postmodernism. I could spend entire articles trying to explain that one.  Instead, I’ll just let this handy little comic do it for me.

Nothing I learned made sense yet all of it was accepted as holy. Any time I would question these ideas I would receive furrowed brows, gobsmacked expressions, or simply be told in so many words that I just “didn’t get it.” These reactions probably wouldn’t have bothered me so much except for the fact that they were coming from the professor who would sign off on my thesis, providing me with the paperwork I needed to graduate and get the hell out of Dodge.

Hell. I was in hell. Instead of being taught how to think, I was paying to be told what to think. Waiting in the airport for my flight back to campus after winter break, I contemplated throwing in the towel. And then, I heard an angel’s voice and a bright light beckoned me to the bookstore in the terminal…

Okay, not totally. But I do know for a fact that finding Ann Coulter’s Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right on my way to the plane was a divine appointment. Three hours later I landed on solid ground and felt my feet beneath me for the first time in 18 months. Finally, someone was making sense.

Perhaps if conservatives had had total control over every major means of news dissemination for a quarter century, they would have forgotten how to debate, too, and would just call liberals stupid and mean.

Ann waited until page 2 to verbalize the crux of the problem I’d been facing: This liberal professor had total control and, therefore, could demean and dismiss me whenever he liked.

Or so he thought and so did I, until I met Ann Coulter.

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7 Movies That Show You The Masculine Ideal

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013 - by John Hawkins

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.
Teasle: What?
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.

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5 Reasons Cats Are Inferior to Dogs in Every Way

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013 - by John Hawkins

Are cats really the Honey Boo Boo of the animal world? No, Honey Boo Boo is the Honey Boo Boo of the animal world, while cats are more like the Lindsay Lohan of the animal world — difficult, unpredictable, hard to like, and probably high on catnip. Oh, cats look cute when they’re in the bobblehead kitten stage or swatting away at yarn, but as you get to know the little beasts, you start to realize that they’re merely trying to lull you into complacency so they can steal your breath after you fall asleep. An old wives’ tale? Well, is it just an old wives’ tale that if a cop beats a hippy with his nightstick then he’ll have good luck for seven years? I think not. On the other hand, dogs are superior to cats in every way and if you don’t agree, well then, good luck with your empty life without a soul.

Cat in sink

1) Dogs are much smarter than cats.

Can you teach a cat to sit? To roll over? To come when it’s called? No, because cats are stupid. Granted, dogs are stupid, too, but they’re probably on the same level as your two year old. A cat is closer in intelligence to a geranium — if a geranium had claws and a certain feral cunning it could use to track, torment, and kill smaller plants for its own amusement. Is that what you’d want for a plant you loved? To be at the mercy of a hateful geranium? You cat people are just sick! Sick!

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7 Types of Chicks Who Annoy Everyone Just by Their Very Existence

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013 - by John Hawkins

It’s no secret that there are guys out there who get on everyone’s nerves — the male feminists, the bronies, and dudes who need to pull their pants up. But don’t get too high and mighty, ladies, because no matter how much perfume some of you put on, your crap still stinks, too.

Drama free

1) The No-Drama Mama

Whenever a woman announces that “she doesn’t do drama,” start slowly backing away to avoid being caught in the planet-sized gravity field of drama that surrounds her. It’s like telling the room “I don’t kick puppies” or “I don’t shake babies” out of the blue. Shouldn’t that go without saying? Would you let a person with a “I don’t drop kittens off the roof” shirt on near a tall building with your kittens? No, because you don’t want your kitty cats splattering on the cement while she points to her shirt and proclaims her innocence. If you want to avoid all hell from breaking loose around you on a regular basis, apply the same principle to the No-Drama Mamas.

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The 25 Most Motivational Quotes of All Time

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013 - by John Hawkins

1) “The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.” — Muhammad Ali

2) “Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you. Never excuse yourself. Never pity yourself. Be a hard master to yourself – and be lenient to everybody else.” — Henry Ward Beecher

3) “Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” — Winston Churchill

4) “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not: Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: The world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” — Calvin Coolidge

5) “The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open.” — Chuck Palahniuk

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7 Types of Dudes Who Annoy Everyone Just By Their Very Existence

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013 - by John Hawkins

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.

Male feminist

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.

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