Friday, June 19, 2015

Vanity Fair Grants Caitlyn Jenner the Title of Woman

Did Apple help pay for this Photo Shoot? 

At this point most everyone is aware of Bruce Jenner’s transition into Caitlyn Jenner. It’s old news.
But it’s worth asking, why do you know about it? Why does everyone know about it, and why was everyone talking about it?

Transexual people have been making gender transitions for decades, why the fuss over a former track star whose fame peaked before all millennials were born? (Yes, his gold medal was in 1976. For anyone under the age of 40 who doesn’t know what that’s about, Bruce Jenner was an Olympic Track athlete before he married a Kardashian.)

So, why Bruce Jenner? Simple reason, he hired a really skilled Hollywood PR Firm.  This piece at Vulture about the PR Firm and the media plan of the transition is worth reading.

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with hiring a PR firm, and I’m not criticizing Jenner for doing so. As she said herself, “If I can make a dollar, I certainly am not stupid.” - can’t fault that. But the success of this PR Firm lends some insights into American culture that are worth exploring.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Tom Brady Didn't Do Anything Wrong and the NFL is bad RealityTV

Unless it’s wrong for a man to wear Uggs

Football is the most lucrative and watched sport in America. It dominates pop culture and is a way of life for areas with an NFL team. It’s also eating itself alive like an ouroboros.

When people think of the NFL they often think of men throwing around or carrying an oblong ball made of cow hide for our entertainment. While that may have been the primary product of the NFL in the past, today the NFL is about one thing and one thing only, continuous drama; the oblong ball is completely incidental.

In an effort to ensure that the NFL is the main topic of discussion on all websites and all TV networks, during all times (even those dreaded 7 months when the NFL is not playing games) the NFL has ensured that drama comes from all areas. Instead of contests of strength, strategy and luck centered around an oblong ball, the NFL instead focuses on drama filled topics such as; who is dating who, which player had the roughest childhood, which coach is the biggest meanie, facial hair grooming, grown men bullying each other, decorative headphones, insensitive team names, players throwing ‘shade’ on twitter, fashion, fan-stories, colors, children’s exercise regimens, and dancing sharks.

As a reminder, the NFL has its own TV network. 24/7. They have to find something to talk about, and fashionable dancing sharks is a good a choice as any.

In the recent bit of manufactured drama to feed the 24/7 news cycle - the most successful NFL team and most successful NFL Quarterback have been accused of cheating. That sounds serious. How did they cheat?  By supposedly deflating balls to slightly less than the preferred NFL level of 12.5 pounds per square inch.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Narcissism in the film 'In Bruges'

This is a picture of a narcissist

People still have trouble with the concept of narcissism. Over at The Last Psychiatrist (the inspiration for this blog) narcissism is defined loosely as “the narcissist thinking their life is a movie and they are the main character. All other people are side characters, extras, or don’t exist. Everything that happens in the universe is somehow connected to the narcissist. He/she is the main character after all.” More at TLP

There are some who have trouble with this definition because they associate narcissism with grandiosity and obsession with appearance; like a Jersey Shore cast member. This is not accurate, and is actually a defense; if you are not a Jersey Shore cast member, then this definition allows you to think you’re not a narcissist. Fail.

Below is a very short scene from the film In Bruges. It’s a film starring Colin Farrell and Ralph Fiennes written and directed by Martin McDonagh.
It’s a boring film in which nothing happens (I stopped watching after 10 minutes) - but this scene with the fat American narcissist is right at the start.

Watch it.

So why is this fat American a narcissist?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Adult Pre-K is Your Substitute for God

Unless of course I’m paying $500 specifically to have someone tell me what to do.

In Brooklyn there is currently an Adult-Pre-K course run by Michelle Joni Lapidos. Her website is here:

At this Adult Pre-K grown women (and 1 guy) pay for sessions that mimic Pre-K activities; such as nap time and finger painting. This story briefly hit pop culture a few weeks ago, with predictable pundits complaining about things they didn't understand.

To be clear, part of the American Dream is finding ways to get fools to part with their money. Ms. Lapidos has clearly realized there was a market for Adult Pre-K classes and she decided to fill that market and turn a profit. Good for her. Anyone hating on her is misguided or jealous or, more likely, both.

Rather than criticize Ms. Lapidos it is much more instructive to look at why someone would want to attend such a class.

The pitch for the class on Ms. Lapidos website is here:

Sure, it seems like Ms. Lapidos is selling Pre-K activities, like snacks, story time, and coloring. But those are all things any participant could easily do at home on their own time. Yet they are paying to instead do those things with Ms. Lapidos. This should tell you that the customers are really buying something else, something that Ms. Lapidos doesn’t directly articulate, but that they are connecting with on a non-conscious level.

For insight into that, some quotes from the class participants are illuminating.

They were all interviewed for this piece at WSJ
If it’s pay-walled sometimes clicking to it from Fbook can help (

For example:

“Steven Chu, a 30-year-old website developer and photographer who lives on the Upper East Side, hopes the class can dissolve his creative blocks and boost his entrepreneurial spirits. Four-year-olds don’t take ‘no’ for an answer, he notes. “Where did it happen, in growing up, that I let one ‘no’ or one person’s advice shut me down?” he says.”

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Is it better to be a Victim or Van Halen?

Sammy Hagar, incidentally, wants to be neither Victim nor Van Halen; 
he wants to be David Lee Roth. 

This story is a little old, here is a short recap:
  • In 2011-2012 a 14 year old male student at middle school in Texas develops feelings for his 28 year old female teacher.
  •  He informs her of these feelings, and she reciprocates.
  • They begin a physical relationship
  •  The parents discover it and get the teacher hauled off to jail.
  •  For bonus points, they told their son that he was wrong and they shamed him.
    • On National TV.
All of this happened and was covered by ABC 20/20.  I suggest you read the article and watch the video of the 20/20 piece.

20/20 claims the male student is now depressed and suicidal. If this is true, the fault lies entirely with The Parents.


Friday, March 13, 2015

The Walking Dead: Zombies Represent Communism

Zombie Leon Trotsky no longer has an axe in his head. Rick pulled it out and gave it to Carl. 

What does Communism have to do with the AMC show The Walking Dead?
A lot. But let’s start at the beginning.Communism (or more precisely, the fear of it) is the key driver of the popularity of the Zombie genre and flesh-eating zombies as a concept in fiction.

The honor of being ‘the first Zombie movie’ is universally considered to belong to Night of the Living Dead by George Romero which was released in 1968.

While other zombie movies pre-date it, other so called zombie movies use the term zombie as a ‘voodoo’ or ‘mind-control’ concept; in which the dead or ‘sort-of dead’ are used as pawns by a voodoo master. Though hard-core fiction historians may correct me on this, the first use of the shambling, direction-less, human-flesh-eating un-dead appears to be Night of the Living Dead. And, even if it wasn't the first, it was by far the first popular example of zombies, grossing 12 million domestically in 1968 dollars. That’s big money in 1968 movie terms.

Why did Night of the Living Dead strike such a cord, particularly with American audiences?
Because it was released at the height of the Cold War when the threat from Communism was large and a daily reality for many Americans.

You see, Zombies represent Communism.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Tennessee High School Girls Basketball Teams Punished - Why?

Two High School Girls Basketball teams from Tennessee are punished because both teams were trying to lose a game against each other. 

What did they do wrong?

This small event in Tennessee made national news. For a brief period in late Feb. 2015 this was a mainstream news story.
The vitriol in the comments section of those pieces is particularly interesting because it's so intense. Who knew people were so passionate about high school sports in states they don't live in?
I don’t know which side you, dear reader, are on, but if you’re on the “What those girls did was wrong” side, pause for a movement before we move forward.  Clearly articulate in your head your answer to this question “What, exactly did the girls do wrong?”
I’ll give you a few line breaks.