jon stewart should be canned and you should leave your spouse…not


The cultural zeitgeist (particularly the USA) is now commonly about leaving. You enjoy something, love someone, are comfortable where you live, have a satisfying job, then it’s about time to abandon it and pioneer! Should you decide to remain in that city, that relationship or don that favored, shabby sweater, well, then you’re just not hip, cool, styling or groovy. Novelty has been elevated to the celestial.

A twisted view of this phenom was written by Lauren Martin here. She believes that if you don’t live in five different places in your life then you’re “settling.” For what? Unclear. Appears Martin has the attention span of an ADHA toddler except she also feels that favorite foods lose their edge!?!? No toddler would ever agree. Tell my Tuscan family—or any ethic group—who commonly ingest their exquisite cookery that it’s “stale.” Just because the USA doesn’t have a genuine cuisine that stands the winds of trendiness, doesn’t mean others should ditch their delicious dishes.

I shouldn’t be surprised—but I am—as most United States-ians live “all or nothing” lives. Whenever science proclaims a new health diet, food, exercise, disease or disorder “it” becomes Trendy. See wheat, wheat eat your wheat: foods, fads, allergies for my (March 2013) take on our modern faux-food-fad: wicked gluten. The New Yorker recently wrote a piece interpreting this mania.

Authentic living resides in the middle, not the extremes, cliché or not. Excessive change creates chaos; trivial challenge equals boredom. You don’t have to “spice up” your sex life, swap cities, eschew favorite foods or jilt your beloved to find inspiration. Exciting “puzzles” don’t have to emerge from the outside, nor should they. I’ve experienced chills of fear, hits of bliss both reading and writing. I can be high for days while “solving” something I’m working on, and I often excessively think about my art “dilemma,” similarly to being captivated by a new love.

Being a writer and an artist, I can tell you that when I’m “in the zone,” that’s the bona fide challenge I need and desire. I’m traversing the unknown, experiencing adventure, discovering! It’s flirty & fun, inspiration & bliss, terror & toil. No need to scale mountains, extreme trek or seduce a new paramour to unearth that endorphin hit. I divine it within, at home. Shocking, I know!

This doesn’t mean I haven’t lived in (more than) five places, odyssey-ed (a lot) or made other external changes. I have, but they weren’t forced from the head. Another writer once described his marriage as a “safe harbor” that afforded him the security to journey.

Jon Stewart has been heading The Daily Show since 1999. Recently Terry Gross asked him how he’d feel about undertaking something else, as Stephen Colbert is doing. The anguished ambiguity of Stewart’s answer revealed (to me) how much pressure the “collective unconscious” our culture is dispensing. Johnny Carson never had to deal with this crap in his three decades on The Tonight Show. The Daily Show is absolutely necessary to our country’s sanity, still poignant, and winning awards; why should it stop?? Because it’s not NEW??

If something/someone no longer has fine, inspiring energy, you’ll know it. You never have to decide it. Trust your guts, not your head. Breathe deep, encircle yourself with honest emotions, not random “media wisdom” and just live.

p.s. Encourage Jon Stewart to continue as USA’s court jester. He seems indispensable to revealing the “truth.”

if men had to do it…it wouldn’t be being done

If men had to do it

Lately this photo has been circling around social networks. As nice looking as these men are, it could be assumed they’re holding these postures only because they’re comedians; the photo’s amusing and something comedians would do for laughs. But because Carell, Stewart and Colbert are politically minded, they’re illuminating and mocking how women are arranged, twisted and bent to sell things. This photo’s entitled: If Men Had to Do It.

What’s “IT”?

IT is this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

And even more disturbing, this:

In most ads, women pose in half-naked, stilted and misshapened positions for others—i.e. men—to eyeball while the male models are usually accomplishing something, are mostly clothed, engaged in an activity, “taking charge” (maybe like the dick above) or working.

Women instead, introspectively gaze off in the distance with almost exposed breasts, maybe unzipped jeans and are often dreamily reclined and arched about on a bed, divan or floor like throw pillows waiting for someone to use them. Or turned into items like the ‘woman-as-beer’ pic above. Urgent alert: women are actually human (see: women aren’t food); we do things, too.

Secondly, females are dismembered components: lips, legs, breasts, butts or headless trunks in a delusional torso type only representative of 3-5% of the female population: non-existent  hips, ample and often artificial breasts, long computer enhanced legs and hairless bodies (see: i like a woman who takes “care” of herself) measured in ounces instead of pounds. Barely joking on that last one.

This faux female image has become the ridiculous ideal for adolescent girls whose brains are just emerging out of the chief childhood Theta brainwave state and aren’t yet capable of decent discernment. That “womanly” depiction lingers long into adulthood primarily because 97% of all media we see is male driven creating this kind of dysfunction: 75% of normal-weight women feel they are overweight, while 80% of 4th graders have done fad diets. See: ‘weighty’ women & “little petty places.”

If we want female reality displayed, we’ll need more gender balance in all aspects and channels of media.

Sometimes, in order to see what’s so ubiquitous and so obvious that IT becomes invisible, we’ll need to reverse IT, like the comics above did.

Next time you leaf through a magazine, watch a beer commercial, view a mannequin, check out a movie, see a billboard, play a video game, and the image of a woman is shown—in whatever distorted or partially clothed state—mentally replace that woman with a male figure.

Go ahead, take your time. What do you see? Sophomoric male fantasies exposed? Women as busty perfumed chattel? Absurdly embarrassing isn’t IT?

For more detailed information see The Gender Ads Project.

UPDATE: Just found this Canadian school project. A short illuminating film. At 2:50, you get to see this gender role reversal played out extremely well: Representation of Gender in Advertising.

UPDATE 2: Men on motorcycles—ooo la la

you as you, it is it, as it is

The closer the U.S. gets to election time, the more it feels like a force feed. I’ve been on a serious news/media diet for some years now. The Stewart/Colbert team give me the farcical sound bites illuminating the one-up-ness polarization inherent in U.S. politics, I read choice tidbits and listen to Fresh Air. During election season I mostly fast.

Occasionally I get duped. Like with Michelle Obama’s DNC speech. FB friends were happily raving with one saying, “Dems got their sexy back.” (that I do agree with). Michelle talks and I love her spirited Self and her fun/first-class dress displaying her strong “yes we can!” shoulders. But then, this: “Every day, the people I meet inspire me…they make me proud…they remind me how blessed we are to live in the greatest nation on earth…” la la la la blah blah blah.

In real life People, there is NO greatest, ultimate, perfect, best; there’s just what you like. That doesn’t make it best; that’s what’s “best” to you. Every time you assert that what you favor is the greatest you’re insulting someone, manifesting arrogance, being a bore.

We won’t let our children boast: “I draw better than everyone,” or “I’m the best player on my team.” Why? It’s polarizing and disrespectful. When someone says they live in the greatest country in the world, how haughty (and patently untrue) is that?! Most of my family lives in Tuscany. I wonder if they’d agree that the U.S. is “the greatest.” On just the food front, I loudly and unequivocally challenge that assertion.

Good/bad comparisons are a major dysfunctional component of the patriarchal paradigm. We loathe them in politics but we do this in our lives all the time. I bought the best laptop. I use the ultimate smartphone. The Patriots are supreme. Really? The first two may be better designed for some situations and may be easier to use than many but that still doesn’t make them “best,” and the Patriots will be down soon enough.

Must we compare, elevate or denigrate? Why can’t we just prefer the city we live in, our school, our religion, the wine, the book, the olives, the bread without pompously declaring it’s the ultimate? It may seem safer to impose your opinion as fact but it doesn’t make it true.

How about we replace:  “This pizza’s good,” “That dog sucks,” “These are the crispest apples” with: “I love thin pizzas!” “I don’t like yappy dogs,” “These apples are my kind of crisp.” The pizza, the dog and those apples are what they are despite your personal proclivities. Let things, teams, towns, countries and people be as they occur—without qualifying them as better, best or worst—in and of themselves. They’re existence isn’t just in relation to you.

Respecting differences, celebrating diversity, honoring others’ favorites will bring us all more happiness. When the Orioles make a splendid play I’ll cheer even if I’m fond of the Mariners. A fine play is a fine play regardless which team achieved it. Yes?