Despite my pitiable infirmity, I continue to bring you unadulterated JPEGs of my dinner (no Photoshop on this damned laptop): Eggplant Napoleon and carrots with pine nuts from the carryout counter at Whole Foods.
Patriarchy and my real life: 24 hours of blaming
At physical therapy, whereunto I adjourn several times a week to practice lifting my heel off the floor (I recently underwent horrific surgery to repair an innocent young ankle), the conversation turns to Under The Banner of Heaven. I don’t know if you are familiar with this book; it’s the true crime story of a couple of Mormon godbag nutjobs who murder a woman and a baby because God told’em to.
Cherie (one of the therapists): That book made me so mad. Don’t read it at night! You’ll get no sleep. I just laid there going ‘grraahh!’
Nods of assent all around.
Lori (my therapist): I’m going to see a one-man show tonight at some East Austin theater. It’s a Mormon guy who fled the Mormons in apparent revulsion.
Bob (the young PT intern, emerging from a reverie): You know, the Amish have a thing like that.
Me: You mean God-sanctioned killing sprees?
Bob: They send the teenagers off to experience fun in the real world. They only come back if they want to.
Hmmms all around.
Bob (warming to his subject): Not all Amish are the same, though. There’s this one sect where they take the girls and pull all their teeth out—
Me: Pull their teeth out!
The patriarchy-sensing hairs between my shoulder blades begin to stir; I foresee that some blaming is nigh.
Bob:—and replace’em with wooden ones. They don’t believe in dentists.
I agree that a certain misty surreality surrounds the occult and obscure world of dentistry, but it had never occurred to me that there might exist crazed Amish cults who actually don’t believe in dentists.
Cherie (revealing herself as no dope when it comes to secret dude-ruled societies): They pull their teeth so they can’t fight back!
While lying around with my foot up on 6 pillows (so it can be closer to God!) and my laptop burning a hole in my thighs, I click over to a story on Forbes.com about how women are 50 zillion times more likely than men to die of what is of course the only treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. But before I can read it, a dude in a sidebar ad shouts at me (literally shouts; the ad has unbidden audio) “Nearly half of all guys experience ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION!”
While absorbing the above-pictured TV dinner, I inadvertently get stuck on the E! channel, which is the name of the cable channel that runs nothing but celebrity infomercials. The (five-hour-long!) infomercial playing during my TV dinner is called “101 Guiltiest Guilty Pleasures!” It features obscure D-list Hollywood personalities offering glib extempore commentary as they count down a list of moron pop culture trends (such as the Paris Hilton sex tapes, or “Survivor,” or paying 5 bucks for a fat-free chai latte) over footage of celebrities engaging in the activities. Five strippers dressed in merry widows and calling themselves the Las Vegas Pussy Patrol (or something) introduce each segment by performing sexy little dance numbers and striking patriarchy-approved cheap tart poses.
Apparently Hollywood stars exist in their own continuum and can, without doing anything at all, constitute guilty pleasures in and of themselves. Keanu Reeves is #63 and Anna Nicole Smith is #67. “101 Guiltiest Guilty Pleasures” shows footage of Reeves looking blank and Smith saying “uh, I don’t know.”
Of course boobs, as wholly owned subsidiaries of the dominant culture, are also a guilty pleasure. There is a whole segment on female celebrity chests featuring a montage of mammoth spherical implants.
As Cintra Wilson points out in her hilarious book A Massive Swelling, real boobs are nowadays considered such a freak of nature that porn featuring unagumented specimens must, according to the unwritten code of the perv brotherhood, be segregated in the psycho-fetish section.
As infantilized one-footed shut-ins often do, I eventually find myself thumbing through an issue of People magazine. Robin Williams in rehab! Goldie Hawn’s daughter breaking up with the stoner dude from the Black Crowes! And it’s Britney Spears’ turn to be the cover story again. She is pregnant and a brunette and ‘Ready For Baby No.2!’
Naturally there’s a sidebar, entitled ‘Her Baby Body,’ informing an anxious public that Spears gained ’50-60 lbs.’ with the first kid, but this time has kept it to a more seemly 40. How will she ‘get her body back’? She’ll “definitely … start working out in a huge way.”
Heaven forfend she should be brown-haired and fat. Even a mortal woman, once she has discharged her primary duty as incubator, is obliged to return to sexbot status immediately.