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Jan 12 2007

Twisty at the movies

rape_sabine_women.jpg
“Rape of the Sabine Women” 1583. Giovanni de Bologna [or, as he is known in professional circles, John of Baloney] reveals the sublime beauty in a good, classic rape.

Like many delusional Americans, I shell out a handsome monthly stipend to the Time Warner Cable Company. And for what? Once, about five years ago, I saw Howard Zinn on C-SPAN. He wasn’t groping anybody, or yelling, or eating insects, or chaining up by the wrists any bleeding young Asian women in shredded Frederick’s of Hollywood teddies. I raised a joyous eyebrow. Ever since my Moment of Zinn I’ve been waiting in giddy anticipation for another television experience that didn’t make wish I were having a root canal instead.

My vigil has been a long and fruitless one. No epiphany hath forecome. Whenever I turn on the TV I might as well be bending over and pointing at a sign on my ass: “Behold another receptacle for patriarchy’s indoctrinatory videographed ejaculations.”*

The monthly dough from which the Time Warner Cable Company is pleased to separate me entitles me to but a solitary commercial-free channel, the Turner Classic Movies channel. The regular reader is no stranger to my insensible and embarrassingly anti-revolutionary tolerance for this TV channel. This set-up is this: avuncular film critic/host Robert Osborne presents, without commercial interruption, Hollywood films dating from the 20′s to the 80′s. Osborne gives a short, unscholarly introduction to each, engaging the drooling viewer with enticing but meaningless biographical fluff, such as “Ironically, Gig Young died with his 5th wife just 8 years after winning the Oscar for this film in a tragic murder-suicide.”

Like all television, TCM is exceptionally dudely. The movies are directed by white dudes, written by white dudes, are about white dudes, and glorify white dudes. When the movies aren’t about white dudes, they’re about gorgeous white women who never find happiness until they marry white dudes. Once a week, white dude Osborne shares the camera for about 2 minutes with non-dude film critic Molly Haskell, but he cannot refrain from interrupting her, making these interludes (or “interdudeludes”) particularly painful.

That it is commercial-free is the reason I began watching TCM back when I was laid up with my broken ankle; reading books (or, at least, comprehending them) was out of the question owing to my steady diet of pharmaceutical opiates.** The habit (the TCM habit, I mean, not the Vicodin habit) stuck when I discovered it to have an unexpected*** dialectical application: TCM is a sort of chronology, an historical record of the misogynist antecedency of modern patriarchal thought, a reference manual to the canonized idols, saints, and gods of 21st century oppression.

Since Hollywood is the crucible from which emerges all our stinkiest cultural narratives, the myths are all here on TCM: romantic love, marriage as the ultimate objective of romantic love, virgins vs whores, heteronormative upper middle class honkiness, Christianity, capitalism, America’s inherent moral superiority, the nobility of war, the nobility of poverty, the nobility of humble darkies who serve heteronormative upper middle class honkiness, rugged American individualism, the romanticization of binary sex roles, the notion that the “good old days” actually existed, the codification of femininity and masculinity, et al. The whole stinking sexist, racist cesspool is focused through the vaselined lens of a dominant male perspective that seems to get more dominant and more male with each passing year.

You will be wondering, and I don’t blame you, at which, if any, salient point this meandering preamble will eventually arrive.

Well, what that prompted me to write about Turner Classic Movies today is that the channel recently aired the beloved, critically-acclaimed, appallingly misogynist, honky, heteronormative Oscar-winning 1954 musical “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” [plot summary].

Not that TCM doesn’t air misogynist shit all day long. In addition to the regular program of anti-woman Hollywood films, they are currently running a promo for a DVD boxed set notable, apparently, only because it contains early movies with “shocking” scenes of pre-code “salaciousness”. This “salaciousness” amounts to the depiction of women in states of degradation unusual for the period (but hardly anything at which one would bat a jaded eye today): titillating footage of a very young Barbara Stanwyck enduring a full-on boob-grope, and of Jean Harlow getting punched in the face, and of Mae Clark (she of the Cagney-launched grapefruit-in-the-kisser) forced into prostitution by the cruel hand of fate. Whoo hoo. Get’em while they’re hot.

But back to “Seven Brides.” The whole story is astonishingly atavistic in its depiction of women’s cheerful, obliging submissiveness, but the pièce de résistance arrives in a scene based on the Rape of the Sabine Women (which you will recall from your tireless study of ancient dude-historian Plutarch as that episode in early Roman history wherein Rome, endangered by a dearth of women to incubate Roman fetuses, incurses on territory inhabited by the Sabines, abducts a bunch of females, knocks’em up, and uses the kids as pawns in settling the ensuing border dispute). In the “Seven Brides” scene to which I allude, some oafish honky mountain men who want wife-slaves conduct a raid on the nearby town, kidnap a bunch of apple-cheeked virgins, and tote’em back up to the cabin, whereupon a convenient avalanche compels them all to spend the winter.

This charming display of masculine predation is humorously executed in the film with much gay Technicolor dancing and singing. Lyrics like “Now let this be/ because it’s true/ A lesson to the likes of you/ Treat ‘em rough like them there Romans do/ Or else they’ll think you’re tetched” romanticize Stockholm syndrome like it was a surrey with fringe on top. Naturally, once they stop crying, the kidnaped girls fall in love with their abductors, and live happily ever after once their “honor” has been restored by shotgun weddings.

Thus we see that 1954 marks the pinnacle, in terms of bouncy, effervescent comedic mainstreaming, of a repellent misogynist narrative motif that continues, 60 years and two waves of feminist agitation later, to afflict the popular view of women as fuckbot slaves.

Although, really, what was I expecting? That the revolution would be

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?

_________________________________
* By ‘indoctrinatory ejaculations’ I mean any and all televised programming: “Brady Bunch” reruns, the Mutilated Women Show (“Law & Order: SVU”), beer commercials, Mel Gibson movies, “Seinfeld,” the lot. There was never, for instance, so depressingly dudely a display of liberal malecentricity as Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show.” Last night’s episode contained exactly 4 women. One was footage of a blonde hottie anchorwoman mocked by Stewart for ditzily catching snowflakes on her tongue on national television; one was Katie Couric (the Gerber daisy of broadcast news) saying something empty-headed about W; another was a close-up of a pair of jiggling breasts; and finally there was a blob of teen seduction reclining odalisquesquely in a clip from “the new Peter O’Toole film,” the plot of which is — brace yourself for this astonishing revelation — that brilliant patriarchal treasure of narrative innovation, the septuagenarian-dude-in-existential-crisis-lusting-after-hot-young -chicks.

Where’s the show called “Radical Feminists Through The Ages with your host Andrea Dworkin”? Or “Smashing Patriarchy,” a dramedy about Southeast Asian women laborers beating the crap out pf their sexual harassing bosses? And how come all the women on TV boink men?

** My argument that American commercials and Hollywood films do not differ ideologically in the least will appear in some future post.

*** Sure, it’s obvious to you, but cut me some slack; I was in a chemically-induced coma at the time.

50 comments

  1. Josh

    Just a minor quibble: Livy is (I think) the earliest (and probably most famous) extant source for the story of the Rape of the Sabines, but your point is well taken.

  2. Twisty

    I (and Google) disagree that Livy is more famous than Plutarch, but there is no question that he wrote earlier.

  3. El Maximoso!

    They say that the longer you struggle against something, the more like that thing you become.

    this site is filled with dudeliness!

  4. Twisty

    Great Scott, El Maximoso!, you’re right! I’ve left the seat up twice today alone.

  5. Rachel Van Citters

    This article posted on The Huffington Post today:

    “China faces population imbalance crisis
    by Jane Macartney in Beijing”

    “China will be short of 30 million brides within 15 years, according to an official report into the country’s burgeoning population. About one in every ten men aged between 20 and 45 – equivalent to almost the population of Canada – will be unable to find a wife, it has projected.

    The findings, from the State Population and Family Planning Commission, outline bleak prospects not only for bachelors. The report says that the inevitable gender imbalance could result in social instability – a threat that the ruling Communist Party regards as the greatest risk to its grip on power.”

    And yes, they do mention the kidnapping of females as a possible consequence.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,25689-2544501,00.html

  6. vera

    There’s always that scene from Sideways in which Sandra Oh uses her motorcycle helmet to give a well-deserved beating to the character “Jack.” Not that I’m recommending the film, which was tedious. But if you must watch it, that scene will make you feel better.

  7. Ginger Mayerson

    Could you do “Guys and Dolls” next? I love that one. Mmmm, Brando dances!

  8. Carol

    God, I love you.

  9. Antelope

    I watched Bus Stop not long ago to see what the big deal is about Marilyn, and the plot was pretty damn similar, right down to a cowboy who sings a cheesy tune about how winning a wife is a lot like breaking a horse. The difference in that one is that he has to learn to stop trying to throw her over his shoulder & cart her off, and even to apologize for it. Once he apologizes, it takes her about 5 minutes to decide she’s in love and will spend the rest of her life on his ranch in the middle of nowhere.

    Does he learn this from anything Marilyn says or does to make him understand that women are human? Of course not – he learns it because an older guy beats him up and insists that he apologize.

    My request is not that you anyone explain this movie – it speaks for itself pretty damn well, but the whole Marilyn obsession generally. I went to IMDB to see if anyone else was freaked out by this plot, and it was just all the usual crap you see every time her name comes up. Is Marilyn the most beautiful woman ever? Is there a Marilyn movie where she shows some talent and does it matter if there isn’t? Is Marilyn fat? Is Marilyn secretly a genius? Should all schoolchildren on the planet be taught about poor Marilyn and the guys who manipulated her and knocked her around? People get very, very worked up about these things.

    Has anybody done a good feminist analysis on what’s up with that? Or do pretty much all feminists have the same gag-reflex problem I do when dealing w/ that particular cult?

  10. TP

    You are so right about TCM. Your offhand comment about watching the slow decline of even the most cursory respect for women as seen in Hollywood is something I find fascinating. Seven Brides is such a train wreck I could never bring myself to watch it.

    Westward the Women (1951), has the same essential premise of the sex slave bride, but is much more an exploration of how tough a band of women can be. Not that I’m defending the sexual politics of Hollywood! But it just shows how sexism just gets worse and worse over time, not better. Women went from playing rounded, human characters to Marilyn Monroe in a decade or so.

    And the appeal of Marilyn Monroe is absolutely the most vile expression of object fetishization I can think of. She made woman as a hollow, vulnerable, damaged object into the lowest embodiment of sexual abstraction ever seen before. The way she was taken so seriously just shows how delusional men had become by the time she made it big. I have nothing against her as a person – much horror and pity for the trap she was in – but her exaltation was the apogee of the bald faced unabashed objectification of women.

    I really don’t have the ability to even verbalize the full horror of why and how she represents one of the lowest points of woman as inhuman sexbot object to me. But if you think of every pornsick lie a man ever tells himself about women, you will easily find Marilyn Monroe fitting into almost every aspect of the pathology.

  11. Mar Iguana

    1986, Gloria Steinem’s “Marilyn.” Written to accompany George Barris’s photographs, Steinem supplies a biographical portrait of Marilyn Monroe in a feminist and archetypal context. Heartbreaking.

  12. whyme63

    As soon as I saw that picture, I thought to myself “Great gravy, Twisty’s done gone and watched 7 Brides.”

    This was a terrific post. Bless yer bee-yoo-tiful hide.

  13. scratchy888

    Women don’t know their own minds. That is why when they talk you’ve got to keep overriding them, and keep on pressing forth to what it is you want to say.

  14. meganann

    “Them wimmin was sobbin’ sobbin’ sobbin’ fit to be tied”
    I watched this work of penile worship and had to wonder, what with all the dancing and prancing among them menfolk, how many of those actors were in the closet?

    Seven Brides is also interesting in that the one woman who has known the penis is then in charge of all the others, she has proxy-penis power over all the virgins. She had to train them to be sexbots just like her.

  15. KMTberry

    Twisty, you beat me to it AGAIN. I saw “Seven Brides For Seven Brothers” for the FIRST TIME recently also, and Simply. Could. Not. Believe. the “plot”. A bunch of hillbillies abduct some virginal schoolgirls;(having been prompted by reading THE BIBLE); they SING and DANCE about RAPE!!!!!:they get snowed in; the girls “fall in love” with the hillbillies and they all have shotgun weddings.

    And APpARENTLY, NO ONE was upset about this when the play (and the movie) were produced…..no mothers of daughters, no fathers, no historians…….it was all in GOOD FUN.( Or something).

    I found the entire thing to be mindbending, even though IBTP nearly all day everyday.

    Well, you said it all BETTER than I could, again, as usual.

  16. KMTberry

    I watched TCM for 12 months straight while regretting my first marriage. I CAN recommend “Hard Driving Woman, with a Whip” starring Barbara Stanwyck. At least I THINK that is what it is called.

    also “THe Strange Love of Martha Ivers”.

    During that time I conceived my movie star crush on Claude Raines, which I suffer from to this day. I don’t really want to know if he was an asshole in real life, so don’t tell me! He’s Dead anyway.

  17. Jezebella

    Ah, the story of the Sabine women. It’s a plague in painting & sculpture.

    If you prefer your art history without rape, I recommend to you Marilyn Stokstad’s survey text (called simply “Art History”). When she was persuaded to tackle the production of a new art history survey, after years of courting by Prentice Hall, one of her conditions was this: no images of violence against women would be used as examples of Fine Art. Stokstad, the first feminist director of the College Art Association (back in ’69 or ’70), a lifelong mentor of women in academia & the arts, and, I believe, one of the first women tenured at the U. of Kansas, showed that you can, indeed, teach the introductory art history survey without pretending like rape is pretty.

  18. RGM

    Ahhh movies, never a good thing. Between Beerfest, the latest National Lampoon movie, and apparently even American Pie is still producing misogyny, it’s not a good time to be a feminist at the movies.

    Odd* note to add: I saw an ad for the forthcoming DVD of Quentin Tarantino’s latest movie last night. The entire commercial, save one scene, features males doing the violence thing. The one exception? A woman walking seductively about to drop her clothes, sandwiched right in the middle of the commercial. Fourteen seconds of violence, two seconds of “sexuality,” and then fourteen more seconds of violence. I once read a tale that you could train a person to be aroused by a boot because the boot’s appearance was always succeeded by images of pornography. Is it any wonder that there’s such a convergence of violence & sexuality by the dudes these days?

    *It’s not really odd given the nature of society today.

  19. Mary

    Hi Twisty,

    This is a little off topic, because this movie has binary sex roles, but have you seen The Americanization of Emily? I think it has a delightfully subversive anti war message.

  20. octopod

    Want some citations on the neutral stimulus/sexual response conditioning? Here ya go. These are the best papers I could turn up that cited the 1968 Rachman and Hodgson paper mentioned above, the one with the boots in it.

    The Respondent Conditioning of Male Sexual Arousal, Plaud and Martini, 1999.

    The conditioning of human sexual arousal, O’Donohue and Plaud, 1994.

    Pavlovian Conditioning of Sexual Interests in Human Males, Lalumiere and Quinsey, 1998. (everyone can probably get this in full text)

    Conditioning and Sexual Behaviour: A Review, Pfaus, Kippin, and Centeno, 2001. (this one is also probably accessible and VERY exhaustive, 31 pages of analysis)

    Those regular readers here who are interested in questions of rape conditioning, pornsickness, and other sorts of paraphilia might find these citations interesting.

    Also, have I mentioned how much I HATE the journal system of scientific publication? This pay-for-journals-you-need business is no good at all, especially from the perspective of someone interested in fields not heavily covered by her university’s subscriptions. I blame the outdated subscription business model.

  21. yankee transplant

    You continue to amuse, educate, and delight!

  22. Cass

    Fun fact: Claude Rains got that wonderful voice from a sub-lethal dose of phosgene gas in France, 1917.

    I’ve never seen “Seven Brides”, but knowing the story line of seven rubes somehow finding seven new wives simultaneously, I pretty much guessed what it was about.

  23. Twisty

    What I know about Claude Rains I learned from TCM: he was short!

  24. roamaround

    Fabulous post. This business of controlling the narrative is very important!!! It’s not just entertainment, it forms the way we see the world. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately since I’ve recently been demoted from femme fatale to bitter divorcee. (I only ever wanted to be Robin Hood or maybe Peter Pan.)

    What gets me the most are the consequences for transgression, like the drive over the cliff in “Thelma and Louise” and the cancer death of the heroine in “Tu Mamá Tambien.” Don’t you girls think for a minute that you can fight back or have wanton sex…you’ll be sorry!

    It’s so blatant that I don’t know why everybody doesn’t see it, but most don’t. Thanks so much for this!

  25. Melissa B.

    I second the Stokstad for a rape-free art historical study.

    However, in order to avoid ignoring the vast amounts of heroic rape, beautified rape, etc. found in art, I point you toward my former professor, Dr. Yael Even of the University of Missouri, St. Louis.

    Dr. Even specifically examines art regarding the popularization and heriocism of rape in Florence (and Italy at large).

    A notable article of hers is:
    “The Loggia dei Lanzi: A Showcase of Female Subjugation”
    Woman’s Art Journal
    Vol. 12, No. 1 (Spring – Summer, 1991), pp. 10-14

  26. Infallible Female

    “Like all television, TCM is exceptionally dudely”? How can they ALL be exceptional in the same way? Take some English lessons. Then try cutting 85% of your adjectives. You’ll sound more intelligent.

  27. Dot

    Twisty:

    You open my eyes every time I read your posts.

    With regard to the violence against women plots on TV, I can no longer tolerate it. I remember, many years ago, a serial sex criminal was found with women kept in chains in his basement. The newspaper on its front page center had a huge sketch of a chained, beaten woman.

    To keep the ratings, the plots get sicker and sicker. And I have never seen Thelma and Louise because I could not bear that ending.

    Keep writing. We need you.

  28. scratchy888

    “Like all television, TCM is exceptionally dudely”? How can they ALL be exceptional in the same way? Take some English lessons. Then try cutting 85% of your adjectives. You’ll sound more intelligent.

    I’ve often similar comments directed at me, criticising my irony as if it were a public sin against those truly intelligent among us. Why do so many of this common product of the western education system — the simple-minded troll — believe that one’s goal in life must be to impress others via a regimented use of English grammar? Has the approach with grammar ever been proven to work as an effective means of winning friends and influencing others?

  29. Hattie

    This stuff about how all men are potentially violent and dangerous is not a good mind-set for women to have. It leads to a hyperalertness that can blind women to real dangers from the kind of predatory men who are good at impersonating nice guys. I speak as someone who has worked with violent offenders and sex offenders. Most men are not violent nor are they sex offenders. And some of them are simply lovely.
    Why watch that crap on television anyway? Sitting home watching TV depictions of rape and murder are not good for one’s mental health.

  30. Hattie

    Is, is!!! Aaack.

  31. Ancrene Wiseass

    Dear God, yes. I had a high-school chorus teacher who showed us that crap once in class. Apparently, it was supposed to be an example of the sorts of roles we should all aspire to play if we wanted to become musical-theater professionals. I could not believe the whole “Hell, boys, let’s get us some rape on” number, with it’s insane, Technicolor jollity. I did not know how to react. Fortunately, most of my classmates were behaving like reasonable teenagers who know that whatever the teacher chooses to show them will probably be utterly uninteresting to them. They were, therefore, talking and note-passing and paper-footballing up a storm, so I was able to block the rest of the movie out by joining in.

  32. thebewilderness

    Dear Inf,
    Mandos is our resident nit picker. Please observe and learn from his excellent examples. Until you achieve near Mandos level nitpickery skills, you only embarrass yourself.

    And another thing, ewwww.

  33. Ron Sullivan

    Infeelable Foulmale is incorrect, unless one posits that “television” includes the entire universe.

    I, The Weekend Copyeditor, have spoken.

    Where the hell’s Mandos, who’s much more fun to argue with?

  34. Pony

    Hattie I respectfully disagree with you. I’ve worked with them too, perhaps not in the same context as you. All men are violent and sex offenders, they just may not have acted upon it beyond watching violent pornography to, treating their wives well but finding some latina, native, or black woman to act out those hidden fantasies with. All men, even those we have not labeled as such, in the right circumstances, perhaps war? are violent and sex offenders.

  35. Jezebella

    Hattie, assuming that all men are potentially violent and dangerous is the ONLY mind-set to have.

    I operate on a probably-dangerous-until-proven-harmless principal when it comes to all but a very, very few men that I know very, very well.

    You know, the only people who’ve ever told me that this mind-set was paranoid and that “hyper-alertness” was in fact going to make matters worse were… you guessed it… men. The kind of man who calls women who lock every door behind them “paranoid.” The kind of man who just doesn’t GET IT. I’ve never, I mean never, heard a woman suggest this.

    Any woman with her head not planted firmly up her ass knows that eternal vigilance is absolutely essential and by NO MEANS makes us incapable of distinguishing bad guys from good guys. Of course, it’s always lovely to blame the victim for being so alert, so aware of the male potential for violence, that she couldn’t spot a bad guy. How does that work? It makes no frackin sense at all. My mind-set of alertness makes me … not alert? My habits of personal safety and security make me… less safe and secure? If I assume all men are potentially dangerous, I won’t be able to tell when a nice guy is dangerous? You’re making no damn sense at all.

  36. Beth

    Gad that movie freaks me out too. I hadn’t seen it until I was in my late 20s, and by that point it hit me upside the head with all the “what the…?!?” It may come as no surprise to learn that India has made at least one of its own versions of this movie (Satte Pe Satta, 1982), and it’s just as troubling.

  37. KwillZ

    I found this on the IMDB forum:

    “That the women dream of being happily married is embarrassing only if you accept that a woman’s natural desire for a union with a man who cares about her is a source of shame.”

    Appearently the argument isn’t about the embedded rape fantasy over there, just whether or not the men were nice about it.

  38. goblinbee

    Twisty Faster:
    “Like all television, TCM is exceptionally dudely.”
    Infallible Female:
    “How can they ALL be exceptional in the same way?”
    Scratchy888:
    “I’ve often similar comments directed at me, criticising my irony…”
    goblinbee:
    I took Twisty’s comment more as deductive reasoning than irony. Just as you can say, “since taffy is candy, and all candy is sweet, taffy is sweet,” you can also say, “since TCM is television, and all television is exceptionally dudely, TCM is exceptionally dudely.”

  39. bean

    This is my first visit to this blog and I’m very excited about it! This is the first writing I’ve read in a long time that hasn’t felt insulting to me. It’s frustrating when those who I know share my politics, understandings, interpretations, beliefs express them poorly. Hooray for good writing and good politics!

    As for the review, I watched 7B47B with my sixth grade class in 1978. I can’t say what permanent damage it may have done, but I’m still single and stll a lesbian. (Maybe I just haven’t been hauled off by the right mountain man yet?)

    But what I really wanted to say was that, in my dream feminist film analysis 101 class, the film we’d look at would be Rosemary’s Baby. Here is the story of a woman who was set up, raped, impregnated and forced to bear the baby of the devil, who was, of course, assisted by the woman’s husband and OB/GYN. Or, that’s how I remember the story anyway. Maybe the husband WAS the devil? I don’t remember. I haven’t seen it since I was in college in the ’80′s , but it made a big impression on me. At that time as I was reading all that college girl rad fem stuff: Adrien Rich, Mary Daly, Barbara Erenreich, and others I can’t remember. It was a time when the women’s self health movement was big, and everyone wanted her own speculum to liberate her from the gyn, who, we all knew, after reading about the witch burnings and then seeing Rosemary’s Baby, was in fact, the devil incarnate.

    Anyway, just thought I’d chime in to say hello. Also want to say, that in my fantasy, Thelma and Louise, ends slightly differently:

    Thelma and Louise decide to keep going. They look into each other’s eyes. They squeeze each other’s hands. They kiss. Louise steps on the gas, still holding Thelma’s hand. Their car speeds forward. We see it go over the cliff. Silence. Next scene; they have somehow made it to Mexico. We don’t know how. We just know they did. There they are, reclining on beach chairs as the sun sinks below the ocean horizon. A pretty young man brings them each another pina colada. They tip him. They toast. They smile. The credits roll.

    It’s a fairy tale ending. But why not? It happened in the Shawshank Redemption; and, hey, Assata Shakur anyone?

  40. Jen

    “odalisquesquely”

    I’m not sure if I love you or hate you for that.

  41. Indy

    I went to the indian article about the power plant laborers beating the crap out of the rapist/supervisor, and it gave me a link to an indian website where I can meet n’ marry Tamil babes. odd.

  42. scratchy888

    I took Twisty’s comment more as deductive reasoning than irony. Just as you can say, “since taffy is candy, and all candy is sweet, taffy is sweet,” you can also say, “since TCM is television, and all television is exceptionally dudely, TCM is exceptionally dudely.”

    Yes! Yes! Exceptionally as in excessively, rather than as exemptively. Or maybe not as the case may be. The point is that trolls generally have a hard time understanding natural language as she is spoke. I man, above, all they are unable to pick up an ironic tone, or else they half pick it up and feel disoriented by it and resort to nit-picking speling or grandma.

  43. scratchy888

    Ooops — I put even more troll irritants into that passage than I had been planning to do.

  44. thebewilderness

    resort to nit-picking speling or grandma.

    Scratchy, I love you like a pig.

  45. Harpie

    I decided to get rid of my TV (along with staying away from mainstream women’s magazines) after hearing someone speak of ‘reducing one’s mental pollution’. I feel like I get sucked into TV and start to internalize all the images of women. I think I have a much less ‘skewed’ idea of what I should look like/ act like than many of the other young women I work with, who try very hard to conform to the heterosexual, thin ideal.

    If the TV pisses you off, reduce your mental pollution and get rid of or stop watching it. Media portrayals of women, and women and men’s relationships, are creepy. I think I’ve been a lot better off without taking in those media messages about what I should be. I can rent or borrow a DVD, but at least then I control what I’m going to see.

  46. Twisty

    Ron interprets correctly, as usual. Television as a whole is exceptionally dudely compared to other aspects of popular culture, such as flower shows, or oatmeal. Furthermore, in my livingroom, television is by far the dudeliest thing going.

    I sure do enjoy unsolicited writing advice from ill-mannered, parochial, anti-lyric young readers! But it strikes me in passing that their suggestions would make more sense if they endeavored to give them before they undergo their lobotomies.

    Speaking of lobotomy, I appreciate that Harpie may have deduced from the post that I haven’t discovered the “off” switch on my television. Ha. After having made my recent study of it, I agree absolutely that TV is the primary artery through which a malign complacency or torpor is introduced into the brain, and that this complacency first takes the form of cognitive dissonance that eventually drives the viewer mad.

  47. Harpie

    Oh, I wasn’t trying to pick a fight. I really think that, if the incoming (media) message is wonky, the best thing to do is to turn the message off rather than struggle with it.

    Where TV is concerned, that cuts me off from current events/shows/ fashions, but I guess it’s better than the alternative.

    I will be moving in with friends who have a TV and am worried that I will either get sucked into the movie channel, or start dieting/cosmetic-ing myself silly, to look like the TV women. I’ve been pretty good about not doing that, and I don’t want to drop it now!

  48. Mandos

    Where the hell’s Mandos, who’s much more fun to argue with?

    I just found this. You like me, you really really like me!

    Where was I? I think I was somewhere over the Arabian Sea at that time. Not sure which direction.

  49. qwdswlxh

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  50. Jill

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