Feb 04 2010

Still Life with Shatner Bobblehead and Duct Tape

Still Life with Shatner Bobblehead and Duct Tape

Oh, no.

In the picturesque Texas Hill Country, where for 2 years it did nothing but not rain, it now does nothing but rain.

Remember that Ray Bradbury story where the kid lives on a planet where it only stops raining for like 10 minutes once every 80 years or whatever, and everybody looks forward to it like mad, but the kid, whose only dream is to frolic outside unmolested by condensed atmospheric moisture, is accidentally locked in a closet by feckless playmates and misses the golden 10 minutes? It’s like that here at Spinster HQ. And, if I may say so, what the fuck? I turn my gaze skyward, hoping to catch an errant rose-gold ray of sun so that my lobe might convert it into obstreperantin or chortletic acid, but no. The sky’s just a vast expanse of dirty white wetness and it’s screwing sorely with my neurotransmitters. About the only ones left in my lobe are depressulose and stupenephrine. My yippee receptors are just flappin’ in the breeze, flappin’ in the breeze.

Maybe all this water wouldn’t be so bad if I were a newt, but a newt I’m not.

I’ve been told that the rain stops occasionally. Having been driven mad by the incessant tappa-tappa on the window pane-a, I am dubious in the extreme that this is the case, but if it is true, for the lovagod call my ass up when it happens, so I can biff out to the nearest field and do the butt-dance without having to put on that clammy rubber hula skirt.

It goes without saying that cabin fever has begun to manifest itself in the shape of TV viewing. Here are some of the repellent results of this pursuit.

1. A television commercial advertising a vitamin pill called Centrum Ultra Men’s asserts that some things are made just for men. According to the commercial, three of those things, besides, presumably, Centrum Ultra Men’s vitamin pills, are:

• bobbleheads

• duct tape

• a third thing I can’t remember

I’m calling bullshit on Centrum Ultra Men’s vitamin pills. I have in my possession one bobblehead and four rolls of duct tape, of which fact I provide photographic evidence above. I submit that the gender binary narrative supported by Centrum Ultra Men’s vitamin pills is bogus, dated, and sexist. Obviously bobbleheads and duct tape are not made just for men, but for anyone who needs a bobblehead, or who has to tape shit together.

Take me, for example. Like most women, bobbleheads and duct tape are integral to my daily routine. In fact, when checking the Spinster Agenda this morning, just after “Pump Iron, Get Ripped” and just before “Corrupt the Youth of Today” I observed these items: “apply ducktape to blown-out sole on paddock boot” and “tabulate preliminary results of Shatner bobblehead/Cheez-Whiz experiment.”

2. Another instance of sexism on television what recently caught mine eye was a promo for a show on Comedy Misogyny Central called “Tosh.0”. In this promo, Tosh.0, a loud, 20-something duuude — or perhaps he is a bobblehead — hilariously and edgily tantalizes his teen male audience with a segment that promises to answer the burning question “can women parallel park?” Cut to footage of a car backing up crazily onto a sidewalk. Women, avers Tosh.0, can absolutely not parallel park! Watch his show! Because denigrating women with moth-eaten sexist stereotypes is freakin awesome!

By some sad coincidence, I was using the Internet this morning, and just happened to come across the very segment Tosh.0 was promoting in his commercial. The video does, I regret to say, entirely live up to the extremely diminished expectations I have been forced to adopt regarding Men Aged 18-34. Not only does young Tosh.0 mock a middle-aged woman for being “really old,” he makes racist remarks about “L.A. Asians,” and throws in a few superannuated “jokes” about how women sucker innocent men into relationships, thereby destroying men’s lives.

To recap, this is what passes for funny on a major TV network in 2010: women can’t drive, old women can’t drive, Vietnamese women can’t drive, and women, with their cunning stupidity, live to shatter the dreams of innocent men.

3. I sometimes watch CNN while I’m pumping iron and getting ripped, and believe me, an aunt could write a dissertation, a Broadway play, and several meaningful protest songs on the garish spectacle of patriarchal mores on parade every minute on that network. But I’ll just skip all that and proceed directly to the commercial that irritated me this morning.

A handsome, silver-haired guy tells the camera that even though he did “everything he was supposed to do” as far as fitness and “eating right,” he still had a heart attack. So now he takes aspirin every day.

This ad isn’t explicitly sexist (although when compared with the “feminine” version of the same commercial — middle-aged wife-and-mother is “lucky” her daughter gave her an aspirin during her heart attack — its genderedness is pretty glaring). What particularly chaps the hide is this obnoxious practice of marketing through fear of sudden death cardiac death arrest. Because, wait. You mean I can pump iron and get ripped and eat nothing but raw spinach smoothies and take Centrum Ultra Spinster’s vitamin pills, and I still might croak, unless I get my butt on an “aspirin regimen”? Sign me up!

"Dramatization" of germs on Your Family

4. Jesus in a jetpack! Check out the huge fucking green “germs” on that member of someone’s family! It turns out that “hundreds of bacteria” could be on my kitchen hand sanitizer dispenser! I need an electronic motion-sensor model. I’ll mount it on my fence, so that when the feral hogs trot by, it’ll kill 99.9% of their swine flu.

Photo still from Lysol commercial. Note the word “Dramatization” in the lower left corner. Good thing they put that there, because otherwise I’d have been forced to conclude that the wholesome sport of basketball is now being threatened by a race of giant carnivorous paramecia.


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  1. buttercup

    The pharmaceutical-industrial complex does everything it can to promote guilt and anxiety about “not doing everything I could have” to prevent whatever. Those heart attack commercials give me stabby pains. Maybe dude could have chosen parents without a genetic predisposition to heart disease, right?

    Here’s hoping it clears up for you soon, Jill. We here in the hinterlands of SW PA are expecting another snowstorm tomorrow, but for today, the skies are bright and sunny. Of course, it’s currently about 25 degrees, but you can’t have everything.

  2. io

    The other consequence of cabin fever seems to be posts brimming with wonderfully classic-IBTP turns of phrases. It’s not quite fair that your yippee receptors are flapping while my original-prose-seeking receptors are fully saturated. Hope you get your sunshine soon, Jill.

    If you care to switch from headache-inducing TV to headache-inducing public radio, NPR is about to have a segment on “the rise of the alpha wife.”

  3. Jill

    “NPR is about to have a segment on “the rise of the alpha wife.”

    Ah yes. I have heard of — and consider supremely bogus — this trendy new phenomenon. I’ll tune in at once.

  4. lawbitch

    I watched some women with ridiculously big lips and acrylic talons sell make up on HSN. I was actually tempted to buy the lip gloss. I seriously need an intervention.

  5. dillene

    “All Summer in a Day”. Oh God, I hated that story.

  6. Sarah

    1. “Tabulate preliminary results of Shatner bobblehead/Cheez-Whiz experiment.” I wait with bated breath to see the results of said experiment, preferably in spreadsheet form!

    2. I love that women are both cunning and stupid. PICK ONE, for chrissake.

    3. It is deeply amusing/depressing the amount of denial everyone is in about dying. Articles talk about how to live longer, but they never even mention the fact that no matter what anyone does, EVERYONE WILL DIE. In the name of selling products or selling subscriptions, writers/marketers/gatekeepers just don’t wanna talk about it.

  7. Denise

    Ha! Nearly the very same words came from my mouth when I saw that Tosh.0 promo. I wonder what his next joke will be? That you shouldn’t get married because then you won’t get blowjobs anymore? Har har har! He’s super duper clever.

  8. Dawn Coyote

    In Vancouver we call it “liquid sunshine”, and we enjoy it by strolling around Stanley Park in our gortex jackets, biking to work in it, training for marathons in it. In other words, I’m unsympathetic.

  9. Naomi

    Ugg, I HATE those too.

  10. gimmeaminute

    ‘All Summer in a Day” is also a very sweet short that I have watched with my daughter here in Ireland where it never, ever stops raining.

    I so rarely have anything to add.

  11. Jill

    “In other words, I’m unsympathetic.”

    What are ya, some kinda newt?

  12. Cass

    I’m unsympathetic too. In just a few months we’ll be embarking on another withering, hellish drought, and all of this is going to seem like some lovely vanished dream.

  13. Lara

    On the bright side, Jill, at least your nose is not running on a constant basis and your body working on overdrive just to keep a normal body temperature. It’s a balmy 20 degrees Fahrenheit over here in Boston, MA….
    As for Comedy (Misogyny) Central, yes it’s excessive maleness makes me want to upchuck.
    I know this is another silver-haired dude (albeit NOT handsome), but his message on health is quite different, hehe:


  14. Jill

    “On the bright side, Jill, at least your nose is not running on a constant basis and your body working on overdrive just to keep a normal body temperature.”

    Well, actually, my nose is running on a constant basis (the dread cedar allergies of Central Texas), and my body is working on overdrive to keep a normal body temperature (fucking hot flashes, thanks, Cancer-Related Hysterectomy!). But I grasp your gist.

  15. rootlesscosmo

    Note the word “Dramatization”

    So those green things are AFTRA members? Imagine the open casting call for giant green paramecia.

  16. random_anomaly

    “a third thing I can’t remember”

    I remember this because it’s the only thing In the commercial that I don’t have. In tiny studios, would-be recliner space is generally occupied by cupboards and shelves.

  17. secondwaver

    The American Heart Association is spreading misogyny in at least one other woman-hating endeavor, namely its “Wear Red for Women” drive this month. Ugh.

  18. Lhasaluck

    Those heart attack commercials have been trying to make me crazy for some time now. Really harsh on my mellow.

  19. PandanCat

    You’re welcome to have some of our sunshine. You can hardly go outside between 11 and 5 these days. I cooked dried beans yesterday simply by leaving them outside for a few hours. Ain’t weather a gas?

    I take issue with duct tape being the sole purview of men. Unless it’s the pink kind. Men can have the pink duct tape. I’ll be keeping the classic silver for myself.

  20. speedbudget

    Just because she is such a badass.


  21. Princess Rot

    Sarah, I think it’s supposed to be more like dogged stupidity that can give intelligence a run for its money, like it’s possible to be not particularly bright but also be full of cunning and guile. In dudebro land, the two are not mutually exclusive. Still, it’s shite. The truly intelligent would wonder what the fuck is wrong with men, because if it is true they a) they keep falling for it and b) therefore there must be something more to the concept that women are people, and men are too, and both seek love and companionship, not just grudging tolerance in exchange for sexytimes.

    But I’m preachin’ to the choir here. Anyway, I love how medicine ads always blame the sick for getting sick. Maybe this mentality also feeds rape culture and victim-blaming. If you do anything “wrong” (and there will always be something wrong, to someone) it’s automatically All Your Fault, further introspection notwithstanding. It’s amazing how many people will go into histronics on no more evidence than “They did X, so they deserved it.” IBTP.

  22. Princess Rot

    Hmm. I mean, “blame the sick for BEING sick”. Getting sick sort of implies that sickness is something you go out and buy, therefore it is something you have an active choice in. See how ubiquitous victim-blaming is? It even sneaks in when it’s not intended. Scratch that extra “they” up there, too. My fingers and my brain work in different departments and don’t talk to each other.


    You know, the combination of “cunning” and “wily” and “devious” with “inferior” and “stupid” is a trope that has been historically used, not JUST for women, but for all non-white races as well. “Wily” Negroes, “cunning” Chinamen, “devious” Arabs.

    Oh, and for POOR people too!

  24. ew_nc

    Misogyny Central. Love it!

  25. ew_nc

    And speaking of Shatner, why does he call his talk show “Raw Nerve” instead of “Shat Chat”?

  26. feral

    God, that basketball…our cultural hypochondria revolts me. We’re so removed from our food, from the means by which it is produced, from the people (mostly women) who produce it. People want everything vacuum-sealed, and, dear god, a single finger had better not touch it. I swear, most would willingly drink bleach were it effectively marketed (Lysol douche? anyone?). Corporations industrialize and obscure food production, thus rendering it largely unsanitary, and then stick women with the blame of contamination and the bill of cleaning the shit up. It has seeped into every facet of life–now everything is contaminated, must be cleaned up, and we have a worker and a product for that! Don’t touch that basketball, you don’t know where it’s been. Be sure you eyeball your waitress and ask her if she sanitized the table. If you’re a good mother, you buy Chlorox and sanitize your toilets twice a day. It’s all one incredibly successful campaign to keep women underpaid, cleaning more shit up and to keep those working at home unpaid and still cleaning more shit up. Yes, I’d like my coffee served with a set of robotic arms, please…

  27. SargassoSea

    In our collection of bobbleheads is a William Hung.

    And less than half a roll of duct tape, for shame.

  28. Mare_Island

    Feral: Yes! Exactly! Not to mention the fact that corporations are dumping metric butt-tons of waste into the environment and we puny consumers are admonished to reduce, reuse, recycle, blah blah blah, lather rinse repeat.

  29. Helen

    I couldn’t live without duct tape. Or its sister, Gaffa (black cloth tape, used in music industry, with which you’d be familiar, Jill.)

  30. slythwolf

    Like most women, bobbleheads and duct tape are integral to my daily routine.

    Most women are integral to your daily routine? How come I’m not part of it, then?

  31. Jill

    “Gaffa (black cloth tape, used in music industry, with which you’d be familiar, Jill.)”

    You must have me confused with Celine Dion. None of the dirt poor bands I was in, or any of the seedy joints I ever played, could afford gaffer tape. I still have mics and cables that are largely held together with ducktape residue.

  32. Jill

    “Most women are integral to your daily routine? How come I’m not part of it, then?”

    Ha! Good catch! I can’t believe I wrote that appalling sentence.

  33. slade

    I love to parallel park in front of dudes. All I need is an inch on the front and back of the vehicle.

    Two dudes watched my (wo)maneuvering and their jaws kept dropping. They stopped walking and stared. I exited the vehicle and said, ‘OK, where’s the applause?’ And they actually clapped!

    I learned parallel parking in hilly Athens, Ohio and then perfected the skill in San Fran.

    Too bad there isn’t a high-paying job for parallel parkers.

  34. B. Dagger Lee

    I do brag, though I try to avoid it, but I have to say I’m a pretty darn good parallel parker. It’s all about the first cut.

  35. Jodie

    At first I thought that basketball was covered with bees, and was looking forward to some kind of heartwarming nature crap.

    Dillene, I hated that story too.

  36. gerda

    i have black and silver duck tape, and i can parallel park a semi. does that mean i’ll get the heart attack thing? bother, i was aiming for lung cancer.

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