Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Pot in the Park

About 6 or 7 months ago, I met a guy in the park. I won't name the guy and I won't name the park, but I met the guy as I sat in the park listening to some performers play My, My, Hey, Hey. No, the guy wasn't Neil Young. We talked for awhile and then he invited me into his apartment. This story is NOT going where you think it's going. He was, and is, a photographer. Cut ahead 6 or 7 months, and we're good friends. We hang out, listen to music on his amazing stereo system, and he teaches me about music I love but of which I am clueless.

During this time, I am desperately seeking a job. I find useless internships, I find promises for work that never come through, I skip interviews for jobs that are far away, too boring, or don't pay anything.... Everything but what I am looking for.

Despite being a very busy guy, even though he is on the edge of 70, the guy remains active in the music community and always has projects underway, and he finds time for me. The guy is full of energy and enthusiasm, it's lovely! He wants me to have money to pay for travel and life and to no longer rely on my parents' income. He worries! Oy, how he worries!

As we all know, though, work is hard to come by. Especially for a graduate student with a B.A. in liberal arts. No one actually knows what liberal arts are! Who would hire someone with absolutely no skills, knowledge, or experience?

This is when desperation kicks in. This point of my life. I've hit an age (whatever that is) that implies to some extent that I should be an independent, grown adult. Whether this is the case or not, that's another story. For, I am useless. Unemployed, and going to graduate school costs money rather than bringing it in. A sad reality for many Americans under 30 (or over 30, for that matter!) And so, here begins the journey into how low I'll go in the name of money.

1 - Dogsitting? Sure! Of course! I love dogs! Of course, everyone in the planet who matters does, too. Everyone and their pope is a dogwalker/dogsitter. Near where I live, no one seems to work, all they ever do is walk their dog(s). No one needs my services.

2 - Shot girl? I don't even know what this means. Are there shot boys? I get the feeling those only exist in gay clubs. I guess I pour shots.... I can do that! It requires absolutely no skill! Oh, wait, it also requires absolutely no clothing. With this darn anemia, I'd be goosebumped all night. Nobody wants shots from the chick with purple lips and an unsteady hand from shivering.

3 - Foot model? Now, that sounds easy enough! I have feet! Of course, they left out the fact that it's for foot fetish parties. And, no, these people don't *just* come for the feet. Another bikini job. For those of you who have never seen me in a bikini, this is why you've never seen Sasquatch. Yes, folks, I am huge, hairy, and I smell like deer manure. Don't ask me to put on a bikini.

At this point, aside from the hilarity that came from these options, I was pretty downtrodden. Would I never find independence? Is there something wrong with me? Everyone else seems capable of getting by... except the homeless. Maybe I'm homeless and no one has ever told me about it! That would explain it, I think?

It was then that the guy called me. Remember the guy from above? Almost creepy, but not? Yeah, him. He tells me he has a unique work opportunity for me. Unique sounds promising, but I knew right away it would be shady. In my world and life, nothing is ever quite so sweet and simple. Would I be sneaking baby tigers into the country? Assassinating a CIA agent who knows too much and wishes to leave the job? What's it going to be?

Well, it wasn't quite that awful, but he tells me about his cousin. A cousin he didn't even know existed until he was 35 years old. This sounds like a promising start. Dude just lost his best worker, dude has a bunch of weed he has to sell, and dude left it to the guy to hire someone new. The guy knew I was looking for work, and voila! I was the first person he contacted about the prestigious position.

Mostly open hours after 2 PM, at least $900 a week, and all the brownies a person could ever ask for! Well, no, there was no promise of brownies. Maybe that can be negotiated, though. They must have some untouched ones, right? Oh, he also claims that all customers are connected to him personally and have been for the last 10 years or so. Thus, all trusted.

He told me that if I am interested I can come by on Monday, August 31st to discuss the opportunity further.

Monday, August 10, 2015

She's a lady! Wo-o Wo-o Wo!

If a heavy woman walks into a room and starts making fat jokes, is the movie no longer sexist?

Most of us would say that's still sexist as heck, but we let Hollywood get away with it!  As long as we see a woman who has more than telephone cords for arms and legs onscreen, we let her get away with a lot!  This has been proven time and time again by the likes of Mindy Kaling, Amy Schumer, Melissa McCarthy, and various other “well-rounded” actresses. 
We’d like to think the game has changed…. Alas, no matter how much society emphasizes the intelligence and humour of a starlett, if she weighs more than a bread box, the biggest message we receive from her comedy is bound to be how big she is! Keep in mind, Schumer and Kaling wouldn’t register as obese, or even particularly chubby. They’re simply human-sized. However, If Jack Black eats a box of donuts, it’s cute and typical of a man. God Forbid, a female lead eats her entire meal and thoroughly enjoys it, she becomes the woman who eats ferociously. 
Not to leap to racial issues, but this point is moot when it comes to black women. For unforeseen reasons, the sassy, voluptuous black woman is acceptably the character we have come to expect and love. Of course, Saturday Night Live’s own Leslie Jones tends to fill this role in a robust-manner quite well and repetitively. A fact I point out for the sake of recognition. Not all women are treated equally. Lest we forget Margaret Cho, the elusive "heavyset" Asian. Where is her big breakthrough film of the year?
Yet, still, having a female lead is a novel idea. Even more so, having a female lead who doesn’t have the metabolism of a centipede is such a dream, that even staunch feminists have put down their swords and gotten a cheap laugh out of a big-girl-eats-entire-refrigerator joke. 
It’s painful to put a price on the head of a successful female comedian. Let’s be real, having a funny female star who doesn't give a funk is a big breakthrough in comedy in itself. Unfortunately, women like Amy Schumer may be inching their way onto a dark path of never-ending misogyny in a way only Hollywood could possibly get away with. Going on stage and presenting yourself as a slutty, manly, ugly creature is not feminist. It doesn’t comfort young women. This is not a message of loving yourself, your body, your actions. It’s not a message of ignoring the comments of others, feeling beautiful despite stupid beauty standards. None of this is expressed or implied. The message here is, “If you don’t fit the beauty standards of society, you can just assume you’re ugly and manly. Don’t feel bad about it, but it’s probably true.”
What more do women have to offer than their daintiness, ditziness, and stupidly good looks? The reality is, a woman onscreen can’t have everything. You can have a woman who is a successful doctor who captures the lust of any man she crosses paths with, but somehow, anything relating to politics, or the real world, she is clueless about. If you have a woman who is tuned-in, well-spoken, and putting her life together, she can only do so when a man comes into her life and shows her the way. Not to mention, as long as she's above the "average-television-weight", her contract most likely mentions a quota of fat jokes somewhere in the fine print. 
Some actresses, you can’t even research them online without being bombarded with links to lists of other chubby/fat/curvy females in media. You can’t even think about Melissa McCarthy without an article popping up along the lines of: 

“Rebel WIlson: Fat or Obese?!” 
“Aidy Bryant: SNL castmember or Thanksgiving Day Parade float?!” 
“Gabourey Sidibe: Why she shouldn’t wear anything pretty ever!!” 

There is no reason this should be the focus. There’s no reason this should be okay. These women are being treated as bait. Thrown into the woods for their buxom bods to be feasted and gossiped upon. As many times as these actresses defend their roles and typecast, no woman on television or in movies is working for her own health. A woman in front of a large audience, millions if not billions of impressionable females, is a role model. She must work and live in a way to make other women proud. To help us progress, not to keep us at the bottom of the barrel. Not to let women’s rights, pride, and acceptance go ignored. That is what she is being paid for, even more so than making us laugh and cry. She is being paid to present women in a way we wish to be presented. To show the world what we can accomplish, without taking “no” and an insult for an answer. Step up, ladies! This is our chance!