Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Things I Don't Get

  • Pro-Lifers. I don't get why pro-lifers appear to value unborn human life more than, well, born human life. They seem to go to often ridiculous lengths to protect fetuses but, for the most part, are the same people who oppose a secure welfare net and reliable public health care system that would see those same babies safely into adulthood. Or maybe this is why they simply call themselves pro-life rather than pro-good life?
  • Lynda Barry. I find Ernie Pook's Comeek neither funny nor insightful.
  • Why no one does anything about price fixing. Everyone knows that the price of gas is fixed. Everyone knows that it's bullshit when they explain that it will take 90 days to refine, process, and ship the oil that is now selling for half what it was only a few months ago, and so we'll only see the price drop 3 months from now. But no one seems willing to point out the contradiction when, in advance of a storm that is merely expected to reduce production, the price of gas anticipates the next 3 months rather than waits for them to pass and jumps dramatically.
  • How to take a compliment from the other team in sports. I always think they're mocking me, even when they compliment me after I've done something good. I was traumatized as an undersized child, evidently.
  • Why the news - on TV, on the internet, in the paper - is incapable of staking out a critical position outside of the occasional editorial. A timely example: Now that Christmas is approaching, we're met with a barrage of tips about bargain-hunting and getting the best deal. Some even pretend to be exercising a pseudo-criticality by making token mentions of "the economy" and charity. But why is it that no one is will to critique the quest for "bargains" as an ultimately futile one, to note how short-sighted and self-defeating this strategy is when it encourages us to spend money on businesses that aren't locally (or even domestically) owned and whose profits leave the country, who don't buy or produce their products locally or invest locally (or, again, nationally), and who don't produce sustainable jobs at a living-wage and thus create the need to find "bargains" as a means of surviving on one's meager earnings?*
*This distress about news-discourse is also a more personal one that's connected to the media's inability to make sense of my union's positions throughout the strike - that, yes, continues. Once you start talking about 'restoring "real" wages to 2005 levels' and 'indexing increases to the benefit funds to membership growth', the media - and so the public at large - stop paying attention. In response, I've pushed the need to develop a strategy of 'sexy sound-bites'. I'm not entirely certain that it would work, but it seems that PR wars can't otherwise be waged through mass media.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I've been on strike since the middle of last week, and it's sapped a lot of my energy - both physically, with respect to waking up at 5:30 in the morning to picket, and mentally, in terms of worrying about when it's going to end and about stressing out over its reception by undergraduate students. I have plenty of things to write about, but I've been lacking the desire to write about them. I'll try to remedy that some time soon.

Monday, November 03, 2008

"Hetero man-crush"

One of my very favorite expressions to use is "hetero man-crush", in part because it always gets a laugh from people who've never heard it, and in part because it's almost always perfectly apt. I use it to describe non-sexual-but-more-than-platonic attraction to other guys, though it seems to be used by most other guys to exclusively describe an attraction to male celebrities or other guys that they don't actually know. (I suppose it's somehow safer or less anxious if it's confined only to people you'll never meet?)

I can't recall when I first started using it or who/where I got it from, though the very oldest reference to "hetero man crush" (as opposed to simply "man crush") that I could find on Google is in August of 2005, which uses it "to denote a man that [one] admires, to the point of wanting to get to know that person more, admiring that person to the point of thinking about them often and wanting to be like them." In fairness, though, that definition seems to fit "man crush" more accurately than "hetero man-crush", the latter being a bit more ironic and cute about the way that it self-reflexively asserts the heterosexuality of the speaker/writer. (And, in that assertion, also winks knowingly at the anxious and tenuous construction of that heterosexuality.) There has to be some admittance that you want to be too much like them, that your fandom (in the case of celebrities) approaches a discomforting level or your interactions with them (in the case of people you know) are already ambiguously gay. No definition of "hetero man-crush" works without the inclusion of those levels.

As for specific examples of my own? George Clooney as Danny Ocean is maybe at the top of the list, and I suspect it has something to do with both his overwhelming coolness and my love of Clooney's hair, given that I'm getting a number of grays and hope sincerely that my gray hair will somehow eventually be like his. It's incredibly unlikely, sure, but just maybe...