Some Things Throw Off Your Whole Day

No, not just finding out that some local blogger has become your personal Harold Bloom, diagnosing your aesthetic flaws and making it impossible for you to write further without considering him.

There’s also the phone calls that go like this:

“Hello?”

“Oh… hey… B.”

“[Voice from the past], how the hell are you?!”

“…yeah… it’s been a while…”

“Are you okay?”

“…”

“[Voice from the past]?”

“…um…”

“Are you high?”

“Is your brother at work?”

“Do you need to talk?”

“Have him give me a call.”

“Whatever.”

“…”

“Are you still there?”

“Yeah.”

“Do you want to talk?”

“…”

“Then I’m hanging up. I’ll have the Butcher call you later.”

Sweet Jesus. What the fuck? I know partially it’s because we’re moody jackasses, but the Butcher and I know some freaky, moody jackasses.

Whoring It Up, Old School

The other day Jo(e) was talking about watching TV for the first time in a long time and how weird it was for her. Well, I watch a lot of TV, but after spending three days conked out in front of it, I was reminded of her post.

Mostly, if the TV is on at our house, it’s on MSNBC or Discovery. Like much of America, we use the Viacom nonsense as filler during commercials. However, being sick and wanting basically filler while I slept, I had on a lot of Viacom crap over the past couple days. Mostly, I was watching VH1 Soul, because folks have apparently decided to keep the hottest cast members of The Wire employed between seasons and there’s only so long a girl can be expected to go without her Stringer Bell* fix.

However, I did also manage to see the most disturbing show** on VH1: My Fair Brady. I swear, if this show were beamed in from Mars, it would make more sense to me. The premise, for those of you living under rocks, is fairly simple. Chris, one of the Brady boys, is attempting to work out some kind of romance with Adrianne, a hot young reality show personality he met on The Surreal Life, another VH1 train-wreck. From the title, you kind of get that this will be the story of whether or not Adrianne can become the type of woman Chris needs and thus be “rewarded” with becoming his wife.

But that’s not the weird part.

No, the weird part two-fold. One, I think this is supposed to be some kind of patriarchal fantasy. Old, albeit hot, man finds young, hot girl with no discernible skills except looking hot and fucking and, in order to have such youthful, hot, fuckableness available to him, lets her move in with him. As transactions go, it’s the oldest one. She exchanges herself for a place to live and someone to provide for her. He gets prize arm candy.

And yet, he seems on the verge of miserable the whole time.

And, because it’s this straightforward fairytale bullshit, when she behaves in ways that would, in my world, constitute flagrant cheating, in the realm of the television show, her behavior is utterly acceptable.

For instance, her friend comes to visit and they repeatedly shower together and then go out dancing together, suggestively. Now, I get that this is that pseudo-lesbianism, performed for men and not with each other. And so, maybe because it’s not done out of consideration for each other’s pleasure, but only in consideration of the enjoyment of the men viewing them, it’s not cheating. But holy fuck, what a loophole! “Why would you feel betrayed? It’s not like I liked it.”

But this brings me to the other bit of weirdness. Never in all my reality TV show viewing have I been so viscerally aware of the presence of the camera and wondered exactly what that meant.

Because, she is completely at ease in front of the camera–naked, clothed, buying a car, showering with her friends, eating with her family. And the camera is constantly focused on her in ways I find uncomfortable. There’s the close-up of her crotch, here’s a boob, there’s a butt–clearly the most intimate relationship portrayed on the show is not between Adrianne and Chris, but between Adrianne and the camera.

Which then makes me wonder what the difference is for Adrianne between Chris and her friend in the shower. Is this something she’s doing to be with him or something she’s performing with him for the benefit of the camera?

She’s kind of an idiot in a way I find tiring. But I’m charmed by her steadfast refusal to stop being a whore. Clearly, that’s what Chris wants, to figure out how to both change her enough to make her acceptable without losing any of the benefits (he tells her mom he’d marry Adrianne in a second if she were as emotionally mature as she is sexually). And he’s clearly fooled by the way she and her whole family seem so hung up on finding out what his intentions are; he thinks–and in fairness, I think she thinks–she just wants to get married.

But her ease with the camera, the ways she invites the camera to linger on her, and the things she does to keep the camera focused on her… she doesn’t want a husband, she wants an audience. She doesn’t want just one man to provide for her. She wants everyone watching to want her and wanting her means, in part, wanting to provide her with things.

It’s really strange, but fascinating.

* La, la, la. I’m not listening. Don’t even say it. Like Jesus, he’s alive in my heart.

**I haven’t seen Breaking Bonaduce, which I assume is worse, but will remain unviewed by my eyes, if I can help it. There is a clear-cut case of the truth that sometimes consenting to be on TV is proof that you are too ill to really consent to be on TV.

Drinking with the Butcher

Apparently, the best way to pick a wine is to grab the largest bottle you can find that has your last name on the label.

Then, you come home to watch South Park and make snarky comments about Ecclesiastes. This is what it’s like to drink with the Butcher:

“Why the fuck do we work so hard in this country? Eight hours is a long time to work at a fucking place you hate. My god, I think this is the Book of the Butcher. Heh, no wonder Cartman hates Kyle. ‘I have many wives who gave me great pleasure.’ Our children read this book, I mean, come on. They’re going to figure this out eventually. ‘Nothing on earth is worth the trouble.’ ‘I discovered that wisdom is better than foolishness, just like light is better than darkness.’ Mrs. Wigglebottom. Shhh. Wigglebottom. This is a very down-bringing book. You’re wise; you’re not. We’re all going to end up in the same place. Damn. I now can understand how someone could write a book about this. You’d have to take three hundred pages to turn this into something Christian. Ah, what do I know? I haven’t even made it halfway through yet. But wow, I understand why Republicans believe what they believe. ‘The best thing we can do is enjoy eating, drinking, and working.’ Hey, wow, this is that Byrds song. This is about me. Am I this depressing?”