But beyond that, we can’t put how we feel about the Gores’ split any better than FOBG Rebecca Traister, writing in Salon:
My attempt to sort out why I am unexpectedly gutted by the news of Al and Tipper Gore’s separation:
1. Of course we only see publicly performed versions of political couple-hood, but the Gores’ public performance was pretty damn heart-warming, even if it did tilt a touch too far on the ew-gross-mom-and-dad-are-making-out spectrum. But that’s the point! Mom and dad made out and they still couldn’t make it?
2. Forty years. You get through forty years — of ill-behaved children and ill-behaved bosses and stolen elections — and then you split? This is precisely the kind of mysterious and inexplicable narrative of marriage thing that scares the bejesus out of people who are newly or not yet married. Forty years?
3. Relatedly: so soon after Robbins and Sarandon? Really? Couldn’t divorce have taken the Bushes, or maybe the Broderick-Parkers, first, and given us some respite from confounding and embarrassingly inappropriate sadness over the personal decisions of celebrity couples whose marriages we didn’t even realize we had any emotional investment in until they dropped this bomb all over our post-Memorial Day Tuesday and now we can’t work because we’re really, stupidly sad?
4. Good god, does this mean that Al Gore is going to date? And plus, oh please please please tell me he has not already been dating. Do not want to know. Nyah, nyah, nyah. I cannot hear you. I cannot heeeeaaaar you.
5. Relatedly: they were supposed to be the functional couple. The ones who personally disapproved of the cigars and the thongs and the rest of the ridiculousness so mightily that they eschewed the Big Dog’s help in 2000 and look what happened! All because they were the functional couple!
6. It had never occurred to me that it would bother me in the slightest if Al and Tipper Gore got a divorce mostly because it had never occurred to me that Al and Tipper Gore would ever get a divorce.
…I didn’t know I had any room at all to care about the Gores’ relationship, but maybe because it’s something so much smaller, so much more personal, a headline so much easier to absorb than the other larger tragedies playing out around the globe that this small piece of political gossip turns out to be such an unbelievable freaking bummer.
Thank goodness! FOBG Mary Beth Williams at Broadsheet explains this article from yesterday’s New York Times, which struck me as just so strange that even someone with a Breakup U. education couldn’t figure it out. Now, I wasn’t a math major, but all I could think was, I understand that 45 percent is less than 55 percent, but do still-nearly-half-male campuses really, REALLY, make all institutions of higher learning feel “women’s colleges”? And, more to the point, does this EMERGENCY!!!! man-shortage really drive smart co-eds to make foolish choices?
We think not. From Williams’s awesome fight song:
According to yet another of those scare tactics stories that makes my weekend coffee seem just a little more bitter, when women outnumber men in colleges, they’d better lower their uppity-ass standards, stat!
Take, for example, the heartache unfolding at the University of North Carolina. On yet another “tiresome” evening out, writer Alex Williams explains, the girls are forced to “slip on tight-fitting tops, hair sculpted, makeup just so, all for the benefit of one another,” because as one future spinster bemoans, “there are no guys.” “With a student body that is nearly 60 percent female,” it’s “just one of many large universities that at times feel eerily like women’s colleges.” And at the University of Vermont, where it’s 55 percent female, locals “sardonically refer to their college town, Burlington, as ‘Girlington.’” I’m sorry, I’m just a set of knockers who can’t do math, but a 45 percent male enrollment makes for a no-man’s land?
Sure, Williams throws us the bone that all this education “is hardly the worst news for women” (no, it’s your withering love box that’s the bad news). But all that fancy book learning comes with a price – “it is often the women who must assert themselves romantically or be left alone on Valentine’s Day, staring down a George Clooney movie over a half-empty pizza box.” And that’s an inevitable tragedy that shouldn’t have to happen until you’re at least 35.
But no, women barely above drinking age are hooking up for desperate one-night stands. “A lot of my friends will meet someone and go home for the night and just hope for the best the next morning,” explains one desperate little hussy. You read right, New York Times readers: College women! Having easy sex! Because they are lonely and sad. And if they’re lucky enough to land one of those precious boy thingies, they’d better be wiling to put up with his shit: Cheating is described as “a thing that girls let slide, because you have to.”
Well, what do they expect, really? This is what happens when a university is “obligated to admit the most qualified applicants, regardless of gender.” Paraphrasing W. Keith Campbell, a psychology professor at the unnaturally 57 percent female University of Georgia, the Times explains, “Women on gender-imbalanced campuses are paying a social price for success and, to a degree, are being victimized by men precisely because they have outperformed them.”
No, it’s OK. Go bust your ass on the SATs and take out loans you’ll be paying until well into your 40s, as long as you don’t mind paying the price and being victimized and all. Happy now, girls? HAPPY NOW? No you are not, that’s the answer. And “the loneliness can be made all the more bitter by the knowledge that it wasn’t always this way,” Williams writes, sadly citing a girl who tells of her roommate’s parents, who met (siiiiiiiigh) in college. Dammit, why did they have to ruin everything with stupid learning? Now they’ll never have babies!
But brace yourselves: Not all young women are looking for serious boyfriends. Psssst…. not all young women are into boys, period. (Note to the Times: it’s pronounced lez-be-in.) Never mind that drinking and hooking up and heartache and occasional insensitive behavior are part and parcel of the human experience. Never mind that the number of men in colleges is actually holding pretty steady. Nope, outnumbering the menfolk, even slightly, is a romantic death sentence. And if you can’t trust the people who helped sell us the Iraq war to get it right, who can you believe?
Over the past few weeks, Milwaukee teens have seen and and heard promo after promo for the horror film 2028. There’s blood, screaming, creepy lighting, gravelly voice-over, the works. Over time, though, it became clear that these weren’t trailers for a movie, they were trailers for YOUR LIFE. Your life, that is, if you’re young and knocked up. While the first round of previews ended with “in theaters January,” subsequent edits closed on the following message: “Get pregnant as a teen and the next 18 years could be the hardest of your life.” Then, a Web address flashes on screen: BabyCanWait.com. Oh, snap!
According to Broadsheet, this is just one of at least 15 anti-teen pregnancy campaigns presented by the United Way’s Healthy Girls program in Milwaukee. “Past print ads included images of teen boys with pregnant bellies and a baby diaper with a brown “scratch-’n'-sniff” spot. The ads’ creator says the aim is to offer a contrast to high-profile young mothers like Jamie Lynn Spears and “deglamorize” teen pregnancy…and credits the decline in the state’s teen pregnancy rate in part to their “aggressive and provocative” approach.” Note: BabyCanWait.com provides information about contraception and STD’s. This is not an abstinence-only campaign.
But, as Broadsheet’s Tracy Clark-Flory asks, “Are these shock-and-awe tactics the best way to reach kids?” While I sympathize with the goal, and appreciate the clear and creative commitment to it, something about the trailer didn’t sit well with me.
For one thing, horror movies are “glamorous,” too. (Older) teens — and women — like Saw, say. Not saying it’s aspirational, but the genre itself is seen as a double-dog-dare lark, not a cautionary tale about (say) losing your virginity at summer ca — REE! REE! REE! You know? So there’s that.
There’s also something about it that contributes to an ugly stigma. Teen mothers as screaming bloody victims. The baby as some sort of evil spawn. Or something like that. Ick. Not helpful.
Finally, I don’t think kids are running around getting (people) pregnant because Bristol and Jamie Lynn made it look so, like, cute. Or even just because ADULTS ARE LYING TO THEM ABOUT BIRTH CONTROL, which they are. There are so many naive, misguided, melancholy, ironic reasons that teens want to get pregnant, be parents. They’ve seen their sisters and brothers and friends do it. And it’s hard hard hard. But — based on what’s become normal to them — it’s not a horrorshow. I’m not sure you can convince them it is in a one-minute trailer when the rest of their life says otherwise.
Filed under: Treats — posted by Breakup Girl @ 8:30 am
From Broadsheet: “Here is what I want to know: If you’re a guy, what do you do when the girl you are tangling tongues with turns out to be wearing Spanx? Is it embarrassing for you, too? Do you even care? Do you try to ignore it, disappear the image, just like the girl you are with is trying to disappear her flaws, so that you can store that moment in your spank bank without the messy realities of the moment, of her body, of this otherwise lovely little tussle?”
During the most unwieldy parts of my pregnancies, the only way I could sleep was by spooning a huge plaid pregnancy pillow called something embarrassing like a Snoozle, or a Froogle, or a Foshizzle, or something or other. With me in my comfy flannel PJs, my pillow and I looked like a huge plaid G-clef, and my husband looked left out. Which is simply to say that yes, I know and embrace the wonder of a well-placed body pillow.
But now there is the Funktiontide — or at least there might be, says its designer Stefan Ulrich — and now, remarkably, we may behold something perhaps even more unsettling than the Real Doll. Ulrich says his pillow prototype, which would use advanced robotics and artificial muscle technology to move and change shape depending on how you hold it, is but a polymer harbinger of the day when bleak, alienated humans will turn to “robots” for emotional satisfaction. (Yeah, like I didn’t already do that with my second husband. Folks!) That, or as we see in this technically G-rated, but somehow NSFW video, maybe the Funktiontide is nothing more than a Shmoo with benefits.
While the video’s human co-star appears rather satisfied with his lot, Ulrich is not unaware that his Pillbury Dough-bot raises some juicy issues. “…[T]he the work’s intention is to create a provocative picture for discussion, which enables us to question how much we want technological products to satisfy our emotional needs,” goes his commentary. “The ambiguity of this scenario is, that it could be understood as a solution to a wide range of different kinds of loneliness. But it might as well be understood as a scenario which should be avoided by all means possible.” Speaking as someone who practically sleeps with her iPhone, I’m sure I have no idea what he’s talking about.
God! Would you just let me have a LIFE?! According to CNN — dateline: Opposite World — this is what some parents are, or need to be, saying to their kids. Specifically, parents (in the story, mothers) who are looking online for a new partner, and kids (mainly adults themselves) who are, true story, hacking into their mothers’ email and sending rejections to potential suitors. (Another reportedly drove back and forth yelling at her mom while on an outdoor date with an online beau. Check, please!)
Who knew that the “younger generation” — those perhaps most likely to be Tweeting/Facebooking/LiveJournaling about how gross it is that mom’s on eHarmony– would (along with CNN, just a bit) be the ones perpetuating the ancient-in-Internet-years canard that online dating is WhereYouMeetLyingWeirdos.com? Why is online so different from real life? Who says that guy/gal in a bar is telling the truth? How often does the person you meet in person come right out and say, “I enjoy snowboarding and film noir, and in about three months I’m going to start to pull away”? (or “Please enjoy my backyard compound?”) True, some parents, unseasoned daters and e-flirters, might be a tad fuzzy regarding red flags; fair enough. But at the same time, depending on the circumstances — and speaking of bars — their brick-and-mortar options for meeting people might be limited. Online seems ideal for second-timers (if not, like, everyone).
Of course, it’s pretty obvious that what’s really going on here is not “Yikes, mom’s dating online!” but rather, simply, “Yikes, mom’s dating!” — circa 2009. There’s no doubt that seeing a marriage end and a parent move on can be challenging, even devastating. But sometimes, I guess, we just have to let them grow up.
Where would writers be without the people who’ve done them wrong? Without dysfunctional lovers, bad bosses and explosive partings of the ways, we wouldn’t have “You’re So Vain,” “The Devil Wears Prada,” “I Married a Communist,” Dr. Evil or “The Starter Wife,” to name but a few of a million examples. Nothing quite takes the sting out of heartache and humiliation like turning your tormentor into a thinly veiled antagonist. So it wasn’t surprising when Scott Neustadter, co-writer of the twee anti-romance hit “(500) Days of Summer,” fessed up this weekend in the U.K.’s Daily Mail that the movie’s titular heartbreaker was based on a real woman. The movie does, after all, start with the warning that “any resemblance to people living or dead is purely coincidental. Especially you, Jenny Beckman. Bitch.” Not exactly the sort of thing people say when there are no hard feelings.
But Neustadter admits that when the real Summer read his script, she told him she related to the Tom character, making her either acutely unself-aware or supremely adept at pushing his buttons. And if it’s the latter, Neustadter may wish to further consider this. Six years ago Lauren Weisberger turned her stint as an assistant at Vogue into a bestselling roman à clef that became a hit movie, an act of payback right up there with Nora Ephron’s scathing divorce saga “Heartburn.”
This weekend, however, Weisberger’s Devil herself, Anna Wintour, emerged as the sharp, tough-as-nails, and eminently fascinating hero of a critically acclaimed movie of her own, “The September Issue.” It might not be revenge, but it’s got to feel a little like vindication. So while Neustadter may be enjoying the box office fruit of his disastrous love affair, somewhere, Jenny Beckman may be quietly banging away on a screenplay called “Some Like It Scott.”
It’s the kind of story that can’t help being irritating: First of all, because it’s a glib service piece in which advice about profound life experiences is shoehorned into a few measly grafs; second of all, because it’s dumb. It’s asinine, right?
Then she emails her guy friends who, with equal doses of articulateness and immaturity, convince her the writer may have a point. One guy friend even looks at the odds:
It’s just statistically less common to hear of girls getting weirded out and bailing on a relationship after the L word, so as a rule of thumb I think it’s fine.
Obviously there will always be special cases — and special guys — but is this basically correct?
My boyfriend is one of the most planet-friendly people I know — and I grew up in Berkeley, Calif. (i.e. Hippie Central), so that’s saying something. He refuses to own a car and rides everywhere on a bike — until the winter’s sleet and snow forces him to ride the bus. He recycles, uses canvas grocery bags and plants and harvests vegetables at a local farm. And, as [he is] an urban planner, one of his aims is to make cities less car-centric. There is but one contradiction to his eco-consciousness: I live in San Francisco, he lives in Alberta, Canada, and we fly to see each other every six weeks.