While reading an Inventory article on documentaries that saw their story and direction change drastically during filming, over at the AV Club, I noticed a sponsored link begging to be clicked upon. I hesitated briefly. The link was a potential rabbit hole, I knew, and I have spent far too much of my time wandering through them as of late. Just yesterday, two simple questions queried to Google led to sore eyes and a sore back as I finished the hours long chase by falling asleep at the keys, muttering “just one more theory,” as I once did with strategy PC games; “just one more turn.” Yet this link was not related in anyway to A Song of Ice and Fire. It was a link about a celebrity, and not a celebrity that has appeared on Game of Thrones either. Just click-bait, lying in wait, making its immodest claim and offering proof for the simple act of a left click. I am aware of Amanda Seyfried; I liked Mean Girls, though I can’t recall what I thought of her acting individually, which I imagine means she was at least passable. Until 30 seconds ago, I believed she played Peter Parker’s Russian neighbor, Ursula Ditkovich, in Sam Raimi’s Spider Man series. (A role actually played by Mageina Tovah. Oops.) Red Riding Hood was suitably awful, but her work as Sarah Henrickson on Big Love proved that she possesses legitimate acting talent. Strange how television is becoming the place, if you can wade past the reality show swamp and avoid the major network’s farm of clones, for well acted. “serious,” prestige projects.. (As I would surely choose Big Love over anything Ms. Seyfried has appeared in since departing the show, a similar choice would be made if confronted with the recent works of say, Woody Harrelson or Matthew McConaughey?*)
Avoiding that tangent, why does Amanda Seyfried have the best celebrity Instagram account? What sets her account apart from the endless swarm of other people, gifted for some reason with fame, who use social media to “connect with the fans” and gain more fame, or to connect with the fans and gain more fame. What moves her page above Dakota Fanning’s on the list? Who is keeping this list? Instead of searching out something to read on the AV Club, or playing a game on Steam, instead I found myself mentally calling “shenanigans” on a never visited web site based on the click bait sponsored link I noticed at random, only because I was out of open tabs. Now it would be more of a rabbit hole to not click the link. While I would almost certainly end my exploration of celebrity Instagram accounts where I began it, not clicking it would place me on a timeline where my last words, given either** at the age of 164 in a bed on the space hospital Inquiry 2, in orbit around Neptune, dying of lung cancer, the only disease not cured by science by 2050, or the age of 59, a split second before being swallowed by the wall of water from the Atlantic Ocean that decimated an area from New York state down to parts of North Carolina, leaving an eastern seaboard with Pittsburgh, PA as the largest port in the new Northeast, with docks both on the Atlantic and to the new Gulf of Eire (sometimes also called “The Gulf of Lakes.”), after a series of unfortunate events started by the collapse of the massive system of dams and walls built to keep New York City habitable after the 27 foot rise in sea level during the 2020’s ended in the largest tsunami in history***, were “What does make Amanda Seyfried so fucking special anyway?” If there was only one possible end to the time line, perhaps I would have chosen to live in ignorance of the amazing world of Amanda Seyfried’s Instagram account. But I couldn’t risk it with two possible options. After all, who wants to die in orbit around Neptune? I had to change the destiny I do not believe in as a concept. It wasn’t a question of if I would click the link or not anymore, the link had been clicked before I even saw it. (I know. Trippy, right?)
Knowing the recent films Ms. Seyfried had appeared in, I clicked the link practically expecting to see screen captures from Lovelace. “Was that really it?” I thought. Was her Instagram account the best because she released outtakes of her bare breasts there? Was it a tricksy link, with no true affiliation with the actress herself, rather a Trojan Horse of an ad for Mr. Skin? And then….
And then I understood. And while it may not be the bestest celebrity social media site in the whole world fer realzzzersz!1!1!, it was worth a click and a moment of my time. Since the model is wearing no clothing in the pictures, I will post one after the more tag….
Assuming you own a television and a service provider, you are probably aware that this is Shark Week (Trademarked, Rights Reserved, Copyrighted, Intellectual Property Protected) on The Discovery Channel. While I will be the first to admit that it is ridiculously over-hyped, and advertised in ways that border on the offensive, I still find my television channel locked to Discovery. It isn’t due to any overwhelming fascination with sharks, although I do find them, like most animals, quite interesting. No, what draws me to Shark Week is what it pushes off the station: reality shows.
Long time readers of this blog may already have a fair idea of where this post is heading, so I will try to keep it short this time, to avoid repeating myself. While I have never been a fan of mainstream television, I fell in love with The Discovery Channel and The History Channel when my family first got cable television. As time went on, The National Geographic Channel and Animal Planet came to south central Pennsylvania, and were added to my favorites list in turn. Not everything on each channel appealed to me, but there was enough that I was almost always able to find something to watch if I desired, something that not only provided entertainment, but at least a taste of education as well. I do not know when things went off the rails, and I do not know what started the train wreck, but in my mind the change started with Discovery and the building of custom motorcycles. I forget the name of the show, and honestly don’t care enough to Google it, but I do remember that while I would change the channel the second it came on, my tastes were apparently being outvoted massively by viewers who loved watching a father and son loudly argue over the proper way to build a chopper. With the drugs I’ve consumed over my lifetime, I would never claim that my memory is one of my strengths; other “reality” shows may have came first on these edutainment networks, but in my recollections, this is the domino that started the fall. Channels that were once filled with seemingly endless documentaries were the new home of reality television. History morphed from “All Hitler, All the time” into a channel about a pawn shop and countless attempts to duplicate the success of Pawn Stars. Animal Planet replaced shows starring animals to shows starring a crazy guy who captures animals, a crazy guy who lives in the forest, and for some reason I still don’t quite understand, a crazy guy who builds rich people tree houses. National Geographic films the clinically insane and the hell that they put their children through for a show called Doomsday Preppers, and routinely mocks the Amish for all manner of shows. And Discovery? Naked and Afraid. Say no more.
If you are willing to hunt for it, you can still find worthwhile shows on these networks. Mythbusters is still on the air, History airs documentaries on the anniversaries of historically important events, and National Geographic has nights of inspired programming. Animal Planet, as far as I can tell, still dedicates one night a week to animal documentaries, (I believe it is Tuesday nights) and they air one of my favorite television shows of all time, which also happens to be one of their most popular shows, River Monsters. But River Monsters’ season is much too short, and when it ends it is replaced with idiots tramping through a forest looking for a creature that
almost certainly does not exist. (Sorry. The United States is no longer uncharted territory, and if there was an actual breeding population of Sasquatches <Sasquatchi?> one would have turned up already. Hell, if they were widespread enough to account for all the reported sitings in the myriad number of claimed locations, it would be impossible to swing a cat without hitting a Sasquatch. No matter where the Finding Bigfoot team goes, no matter how much bacon they throw into the forest, all they are going to find is known animal species and humans who can’t resist fucking with them. I know if they came to my area, I’d be in the woods fucking with them. The two shows, River Monsters and Finding Bigfoot, actually make a rather decent primer on rational thought. On River Monsters, Jeremy Wade investigates reports of people being attacked by river monsters, then follows the evidence to attempt to rationally figure out what the creature may really be. After coming up with a hypothesis, he tests it out by trying to catch the creature he thinks is the cause of the reports, and he normally gets his fish. While some of the fish are much larger than science believed they grew, or living in a habitat the species was not known to reside in, the answers, surprising as they may be, still fit in with our increasing base of knowledge. On Finding Bigfoot, a group of people try to find Bigfoot by first going to a location and calling a town hall meeting for people who have seen Bigfoot, listening to the tales of sitings and quickly deciding that it was Bigfoot, then strapping on night vision cameras and going into the forest to not find Bigfoot. Sometimes they cook bacon and throw it in the woods to show Bigfoot they are friendly as well, although that may have only happened on the one episode I actually watched. Anyway, Science vs. Hunting for Pixies!)
That unexpected rant aside, whether you like sharks or not, Shark Week transports The Discovery Channel back in time, to the days where it was filled with documentaries and education was something they claimed to care about. And that alone is enough to earn my recommendation. Too soon it will be over and you can all go back to watching naked strangers argue in the woods.
At first glance there was nothing out of the ordinary about the prayer Mississippi Tea Party Chairman Roy Nicholson used to open an event in Flowood, Mississippi. Well, nothing out of the ordinary for our unfortunate political climate. To be honest, it was actually rather mild compared to some of the fire and brimstone invoking, hate-filled rants masquerading as Christian prayers these days. Sure, it asked God to give the speakers political enemies a good old fashioned smiting, but at least this desired smiting only removed the smitee’s from political power, generously allowing them to keep their health and their lives. Salon has the text for posterity:
We’re asking, Father, for two things. We’re asking, Father, that you would expose them, set division amongst them, set them one against another, bring confusion and fear into their camp, into their thinking, for the purpose of pulling them down, for casting them down out of their high offices and reducing them, Lord, to having no power in this state. So, Lord, that you might raise up and seek the righteous in the positions of power that this state might once more be a state that honors you in all that it does.
Father, we’re asking that in all of the tribulations were asking you to bring upon them, that it would work change in their heart — that you would use it to bring true Godly sorrow, that they might truly repent for their iniquity and their wickedness, for that they would be restored to you, that you would have honor in the state of Mississippi for the great works that you’ve done in correcting and purifying the government and rescuing and saving the worst of us.
See? Nothing out of the ordinary at all. That is, until you notice who the targets of this prayer actually are (bolding is mine):
“Father, we even ask for you to bless our enemies, and Lord they are truly our enemies that head the Republican Party and the whole political establishment.”
Seriously. When you are so far to the right that you consider the Republican party in Mississippi to be your enemy, the shark has done been jumped. That is like living in Germany in the 1930’s and saying, “Yeah, I would have voted for Hitler, but he’s too soft on the Jews.” Refusing to watch Fox News because it is controlled by the “liberal media.” Turning Rush Limbaugh off because he went soft on the Democrats after Obama’s election. Quitting the Westover Baptist Church because you are worried they may change their views on marriage equality. I could go on for a few paragraphs here, but I think you get my point.
If he considers the Mississippi GOP his enemies, do I even need to ask what he considers Democrats, or, God forbid, real progressives? I’d like to hear one of those prayers…..
The Altoona Mirror gets letters. Since the area it serves is overwhelmingly conservative, most of the letters, even those not scrawled in crayon, hue to the viewpoints of the far right. Let’s take a moment to read one such heartfelt letter:
I have noticed that people have different opinions on abortion.
And even teenagers talk about and have different opinions. I have several friends that say that it should only be legal in cases of rape. A few people say it is up to the couple to decide.
Other friends, and myself included, think that it should be illegal altogether.
The way I see it, it is the same as first-degree murder, and the same as an adult killing a toddler that I see in the news sometimes. Now don’t get me wrong by thinking I don’t feel bad for the women who are raped and get pregnant, but I think they should still give birth and give the child up for adoption.
Also, there is new technology where the embryo is able to, in the very early stages, be transferred to another woman by surgery.
I do feel bad for rape victims. I just don’t think that an innocent baby should be killed.
Junior High School
As much as I want to turn the snark up to 11, and tear into this with bared fangs, I just can’t bring myself to attack the words of a junior high student that savagely. Don’t get me wrong. I desperately want to mock how he has “noticed that people have different opinions on abortion.” “Even teenagers,” he says? I don’t believe it! Everyone knows teenagers don’t have opinions. But other than that, which I honestly could not resist, I am going to rein in the snark.
So if I am not going to tear this letter to shreds, why bring it up? On the off chance that our young Mr. Brandon Imler decides to Google himself one day, and in turn stumbles upon this post. If he does, perhaps he will wonder what the title means, and Google “male privilege.” Maybe he will even realize how his letter reeks of it. You see, young Mr. Imler feels bad for rape victims. He really does! Honestly, he says so twice in the letter. See, if he didn’t feel bad for them, he definitely wouldn’t have said it twice. How absolutely compassionate of Brandon, who’s possession of a penis (great, now the Net Nanny program his mom put on his computer will block this page from his view.) makes the chances of him becoming a rape victim vastly less likely than those of any woman he sees throughout the day. How understanding he is, when his own lack of ovaries mean that even if he would suffer the indignity of a rape, he would never have a pregnancy result from his violation. I mean, it isn’t that much that he requests from women who are so victimized; only the use of their womb for 9 short months, right?
Brandon, I know you may not think that is asking much. Why would you? Not only are you in junior high, but by birthright you will never have to worry about getting pregnant. Like many owners of testes, the thought of being raped has probably never crossed your mind, unless you happen to be especially homophobic, and your youth more than likely shields you from the fact that rape is a worry that women must carry throughout their lives. Perhaps you have never even considered how it would feel, if after you were raped you had to live with a reminder of the act growing inside you, changing your body, risking your life, flooding you with hormones, altering you, because after all, it’s a baby!
Hopefully, you will find this post, and read it. Perhaps it will make you think, maybe plant a seed, and somewhere down the line even change your view. I remember how I stank of male privilege when I was in junior high. No matter how many of my peers still allow it to blind them, I know that it can be shed, possibly not completely, but enough to recognize and confront it.
Male privilege is asking a woman to suffer through something you will never have to experience, while claiming that you feel bad for what you are forcing them to do.
Can you taste it? Chances are, even if you can, you will try to ignore it. Could be you will always equate abortion with first degree murder, in which case I hope that we never meet. To put it bluntly, people who hold views that extreme frighten the living hell out of me. That view leads to violence, just as other facets of male privilege lead to rape.
Or perhaps you will turn out differently, embarrassed by the opinions of your younger self, determined to fight against the veil that clouded your youthful vision.
Either way, off with you now. Back to your fantasy world where teenagers have opinions. (Couldn’t resist that one.)
My Chow and I stop at the Smokes and Lottery shack on our walk every Friday so I can pay my mother’s weekly tax for being bad at math. It is one of those local corner stores where everyone is a regular and everyone knows everybody’s name. (Everyone even knows my dogs name.) If you ever lived in a small town, you know the type of place I mean. This morning the one regular who I will call “Ralph,” a fiery far right conservative who delights in expressing his views to everyone in possession of an ear, was sharing his opinion on the Indonesian passenger jet that was shot down over the Ukraine, an opinion that actually led to two customers walking out of the store before making their purchases.
Before I share his opinion, let me be clear. I stopped listening to anything political that comes out of “Ralph’s” mouth years ago. It just isn’t worth it. To argue with him would be like arguing against Ann Coulter; not only is your opponent never going to back down or change their mind, but they probably only believe half of what they are arguing for anyway, latching on to the rest just to get a rise out of you. I doubt “Ralph” actually holds this opinion, because no one could hold this opinion. (Then again, my local newspaper recently published a letter claiming that since all mass shooters are registered Democrats, guns should not be sold to Democrats. Wrap your head around that. Not kidding, either. “ This leads me to conclude the answer to gun violence is to not sell guns to Democrats.” Not sure if the link will work, since the Altoona Mirror recently stopped allowing free online access to the paper. If my response letter gets printed though, I will post all the crazy. Okay, back to “Ralph.”) Chances are that this opinion exists only to piss people off. Everyone knows someone like that, who will say anything just to get someone to lose their cool. So what is this opinion that he loudly proclaims his right to hold?
Ahem. The people who are to blame in the death of the 298 passengers on board the Malaysian airliner that was shot down over the eastern Ukraine are the 298 people on board the airliner, who had no business flying in Ukrainian airspace knowing that there is tension in the area. It went beyond him blaming the 298 victims for their own horrific deaths, however, as he actively defended this opinion to two people who called him out on his bullshit opinion. I wish I could finish this post by transcribing his defense, his reasons why the fault should be laid at the vaporized feet of the deceased rather than those who fired the missile, but as I am sure you imagined already, his argument consisted of gibberish mixed with right wing talk radio talking points, in a steadily increasing volume. One must admit that his reasoning has a certain beauty to it. I can imagine the passengers gathering together before take off, insisting that the flight plan travel over Ukrainian airspace. One of the Dutch citizens, stoned out of his mind, must have suggested that they could all get a great picture of a surface to air missile in flight that way, leading the Australian contingent to urge the pilot to play “chicken” with any missile fired at them, after which they put another funnel web on the barby. The Malaysian crew was more than happy to comply, since getting hit by a missile would kill multiple white people, finally allowing them the glory of the kamikaze.
Because what the flying idiotic fuck? I’d try to follow his logic down the slippery slope rabbit hole, but the thought of using the word “logic” in the same paragraph with his victim blaming bullshit brings on a migraine. I’m just going to hit this pipe a few times, fill up my travel coffee mug, put my ear buds in set to a random podcast, maybe The Scathing Atheist, and take Princess Hyuna Anastasia for a multiple hour walk.
And I know what you are thinking. I wish I made this up, I really do. Because hearing an actual person say those actual words today nuked whatever faith I still held for our species.
I took Princess Hyuna Anastasia, Chow Chow heir to the Canine Kingdom, Protector of her Human Family, Friend to Guinea Pigs from Every Land, also known as The Squirrel Barker, The Rabbit Chaser, and The Cat Worrier, to the vet for her annual visit Tuesday. I kept her close to my side in the waiting room, because people with small dogs only see the reputation of Chow’s when they look at Princess. This led to a solid 15 minutes of Princess whining, seeing how she is curious, friendly, and playful. The last thing she wanted to do was to sit quietly by my side. There were other dogs in the room! She doesn’t understand that people are worried she will make a quick snack out of their lap dog, she just wants to play. Since she can’t play; whine.
So after 15 minutes of listening to royalty whine pitifully, we were moved to an examination room. Princess hopped up onto the scale for the vet assistant, and then we proceeded to wait for another 15 minutes until the vet could see us. So we are now in a room, alone, with the smells of countless other animals, which led to….15 more minutes of pitiful whining! Soon enough the vet entered the room, probably after skipping 4 other patients just so she could get the whining dog out of the office. Princess hopped back onto the scale, (which is also an elevating examination table. Nifty!) turned her nose up at the treat the Doctor offered her, (typical diva behavior) and almost behaved for the examination. She was fine for the stethoscope, she allowed the vet to check out her teeth and to poke and prod her all over, but she wanted nothing to do with the vet looking in her ears. Then it was needle time, and she took both shots like a little trooper, without a whine or a flinch. If they made puppy dog lollipops, Princess would have left the vet’s office holding one proudly.
So why, you are no doubt asking yourself, am I boring you with this story? Well, ever since we left the vet’s office, things have been kinda strange. Princess was never much for talking; she is, after all, a dog. But since Tuesday not one word has escaped her mouth, nothing but barks, woofs, and whines. The amount of eye contact she makes with us has suffered as well. I was giving her part of a hot dog earlier, and instead of making eye contact, she was following the piece of food with her eyes instead. It was disturbing. Then this morning, when I took her on her daily morning walk to visit her subjects, she chased a squirrel up a tree, but instead of standing at the foot of the tree, barking up at the squirrel, letting it know that it was Princess Hyuna Anastasia, The Squirrel Barker who forced it into the tree, she simply continued on our walk like there never was a squirrel.
I was frightened, so I started to do some research. I went to a few websites, AoA, Generation Rescue, and the like. I looked into the “research” of one Andrew Wakefield, and then I went to Pirate’s Bay and torrented up some Oprah and a whole mess of The View. I swear, Jenny was speaking right to me, now that I had this experience.
You see, the vet gave my dog 2 shots. Vaccines. For rabies and distemper, so she claimed. But I know what they really were.
Yes. The vet, or should I say the evil pawn of Big Pharma, shot my poor innocent Princess full of the autism. I know it. It is just like Jenny McCarthy said about measles. It isn’t so bad. I’d take the measles over the autism any day. And so it is with rabies. I mean, how bad could it be? They claim that it is fatal and drives animals mad just so we naively “protect” our furry friends with their evil vacci-autism-nations. I heard that cases of rabies are actually just reactions to the vaccines.
My poor dog, my lovable companion. Will she ever be the same, now that the Big Pharma villains have got their autism into her? We can only pray. I got the number of an underground vet who specializes in canine chelation. I will keep everyone posted.
Until then, I urge all pet owners to be vigilant when it comes to your pets health. Make sure to ask the vet if there is Thimerosal in the poison shot they try to give to your Fluffy. Make them prove to you that the threat of “rabies” is worse than the toxic autism juice they want to inject into your animal. Tell the vet that you will only let them inject their “vaccines” into your lovable pet if they first mainline a dose themselves, right in front of you. I guarantee that they will refuse, which proves my point, does it not? If the state tries to step in and cite some “law” that says all pets must be vaccinated, tell them that your religion forbids you from vaccinating your pets. It works for kids, after all. (Which, in my opinion, is the biggest piece of evidence that vaccines are scams. If vaccines really were such a boon to public health, the government would never let an individuals religious beliefs trump such a legitimate compelling state interest.) If they balk, tell them that your pet’s religion forbids vaccination. It doesn’t matter if they believe you or not. I’m sure one of those Christian legal funds with names that make them sound like the ACLU will be happy to defend you in court, and by the time the case is ruled on, the lifespan of your pet will be over.
If you feel like protesting in front of your local vet’s office, may I suggest the following signs?
Rabies Not Autism!
Distemper? Worry About MY Temper, Big Pharma Shills!
Chelation Not Vaccination!
DHPP? MMR? Canine or Human, It’s All Poison!
Squeaky Toys, Not Bordetella Vaccines
Bordetella? Rabies? DHPP? Leptospirosis? TOO MANY! TOO SOON!
Boycott the Vet! Choose Homeopathic Vaccinations from your Local Naturopathic or Chiropractic Animal Healer!
Sure, they have years and years of education, with framed papers on the wall telling us that they know what is best for our animal friends. But we have Google! Jenny McCarthy would never steer us wrong. After all, she is famous! Famous trumps educated, we all know that. And remember: Sure, your dog may go insane, foam at the mouth, kill a roomful of school children and then die in extreme pain, but at least your dog isn’t autistic!