All Sex, All the Time

Well hello there. It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything – the last year or so has been pretty crazy, and I haven’t had a lot of time to write. But a few days ago, I read an article that I really enjoyed and on which I wanted to comment.

In the January 2014 issue of Glamour magazine, actress Rashida Jones wrote an article entitled “The Pornification of Everything,” in which she addresses the growing cultural acceptability of pornographic (or borderline pornographic) behavior by celebrities (and as a consequence, by regular people as well). Here’s a link to the article online: http://www.glamour.com/entertainment/2013/12/rashida-jones-major-dont-the-pornification-of-everything It’s not a long read, and if you have a moment, I highly recommend it.

If you don’t want to read it, here’s the basic gist: Ms. Jones came to the realization that over the past couple of years, pop stars have made it their job to present themselves in as sexual a way as possible. She cites as examples Miley Cyrus twerking on Robin Thicke at the VMAs, Rhianna grinding on a pole in one of her videos, Nicki Minaj wearing pasties as a Halloween costume, and the cover art for one of Lady Gaga’s songs. She points out that this is largely boring – that we basically become desensitized to these oversexualized images. She also states that it feels inauthentic, and is not a true expression of most women’s sexuality but is instead an effort to sell sex and cater to a male idea of what is sexy. The only issue I have with her article is that she does not give a lot of attention to what I believe to be her most salient point – that these woman are role models, whether they want to be or not. Little girls are watching, and what they are seeing is appalling. It is this particular point that I want to expand upon.

These pop stars, particularly ones like Miley Cyrus who got their start on TV shows aimed at children, have large numbers of teenage girls and pre-teen girls as part of their fanbase. Many of these ladies claim to not want to be role models, but regardless of that, millions of these girls look up to them for their fame, their physical beauty, and their talent. And many of those girls do not have a great deal of guidance at home that will say, “That’s inappropriate, turn it off,” when Miley is shaking it on some guy. When a 12-year-old girl sees Rihanna pole-dancing and there’s no one around to talk to her about it in a reasoned way, she internalizes that behavior and thinks to herself (consciously or unconsciously), “Rihanna does it, she’s beautiful and successful and boys like her. I should do that too.” In her mind, there is no distinction between the fact that she is 12 and Rihanna is in her mid-20s. Young girls see images like that and it exposes them to a range of actions and feelings that they are not emotionally or mentally prepared to deal with. Often they deal with them anyway, by emulating what their idols do. This is especially dangerous in today’s social-media-filled world, where photos and videos live forever in the bowels of the internet.

Over the past 5 to 8 years, with the rise of Smartphones, Instagram, and texting/sexting, the number of incidents of underage girls taking and sending inappropriate pictures of themselves and each other has skyrocketed, resulting in a vast increase in child pornography. Basically, we as a culture are very gradually accepting the sexualization of young girls. And often, the girls themselves are the source of this material. They take photos of themselves in compromising positions and send them to friends, boys, or strangers, because Nicki Minaj got her picture taken in nothing but pasties, so why not? We owe it to our daughters, little sisters, and nieces to reject this hypersexualiztion of our culture. In her article, Rashida Jones quotes one of her own Tweets: “Sure, be SEXY, but leave something to the imagination.” I agree. What happened to Old Hollywood sexiness? Sophia Loren could melt a man with one glance, no pasties or pole-dancing required. I’m not saying that we should walk around in burkas, but there is something to be said for a little mystery.

Not everyone shares the same opinion, however. In the article, Ms. Jones mentions that she Tweeted several times about this issue and was accused of “slut-shaming,” misogyny, and being judgmental. She responded to this by saying that “there is a difference between ‘shaming’ and ‘holding someone accountable.'” I agree. These pop stars and actresses have to realize that their actions have consequences beyond themselves. I don’t know a great deal about Jennifer Lawrence (who plays Katniss in the Hunger Games movies), but I saw a quote from her that I absolutely love. In an interview she said, “I’m never going to starve myself for a part. I don’t want little girls to be like, ‘Oh, I want to look like Katniss, so I’m going to skip dinner.'” She gets it. She understands the impact that she has on young girls as a role model and how her behavior affects them. She takes responsibility for that, even though she didn’t ASK to be looked up to as someone to emulate.

I know that our culture is largely in decline. Prior to the fall of Rome, sexual immorality (as well as general immorality) was rampant. It is my hope, however, that for the sake of our young girls, America can get itself together. Maybe she can stop snorting lines off the coffee table, put a shirt on, and make sure she’s wearing panties before she goes out for the night.

Throwing the Staff Under the Bus – Par for the Course at Applebee’s

Over the last day or two, I’ve been following this story on Yahoo: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/applebees-waitress-fired-pastor-receipt-193820748.html

If you don’t want to read the whole story, here’s the basic gist: A waitress (Chelsea Welch) from a St. Louis-area Applebee’s posted a picture on Reddit of a receipt from another server’s table where the customer (Alois Bell) scratched out the automatic 18% gratuity added by the computer (there were more than 8 people in the party, which triggers the autotip function on the computer) and wrote “I give God 10%, why do you get 18?” She then wrote “pastor” above her name, and in the place for “additional tip,” she wrote “0.” After the picture of the receipt went viral, the pastor called the restaurant and complained, and Applebee’s fired the waitress who posted the picture.

There is so much wrong with this story, I don’t even know where to begin. First, as a Christian, I am embarrassed by Pastor Bell’s actions. People will use this event to justify saying untrue things like “Religion is the problem, not the solution,” or “Just another hypocritical Christian – they’re all alike.” Indeed, if you look at the comment section under the story on Yahoo and other news sites and blogs that have posted about this story, they are already filled with statements like those above. As Christians, we are called to live Christ-like lives. We all fall short, but we’re supposed to try. We’re supposed to be loving and generous, not snarky and stingy. Additionally, I don’t think this pastor had a very clear concept of how percentages work. God is supposed to get 10% of EVERYTHING YOU EARN. The waitstaff was supposed to get 18% of ONE MEAL. That’s quite a big difference. Just because 18 is the higher number, doesn’t mean the amount received by the waitress is bigger than the amount received by God.

After the photo went viral, a friend of the pastor’s brought it to her attention that her special note was making its way around the internet. The pastor was (rightfully) embarrassed, but rather than owning up to her childish act, she demanded that Ms. Welch be fired. Her remorse was not over her treatment of the wait staff; it was over getting called out for bad behavior. I have seen it reported on a number of blogs that the pastor actually demanded that the whole staff be fired, including management, but I don’t know if that is true or not. Regardless, her initial action and her reaction to the fallout are both appalling.

Perhaps the waitress was wrong to post the receipt online, but I can relate to where she’s coming from. The food service industry is extremely stressful. You are constantly rushing around to get everyone’s food to them in a timely manner. You get hot and sweaty, and go home smelling like fry grease and other unpleasant things. You get burnt (sometimes severely), you slip, run into other people, get hit by doors, yelled at, cursed at, and called names. I have never waited tables, but I work in fast food, and I know how ungrateful people are and how funny they are about food. I worked at the jewelry department in a big box store for awhile and sometimes people would bring back jewelery that they had purchased because it broke. They were usually very nice about it, asking for a refund or to send it off and have it fixed. I’ve also worked in fast food, and people get more upset about a lack of cheese on their sandwich that they paid $5 for than they do over the broken necklace they paid $120 for. It’s a stressful environment, and at the end of the night, you just want to vent to someone about how rude the customers were to you. That’s what Ms. Welch was doing here. She was just venting. No personal information, save for the pastor’s name, was shared on the receipt.

I think Applebee’s overreacted by firing the waitress. IF there is a policy in their handbook about this kind of thing (which the server claims there is not), then a less severe punishment should have been administered. A written warning, maybe, or retraining. But to fire a server because a customer who was in the wrong threw a fit seems like an extreme measure. It also indicates an unhappy, decaying corporate culture that does not value or stand by its employees, who are the face of the company. I am not a big fan of Applebee’s food to begin with and I usually only go there if someone else I’m with picks the restaurant. But I will definitely not be eating there anymore AT ALL after this fiasco.

Breaking News: Virginia Woman Doesn’t Care about Women’s Issues

I have (barely) held my silence about this issue for a few weeks now, but my rage has reached a boiling point and I can contain it no longer. Why in the name of Jesus H. Christ are we talking about birth control when Syria is in the middle of a civil war, Greece is on the verge of financial collapse, our own economy is still in the toilet, we’re in the middle of one of the biggest and most important elections in our history, and Iran is THIS CLOSE to getting nuclear weapons? I think we have bigger issues in this country than who is paying for our birth control.

I’ve been following this obnoxious line of public discourse for a couple of weeks now (vaguely at first, and more intensely after the Rush Limbaugh-Sandra Fluke incident), and each week I’ve become a little more outraged. First of all, if you KNOW that a school or company does not share your values, then why would you chose to go there? If the fact that their insurance doesn’t cover birth control is a big deal for you, then go somewhere else. If you need birth control for a medical condition, you can supplement your employer’s insurance with insurance that DOES cover it, or you can get it on the cheap at Planned Parenthood (since that’s what they claim their main business is – supplying health care to under-served women). And why is everyone acting like this is “limiting” access to birth control? No one is saying “You can’t have that.” They’re just saying “You can have it, but we’re not going to pay for it because it goes against something that we strongly believe in.” The government has no right to FORCE someone to pay for something that they believe is wrong. If we just stopped tying employment to insurance, we could solve a lot of these problems.

Second, everyone keeps talking about “women’s rights,” or, to speak more plainly, “abortion.” First, I don’t believe that there is such a thing as a “right” to abortion, because it infringes on the right of another human being to live, but putting aside my moral objections to the practice, let’s look at this fairly. If women have a “right” to abortion, or birth control for that matter, then we also have a responsibility to pay for it. I don’t know why we suddenly assume that just because we’ve decided we have a “right” to a good or service means that we don’t have a responsibility to pay for it. We keep saying “keep your laws off my uterus” but the unspoken end of that phrase is “but keep the money, pills, and abortions flowing.” We have a responsibility for everything that we put into our bodies and everything that we DO with our bodies. So how can we expect others to pay for the consequences of our actions? We have a right to free speech, but no one demands that the government pay for us to publish books. Isn’t the government subsidizing our rights with tax dollars in contrast to everything the founders intended? Those rights were enumerated specifically to PROTECT US from the government. If the government is paying for something that is deemed a “right,” isn’t that a precarious situation? Like Jefferson said, “A government big enough to give you everything is big enough to take it all away.”

Smart guy, that Jefferson

Third, there is an enormous amount of hypocrisy in the media over this Limbaugh-Fluke incident, and I find that to be extremely offensive, as both a conservative and a woman. Was Rush Limbaugh wrong to call Sandra Fluke a prostitute? Absolutely. But what really irks me is that Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, and even Hilary Clinton were called all sorts of vile names by a number of people in the media, and I heard little to no outcry over that. They definitely didn’t receive an apology phone call from Barack Obama. Believe me, I’m not a big fan of any of those 3 women, but I do believe they have been treated very unfairly by the press. Can we at least PRETEND to be SOMEWHAT outraged when conservative women are mistreated by the media? Where were the feminists when Bill Maher repeatedly called Sarah Palin a cunt? Why are they only outraged when women of their own political leanings are insulted? Are conservative women not worthy of the same respect given to liberal women?

Unless you're conservative, of course. Then eff you.

Fourth, American women seem to be under the delusion that this so-called “right” to abortion is THE most important right that we have and that there is a “war on women” in this country. I’m sorry, but there are women around the world who are never taught to read and who aren’t even allowed to leave their house without a male relative with them. Please don’t act like you are SO OPPRESSED when there are places where it is ILLEGAL for girls to go to school – where you could be killed for trying to get an education. And we’re complaining because we might have to pay for our own birth control? No wonder the rest of the world seems to hate us.

And you think YOU'RE oppressed because you have to pay for birth control?

Finally, there has been a great deal of anger directed at “white men” during this whole debacle. More than usual, I mean. I’m so sick of this cliched political cop-out that I could just vomit. The point of feminism is not to demean men, to speak ill of them, or to put women above men. The goal was to make us equals in the eyes of the government & society. Period. Nothing more, nothing less. Not everything bad in the world stems from this vague, evil group of “white men.” I know a lot of white men. I married one. My dad is a white guy. If I ever have a son, he’ll be a white man. I had a lot of good teachers who were white men, and both of the pastors of my church are white men. I’m quite fond of all these “evil white men,” and I wish the media would get off their nuts. Literally. And can we stop with all the dumb comments about “Where are the laws for just MEN’S health? HUH?? Why aren’t THEY targeted?” I’ll tell you why. Because like it or not, men cannot carry babies. It’s a fact of biology. I know that upsets a lot of women, but you can’t change nature. Getting a prostate exam just isn’t as controversial as vacuuming a dismembered baby from the womb.

So, can we move on now? Can we stop talking about birth control and worry about stuff that really matters? Because the world is kind of falling apart around us, and I think that’s slightly more important that who pays for birth control.

Failing freedom in 2011

Once again, an article I read on Yahoo! has inspired me to write something. I was reading this article about various things that have been banned this year, both in America and abroad. It mentions babies being banned on planes and in restaurants, baggy pants and skinny jeans, too-short cheerleader uniforms, Happy Meals in San Francisco, etc. Three of the items on the list really caught my attention – “happy couples,” “having eyes,” and “brown-bag lunches.”

“Happy couples” referred to a situation in Kentucky where a church voted to ban interracial marriage and bar interracial couples from joining their church. I can’t even believe this type of ignorance is still happening – in a CHURCH, no less. There is no Biblical ban on interracial marriages. Are there Bible verses that could be MISUSED to support this kind of racist decision? Yes. Does this make it right? No. Deuteronomy 7:3 states (addressing the Jews), “You shall not marry them, you shall not give your daughter to their son and you shall not take his daughter for your son.” The “them” referred to in this verse is the gentiles (non-Jewish people). The reason for this was because the gentiles did not worship the same God as the Hebrews. God commanded the Jews to marry only other Jews so that they would not be led to worship false gods by their gentile spouses and families. It was not a RACE issue – it was a CULTURE issue. Another verse that is often misused in this way is 2 Corinthians 6:14, which states, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” This verse says basically the same thing: Do not marry non-believers because they will lead you astray. The part about light and dark communing has nothing to do with skin color. It’s a metaphor for opposite belief systems trying to come together – they cannot exist in the same place at the same time. That a church would treat people this way is unbelievable, and it is most definitely NOT a Christian way to behave. God created people of all colors, and we are all made in his image. For us to show hatred to other people because of their skin color is a sin. The fact that this type of blatant racism is still around in 2011 means that we have not come as far as we thought we had.

“Having eyes” showcases the absolute absurdity that is the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Apparently Saudi Arabia’s Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (read: religious police) has decided that women with “nice eyes” need to cover those things up so that the men of Saudi Arabia (who apparently lack ANY kind of self-control) won’t be tempted to think dirty thoughts about women other than their wives. Who defines “nice eyes?” Anyone can have “nice eyes.” Come to think of it, I’ve never seen a picture of a Middle Eastern woman with eyes that WEREN’T nice. They are lovely women, and they continue to be oppressed on a daily basis. The eyes are the only thing left that these women do not have to cover up. They walk around in the oppressive Saudi heat, covered head-to-toe in black head scarves and cloaks so as not to lead any male to stray. The extreme Wahhabi form of Islam that is so popular there is intolerant of anyone who is not a devout Muslim and is extremely oppressive to women. My heart goes out to the women and girls of Saudi Arabia because they are so obviously being abused, both by their government and many times by their families and husbands as well. Why we continue to be allied with a nation that so clearly does not share our values and doesn’t even like us is beyond me.

Finally, “brown-bag lunches” talks about how a school in Chicago now forbids students from bringing a lunch from home. They HAVE to pay the $2.25 for a school lunch, or go hungry. Exceptions are made only for food allergies (and possibly religious reasons. The article doesn’t say this, but I would imagine they would allow a kid to bring halal or kosher food as well). The reasoning behind this decision, according to the principal, is that school lunch is healthier than what the kids bring from home. First of all, why is that the school’s business? Believe it or not, parents have been successfully feeding their children for thousands of years without the benevolent dictatorship of the public school system peering over their shoulder. This is clearly an infringement on the rights of parents to do what they think is best for their child. It is not the schools system’s job to feed my kids. That’s my job. Second, this is not a good move for the kids. Yes, the food MIGHT be healthier than what they bring from home (but not necessarily), but if a child doesn’t like what the cafeteria is serving, they are not going to eat it. A hungry kid does not perform well in school, and that is a scientific fact. It’s hard to focus on a math lesson when your stomach is growling loud enough to drown out the teacher. If I were a parent, I would prefer that I pack a lunch for my kid that I KNOW he or she likes and will eat instead of paying money for food that they might not like and probably won’t eat. This brings us to my third point – buying lunch every day is expensive. The cost of a student lunch in this school is $2.25. Kids generally go to school for 180 days a year. This means that for one child, a family will spend $405 each school year on lunch. If they have 2 kids enrolled in this school, the cost doubles to $810 a year. Many families receive free or reduced lunches, but many families do not qualify for these programs even though they are far from wealthy. This puts a hardship on the families that are not poor enough to qualify for free/reduced lunch, but not wealthy enough to be able to throw away over $400 a year. It’s much cheaper to send leftovers or a sandwich with your kids than to pay for school lunch. This is clearly yet another case of progressive government overstepping its boundaries and intruding on the family in ways that are totally Orwellian and uncalled for.

The trampling of freedom exhibited by these incidents, both here and in other nations, really enrages me. How can man (or woman) flourish under governments, churches, and governmental churches that insist on infringing on the rights given to us by the Creator? What the good Lord giveth, the government taketh away, apparently.

Battling Acne with Makeup Skills

Today I saw this article on Yahoo! which led me to this video on YouTube, and I was amazed at this girl’s transformation. Essentially, this young lady, Cassandra Bankson, suffers from severe cystic acne. She says she got her first pimple in 3rd grade and then it was all downhill from there. She is extremely self-conscious about her skin (as are most people with acne) and has tried all kinds of medications, creams, and other remedies to get rid of the pimples, but nothing worked so she decided to cover it up. She has basically developed a makeup routine that takes her skin from rough and acne-covered to airbrushed perfection. She even works as a model! Does it require a lot of products and time? Yes. Is it worth it if it makes her (and other acne sufferers) feel better? Yes.

After I watched her tutorial, I read some of the comments posted by Youtube users and was disappointed (but not surprised) to see all kinds of ignorant and mean comments. Things like “Well maybe if you wore less makeup, your skin wouldn’t look so bad,” or “Wow it’s so sad that she has to pile on all that crap to feel good about herself,” and other such nonsense. She clearly states in the information about the video that she is under the care of a dermatologist and that they have tried many things but nothing has cleared up her skin. She also points out that her skin erupted in zits well before she ever started wearing makeup. And for people to comment on how “sad” she is for wearing so much makeup, they have obviously never suffered the scourge of severe acne. My guess is that those comments are from girls who have never had a zit in their lives. If you’re born with perfect skin, then no, you don’t need makeup and you might be better off without it. You can glide effortlessly through middle school dances, prom, senior pictures, and every other appearance-centered event in a teenager’s life with ease. But for those of us who have struggled with poor skin since we were in elementary or middle school, a little makeup helps a lot. There are a lot of misconceptions about acne: that it’s caused by being dirty, wearing too much makeup, eating poorly, etc – Basically that acne is something you can fix by changing your bad habits. For some people that might be true, but acne has other, more widespread and uncontrollable causes like hormonal imbalances, genetics, extremely oily skin, etc. These causes are out of the acne sufferer’s control and can leave them feeling powerless and ugly.

Acne is generally associated with nerds, basement-dwelling WoW players, and other societal outcasts, not because this condition weirdly targets ONLY those types of people, but because people who get acne often BECOME socially awkward BECAUSE they have it. Acne often begins to rear its ugly head at the most inconvenient of times: the already awkward and confusing stage of puberty. A child who is already self-conscious about their changing body and who may have a natural inclination towards shyness may be driven totally underground by the appearance of pimples all over their face. And let’s not forget how cruel kids can be. They are highly intolerant of physical imperfection among their peers. God help the poor child if he or she is fat AND has acne. Special events like prom become cause for extreme social anxiety for a kid with acne because they KNOW their skin doesn’t look good. They KNOW it’s unattractive, and it’s extremely hard to cover up. And they KNOW that these precious moments (and their pizza face) will forever be documented via photography and Facebook. That’s a lot of pressure, and interestingly enough, stress is a trigger for acne.

I think what Cassandra is doing is really a great thing. She has a whole series of videos that teach girls (and guys!) how to cover up their acne effectively and make it look natural. She also does regular makeup tutorials that show you how to achieve a classy, natural look, which can be difficult, especially for people just learning how to apply cosmetics or people with acne who need to use a lot of products to cover their pimples. Her videos teach people how to properly apply makeup so that they can feel confident and beautiful, even WITH bad skin. For some people, their acne clears up on its own after a couple of years. For other people, antibiotics, Accutane, or topical medications work. Mine was never as bad as Cassandra’s, but I did have acne and I used a variety of prescription products when I was in high school with varying degrees of success. I think mine was probably hormonal, because around the time I turned 17 or 18 and went on the Pill, it cleared up, for the most part (I still get a few pimples now and then, but that’s normal). For some people though, it plagues them far into a adulthood, even up into their 40s and 50s. For people who have chronic, unrelenting acne like that, I think Cassandra’s videos are a Godsend…haters be damned.

The Tyranny of Low-Flow Showerheads & CFL Bulbs

Let me begin by saying that I like our planet. It’s a beautiful place, and I wouldn’t want to live on any other planet. Yes, I think God blessed us quite generously with this snazzy orb of ours, and I think we should take care of it. I don’t think we should dump harmful chemicals in our water, I think we should work towards finding a better source of fuel for our cars, and I think recycling is a good idea. However, there are many environmental regulations that I think are just plain stupid, and quite possibly harmful.

Take, for example, the low-flow shower head. In 1992, the federal government passed a law stating that shower heads could not use more than 2.5 gallons per minute. Really? Our government doesn’t have anything better to do with their time and our money? What about things like terrorism, border insecurity, human trafficking, drug smuggling, etc? Anyway, until this law was passed, most shower heads used about 5 gallons per minute – a much more comfortable and clean amount, if you ask me. While the law was largely unenforced at first, the EPA has been cracking down on manufacturers that dare to rebel by continuing to create shower heads people actually want to buy. These new puny water-dribblers are basically worthless. My apartment building installed low-flow shower heads in all the units because they pay the water bills for all of their tenants. The one in my unit is stamped with “1.5 GPM MAX,” which means it puts forth a MAXIMUM of 1.5 gallons of water per minute. Do you have any idea how hard it is to rinse the shampoo out of 20 inches of hair with a showerhead that’s basically spitting on me? To make matters worse, my hair is blond, so if I don’t get all the soap out, it’s pretty obvious, as my hair looks super greasy and unwashed. Highly attractive, and definitely the look you want for going to work or to job interviews. The shower head at my parents’ house, however, is like standing under a waterfall. It’s wonderful! My hair looks so clean and shiny after I use it, and I can take a shower that’s half the length of the ones I have to take at my own apartment. It makes no sense to me to install these low-flow shower heads that require you to spend 20 minutes trying to rinse the soap off, when I could just take a 10 minute shower with a regular shower head. Does it really save that much water? I think not. In addition, I would be willing to bet that the White House and the homes of our dear members of Congress do not have low-flow shower heads. If you pay $400 for a haircut, you at least want it to look clean, right?

Another “environmentally friendly” development that I don’t understand is the advent of the CFL (compact florescent) light bulb (the spiral ones). The goal here is to phase out the use of regular (incandescent) light bulbs, which have been deemed “inefficient” by the government, and replace them with more efficient ones by 2014. The problem is that CFLs are dangerous. They contain mercury, which means they require a special process to dispose of them. You can’t just chuck the burned-out bulbs in the trash, like you could with the old ones. At least, you’re not supposed to. But in all seriousness, how many people are actually going to take their used light bulbs to a special recycling center? With the possible exception of the people of San Fransisco, probably not many. Most are going to pitch them into the garbage and be on their merry way. And 50 years from now when we have mercury leaking into our tap water from all the CFL bulbs in our landfills, the EPA will start screaming about how we’re all going to die because of these stupid light bulbs. According to this article, mercury is extremely dangerous to children and unborn babies, and, one can assume (though it doesn’t say), pets as well. The article goes on to say that mercury was banned in the use of thermometers. So we can’t use it in thermometers, but it’s ok to put it in light bulbs?

A regular, burned-out CFL requires special disposal, but God help you if you break one of these suckers. If your mercury-laden CFL bulb breaks, you have to EVACUATE. Yes, as in leave the room. You must turn off your central heating/air conditioning unit so that it doesn’t suck up the mercury vapor/particles, open the doors and windows, gather up your children and pets, and go outside for at least 15 minutes. After your room is sufficiently aired-out, you must scoop up the broken glass with cardboard and gloves (don’t touch it! It’s got mercury on it!), then put it in a glass jar with a metal lid. Don’t use a paper or plastic bag – that won’t contain the mercury fumes. *palmface* For real? Are we expecting pregnant women to clean up mercury spills and put their unborn children at risk, just to save a couple of dollars on her light bill? And not only are these bulbs full of mercury, they can also short out and cause fires, as almost happened to this person. Yes, I can clearly see how these bulbs are superior to the old non-toxic, won’t-catch-your-house-on-fire bulbs. *sigh*

As I said before, I’m not opposed to measures to protect the environment. If our planet is healthier, we’ll probably be healthier, too. But I resent these nitpicking, nanny-state measures imposed on individuals by the government in an effort to control us or coerce us into a certain behavior. There is a very clear list of powers that Congress has been granted and they are outlined in Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution. Nowhere in that list is there any mention of shower heads or light bulbs.

Women Have No Sense of Humor

This is my second rant post for the day, but it’s because the world just seems extra ridiculous today. First we had the mouthy kid in Walmart, now we have this article. The article, for those of you who subscribe to the TL;DR philosophy, is about a milk campaign that was designed to draw attention to the fact that milk can reduce the symptoms of PMS. It features guys being terrorized by their hormonal wives/girlfriends, and apologizing for their supposed slip-ups during this sensitive time of the month. Then they offer them milk. The website for the ad campaign was http://www.everythingidoiswrong.org. All in all, a pretty funny (and often truthful) group of ads. Unless you’re a woman, apparently. Then it’s offensive and mean. So the milk people have pulled all the ads and apologized for being such insensitive, woman-hating jerks. *Palmface*

Before I state my case here, let me remind you that I am, in fact, a certified female who gets bear-like with hormones once a month. Now, having said this, I think it’s ridiculous that they pulled this ad campaign. First of all, it’s true – many women are damn near intolerable when they’re PMS-ing. I should know, because I am one. You can ask the Sloth. I’m pretty much a terrible, mean person for 3-4 days of the month. I’m sorry, but it’s true. I feel bad about it afterwards. Second, why is it not ok to joke about this? We have dozens of television shows that portray men as stupid, incompetent, or downright braindead. Homer Simpson? Fry from Futurama? Peter Griffin? Kevin James’ character from King of Queens? The list goes on, but they’re all examples of men who can’t function without the help of their smart, beautiful, competent female counterpart. And that’s just the TV shows. In between those, during commercial breaks, we are bombarded by more images of ignorant, knuckle-dragging husbands who do nothing but lay around the house and try to get out of doing housework or try to steal their wives’ dessert-flavored yogurts. Meanwhile, their beautiful, domestic-goddess wives just roll their eyes and then step in to help out their poor, incompetent husband.

This is not feminism. This is out and out male-bashing, but we don’t hear men complaining about that. Their treatment by Hollywood and Madison Avenue is far inferior to that of women, but women are the ones complaining about any tiny thing that could be perceived as even remotely chauvinistic. Perhaps that’s why they treat them better. Or maybe they’re trying to make up for past sins against women. But the women of today are not the same women of yesterday. We are highly educated (there are more female graduates from college than there are male graduates), working in almost every job that men work in (the only exception I can think of is Special Forces in the military, and that needs to stay male), and generally doing pretty well for ourselves (except for running off all of our potential mates by being so terrifyingly aggressive and dominant). And men of today are not the men of yesterday. They are more sensitive, more egalitarian in their relationships with women, and more willing to sacrifice and compromise so that the woman in their life can pursue her own career and other goals. And so their reward is for us to portray them as collectively dumber than a box of rocks. No wonder they think we’re crazy!

Is this ad campaign insensitive? Yeah, probably a little. But I’m not offended. You see I was blessed with this device called a “sense of humor” which allows me to laugh at myself and my gender and all of my/our idiosyncrasies and shortcomings. I think the milk folks need to unapologetically reinstate this campaign and let women learn to laugh at ourselves, and maybe women should go a little easier on the guys. We sure can dish it out, but it seems we definitely can’t take it.