Feelings, Hope

Happy New Year

This weekend will be Jewish new years.

I’ve never put a huge amount of stock into new years; solar or lunar.

I have, however, cared about the start of the new school year, the first day of a new job, the meet and greet at a new company.

I put a strange amount of stock in what my morning tea being too sweet might indicate about the coming day. In how the lax audience on Tuesday might say something the shows through Sunday.

I went to a concert tonight of a band I love and see often, and it felt like a new piece starting. I heard songs played live that I haven’t listened to in years. And they were different, they resonated in different ways than they used to. They taught me new things that I can carry into this new chunk of time. It probably won’t be 12 months, but then again if age is just a number then a year is just some time, right?

New years is just a ritual you do every year to remind yourself that time is passing. Well I say that I get to decide what tells me time is passing. I decide how to mark my days and log my hours.

And what better way to celebrate time passing in my life than live music, the thing that make us all feel alive. And ironically it’s how we Jews will be marking the new year this week and how everyone will mark the Gregorian calendar new year in a few months. I guess I’m not that original after all.

Media, Sex

Four Or Five Times

I’ve found my new karaoke song.

Every generation talks about sex like they’re the first people to discover it. Like they invented it, and it sprang up from their bodies alone.

And if they don’t think they invented it then they usually think they’re the first people to talk about it openly.

Well, the 1920’s called and they want their dirty talk back.

Their titillatingly subtle dirty talk.


Music To Mack By

So this might just be a me thing but I want to put it out there.

If I’m making out with someone and there is something with words or lyrics playing in the background, I’m going to be distracted.  I long ago adopted the policy of making my partner pick the music because if I’m allowed to pick then I’ll pick…oh, you know, the Carnival BCR.  Don’t judge me.

If you invite me over to watch a movie and then try to kiss me while the movie is still on, I can promise that you’ll be really annoyed when I start laughing and you find out that it’s because I was listening to Gene Wilder and not your sweet nothings.

So here are a list of songs that people (including but not limited to me) have or have wanted to snog to.

Kiss The Girl

Oh the shame.  I feel so cliche right now.

And listening to it again I’m annoyed by the suggestion that there is only one way to ask a girl if she wants to be kissed (and of course it requires no words).  Also, how (and I know this is so obvious, but) lacking in any agency Ariel is.  ‘Don’t you want to kiss this silent girl?’  Well, when you put it that way, NO!

But nonetheless there were about 10 years of my life where I dreamed of being kissed (not myself actually doing the kissing of course) to this song.

Wu Tang Clan

So I don’t know which song it was but I do know that one of my best friends had one of her first horizontal experiences to the quiet strains of Wu Tang Clan.  Can you hear my nose crinkling?

If it had been me, I would have immediately start laughing.  Anyone who knows me knows that I would immediately start laughing if you put on Wu Tang Clan and then tried to kiss me.  Those killer bees killed the mood good and dead.

Some Classy Shit

OK, so this is probably not a great example, but it must be said that the best make-out music I’ve ever had was classical music.  It’s not obtrusive enough to interrupt the action but it also has a nice ebb and flow to it. And from what I remember (high school was a weird time) that was the same dude as the Wu Tang Clan.

What’s your favorite make-out tune?  Do you have a playlist?  Oh please tell me you have a whole playlist and it’s got a great title like ‘Gettin Jiggy With It’ or ‘Funkytown’ or ‘Love Fern’ or something.

Bodies, Gender, Obedience

Swift Judgement

This weekend my best friend came for an incredibly long overdue visit and, because she can hear me thinking a post from 1700 miles away she brought me an article from Bitch Magazine.  (Did I mention how much I love that girl?)

I like to say that Taylor Swift is one of my biggest guilty pleasures.  Some people smoke, I cry at the end of Love Story.  Don’t’ judge me.

But I’ve always been a bit perturbed at the presence of such Madonna-whore/good-girls-wear-white-and-bad-girls-have-sex imagery in her music and videos.  She’s said in the media that she really enjoys being a role model for girls and I’ve been wondering exactly what kind of role model she is.

Mormon mothers all across America are beyond thankful that she hasn’t gone the Lindsay Lohan route and to be honest so am I.  But they’re also thankful she hasn’t followed Miley Cyrus, Christina Aguilera, and whatever other girl pop icons (get ready for it) had sex.

The Bitch article made me ask a lot of questions about Taylor.  And in asking those questions I had to separate Taylor, the girl, from Swift, the brand.

Swift’s image generally screams VIRGINITY!  YOUR DAUGHTERS WILL HAVE A REALLY HARD TIME GIVING A BLOW JOB WHILE LISTENING TO MY MUSIC.  Exactly what is the ratio of white/non-white clothing in her closet.  I’d say only Elle Fanning tops her.  And her brand is consistently bashing the girl in the trashy dress who ‘gives it all away.’  Remember this?

So we can safely say that Swifty, the brand, is caught up in telling young girls to keep their most precious asset safe.

And so I remember very clearly from when she was dating GROWN A$$ MEN like John Mayer and that Gyllenhall hottie wondering exactly how adult her relationship with them could be.  I remember Gyllenhall buying her big gifts and thinking how curious that was.  A fancy guitar in exchange for her most precious of all things?  

Then this article pointed out exactly what the issue is.  Swift the brand is about as virginal as it gets and the people who manage the brand have been very careful to keep it that way no matter what the truth may be.

Which leads to my next question.  In the article it points out that in one of her latest songs Mine she alludes to ‘a drawer of my things at your place.’  Finally acknowledging that like most girls my age (because dear Taytay is only 16 days older than me), she might have discovered sex… and possibly even liked it.  Never mind that whether that is or isn’t true isn’t ANYONE’S business.  But, I digress.

When that song came out she got slack from southern radio stations who said they had trouble seeing her as ‘the girl next door’ because of that lyric.  Let me tell you something about the girl next door.  If she’s older than 16 she’s probably having sex (with herself if no one else) and just not telling you about it.

So after all that my question is this. Who is to blame here?  Yes, I think Taylor is hurting young girls with her ‘my untouched snatch has magical powers’ image but I also think we’re not giving her much of a choice.  America demands a steady supply of ‘good girl’ music to spoon feed our youth and will penalize her for any deviation just like it’ll penalize the girls who listen to said deviant music.  My big hope is that she can use her power and influence and one day on David Leno have a total Russel Edgington moment.


Except that instead of saying ‘I’m a vampire’ she’d say ‘I have a vagina and It feels good when I touch it and I’m not going to hell for it.’  And instead of ‘we will eat you’ she’d say ‘hey there fans, lock your doors and try it out.’  And instead of ripping someone’s spine out she could just say ‘lets talk about a little thing called the Madonna/whore dichotomy.’

It would be so easy and so awesome.


Surreal, But Nice.

For a New York Jew I have an unreasonable love of country music.  Tonight I was driving a friend home and Blake Shelton’s Honey Bee came on.

And it made me really excited for the future.  This weekend I’ll be graduating and outside of my small world there will be people who want to be my shade tree.  What isn’t exciting about that?

I’ve spent the last four years thinking that Pittsburgh is a representative sampling of the world.  And the truth is that it really isn’t.  If you’re in a place where no one gets you then there are two options.  It’s you or it’s the place.  I’ve been convincing myself it’s me for quite some time now.  It’s time to think a little differently.

Sometimes life is like a movie.  Not frequently and not always forever, but would you rather live in fear that tomorrow won’t be as magical as today or would you rather shoot spaghetti from your fingertips while you can?


Make A Gleeful Noise

Today I caught up on four episodes of Glee that I’ve been too busy to watch for the last month.

So many things jumped out at me.  For example:

Thank you main stream television for showing a young gay man stand up for himself and not get beaten to a bloody pulp.

Thank you main stream television for showing young women discussing sex (points off for showing half as prudes and half as sluts with no room in between.  Need I remind you of the Whore/Madonna dichotomy?).

Thank you main stream media for showing the consequences of bullying gay youth.

Now this show certainly has enough flaws.  The plots tend to be contrived and the whole thing sounds like an after school special most of the time.

This doesn’t bother me though.  I’m willing to watch a show that is a little preachy if it means that young people all over the world are seeing examples of teens that are this accepting and open.

An after school special that people like and tune into each week.  One that preaches equality and inclusion.  Plus, people sing show tunes!

I can’t have a problem with that.  Not even a little.  It’s not perfect, but neither are you.  At least we know Glee has good intentions.

Plus, cute boys.

Abuse, Media, Rape, Relationships

High Off A love Drunk From The Hate

Today I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts This American Life.  And this week’s episode was about family.  The first story told was about Harlow’s Monkeys.

Apparently, earlier in the history of the study of psychology it was thought that affection for children was detrimental to their health.  Harry Harlow opposed this line of thinking and did experiments on baby monkeys to prove his theory.

Basically he put them in a cage with a “Mother” (doll) that was made of soft warm terry cloth and a Mother that was wire but had a bottle with food inside.  And the monkeys had to choose a mother.  Would they go for the one that provided comfort or the one that provided nourishment?  Love (or softness) wins.

The podcast goes on to describe some of Harlow’s other experiments.  Including one that I found really interesting.  In one experiment he made the cloth Mothers “attack” the monkeys.  The monkeys would cling to the doll and dull spikes would shoot out and hurt the monkey.

And every time the monkeys would come back.  Apologetic.  The monkey would coo and stroke and groom and flirt and do everything they could to make the mother love them again.

Did you catch that?  They would be abused by their “Mother” and then they would come back sorry and do everything they could to fix this relationship because they loved Mother so much.

That sounds like just about any abusive relationship I’ve ever heard of.

Just gonna stand there
And watch me burn
But that’s alright
Because I like
The way it hurts
Just gonna stand there
And hear me cry
But that’s alright
Because I love
The way you lie
I love the way you lie

There are so many ways to interpret so much of this song.  My housemates and I have spent a lot of time talking about the options and how respectable both of these artists are for making this song which obviously is very personal for both of them.

One way to take this chorus is that you’re hurt and your partner is just watching, enjoying your pain.  And all you can think of is how much you love them.  How worthwhile this is for the rest of your relationship.  I’ve never been in a relationship like this and I don’t want to pretend to know.  But I will say that this sounds disturbingly like the monkeys.

And if that’s the case then maybe that’s just part of the human (primate?) condition.  That we’re destined to let our love eclipse even our desire to live.  I hope that’s not the case

One of my housemates does a lot to combat domestic violence.  She’s a part of organizations and raises money.  I hope she’s a hero for a lot of women.

If you’re in an abusive relationship then the only thing I can say to you is that you deserve better.  If I say nothing else I want to say that.  Even your worst enemy deserves better.

On getting out of her relationship with Chris Brown Rihanna said this

“I remember I was in New York at the Trump Hotel and I woke up and I just knew I was over it. It was a different day. I felt different. I didn’t feel lonely…I felt like I wanted to get up and be in the world. That was a great, great feeling.”
You’re amazing.  You’re worth it.  Get out.