mellowtigger: (disconnect)
[personal profile] bitterlawngnome pointed out a picture gallery devoted to wresting the name "bear" from its traditional base and giving it solely to the devotion of hairy fitness buffs. It's been a while since I posted my own definition of bear, but this new picture collection called "Bear | Not Bear" (semi-safe viewing for most workplaces) seems diametrically opposed to my definition.

Basically, I think that "bear" includes the unpopular kids, the D-list crowd, all the folk who don't fit the popular culture's image of what is desirable. We remind each other that we don't have to be X, Y, or Z in order to be desirable.  We innoculate ourselves against the contamination of popular culture's dislike of fringe appearance or fringe behavior.  I enjoy thinking of bears as the Stuart Smalley fan club: "We're good enough, we're smart enough, and doggone it, people like us."

When the bear population grew large enough to attract mainstream attention, then suddenly the popular kids developed an interest. Nothing good can come of that mixture, and the discord is effectively satirized in the South Park episode about the Goth kids being overtaken by the Vampire kids.  Their tension is presented in this video segment...

You guys, I do not want to be grouped in with douchey little vampire kids. ... Get out of our space you little twerps!
More preppy straight-A students turning into vampires. What the hell is going on?
- http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/210819/douchey-little-vampire-kids

... and the difference is skillfully defined in the closing moments of the episode.

Fellow students, over the past week there has been a lot of confusion, and so we have asked for this assembly to clarify the difference between goth kids and vampire kids. Let us make it abundantly clear. If you hate life, truly hate the sun, and need to smoke and drink coffee, you are goth. If, however, you like dressing in black 'cause it's fun, enjoy putting sparkles on your cheeks and following the occult while avoiding things that are bad for your health, then you are most likely a douchebag vampire wannabe boner because anyone who thinks they are actually a vampire is freaking retarded.
- http://www.milkandcookies.com/link/137227/detail/

So the metaphor of the popular kids trying to steal a movement from the unpopular kids is what I use to interpret the recent "redefining" of bear.  Unlike the resolution in the South Park episode, I don't know that the bears can actually reclaim their original identity.  Words are fluid, though, and language always changes, so maybe there's still reason to hope.

Or maybe we need to take a cue from Dan Savage and go on the offensive.  We could create our own new word to apply to these people, thereby deflecting their criticism of the original bear culture.
mellowtigger: (Green Lantern)
Sabrina likes showing off her fine equipment.  It projects really well, doesn't it?  Sabrina is so skilled.  She is just like Tank Girl.

fine projection equipmenttank girl








Well, minus the cigar.  And the attitude.  And the ruggedness, determination, nose-picking, anti-authoritarianism, drunkenness, feminism, combat skill, self-confidence, flatulence, athleticism, and debauchery.

Sabrina has some fine equipment, though, doesn't she?

(disclaimer:  Yes, I'm a big fan of the Tank Girl movie, but I never read the comic books.)

mellowtigger: (banking)
What is it about this election cycle that has increased the sensitivity of the gay issue?  A pessimist might think that corporations get the best of both worlds by handing out cheap goodwill gestures of support while funding government actors who can outlaw such support.  In other words, corporations can pretend to be "the good guys" while committing their most relevant support (election funding) to "the bad guys".  A pessimist might think so, anyway.

Goodbye, Target and Best Buy:

In spite of your considerable lip service to GLBT issues and causes, you turn around and give $150,000 to Tom Emmers (via MN Forward) in his bid for governor of Minnesota.  Emmers is a political candidate who opposes issues of GLBT equality by opposing gay marriage, by opposing gays and lesbians parenting children, and by supporting a music group that approves the imprisonment and execution of homosexuals.  I consider this issue more than just a momentary hiccup in your resolve to recognize simple human rights.  Our careers, families, and lives are at stake.  People like us die at the hands of people like Emmers. 

If that betrayal weren't bad enough, I learn that Gregg Steinhafel, your CEO, has given a personal contribution (the maximum allowable by law) to the campaign of Michelle Bachman, our own homegrown crazy person and U.S. Representative.  Gregg, I see that you are trying to distract me with more of the same platitudes.  You say, "Let me be very clear, Target’s support of the GLBT community is unwavering, and inclusiveness remains a core value of our company."  Yet when we give you our shopping dollars, you turn around and hand it over to people who aim officially to declare us second-rate humans.

Gregg, seriously, have you ever been invited to a memorial for someone beaten to death with nail-studded boards wielded by Christian thugs?  I have.  I will not give you money that you can then hand to people who encourage more of this insanity.  My patronage of Target and Best Buy has ended until you change your ways.  A commitment to human rights requires more than lip service.

Goodbye, Campbell's:

Seriously, Campbell's?  Just like Target, you've been such a welcome symbol in GLBT advertising.  Just like Target, you then turn around and spend the money we give you to support a group that thinks gay people are pathological.  You established a ten-year exclusive partnership, even?  What's so confusing here is that you previously took a solid stand against hate-mongering.  What happened?  This issue is one of basic human rights.  It's not merely a political fulcrum where you can hedge your bets by aiding each side equally.  Human rights don't work that way, sometimes good, sometimes bad.  You never really thought it was a serious issue?

No. Just, no. You don't get any more money from me until you change your ways.  See my question to Gregg, above.

Goodbye, McDonald's:

Your corporate equivalent in France created a nice little advertisement.  It created the impression of McDonald's being a hip environment for young people while still maintaining a warm bond with an older generation.  That's a hard feat to pull off, but they did it.  Then your COO, Don Thompson, goes and explains that such an ad will never air in America because... (paraphrased (and editorialized)) "well, it's hard to explain without sounding like a total bigot but it's because I'm a Christian."  Seriously?

Phrases like "cultural norms" and "core values" may have helpful meaning in some other context, but this context makes them a clear codeword for something that you dare not put into actual words.  You are a bigot, and as long as you pull the reins of the corporation, it will never avow equal rights for GLBT citizens.

Citizens are also customers.  I will not hand my money to you so you can continue nursing your delusion of superiority.  Corporations should not be in the business of teaching that some people are less deserving of equal service from the law than other people.  I'm not feeding you any more money until you change your ways.  See my question to Gregg, above.

To other corporations:

Sure, you probably hear all the time about boycotts from one offended group or another.  I reiterate, though, that this issue is one of basic human rights.  It is not some trite conservative-or-liberal political issue which can be compromised.  Lives (by which I mean human families and human blood) are at stake.  That's why GLBT people have historically taken their boycotts very seriously.  We understand the lives already lost by supporting those who would dismiss us... from politics, from corporations, from equality under law, from human consideration.

That's why our boycotts tend to matter more than boycotts by other groups.  We're not just keeping a boring political tally.  We're serious when we say that our lives are at stake.
mellowtigger: (T'Reese)
Some special kinds of stupidity deserve lots of attention as an example of how NOT to behave.

frightened donkey on parasailHoping to attract tourists to their private beach, some entrepreneurs in Russia tied a donkey to a parasail and launched it into the air above the Sea of Azov.  The screaming animal (nearly drowned upon landing in the water) did garner attention, but probably not the kind the owners were hoping to achieve.

"It was put up so high into the sky that the children on the beach cried and asked their parents: 'Why did they tie a doggy to a parachute?'" Taman newspaper reported last week.

"The donkey landed in an atrocious manner: it was dragged several metres along the water, after which the animal was pulled out half-alive onto the shore," the paper reported.
- http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-10695037

Studies continue to show that human-animal bonding is a fertile training ground to improve the human-human social experience.  Pets have become a legitimate part of our extended family.

Today, it is socially acceptable to grieve the loss of a pet, to carry pet pictures in your wallet or purse, to celebrate your pet's birthday with a party, to have pet medical insurance, and to buy special food. The newest trend is to buy special clothes for pets. Today in the US, we own over 120 million dogs and cats and a total of 1.2 billion animals of many species as pets.
- http://www.censhare.umn.edu/spotlight02.html

Human-animal bonding is also a stress-reducing experience that boosts human health.

Why is friendly dog presence stress-reducing?  One possibility is that such presence functions as an "attachment figure" to convey security and safety.  This suggests that attachment theory may be a broad enough "tent" to encompass animals as attachment figures for humans, and vice versa.  A second line of research provides evidence that animal presence (not only dogs but also rabbits and other small furry creatures) facilitates human social approach and interaction for children and adults, both with (Mader, Hart, & Bergin, 1989) and without disabilities (Hunt, Hunt, & Gomulkiewicz, 1992).  Together, these research directions suggest that human interactions with animals, particularly pets, affect human well being and functioning.
- http://www.animalsandsociety.org/assets/library/471_s1043.pdf

People who are aggressive to animals are also aggressive to humans.  In contrast, people who learn to love a less threatening animal are more likely to treat fellow humans with respect and care.  To state it bluntly, there is a direct correlation between those who abuse animals and those who abuse people.

Animal abuse and interpersonal violence toward humans share common characteristics: both types of victime are living creatures, have a capacity for experiencing pain and distress, can display physical signs of their pain and distress (with which humans could empathize), and may die as a result of inflicted injuries.  Given these commonalities, it is not surprising that early research in this area, much of it using retrospective assessment, examined the relation between childhood histories of animal abuse and later violent offending.
- http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/188677.pdf

Emotional bonding with animals should be encouraged.  It moulds humans into better creatures.
mellowtigger: (coprolite)
Some people trust either government or industry (but not the other) to manage tremendously complex situations.  I trust/distrust both in equal measure.  Progressive complexity, however, will still continue.

It's not like the U.S. government has the tools to fix the Deepwater Horizon problem.  Supposedly, even nuclear submarines can't go deep enough to visit that blown oil well.  BP still retains sole discretion on the cleanup effort in the Gulf.  *exasperated sigh*  They have decided NOT to use the volunteer-crafted booms made from donated natural fibers like hair, fur, and wool.  So the booms are now sitting unused in warehouses around the Gulf while oil continues to wash up on beaches.  I'm also told (by an oceanographer who will remain nameless because I expect that he likes his job) that a scientific research vessel approaching the area has been told by its government agency funder that its data might be "quarantined".  I expected a lot more transparency and engagement from the Obama presidency.  The problem, once again, seems to be that industrial organizations have legal rights that supercede citizen-taxpayer interests.  I'm more than ready to change that balance by adding an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to clarify this point.

Diatribe cut for brevity's sake... )

The anthropocene extinction event continues apace.
mellowtigger: (the more you know)
The most common factor that I hear mentioned among all the reasons that people start smoking is the "cool factor".  People have the impression (reinforced via film and advertising) that smokers are tough, imposing, and rebellious.  People slowly committing suicide are not cool, okay?  To paraphrase one person I read on Facebook a few weeks ago:

"Oh, yeah, I smoke as a critique of social conformity too."

A recent study from Israel
collected some very interesting data about smokers.  They studied more than 20,000 recruits in the Israeli army, including some recruits who were brothers.  They found that the population of smokers had a lower I.Q. than the population of non-smokers.  That alone was fascinating news.  The most interesting tidbit (or so I believe) is this one:

"An analysis of brothers discordant for smoking found that smoking brothers had lower cognitive scores than non-smoking brothers (adjusted ES = 0.27; P = 0.014)."

So even when considering the impact of socioeconomic environment, the effect still remains.  They seem to be taking the theory that people with lower I.Q. scores will exercise poorer judgement about the long-term consequences of their actions, leading to the practice of smoking (among other high risk conditions like obesity and drug addiction).

"People with lower IQs are not only prone to addictions such as smoking," Prof. Weiser adds. "These same people are more likely to have obesity, nutrition and narcotics issues."

That idea seems reasonable.  I do wonder, however, if smoking ends up lowering mental acuity because of all the horrible chemicals that are included in cigarettes these days.  They can't be good for the brain.  When considering cigarette smoke and lower I.Q., which is the cause and which is the effect?  I'd want to see I.Q. tests done on young people, then followed up a decade later to see who has taken up smoking and who hasn't.  Has I.Q. lowered only after exposure to smoke?

anti-smoking campaign, 3 imagesI know that I've jokingly mentioned before (to [livejournal.com profile] dangerdhotrod and others) my theory that a former smoker would make a great boyfriend because of that oral fixation that they need to satisfy.  *wink wink* *nudge nudge*

I think I need to retire that joke.  Now that I've seen it used graphically, I can see just how crude and offensive it really is to make light of a deadly serious problem.

anti-smoking imageryAs The Advocate reports:

"A series of posters released Monday by the Non-Smokers' Rights Association each feature a male or female who appears to be in their late teens kneeling before a fully clothed adult male. A cigarette hangs from the teen's mouth, extending downward before seeming to disappear into the man's pants. The caption beneath the image reads "Smoking Means Being a Slave to Tobacco."

Um, yeah.  A serious and life-threatening addiction should not be made into an opportunity for a giggle.  The humor value of my joke is now gone.

I still dislike watching people slowly kill themselves by inhaling that garbage.  I can't quite imagine what I would feel while watching a boyfriend do something like that.  I still want to help people everywhere quit their addiction.  Curiosity (do smokers develop an irrepressible oral fixation?) still roams my thoughts, but it's no longer a laughing matter.
mellowtigger: (Default)
How did I miss this when it came out?

A company called Wilkinson Sword specializes in razor products for men and women. Among their products is the Quattro Titanium. Well, they created a whole video game to promote it. You can play it in Flash on their website. I found the controls ineffective but the concept amusing. Baby (with his smooth skin) and Daddy (with his stubble removed by the magically effective new razor) compete for Mommy's attentions during a rumble in the basement using pillows and teddy bears as weapons.

Check out "Fight For Kisses":
http://www.ffk-wilkinson.com/intl/

Don't skip the intro video. Watch it. Baby-in-training is hilarious.

For some strange reason, this thing makes me think of the old tv show "Bewitched" and the crazy/silly/fun marketing schemes that Darrin and Samantha would have to think up to explain some bizarre situation or other.

(edit:)
p.s.  Now that I do some searching, apparently it was a popular reference on LiveJournal a year ago, before I was really too involved here.  Oh well.  Old news apparently.  :)

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