The Canadian Club











I was in India!

With a long stretch of stressful physiognomy research and my subsequent travels to one of the oldest and most hallowed civilizations, I had neglected the pleasures of professional football (where people don’t do crazy stunts with unloaded firearms in team locker rooms) for what must be over a month.  Yikes!  So, it was good today to squeeze in at least one game before my girlfriend, who is Indian, returns tomorrow.

Watching the Saints demolish Jesus-freak sore-loser Kurt Warner, I was at first alarmed.  Something had happened to the NFL.  Why were they talking about the earthquake in Haiti?  What’s up with that?  Not only did they offer advice on donating to rescue efforts, but they even interviewed a Haitian player on the Saints sidelines, asking him about his family.  Lost in all this, was the real message of football: support for our troops!  Seriously, this is the first time I’ve seen football announcers shirk their responsibility to remind us that the real reason we watch football is to remind ourselves of the freedoms being protected by our amazing young men (and some chicks) on Iraqi and Afghan soil.

Oh, and the other reason we watch football is to be reminded of how tough it is to be a white man in a world full of chicks who get on our case and people of color who are just weird.  Although this sometimes plays itself out on the field, most of this message is conveyed through advertising.  For example, it had been over a month since I saw this awesome ad about how much it would be awesome if women were potato-heads, so you could just dismember their faces and make them finally shut up.

I think only today, after a long time away from the U.S. boob tube, did I actually figure out that this is selling tires and not the trailer for the next Almodovar film.

It is always comforting to turn off the TV at the end of a football game secure with the knowledge that chicks are stupid and annoying. But football also goes hand-in-hand with race-anxiety, even where this concerns model minorities, such as your usually technically adept, funny-talking South Asians.  This superbowl ad from 2008 is the perfect demonstration:

Usually, you have to wait for the Simpsons later to a couple of hours later to find Indians this hilarious!

Of course, Ramesh, satisfyingly, is still working to meet the exacting expectations of a comfortably white middle manager.  But look what happens when you let these guys run the show.

OMFG!  Any frakin’ day and Indians are still adorably hilarious — but kind of dumb, too.  I mean, don’t they realize that they can’t dance?  Clearly, not amongst the more graceful, football-lovin’ people of this nation.  Thanks, Metro PCS!  It’s good to know that — since blacks always play the race card and never get the joke — we can still get good, innocent chuckles from Indians!

Speaking of which, I would just like to point out, now that I’ve been to India — so you can’t accuse me of making this a race thing, Dave — that more Indians look like Naveen Andrews than do Iraqis.  Yet television keeps on trying to cast Indians as some kind of undefined Middle Easterners!  I mean, are actual Arabs/Persians just not swarthy enough to represent shiftiness and inscrutability?  Or do they only want to cast Arabs in unambiguous terrorist roles, reserving good guy Middle Eastern roles for good guy, non-Muslim Indians?  What’s up with that?

Meanwhile, there are actually Indians who can pass for Iraqi:  those hunky, brooding Muslim Bollywood superstars of whom I’ve now grown quite fond!  Did you know that so many Indians now want to look Iraqi, that it is actually perceived as a precondition to being cast?  See for yourself:

Thankfully, those of us who watch football can just grab a beer, relax, and thank G_d for other people’s insecurities.

By the way, did I mention I was in India for the past two weeks?

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Well, Dave, someone heard my earlier plea about obtaining a free ticket to the Deli.  I mean, except for the free part.  And so it is that I am headed off to Hindustan today to see my Hindustani girlfriend!

But, I wouldn’t leave without throwing some questions your way, Dave… And so here are some things I was thinking about:

So, sifting through this compilation, I noticed this press release for something that calls itself  “Bezi Bra Discs,” basically subtle pasties.  This apparently resolves an age-old predicament

“With so many air-conditioned rooms, women wearing sleek bridal wear are seeing more than just wedding cake. They are seeing they outline of their nipples through their dresses,” says Anne Zuckerman, owner of Edith’s Inc. “This is not they way most brides — and their bridal party — want to stand out on such an important day as a wedding.”

Now, I have to admit to finding it a really bad sign that our contemporaries are horrified of this.  And yet, don’t you have some old acquaintance that “invented” and sold the same thing?  What were they called? Who has a patent on this?  And how could several people have the same bad idea at once? In essence, this invokes the Almodovar paradox, where what is presented as particularly sensitive to women, strikes me, rather, as sneering misogyny.

And, to answer your question, Dave, yes, I have seen three Almodovar films.  They basically have a drag queen‘s portrayal of the feminine mystique.  Perhaps it is in those grand gesticulations of mocking hyperbole that modern criticism reads feminism.  Or maybe I have it all wrong, and there is some confusion and distinction that I’m not making between movies that are feminist by nature, and those that are sensitive portrayals of women.

Moving along, I’m very curious about this thing called Momofuku.  Why is it extremely popular as a subject of Facebook status updates?  What is it?  Is its appeal related in some way to the popularity of those French Connection UK T-shirts?  Help me out here, Dave.

Finally, you have a kid, right?  Well, can you ask him what the deal is with all these poopyheads?

Well, that’s about enough out of me.  I best be shining my shoes and sliding my passport in its protective sleeve.  See ya on the other side of 2009!



{December 24, 2009}   Schadenfreude goes to the movies

Dave, nothing could please me more right now — except maybe a free, round-trip ticket to the Deli — than this movie Nine being greeted like the piece of crap it is.  I mean, seriously, we’re almost out of the aughts, and we still have to put up with Latin-lover-mythologizing, misogyny-as-art bullshit being marketed to us as if we have the brains of big dumb people.

I mean, I thought only the French (and Almodovar… oh, and Bertolucci) were allowed to put out movies in which women stripping down passes for a thinking person’s entertainment… How could somebody see this movie idea and give it the greenlight??!!!??

Oh, and as you’ll notice, all the usual culprits are involved, Penelope “People get off knowing that I’m dumb as a brick and every character I play is dumb as a brick — but with an accent which makes it alright” Cruz; Nicole “I was in that Kubrick movie in which I emoted way too much” Kidman’; and, worst of all, Anthony “Can you make your characters die already — oh, and Juliet Binoche sucks, as does Kristin Scott Thomas” Minghella.

Now, I know, Dave, you have a personal axe to grind with Audrey Tautou (as do I, btw)… but she should at least be temporarily exonerated for not having anything to do with this flick.

Obviously, I exempt Marion Cotillard and Fergie from my opprobrium. The former due to her being awesome, the latter, because she taught me how to spell.

But back to why Nine is so appalling.  I think it may have something to do with Any Vow-bag European nostalgia.  Whaddya think Russ, will there be a time in the near future when our culture moves past our massive Jones for European accents, Robert Brassai and 1960s infantilism? In any case, I think this about sums it up:

Stacy Ferguson, known to pop-music fans as Fergie, is Saraghina, the village prostitute who provides the boy Guido with a glimpse of forbidden pleasures. Nice for him. The rest of us watch Ms. Ferguson stomp and gyrate through a number called “Be Italian,” which, like so much else in “Nine,” resembles a spread in a Victoria’s Secret catalog, only less tasteful. Ms. Hudson, for her part, struts through an embarrassing hymn to “Cinema Italiano” — with inane lyrics about “hip coffee bars” and Guido’s “neo-realism” — that recalls not Visconti or Antonioni (or even the Italian sex farces of the 1970s) but rather those lubricious Berlusconi-esque variety shows that baffle and titillate visitors from other countries who turn on their hotel-room television sets.

Right on!

On another, related note:  Do you remember when we went to see Natural Born Killers, Dave?  Do you remember that I hated it and thought it was stupid?  I like to think I have had some measure of vindication in the past few days.



et cetera