Today I happened to have a little bit more of the most mainstream of American culture cross into my view than I usually do, and it's all been kind of fascinating. Thought I'd share some thoughts on it.
1) Apparently Kim Kardashian is the Worst Person in the World for getting a divorce as soon as the checks accumulated from her show pony wedding cleared. The TV at the gym showed her being absolutely mobbed by reporters as she was traveling from one place to another, probably involving a courthouse of some sort. You would think she just got acquitted for murder even after being caught in the act of slitting the throat of one of America's treasures, such as Prince or something.
I for one support her fully in her awesome con job on the patriarchy-mad idiots who eat this shit up. She did more damage to the bullshit pretty princess submissive bride ideal in one, super-money-making blow than any of us grumpy marriage skeptical feminists online could do with years of writing. I'm delighted. Madonna wishes she could push people's buttons so easily. If it turned out that Kardashian is actually a performance artist deftly exploiting American's patriarchal fantasies and hang-ups, I wouldn't really be surprised. I hope she gets married again soon, and this time has like 10 gowns.
2) For some reason, after the Kardashian clip, the TV showed Dr. Oz hauling women on to stage and feeding them food from around the world that he claimed would help them lose weight. I couldn't hear the sound, since I had on my headphones and was trying diligently to read some actual political reporting, but it kept grabbing my attention for like five minutes. Some of it was obvious woo, such as some tea from South Africa, but some of it probably had an argument in its favor, such as muesli (fiber) and pickled foods from Hungary (I suspect pickled foods slow down how quickly you eat, which probably prevents you from eating until you're uncomfortably full). Beats me what he was saying; I couldn't hear his ridiculous patter. Which left me free to watch the women as they ate the food. All three that I watched put the food in their mouths, and immediately made a face like they were being punished. Seriously, they all made the same face I make when I had a really fun outing planned and I have to cancel it because of bad weather. I found their reactions to the food incongruous; muesli might not be the greatest thing ever, but it's not like lighting matches on your tongue or anything.
And then I flashed on this interview I read with Mindy Kaling yesterday. Her comments about dieting, I thought at the time, were a tad silly:
"We always think of a diet with a big groan," Kaling tells Renee. "But I think diets are fun. I think it is an American pastime for a lot of women. I don't know. I think that Kelly [her character on "The Office"] thinks of dieting as a fun hobby to have."
After watching those few minutes of Dr. Oz, I realize that Kaling wasn't exagerrating. What I was witnessing was some bizarre S&M ritual transplanted from sex to food and being presented as wholesome family entertainment. The women were naughty girls. They'd eaten cheesecake and pizza. And now they were getting their punishment of pickles and muesli, deftly administered by the firm but loving (and so muscular, so handsome!) hand of Dr. Oz. The actual taste of the food didn't matter, just that it symbolized discipline. And so it tasted like discipline.
So much to me about our culture and food became clear then. Also, Dr. Oz's appeal, because seriously, I didn't get it before.
Beware the Beliebers. Mariah Yeater found herself bombarded with death threats on Twitter after the Star magazine reported she had filed a paternity suit against Justin Bieber. “Dear Mariah Yeater, Roses are red, violets are blue, stay away from Bieber or Beliebers will kill you,” wrote one person. Yeater claims in her lawsuit that she had sex with Bieber backstage at one of his shows last year. Bieber denies the allegations. Yeater shouldn’t be surprised at the violent reaction of the Bieber fans. Last year Kim Kardashian got death threats after she met Bieber at the White House Correspondent’s dinner. Selena Gomez, the singer’s current girlfriend, has also received threats.
Surely this is something that better comprehensive sex education could go a long way towards preventing, isn't it? I feel that if these girls could start by giving a name to the urges that compel them, they would be able to move on to channeling their emotions more productively.