Thursday, November 29, 2007

wuv woo drew

"Eathy, breethy, beauthiful..."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

How A Series of Horrible Essays Taught Me All I Need To Know About Modern Love And Made Me Crawl Into A Bucket of Fried Chicken Left On The Roadside

I have this fantasy where I get the Sunday Times. After sleeping in until 10 or so, I begin the last weekend day in my sun-filled living room curled up on the couch by the huge bay windows, cuddling close to my fiance who has just given me the greatest orgasm of my life. He used to be a sociopathic rapist with a trust fund and I, a staunch feminist who preferred to date non-rapists. But you know what? We learned to compromise. That is what love is all about. And now, cuddling close on the couch together, the clock shows it's nearly 11, and we're so intelligent we've almost completed the entire crossword. "12 letter name, philosopher, wrote On Women..." he reads aloud. We sit thinking, curling our fingers together.

"Schopenhauer!" I scream. He looks at me admiringly. "How did you ever get to be so beautiful but so brilliant too?" he gushes, "I didn't know they made women like you! I would never have been raping all those years if I knew someone like you was out there." My lower class roommate Marmsies walks in on our cuddling, and exclaims in her slightly Cuban accent, "My Momma always says when you got somethin' good, you gots to hold onto it!" My fiance turns to me, looking soulfully into my eyes, "That Cuban girl is right....Marry me now."

Does this sound like something you have or may want someday?

Then you probably love Modern Love, and maybe you should be a Modern Love writer!

I'd like to outline the fairly simple formula of a Modern Love column to make it easier for you to find this elusive brand of love and then write about it for a prestigious paper! First, it's very important to be an educated, upper middle class female. Actually don't bother trying to find modern love if you're not. You can leave subtle hints of your elitist qualifications by describing how you picked up your New Yorker copies scattered throughout his apartment after he broke your heart, or you can casually mention "pre-nups", "Ph.D's", "foie gras", "Park Slope", or "Schopenhauer" at any point during the course of your essay. All of these methods have worked beautifully in the past.

Sometimes a great twist on this element is how your educated position set you up to fail at love. For example in my FAVORITE column ever, "Changing My Feminist Mind, One Man at a Time" the author demonstrates how her superb intelligence and thorough understanding of feminism actually inhibited true love. Someone get this girl a book deal! She is a 19th wave feminist!

I read, re-read, and underlined "Backlash," "The Beauty Myth" and "The Feminine Mystique." I grew enraged by what I learned. Enraged, and utterly confused. Who was keeping women down? Men. But who were just so cute that I couldn't sleep at night for thinking and writing and obsessing about them? You guessed it, the self-same.

Then I went off to an all-women's college, Smith, where I didn't see a whole lot of men. I joined the campus women's group and studied up on gender issues. My rage toward men in general grew ever stronger, as did my desire to meet that one specific man who could make my dreams come true.

It also helps, once you've established your superb white upper class affiliations to dabble with some lower classes. You see they're not as smart as you, thus they are not constricted by their own intelligence. They can teach you how to love purely and intensely, to rid yourself of the shackles of the Ivy League pedigree. Find a poor musician, like this week's columnist did, one who will kind of embarrass you, but who will play Damaged by Primal Scream, and tell you “This song makes me love you so much I want to die." So romantsies! Also, if you can manage to date a rapist serving time in prison you get like, a billion trillion bonus points. That is way modern love.

Lower class people are also very important in the Modern Love story arc to help bring you to your senses. When you're sobbing on some bus, after collecting your smart person materials from your ex-boyfriend's house, make sure that some guy with a "West Indian accent" lightly jokes with you, "Aw, that fool must be crazy to give up a nice young thang like yourself!" Let these people be the voice of sensibility. Let them guide you to your ultimate catharsis. You can even dedicate your entire essay to these characters like in "How My Plumber Turned Water Into Wine" (but remember the focus should still be on you and the shackles of your upper class life). I mean, this week's author comes to her senses thanks to a tenant in a flophouse!

So there I was, a girl with a university education, a glowing résumé, a loving family, and all the other annoying characteristics of a charmed life, writhing on the urine-stained floor of a flophouse. And I was making such a scene that the tenant from the next room, a hulking man in torn boxers, emerged from his den, pointed a shaming finger at me and shouted, “Girl, you need to get your mind right."

Once a poor tenant in a urine-soaked flophouse admonishes you for being crazy you can finally say, "If this dirty dude thinks I'm being crazy, then I must be being too crazy!" and begin the process of love's recovery. Brush the urine right off you. Go to the 'Bucks, grab yourself your usual Grande Skim Latte. Sit and listen to Norah Jones while sipping your steamy drink and process what just happened, though don't come to any conclusions that could, you know, subvert the patriarchy. This experience you've just had-- this is modern love-- and you should write about it so that I can barf up my Sunday brunch and not put on any winter weight.

The Holiday Gift Guide!

The Bullshit Horn. We have a version of this in our home. It lightens the mood during times of tension. It gets Monsies all cute and annoyed which is a gift in and of itself. Sometimes when I'm alone I set it beside me on the couch to watch The Hills and it provides important commentary in the perfect pitch and tone that I myself am incapable of achieving. Really, the bullshit horn is like giving a friend to a friend.

The Snotty Egg Separator
. As a Jewess I appreciate the subtle anti-semitism here. This man though dubbed a WASPy "Peter Petrie" looks exactly like my grandpa. And who likes eggs? Jewish people. More importantly, who separates eggs? Jewish people. I say take back the nose and use this whilst baking your fav holiday kugel.

Speaking of noses, the I AM ME album of 18th wave feminist Ashlee Simpson provides a great gift to those who adhere to the two major values of 18th wave feminism: nose jobs make a woman and "my boyfriend he don't answer on the telephone/ I don't even know where the hell he goes/ but all my girls are here in a circle and nobody is going to break through/ L.O.V.E./ Girls are for life!"

What do you get when you combine the sister of an 18th wave feminist with a 4th wave feminist like Dane Cook and an Angus Third Pounder? Employee of the Month and an Angus Third Pounder to eat while watching it. Package them together for the ultimate present. This movie tackles issues of class too!

Lastly, everyone loves when you get personal with bad grammar or inside jokes. My favorite holiday presents are the customizable magnets and mugs at Zazzle. Book Club is getting an LOLcatz-themed book present. These mugs were intended for my roommates but I'm running into copyright problems. Apparently Cisco Adler doesn't want his balls on your drinking apparatus. But I will think of something. Even if I have to do and extreme ball close-up shot.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Billy Blanks: Thighs of Modernism

"Melanctha, I certainly do think I could make you feel it right to tell me. I certainly do think all I did wrong was to let Jane Harden tell me. I certainly do know I never did wrong to learn what she told me. I certainly know very well, Melanctha, if I had come here to you, you would have told it all to me, Melanctha."-Gertrude Stein, Three Lives, pg 115.

"When the identical fact recurs, we must think of it in a fresh manner, see it under a somewhat different angle, apprehend it in different relations from those in which it last appeared."--William James, The Stream of Thought.

"In both cases, modern art serves to remind its audience that what the eye or ear beholds as a natural and given reality is itself the product of much active construction on the part of the beholder."-Jonathan Levin, Introduction to Three Lives.

I've been doing my old Tae-Bo video workouts every day since I've come home. I still have the entire tape memorized, even Billy's instructional dialogue. Though what I hadn't realized during my after-school workouts in high school is that Billy Blanks is a brilliant deconstructivist:

During squat kicks: "Every one talking about how they want to work their butt, it's not firm enough or tight enough. You know that black bikini. If you do what I tell you right now you'll get into that black bikini. Push yourself! Think about that bikini. Think about that bikini! Think about you in that bikini! This isn't about a swimsuit! This isn't about a bikini. Reach inside and PUSH yourself. Do you want to fit in that swimsuit?"

During jab-cross sequence: "Michael back there is talking about how he's locked up. He's a top basketball player, but you know what he's doing today? Pushing himself. Reach up. Reach up and grab onto your higher power. Whatever it is-- God, that glass of water Reach up and ask your higher power to help. Ask your higher power to give you something. C'mon Michael. C'mon get through this set. No one can help you. No one can help you. You got to find it in yourself. This is about you. You got to reach inside and help yourself.

I swear these are verbatim.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Ode to Bunsies

This is bunny circa 2004. My bestie Dawn and I were high and set up a Bunny photo shoot. He gives good photo.

This is bunny and me circa 2002. I look retarded, but Bunny looks really hawt. Sometimes for internet pictures you have to take one for the team.

Some facts about Bunny:

My uncle gave him to me at Thanksgiving dinner when I was 2. I started crying immediately. Perhaps it was a symbolic reenactment of the Native Americans proffering dead rabbits to the Pilgrims, and the Pilgrims shooting them.

His name is simply Bunny. Shut up. Fuck you.

He is a boy. His fav food is Skittles. And though he's technically older I just say he's 4 in bunny years, thus he is eternally young.

For an entire year all Bunny said to anyone was "Ou est la baguette avec la beret?" after I watched some PBS kids show featuring a baguette wearing a beret who repeated that line incessantly.

I once made my little sister shoplift me a Snickers by threatening her with "Bunny won't be your friend if you don't!"

Bunny was on the cover of a Paul Golding book about homosexual relationships and existential malaise. This freaked me out to no end, because I had never seen another bunny like mine before and thought he was singular. And because then of course I read the book.

When I got scarlet fever in 5th grade bunny came to the hospital with me. My parents gingerly told me that we might have to give bunny back to his bunny family and I was like, "Don't patronize me. If you touch him I will hate you guys forever." He took a Lysol bath instead.

When boys stay over I hide bunny under the pillow. Once my gentleman friend is snoring I pull bunny out and spoon him as ush.

Bunny is not anorexic. He is just so thin because he wakes up either pressed between my thighs or smashed under my stomach.

In a writing class I took in college I wrote a story about a grown man who still slept with his female teddy bear, and the people in my workshop were like, "It's great how you use the stuffed animal as a foil to showcase his fear of human intimacy" and I was like, you're all such pretentious idiots, this is just a charming story about a man who loves his teddy, fuck you.

After 13 months with my last boyfriend I started making him have post-coital conversations with bunny about the sad trajectory of Chris Hitchen's career. Bunny would whisper his replies in my ear and I would be like, "Well Bunny disagrees with you about The Trial of Henry Kissinger." I think I was testing the boundaries of obnoxiousness here, but he thought it was adorable. He started to say "I love you" to Bunny. I knew then that I had to break up with him, because if I could make him have conversations with my stuffed animal then he loved me way more than I deserved and I was already abusing that power.

Every Thanksgiving my Grandma tries to throw Bunny away. I think the thought of me still sleeping with him keeps her up at night. She somehow believes Bunny is preventing me from having a husband. I fear her attempts will be more determined this year since my sister is getting married on Friday.

When I go home for Thanksgiving I put Bunny on the top shelf in my closet where both my dog and my 5'4 grandma can't reach him.

This is Bunny last May spooning with Dawn's dog Nikko. They immediately recognized a gentleness in each other.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Margot at the Wedding.

I wish I could just write a haiku about this. Or, like, not write about it at all, but I made this promise two months ago that I would write every day to try to take some of the paralyzing fear out of writing, or at least, you know, normalize the paralyzing fear into a daily ritual like my 10am Greek yogs with Splenda. And I don't really have anything else going on around here. Topical, almost, because in Margot at The Wedding Nicole Kidman plays an East Coast writer whose paralyzing fears turn her into a crazy betch who writes all her short stories about everyone else's dramas.

We have so much in common except she's prettier.

I saw the preview to Margot before Darjeeling, and was like "Great, another movie about white people problems" but as part of my religion I see everything with Jack Black in it (including The Holiday). What can I say? The Charming- Chubster -Finding -Love genre is my favorite film category. Right up there with New Wave.

i wuv woo Jack. let's abbrevs and baby talk togeths in bed, k?

Unfortunately, the movie isn't really about Jack. It's more about sisters. I almost always hate movies about sisters because they're so untrue. I love my sissies just as much as these damn characters do and we fight and shit, but no one ever throws a fucking plate across the room and erupts into hysterics when one of us disapproves of the other's boyfriend. I mean once when I was little my older sister threw a pool ball at my face and gave me a black eye, but she's since paid me $300 not to mention that story at family functions. When I strike it rich myself, I'll pay my little sister $150 to stop bringing up how I pretended not to know her at the bus stop when the mean older boys were making fun of her headgear (she had some bad teeth). Anyhow, that's about as dramatic as sister relationships get. We solve our problems with money like everyone else.

Nicole Kidman plays Margot, a successful fiction writer who hates all the men in her life, both her overly kind husband and her overly assholish lover, and takes it out on her precocious preteen son, Claude.

She's the type of mother who tells her son inappropriate things, like how she's stoned, how her sister is pregnant, and how her sister's betrothed is a big fat loser. When she gets disturbed by rifts in her romantic life she calls Claude ugly, or lazy, or stupid. She was so mean to her son it made me uncomfortable. Did I also mention I hate movies that are centered around bad moms? It's like, oh if she's a successful fiction writer, she's got to be a crazy horrible betch mother too.

To be fair, Joan really was a terrible betch, but her gracious living guide changed my entire party life.

This was one of those character-driven domestic dramas like The Squid and The Whale, or The Anniversary Party, or We Don't Live Here Anymore, all of which are excellently depressing because even though the characters may be doing bad things, you care about them. I didn't care about anyone in Margot. My vagina got kind of wet when Jack Black started crying, but that was about it, as far as emoting goes.

My favorite part of the evening is when Liz, Laurs, and I were picking up snacks at a nearby deli and after we were rung up I blurted out, "Oh I'll just stash these in my pursy!"

"Pursy", is not what the cashier thought I said. One day abbrevs are gonna get me shot!

Friday, November 16, 2007

I haven't been this excited since the Ryan Reynolds/Jessica Alba remake of Epic Of Gilgamesh (translated from old English to "Good Luck Chuck").

I was born to see Beowulf this weekend.

A Gift From The Unemployed: I Read Play It As It Lays And Summed It Up In The Following Haiku So You Don't Have To! (but you probably should)

Hollywood life blows

Don't even ask of evil

You don't want to know

Now to get yourself in the right Didionian mood go get a messy abortion and eat scrambled eggs as you speed along the freeway. Oh, the symbolism!

Love Always,

Your beloved unemployed (only until Dec 3.!!) reader.

P.S. This was my first venture into Didion fiction--and it was amaze. Any suggestions for my next Didion novel? Please tell!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

From the Mouth of a Marmot.

Look i wrote a post for your blog!

"THINGS LAUREN DOES THAT I LOVE: a semi-regular series by Marmsies, Lauren's roommate

This new blog column is inspired by Mindy Kaling's blog "Things I've Bought that I Love", only instead of things I bought, it is about pleasant things my roommate Lauren has done.

Today's thing: Lauren's Drew Barrymore impression

I have a lot of love for Drew Barrymore. I think it might be biological, even--like, maybe if you got your period the week 'Mad Love' came out, she is like imprinted on you forever. In fact, that must be it, because she hasn't been in a movie I have enjoyed since Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. Anyway, I really love Drew most of the time and am often really defensive when people criticize her. Like, when people talk trash on all her retarded and inarticulate political opinions, I'm like, It's not like it was her choice to only have an eighth grade education, okay? She was owned by the studio! (Ed note: and she was fed coke when she was like a toddler! Both the soda and the drug!) And also, when people made fun of her for not wearing a bra to the MTV Movie Awards a few years ago, I was like, If you're Drew Barrymore and you've been going to the MTV Movie Awards for like 15 years, I'm sure it's basically just another annoying thing you have to do on a Tuesday that you don't even care about enough to put a bra on for. I understand.

(Ed. Note: I think both the author and I would agree that her tatas look tatatacular here.)

(If I were around Drew I'd tell incessant Tom Green penis jokes, because all I want is to see her smile ALL THE TIME, she is so adorbs.)

But Lauren does this amazing impression of Drew endorsing Cover Girl products and just kind of says the Cover Girl motto out of the side of her mouth, with Drew's kind of weird, soft, delicate lisp? I feel like Drew's lisp is very pleasant and almost cashmere-like. Anyway, I love this impression, and actually, now that I think about it, I love this impression because it is not making fun, it is a loving homage. Also, Cover Girl makes a great oil-free pressed powder that will cake really badly on your acne and make you look like your babysitter from 1991 if you use it on your face, but it is great for setting lipstick.

Love, Marmsies"

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"How Do We Beat the Bitch?"

Nothing like answering a totally Hilsogynist remark with laughter and "That's an excellent question" to win over the hearts and minds of the ladies. I don't like Hillary, but if it comes down to it, I hope she bakes your potato face and eats it for her inauguration dinner.

Also, I kind of love the old grandpa character in the background who clutches the backdrop like he's going to fall over when the questionably-colored woman utters the "Bitch" line. I mean clearly I've watched this video too many times. It's just so satisfying glimpsing the horrible old-timey misogyny that proves everything I ever thought about behind-the-scenes Republicanism. I mean I'm sure a video of my apartment on any given night with the three of us watching The Hills in skivvies, using "fucking" as an adjective in front of every noun ("Give me a bite of your fucking Milky Way") , and making casual abortion jokes would be a Republican wet dream, but we're NOT STUPID ENOUGH TO LET IT BE CAUGHT ON CAMERA, only stupid enough to post it on a not very well-read blog.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A Gift From The Unemployed: I Read War & Peace And Summed It Up In The Following Haiku So You Don't Have To!


Not as great as it seems, huh?

Don't marry the wrong girl!

Now stare into Owen Wilson's eyes to get yourself into the right Tolstoyian mood.....

And voila....Congratulations for surviving War & Peace!

Until next time,

Your beloved unemployed reader.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Choice Advice from the Lady Mags: Mama's Got to Get Her Drink On!

: December 2007 issue of Marie Claire

: Navigate the Bar Like a Pro (i.e. an "etiquette" guide to bars)

Choice Advice: If you can't taste any rum in your Bacardi and coke, it's OK to ask the bartender, nicely, to add a little more liquor to your drink. "Be playful. Say you had a bad day or 'Mama's got to get her drink on!'" advises Kosmas.

Really, I'd like to do an article where I actually followed every piece of advice in these mags just for one day. I have a feeling I'd probably wake up drunk in a barn in Kentucky, putting lip liner on my nipples, cow poop on my fine lines, and offering a farmhand a reduced fat cottage cheese blow job or something.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I'm Not There: There, in Concert!

Meredith is the greatest! She scored free tickets to go see the I'm Not There concert at the Beacon theater tonight, so I canceled my plans to stay home and be sick to go see old people cover Bob Dylan songs.

The Beacon is an institution of class. Bright, blinky spotlights out front, gilded gold lions decorating the interior theater-- it's totally gorgeous and screams "This is NY baby!" which is a good atmosphere to be in on those days you've been in Brooklyn too long.

The only thing that brought the experience down a notch in decorum was Heath Ledger snapping his gum into the mike. Spit out ur gum before u announce boy.

The best thing about being surrounded by 60 year old men who resemble your father had he undergone a hippie-themed midlife crisis wherein he quit his job, practiced sick licks along with a "Teach Yourself the Sick Licks of the '60s" VHS tape, and roasted 8-flavor chicken for dinner every night, is that it makes you appreciate the beauty of your youth. No I do not know the name of this obscure Dylan song that someone in a badly tailored suit is covering. You know why? Because I'm 25! Boooo-yah!

Not that I don't like Bob Dylan. I do. He's from Minnsies. Apparently the lyrics for All Along the Watchtower are scratched into a wall on the top of some U of M campus tower. The combined name-dropping power of Dylan and Berryman is a great asset to our fine state school looking to recruit angsty males from the East Coast.

No one covered my favorite Bob Dylan song "Tangled Up in Blue". Tragic, as the lyric "We always did feel the same, we just saw it from a different point of view" is so true it's like LOLWHOOOOOOA.

I had heard of but never actually heard My Morning Jacket before this concert. Their performance of "Goin' to Acapulco" tonight was AMAZE though so I made a mental note to check into that emo motel when I got home. Verdict: they're pretty awesome. However, my first fan letter is going to include some alternate band name suggestions. My Morning Boner would even be better.

Mason Jennings is Bob Dylan reincarnated.

I was SUPER DISAPPOINTED that my favorite statutory duo who make me feel all romantic in the vagina did not show up! I guess when sex becomes legal it is so exciting it consumes all other social comittments.

, I hope, will tell you more about the crazy stoned hippies, and the man in black leggings and ballet slippers like a flat-chested Amy Winehouse.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

You know how you kind of feel like your intelligence has been raped when you watch shows like "The Bachelor"? Like you know you shouldn't like it, but somehow all those crying women are emotionally satisfying on a very primal "Well at least I'm not THAT crazy" level, so you bind your better brain into submission? Good news! Someday soon you may no longer have to worry about being forcibly mind-fucked, you can just watch contestants get forcibly fucked! Nice vetting process, ABC!

Prosecutor: 'Bachelor' Candidate Is Serial Rapist

Apparently you have to buy a vag?: "I'd like to buy a vag, Pat"

PR:Um so, after some very sexualized conversation, I just let some SL dude on the SL beach start to undress me and let me tell you we were both pretty dismayed to discover I didn't have a "working" vagina. Also I am having blatant online sex at Gorilla Coffee (in the name of research!)


Liz: that is incredibly amazing/disturbing.

PR: I mean there's a shadow, but you have to buy like a designer vag. I just found one that advertised "tightness". You HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME. Six bucks on a tight vagina that no one will actually physically feel?! This world is Andrea Dworkin's nightmare!!

Mere: So are you going to do it? At least you're getting a lot of material for your piece?

PR: I think I kind of have to refuse spending money on a vagina online. I think the material is going to be the fact that this is basically a crazy hegemonic male porn dream. It's so hard to find a vagina with more pubic hair than a tween vag. Sadly, after being on it all morning I was like, "I need to take a break--oh, maybe I'll go get a bikini wax" then realized that I was unconsciously internalizing SL pornographic standards!

Liz: also i'd like to see the subject line rewritten as a wheel of fortune reference.

PR: ahahahhaha like "I'd like to buy a vag, Pat"

Liz: precisely. and then maybe vanna comes out with the vag puppet from tyra?!

Diablo Cody constantly amazes me.

Monday, November 5, 2007

"There comes a time when the financial burden is just too great for a small company to bear."- "Chuck", the absolutely charming head of the behometh Conde Nast company as he informed us House & Garden was no longer profitable and is shutting

Excuse me while I crawl into an abandoned fried chicken bucket left on the roadside. Please email if you have jobs/want to see a cheap matinee movie. I have a hankering to see Bella: An Urban Fairy Tale.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Terror Treat: It's 2007 And There Are Still Assholes Who Will Derisively Call You "Baby!"

We all have our Terror Dreams. Al Gore's involves an oil company executive playing Grand Theft Auto with Tipper, while spooning her on a freshly skinned polar bear fur. Judd Apatow's has something to do with losing a rap battle to Tina Fey. My recurring night terror is going to an abortion clinic where my uncle is the doctor, and having him nonchalantly exclaim "Oh Laurlies, it looks like you have the one kind of uterus that abortions don't work on...guess you'll have to stick with it!" as his secretary sends me off with an inspirational office placard depicting an idyllic mountain range overprinted with a bold Reagan quote about Fortitude.

Susan Faludi's nightmare--the scariest of the bunch-- is the idea that an attack like 9-11 would revert our country back to the comfort food that American patriotism has traditionally subsisted on: Doris Day femininity and John Wayne machismo.

Faludi saw the potential for this coming. In her 1991 feminist manifesto, Backlash, she documents how the mass media began to make large, celebratory declarations in the late '80s that women's equality had arrived and the feminist movement was (or would soon be) over, while also simultaneously puking forth a barrage of "findings" on how women are unhappier, and more stressed and sick than ever before. There was tons of press dedicated to women's lib/ television hero Murphy Brown's single mom victory over the patriarchy and the potatoe, but at the same time media outlets graciously pointed out that unwed women much like Murphy were, according to Newsweek, "hysterical" and victims of a "profound crisis of confidence." In other words, the media was giving women a big, fat, patronizing "You brought this on yourself, baby!" pat on the back.

Murphy Brown, from the Season 10 episode "Murphy gets impregnated by ghost sperm and starts drinking again." What? No, shut up! It is her

What's worse, this wasn't just coming from a concentrated politically conservative sector-- hyperbolic accusations about the terrible effects of the second-wave feminist movement were continually lobbed by the right, the left, and even inane media outlets that smart and dumb people alike watch. My favorite anecdote in Backlash is when Faludi mentions a guest on The Today Show who correlates the popularity of slasher movies with social acceptance of abortion because, get this: abortion makes violence "more acceptable".

An Extra Special Halloween Abortion Horror Movie! "Unborn Sins"-- the spirit of an aborted "child" comes to life to kill everyone with the fury that only a bag of cells ejected from the womb can possess!

Of course most accusing women's newfound equality of reaping disastrous effects were ignoring a simple fact that highlights the illogicality the argument: Women simply had not achieved equality. As Faludi notes, at the time women represented "two-thirds of all poor adults". The average female high school graduate earned less than a male high school drop-out. There were two female executives among the Fortune 500. As it turned out these fear-mongering reports on how women couldn't possibly be happy in an equal world weren't so much social science, but rather a manifestation of the male-dominated culture's fear of such a world really coming to fruition.

In The Terror Dream, Faludi puts together a scathing analysis of post-9-11 gender relations and works it into a larger, mythological narrative on the history of American gender roles. She saves the myth examination for the end, thankfully, because her arguments on the current state of gender affairs are much more pressing, evidenced, and interesting. Backlash works well with The Terror Dream, some might say it does what milk does for Oreos, or what lube does for a tired cooter: the situation that Backlash draws out greases the pan that The Terror Dream cooks in (I promise that is the last analogy). There was no perfect feminist America on September 10th, 2001--women still faced challenges and had less opportunities solely because of their gender, reproductive rights were constantly being challenged as was the concept of the working woman. Faludi is not arguing, as some reviews have accused her of doing, that 9-11 took us from a great place back to the proverbial stone-age. The setting for this kind of regression was there, detailed in Backlash, and Faludi argues that the feelings of insecurity and fear that 9-11 conjured just made it easier to openly respond with a regressive cultural reaction. That reaction was 1.) Feminists need to shut up 2.) We can't be perceived as weak and 3.) We will hail the type of brawny man who acts before he thinks and eats an Angus Third Pounder every day for Fourth Meal.

OMG, num.

Faludi dedicates an entire chapter to how prominent feminists like Sontang, Klein, and Kingsolver were all vilified for making what amount to rather intelligent statements about re-examining our foreign policy, while the men who made similar statements (or worse: Bill Maher said that the 9-11 attacks were brilliant. I mean, yes, duh, but c'mon) were let off the hook, or promoted...(Maher got an HBO show). The women were called "bitches", "witches", "idiots", and "delusional". Feminism as a whole was also outrightly attacked. Paglia made the nonsensical argument that workplace equality made men more girly, thus making our country weak. Martin van Creveld wrote in Newsday that " one of the principal losers [of 9-11] is likely to be feminism, which is partly based on the fake assumption that the average woman is able to defend herself as well as the average man." John Tierney (falsely) accused the feminist movement of putting boys more in touch with their feelings than their guns. The media insisted that what we needed in this terrible post-911 world were cowboys with guns and for their semi-intelligent wives who may have had a vocal pro-choice past to stand silent and supportive behind their husbands:

The evidence Faludi presents is so literal and so plentiful (I don't think I'm consumed another non-fiction book with as much documentation), it's hard for me to fathom how reviewers can get away with dismissing it as "anecdotal" stuff that already in the "blogosphere" as Michiko Kakutani does in the New York Times review. (I don't understand the logic behind the blogosphere comment either-- is that supposed to somehow make it less true?) Kakutani also makes the drop-in-the-ocean counter-example argument: But what about Hillary Clinton? What about Katie Couric? Feminist values can't be under attack because those two exist!

Well, what Kakutani ignores, and Faludi points out in the book is that despite Couric's much-touted promotion to CBS evening news anchor, the number of women's voices in media as a whole dropped significantly and rapidly post-911. Faludi writes that in comparison to the previous month, the month after September 11th saw the percentage of female bylines in the New York Times alone plummet from 22 percent to 9 percent. The Washington Post published 107 editorials in the three weeks following 9-11; seven were by women. "For the first six months of 2002, more than 75 percent of the Sunday talk shows in CBS, Fox, and NBC featured no female guests (Fox was free 83 percent of the time)" she writes.

It's also ridiculous to pretend that Couric's promotion wasn't littered with gender issues-- a simple Google search of her name brings up hundreds of op-eds first questioning her ability to host a serious, evening show after being such a "lovable" and "adorable" morning hostess (like this Wa-Po one), and then once her evening anchor position was solidified she was praised for her "reassuring presence" (um, can you say Mommy figure?) and of course they had to photoshop pounds off of her. Clinton has suffered much of the same "Damned if she does, damned if she don't" criticism, recently being attacked for being too man-ish, all while facing a continual press campaign of "But can a woman really be president?"

My only thought when reading the negative reviews of The Terror Dream was, "Did these dudes really read this? Or are they just bullshitting a bad review because they had like 10 other things due the next day?" Seriously, Faludi's logic is impeccable. And I am the arbitrator of the logically sound because 1.) this is my blog, and 2.) I was the captain of my high school debate team.

I also was tempted to leave the MC Paul Barman lyric "Going to Backlash your booty, like Susan Faludi" in the comment section of every neg review. And if second round fact-checking work doesn't come in soon, I think I will.