Thursday, April 21, 2011

Michael Collings, Susan Boyle, beauty and human nature

So a plump and scruffy bloke called Michael Collings has wowed 'em on Britain's got Talent and is being hailed as the next Susan Boyle. He hasn't generated the same amount of interest but he's going pretty strong. It's fascinating that so many people find it surprising (and often even inspiring) that someone who doesn't look all that flash can sing so beautifully.

Of course lefties would say this is all down to social conditioning. I think that's a big part of it. But there does appear to be something deeper going on as well. I'm not saying this is a good thing, mind, but there does seem to be this iron iron law coded into our DNA that says we must believe that pretty people are better at everything, even making pleasing sounds.

We all know it's false and wrong, but we obey it nonetheless. You can see this all the time - and not just in popular culture. Beautiful women and tall, handsome men seem to be inordinately rewarded in pretty much any field you care to imagine. It's just so bloody cruel. That's why people often sook up when they see it broken. It's as if they're saying: "Screw you, nature! There's one for God, civilization and justice!"

Then we go back to worshipping physical beauty for another year or two until another fugly duckling with an angelic voice pops up and reminds us how shallow and subservient we are!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Balls of Steel uses lazy, lousy pranks to get laughs

I'm not a fan of this brand of comedy that relies solely on the shock value created by pranks. The latest of these is the Aussie version of Balls of Steel. In it, performers with outrageous characters compete to see who can be the most brazen in duping innocent bystanders. I know that some people find this sort of stuff utterly hilarious. But it usually just makes me cringe.

As I understand it, the unsuspecting participants are always told about it afterwards and have to give their consent for their reactions to be broadcast. The fact that so many people do just that shows what good sports they are.

Still, it seems to be a particularly cheap and nasty way to get a laugh. And while there is some preparation involved, it doesn't require much more than the titular "cohones".

Call me old fashioned, but I think that comedic stunts like these have got nothing on deception free, well written, thoroughly rehearsed and skillfully performed sketches and routines.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Counterpoint interview

Glad to be interviewed on the ABC about Artsville and it's dreary left-wing bias.

Hmm. Maybe I should stop bitching about it, eh? I mean, the ABC is also chockas with politically correct luvvies. Maybe they're not that intolerant of opposing views after all ... Nah, Counterpoint is the exception that proves the rule.

My blogging nemesis Derek Sapphire doesn't see it that way, though. He thinks that any dissent is way too much! The moonbat.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sucker Punch, sexism and feminism today

Feminism  is really lost at the moment. Of course it was (and remains) a "broad church" - as its proponents invariably say whenever the ideology's glaring inconsistencies are pointed out. But it would be heartening to know that it actually stood for something.

The biggest internal contradiction nowadays surely has to do with Islam. While some feminists have finally started catching up to conservatives and openly condemned the religion for its institutionalized sexism, most have wussed out completely. Sadly, many feminists still seem to think that blonde jokes are more oppressive to women than the Taliban.

You can see just how irrelevant and silly feminism has become in our popular culture as well. Because of the relentless nagging by feminists over the last several decades, women routinely have "empowering" (that is, masculine) roles in movies and television. Actually, it's quite rare to see any featured female character behaving in a feminine way. She's got to be a brilliant nuclear scientist who's also an expert in tae kwon do - or a witheringly witty wisecracker at the very least. Needless to say, because of commercial constraints, she's also got to be no older than thirty and look like a million dollars.

Nowhere is this syndrome more pronounced than in the action, sci-fi and fantasy film genres. The movie Sucker Punch is a perfect example. It's got a bunch of slinky young sexpots all dolled up like porn starlets running around blowing the bejesus out of anything that moves. Talk about having it both ways!

Not surprisingly some people think the movie is deeply sexist because it objectifies women. Then there are those, including at least one of the movie's female stars, who sincerely believe it's an empowering feminist statement.

Call me old fashioned, but I think this is just hilarious. At least as these questions pertain to popular culture, does anybody know what feminism means anymore - and does anybody really care? I think the answer to both is a resounding "nope!".

Monday, April 4, 2011

Dolly Putin, Bob Brown and politically correct double standards

There is no shortage of hypocrisy from the po-faced proponents of PC. They're forever accusing those who don't kowtow to their mind-stunting dogmas of sexism, racism and homophobia (even when they're not guilty of such things) but they invariably give all their fellow travellers a free pass (even when they are).

A recent example of this involves an adviser to Bob Brown called Naomi Edwards. She performs a comic character called Dolly Putin who has a pig called Amanda Vanstone.

There's that old double standard again. In Artsville, you can be as viciously misogynistic as you like (actually, you're encouraged to be) as long as you're mocking conservative women. There are heaps of examples of this, particularly in comedy.

I first really noticed it back in Melbourne in the early nineties. The lefty, feminist comedians -- you know, the kind of women who would whinge endlessly about male comics talking about their genitals, then get up on stage and do nothing but dick (and period) jokes -- would be livid whenever someone made fun of Joan Kirner's weight, or her polka dot dresses. But they loved it when the object of similarly sexist mockery was someone like Vanstone.

And I saw a more general manifestation of this double standard related to the phenomena of drag. I was often amused at how angry my lefty feminist friends would get about the boofheads from The Footy Show whenever they frocked up. But they themselves would happily go to a drag show at a gay pub and laugh along with the crowd and have a fine old time.

If you ever pointed the inconsistency out to them they would say that the blokey version was a mockery of femininity, while the gay drag show was far more stylish and a kind of celebration of it. But you could just as easily argue that there was more misogyny in the gay version. Gay men exaggerate aspects of femininity such as women's attire, hairstyles and makeup in a mocking way. And their characters always seem to be bitchy and nasty or just plain dumb as well. 

Gay men don't like women sexually, by definition. And from a drag act it would seem that they don't really like them in any other way. While any kind of performance is multifaceted and ambivalent, a very strong element in gay drag seems to be a revolted fascination with women and an attempt to diminish them through grotesque parody. 

There's misogyny in the boofhead version as well. But the joke is much more about incongruity. When towering lummoxes don little black dresses and blonde wigs they don't try to imitate women's mannerisms. If anything they exaggerate their masculine ones. They'll swagger around, scratch their balls, grab each other in affectionate headlocks -- all while grinning stupidly. They think they're utterly hilarious, and are desperate to crack up their mates with their shenanigans.

I think that sense of exclusion from the boys' club is what the feminists hated so much. Boofhead drag reminded them that they were not wanted. This blokey-bloke tribe possessed some sort of power and cachet that the feminists envied, yet its members were hostile to the idea of women entering it. But most men don't want to be part of boofhead culture either, so why would a woman want to be?

In any case I can understand women being offended by blokey-blokes in dresses. But then why not be offended by gay men's drag? Well, you might be accused of homophobia then. So you have to make a show of enjoying it and supporting it. It's the done thing

Ultimately this just shows how credulous and obedient lefty feminists actually are. They'll go along with anything as long as it's deemed right on by the powers that be. Hardly the definition of independent thinking. On the contrary, they're almost "participating in their own oppression", as they themselves might say.