Against my better judgment, Kate and I have started watching “America’s Next Top Model” on Wednesdays. I figure it’s best to introduce potentially damaging cultural influences myself, so that she can learn the proper response to this nitwit propaganda — jeering mockery from the couch.
And so far, so good. I mean, what other possible reaction can there be to listening to that idiot panel of judges ganging up on these long-stemmed fillies for “not knowing your angles” or having “the wrong planes in your face.” As dumb as these girls are to line up for such treatment, theirs is the lesser sin compared to the rancid misogyny from the alleged adults in the room. And having never paid much attention to Tyra Banks until she was profiled in the NYT magazine not long ago — as a worthy competitor to Oprah, no less — I have only this to say: WTF? Why does she do that stupid caroling-voice thing in every other sentence? Of course, Oprah does that, too, so I see where she gets it.
I’m hoping that someday my progeny will be able to transfer these important life skills to judging photos like this. I don’t think Lucian Freud could have painted a more devastating portrait of decadence.
(It was Donald Trump, in fact, whom I first heard use the phrase “top model,” in reference to the first Mrs. T. Who never was a top model.)
I am down on celebrities these days. I turn to them for comic relief when politics gets to be too much, and what do they do? Disappoint me, every time, and yes, I’m including you, Oprah:
Chastising a celebrity is an exercise in futility. You feel like a kitten being held by the scruff of its neck, scrabbling wildly in the air without drawing blood. Pointless as this may be, though, I will try to talk some sense into Oprah Winfrey, who has decided to go into business with vaccine skeptic Jenny McCarthy.
Zingy lead, but he’s right — it’s ultimately pointless. That women like McCarthy, who not only claims childhood immunizations caused her son’s autism, but that she “cured” it through brave, “alternative” therapies, get soapboxes like this is not only unfair, but infuriating. I respect some aspects of alternative medicine. I’m not totally in bed with the AMA. (If I was, I’d hope they pay better.) But there’s an ugly undercurrent to causes like this that chaps my ass. If Jenny McCarthy can “cure” her kid’s autism, why can’t you? You must not care enough. After all, you got your kid vaccinated in the first place. I’m glad Arthur Allen, at the Slate link above, does not spare the details:
(McCarthy’s) boyfriend, actor Jim Carrey, is even more clueless. At the rally last year, I asked Carrey to give an example of a childhood vaccine we could dispense with. Tetanus, he said. That answer did not reflect a strong—or any, really—grasp of infectious diseases. Children who get tetanus—fortunately, it has been extremely rare in the United States since tetanus vaccination began in the 1920s—suffer horrendous pain, arch their backs, and go into terrible spasms before dying. It’s a very natural disease, to be sure, because the germ causing tetanus lives in dirt. It’s a germ that will be with us forever, and the only way to prevent it is through vaccination.
I wonder where these popculch dim bulbs stand on Gardasil, the cervical-cancer vaccine. In Hollywood, I’d guess you’re far more likely to know someone with HPV than autism. My guess is, they’re on board with it. Ditto with the push for an AIDS vaccine. No one is suggesting chickenpox parties for AIDS, or that pertussis and measles are no big deal, because once upon a time, everyone used to get them.
Perhaps our time spent saying the magic words along with Tyra — “four beautiful ladies stand before me, but I have only three photos in my hand” — will serve as early training on how to judge these pretty airheads who are so hard to avoid. It will be…a vaccination of sorts.
So, a little bloggage:
General Mills finds bloggers to be oh-so-much-more-compliant than pesky journalists. Ahem:
Bloggers, particularly moms, are an audience of such growing importance to General Mills that the consumer-goods company has built a formal network to feed them free products and enable them to run giveaways for their audiences.
MyBlogSpark has recruited more than 900 bloggers — over 80 percent are moms — to register to be eligible for everything from sampling campaigns to product coupons to news of a new ad campaign. General Mills plans to use the network to promote its wide portfolio of products in the food and beverage, beauty, home, electronics, health and automotive categories.
General Mills can be confident the program will fill blogs with positive reviews. One of the requirements for participation reads: “If you feel you cannot write a positive post regarding the product or service, please contact the MyBlogSpark team before posting any content.”
Or risk losing your free cereal, I’d guess.
Bright shiny objects! Get them out of my field of vision! The NYT looks at the science of concentration. (Confession: I downloaded a program called Freedom, which disables all your computer’s links to the outside world — e-mail, internet, instant messaging — and can only be turned off by rebooting the machine. Of course I haven’t used it yet. Give up Google? How would I live? No wonder I can’t write anything of consequence.)
But I can write this. And now it’s off to the gym. Have a swell day, all.