Saturday, September 21, 2013

Why women can't "get lucky"

You know the Four Horsemen are just around the corner when women start using male sex slang and it isn't a scene in a bad comedy. The irony is gone, and the true substance of the slang has evaporated with it.

The worst example: women talking about "getting lucky." I used to hear women say this as a punchline (it was a simpler time). Now they say it like they invented it. The expression is annoying enough when men use it. Now it's gone co-ed, and when I hear a woman say it I am temporarily transformed into a eunuch.

Let's review this again: any woman under sixty can walk into any bar (or restaurant, or grocery store, or ice cream truck, or children's' hospital, or air traffic control center) and pick up a man whenever she wants. When a woman propositions a man, no matter what, he at least thinks about it (doesn't happen the other way around). She has almost as much power in this area as an old school sheikh. The world is her harem.

When you can do something effortlessly whenever you want, IT NO LONGER QUALIFIES AS GETTING LUCKY.

There is nothing lucky about a woman hooking up. In terms of sexual power, women get lucky by being born a woman. Women are born with the winning lotto numbers. The female body is a royal flush, 21, a 3-point shot, and checkmate rolled into one. Men aren't born with the sexual wind at their back. When men play the sexual numbers game, we usually come up snake eyes. This is why we feel so LUCKY when we're successful.

I have not yet heard women talk about "making it to first base" or "hitting a home run," but I am waiting with a sick, burning feeling in my stomach for this to emerge as a debilitating fact of life. Once again, such slang will be unnecessary, because there is no such thing as "rounding the bases" when you can start on home plate and stay there all nine innings.

Anyone who follows me on Twitter is getting lucky:

Thursday, September 19, 2013

McCain is more dangerous than Putin

In response to Putin's critical though unemotional NYT op-ed in which he questioned US exceptionalism, Senator McCain struck back hard with a shrill tirade in Pravda. He must have just seen You Got Served.

Putin vs. McCain: In practice, who has been the more dangerous politician?
McCain has a prominent and visible role in shaping the foreign policy of the largest military in world history. And unlike Russia (and most other countries run by putative supervillains), the US often does make good on its rhetoric (see most post-WWII US foreign policy), so McCain's words frequently become reality. This is less true of Putin. Because the US is an empire and has a military presence in something like 140 countries (to do any less would be isolationist), McCain has far more power than Putin to implement his foreign policy gimmicks. When Russia even talks of military action, the whole world throws a fuss. The US faces modest criticism (sometimes) when it begins military action.

McCain vociferously backed the invasion of Iraq (we'll stay "maybe 100" years!), the escalation in Afghanistan, the intervention in Libya, and strikes on Syria. As a Presidential candidate, he sang "Bomb Iran" at a campaign stop. Any time Putin or some other authoritarian makes an offhand remark about aggression, the international press talks about it like the troops are already landing in whatever country he was referring to. Well, if we're going to have such a standard, how about the Republican candidate for President promoting a bombing campaign, via karaoke, against a country that hadn't attacked the US? Imagine the reaction if Chavez or Putin had done something remotely similar.

McCain never met a hopeless conflict he didn't want to get involved in. Dr. Strangelove was less of a hawk. So ask yourself: who has contributed to more worldwide aggression, Putin or McCain? Oh, and he also backs NSA spying, in case any of my fellow Americans were feeling left out of McCain's long waltz of wrath.

Of course Putin is a terrible guy. He is a Head of State. You don't get that job without getting a lot of dirt under your nails (usually cemetery dirt). But ask yourself who has put more of his rhetoric into practice, leading to real deaths rather than just threats of death? I say John McCain.

Hopefully Putin won't kill me for my tweets:

Saturday, September 14, 2013

An author shouldn't always want to be quotable

***Spoiler for Chinatown appears below***

A man is the sum of his misfortunes. One day you'd think misfortune would get tired, but then time is your misfortune.

Sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they forget the words.

Those are two quotes from the novels of the oft quoted William Faulkner. I could list juicy tidbits from the man from Mississippi all day. I could not however spend a day reading the novels themselves. They are tedious, partly because they are crammed with quotable moments.

Often, the novels with the best quotes aren't the best novels, because the author forces in lots of great quotes at the expense of the story. It is even more grating when these perfectly formed lyricisms and insights are presented as dialogue. No authentic human sits around unleashing proverbs that outdo the King James Bible, yet authors create characters like this all the time. I get it, these writers want to be quoted 100 years after they're dead, so they inject mini-essays into their novels whether they belong or not, ignoring that essays and novels are different things.

The Picture of Dorian Gray is full of amazing quotes, most of them uttered by the character Henry Wotton. The first half is largely a showcase for Wotton's witticisms and worldview, and this hurts the novel. Apart from the fact that even the world's greatest conversationalist isn't a gushing fount of future Bartlett's familiar quotations, having a character essay rather than speak to show how he influences another character (Dorian) is a bit too on-the-nose. The novel is still entertaining, simply because Wilde was the greatest inventor of quips to write in English.

I know it isn't a novel, but the film Chinatown is an example of creating cumulative effect without dozens of florid, standalone quotes. The last line: "Forget it Jake, it's Chinatown" isn't so impactful by itself. But it is the perfect culmination of the film's story and tone, and is devastating thanks to the film's cumulative effect; its feel. If Jake Gittes spent the whole time unleashing Socratic monologues, neither the last line nor the film would have worked as well.

Some writers who knew about cumulative effect: Camus, Graham Greene, Orwell, Kafka, Flannery O'Connor. Orwell could be didactic, but his work is referenced - Newspeak, doublethink, memory hole, Thought Police - far more often than it is quoted. And when his novels are quoted, it is often explicit political slogans from them - Some animals are more equal than others, WAR IS PEACE -; not quips clumsily inserted to remind the reader what the book is about. Thanks to the cumulative effect and feel of Animal Farm, you can simply describe something as being like Animal Farm, and everyone knows what you mean. Not so true of the quote-filled The Sound and the Fury.

The better novels are the ones that achieve a cumulative effect, and because their insights and tones aren't explicitly stated, snipped passages from them don't stand out the way the great quotes from the lesser novels do. See, I just spelled everything out rather than let this rant have a cumulative effect!

Watch me outquip Oscar Wilde:

Friday, September 13, 2013

Attila the Hun never had trouble getting laid

It is no secret that women prefer bad boys, and it is no secret they are surprised every time when bad boys let them down. Stop me if this sounds familiar: "I know he's a jerk, but he really rings my bell!" I'll let you fill in the rest.

Women pretend to prefer sweethearts to ruffians in the rough, which helps to explain why many guys make the mistake of pretending they're nice* (usually after all else fails) as a way of attracting women. Unless you're a great looking guy - in which case any approach will succeed - the nice guy act is almost certain to blow up on the launchpad. The kind of woman you want is exactly the type who won't go for a nice guy, and the chances of your nice guy act working with the general populace aren't high either. I weep for all the unsuspecting males who are poisoned by the disingenuous counsel of mothers and sisters on the virtues of being nice. Is it any wonder that prostitution is the only bubble market that never pops?

What few women get is that every functioning male has a sizable part of him that is nasty and animalistic, and it isn't difficult to tap into. All you have to do is offer mild encouragement, and some of that depravity will rise from the cellar to the penthouse. The question then becomes: are you Dr. Frankenstein enough to keep The Monster in check?

Women love to think they can change a man, meanwhile the only area where they can change him - nudging him toward scumbaggery - is the only change they don't believe is possible! Absurdity meet irony--and don't pretend you're nice or it won't work out.

Both men and women are more depraved than they let on, yet the parameters of the traditional courtship process still fence people in. Every trend in society - constant divorce, polyamory, the ubiquity of porn and its influence on contemporary sex - is a screaming red alert that the old ways are out of style - at least for now - but there is still a reluctance to admit "a guy I can introduce to my father" isn't what most women really want. At all.

If you are one of the few authentic nice guys, just adopt the bad boy trappings of the demographic of woman you desire - chains and sleeve tattoo, Mad Men overstyling, South Bronx urban get up, nerd gear (in which case you'll also have to gain twenty pounds around your midsection. Hey, not my rules!) - and ignore her texts one day a week without explaining why. Your life will change forever.

*Just as some women pretend to be demure in a scheme to attract men, though I suspect the percentage of genuinely demure women is higher than the percentage of genuinely nice men.

I'm such a bad boy I have the Twitter feed of a Hell's Angel with chainsaws for hands:

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Turn that smile upside down!

It could be worse is an expression used to nullify complaints. If you're grumbling about something and someone tells you "It could be worse," what he is really telling you is to shut up.

People say "It could be worse" like it is an automatic checkmate. I wonder if they realize this same tactic - making everything relative - could also be used to nullify triumphs...


SCENE I. Authentic generic Irish bar.



I thought life had no purpose until I met her. Now, for the first time in years, I can smell the flowers, I can feel the sunshine, I can ignore all the jackoffs in this bar I used to dream about killing.


Hey man, it could be better! You think you're in love? That couple over there is even more in love than you are. What right do you have to be so happy about your love?


All the familiar "It could be worse" platitudes can be flipped over and used to put a ceiling on any expression of happiness.

What makes you think your triumphs are so important?

Who are you to be happy in a world where so many people are doing so much better than you?

Your triumphs pale in comparison to the triumphs of a lot of other people in the world. Don't be so self-centered.

Oh, you're happy about owning a Volkswagen? Tell that to the guy in the Maserati.

Someone is always doing better than you, and someone is always doing worse than you. If other people's relative joy or misery held that much sway over our feelings, all of us would forever be in emotional purgatory; never up or down, never victorious or defeated. Our entire life would be an ordeal of nonstop measurements. I would hate to have to become The Count to determine if I should be happier or sadder than the Joneses.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

15 Famed Literature Titles Taken from Other Artists

Over the years I have heard complaints about contemporary art/entertainment being lazily drenched with references to previous works of art. I have heard this complaint come from my own mouth. The formula for book titles now is to take a famous title and change one word in it; usually in an ironic way. So much TV comedy relies on parodies of famous film and TV references. Maybe this started with the archival/repetitive nature of TV - seeing the same episodes, commercials, and movies rising again and again from the TV Netherworld - and accelerated with the resurrection of everything via the Internet. You're headbutted with the same clips so many times your mind can't help but think of a reference before conjuring something more original.

It is a tendency that is often odious, but we should remember how many classic works of art used references unironically. Think of all the book titles taken from Shakespeare:
Brave New World
Pale Fire
Remembrance of Things Past (not Proust's preferred title, evidently).
The Sound and the Fury

Or the Bible:

House of Mirth
The Sun Also Rises
The Violent Bear It Away

The Bible isn't the only religious text used for inspiration:

The Razor's Edge: The Katha Upanishad

Poetry has also given us plenty of fodder for book titles:

Tender Is the Night: Keats

Look Homeward, Angel: Milton
As I Lay Dying: Homer

Things Fall Apart: Yeats

And some poems reference other poems:

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings: Dunbar

Some more random sources of inspiration:

The Grapes of Wrath: "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"

All the King's Men: Humpty Dumpty
Previously, artists referenced previous works word for word, with gravitas as the goal. Today, artists typically reference a previous work with irony in mind. Maybe the real problem isn't references in and of themselves, but rather irony overload. I'll drink to that.

Shakespeare got his lines from my Twitter feed:

Monday, September 2, 2013

You Can't Go Home with Her Again

Watching women as they walk by is one of about four things that keeps me from sticking my head into a self-made guillotine (though when it comes to guillotines, DIY isn't a good idea. Do yourself a favor and splurge on the Ferrari head remover. You're worth it.). When you're in a bar enjoying this life-affirming pastime, it is common to hear a married man say: "Man, I wish I was single again..."

Married men believe going back to bachelorhood automatically means the swinging, single life. They have forgotten all the years of going home at 3:00 AM drunk, disappointed, and sans senorita. They have forgotten the thou$ands they spent spinning their wheels with women who never had the tiniest intention of pleasing them in any way. One reason many men get married is because they are sick of the chase and want to assure themselves easy access to a woman.

We forget the failures and place halos over the successes. But even if the successes were plentiful, what many married men forget is...

...they aren't 22 any more. Those young, attractive women walking by? Unless you're eye-spanking them as a married Rob Lowe, your chances are slim.

An older married men assumes the only barrier between him and nubile, uninhibited women is that he's married. Tragically, the only thing that makes an older man attractive is that he's married; i.e., responsible. Once that illusion plummets down the elevator shaft, he is just a regular 38-year-old, complete with receding hairline, billowing gut, and jokes that were old when he was young.

You must remember that although your preference for young, hot women hasn't changed, your body has. So even if you became single again, you'd be stuck with women your own age (who usually resemble the wife you're dying to escape from), the occasional loony young woman in search of a daddy, and women older than you. Unfortunately, the Mrs. Robinson scenario loses its appeal when bedding a woman twenty years your senior means dragging home a woman who remembers the telegraph.

Trust me, your second bachelorhood would be a tarnished brass version of the golden dream you're imagining. If you're a married man who wants to play the field, stay married and get a mistress. Someday I'll have a daytime talk show where I can dispense this indispensable advice.

My Twitter feed is able to juggle a harem and mistresses of every shade: