‘ahems and ahahs’

Literature, & Etc.

Posts Tagged ‘rant

For Worse

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Ok, here goes. I have a long history with this comic strip. For those unaware For Better of For Worse is a long running family comic by Lynne Johnston. The comic ran for 28 years and one of its signature elements is that it aged the characters in “real” time. So as time progressed in our world, so too did it in the characters, a young couple whose family grows and passes through various generations. Her comic is noted for tackling tough issues: marriage, parenthood, homosexuality, death, birth, etc. [ How well it tackles these issues is another matter all together. ]

The comic runs very much like a family sitcom. I think I noticed this comic in my newspaper back when I was a young adult and I would glance at the panels and usually would move on. It never struck me as anything significant, as a child I preferred Peanuts & Marmaduke. About 5 or 6 years ago I was sitting at Chapters during one of my breaks and I picked up a massive anthology of her work, a compendium of 20 years of strips and it somehow infected me. I found myself pouring through the various collections she had released throughout the history of the strip. I found myself looking forward to the events of the family. “Farley is getting old, what’s up with that?” … “Wow, he just came out to his friend, interesting.” … “She’s working with Native Americans up north, didn’t realize they had it so poor.” While the strip is not always politically correct, I mean lets face it, who among us is without a single prejudice or bias; still Lynn Johnston tackled some fairly heavy subjects and it is nice to see a Canadian work of art so popular throughout the world examining the minutia of small town family life.

Recently though, the strip has changed and is not as “progressive” as it once claimed to be.

The comic began in September 1979, and ended the main story on August 30, 2008, with a postscript epilogue the following day. The various family members, all grown up and with children of their own was given some closure. Then, beginning on September 3, 2007,[3] For Better or For Worse changed to a format featuring a mixture of new, old and retouched work, which allowed Johnston to “keep alive her partly autobiographical comic while not having to devote as much time to it.”[1] On September 1, 2008, Johnston began what she calls “new-runs”, restarting her storyline with new art and jokes. The time frame appears to be 26 years before the present day.

Stephen Pastis comic artist and writer of one of the best strips ever made: Pearls Before Swine [ Which I urge you to seek out and enjoy. comics.com & gocomics.com ] made this joke about the new format: In the strip, Pig referred to For Better or For Worse as “that great strip that was gonna retire, but then didn’t, then started running repeats, then didn’t, then ran new ones, but then fixed up the old ones, and now is gonna run new old un-new new ones”.

Ok, so why this blog post on FBoFW you ask? With the new format I and I am sure a few others thought, this will be nice. Her character who started off as a young 20 something wife/mother ended up as a retired book seller, so this “reboot” of her strip into the “classic” era would put Elly back in a more youthful place, providing some more commentary on young women who juggle family and work.

This is not what has happened. One thing that I have noticed throughout this strip is the firm adherence to the “nuclear family” model. Yes, yes, fans will cite the those historic panels and moments where she did tackle issues: homosexuality with Lawrence a friend of Elly’s eldest child Michael who came out to his mother:


I’ll let you reflect on the way that Mrs. Johnston tackles this issue yet still conforms to basic stereotypes of how heterosexuals view homosexuality. Look at the last strip, oh you’re so witty Michael 😦 Ugh!

Anyways, you can see from this series of panels that she does indeed bring up subjects that people encounter every day and for the most part it is done well. I’m not saying it’s perfect but there you go.

Now with this reboot, she was afforded the opportunity to go back and let a whole new generation see how Elly transformed herself from a young house wife whose sole occupation was the household, to a woman who balanced a hectic lifestyle of work (at a bookstore, and subsequently bookstore owner), along with her husband, and children, and grand-children. It was a nice thing to watch her character grow and as much as the Nuclear Model was still emphasized, it did show a woman in the work force and not simply in a domestic capacity.

This “reboot” is what pisses me off. I think Mrs. Johnston has gone senile in her old age and has reverted back to a 1950’s Ward & June Cleaver idealization of the home. Her current strips reflect the standard: HUSBAND WORKS, WOMAN CLEANS AND COOKS model. Let me post a few strips from the past few months and you reflect on what kind of a message she sends to readers and young adults everywhere. Please, post some commentary and lets get some discussion going, it pisses me off so much. Cheers.


Why work when you can clean and cook, forget your dreams...right?

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You can't be married and feel beautiful about yourself.

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I just sign shit, I cannot think or read or pay bills, I'm only a housewife."

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You know it's your fault for not keeping yourself pretty for me.

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Housewives are desperate and lonely.

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Translation: You're good enough to be a hooker tonight.

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Having a good education and career are nothing unless you're a MRS.

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I think your friends are hot and I've missed the point of this conversation. I'm an idiot husband/man.

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I'm the provider, just ask for your allowance and I'll consider it, now back into the cage with you.

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Cook, Clean, Lather, Rinse, Repeat!

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I think your son might be gay. He's crying a lot, so not manish, he's what 7 or 8 now, shouldn't he be out working and womanizing by now.

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(Loss for words and caption for this one.)

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This one is interesting. In the original series, Michael meets a girl in university who he falls in love with, they end up married and having kids. Lynn has seen fit to go back and rewrite Michael's childhood so that they once encountered each other and "liked" each other, completing that fantasy of the childhood sweetheart, it's nice when things fit into neat little boxes and packages, life is just this simple and uncomplicated isn't it.

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Don't ask me, I'm just a man and can't possibly understand "womanish" feelings and junk.

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You're doing that "thinking" business again, what have I told you about that.

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Your mom was ugly, and not tv ugly, but ugly ugly.

Written by thebeliever07

July 10, 2009 at 9:14 am

Steve Harvey:

with one comment

Take my advice and don’t buy Steve Harvey’s new relationship/self-help book: “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man”. You’re asking me, why should I condemn a man and his book when I’ve not taken the time to read it. Let me share some of his so called advice, and these are quotations and clips from interviews on Oprah and selections from his book. (Warning: May cause nausea.)

“I think lists are great. You’ve got to have them. You’ve got to know what you’re looking for. Without standards, you settle for stuff.”

“You’ve got to wait on this guy to come along. He’s coming. He’s out there. He’s already created. God has already made him,”

“He has a job. He’s wearing the clothes you like. He’s walking around. You’re not waiting on him to be born. He exists today. All you’ve got to do is stay patient.”

“You don’t know the DNA of a good man,”

“We profess, we provide and we protect,” he says. “A man has got to see where he fits into the providing and protecting role. If you’ve got everything, you can do everything, you’ve got your own car … you’ve got a guard dog and a handgun. The guy is thinking, ‘Where do I fit in here?’

“You’ve got to make a space for him to fit in so he can come in and do what men do.”

“You can’t let your independence and your ability to take care of yourself be the dominant factor of who you are,” he says. “You know how many times I hear women say: ‘I don’t need a man. I’ve got this. Why don’t a man just come to me?’ Just like you’re saying it, you’re projecting it. If you’re projecting it, where does a man fit in there? Just relax.” [!!!!]

“Ladies, you’re not going to get closure from a man,” he says. “We don’t do closure. And you know why? Because we don’t even know you’re having an issue. We’re stupid.”

“We’re not courteous. Listen, it’s not in our DNA as great communicators anyway,” he says. “See women keep waiting on closure. Bring it on. If you want closure, close. Move on with your life.”

Sex, or “the cookie” as Steve calls it in his book: It’s critical,” he says. “It’s one of the three things that a man has to have. A man has to have love, support and the cookie. [If] anyone of those three things is missing in the relationship, he’s going to go get it somewhere else.”

“A man having sex outside of his relationship is very different from [a woman],” he says. “Once we shower and wash off, we cool.

“Please know that about a man. If he’s going to cheat, it has nothing to do with his emotional attachment to you or his feelings for you.”

So yeah….that’s Steve Harvey and his philosophy for relationships. It’s nice to see that arguments that were being made in the 1950’s about the roles of women and men are still being used today. Essentialist arguments that root these socially constructed patriarchal ideologies in DNA.

I placed some exclamatory marks in the one selection that I think deserves the most attention.

“You can’t let your independence and your ability to take care of yourself be the dominant factor of who you are,” he says. “You know how many times I hear women say: ‘I don’t need a man. I’ve got this. Why don’t a man just come to me?’ Just like you’re saying it, you’re projecting it. If you’re projecting it, where does a man fit in there? Just relax.”

So if you’re a woman and you’re independent and strong and motivated, Steve’s advice to you is to not let these attributes define you as a woman. Good to know.

His “3 p’s” garbage is also quite disturbing. I also enjoy that as a man I am also being defined and constricted into a very particular role. I am unable to process emotions and think or communicate with a woman, because as Harvey says: “it’s not in our DNA as great communicators anyway,” and I’m also only good at grunting and lifting things and protecting women from large beasts that live in the wild.

It’s not just the hate speech that Mr. Steve Harvey preaches that upsets me, it is the way that he attempts to naturalize roles for men and women and the notion that all men are like this. Mr. Steve Harvey makes all of us look bad and sets things back, back into the 50’s and beyond.

I don’t think that I’m over-reacting or reading too much into this type of ideological hate-talk.

Please share your own thoughts and I urge you to go to oprah.com [ something I thought I’d never say on this blog ] and watch the clips. You’ll also notice how silent Oprah is, which I guess is in keeping with Steve’s advice. It is amazing that one of the most independent and strong females on television brings on a guest that gives advice of how wrong and hurtful this way of living is for relationships.

The clips are from about a week ago. Mr. Harvey has been making the rounds on television and radio promoting his new book. Aside from talking about the ills of strong women and the dangers of this for a relationship he’s recently given his advice on religion, specifically those who do not have faith, atheists:

It seems that for Mr. Steve Harvey the world is a horrible place, full of strong minded women, men who communicate well with women, and atheists who shake the foundations of religion, such a horrid world we live in, thinking and acting, what the fuck were we thinking.

Written by thebeliever07

June 20, 2009 at 8:31 am

Thank You and You’re Welcome. NO THANKS!

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I get annoyed with a lot of things in life, but one that really irks me is when people are proud of their ignorance. 

Kanye West has now joined the ranks of the woefully ignorant and misinformed. 

“I am a proud non-reader of books. I like to get information from doing stuff like actually talking to people and living real life,” he said.

“Sometimes people write novels and they just be so wordy and so self-absorbed,” West said. “I am not a fan of books. I would never want a book’s autograph. 

“My mom taught me to believe in my flyness and conquer my shyness,” he said, defining “flyness” as confidence.

So writes Kanye in a book that he’s recently released: KY_TYYWv2917

Apparently rap-stars who are popular in mainstream media have credibility when it comes to writing and as such can expound on the virtues and vices of life. I am sure that Kanye West has indeed lived an amazing life and faced struggles and tribulations the like of which I’ve never seen. But the quotation above [ click on image for more at his blog ], is something that angers me quite a bit. He certainly has every right to “write” a book and to share his thoughts and life story, or as he calls his wisdom “Kanye-isms.”

It is not so much the latter, but the former part of that quote that pisses me off. To proclaim proudly of the fact that he does not read is the height of absurdity and stupidity. 

As I’ve already said, he certainly has every right to tell his life story or his life philosophy or whatever the hell he thinks this book is about, but to share this one thought pisses me right off. Whether you want to admit it or not, fan or not a fan, Kanye has amazing influence in the world and as a result, with children. 

Another irony of his life, someone who looks down upon the written word, sure seems to rely heavily on their influence, after all what is rap if not poetry set to music. UGH!

He is sending the wrong message by telling children that everything he’s learned he’s learned in life. Kind of ironic, telling people that they should not read a book and go out and live life from a book that you’ve just published. Here’s a small peak inside from his website: 

3164_50b00fd2626877aea5a30753874ca3e7 (1)

Tell you what Kanye, you got what you wanted because I certainly won’t be picking up this trash philosophy that you’re attempting to espouse on the larger public. 

It is already difficult to get children reading when there are so many distractions in the world [ ipods, computers, television, etc.. ], the last thing we need is someone who has influence like Kanye preaching his idiotic message to the world. Here’s hoping this book fails.

Oh and the best part of this entire issue, courtesy of MSNBC:

West’s derision of books comes despite the fact that his late mother, Donda West, was a university English professor before she retired to manage his music career. She died in 2007 of complications following cosmetic surgery.

Written by thebeliever07

May 28, 2009 at 8:29 am

Posted in art, book reviews, media

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“It doesn’t affect me.”

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I have two guests who stay with the hotel on a regular basis, workers who are contracted out by other companies to fix bridges. Last week I noticed the one guest check out and then slip his key-card from his jacket to his front pocket and I politely asked, “I can take that for you.”, to which he politely informed me that he normally throws them away, shrugged his shoulders and handed it back to me. I told him that there is a cost involved and that we always appreciate the return of our keys. Just a few minutes ago he checked out again and as he did not hand me back his key I politely asked for it again. “You sure are vigilant about your keys.” I politely informed him again that there is a cost to the hotel and that in the long run it is in his best interest to return the key to me. If the hotel has to continue to purchase these keys, it will affect room rates. “It doesn’t affect me.” His boss who is paying for the room right in front of him overhears this and says, “It affects me.” And this other guest says, “What do I care?” 


I hate ignorant people. We are a mid-size hotel at 71 rooms. I know that in some higher priced larger hotels there are room key deposits and if the keys are not returned the guest is charged upwards of $50. I wish I could institute something like that for my guests. 

How is it that so many people think the plastic key cards are simply tossed out, do they realize how much waste that would incur. I would have further told him about the ecological impact of his tossing out the cards but this type of person is not generally responsive to such commentary. 


The image to the right states that the card is “protected with your own unique id number” and often people assume that this card holds their private information. That is incorrect. The card simply holds a specific number that allows that room to be opened and the length of stay which is timed to lock out after the length of stay has been exceeded, yet so many people insist on taking the cards and destroying them because of the fear of “personal information” being lost. 

If you ever stay at a hotel, kindly return the key to the front desk it, it helps with cost and environment.

Written by thebeliever07

April 24, 2009 at 7:30 am

Posted in personal, random

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Horror/Comedy or Just Plain Wrong!

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Taking numerous theoretical based courses this past year has made me hyper-aware of the ways in which people are conceived in literature, film, and television.  It is not too difficult to analyse a particular medium and look at the power struggles at work or the ways in which gender or class is presented to the viewer/reader. 

Two trailers I viewed recently over at Apple in particular have made me reflect on how we portray women and men. 

The first is a film entitled: Donkey Punch. Let me share with you the synopsis provided by the company:

After meeting at a nightclub in a Mediterranean resort, seven young adults decide to continue partying aboard a luxury yacht in the middle of the ocean. But when one of them dies in a freak accident the others argue about what to do, leading to a ruthless fight for survival. DONKEY PUNCH is the fourth film in Magnet’s “Six Shooter Film Series,” a series of six films highlighting the vanguard of genre cinema from around the globe. This series includes the following films: LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (Sweden), SPECIAL (US), Nacho Vigalondo’s TIMECRIMES (Spain), Ollie Blackburn’s DONKEY PUNCH (UK), EDEN LOG (France) and BIG MAN JAPAN (Japan).

For those who are not aware of the deviant sexual practice known as “Donkey Punching”, let me forewarn you, it is not a pleasant act. From Wikipedia: Donkey punch is a slang term for an apocryphal and potentially lethal sexual practice supposedly performed during anal sex. The purported practice involves the penetrating partnerpunching the receiving partner in the back of the head or neck (what is known in boxing as a rabbit punch, after a technique to kill rabbits) allegedly causing the receiving partner’s anal passage to tense up and increase the pleasure of the penetrating partner. When used, the donkey punch is almost exclusively executed during or just before the orgasm of the penetrating partner.

There is some controversy concerning whether the initial sexual act is restricted to anal sex prior to the donkey punch, or whether muscular contraction after the blow to the back of the head or neck during vaginal sex can also qualify as a donkey punch. It has even been proposed that a possible use of the donkey punch is to create a situation in which there can be a “surprise anal penetration” tantamount to sexual assault or rape.

The plot centers around a group of young men who decide to make a bet. They will each pick up women that evening and the one that can perform the “donkey punch” wins. I assume that the prize is bragging rights. Fucking disgusting.  So we have a young man who commits this act, harms the female (big surprise there), and then has to kill off her friends because the sexual act has now become an act of murder. 

I realize that this falls under the genre of horror, but I think this film goes beyond simple fright or the uncanny. This movie not only unsettles an individual it also holds up and perpetuates a stereotype of hyper-masculinity in which the ultimate male act is to violently assault a women during a sexual act. This message is passed on to many young men and women, especially since this film is primarily targeted at younger teenage audiences. 

The second film trailer I viewed is a comedy entitled Ante Up. The synopsis is as follows: 

A rank, a notorious teller of tall tales, discovers a mysterious light switch in his new house that he believe controls the sex drive of his virgin girlfriend. When his best friends call his bluff, via a bet, Frank must prove he’s telling the truth without losing his long-term girlfriend in the process. ANTE UP is an independent feature comedy shot on film. Produced over a two and a half year period with breaks for fundraising, it began as an idea when the Writer/Director had only $23 to his name.

So yet again we have a female who is subject to male desire without her consent being forced into sexual situations. Hmm, yes, rape is very humorous and funny. This not only sends a message that females are simply objects of exchange to be used and bartered between men but that this is what men do, and I take offense to this projected ideal. I do not view women in this way and it just bugs me that this is what is being idealized. 

Some might think I am over-reacting and that these films are primarily for entertainment purposes, and this is true, they’re all fictitious, but the messages they send have very real consequences for how we think of gender and violence and a larger society.  These are the representations that we’ve put up on screen to reflect the way we feel about ourselves and each other, kind of fucked up if you think about it.

Written by thebeliever07

April 16, 2009 at 11:16 am

Posted in media, personal, random

Tagged with , , ,

Food Porn

with 2 comments

Anthony Bourdain, (world famous chef/writer/journalist/documentarian) has an essay on “Food Porn” and what it constitutes that can be found here. For those too lazy to read, “Food Porn” can be defined as follows:

Food porn, the glorification of food as a substitute for sex, is not an entirely new phenomenon. Nor, perhaps, is the “objectification” of food: displays or descriptions of food — and its preparation — for an audience that has no intention of actually cooking or eating any of it.

I was listening to the CBC the other day and the topic on The Point was “Food Porn” or these viral videos that exist on the internet that teach people how to make these monstrosities:



What you see above is called the Thunderdome: Three stacks of bacon, sausage, elk meat, onions and cheese between tortillas all topped with sour cream, two fried eggs and scallions.

Click on the pic and head over to the website to see many more creations (abominations).

Or you can view such horrors, here:

I am unsure as to why we have such creations in society, but I still felt obligated to share them with all of you, my dear blog readers.

If you were feeling badly about the ice-cream or that extra cake slice that you had last night, you can at least feel better about yourself knowing that you’re not ingesting the Bacon Explosion. I’m fairly certain that my blog readers do not fall under the category of those who would consume such monstrosities, but if you happen to be someone that enjoys this type of food, well to each their own, I personally find them to be in poor taste. (yes Erin, I did just make that pun).

It amazes me what people will do when they find themselves too drunk or too bored (maybe a combination of the two). “I have an idea guys, let’s stuff 10 pounds of ground beef and cheese inside of two meatlovers pizzas and then fry the whole thing.”


Written by thebeliever07

March 28, 2009 at 8:48 am

Posted in media, news, personal

Tagged with , , ,

HMV Idiocy

with 6 comments

It’s really great when you’re checking out at HMV with an album you’ve just picked up and the clerk says to you: “Oh man, this was a real disappointment.”

What the fuck man? Way to ruin my vibe and the excitement of the album. Stupid douche bags. I’ll be calling and speaking with the manager tomorrow morning. It’s one thing if I ask or solicit an opinion, it’s another to have my music vibe ruined for me. Douchery.

Written by thebeliever07

March 27, 2009 at 8:28 pm

Posted in media, music, personal, random

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