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Catching up with Russia

5 Feb

I’m reading this book about a socialist, extremely “left” family in New York. A lot of the references in the characters’ dialogue and thought are about Marxist politics. It occurred to me, while reading about these characters, that I know next to nothing about Marx, and other socialist and communist philosophers and leaders. Lenin, Stalin, Castro … I know them as evil-doers only, I have no idea about what theories brought them into being and helped them overthrow entire governmental systems.  In school, when we thought about communist “regimes,” we were almost always referring to China. I know a small bit about China, just from taking Government classes, but some how, I missed Russian history and German philosophy.

So, without having late-night access to the library, I decided to start watching public documentaries on these leaders… I started with Lenin, and watched this. And then I moved to Stalin, and watched this:

Tomorrow, I am picking up a two-part documentary on Russia that I ordered from the local video store. And I need a book — something like “Russian History for Dummies” or something. I really want to understand all of this; I don’t want to be bombarded with thoughts and ideas (and words) that I have no chance of grasping. I need to read a book on Marx too, along the same lines. I’m worried anything about Marx will be too dense and hard.

Suggestions?

The “Daddy’s Girl”

6 Apr

The first time I noticed a girl outwardly claiming to be a “Daddy’s Girl,” I was in high school. This chick wore a tee-shirt announcing, in gold applique cursive, she and her poppa got along well.

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In college a fellow classmate wore a gold chain with a “Daddy’s Girl” charm attached.

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In the past few weeks, I’ve seen several tattoo-clad ladies, with “DADDY’S GIRL”  splayed across their flesh. 

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All of this “Daddy’s Girl” business makes me feel weird and it also makes me uncomfortable when anyone over 12 calls their dad, “daddy.” Let me be clear here. There is a difference between “daaaaddy” and what sounds like “deddy.” Calling your paternal figure “Daddy” is extremely common in the South, and when Southerners say it, it sounds like “Deddy.” My grandmother, from the South, has forever referred to her parents as Mother and Daddy. I never think that’s strange. That’s like me calling my dad, dad. But, if you are from anywhere other than the South and you call your dad “daddy,” I tend to cringe.

Additionally, there are such things as “daddy’s girls.” That seems to be fine too. If you get along with your Dad – awesome. If you have a special bond with your father – rad. If you prefer your pops over you mom – fabulous. But if you adorn your attire with announcements of your affections, it’s kind of repulsive and sends me into a tizzy of confusion and caution.

The assumption in claiming your “daddy’s girl”-ness, is that you are spoiled and privileged – even if your not. It’s like, “My daddy loves me sooooo much he bought me this tee shirt and Volkswagen Jetta to match.”

Also, in a strange way, it shows you father’s ownership over you. You aren’t your own girl, your daddy’s. 

I can’t try hard enough to establish myself outside of my parents. It’s not that I don’t love and admire and adore my mom and dad, because I do. But, also, I’m trying hard everyday to become my own person. To identify as anyone’s “girl” makes me shiver with fear. Identifying as a “daddy’s girl” would only make me feel young and small.

I cannot ignore the current sexualization of the word “daddy.” If someone my age says, “My Daddy gave me this car,” it freaks me out because I totally interpret this to be sexual. 

I think Freud probably had something to do with this. His popularization and idea of Oedipal relationships between parents and their offspring has sort of leaked into everyday thinking about familial relationships. In fact, there is actually a book, Relative Intimacy: Fathers, Adolescent Daughters and Postwar American Culture by Rachel Devlin, that explores the history of “daddy’s girls” – what it meant then (1920s, 30s, 40s, 50s) and what it means now. (Great article here!)

The most interesting part is what it currently means to be a “daddy’s girl.” Why do girls have this need? And why publicize it? I think Delvin is on the money (pardon the pun) when saying today, being a daddy’s girl is about commercialization. Most girls want their Dads to love them and thus buy them things to show it. If some chick is advertising that this is the relationship she has with her dad – other ladies get jealous, they desire that as well. It’s like any good clothing trend.

I hope this “Daddy’s Girl” attire sticks around as long as parachute pants did, but, something tells me it will be more like the fanny pack, continuously re-invented.

The other day

27 Oct

I was at work, doin’ my thing. I get pretty involved in whatever task I may be working on… and I was interupted by an old man, who needed some help finding an item in our store. After I had helped him hunt down a cat carrier for a bottle of wine shaped like a cat, he said he had a theory about life, and he thought I encompassed it. He handed me a card that read:

“Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” – James Tuoto

Pic via Danger mcJANE.

That’s a true story.

A man is preggers… for real!

26 Mar

This article so interesting!

oi.

10 Mar

I know this video is making the rounds in the blogosphere… and I’m a little late to jump on the wagon, but I have to post it… if not for you, then for me. I will need to watch it frequently, I think.

Dr. Randy Pausch, a professor from Carnegie Mellon, gave a [now famous] last lecture series. He then redid the lecture on “Oprah.” But honestly, if you can’t watch the whole lecture series, then watch this one:

I know that I need to remember these points, for sure:

  1. Your critics are trying to make you better.
  2. Work very, very hard.
  3. Value people, not things.
  4. Always have fun.
  5. Have humility.
  6. Allow yourself (and others) to be creative.
  7. Always tell the truth.
  8. Apologize: “Im sorry. It was my fault. How do I make it right?”
  9. No one is all bad… be patient, and wait for the good to come out in people.
  10. Show gratitude… it’s not hard.
  11. Don’t complain or whine. Choose to take your finite time to “play the game hard.”
  12. Luck is where preparation meets oppurtunity.
  13. If you lead your life the right way, your dreams will come to you.

boys, video games, the simpsons & porn

7 Mar

I was listening to my favorite radio show a few weeks back, and the host (a new guy, Ian Punnett) was interviewing a Dr. Richard Sax. I’d never heard of the guy, but found the topic really interesting. Since the show, I’ve been thinking about it pretty much every day.

Dr. Sax was discussing “what’s happening to boys today,” and the book he wrote on the subject, called “Boys Adrift.” His research is driven by the fact that one third of men ages 22 -34 are still living with their parents (Sax attributes this data to the Census Bureau), and their sisters seem to be more successful than ever. And, according to Sax, this data shows these trends occuring across all demographics. Sax says it’s a combination of social and biological factors.

The good Doctor narrowed it down to five main components that are driving the decline of boys (this list is from his Web site):

Video Games. Studies show that some of the most popular video games are disengaging boys from real-world pursuits.

Teaching Methods. Profound changes in the way children are educated have had the unintended consequence of turning many boys off school.

Prescription Drugs. Overuse of medication for ADHD may be causing irreversible damage to the motivational centers in boys’ brains.

Endocrine Disruptors. Environmental estrogens from plastic bottles and food sources may be lowering boys’ testosterone levels, making their bones more brittle and throwing their endocrine systems out of whack.

Devaluation of Masculinity. Shifts in popular culture have transformed the role models of manhood. Forty years ago we had Father Knows Best; today we have The Simpsons.

I think about this a lot in my daily interactions with dudes who act like they would be doing me a favor if I gave them a blow job. It’s insane! Maybe I’m just an old-fashioned, angry,  single lady, or maybe I’m noticing something other people are too. Certainly, this does not apply to ALL guys … I guess it’s just a third of them, or maybe less, because I’m sure there are some decent dudes who still live with M & D.

Bang! Bang! BANGS!

19 Aug

Bangs (known in most other parts of the English speaking world as “fringe”) – I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that at one point or another – we’ve ALL had them. They keep coming and going as a desirable and acceptable hairstyle. My roommate recently got bangs cut across her forehead, which prompted me to review the history of bangs. Seeing as wikipedia had no concise history of their presence, I’m making my own.

The Ancient Egyptians, along with like, miraculously building the pyramids, created the hairstyle where the front part of the hair frames the forehead. I will venture the guess that they also created the headband.

Check the hair on Julius Caeser … I present the man bang:

And the incredible bang of the Romans:

Renassance period – the bang was way out:

The Elizabethan bang tuck:

The 18th century wig bang (can also be found on several of the US’s founding fathers). NOTE: the fully-exposed-forehead-curled-bang:

The awful Victorian parted bang:

1920-30s bangs. Most prefer the long bang or the grown-out-bang-bob:

The Betty Page bang:

The Farrah-flip of the 70s:

The art-deco bang of the 80s:

And the amazing man-swoop of the 80s:

Rachel’s long-layered bang pretty much sums of the style of the 1990s:

And, finally, what is most-popular today (Betty Page? 1920s Bob? You decide.):

Make your own conclusions about the cycle of the bang thru the ages.