Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Sex Sells

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed a seemingly reoccurring theme in the music and entertainment industry? It might just be me, but it seems like all music nowadays, no matter what genre, is either about sex/love, drugs, making money, or teenage angst. Those seem to be the only themes in songs that are played on major radio stations. Some genres of music seem to be composed entirely of nothing but modern-day serenade tunes. Even though the beat and tone of the music might be really nice, the words are just not relatable to someone like me. It gets old. It gets me frustrated looking for good music on the radio and wondering if life to the world is nothing more than a huge mating ritual.

I’m an independent-minded young person. A lot of America is made up of independent-minded young people who are also very intelligent. Music is supposed to be something you can relate to. The type of music I can relate to is music about dreaming, about setting goals, about overcoming insurmountable obstacles, and about being strong and making a change. The “rally to the cause” music attracts me in many ways…but the only kind of music I hear like that on the major stations is “Spiritual.” I’m a fan of Ani Defranco and Janet Jackson, but we don’t hear a lot of them on the radio anymore unless they release a hit about shaking some part of the human anatomy. I like to hear music about the institution. I like to hear music that talks about the real world in bigger terms, bigger than “you and me baby.” I like music with something to say.

But it seems like all ANY music on KIISFM or KGGI or KROQ has to say is “I love you”/“I want to fuck you,” “I want to kill you,” “I want to smoke some weed,” “I’m richer than you,” “I want to kill my father for never being there.” I mean the melody is very attractive and makes me want to listen to the song and maybe even like it, but when I actually listen to the words of the song, it’s just not the same. It’s actually very annoying at times. Like for instance, I like the Goo Goo Dolls, but I have recently realized that every single one of their songs is somehow about a relationship and relationship issues. IT SUCKS!

Sometimes I will even see a group like Dashboard Confessionals compose a very nice, relatable song that can really be applied to anything the listener wants, but when they make a music video on it, guess what it’s about—a girl. I mean c’mon, there’s gotta be more to life!

I have to admit, I’m a fan of Linkin Park. I love every single song on every single one of their albums, I can relate to all of their music so perfectly. I did point out that I like music I can relate to, but why is Linkin Park’s music so relatable and enjoyable to me? It’s because I’m an angstful teenager and they write angstful teenage music. They write ONLY angstful teen music, falling under the “I hate my father” category.

The song “Soul Meets Body” by Deathcab for Cutie or artists like Keane and Jet, the type of Alternative Ballad Rock music about struggles of identity and finding your place in the world, that’s the type of music I want to hear more of, but it seems like the only people who sing songs like that are either from other countries or one-hit wonders. Most of the artists are huge in countries like the UK and the European Union, could this just be an American thing? Another one of those “oh those dumb arrogant American’s” things?

Well actually, it might just be. My older sister is in the film industry. Her job is coming up with ideas for shows and getting networks to buy them so she can produce them. After 10 years in the industry, her claim to fame is hardly “Survivor.” “Its like you think that you’re going to go in with all these great new ideas that haven’t been done before and revolutionize the industry,” says she, “but the truth is that no one will be willing to invest in an idea that hasn’t been proven reliable in the past and has a guaranteed high selling rate. Networks just don’t want to take chances, they’ll stick with something that’s safe and always worked and be boring than go out on a limb.”

Ahhh, so it’s not actually that sex is the only thing the world cares about…it’s just the only thing that is a safe and reliable seller every time. I mean, when VHS and VCD tapes were released, VCD was a far superior model to VHS, but the only reason VHS became popular in America was because all of the porn movies were shot in VHS. Reading even further into it, 10% of high school students in this country actually graduate, and only 10% of those go onto college, where only 10% will earn a degree. It’s a failure on the part of both sides that the majority of the country is completely stupid…I mean uneducated, and so maybe their lives really are one big mating ritual, and since they are the most prevalent demographic, what they want is what we all get.

So there actually is more to life than what the media and radio networks portray, it’s just that the opinion guaranteed to rack in the most revenue is the “Sex Sells” opinion, which the networks don’t seem to realize has a dramatic effect on society. It’s a vicious circle. We tell the media what we want to see, the media plays it, and it influences what we want to see in the future. I’m not hyper religious or anything, but I think it’s leading to a decline in our country’s morals. Studies have shown that a 25% increase from 20 years ago of Americans say they have no close friends or companions with which to share personal matters with. America is getting lonelier, Depression is on the rise, the Divorce rate is up, less people are experiencing friendship and true companionship…mainly I think because human interaction has become about sex, at least that’s the message that the media is hard lining into our culture.

I’m just fed up, I need to hear more independent music, and I shouldn’t have to pay a whole bunch for hi-def radio to pick up pirate radio stations for it.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Let's Hear It For The Boys!

DETROIT, Michigan (AP) -- The American Civil Liberties Union wants Michigan's governing body for high school athletics to reconsider a policy keeping boys out of the postseason tournament for competitive cheerleading.

In Michigan, boys can only compete on girls cheerleading teams if the school that they are facing agrees to it!

This is just in my humble opinion, but that sounds an awful lot like a certain female wrestler not getting a match because the catholic school being faced did not allow its wrestlers to wrestle girls.

Apparently the case is that in Michigan, boys on "girls teams" cannot attend tournaments that aren’t sanctioned by the high school. The way athletics works in most of the country is that there are two venues for sports, one scholastic (meaning school-sponsored for student-athletes) and another open-invitational (meaning independent association sponsored for any athlete). In wrestling, there are high school dual and invitational meets that are CIF sponsored through the high schools, and then there are Local Association Events (Freestyle Tournaments) that aren’t through the schools, but have divisions for high school and junior athletes. These are the tournaments you go to if you’re trying to go to the Olympics, they’re not school sanctioned at all, but school-aged athletes are highly encouraged to go to them for the experience and to get better at their sport. From my experience, these tournaments are crucial for improvement in wrestling. Other sports, including gymnastics, cheerleading, judo, swimming, track and field etc, have their own associations like FILA (wrestling) and USASwim which are state sanctioned and hold their own meets.

Under a decade-old policy in Michigan, boys cannot compete in local association and non-scholastic sports venues with girls on girl’s teams during the off-season. They can compete through their school’s during the sport’s season, but only if the other school doesn’t have some sort of an aversion to it (!!).

Firstly, this is incredibly unfair because it limits the amount of training a person receives and how good an athlete gets in his or her chosen sport based on gender. Some people may have an aversion or make fun of male cheerleaders, but seeing them in person at the National or College level, they are amazing! They have to bench 135lbs with one arm while standing on one leg and then catch it as it is thrown up and falling! I’m pretty tough, but I don’t know if I could do that. The same goes for male dancers and especially male gymnasts (who tend to be some of the most conditioned athletes in the world). These are athletes, many of which are heterosexual and take their sport very seriously. Almost every Division 1 college in the country recruits men for their cheerleading and dance teams, the competition is fierce. For some athletes, it means a college education. Actually physically limiting the amount of time an athlete can put into their chosen sport based on something they can’t control and the opinions of religious bigots who don’t want their girls to even be in the same room with other guys is a shame on our society.

We don’t have to make huge leaps and bounds and rewrite title 9 again, but we do need to be more accepting as a society. Such conservativism hurts others when you try to restrict them from going down a path you or someone else besides them does not want them to go down. It’s killing our society because it’s bringing the dreamers down, and America was originally a place for people with dreams to come and live. Ambition and individualism built this nation and reactionary fundamentalism is killing it. And yes, I do have the nerve to call Michigan’s policy reactionary, mainly because Michigan is not the only place it is happening.

In Texas, girls cannot wrestle on any scholastic team with boys and cannot compete in the local association freestyle events after the age of 13 under penalty of law. In Arizona, if a boy gets paired with a girl at a State level competition, the boy must forfeit his match and any dreams of becoming a state champion. There is virtually no such animal as male synchronized swimming, and there is no men’s scholastic gymnastics division in Southern California.

What gives people?! I don’t care if you think girls shouldn’t wrestle and boys shouldn’t dance, firstly unless you are a wrestler or a dancer you don’t have the right to tell any of us what to do, and secondly you know we are going to do it anyway so making it harder for us is only going to get us more press when we succeed! So thanks for the attention I guess!

I personally think Male Cheerleaders are hot. I’m all for it!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I Know Why Men Don't Support Women

Men, I understand why you don’t support women, really I do, and I can't say I blame you. I understand exactly why the majority of men do not want to see women in the boy scouts, in business, in the priesthood, in the Fire Academy, in the military. I know you try to use rational reasons, citing “the safety and sanctity of the institution” as your main argument. But don’t worry, I know its all BS, I know you’re just frontin’. I don't want to sound presumptious when I say this (well maybe I do), but I know exactly what you’re thinking. A lot of men aren’t like this, but generally those within these institutions reek of it.

What would the world say if I said sex had nothing to do with it? I’ll bet they’d think I’m ridiculous. Men can’t be in the same room with a woman without having some sort of 5 second fantasy about her right? I don't know about that, but I know that’s not the reason men viciously defend the remaining all-male institutions against females. I'm not a guy, but after being completely emersed in guy code for the past few years of my life, I think I have a general idea of how things work. My best friends are guys, and no I'm not violating rule #21 of the Code which states "Never talk about Guy Code." (hehehe)

The real underlying reason for men’s non-acceptance of women is the Camaraderie. The “boys will be boys” allowance. The machoism. The Esprit de Corps. The right to the conversation topics that happen behind closed wrestling room doors or inside the men’s locker room, the stuff that other guys would understand from experience and not fault other men for. Not that this isn't a good reason, cameraderie is the stuff that builds friendships. Guys talk with other guys about stuff that makes them seem (gasp) not so tough and do things that other girls would think is absolutely disgusting and it's not like the guys care about impressing the sole female who is present, they're concerned about Little Miss going and telling all of her other girlfriends and never getting a date ever again. It’s also a way for guys to let other guys know that they trust them. Guys want the camaraderie that exists solely in all-male settings and will fight viciously for it. They want to make friends and they think that a woman present will hinder their ability to make friends.

Basically, the image that comes to mind when guys hear the word “girl” is of, well…a girl! Short, long hair, fat or thin but not muscular in the least, and boobs. It just messes everything up. I somewhat agree too. When I was grappling down at one of the gyms I used to train at, the Sensei made me grapple his girlfriend who was a black belt in Jeet Kun Do. But it didn’t matter how skilled she was, she was wearing the tight workout clothes that society says girls have to wear, and she had big boobs. I couldn’t work in her guard because putting my hand across her chest (even though I was another female) was just plain annoying! I wanted to grapple, not avoid her chest! And I didn’t just want to put my hand there either because…jesus I just didn’t want to! Image how a guy must feel, he comes to fight practice to fight, he’s got a girlfriend at home for that other stuff!

So I understand, and I can’t say I blame men for it. I wanted the same thing. I wanted the all-male atmosphere and the crassness and toughness of it all. The hard-core blood, sweat, but no tears attitude, everything, I wanted it. I got it too by casting off everything feminine about myself, and most male environments just simply made an exception for me. But I’m one in a million. There aren’t too many girls who revolt against femininity and manage to stay heterosexual. Most girls think the things men say amongst each other are insulting and degrading…I think they’re funny because I’m not too fond of females myself and plus I know that they are not talking about me (or maybe they are, lol). Guys like how I can roll with crass humor, the boys on the swim team that I would hang out with just kinda asked if I minded if they checked out girls while I was there, I said nah and it was all good. Most girls will get angry at guys or somehow be insulted, or physically they will make the really macho program into a pansy program. Guys don’t want to deal with that. I wouldn’t either.

It’s not like men blame women for being the way they are either though. They don’t blame women for showing off their bodies or for being “girly” and perky, they like girls like that. But they have been taught that that is the default model for woman, and that's just not the kind of thing that belongs in a Special Forces Group. The other type of woman, the strong muscular type, is a default lesbian and in the above institutions those are just as bad and all need to die. So the hell with it, all women are either incapable or lesbians, so screw it all just keep them all out! Its not women’s choice whether they want to be the way they are, its obviously nature, so god forbid we ask them to change, we can’t ask them to do anything that’s not natural (note sarcasm).

What I deeply respect about guys is the honor that is shown among men in same-gender friendships. It's kinda hard to describe from being on the outside, but that's what I picture when I think about honor. Friendship amoung guys from what I've seen is serious, it's earned in tough situations that require aliances, and those who tough it out together take a silent oath to hold each other up. It's almost sacred. Female friendships just don't have that, and while it's sometime's present in coed friendships and groups, it's just not the same. Even though female friendships make up in closeness, the lack of of that earned-in-blood honor just isn't the same.

I might be a little off with all of this Guy Code business, I had to pick up the programming as I went, it wasn’t handed out to me like the other half of the population. But I do understand it’s about the camaraderie. The military places a great deal of emphasis on camaraderie, its not just making friends. I agree that the girly, feminine, tampon issues should be kept out of these institutions of strength and performance at all cost…

But I won’t bring any of those with me!!! Can’t you make just one exception?????

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Iraq Defends Iranian Nuclear Program

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iran has a right to develop nuclear technology and the international community should drop its demands that Tehran prove it's not trying to build a nuclear weapon, Iraq's foreign minister said Friday, May 26, 2006

WAIT A MINUTE!!!! Aren’t we fighting a war for them? Don’t we still have soldiers over there dieing for them?!?! Didn’t we spend billions of dollars to liberate them? Yet they turn around and defend the country that’s attempting to blow us up???

"Iran doesn't claim that they want to obtain a nuclear weapon or a nuclear bomb, so there is no need that we ask them for any guarantee now," Hoshyar Zebari said after meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Manouchehr Mottaki.

Oh Really?...

Then this high speed underwater nuclear-capable torpedo that they’ve developed (which is capable of destroying warships and submarines) is just an experiment in the interest of peace keeping right? What kind of crack-head peace keeping operation is that? Mutually Assured Destruction?

"We have agreement that we need to deal with this issue politically, peacefully and diplomatically," Zebari said. "We know that the wise Iranian administration will be able to resolve this issue."

The “WISE?” The WISE terrorist regime that claimed the Holocaust never happened and called for the destruction of Israel and America? WE FOUGHT A WAR FOR THIS COUNTRY AND THEY’RE TURNING AGAINST US! They’re going to support a country that is developing weapons against us, nuclear or not.

Iraq says that it supports Iran's right to peaceful use of nuclear power. Right, we really think a country that is the leading state-sponsors of terrorism and is incidentally building a nuclear-capable missile that takes out warships at the same time as the program is being developed, and just so happens to hate the West, is really going to use it for "peacefull" purposes. Iran and Hammas and Bin Laden, what's next? Is North Korea going to back them too?

This is ridiculous. First Afghanistan condemns a Muslim man to die after converting to Christianity, and now Iraq turns around and supports a terrorist regime aimed at destroying the Free World. What next? Where is Bin Laden?

I didn’t want to believe it and I wasn’t convinced before, but I’m convinced now…

This war is about oil. Not freedom, or peace. Oil.