Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sadly, Rihanna Is Acting Like Many Abused Women

When I read yesterday that Rihanna had gotten back together with her boyfriend, Chris Brown, who allegedly hit her I felt sick, and very sad.

Now of course I don't know these two, probably never will, but nonetheless I felt terrible.

What made me sad was all the young women AND men, who look up to these two thinking that beating someone you supposedly love is something you can just move on from, and that this choice was somehow legitimizing abuse.

Hitting a partner is not okay, never is, never will be. End of discussion.

What's equally disturbing is the number of comments on blogs from people saying she "deserved" it. What year is this?!

Just when I think women are finally getting somewhere in our world something like this comes along to remind me, um, yeah, not so much. Sadly, women who are abused all too often forgive the perpetrator, somehow locked in this messed up cycle of abuse, repentance, declarations of it never happening again, and then rinse and repeat.

At only 21, beautiful and successful, you would think that Rihanna does not fit the profile of a woman who would allow herself to be treated this way. But the thing is, self-esteem is complex - and what we see from the outside may not be at all what she feels. But just imagine how trapped a woman without the means she has may feel.

I just hope that every parent of every young girl who has danced around her bedroom to "Umbrella" or seen her adorable Cover Girl ads, will tell their daughter that it's not okay for a boy/man to hit them, and if it happens once, chances are it will happen again. Actions do indeed speak louder than words. People tell you things you want to hear, but they show you who they are every single day.

As I said, I don't know these two, and I wish them well. I just hate to see any girl anywhere think that just because Rihanna's boyfriend may have hit her and she forgave him that it's okay. It's not.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

You Gotta Listen To Leon Jean Marie -And Not Just In That Tostitos Commercial

A couple of weeks ago I became obsessed with a song that I kept hearing in this animated Tostitos chips commercial. I did some digging and found out the song was "East End Blues" by a British musician named Leon Jean Marie.

I love, love, love music - though I have to say I have people in my life (two in particular) who have no problem pointing out what I don't know, but I still keep plugging along. I love it, as is the case with Leon Jean Marie, when I find an artist even they haven't heard of.

While I loved "East End Blues" enough to search it out, once I found that song though I fell in love with this song, "Trusted You." On all these videos the embedding has been disabled, so take the time to follow the links, you won't be disappointed, I promise!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

All You "Single Ladies" Stop Worrying About Putting a Ring On It Already!

All right, so it's Valentine's Day. Again. The day that reduces otherwise competent, self-assured people into thinking there's somehow something wrong with them if there's no one giving them a heart shaped box of mediocre, not very tasty chocolates. Life is about a lot more than being one half of a couple, and all the Valentine swag can cloud that thinking. Seriously, I'm telling you - if you're single it's not an anomaly that's needs fixing, it's all right. You're all right.

I was talking to a young couple today about horrible reality TV - like "Rock of Love Bus," "Tool Academy" and "For The Love of Ray J." Long after the conversation ended I kept thinking about the women on those shows and what a huge step backwards women seem to have taken. Is it because they don't believe they're okay on their own? I don't know. I watch these women parading around in skimpy clothes thinking "Choose me! Choose me!" and it turns my stomach. What the hell happened to us?!

I came of age when "Roe V Wade" was fresh and new. I read "Ms" magazine as a young teen and believed women could do and be anything they wanted to be. Of course my choices weren't all that revolutionary - wife, mother, only to become a divorcee and single. I watch my daughter making much more adventurous choices than I did and I am thrilled. She's in no hurry to get anyone to put a ring on it, and that makes me very happy. Be complete yourself I believe, because it takes two whole people to make a complete couple.

So if you're not getting taken out for dinner by a guy, or some woman isn't bringing you homemade brownies in a trench coat with nothing underneath, (I think I've been watching too many movies) don't despair. It really is better to be alone than wish you were alone. It doesn't mean any of us who are single always will be, but I think it's much better to feel good about where you are rather than settle for something that just isn't quite right.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Why Do Women Have Such A Hard Time Realizing "He's Just Not That Into You"?

I might as well confess. I am a romcom whore. I love "Bridget Jones's Diary," "When Harry Met Sally," "Sleepless in Seattle," "27 Dresses"... yes, I admit it. I love romantic comedy. But I can also throw down with the best of them and gobble up Tarantino movies and love indie movies as well. But I have no shame in admitting my love for movies that are like a frothy pink cupcake with sprinkles on top. This probably explains iPod choices that range from Britney Spears to Q-Tip.

So I went to see "HJNTITY" this weekend and enjoyed it more than film aficionados would want me to, but I don't care. It got me thinking though, that no matter how well we know the truth about relationships - we don't seem able to believe it.

When the book came out the publisher sent me a copy, and so did my father. Yes, Freud would have a heyday with the father who left me as a little girl giving me a book titled, "He's Just Not That Into You." Truly, you can't make up this stuff.

So I read the book. I wrote about the book. I made fun of the obviousness of the advice: "If he's not calling, he's just..." How silly! How could any woman not know that?! Well it turns out, when we like someone we start to rationalize. And we're really good at it, and so are our friends. You will hear all sorts of excuses:
"He's probably intimidated by you because you're so awesome!"
"Maybe he's just really busy at work, you know how stressful his job is."
"He could be sick - maybe I should call and see if he's okay?"
And the classic: "I know he's into me, he's just scared."
Yes, and maybe a huge bookcase fell on him crushing him AND his phone.

I'll admit it, I've done it. And if you're being honest you have too. Somehow the thought that "He's just not into you," is totally liberating yet somehow just a little bit heartbreaking. We all want people to adore us, and can't understand it when they don't. Somehow I think all those rationalizations make the pain of rejection just a little bit easier to take. After all, everyone wants someone who's totally into them. But wait, what if he's really into you and you're not into him? Because for whatever reason that seems to happen a LOT.

I think it's amazing anyone ever gets together.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Is Nadya Suleman Trying To Be Angelina Jolie?

Am I the only one who thinks the fact that octuplet mother Nadya Suleman wears her hair just like Angelina, has full lips that resemble Jolie's ( which btw look inflated with some type of filler) is more than just a little creepy? This woman clearly seems to be unbalanced, and the doctor who supported this medical travesty should be held accountable for enabling this behavior. It really seems that she is trying to mirror Jolie's large family and has fashioned herself after her in appearance and demeanor. Even her comments about leading an "unconventional" life are practically verbatim what Jolie has said. The difference is Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are multi-millionaires who can hire help and provide well for their children, Suleman clearly cannot.

This is a woman who lives in a two bedroom house with her mother, is unemployed and single. For her to say the only reason people are shocked is because she's single in insane. People are shocked because she seems pretty wacky. Her own mother has doubted her sanity.

In the interview above she talks about how when she's done with school she will be able to support them. She's training to become a therapist, (watch out folks, you may want to seek help from someone who seems a bit more together) but even with a Master's degree she can't hope to make enough money to support 15 people.

No one should be having children to fill an empty life. She has talked about how she had a dysfunctional childhood and wanted to create this family to make up for that. She has suffered from a debilitating injury for which she received money (money she used for the IVF) and suffered from depression for years she has said. I'm not saying someone who has been depressed shouldn't be a parent - I'm just saying they might not be the safest bet for trying to raise 14 children on their own.

You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube on this one. These children are here and they are going to need a village to help raise them. It just seems a shame that no one seemed to notice that this appears to be one troubled woman and got her some help before 14 innocent children had to be dealt this hand.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

If You Like "The City" You'll Love "The District"

The fact that I watch "The City" is not something I'm particularly proud of. But, yes I do. I follow the exploits of Whitney, Jay and her frenenmy, Olivia, and even think about trying to get Allie to eat something so she doesn't fall over in a stiff wind. For the uninitiated, "The City" is a scripted faux reality show that follows the travails of a bunch of 20somethings who seem to sort of work, but not really, but have lovely apartments and gorgeous clothes. I would love to pretend to work at Diane Von Fursternberg, buy Manolo Blahniks and have brand new furniture delivered to my brand new apartment. But alas I live in the real world, oh wait, that's another fake reality show. Where does reality begin and end? I think here which is a very scary thought.

The folks at Newsweek have done a stellar job in copying the format in this first installment of "The District." I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Christian Bale Makes a F@#$%^* Ass of Himself

WARNING: The above video is not safe for work or appropriate for children. Nor is the link about David O'Russell. I don't want you getting fired!

I'll be honest. I have a really low threshold for people behaving badly. I think people should always treat others with respect, and acting out - unless life and limb of yourself, a loved one or especially a child is involved, you don't go off on people.

When I heard this audio tape of Christian Bale abusing the director of photography on the set of a movie I felt really uncomfortable and disappointed. I don't have any particular feelings about Mr. Bale one way or another, but it's just disquieting to hear one human being talking this way to another one.

I had two immediate thoughts: First, how does one person think they have the right to speak to anyone like that? And second I thought, wow, if he speaks to people like this in anger in an open area, what is he like to his girlfriend or wife in private? Does he get angry at her like this? It's hard to imagine in all other walks of like he's an angel after hearing how this expletive-laced tirade flowed from his tongue.

There was a great story a couple of years ago about George Clooney clocking director David O'Russell on the set of "Three Kings" for the way he repeatedly treated staff on the set of the film. Clooney told him he didn't have the right to talk to anyone like that. Ever. And then he punched him. Now I'm not one to promote violence, but I think O'Russell had it coming. O'Russell later went on to show this temper once again, this time in the set of "I Heart Huckabees" where we went off of Lily Tomlin. Seems to be a pattern perhaps?

I've often wondered if for me this goes back to never getting yelled at as a child. My mom was not a yeller. She got quiet, which honestly, was just as scary. It's been rare that I've yelled as a parent (and the child I yelled at knows I'm sorry about those times :) I just don't think it's an effective way to communicate and I don't believe anyone has the right to belittle another person.

This is one of those topics that is so close to my heart it's hard to find the right words to express how I feel. Not particularly helpful for a writer. People belittling and screaming at others just strikes at something visceral in me. It actually makes me feel sick. I've only been on the receiving end of such things a couple of times and it was really hard to take. Being half of "The Bickerson's" would give me an ulcer.

When I went to see "Revolutionary Road" a few days ago I was struck at how cruel these two people could be to one another. I often think about how mean people can be to the one person they are supposed to love above all else. We know the soft spots, we know right where to hit where it will hurt the most and it's awful. I feel very blessed that when I was married it was not like that, divorce does not bring out the best in people, but at least I know we did not torment each other with digs and jabs for years. That would slowly kill me, I know that.

I often feel like a Pollyanna when I am so dumbstruck by these things. I have this inner belief that people should always try to be respectful to each other. You don't have to agree, and anger is normal, but abuse is not. There's a line that should never be crossed, and if I hear one more actor say, "Well, things can get heated on the set..." in defense of Bale I will scream. Seriously, Christian? You're an ACTOR. You're not creating world peace, curing global warming or disease. I'm not saying what you do doesn't take talent and hard work, I'm just saying a little perspective could go a long way. Get over yourself, buddy, issue some apologies, and maybe get yourself some help in dealing with that temper.