It should be said that I am a lover not a fighter, and what I love most is beauty in any form. However, this can result in... overly high expectations. As a person who too often sits on her pedestal of self-righteous judgment, monitoring how the world is "going down the tubes" and martyring herself on the Hellfire of what she deems contemporary incompetence, the articles of this blog will offer my cynical, social, intellectual, and pop cultural observations, which will both serve to vent my frustrations and-- after some counteraction-- convince me that the human race still has a chance. Sometimes you have to remind yourself that "Life is Beautiful," always was, and always will be, even when it isn't, wasn't or won't seem to be. “I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.” — John Burroughs (Photo of London Library after the Blitz of 1940).

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Scarlett's hot, you see? She is 'hot now' but not later, see?
This is what you should look like, SEE?


Idiots like Scarlett Johansson are the ones people actually listen to. Many people have questioned my antipathy for Scarlett. "She's different..." "She's Cool..." "She's hot!" Interestingly, as she's an actress, I rarely hear her mentioned as a great one. So, she is famous for being attractive. She is somewhat like Marilyn Monroe's fraternal/evil twin, possessing enviable curves and quite the pout, but in place of MM's vulnerable innocence there is a provocative impurity. Marilyn, despite her many issues and addictions, still seemed to possess an integrity and honesty that outshone her faults. My mistrust of Scarlett has always been that she possessed little of either quality: all show, no substance. Of course, as a reasonable person, I admitted to myself that perchance my feelings of her were the result of jealousy; perhaps her screen persona was merely what society was projecting onto her projection and the reality was as far from illusion as that of Marilyn from Norma Jeane. 

My argument here is not to bash the woman for her talents nor resent her for her admittedly impressive all-togethers. If I were a dude, I would think she was the greatest thing since Pamela Anderson too. My antipathy comes from somewhere else. You see, in 2007, my 24-year-old intuition was proven correct when I read the following Scar-Jo quote:

"I definitely believe in plastic surgery, I don't want to be an old hag. There's no fun in that."

Yeah. That happened. Needless to say, the moral snob in me was very, very offended if not flat out enraged. Now, I am often told that I take things too seriously, but... seriously?!?! A famous and celebrated young woman, whom other young women look up to and hold up as beautiful, actually stood on her fame platform and said, "Well yeah, I'm hot. But when I'm old, I won't be. Aging is disgusting. So by all means, be yourself... At least until you have to acclimate." What a role model, not to mention a deep human being.

This, my friends, is how we have traversed over the rapid passage of time to a place where plastic surgery as a superficial and taboo personal gesture has become a national right of passage. One must do one's best to improve one's looks to the accepted standard of beauty, for God knows, there is but one version of beauty and that's it! Sorry, non-caucasians. Sorry, 41-year-olds and older. So, so sorry people born with a genetic predisposition to not be a size 0, (which by the way is not a number but a symbol indicating the absence of value). You suck. You just. Plain. Suck.

The slow insinuation of necessary physical correction into the social mainstream has now become fact, so much so that women like SJ-- who is not yet thirty-- are already making plans to adhere to this new foregone conclusion and publicly state as much. We continue to blatantly ignore what is at the core of this insane ritual of perfection mutation-- the female prototype being young, thin, with full lips and huge breasts-- and the fact that it is a symptom of something much deeper and damaging: We have low self-esteem. Instead of addressing that, we turn the other cheek so our doctor can properly place our implants.

Naturally, Ms. Johansson could interject here and defend her ignorant comment of the past, but the truth is that she followed her first quote with another one that proves my very point:

"I think if you're comfortable with yourself, [aging's] sexy, but if you're not then go for it."

If you're 'comfortable with yourself.' Comfortable. Translation, if you like yourself, age naturally, but if you don't-- because you have been infected by the incessant cultural comments and media manipulations that tell you that you as who you innately are is not good enough-- then by all means, 'go for it!' Change who you are by changing how you look. Your appearance and your identity are, apparently, one and the same. Scalpel, nip, tuck, voila! Beauty, being skin deep, is life's easiest correction, and it is more worthwhile to spend your life's savings buying a new face and body than traveling to Italy, going back to school and getting your degree, paying for your children's braces, or taking an art class. Plastic surgery by name is insane. Why be real when you can be synthetic? (Oh, Aldous Huxley, damn you and your prophecies)!

No one can convince me that Jocelyn Wildenstein is
happy. A 'happy' woman does not make a mask
of her face to hide herself from the world, and
more pointedly, to hide from herself.

In a certain way, the monster that is human insecurity makes this unfortunate addiction-- and it does become an addiction to many who partake in it-- more understandable than pathetic. Life actually is a bitch. The world is ending. Money is dwindling. Love is impossible to find. War, the economy, bad relationships, a lifetime without a sense of belonging-- whatever your baggage is, the enormity of the world is too much to fix. But, you can fix yourself. Hence, young girls starve themselves, men get calf implants, pitiable individuals become victims of Body Dysmorphic Disorder, and the malleable nature of the human body becomes a safe harbor. While douche-bags like Dr. 90210 try to proclaim that outlandish, narcissistically supported surgery is the proud rebuilding of yourself, it is actually the undoing. It is a cry for help. It is, "I am not good enough." And we pay these bastards to tell us this. They profit off our vulnerabilities and tell Cat Man that his wishes are not only absurd but unfounded. (Who was he hiding from)? We pay them to draw on us, stab us, take out our insides and put in fake and better parts. We are the Tin Men-- constantly in need of oil for our melting, immobile faces and ever in search of our hearts. We forgot the latter somewhere back there...

The popular statement is, "I just want who I am on the outside to reflect who I am on the inside,' but what does that mean? How do you physicalize your internal self? This confusing proclamation communicates much more than intended. The problem in the end is not the surgery. That is merely a symptom. We are a society of hateful neanderthals who surprisingly do the most damage to ourselves. Our own malcontent causes us to lash out at others, point the proverbial finger of damnation, because we must, must, must deflect from ourselves and our freakdom. Kids bully now more than ever, and they bully because their parents are too absorbed with the accumulation of stuff-- Louis Vuitton, the new car, the new nose-- and building their reputation/presentation than building their children. Why improve the mind, inspire, penetrate the soul, and pass on self-faith and resilience? Why pass on the theology that real beauty, true beauty, is within you and seen through your actions and the joy and love you pass on to others? Why do that when you can buy your way to Heaven? As long as people are looking at your pearly whites-- the gates to your immaculate kingdom of "Yay, me!"-- they'll have no idea that you're shattered insides, torments, and the sadness that you are trying to cloak yourself from are tearing you apart and burning in your gut like Hell.

I'm not up on reality TV, so I am genuinely interested: has Heidi's
transformation solved any of her problems???

So, thank you Scarlett, for being a wonderful representative of the modern woman. I know that you didn't ask for the job of role model, but thank you so much for taking on that responsibility and wielding your undeserving power with the utmost integrity. And thank you to all the other people that insult, dishonor, and disregard one of the golden rules that "if you don't stand for something you'll fall for anything." My, how the fallen, flawlessly formed bodies pile our streets like discarded cigarette butts.

Yes, I am tempted to hate the world...


I don't know what people carry inside. I don't know how a woman gets to a place where she feels that a DD-cup is just not big enough. I don't know how lacking a man's self-confidence must be to think that his balding head is the one thing that is keeping him from happiness. I don't know how mentally ravaged a young woman must feel nor the teasing she must have suffered from some idiot sexual partner to think that a labiaplasty is a necessity-- do NOT get me started. Mostly, I don't know if people who suffer such intense emotions are psychological sufferers of some kind of phobia, or undiagnosed depression, or are simply members of the ever-increasing BDD party. Because of this, I can not judge, because to do so is a disservice to the very principles I hold so dear. We are living in a world of magazine covers, and magazine covers are paradise. I can't hold it against someone if they find themselves stuck in the equally 2-dimensional realm of the mirror trying so hard to make their reflection resemble that which they see on the grocery check-out stand. The frozen and immobile images make no mistakes. Such is the American dream.

And what of the transgenders? What does it mean to be born with the notion and the deeply rooted instinct that you are cosmically, physically mismatched? What is it to be internally crippled, to feel the inner solution creating an unbearable tension with the outer expectation? Is it wrong to deny this alteration of sex? Am I to condemn someone to work with what they have instead of encouraging them to rehabilitate themselves the same way I would someone who had been rendered paralyzed or disfigured in a car crash? The moral lines are unclear. And what the Hell is gender anyway??? There is no judge and jury that can condemn the personal questions and decisions one makes to find happiness-- at least there shouldn't be. This calls everything into question. The distinction between the woman getting reconstructive surgery after being burned in a fire and a man getting the pair of breasts he always thought that he should have had is as muddled as my reading ability after three scotches. Four.

Johnny Eck-- otherwise known as "half-boy"-- was one
of many performers in Tod Browning's Freaks, a
film that made villains of the "regular" folk who
stick their noses up at those imperfectly formed.
 As Eck himself said, "If I want to see freaks,
I can just look out the window."

There is no longer a clear place to draw the line of right and wrong, nor should I be the idiot trying to draw it. I can admit this, as we all should. At the same time, specifically regarding plastic surgery in its most superficial form, I refuse to get behind it nor any other kind of practice that teaches us to hate ourselves. I simply wish that people were kinder to each other. I wish that friends supported each other instead of being catty and competitive and holding each other down to boost their own morale. I wish that fathers would tell their daughters that they are beautiful and mothers told them that they could be anything they wanted to be because they are amazing...

I was lucky. Mine did. I never agreed with my Dad about the beauty part, but I believed that he thought I was beautiful. Thus, I knew that someone did. That was enough-- just to know that the man whom I considered the smartest person in the whole world thought I was pretty was enough. Somehow, I did believe my Mom. I believed her because both she and my father instilled in me the notion that life offered countless possibilities and the world outside was full of promise and adventure. They signed me up for art classes. They encouraged my desire to play the piano. And the violin. And the banjo! They even told me that moving to California to study acting was a good idea simply because it was mine. The adventure, therefore, did not begin and end within my skin. It started with how I chose to confront the world and make my own impression upon it. I was more concerned with what I wanted my message to be, how I wanted to be remembered when I was gone, than how I looked while bearing this "mortal coil." 

Actress Emma Thompson has yet to get plastic
surgery, an option nearly all celebrities take.
She also vows that she never will. But, she

is friggin' awesome, so why would she?

I also knew that I would grow old, just like my grandmother, just like my mother now gracefully ages into a still beautiful woman as well. Now, as I grow older and look at my face in the mirror, I see the baby fat disappear into something resembling a grown up, and God help me, sometimes I catch myself thinking, "Gee... She's not bad." Even better, I sometimes think, "I like her." I do not seek perfection. I seek peace. To alter my face by having it sliced open and tugged back to remove the lines of life experience that I have rightfully earned would be the same as walking up to the senior citizens of the world and saying, "You're ugly. You're ugly, because you're old." They aren't ugly. They are beautiful. Their eyes are beautiful. Their eyes are their whole lives and the whole world, and God damn it, I want to be one of them-- wizened, rich, and complete with memories of life's joys, bruises, and scars and not the fallacy of ne'er a rocky road. 

Thus, I will not command you to boycott Scar-Jo's movies, because I can't even hate her nor her mental ineptitude. Buy her tickets, but don't buy her bullshit.

We are amazing, if only we would let ourselves know it. Know it, people. Know it. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013


It only seems fitting, as a writer myself, to devote my first whining session to the subject of literature or the current lack of it. No, this is not a Kindle vs. Hard Back dispute,  a topic on which I remain bi-partisan. (One option is a welcome space saver, the other a tactile, vivifying experience-- the weight and smell of words is oh so magical...). Nay, today I broach the topic of craft, author integrity, and the power of the pen. It truly is mightier than the sword, and I often fear that we are currently wielding a dangerous weapon of increasing mental ineptitude.


... People are still droning on about Fifty Shades of Grey, which I deem to be One Giant Hue of Nonsense. I'm sorry, but explain to me the probity, mind-blowing progression of human intelligence, and social advancement that this alleged modern interpretation of romance is supposed to induce? The only 'probing' involved is anal, the only 'blowing' being done is penile, and the writing is frankly both infantile and insulting, which puts us back quite a few paces in terms of what it takes to obtain literary achievement.

E.L. James's openly and admittedly plagiarized cocktail of the Twilight franchise,
mixed with different character names and the substitution of sex
for the supernatural, tastes more like a donkey's blind piss than a 
whiskey sour. It also makes me want to drink to forget.

Let me go ahead and put my feminist hat on-- don't worry, I'm still wearing my "Bros are my Hos" button. What exactly is the worth of a "novel," (I just threw up in my mouth a little bit), whose heroine is a girl-- not a woman, mind you-- so lacking in identity that she needs to become a man's sexual punching bag to feel special? Some may argue, "Oh Mer, it's just a book. It's only a silly something to read for fun and... erstwhile inspiration." Fine. I accept that. We all need safe outlets for our sexual energies. God invented brothels, Hefner, and Skinemax for a reason. I dig. Some others may get defensive and say, "Well, I like it, and I shouldn't have to apologize for that!" This too I comprehend, which is why I have persistently bitten my tongue when this jewel of a psychically draining trilogy is discussed in my presence. It's a free country. I'm all about the freedom. Read away. I don't want to insult your taste(s). Some still may argue that the intensity of the sadistic erotica in this book is just a way to magnify human, carnal sexuality at its most lethal and (allegedly) divine while delivering the heroine into her own physical and sexual awakening of womanhood-- with the modernist acceptance of necessary kinky toys, of course. This too is fine, (kind of). 

But think about it: Young girls all over the world are reading this, most of whom are in their pubescent, formative years when they begin the awkward and confusing process of maturation. The wounds and lessons in this period arguably run deeper than at any time in a human being's life. The world around them starts to inform who they should later be as women. Their generation's "normal" is being directly and indirectly defined for them based on the experiences, people, and mediums penetrating their once protected, ignorantly blissful personal space.  Therefore, teens are absorbing this harmless, porno-rific tale of Mr. Grey and his whipping toys and consequently absorbing it as an expression of reality in terms of what constitutes both romantic and sexual relationships. 

And what lesson does it teach? If you lie on your back for a man and perform his sexual fantasies, understandably but only occasionally saying "No" when his ideas get too rough-- like when he wants to beat your ass with a Bo Staff-- said Man will fall in love with you, change for you, and marry you. Literally, boys will like you if you sleep with them, even if you are boring as sh*t like the great and complex "Anastasia" of Grey. In addition, they will love you even better if you let them pretty much violently rape you, mentally and physically. That just means he loves you that violently, that's all. In addition, this man, to whom you should be grateful for both claiming you and making you a woman, will shower you with gifts and treat you like a princess as a reward. He is rich too, of course-- the modern stable boy who is secretly a prince in disguise. (Gimme a break, but don't break me off a piece, of that crock-of-sh*t. This endorsement not brought to you by Hershey). He also will never get mad at you, unless you try to live outside his definition of you as his property. Remaining submissive is how you capture a man, and in turn, he will be gratefully and adoringly submissive to you.


Ignoring the fairly blatant reading of sexual/gender roles, the book is just ridiculous. When skimming through its pages-- I did not purchase, don't worry-- I came across a line about "claiming" someone's butt hole. (Pause for Starbucks spit-take). Apparently, this less than poetic jargon turns some people on. I, on the other hand, simply started laughing. I couldn't even get through the first few pages, not just because the dialogue was so atrocious that it seemed to be written by a 12-year-old, but because it was so, friggin' funny that I couldn't take it seriously. Yet the public attachment to it is so eager, desperate, and ravenous, I can only hypothesize that there are a Helluva Lotta women not getting... proper service from their providers. (Ho bros, do your duties)!

In conclusion, I am not upset by the fact that this book exists. What bothers me is its dominance. Even banned novels of the past, particularly those dealing with a female sexuality-- Kate Chopin's The Awakening, Georges Sand's Indiana --- seemed much more liberating than degenerative, as this novel-- which essentially confines women to the same male-female standards that we have so long fought to outgrow-- seems to be. I could easily forget it's existence, yes. What I can't shake off is the fact that other generations sat around discussing or debating the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Moliere, Virginia Woolfe, Kurt Vonnegut, and Normal Mailer, and we are talking about this... sloppy... thing. They (of the past) delved into the complexities of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and its dark implications concerning God, life and death, moral responsibility, obsession, egomania, and both the violence of human nature and the helplessness of human frailty. We (of the present) are in talks to make a movie adaptation of Fifty Shades. They asked questions, pushed the envelope of social mores, and broadened the spectrum of modern thought, social acceptance, and discovery. We, after billions of years of evolution, can think of nothing better to do than go back into the caves and play with ourselves. 

Other generations had the disturbing and genuinely provocative Dorian Gray. We have Christian Grey.

Yes, I am tempted to hate the world...


This past weekend I unexpectedly met a young author: Michael Boccacino. His first novel-- Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling-- was published just last year. Shocker: a writer in my own age bracket, an accomplished and not just aspiring author of today, has written a book, by his own pen, from his own head, with his own creativity and ingenuity, with no further agenda than to tell a story-- and one complete with touches of the Gothically supernatural and a tangled web of the fantastical reaches of mortality and what follows death. This chance encounter taught me that a verbal craftsman still indeed exists, which consequently proposed the theory that he cannot be the only one. Of this proud fact, I needed reminding. Just when I had given up, there is hope. There is still talent. My generation still has words to speak that go beyond the simple, lazy, and thoughtless ease of "Blah, blah, blah." Thus, my hissy fit, which has lasted a full year since the appearance of the constipated Mr. Grey, has been quelled. Beautiful minds are out there and capable of extraordinary things. Of this, I am yet again a believer.

My people, we are more than we think we are. We aren't goners yet!