Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Hair-Shirt Hamburgers

It's interesting how the laws of form and function do not apply to gourmet food. Gourmet hamburgers, in their attempt to appear to be a kind of handheld cornucopia, are almost impossible to eat with your hands. So much produce spills out of them while you eat that you need a knife and fork to clear your plate. The worst part, however, is the near insistence on the use of hard, crusty rolls.

Crusty rolls are the product of a mentality that regards food as better the more physically punishing it is to consume. Hearty chunks of fibre stuck inextricably in your teeth, gums abraded near to bleeding by the carborundum crust, flour all over your face and clothes, and filling squeezed out the back due to the rigidity of the fucking thing. Texture is fine and dandy, but sandwich something soft between two crackers and see if it stays there when you bite into the little bellows you've just created. And it's nearly impossible to tear puffy wholewheat rolls apart without a grimacing, messy gymnastics routine.

Also, whoever gave trendy eateries the suggestion that it was a good idea to replace lettuce with rocket deserves a herbal enema administered with a fucking firehose, although I suspect they'd enjoy that. When the garmish overpowers the flavour of the patty and sauce, your hamburger has failed.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Self-Declared Feminists

I dislike the reactionary backlash against feminism, as if all feminists were basically Andrea Dworkin, sharpening their knives for the next pair of hapless testicles. I find that the kind of person who is quick to roll his (or her) eyes at feminism, as if the word were somehow in-and-of-itself distasteful, usually has a few words lined up waiting to quickly reveal their prejudices. Much the same as "I'm not racist, but..." means "I'm a huge racist, and..."

Before we continue, I'll quickly spare you the effort of trying to gauge what kind of sexist I am. If you're the kind of person who regularly comments on sites like Jezebel and Feministing, you can skip the rest of this because you already made up your mind when you read the title.

In short, I'm a misanthropic, egalitarian sexist. There are many, many things I dislike about women in general, and there are many, many things I dislike about men in general. Listing the things I hate about men is pointless, basically, because most of civilised society generally already hates loud, drunken, rapine, violent boors. I don't prejudge women or assume them to be less competent or rational than men at any given enterprise, since I don't think most fellows are nearly as competent or rational as they think they are either. I wholeheartedly embrace the rejection of torturous fashion standards. I already wrote nice long lists of the things I hate about both genders, so if you're interested, you can search for them.

If you're thinking "oh, he's about to launch into some tired tirade about 'reverse sexism'..." I assure you, I'm not. I have no issue whatsoever with women standing up for their rights. I mean, someone has to and it's definitely not going to be me. It's not my place to speak for your gender and, more importantly, I'm a lazy bastard.

So, no, I don't hate feminists, I hate self-declared feminists. I like women who take the time to think objectively and rationally about gender roles, or better yet, are by their nature completely oblivious and simply fail to observe them. Pursuing interests regardless of gender makes you an interesting person. Self-declared feminists, however, are excruciatingly fucking boring.

I define a self-declared feminist as a person who introduces themselves, and their every action, as feminist. Written a book about ladies? Feminist book! Written a poem about men? Feminist poem! Sing annoyingly twee little songs about racy topics? Feminist singer-songwriter! Put on some ghastly, ill-considered outfit? Feminist chic! Flogging crocheted toilet cosies on Etsy? Feminist handicraft!

And they're not content with calling their own things feminist, either. Helen Gurley Brown—in my humble opinion the absolute fucking postergirl for the exploitation of feminine insecurity—is rich as Croesus, so according to some of this lot she's a feminist icon because dagnabbit, she did it her way. She is, to use a word that I can barely type without retching, "empowered". I know she's by no means a universal feminist icon, but the unconditional rah-rah cheerleaders I'm talking about here think women can do no wrong. Except to disagree with them, at which point they are simply "unenlightened". The motto, it seems, is feminist first, critical thinking second.

In between relating everything they like to their political agenda (boring...) they'll make damned sure to let you know how things they dislike relate to it too (also boring). Oh, it's true, rape is bad. And female genital mutilation, too. Also wifebeating. Glass ceilings, an unfortunate situation. Pay disparity? Yep, unfair. Patriarchal hegemony is a bitch, I know. I don't like being excluded from the boys' club either, they've got some great stuff in there. No, I really don't know how it feels to be looked at like a piece of meat, even though I really wish somebody would at least occasionally look at me like that. We all fucking know this by now, you utter fucking bores.

If you're caught in their headlights, whatever you do, don't try to lighten the mood with an appropriately inappropriate joke*. Don't try engage them in sincere debate, either; they live for nothing else. And dear Lucifer, don't impugn the ambit of their agenda as suspiciously self-interested, they've got a whole bunch of canned answers ready for that one.

The problem with this type of person is that in their opinion debating against them is debating against all women everywhere, and your motives stem from your unconscious desire to maintain the sexist status quo. You are motivated by ignorance rather than, say, your nagging belief that their endless academically-endorsed (who else would employ them?) rhetoric is setting back their cause.

It's no wonder the world seems so oppressive to self-declared feminists. It's because they're so monomaniacal and humourless that nobody else can fucking stand to be near them. They are, to a grrl, insufferably sanctimonious prigs**.

*How many college chicks does it take to change a lightbulb?
It's college women, and it's not funny.

**Although maybe "prigs" just isn't strong enough. I suppose you could rightfully call them "complete cunts" in the way George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama are complete cunts, but it's important that you never, ever call a self-declared feminist a cunt. Pick a nice gender-neutral epithet like "arsehole".

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Slow Walkers

I think this is a fairly universal annoyance. I mean, with only one hour for lunch who wants to lose five minutes to watching somebody shuffle in front of them?

What I don't understand is how people actually manage to walk as slowly as they do. In situations where I am unable to overtake the person due to being in some kind of pavement chicane section, I find it almost impossible to keep the same pace without actually stopping every few steps. Some offenders are old, which is forgivable. Some are female, usually hobbled by ridiculous heels. And then there's the extra jolly, cuddly folk. Aren't you in a hurry to get to your sugared-lard sandwich buckets, you heavy-breathing land-whales?

Of all these, the worst variety is The Wanderer, the one who veers all over the pavement, stymying your attempts to get ahead. It's too early to be drunk, isn't it? No, actually the worst variety is The Cork. You know this one, they bump into someone they haven't seen for fifteen minutes and just have to stop at the end of the escalator or the narrowest point in the thoroughfare and do that keening, toothy-grimaced greeting that goes with the pseudo-European double hug.

Since it now seems de rigueur for killjoy city planners to divide the streets into cycle lanes, can you fuckers spare a minute and paint a line on the pavement? A wide, slow lane for wide, slow people and the narrow fast lane for people who don't apparently have their ankles chained together.

Also, I suggest giving people in wheelchairs harpoons. What they can catch, they can eat.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Hipsters, BoingBoing and "Geek Chic"

Since it's an easy pack-bonding ritual for the vapid and less-attractive to deride the differently vapid, fit and moneyed, it's now advisable to affect a codified ugliness to dispel "cred"-diluting accusations of alpha-humanity.

If you're one of these smug imbeciles who think it's clever to have an "ironic" tattoo to parody people with "serious" tattoos then I suggest you consider the irony of the act of permanently, painfully and expensively branding yourself as a parodist of the trendy. You've allowed yourself to be visually defined only in relationship to the things you are opposed to. You follow a stylistic iconography as fickly trendy as high-street fashion. You are the prisoner who spits at the wardens while he whips himself unconscious.

In this new subculture so careful to avoid the subculture label, women identify themselves as anti-bimbos with chunky spectacles, tattoos, piercings, blue-black bangs and kittenish, figure-hugging thrift-store finds, while men are allowed to disguise their leering misogyny by fawning over women who believe that prurience is obviated by props. While it is considered seemly as one of the enlightened to sneer at women who dress up as cheerleaders (or simply strip naked) and spread their labia for male inspection, we are supposed to believe that dressing up as a burlesque performer, punk chick or "geek"-approved fictional character and spreading your labia is somehow "empowering" or "edgy".

Witness for instance the hipster-canonical blog BoingBoing's tenuous relationship with "enlightened" sexuality. Firstly, in Xeni Jardin's now-regretted embrace of the almost overpoweringly repulsive, chunky-spectacled Violet Blue - a relationship which ended in their eventual expunging of any record of her when she finally crossed the line from geek to gauche. Secondly, in poster Mark Frauenfelder's apparently well-received fixation with nubile young women in tight, ironically-screen-printed T-shirts playing ukuleles and singing beguilingly on YouTube.

Ladies, here's a clue for you: fuzz-headed, chunky-spectacled men saying "that's so cute!" is exactly the same as muscled, tanned gorillas saying "yo, I want to fuck that."

Human nature is universal, and our behaviours remain consistent in type if not degree. Surrounding yourself with like-minded apes only disguises your objectionable, base primate nature from people from people who believe the disguise works.

I have a proposition. I hate swaggering, muscled cocks as much as anyone, but I propose that we marshal them to perform random inspections of chunky spectacles. Upon discovering a fake lens, they are to snap the frames and administer a nose-breaking fist to the face. The we'll let the goths and metalheads slam their spiky boots into your torso as revenge until you bloodily cough up your boutique chai and spray your "hilarious" boxers with the faecal matter you pretend doesn't smell.

Friday, 20 March 2009

"Bouncing Baby"

Why is it required that this phrase is used when announcing someone's latest veiny loin-extrusion? Is this some long-written social statute?

"Jack and Jill McBreeder are now the proud parents of a bouncing baby boy."

This never sounds cute or even remotely plausible. It's a newborn. It's lying flailing and screaming in a puddle of its own excreta. Hell, even if you dropped a newborn, it'd be unlikely to bounce. Unless you dropped it onto a trampoline, I'll concede, but I don't think very many new parents do this and if they did, I doubt they'd want it announced.

Is it the buh-buh alliteration that you like? Why don't you just cave and say it in full-on baby-talk to more properly satisfy your insufferable fawning urge.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Randomly-Sized AV Components

It's nice how devices are getting smaller and cables are being reduced to single-strand digital thoroughfares (although HDCP is a joke) but whatever happened to devices all having the same area with big rubber feet to allow breathing when stacked?

My desk could have one unsightly stack of components, but because nothing stacks any more, it now has five. The concession to the lack of vertical stacking options is to package a little foot to flip the device on its side. Or be clever and charge extra for it. And a curved top? Fuck you, Sony.

And if you do flip these devices on their side, you have to look at the hideous Death Star underside of the thing with all its miserable warning labels, authenticity certificates and ugly ventilation.

And, when gadgets were stacked, the cables were all safely hidden behind them. Now the back edge of my table looks like a plastic-coated liana infestation; a veritable hammock of flex.

Has an entire generation of designers somehow managed to grow up with neither Lego nor Meccano? Or are they secretly dreaming of the day when their little box generates some kind of aura that drives every other thing out of the room so that it becomes a minimalist, Cupertino-approved shop display?

Give me back my rackmount options, you chunky-spectacled cunts.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Spray Tans

Somewhere in the distant past, a tan indicated that you were too poor to work indoors. Later when the ubiquity of steam power meant everybody worked indoors to pay for their bosses' steam-powered leisure cruises to warmer climes, a tan indicated you were rich enough to go overseas.

It's particulary strange to me that of all the world's racial groups, the one who specifically clings to skin colour as a marker of its innate superiority is the one that believes that pale skin looks "unhealthy". You know what looks unhealthy? Premature aging and skin cancer, which is what happens when you tan. Tanning doesn't cause skin damage, tanning is skin damage. It's your skin's equivalent to a good, hearty, post-overindulgence vomit. But, if you must spend time with all the mad dogs and Englishmen, then a tan is hard to avoid, so it's understandable. Not a good, healthy look - in fact your skin looks like the leather of an old suitcase - but hey, you've got do to what you've got to do.

Now, all this said, it's obvious that I'm in favour of skin in its natural, healthy state. But, if healthy is not an option because you like being outdoors, then at least natural in terms of your skin looking like actual, tanned human skin is preferable to the revolting shade of pumpkin that is now fashionable amongst bleach-blondes the world over.

"Bronzer", they call it. "Instant tan".

You look like an oompaloompa, you fucking idiot. Your skin bears no resemblance to human skin. You are not brown, you are orange.

What makes it worse is that because you, having long since dedicated yourself to cosmetic artifice, fail to see that the lip gloss and eye makeup you picked for your prior, slightly more natural state simply does not work with your newfound amber complexion. And it's not just the bad makeup, spray tans do not penetrate like light. The apparent stencil effect of the pink edges of your eyelids lead to the illusion that you're wearing a vermilion latex mask, amplifying the unnaturalness to an almost mesmerising level of awfulness.

What I don't understand is how this look has become popular. Everyone I know - including people I dislike and don't agree with on anything beyond the day's weather - thinks that this chemical abomination looks ridiculous. There's practically an entire genre of insults out there about how terrible it looks, even in the crappy magazines you allow to dictate your eating disorders. Who exactly is suggesting you do it? Is there some shriveled, leathery old bat bullying you about how pale you look?

A tip: if your hair is lighter than your skin, you have gone too fucking far.