Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Greatest Public Service Announcement You Will Ever See


Here it is.

I have nothing to add.

-Josh

Or Maybe I Don't Need a Job


I Stumbled upon this. In case you're too lazy to read a short, six-paragraph article, I'll sum it up: tropical island, free cocaine and cash literally floating onto the shore. Amazingly, the island does not seem to be overpopulated.
While free drugs and a seemingly effortless source of income would obviously both be nice, I want to focus on a broader point: Why don't I live on an island somewhere? It would be summer all the time, I could literally sleep my days away on the beach, and island people never seem to be that stressed out.
I imagine myself working at a bar on the beach. It would be an old wooden structure offering cheap margaritas and a cool swath of shade. I'd be the friendly gay bartender who flirted with the sailors and made lots of tips; after each of my shifts, I'd grab a couple of Coronas from the cooler and when asked where I was going, I'd just look back and wink and say, "Absolutely nowhere, and that's the beautiful part." My patrons would gaze on in awed wonder as I slowly but intently walked away, and then next morning I'd be back, my eyes tired but my smile ready for a new day. It'd be a lot of work but stress-free.
After all, what is there to be stressed about? Hurricane warnings and scary fucking sea spiders aside, there's really nothing to be worried about on a tropical island.
Here in New York I have boy drama and difficult exams and arguments with friends and anxieties about getting into clubs and annoying sleet and obnoxious cab drivers who take the long route from the West Village back to my place on the Bowery because they think I don't know the difference but it really shouldn't cost ten dollars and the only reason I'm not protesting is because it's late and I'm tired and not in the mood for an argument.
I'll bet people in Maui don't have to deal with this shit.

-Josh

Pricks on the ACE

Tonight Ashley was kind enough to accompany me on 3 trains (the 6 then the L then the 3) to 34th Street in order to meet a friend of mine from home at a bar across from Penn Station. We were wary from the getgo, due to the location; nothing good is located above 14th street, and nothing even remotely tolerable is located from 30th to 42nd. Anyway, upon arrival we realize we are supposed to meet them at Jimmy's BBQ and Chicken Shack. Okay, I can deal with this. A peep through the window reveals New Jersey beauty queens and their suited counterparts, sipping away on $10 vodka drinks and Bud Light cans. I have to say all this to qualify the following statement: they didn't accept our fake IDs.

Now, our IDs are shitty. We got them freshman year from a guy in Queens with a ponytail. My picture is rubbing off because I went a little overzealous trying to scratch it up to look "realistic." Our signatures are in the font Lucinda Handwriting, which is quite popular among 7th grade girls. I am from West Orange, MD. They could not be more obviously fake.

But they usually work, because we are girls, and we have nice boobs, and to be honest we don't go out that much anyway, and when we do it's to places where we know the people who are throwing the party or the guy at the door. But yeah, we got turned away from Jimmy's Chicken Shack. I was disappointed only because I missed the opportunity to see my friend. Mostly I was just grateful I could return home to put my PJs on, get high and watch TV with my friends.

But on the A train home from Penn Station, we managed to score a spot next to this loud-talking bald douchebag professor, who I'm assuming teaches at a CUNY or some place similar. He started off by talking about how the kids in his "remedial Algebra class are pricks" and have "no respect for him." They apparently answer their phones during class and tell him off and text during tests. Yes, according to him, "this chick kept answering her phone in class, and I had to tell the bitch off." Every single woman he referred to in his self-obsessed, douchebag speech about how his students didn't respect him was deemed a "chick." He then made an off-color comment about a Pakistani student. It, of course, never occurred to him that his students don't respect him because he clearly doesn't respect them.

Did you know they're giving PhD's to assholes now? Well I guess that's kind of old news, but I had no idea someone so out of touch with reality and the academic and student world could be so heavily rewarded. Are these the professors of my generation? Self-conscious mouthbreathers who toot their own horn loudly and with painfully practiced aplomb on the A train from Penn Station to W. 4th? If I follow my current career path and myself end up a professor, are these the department supervisors I'll feel inclined to sleep with to get the curriculum in tip-top shape? Am I relegated to a future of giving assholes blowjobs just so some underprivileged Bachelor's Degree-seeking Bronx kids get an education? Fuck that. Maybe I will just work at Jimmy's BBQ and Chicken Shack.

-Jess

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ashley Alexandra Dupre is kind of a trashy name anyway

Remember how earlier this week I was all pro-prostitution. Like, yay Ashley Alexandra Dupre, you go girl, fuck that governor guy!

Well these pictures in The Post give me a different idea of this hooker-turned-heroine (turned back to trashy NJ Shore hooker).

It disgusts me how well she is milking this. She will have a recording contract and a book deal by the end of the weekend. Has she no self-respect? I mean, I know she was a callgirl, but many of them have a lot of self respect, and that's why they can do something that's so degrading without feeling bad about it. And if she was going to do a photoshoot, did she have to do it nude? It's as if she wants to emphasize the fact that she is um.... a whore. Has she put any thought to the fact that this is probably destroying Silda, seeing all the places her husband touched, and paid to touch?

This girl is officially kind of a bitch.

-Jess

Welcome to the Wiiniverse


Josh loves Wii, my co-worker Trevor loves Wii, David's roommates own Wii, and my 3 year old cousin is better at it than me. But I don't get the concept of Wii.


Wii is kind of like a really obvious comment on American consumerism. Why go out bowling with your friends when you can stay at home and pretend to bowl? Why go out into the world and interact with people when you can do so via a headset? Why get exercise when you can move your arms in circular patterns and high kick in the air like a karate master?


Admittedly, I've yet to try Wii. Perhaps I would like it, perhaps I would just be caught up in a ball of negativity about how I could be out right now (not that I leave my apartment that much anyway). One thing's for sure: I am probably a better virtual bowler, because I can't bowl for shit in real life.


-Jess

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Jess Talks About Stuff

Jessica is indeed the spokeswoman of our generation. She's been doing a wonderful job basically maintaining this blog by herself for the past week or so. Lest you think I've abandoned the blog, however, I hate to break it to you but that's not the case. This has just been the week of midterms/sickness/internship interviews/getting into fights with loved ones. Fun. But Friday means the end of my week and the start of spring break! So expect to get more posts about stupid links I Stumbled upon in the very near future.

-Josh

Question of the week

No one you meet is going to argue that what Spitzer did was right in any way. He cheated on his (now heroic) wife Silda Wall Spitzer, he broke the law, and he acted like a total hypocrite while doing it (as attorney general he managed to go after a "sophisticated prostitution ring," hopefully not the same one he patronized).

But there is one good thing to come out of Spitzer's admonishments, and yeah, the media is having a field day with it. What the fuck is up with prostitution?


Earlier this week I argued that this scandal opens the door to the discussion of prostitution, and perhaps even paves the way for an intelligent conversation about the possibility of legalization. My roommate Ashley had a lot to say about that, and her points did not fall on deaf ears. But Emily Bazelon over at Slate has other ideas.


There are two sides to the story: Ashley was right in a lot of ways, there is evidence to show that legalizing prostitution only exascerbates the problem. It fails to protect women who are "victims" in the sex industry, helps pimps, drives the cost of non-government regulated prostitutes down (and thus the demand for them up), and may increase the rates of illegal human trafficking. According to the US government:

The United States government takes a firm stance against proposals to
legalize prostitution because prostitution directly contributes to the
modern-day slave trade and is inherently demeaning.
But, as Bazelon argues, if that were the case, states like Nevada would be overrun with illegal human trafficking rings and the demand for prostitutes would steadily decrease. But that just isn't true.


So maybe the answer lies in places like Sweden, one of those awesome Scandanavian countries that's lax on everything. They've made it legal for women to sell sex, but illegal for men to buy it. This completely strokes my feminist ego-- turn the tables, make Spitzer the criminal, not Kristen. And it seems to work. According to Slate:

In the capital city of Stockholm the number of women in street prostitution has
been reduced by two thirds, and the number of johns has been reduced by 80%."
Trafficking is reportedly down to 200 to 400 girls and women a year, compared
with 15,000 to 17,000 in nearby Finland.
But the problem remains that sociologists and government officials alike really don't know much about how the sex industry functions. Rates, relationships between pimps and callgirls, and the amount of violence that actually occurs are all statistics that have yet to be hammered out. Without information like this, how is it even possible to make any informed decisions about prostitution, whether it be to legalize it or to keep it illegal?


It's clear that prostitution was made illegal based on strict moral and ethical codes (stemming from religion, most likely) that are maybe old-fashioned in our oversexed society. And without information about how the sex industry operates, it's nearly impossible to either support or deny this law.


Perhaps instead of focusing on Spitzer and his transgressions, the media and their scientific counterparts should look into gathering statistics and facts that would help back up their arguments. Perhaps what the government needs is a branch that doesn't hold women accountable for being victimized in the sex industry, and doesn't criminalize them as such, but instead works with them to gather reputable information that could help probe deeper into the phenomenon. If Big Brother spent half as much time trying to understand why and how the industry works as they do running sting operations on poor prostitutes in Hell's Kitchen, then maybe the media, as well as the public, wouldn't be so confused and frazzled over the whole issue.


-Jess

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Digital love in a digital age

My friend Matt and I were talking about dating rituals and how we are both awful on the phone. I stumble over my words and get distracted by people who are actually around me and allow for really long, pregnant pauses because I expect the other person to fill them in to make it not awkward; so if I'm on the phone with Matt, or really anyone else from our generation, it turns into one awful string of pauses and utterances that never really produces a gratifying phone conversation.

Matt and I are not alone; most of my friends complain about being horrendously awkward on the phone. And as I was talking to Matt on iChat and Facebook messaging Josh and texting David, I realized that the reason none of us can communicate adequately via telephone is because we've had close to zero practice!

Our generation was borne of the internet. The internet was invented probably around the same time I was born. I got my first screen name (Actress151) when I was in 5th grade. Since then, I've relied almost entirely on the internet to communicate with my friends.

Even people I've known for years give me trouble on the phone. We giggle nervously, we mishear each other, we stare shifty eyed into space while luscious silence eats up the wires. I'm even awkward with my father on the phone!

And it really is because I use the internet to do everything. I've broken up with boyfriends (and been broken up with) via AIM; I've explicated my life stories to old friends who moved out West; I've kept in contact with cousins and my friends from high school solely through the internet; I've traded study guides and music and writing all through AIM. So it's really not surprising that when it comes to the phone, I become a retarded 2 year old.

But is that really so bad? Phone skills are important if you're an office employee or a PR firm C.E.O. But beyond that, I dare to argue that the phone is almost irrelevant. Even when it comes to long distance relationships, the phone is kind of passe; if you want to see and hear a person, just videochat.

Text messaging is a different story. How many times have I easily gotten out of group study meetings or awkward dinners with ex-boyfriends or unwanted trips to the mall with friends via text message?

It's that whole barrier thing; AIM and, to a lesser extent, text messaging, are so attractive because they gives us the ability to THINK before we speak, something that we sacrifice when we talk on the phone or in person. It allows an eloquence lost in the immediacy the phone mandates.

And for people like me who get swept up by words and phrases and syntax, maybe never talking on the phone again is a legitimate possibility.

-Jess

High School Confidential: they drink, they steal each other's boyfriends, and they get brain tumors


Last night (K)Ashley and I took a study break to watch the new documentary-turned-mini series High School Confidential. Sharon Liese, the writer/director, followed 12 girls around from grades 9th-12th (2002-2006, which is especially relevant to me because those are the years I was in high school) and each episode features two different girls and the changes they experienced throughout that formative 4 year block. Last night we met Lauren, a drill team captain Christian who was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor and forced to have brain surgery. I can't imagine going through something like this, especially during those painful high school years. But girlfriend handled it with grace and control.


Then there was Cappie. Hailing from a single-parent home, Cappie hung out mostly with boys and began drinking at the early age of 15 (hello, who didn't?). The thing that shocked me is that all of her behavior was so startlingly textbook and predictable:


1. She didn't have a father in her life, and alternated between pretending it didn't faze her and being stark-raving mad and upset about it. ("Imagine going to your friends' house and seeing them hug their Dads and you... you don't have that. It's hard.") So, naturally she only had one good girl friend, who probably also struggled with Daddy issues; and though she claims she was "The Virgin Mary," she clearly had definite problems with men. She even dumped her best friend in order to steal her boyfriend. I know that not only girls with "daddy issues" are prone to this kind of behavior, but I think it explains a lot, psychologically.


2. Her mother didn't really seem to care about what she did. She knew that Cappie hanging out with all guys was probably bad, and she admitted that Cappie was probably into things that she shouldn't be doing; but her total nonchalance allowed Cappie to begin failing classes and take up harder partying. I think single parents are heroes; it must be unimaginably difficult to raise a child on your own. The problem wasn't that her mom was a single parent, it was that she was a distant parent, completely disowned from her daughter's obvious issues with men and with substances.


High School Confidential, overall, did a pretty good job of capturing the troubling issues teenagers confront when they enter that painful time. Not to mention it's going to be undeniably addicting. I mean, it's right up my alley: young people engaging in risky behavior? My favorite book is Catcher in the Rye and my favorite movie is the loosely-based-off-of-Salinger Igby Goes Down. Teens + drugs = fucking awesome entertainment.


-Jess

Lady in the street but a freak in the bed

While taking a study break at work, two of my co-workers and I got into a little discussion about men and sex. My one co-worker is dating the "nice" guy, which is maybe the polite way of saying he's her bitch; he picks her daughter up from school and brings her soup when she's sick and is overall the boyfriend that girls say they want but then never actually date because they really want an asshole. But my co-worker has been around the block enough times to know that this guy is what a woman needs: well, kind of.


The problem with nice guys is that, well, they're nice. They're nice at the supermarket and they're nice to your parents, but the real problem is that they're nice in bed.



There's this whole cliche about women, most likely perpetuated by ladymags and Friends reruns, that says that women like to make love. We want physical affection. We want to be touched gently and have men look us in the eye and say they love us right before they're about to cum, and afterwards we want to be held and cuddled and made to feel like something beyond a sexual object.


Guess what? More and more that cliche is becoming just plain wrong. Take it from me and most of the people I know: some girls just want to be fucked.

Rip our clothes off, push us up against the wall, call us names, maybe even put your hand on the back of our heads; we don't mind. And no, it doesn't make us whores. It makes us sexual beings, just like all the Maxim reading, jerking-off-in-the-shower men out there.


I'm tired of having to pretend I like to snuggle after sex. Because for me, and for a lot of women, sex and love are two completely different entities: I'd love for you to stroke my hair and touch my face and tell me you love me. Just not in bed. Because in bed I want all that love stuff thrown out the window and I want to be pounded. Hard.


So for those nice guys out there, perhaps heed my advice if you're scared of "finishing last." We like nice, but we also like dominant. Don't be afraid to treat us like shit in the bedroom, and don't get scared that this has anything to do with being "damaged" or having "daddy issues." A lot of women want to be fucked as hard as you want to fuck them. So isn't that kind of a win-win?


-Jess

PS. My friend Marshall had this insight to add:
Some of us are nice to your parents because we like your parents, and some of us are nice to your parents because we want to fuck you.

It's not as simple as I put it. I mean, this is a blog, not a diary entry, so there's bound to be some rapant generalizations. What do you guys think?

Monday, March 10, 2008

This is a sad day

So this is what it's like to be an adult: instead of rushing home and feverishly ripping open the birthday present my Grandmother sent me, I wait for a month and then finally have my Dad unwrap it and tell me what it is over the phone.

It's from Coldwater Creek. (Ew!!!) It's dangly earrings with different colored stones in them. (Ew ew ew!!!!!)

I don't like adulthood.

-Jess

Breaking news: Old white guys like prostitutes!

So okay, NY Governor Eliot Spitzer is a hooker-lover. Frankly, I'm not really surprised; he's an old rich married white man. I think it would be more surprising if someone found me an old rich married white man who doesn't support the oldest profession known to man.

But why is prostitution so stigmatized? The word "prostitution" in itself has become dirty, something the media has slandered to depict life on the "wrong side of the tracks."

This case allows us to look at a side of prostitution that is rarely examined. Working girls are often classified as poor drug abusers who work the streets just to make money to pay rent. But there are also high class working girls who do the job because, well, they're good at it. And in my opinion, there's nothing wrong with that.

Why not use this debacle as a platform for getting a debate going about legalizing prostitution? Legalized, regulated prostitution would be beneficial in the following ways:
1) Protection of prostitutes against violence and STI's.

2) Less stigmatization against a group of women who are smart enough to use their bodies to get by.

3) Protection against blackmail from pimps.

4) Taxing their salaries = government revenue.

5) Less drug abuse among prostitutes.

The stigmatization of prostitution is such an ancient notion; it has its roots in religious and moral philosophizing that is long out of date in a society like ours where I can flip on the TV and see Kim Kardashian in a thong. Sure, Spitzer was wrong; government officials, especially those who fight against corruption, shouldn't break the law. But what if prostitution wasn't illegal? What if it was regulated and standardized, much like strip clubs or that Bunny Ranch in Las Vegas. I think Spitzer would agree with me: the world would be a happier, less sexually frustrated place.

-Jess

Sunday, March 9, 2008

I'm Not Useful

I should be studying for my midterms. Instead, I just made and ate six servings' worth of stuffing.

Such a poor choice. Such a poor, delicious choice.

-Josh