Shit that Pissed Me Off – 8/29

Swimwear Company Massively Photoshops a Model’s Body and Gets Caught

I think we all get that standards of attractiveness/beauty are messed up in the fashion world.  Here, you can see how much work went into taking someone who looked fine and creating a lie about her body.

What is most upsetting is the company’s apology.  In essence they used the “everybody does it” argument.  They took down the photoshopped picture but they didn’t put up the original picture to replace it.

OMG!!  Look at her fail to swell swimwear because she's not thin enough!!!!

OMG!! Look at her fail to sell swimwear because she’s not thin enough!!!!

Then they admitted that they made the changes to sell a product.

Well that’s honest, I guess.  What they fail to recognize is the product they are selling when they do something like that.

They are no longer selling swimwear.  They are selling body image.  They are telling young women who look like Meghan Kausman that they aren’t thin enough to wear this product.  Their apology indicates that they are completely OK with that.

I know (and I hope most of us do) that advertising is inherently dishonest.  Fruit Loops have never been a healthy addition to a balanced breakfast.  Pick up trucks don’t have great gas mileage.  Ever.

Things are getting out of hand, though, when a size 8 is too fat to sell a swimsuit.

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Putting it Together – Where’s that Line?

Top GunI’ve been writing a bunch of things lately and fell far behind on my blog projects.  If you were reading and missed my posts, I’m sorry.  If you weren’t reading, I don’t know why I brought it up.

Today, I’m re-starting my Putting it Together blog.  I’ve been using this blog series to share thoughts that arise from creative projects, like the Fringe Festival.

For the Minnesota Fringe this year, I wrote a show called “Top Gun: The Musical.”  The show was very successful and my writing got an amazing assist from a talented cast, great choreography, and really good music co-written with Chad Dutton.  Most of the feedback was positive and I felt like the audience really enjoyed what we put on stage.

When I was writing the show, I spent a lot of time watching the film and as I watched, I was taken with all of the homoerotic subtext.  I mean, there are dozens of Youtube videos on the topic but I hadn’t watched any of them.  Yet.  To me, the romance between Maverick and Charlie was not at all interesting and there seemed to be more chemistry between Maverick and Iceman.

When I wrote the script, I wrote it with those thoughts in mind.  I told the actors that as far as I was concerned, every pilot in the show was a closeted gay man.

The serious subtext was the idea that in the 80’s, you couldn’t be an openly gay man in the military.  It was hard to be an openly gay man at all.  It is remarkable how far we’ve come in such a short time.

Now the show wasn’t at all serious and the idea that these characters were in the closet was played for laughs.  That made me nervous.

Because while I wanted to make fun of the fact these characters were in the 80’s closet, I didn’t want it to come off as making fun of the fact that they were gay.  I wanted it to be very clear that it was OK they were gay.

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The Stars are Finite

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Photo by Peter Verrant

Last night, word reached me that a friend died suddenly over the weekend.  I’ve known Robert Schug ever since he and his partner Steven joined the Renaissance Festival cast.  Like many of my friends, I’ve seen them far less frequently than I would have liked in the last few years.

Robert was exuberant, proud, and generous.  When a fire devastated part of the festival several years ago, he was instrumental in creating the Phoenix project, which helped crafters rebuild their booths.

Many people have referred to Robert as being a member of the fops and that isn’t correct.  He and Steven were their royal highnesses Prince Puph and Phluph from the realm of materialism.  As he himself put it, Robert was the fluffy one.  They received the Cracked Cup for rookie of the year and as a member of the group that voted for awards that year, I’ve never had an easier decision to make.

Note: My point is not to suggest that Steven and Robert were better or worse than the Fops.  Rather, I think it is important to remember that they were different.

Robert had his faults, as we all do.  I can’t for the life of me recall what they were and it isn’t as if they matter.

He was filled with joy and life and he is gone.

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Shit that Pissed Me Off – 8/22

Canadian School Board Candidate Wants Creationism Taught in Schools

Her picture looks adorable.  I’m sure she’s twenty.  Maybe.

She is firmly of the opinion that they should teach the controversy (that doesn’t exist).  She also says that schools should focus on the “basics” of education.

Like evolution, right?

No no no no no no no no!

Well, she thinks it should be taught in science classrooms alongside creationism.  She also thinks sex education should be abstinence only because that is also “basic.”

As basic as Abstinence-Bible-Contraceptives are tools of the Devil!

As basic as Abstinence-Bible-Contraceptives are tools of the Devil!

Is this barely not-teenager going to be elected? I doubt it.

And yet I’m tired of living in a world where people continue to believe that creationism should be given the same amount of time in the classroom.  And I’m tired of living in a world where we continue to argue about abstinence-only sex education when the evidence clearly shows it is inadequate.

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Shit that Pissed me Off – 8/15

We Lost Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall in One Week

I’m very sad to think that both these amazing artists are gone.

I’m just wondering why anyone would use this opportunity to abuse Williams’ daughter online.  I mean, what the fuck is wrong with you?

In the meantime, others are using Williams’ death to call attention to depression or addiction or to say that suicide is selfish and look, I don’ t know.  I’ve never been depressed so I have no idea what kind of despair would lead to making that choice.  I can’t imagine ever making it myself.

Robin Williams

Thing is, I didn’t live inside his head.  I don’t know what brought him to that incredibly dark place where the only conceivable decision was to end it all.

But so what? He’s gone.

And that sucks.

So let’s leave it be and say goodbye.  You were awesome, Robin.  I’m sorry whatever demons haunted you finally won.

Losing Bacall in the same week just pours salt on the wound.

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Fringe Reviews – Days 10 & 11

Sole MatesI spent a lot of time at the Fringe this weekend and while reviewing shows makes no difference for anyone’s attendance at this point, I’m still going to write about what I saw.

I’ve developed a lot of friends at the Fringe over the years.  At first, I would try very hard to see all of their shows because that’s what friends do.  Over time, I’ve reached the point where watching every show by a friend could mean I’d never see anything by someone I don’t know.

So I reached the point where I realized that everyone I knew was in the same boat as me.  Making a choice to miss a friend’s show isn’t personal.  You are only going to see so many shows over the course of eleven days.

When you reach that conclusion, it takes a little bit of the pressure off.

So if you are a friend of mine and I missed your show this year, I’m sorry.  If you missed mine, that is OK too.  I’m sure we can all still be friends.

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Fringe Reviews – Day 8

2722I’ve been playing a lot of “Fringe Roulette” this year.  While there are a lot of shows I want to see, most of them aren’t showing at a time I can see them (this weekend should change that).  So instead, I’m just going to a show that is taking place close to where my shows are taking place.  Those kinds of choices can result in finding some hidden gems.

So far this year, I haven’t had that kind of luck.  I have seen very little that is terrible but I have seen a great deal that is mediocre.

I played Fringe Roulette with my first show yesterday and the result was…well…let’s just say I’m hoping my results are better next time.

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