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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

unsolicited economic advice from Jenisfamous

The post below (asking the question "How many hours per month do you have to work to pay your rent?") has generated a healthy discussion in the comments. I happen to know the commenter who answered "14" (most other answers are in the forties and fifties), and know that he commands a high hourly rate for his services, which leads me to a new topic:

I am convinced that most of what we consider sound financial values about budgeting and saving are illogical Depression-era holdovers.

In our brave new world in which jobs are ephemeral and we are advised to "be your own brand", it is -- for able people -- a better use of resources to worry about maximizing income, rather than minimizing expenses, as income is far more fluid than expenses. (It is easier for me to find a way to make twice as much money than it is for me to find a grocery store that charges half-price). This was not true for salarymen in, say, 1935.

Put another way, in an average American city/suburb (I'll work off my knowledge of Virginia Beach five years ago), rents (excluding public housing and a few crazy luxury apartments) range from about $500 to $1200. Hourly wages range from $5.15 per hour for minimum wage workers to about $300 per hour for top attorneys. Let's do the math: the top rent is 240% of the bottom rent. The top wage is 5,825% of the bottom wage. Wages clearly have a lot more wiggle room.

If you are an old lady on Social Security (with no wiggle room at all), clipping coupons may be a good use of your time. But who wants to live like an old lady on Social Security? If you are twenty-five and college-educated, I'm not sure that making a budget and carefully living within it is the optimal use of your mojo ("mojo" here meaning time, money, motivation, and ingenuity), unless you are mired in irresponsibly-acquired credit card debt and need remedial financial help.

If you are twenty-five and college-educated, I think your mojo is better expended developing a skill that can be offered on a freelance basis in addition to your 9-to-5 job (and which will provide a backup plan in times of unemployment), or obtaining additional training or participating in networking opportunities such as to accelerate advancement and allow greater job portability in the 9-to-5 job world.

I know how compound interest works, of course, but I think that before an able 25-year-old dumps money into a retirement fund, he should think: is there something I can do with this money that will contribute to making me the kind of person whom others will pay twice as much as I make now? That might be something as simple as taking a class to learn a new skill, and it might be something as un-obvious as flying halfway around the world to meet a mentor in your field. But I think, at 25, that's a sound investment.

Why on earth didn't I major in economics? I could do this all day.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Moving!

I am moving to a new apartment. I am also reading The Four-Hour Workweek.

Together, these things prompt me to ask for this blog poll: How many hours per month do you have to work to pay your rent? (For example, if you make $80,000 a year and pay $2,000 a month, that's about $38/hour, so you work about 53 hours to pay your rent. If you work a $10/hr job and pay $450, you work 45 hours to pay your rent, which makes you, in a way, a little bit richer).

So please answer this (anonymously) in the comments: How many hours do you work to pay your rent, and what city do you live in?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

closed-caption colloquialisms

While doing cardio at the gym, I end up watching a lot of those judge shows in closed-captioning.

On one of them, I think the one with the Hispanic woman judge -- regarding a dispute about a Louis Vuitton purse that happened to be counterfeit anyway -- I heard uttered the best phrase ever uttered in a courtroom:

"You're liable, boo!"


Addendum: In trying to figure out the name of that Hispanic woman judge (it's not Judge Lopez -- there are apparently multiple judge shows headed by Hispanic women judges, which is progress of a sort), I came across this article in Cracked magazine by a gentleman who has fulfilled my lifelong (well, six-month-long) dream of infiltrating a judge show. Wow.

Street Harassment of the Day: Burned-Out Car Edition

I've blogged before about unwanted male attention on the street, which is particularly bad in Bushwick.

In the first week after I moved here, I was walking to the subway in a business suit; it was hot, so I stopped to take off my suit jacket, exposing the long-sleeved shirt I was wearing underneath. A car slowed down and someone stuck his head out and made that obnoxious come-on hissing sound. This, for an outfit provocative only in certain Germanic counties in Pennsylvania.

Today I was annoyed in a new way.

I was walking to the subway and there was a burned out car -- a windowless carcass of a car, with only a stump where the steering wheel had been -- sitting on the sidewalk. I mean, it looked like this thing had been set on fire for an hour. And why was it on the sidewalk? How did it get there?

When you see something crazy, you know how you want to look up and make eye contact with someone and make the "Isn't that crazy?" expression, and then move on and go about your day? If you saw something crazy, you want to make sure someone else saw it too, by damn it.

So I looked up from the crazy car corpse, and sure enough, there was a guy approaching the car from the other direction, and I made the "Oh my god, isn't that insane?" expression. The guy, who clearly had also seen the burned-out car, immediately contorted his face into a sleazy, squinty-eyed expression, and replied, "Oh, yeah, baby ... you like?"

Sometimes street harassment is just gross and/or intimidating, but it reaches a new level when it prevents us from engaging one another as human beings with universal predilections, like occasionally making communicative eye contact with fellow humans in acknowledgment of events taking place in our common environment.

As author Janice Erlbaum quipped, "My feminist demands aren’t that extreme; I just want the simple things -- like to be able to eat a banana in public without feeling self-conscious."

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

this energy drink ad is a little rapey



I would like to suggest some alternate text for this ad:

"Do you feel bad about your rape skills? Check out this dude -- at least you've figured out that your penis needs to point downward! Hahahahaha! Women belong on their backs under people who drink our energy drink, hahahahaha!"

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there is no more anonymity

An addendum to my last egg post (The "Egg Donors Are People Too" Story), another topic of discussion in the panel was the fact that anonymity cannot be promised; the child you produce with donor eggs or sperm is going to become a teenager with internet access, and very possibly find not only the donor, but genetic half-brothers and half-sisters. This Broadsheet post says much the same thing. Here's the money quote, from a woman born of sperm donation:
"We didn't ask to be born into this situation, with its limitations and confusion. It's hypocritical of parents and medical professionals to assume that biological roots won't matter to the 'products' of the cryobanks' service, when the longing for a biological relationship is what brings customers to the banks in the first place."

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Monday, May 21, 2007

The "Egg Donors Are People Too" Story

A couple weeks ago, I participated in a panel discussion entitled "Egg Donors Are People Too," which was part of a fertility conference at the Grand Central Hyatt (a quite nice hotel). The woman moderating the panel was a psychiatrist (maybe a psychologist, I forget) specializing in fertility issues. She was beautifully dressed and coiffed and had a sort of blue-blooded air about her, as though, despite having an enviable job, she didn't actually need to work. She was the one who named the panel.

Things got off to, in my view, a hilarious start when Dr. Upper Class began with a poignant paean to egg donors, women who really care about other people's infertility and are so giving of their time and of themselves. Because, of course, no one would go through all that just for the money!

And then the floor was turned over to me, to introduce myself and talk -- in a teary, estrogen-fueled sort of way, I imagine -- about what it meant to donate eggs.

"Of course," I began, "when we say 'donating,' we're not really donating at all. That's why all the ads in the Village Voice prominently list how many thousands of dollars the gig pays." Some egg professionals in the audience looked stricken.

I then spent the next ten minutes metaphorically pointing at the white elephant in the room and jumping up and down, saying the same thing I always say: women are adults who can make their own decisions in a market economy. If our bodies are our own, then we can make economic decisions about them as well. Men can choose to endanger their health working in coal mines; women can choose to inject themselves with hormones for cash. (Imagine a blue-blooded society woman claiming "No one would go underground in those dirty pits and mine coal and risk black lung disease just for $25,000 a year! Surely these kind souls must really care that rich people need to burn fuel for energy!)

Egg donors aren't heartless people who don't care about infertility, I pointed out, but seriously, but I think a lot more broke twenty-year old women apply their altruistic instincts towards, say, Darfur, or global warming, or AIDS in Africa, than towards the inability of American couples to conceive. And rightly so. What kind of arrogance does it take to think that, when typically lower-middle-class women donate eggs to upper-middle-class buyers, it's not about the money?

On the question of whether $8,000 is enough to go through all the hormones, I said that, towards the end when it was two injections a day and lots of PMS-type side effects, I simply took the amount of money I was still owed, divided it by the number of injections remaining, and told myself that figure every time I had an injection to do. The number was over $100. Was I, and had I always been, in an economic position such that I felt that a worthwhile exchange? Obviously. That's why I signed up to do it.

Of course, it's not entirely about the money. It's also about a desire to spread my genes anywhere I can, just as men have always done, and male hip-hop artists regularly rap about. That ("I'd like to knock you all up, quite frankly") didn't go over so well at the panel either, at least among the organizers. However, a number of people-trying-to-be-parents came up to me afterwards and thanked me for making them laugh. (If only "comedian on call" could be my title! Of course, it's easy to make people laugh when you're the only comedian in the room and no one is expecting a comedian).


On a related note, a Melbourne IVF clinic is
offering a children's book explaining egg donor conception.
The title sounds just a bit dirty though, doesn't it?


(I donated eggs to a gay man in 2005. For my previous egg donation posts, go here).

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

great gams!

Celebrity magazines apparently feel that, in a single-page feature about stars and their great legs, it would be inappropriate to use the word "legs" more than, say, twice.

Hence:
  • stems
  • gams
  • sticks
Really? Mary-Kate is "displaying her sticks"? Is she playing drums?

It is not necessary to thesaurize your prose to keep from ever repeating a noun. For instance, if the New York Times runs an article about poverty, the writer might use the word "poverty" thirty or forty times. It's not a big deal. It is fine to mention the topic of an article repeatedly throughout the article.

If I write a blog post, on my comedy blog, about comedy, I might refer to "comedy" at really any time I am talking about, well, comedy. I do not feel the need to mix it up with references to "comicalness, "buffoonery," "jesting," "drollery," "schtick," or "cracking wise."

Dear celebrity magazines -- Dita Von Teese has "gams." Everyone else has legs. Thank you.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

I have never been a professional dishwasher

This may sound familiar to those of you who've seen my one-woman show, but I have a piece up on RagingFace.com:

Proof of the Qualities That We, as a Culture, Value in Standup Comedians -- by Jennifer Dziura

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

on the benefits of living in NY

Yesterday I was walking down the street in Soho and six or more male models in white suits came walking towards me. One of them handed me a free Maybelline lip gloss. Now that's a promotion! Way better than the homeless people handing out flyers for sample sales. The lip gloss was even a good shade for me.

New Yorkers are really jaded. If I'm going to take something from someone on the street, it needs to have a cash value of, like, $7.

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getting paid for being hot is not inherently anti-feminist

Let's talk about three items in the hot-girl news:
  • Back in November on the Tyra Banks Show, Tyra Banks did an "exposé" of "modeling scams", in which she hired independent models (those unrepresented by agencies, often meaning shorter, curvier models who are perfectly-well qualified to do lingerie or nude modeling, or various type of "alternative" modeling) to come to fake photo shoots, had fake photographers try to convince them to take their clothes off, and then burst into the room and told the girls what dumb sluts they were!

    Tyra's message was that these girls aren't doing "real" modeling, so they should go to high-fashion agency open calls (where nearly all of them will be rejected) or just stop modeling entirely. (While, yes, going to someone's house for a photoshoot can be dangerous, so can many other professions that require you to go to people's homes. And also, of course, some people choose to do fairly obviously dangerous things to get ahead. Whoop-de-do). From the recap:
    Tyra encouraged the girls and said, “not being accepted by an agency doesn’t mean that you are not beautiful or spectacular, it means you may not have a certain look they are looking for.” Tyra took it a step further and told them it was also okay to do something else.
    Tyra then shows her comp cards from her real modeling agency -- look, "no nudity"!

    Of course, there is a whole world of independent modeling run off sites like this, and including offbeat stunners like, say, Kumimonster (NSFW), a fetish model with a shaved head who wears a variety of amazing wigs, or Bettie Page lookalike Bernie Dexter (at right), who has managed to succeed in indie modeling with clothes on, and fabulous clothes at that (she's also only 5'2!) I could link to a hundred more of these, all with more personality and verve than high fashion models (whose job it is to be a blank canvas for designers and photo editors) ever get to display. It's just a totally different job.

    So, essentially, Tyra, all haughty 5'11 of her, is telling girls who will never be qualified to be high-fashion models, that any type of modeling that a girl under 5'9 and with a healthy amount of bodyfat could actually be successful at just makes her a dumb slut. It's like Candid Camera, but the message is "Surprise, you're genetically inferior!"

    Kumimonster could kick Tyra's ass.

    (Additionally, hiring a model for a "fake" modeling job, wasting her time, and not paying her is probably fraud. The models could -- and should -- sue in small claims court).

  • In other news (thanks to Feministing for the link), Snoop sticks up for women who appear in rap videos.
    Snoop waxed philosophical as he told MTV.com: "Who's to say that these women in videos are hos? They are classy women. Not every girl in the videos has sex with the rappers. A lot of these women do this as a means of modeling or being appreciated for their looks."
    ...
    "It's a shame that they are being classified as video hos. Halle Berry was in a video with [Fred Durst]. Does that make her a ho? TV is a long way for a lot of these girls from the country or small parts of the world."
    ...
    "The women allow themselves to be in these videos. We don't force them to be in these videos. They want to be seen, and they have calendars, portfolios, headshots, cards."
    What a world, in which upwardly-mobile hotties can expect better treatment from Snoop than from Tyra!

  • And finally, an editorial on Fox Sports sticks up for swimmer Amanda Beard's decision to pose for Playboy. A couple of choice quotes:
    Being attractive helps female athletes become famous. This is indisputable. But it is also indisputable that being an athlete helps attractive women become famous.
    ...
    Beard is not exchanging her athletic fame for the fame of a model — her athletic fame is the fame of a model.
    An observation about Amanda Beard: when the world has already seen a million unflattering photos of her (like the one at right) in a Speedo racing swimsuit and swim cap with no makeup, are Playboy readers really paying her to take the swimsuit off? Or are they paying her to put some makeup on and smile?

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

"You supply the pictures and I'll create the war"

This article, from the UK's Daily Mail, screams out "I donated eggs to friends... now I've been left infertile."

Ooh, scary! Our heroine here, Donna, donated eggs to two women out of the goodness of her heart (paying egg donors is illegal in Britain), and now she's infertile. Hrm. Here are two key quotes:
Although the doctors would not make a definitive link with the treatment she had in donating eggs, one gynaecologist admitted: 'It could be scar tissue from the procedures.'
One doctor "admitted" it "could be"? Even my toothpaste has four out of five dentists behind it.

And this:
In order for Gina [the egg recipient] to jump the waiting list she [Donna] had to give eggs to an anonymous recipient as well. It meant a higher dose of hormones and 20 eggs were retrieved.
Whoa, shit! It's illegal to pay egg donors in Britain, therefore the few extremely generous souls who do donate (often to sisters, for instance) have to also donate eggs to strangers, for free, by undergoing a more dangerous procedure! (20 eggs is off-the-hook crazy -- reputable Americans agencies are looking for 10-12 eggs per retrieval).

So much for the paternalistic British government "protecting" egg donors! Not paying donors = incredible shortage of donors, therefore the answer is ... subject the few who will do it for free to overdoses of fertility drugs and force them to share eggs with everyone!

My point here is as it always is: adult women can handle making their own choices in a market economy.

At the bottom of the article, we're informed that "A full version of this interview plus more pictures appear in this week's copy of Grazia Magazine." Grazia's story-teasing (or story-hoarding) indicates that, as is common with British tabloids, they have almost certainly paid Donna for this story. The truth and nothing but the truth? Dubious.

(I donated eggs to a gay man in 2005. For my previous egg donation posts, go here).

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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Christian Clown Training #1

This video, "Christian Clown Training #1," advises Christian clowns just starting out to begin by performing in nursing homes.


"There are a few common sense rules that every clown ought to be aware of before coming into a nursing home." The first is to call and ask for permission to come! Otherwise, you will SCARE THE SHIT OUT OF SOME OLD PEOPLE.

More advice:

"If it's your first time, plan on about a half-hour visit. During that one half-hour visit of non-speaking clowning, you will discover a lot of energy has been expended."

Also:

"Be sure to choose a partner. Two clowns together are really great." However, three or four clowns can be intimidating, apparently.

The last part of the video advises clowns to NEVER fulfill requests such as lifting a person, taking them outdoors, or "handing them something."

Because it would be SO AWESOME to be an old person in a nursing home who can't get out of bed, wants to go outside, and really needs a glass of water to be "entertained" by a pair of INCREDIBLY UNHELPFUL amateur Christian clowns.

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Sunday, May 6, 2007

Monday @Pete's Candy Store

Monday Evening Stand-Up at Pete's
Monday, May 7th

Pete's Candy Store, 709 Lorimer St. in Williamsburg
7:30-9pm
Five comics, free candy, no cover. An extremely stylish place to be on a Monday evening. You know you want to.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

"Moms' work would bring in $138,095 a year": A Rebuttal That Should Be Kind of Obvious

According to "research" conducted by Salary.com (just in time for Mothers' Day!), mothers' work, if compensated, would bring in $138,095 a year.

(If this story sounds familiar, it's because Salary.com releases a new figure each year, which is a great way of keeping their name in the news).

Before I get started on this, can we all agree that there's something not-right about this? That this $138,095 figure is bound to provide some satisfaction to underappreciated mothers, but ... this all sounds a little wonky, right?

Good. Let's get started.

I think it would be reasonable to hypothesize that mothers who take a salary survey on Salary.com on this topic may not be entirely representative of mothers as a whole. They are likely the overachievers. Perhaps some have applied their education and ambition to child-rearing in a way that adds to their workloads; at very least, they are mothers with internet access and have enough familiarity with paid workplace activities to be familiar with Salary.com. But even disregarding that possible skew, let's continue. From CNN:
The typical mother puts in a 92-hour work week, the company concluded, and works at least 10 jobs. In order of hours spent on them per week, these are: housekeeper, day-care center teacher, cook, computer operator, laundry machine operator, janitor, facilities manager, van driver, chief executive officer and psychologist. By figuring out the median salaries for each position, and calculating the average number of hours worked at each, the firm came up with $138,095....
Mmn-hmmn. Ten points:

1) First off, we all have to conduct Normal Life Activities. Those of us who do not have children still must wash our dishes and bandage our own cuts and scrapes. The respective hourly wages of dishwashers and nurses are wholly irrelevant. We are all uncompensated for the business of keeping life going.

2) If you do parts of each of ten jobs, you don't get paid proportional parts of the salary of each of the ten jobs. Shift managers at Starbucks perform part of the jobs of CEOs in that they manage people. Great, you're still a shift manager! If you're not qualified to do the whole job (of a CEO or a full-time "computer operator," for instance), then it's very unlikely that your salary will go up for being able to do part of the job. A worker at Barnes & Noble operates computers, but is not doing the whole job of being a "computer operator"; he or she does not receive a proportionally-higher salary during the time that he or she operates computers.

3) Let's talk about the CEO thing. CEOs create wealth for shareholders. They manage companies that have thousands or millions of employees, and head organizations with multiple levels of management. Even if you have ten kids and part of your job is to delegate to or co-manage with a spouse and possibly the hired help, your job is still more like that of a middle manager -- you know, like someone on The Office who has twelve people's activities to orchestrate. A middle manager might make $50,000 a year, as opposed to the millions made by a CEO. Why do CEOs make that much money? Because they work harder? Of course not. It's because shareholders are banking that attracting the best CEO talent will increase their own investment in the stock. This -- in any other than the most shady metaphorical sense -- is wholly irrelevant to parenting. (In fact, if millions of people were buying stock in your kids and you were then obligated by the Securities and Exchange Commission to act entirely in the interest of increasing the value of your stockholders' shares, you'd be a pretty shitty parent). So again: middle manager.

4) Middle managers (and psychologists) are generally salaried. So you can't take the amount of the salary, divide it by 40 hours a week for 52 weeks a year, figure out an hourly wage, and then multiply it back times the 92 hours a week you are actually working. The salary figure is fixed; it does not change based on hours worked. If you have a salaried job and you are asked to work too many hours, you can try to be more efficient, you can ask a superior for some kind of adjustment or assistance -- or you can quit. Notice how irrelevant this seems to the profession of mothering? (It's hard to leave for a better offer). This is wonky math.

5) Since we've done "CEO," let's talk about "psychologist." JUST BECAUSE YOU PERFORM DUTIES "LIKE" A PSYCHOLOGIST DOES NOT MAKE YOU A PSYCHOLOGIST. A million dudes who call themselves "amateur gynecologists" don't deserve $100K+ a year for that, either. Psychologists, I'm sure, are pleased that apparently their medical degrees and licenses are irrelevant. I've sometimes offered advice to a friend in need, but I don't charge, and if I did, my counsel would be worth less than that of someone who, you know, passed the MCAT.

6) Jobs are worth however much other people will actually pay you for them. Obviously. This is the first thing that probably made the Salary.com report seem a little wonky at first. (Notably, the whole point of rest of Salary.com is not to advocate for what people "should" be paid for their jobs, but rather to aggregate data about what they are paid). If the job of mothering is "worth" $138,095 a year, how come no one ever pays anyone that amount for it? (If such a position were to be offered, it would probably only be available to exceptionally beautiful young women -- the Melania Knauss-Trumps of the world -- which would make it a different kind of job and skew our results. But even then, a mail-order bride is cheaper and does not demand an annual salary. (See how this monetization business is getting a little insulting? Never fear, Feminist Wrap-Ups follow!)

7) People who prioritize making money make more money. Shocker! If the average salary for a receptionist is $40,000 a year, but you make $22,000 a year because you are a receptionist at an environmental nonprofit that you believe to be saving the world, then you're probably not shocked that you make less than the Salary.com average. You knew that when you signed up. If making money were your top priority, you'd be a receptionist at Bear Sterns, or, better yet, not a receptionist. If you choose a path that does not provide a traditional wage, or you follow -- through intention or simply going along with things -- one of the less lucrative paths available, it doesn't mean anything to say you "deserve" some other salary.

8) Corollary to the above: If you accept a "job" working for your husband -- who very likely makes less than $138,095 a year himself -- of course you are not surprised that you make less than $138,095.

9) Let's keep going with that. It's unclear what meaning it could have to say that the wife of a man who makes, say, $60,000 a year is really doing a $138,095 job, even if no one on earth will pay her that to do it. Hmmn. Well, say we're talking about even a very appreciative husband here (the one who makes $60,000). Obviously, he can't pay her more than he even makes -- just as a "CEO" can't expect to be paid more money than a company has access to. I can't go work as "CEO" for a company with less than $1M in revenue and expect to be paid more than $1M a year, even though that's small potatoes for CEOs -- unless, of course, I can raise the small company's revenues by many millions of dollars per year, such that it becomes possible and worthwhile to compensate me in proportion to my having increased the value of the firm. How does that apply to mothering? It doesn't. Because having children is not a profit-making enterprise. To ask for CEO-type compensation for it would be to ask to be paid based on how much money you can make off the children. (And if you are one of the few Dina Lohans who makes money off the children, you're already getting your $138,095. Is that the model we're aiming towards? I think not).

10) Basic economics: jobs become worth less when more people are qualified to do them. Take "being a patent attorney" versus "delivering Chinese food in New York, on a bicycle." The second is hard, unpleasant, and extremely dangerous, and, as I understand it, often pays less than minimum wage. This is because a great many people can do it, including illegal immigrants who speak near-zero English. How many people are qualified to be patent attorneys? In America, under 100,000. How many people are qualified to be mothers? Over a hundred million. (You might argue that not all of them are good at it, which is certainly true, but only the very worst are ever removed from their positions by Social Services, so I think it's fair to count all of the mothers allowed to remain in their jobs). When more people are able to perform a certain job, the wages for that job are driven lower. Everyone who's every studied the Industrial Revolution, Taylorism, the AFL, or the Progressive Era should be familiar with this concept.

Okay, that was the ten points. Now, please keep in mind, I'm a feminist. So where do we go from here?

Feminist Wrap-Up A: Maybe instead of painting mothers as oppressed women forced into roles in which they are embarrassingly being exploited by their overlords (who pay them zero percent of their earned wages!), we should think of them as women who've chosen to do things they think are more important than making money. Perhaps women are adults who have the ability to make their own choices in a capitalist society.

Feminist Wrap-Up B: Maybe putting out feel-good reports right before Mothers' Day telling mothers that they're performing a $138,095 a year job -- when they know that no one will pay them that much money to do the job (and, like most Americans of both genders, no one will pay them that much to do any job) -- is just a little patronizing. Women are supposed to lap up blatant lying because we enjoy flattery oh-so-much? Condescending in the extreme.

Feminist Wrap-Up C: No one is performing this sort of calculus for, say, male activists who don't get paid for their labor. What if a male global-warming activist works 92 hours a week, performing parts of the jobs of CEO, marketing director, van driver, computer operator, etc.? Does anyone feel the need to calculate some kind of pseudo-salary expressing the total dollar value of his unpaid, but very important, work? Seems kind of meaningless. I think we assume that the unpaid male global warming activist doesn't need emotional shoring-up, or pretty lies. A double-standard here is patronizing and anti-feminist.

xo,
Jen

Update: This post made it to Economist.com, courtesy of Megan McArdle. In the comments below the generous excerpt of my original post, one man comments that no one's proposing he receive overtime for the professions of painter, carpenter, electrician, plumber, etc.

p.s. Mom, I love you very much, but, of course, no one in our family has ever made $138,095 a year. I mean, if we were a multimillion-dollar corporation (note: maybe we should've founded a chain of discount stores: Dziu-Mart), I'd vote you a big bonus and stuff. But I think you're going to have to settle for having produced a daughter who writes blog posts like this one. If only that were its own reward. Happy Mothers' Day!

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Friday, May 4, 2007

Eve with a moldy lid

Speaking of middle-aged Eastern European women calling for toast (see post below), I've always wondered why anyone calls for "whole wheat down" when "toast" is just as brief and distinct a word as "down."

According to the Wikipedia entry on diner lingo, "the 'down' part probably comes from the action of pushing down the handle on the toaster."

Here's a notable couple of entries from the lingo list:
Eve with a lid on: Apple pie, referring to the biblical Eve's tempting of Adam with an apple. The "lid" is the pie crust

Eve with a moldy lid: Apple pie with a slice of cheese
Er ... delicious!

(If you are further interested in this topic, here is a post I wrote in 2005 about toast).

Beyonce is a Dumbass, Part II

Last week, (recurring friend-character) Megan and I celebrated her birthday at Kellogg's Diner when, over the buzz of middle-aged Eastern European women calling for toast, came the opening lines of Beyonce's "Irreplaceable."


To the left, to the left...

"WHAT ON EARTH IS TO THE LEFT?" asked Megan, fair to bursting with an insatiable curiosity for a precise understanding of contemporary R&B lyricism.

"Everything some guy owns is in a box to the left," I replied. "Because he shouldn't get to thinking he's irreplaceable."

"I was really wondering about that! Because it sounds like a dance, but she never goes to the right, to the right."

"So true."

Now, I'd like to hark back to August 2006, when I blogged about the song "Can't Let You Go," by Fabolous. I particularly admired this rhyme:

She won't care if I'm a platinum rapper
If she catch me with an empty Magnum wrapper.


"Rapper" and "wrapper"! It first sounds like kind of a cheap non-rhyme, until you realize they are two different words with two different meanings, which makes me like this off-rhyme a great deal. Now, back to Beyonce:

I could have another you in a minute
Matter 'fact, he'll be here any minute.


Um ... "minute" and "minute"? Really?

(For previous "Beyonce is a dumbass" post, go here).

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Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Tonight's Debate

Todd Seavey of the Athenaeum Society explains all.

the naughty thing that's apparently happening at 8

My Treo has tiny icons for various emoticons, and I keep hitting the wrong icon and texting people things like:

    I'll be there at 8 ;-)

or

    Congratulations! :-(

I should avoid this problem by using the stylus, but I like to think my tiny girl-fingers can do the job.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Dumbest Ad Campaign EVER

I saw a poster-sized ad in Chelsea that featured a close-up face of an attractive man, over which was written:

I RISK, THEREFORE I AM

Now, for those of you not in New York, Chelsea is totally full of public service announcement ads about HIV testing and avoiding crystal meth. And now ... an ad for bareback sex? What? Who would even place such an ad? (On the internet, with a phone number, sure. But on the side of a public phone kiosk, advocating the practice in general?)

I noted the URL and visited when I got home, findtheupside.com -- a "leading insurance broker and strategic risk advisor." They have 47 of the industry's top 150 "power brokers" as designated by Risk and Insurance magazine!

Er ... that was a business-to-business ad? Really? "I risk, therefore I am" on the face of a male model, in Chelsea?

That even makes your other slogan, "What's Your Upside?" sound a little dirty now, doesn't it?

Maybe their advertising "worked," in the sense that I went to their website and now am blogging about it. Ooh, success! I am blogging about how, instead of advertising to corporate decisionmakers, you appear to be advertising AIDS to the gay glamorati.

Dear Marsh, here are some suggestions for future ad campaigns:

FIND THE UPSIDE OF RISK!

RISK MAKES YOU THIN


Note: Please fire your ad agency. Immediately.

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