Sunday, January 28, 2007

What Happens in Davos (Does Not Really Stay) in Davos

~Lakshmi Mittal telling everyone in sight to get the dancing started at a Bollywood night cap
~Shaukat Aziz asking his press delegation if it's really necessary that they film him on the way to the bathroom
~The fresh faced co-founder of Facebook opting out of a fancy evening with the world's political and economic elite in exchange for a dinner with the sweaty and exhausted media team
~Steve Forbes asking the media peons if we need him to get us into the Google party
~Bono changing his sunglasses three times in the course of one afternoon (rose to peach and back to rose)

...For the last week I have been huffing and puffing away at a certain "Major Global Conference on Economic Issues" in the Swiss Alps (name withheld for fear that my renegade staff-blogging will be detected by our omniscient media monitoring team... it doesn't take a genius to figure it out). Although I originally intended to keep a running account of my second year of press delegations management at the Forum (oops!), my schedule this year did not allow for such catharsis. Instead I've been chasing around angry government journalists from 21 countries whilst fielding repeated unwanted dinner invitations from a certain 60-year old Pakistani cameraman.

So fear not, oh blogosphere - I will return to my infant digital diary in haste once I find myelf back on American soil (and fortunately many thousands of miles away from said cameraman) tomorrow evening. Until then, ponder the issues that were brought up here and here.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Christian: [to Gina] "You're like herpes. Every time I feel like I'm getting my life back, I have a Gina outbreak”

Season two of the fabulously salacious Nip/Tuck included a particularly gruesome story line in which former McNamara/Troy classmate Merrill Bobolit

is found to be doing cheap, illegal surgeries in the back of a Korean nail salon. Not only is he performing these surgeries in a non-sterile environment, he's addicted to the anesthetic gas. Christian gets him to go to Narcotics Anonymous, even volunteering to be his sponsor. When Christian can't make it to a meeting, Merrill loses his mind and accidentally kills a woman who Sean and Christian refuse to perform unnecessary liposuction on. The salon owner and Merrill then cut the girl into pieces to dispose of her.

This week, life has imitated art.

Don’t get me wrong – I fully understand the often-crunching social pressure to join the Waifs in Wonderbras brigades. In the age of an image-obsessed media and ample, affordable cosmetic surgery options, a little Botox injection here or a saline implant there (and there) doesn’t really sound all that bad! But the obsession has to stop somewhere, and I think it’s safe to say that the red light is here. As cases like these appear with increasing frequency, I pity those who feel so uncomfortable in their own skin that they would resort to such sordid measures.

No corn oil ass-injections for me, thanks.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Deprivation and Karate Chops

Whether you believe it was a) cruel and unusual denial of formative female fiction or b) visionary feminist parenting on the part of my (innovative?) - (progressive?) - (nut-job?) mother, there is no denying the fact that the “Cinderella Ban” left an indelible mark on my psyche. Not, perhaps, the mark my mother had hoped for when she outlawed Disney’s Terrible Triptych (Snow White,Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella); but her repeated vetoes of these classic feminine narratives did indeed have some kind of lasting effect on my world view.

Early on I learned the importance of tenacity in achieving one’s innermost desires… “If mommy won’t let me enjoy cartoon versions of outdated domestic stereotypes, then by golly, I’ll find someone who will!” My Aunt Christine was very helpful in establishing an efficient Black Market Princess Trade when I was still a tender age of six or seven. In hindsight I believe my mother knew about these underground exchanges (I did, after all, know all the words to “Once Upon a Dream”), but I think she was satisfied knowing that I understood her reasoning behind the ban - that she did not want her impressionable daughter to think that the Prince-Will-Rescue-Me model of womanhood was in any way empowering.

And she liked the Muppets. So mom and I could happily enjoy the exploits of Kermit the Frog, Gonzo, Fozzie Bear, and of course the powerful Miss Piggy with limited ideological struggle. Over time my respect and admiration for the feminine and forceful Muppet has grown, and I find myself increasingly able to identify with the character. Wikipedia’s bio on the Pig says it all:

She is absolutely convinced that she's destined for stardom, and nothing is going to stand in her way. Her public face tries to be the soul of feminine charm, but she can instantly fly into a violent rage whenever she thinks she's insulted or thwarted. Kermit the Frog has learned this all too well, since he's the usual target for her karate chops.

To be fair, I am no loose cannon. In recent years, especially, I’ve started to hone the delicate skill of “thinking before one speaks” (who knew I could be so patient??). But I still identify with the Pig on many levels. (And interestingly, my last boyfriend can vouch for my ability to quickly juxtapose angry karate chops with “Oh Kermie!” affection and wiles…)

So, Miss Piggy, I salute you, and thank you dearly for the alternative cultural norms you represented in my years of (marginally successful) Princess deprivation. May your spirit guide me and my nascent blog through many fun, fanatical, and fearless posts to come.