I am so incredibly ticked off right now.

Not at the G20 protesters, so much. The peaceful ones were only exercising their just and justified rights… and the subhumans smashing into a Starbucks then casually grabbing a bottle of water from the counter (rampaging against the system is thirsty work, evidently) would only be energised further by my rage. Frankly I refuse to give them that satisfaction.

Also, I’m not that stupid. Go ahead, kids, have your fun; in a couple of weeks all evidence of your righteous crusade will have been removed, except that the ‘elitist pigs’ will now have a legitimate reason for their repression. Way to establish yourselves as a viable alternative, there.

No, my rage — and it is intense — is directed entirely at the *fith foul foul filth* officials who brought this on Toronto in the first place. Who thought it would be just a fabulous idea to transform one of the world’s largest, most vibrant cities into a battleground. Those *foul fith foul foul filth foulers* damn well knew this was going to happen, and they went ahead and did it to us anyway.

What the hell kind of benefit do we get from this, guys? The G20 leaders are blathering away in their cocoons about improving quality of life for Joe Random GTA Resident, while he’s left alone to deal with the soul-scarring fallout in their wake. Where’s the honour in worldwide media reports of smashed windows and burning police cruisers? What’s the point of spending 1.4 billion to protect, say, 100-odd people if you can’t keep their constituents safe?

(The efforts at spin control do provide some moments of grim humour. My favourite is CP24’s note: "Mayor David Miller says violent protesters not welcome in Toronto." Hear that, violent protesters? No complimentary pillow mints for you!)

As I write this, CP24 is now reporting that PM Harper has scored a ‘big win’ by convincing the other leaders to halve their deficits by 2013. Asked if this sort of agreement requires the leaders ‘sign on the dotted line’, the reporter chuckled and added ‘Oh, with all these cameras around I’m sure a handshake will suffice," over shots of Obama looking all urbane and first-black-President-y.

Speaking on behalf of all Torontonians, may I be the first to reply: Wheeeee. I just hope Harper enjoys his last year or so in office, ’cause this Liberal stronghold has a long memory.

In the end, the pithiest comment on the whole mess came from a random Twitter-er: "Next time, guys, can you please just use Skype?"

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In which I totally ignore the entire ‘Obama wins Peace Prize’ thingy.

Seriously. I mean, the only rational response to that is "OK then! Apparently the rest of the world was even more traumatised by the Bush administration than we realised!". And many, many more articulate people have already raced to their computers to make that point and related ones today.

I figure a quick repost of an interesting discussion I’m having in another LJ thread, on a subject I can actually claim expertise in, would be more to the point. ‘Cause I have actually had this happen in a lot of cases where my profession comes up. I am a buyer’s assistant in a high-end womenswear buying office.

Yeah, I know, you can’t resist, can you? It’s either "Ooh, designer labels are so shallow/stupid/a ripoff!" or "Ooh, unrealistic sizing drives me nuts! The other day I was looking at a size 00, can you believe it…"

I generally bear this kind of stuff with a grin, as I happen to agree with both POVs to a certain extent. My method for dealing with the excess madness — one that is thankfully supported by my buyer — is just to relax and have fun with all the pretty clothes. Not to mention, I admit, the massively reality-challenged culture that surrounds them.

Me, I’m never gonna be in with the cool crowd. I’m a 175-lb. 38-year-old in an office-full of gorgeous kids, I am by default — and a certain native eccentricity — the fashion granny. That said, I’ve learned a lot about how to make myself look good these past five years; not just in terms of following the trends, but in choosing colours and styles that flatter…

…And, of course, ones that fit. Definitely picked up a few hints about those. So when asked "What is the deal with specific sizes for men and not women, anyway? There are just as many variations in men’s bodies as women’s!" I am fully prepared to respond…

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*grin* True, but there is also far more variation in female fashion.

[Disclaimer: The following discussion merely reflects present realities, and in no way should indicate agreement with or approval of those realities by the author. Thank you.]

 The original discrepancy arose in large part because men were the ones wearing uniforms on the job, in the military etc, so standardised sizing has until comparatively recently been a much bigger and more accepted part of their world. Standardised charts for women do exist of course, and I gather there is a movement afoot currently to use them across the genders/ages. But as long as women have (or are perceived as having) a more emotional, less rational investment in their clothing choices, so too will be their sizing irrational.

Put simply, sizing for women reflects body image. As long as you’re dealing in abstract numbers, you can make women feel however you want. You just lower the numbers, and hey presto! women feel like they’re beautiful and special in your clothes. Conversely, you can mess about with sizes for ‘above average’ women — saying 3X instead of XXXL, for instance — to help disguise the fact that they need them.

Within those various numbers you can further play around with form, function, fabrication etc., and heighten whatever the effect by hiding/minimising flaws, or enhancing/creating good points. Or just playing around with concepts generally, as on a canvas. Think about runway shows you’ve seen — it’s art, abstract art, with models simply being used as walky-talky clotheshangers for the designer’s ‘vision’. Standardising sizes would take you behind the curtain, so to speak, far too soon. 🙂

Besides which sizing, as I mentioned above, reflects label image and marketing. Yes, this is a pan-gender issue, but it’s much more directly reflective of physical perception in women; as we age, we are seen as wanting to hide more, as needing more ‘relaxed fits’, shall we say.
One label wants to be worn by hip teens; another, by their moms; still another by their grammas. All of these women may well share one or more general measurements, but if their mom can get into their Juicy tops, teens aren’t gonna buy, and if Gramma can get into them, both mom and grand-daughters will shudder as they pass the rack.

Inauguration musings, for what they’re worth

Weirdest quote on yesterday’s events comes from Toronto MetroNews TV columnist Rick McGinnis:

“The inauguration was as uninteresting as it was overwrought…”

Dude. Anger, sure I can understand that; also cynicism or even the more moderate forms of paranoia. But if you were unable to find anything interesting in what happened in Washington yesterday, then you need to pack up your little columnist bags right now, ‘cause you have no business dictating to the human race on pretty much any level whatsoever.

My personal interest, although great, was not so much in the whole ‘dawn of a new tomorrow!’ hype, partly because I’m not American (and apolitical with it), and partly because I have always been unable to rid myself of the suspicion that Obama’s greatest strengths – the ones on display yesterday – may also be his biggest weaknesses.

Whatever your ultimate POV, he is the closest thing the Western world currently has to a politician who means what he says; heady stuff, that. Just standing there at the podium, he made any number of impossible dreams real – albeit, as Martin Luther King III seems to have been alone in pointing out yesterday, not quite the one to which his father gave iconic voice. Racism still exists, political divisions still run deep, and there were security snipers lining the tops of buildings on the inaugural route yesterday.

All this also leaves President Obama alarmingly vulnerable to spectacular gulfs between ideal and reality, and I don’t think it’s going to take long at all for them to emerge. If his transition is any indication, he’s already gone into cautious mode. His first speech was a stirring call to arms, yes, but not to the soaring imagination that launched his career. He will be a good President, I think – if for no other reason than that he seems to want to be, in ways that the Bush machine could not even fathom. But no, he cannot change fundamental human nature, and so he will not bring on a new dawn flowing with milk and honey.

Still…for the moment it is possible to believe that the saddest, most sordid chapter of American history might have a happy ending after all. That’s insane. Seriously; for a long and uncomfortably recent while there, the notion of a Negro/Black man/African-American/person of colour as President would’ve been considered literally crazy. Opining about politics in yesterday’s context is ultimately kind of irrelevant; this moment belongs to emotional healing, to everyone who’s ever been made to feel less than human.

And it has its effect too on those who belong to the ‘privileged’ classes. LJ-friend[info]briansiano made several interesting points the other day about the uncomfortable Catch-22 well-meaning types have to walk in re: racism – on the one hand needing to be totally free of it and on the other, to be hyper-aware that it exists. We are compelled, as per a klutzily pretentious teenage poem of mine, to understand the finest points of something we can never understand.

And now the presidency of Barack Obama – the happy ending – has brought those details out into the open, lifted the guilt enough to make dialogue possible. It may be fractious and contentious dialogue in a lot of respects, but it will be there, and it may turn out to be a lot more fascinating than any of us expected (as klutzy me discovered when I once attempted to discuss the lack of black characters in Star Wars with a co-worker of colour. Let’s just say he was embarrassed long before I was.)

‘Uninteresting’. Damn, Rick, what were you thinking?

At least they’re not *tiara-wearing* vampires…

So apparently I’m about the only over-18 female blogger who hasn’t yet commented indignantly on the Twilight phenomenon.

OK then, let’s fix this right now: The Twilight phenomenon.

…Seriously, I’m just not all that interested. Also, I’m not all that qualified, given I was a tender devotee of the Sweet Valley High series at the same age. Yep, up to and including the ‘Super Thriller’ in which the crazed spa owner, not content with her army of beautiful zombie employees, decides to redo herself as the Wakefield twins’ mom by luring her to her secret underground plastic-surgery lab.

Colin Watson once remarked that bestselling authors do not get that way by shaping attitudes; they tap into existing ones. When the sparkles clear, Twilight’s popularity simply reflects the latest tempting gloss on the near-universal need, among tween girls, to validate their unremarkable selves as Secretly the Most Beautiful and Special of All. Naturally this will be intuited by a gorgeous and sensitive guy, who will whisk them far away from Des Moines or wherever that their True Love may prevail over all those nasty, jealous girls in gym class.

Eventually, the ones with an ounce of sense, which I think is the majority, grow out of the fantasy and go on to find real fulfilment. The ones who don’t, of course, grow up to force their bridesmaids to wear Disney-themed dresses complete with faery wings, but they provide endless entertainment for the sensible ones in the process. It works out.

For those who feel like doing some serious hand-wringing over our nation’s youth, may I suggest the following headline?
Carleton University Students Drop Fundraiser for Illness Targeting Caucasians.
Whereas Orientation week strives to be inclusive as possible;

Whereas all orientees and volunteers should feel like their fundraising efforts will serve their diverse communities;

And whereas cystic fibrosis has been recently revealed to only affect white people, and primarily men;

Be it further resolved that: The CUSA representatives on the incoming Orientation Supervisory Board work to select a new broad reaching charity for orientation week.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

But if you try sometimes…

Overheard in passing at the subway station this morning, two young men in Bay St. suits:

“Well, for the Republicans he was the best candidate, anyway…”

Ave aqua vale, John McCain; in your time, you would’ve probably made a splendid President. It’s not really your fault that your time has long passed.

Although, the Palin thing…and all the other wildly misguided efforts you made to keep up…those are still your fault. Totally.

I’m thinking about McCain’s particular epoch especially since I finally got around to listening to Bob Edwards’ fine interview – or reminiscence, really – with Bob Elliott earlier this year, on the occasion of the latter’s 85th birthday. (One of the many just-slightly-off-plumb circs that surround Bob & Ray is that they were born almost exactly one year apart, in March of ’23 & ’22 respectively.)

I’ve been holding off on downloading it for some time now, just because…well, I didn’t really want to think of my bright, bold comedic heroes as – old. I’m cowardly that way, I guess. Didn’t help that around the same time the show was produced I’d been deep into the earliest Bob & Ray material, recorded when they were in their mid-twenties. Did not wish to consider that spark, dulled.

I shouldn’t have worried. More

Bangs over whimpers, 2:1

Oof. [glances at clock in mild disbelief] That’s well over then. I have never been so glad to be so completely wrong about the American people…

…now, if I could just get rid of the lingering fear that bullets will be flying every time the President-Elect steps in front of a crowd. Seriously.

The right candidate won. That is, the one who didn’t lower himself to cynically pander to the most backward elements of the American psyche. McCain was exceptionally gracious in defeat, but I do still believe that in this moment, Obama cares more about running the country. (Note to foaming and possibly armed right-wingers: as distinct from ‘cares more about the country’, OK?)

McCain may not be, exactly, last in a long line of self-consciously slick good ol’boy politicos…but he freely allowed himself to be remodelled as same, in order to become President. This was frankly kinda creepy to watch and I’m very glad he and Caribou Barbie have both been slapped back to reality, where they might have a chance to do some good.

Meanwhile, whether Obama’s idealism – without at least some basis in pragmatic politicking – can be maintained in the long run I have my grave doubts. CBC.ca allotted him all of about a half-hour’s honeymoon before busting out the laundry list of promises he’ll have to break.

Were I the anointed – not too strong a word, based on what I saw on the faces in that Chicago crowd – leader of a clean slate and a fresh start for America in 2009, the first thing I’m going to be upon waking to face  that new dawn is absolutely frelling terrified out of my tiny mind.

But for now…damn was that a Moment, or what?

Picks self up, glances around cautiously…

…So I rustled up a few ‘How to Attract More Traffic to Your Blog’ articles, and interestingly enough, their advice is the same: Start by taking an active interest in others’ blogs, reaching out to those with similar interests, reading their posts and commenting.

Well. Whaddaya know about that.

[blushes slightly]

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In other news, och, am I gonna be grateful when this American election mania dies down. It’s starting to affect even the funnest, most lightweight ‘other blogs’ I visit – of all places the Comics Curmudgeon came down with a bad case the other day, and it still hasn’t fully recovered. Snopes.com has been all ‘Here’re the latest outlandishly stupid rumours an hysterically paranoid populace are taking as gospel’ for weeks now. It gets dispiriting.

(If I could persuade myself that the one troll on the CC was putting on an elaborate, Dr. Strangelove-style show, it would make me feel quite a lot better. Alas, my faith is at al all-time low. These people really do hate each other, don’t they?)

Thank goodness for blogs emanating from Australia, is all I can say. Specifically, that of LJ-friend lizbee, dedicated Tudors-watcher. More

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