Friday, March 27, 2009

Biker Chick Advertising

I have this thing about motorcycles used as fashion shoot props. It isn't that I don't like bikes, I rode one myself for many years. It is the way models are posed in a way that demonstrates that they could never plausibly swing a leg over and roar off into the sunset. Absolutely nothing about this outfit would work on a motorcycle. The hat would fly of, hair would mat, bugs in the teeth, the spike heels would stop you from changing gears and the clothes would offer less than zero protection when the flesh meet the blacktop and, oh, the loose gold pants would probably snag and ensure that a meeting would occur real soon. Yeah, this is not a woman that rides a bike, she merely decorates one.

By contrast the Coffee mate woman has on jeans and a leather jacket and has a helmet with her. She looks you in the eye. "Yes, I drink coffee with fake creamer and I ride a scooter," she seems to say. "But but attitude is everything, you can have an expensive motorcycle and wear designer duds and still be a douche." And I agree with her. I would rather be the moped chick with an attitude than Goldy-Pants any day. Moped chick looks like she could really get somewhere on her machine... *and* look good doing it.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

People We Are Allowed to Ridicule

We are in politically correct times. Right? Hating, disdaining and ridiculing people just because of a group they belong to is prejudice and it is totally not okay.

Unless it is a group you belong to. Then its comedy. Since moving to the US I have watched with bemusement as long stand up routines by black comedians explain that black people have no money, commit crime and beat their children (it's funny 'cause it true ?! WTF?). Thus, it is also okay if you can get any single person in the maligned group to agree that what you are saying is a joke, not a slur.

It's okay if you hate everyone so long as you are thorough. Apparently being a complete bastard is the same as being nice. In fact that's just being "honest". So long as honesty consists of thinking pretty much anyone on the planet is a congenital moron other than ones self. (Is the idea that because everyone is something, total hate somehow cancels out into total love like subtracting negative 1?)

Its okay if the group you disdain is privileged. If you are famous you signed a pact with the public, and your life is now our circus. If you are beautiful, you are a spectacle and anything you do that is less than perfect is a sign of you basic lack of moral worth. Its okay to hate people who have things we don't because that is how everyone ends up equal, which is the whole point of being anti-prejudice right?

You can be beautiful so long as you don't mind be mocked--it is society's handicapping system.

It's okay, really.

It's more than okay, it's funny!

They deserve it.

see also:
Are you in on the joke?
Boycott nandos

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Further to the Bo Fexler blog (linky backy!) naming Cliterature it is my solemn duty to name 5 fabulous blogs.

First I have to listed my 5 Fabulous addictions. They are:
5) The internet (duh), especially Absolute Write, Ebay and blogs
4) Being a cynical smart-ass
3) Books, magazine, anything with text and especially campy vintage paperbacks
2) Energy drinks (Monster, Amp, Red Bull) and coffee
and 1) collecting vintage scissors

And my nominations are (in no particular order):
Pickled Cupid (romance writing community satire)
Boone (be sure to check out his "Inappropriate Soundtracks" on Youtube)
Passive Aggressive Notes (Just funny)
Bent Objects (ditto)
Writer Beware (useful for writers)
...I could list a great many more but these are the ones that come to mind right now.

Here are the rules:You must include the person that gave you the award, and link it back to them.You must list 5 of your Fabulous Addictions in the post. You must copy and paste these rules in the post. Right click the award icon & save to your computer then post with your own awards.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Classic Covers: Kiss Me, Deadly

My first thought, upon seeing this cover, was that the lady in the dressing gown was offering the dude a rather easy choice: lead or booby. But even if the platinum crayon is not the sharpest in the box, that isn't a very likely scenario.

Upon consideration I decided that she must have just pulled the revolver out of her robe. But that doesn't really scan either. You can't tuck a heavy gun in a lightly-tied terry-cloth sash. And pulling it out rapidly would probably result in seriously chafed nipple, a hole in your robe... oh, and blowing your own foot off.

I must admit to never having read this Mike Hammer classic, is there really a scene like the one shown on the cover? I have to read the damn thing and find out. I don't remember anything fo the sort in the movie (1955) (which drops the patently unecessary comma in the title). But honestly it is the nightmare inducing final act that sticks in my mind rather than the rampantly noir femme-fatale-ing along the way.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

From Bodice-Ripper to Man-Titty

When we think of pin-ups we normally think of a poster, calendar or even the nose art of an old bomber. But pin ups clearly bleed into other areas such as advertising, fine arts, fashion... and romance novel covers.

Romance novels are about romantic attraction, and that includes an appreciation of each other's physical assets. But I note an interest shift in just what assets are typically on display. Pulp romances were long referred to as "bodice-rippers" for a reason. A typical romance cover focused on the female form--often the cleavage area. If a male figure was present they were often positioned behind the female and in such as way as to pull or tear the clothing away from the general booby area.

This raises, for me, a fairly obvious question. If the great majority of readers are female way did romance covers emphasise female flesh? The two main explanations would seem to be 1) the art and marketing was produced by men and so represents a male point of view, or 2) the female reader is more interested in how they look to men, than how men look. Alternatively it could be a different form of option two. If the reader is going to take on the point of view of the heroine, in many ways see what the heroine is like is more important than seeing the love interest. However exactly why most important thing to know about the protagonist is their breast size, I do not know.

In any case, browsing the shelves these days shows that there has been something of a reversal. The great majority of cover now show just the man, and large expanses of what is now called, glibly enough, man-titty. Maybe it is the shift in publishing so that the majority of editors and executives are women--or perhaps simply the increasing female freedom to ogle.

In either case, I am not complaining.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Via: Starbucks Instant Coffee

Starbucks Coffee 3-servings Medium Starbucks VIA™ Ready Brew Colombia Coffee, Colombia, Instant
As Chicago (along with Seattle) is one of the test markets I got a hold of a sample of VIA, Starbucks new brand of instant granulated coffee. I would rate it is solid: Meh.

Via is certainly better than the instant coffee that was made back in the days where they would grind up anything that even looked like a coffee bean. It is solidly drinkable and a good option if you, well, don't have any other options. I would rate it about the same as basic cheap drip coffee.

Via has a pleasant but one-note taste with that slightly burnt edge that I associate with Starbucks. So if you like the taste of Starbucks coffee, I guess VIA has that taste. I dare say I will stick with buying whatever filter-ground coffee is on sale at Peapod.

See also:
Brew review: Starbucks’ VIA
Just add water: Can granules ever pass the taste test?
"From the Comfy Chair": Want to make Juan happy? Clean the bathroom!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

Womans Day says: Let Them Eat Cake

These are hard times and all the magazines are full of advice about how to be frugal. But if you are really short of money, I would suggest saving the $2.79 you might otherwise spend in Womans Day. Here is an example of the wonderful frugality advice they have:

"As for the bread, I try to always have another loaf in the freezer, but if that's used up, well, they can substitute an English muffin until grocery day comes around."

This is what happens when you get your frugality advice from a two income family who can save $80 just by cutting out impulse buys in the grocery store aisles. Personally I find this writer's one month "experiment" of being recreationally frugal despite still having money to throw about blithely condescending.

And the editor really rubs it by suggesting that this kind of advice is so shocking they were "taken aback" because falling back on English muffins is "no ordinary cost cutting" and "serious rethinking how you spend."

If this is what they have to offer people struggling with spirally costs, layoffs and the immanent threat of slipping under the poverty line perhaps they should seriously rethink how they run their magazine instead.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Boo Hiss list: Coinmach

On the right column there is the "boo hiss list" of companies behaving badly.

The first entry is Coinmach. I depend on them for washing my clothes. A few months ago they left us with now working washing machine in the building for over a month.

March 15, 2009: I just reported a dryer that is not working for a clearly apparent mechanical reason. If they fix it within one week I will take them off the list--if they don't I will make a complaint to the better business bureau. Their time starts now.

March 24, 2009: No repair or response for the first broken machine. I shall report a second that has also not been working for some time and make a third refund request for money lost to broken machines.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Classic Covers: Handsome

Mr Handsome was born with devastating eyebrows. With a single arch girls would sigh and women would swoon. But even he was somewhat impressed to find he could wield his eyebrows with near lethal effects even when the lady was standing behind him. Perhaps, he pondered as she lay slung over his shoulders, it was the "charm" bracelet she wore that amplified the effect?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What this blog is about....

I thought this was worth revisiting as some of you might have forgotten, and honestly some of me had forgotten. The idea of the Cliterature blog is that each post will cover at least two of the three following topics: gender, sexuality and language. Or of you prefer: words, women and whoopie. Or: birds, bonking and books. Or... well, you get the idea.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Smells Like Over-Extending a Brand

Genki Wear is releasing three Star Trek perfumes with a retro vibe in more way than one.

Tiberious: be a hot guy, be a Captain! (Boldly Go).

Red Shirt: be a dude who is totally about to die (Because Tomorrow May Never Come).

And for women (not pictured)... Pon Farr: (Drive Him Crazy)

Because women aren't captains, or monster bait, the are something men fight to win like some kind of scented trophy.

Janeway would not be amused.

See also:
Would You Date A Guy Who … Wears Star Trek Cologne?
Star Trek cologne coming in April
Eau de nerd

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sexy Chicks

In a break from your regularly scheduled cynicism I bring you this: Kakapos. Despite a valiant effort at becoming extinct* the kakapo population has just reached over one hundred (103 to be exact). That is double the number that existed ten years ago, and up to 30 more chicks may yet hatch this year.

* They are huge, bright green, flightless, have no fear of predators, wander around the forest making a load booming sound, and don't breed until the are several years old, there is a lot to eat, and they feel like it. Fortunately this year there was a lot to eat. And I guess they felt like it.

These are not the kakapo chicks in question, but some other kakapo chicks from a few years ago. But you get the idea.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sexism Win=FAIL

At Failblog. Posted on International Woman's Day for an extra dose of bad timing fail.

see more pwn and owned pictures

Sunday, March 8, 2009


When Duke Ellington wrote Hit Me With a Hot note (and Watch Me Bounce) in 1943 it clearly had nothing to do with violence. It was a metaphor for the visceral impact of truly great music. But it is interesting that the song is sung predominantly by women.

But a few decades later the similarly named song He hit Me (And it Felt Like a Kiss) performed by The Crystals in 1962 was quite the reverse. It was written by a woman as an explicit defence of staying in a violent relationship. It met with an unfavorable public reaction and has remained controversial ever since.

Another few decades later and Hit Me With Your Best Shot performed by Pat Benatar (1979) was again read as a metaphor, this time for the impact of love, positive and negative. It was part of an album that included "Love is a Battlefield" and is general accepted as feminist in tone and intent.

With this back in mind I was never really sure what I felt about Hit Me Baby One More Time as performed by Brittney Spears [at youtube] (1998). It the violence implied by "hit" a valid metaphor or a desire to be victimised in the name of love? If the currently pattern continues we won't be due for another "hit" hit by a female vocialist until around 2020.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Who would have thunk it....

Behold! It is possible to write a page that includes the words "erotic", "attracted", "craving", "sex", "pathological" and "loveliness" and still be so boring it is hard to even focus on the page. Not paragraphing helps. Bonus points if you know which famous author wrote this. (Click to enlarge)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Smells Like Bond Girl

A new fragrance called 007 girl is being advertised by Avon. Yes, Avon. Fleming must be spinning in his grave. It is advertised with a strangely over-made-up shot of Strawberry Fields/Gemma Arterton, and smells of orchid, vanilla, cashmere, orange blossom, jasmine, freesia, amber, patchouli and musk. Um, wow. I would rate this one, sight unseen (or scent unsmelled), "possible to resist".

To me the scent of a bond girl would be simple, sexy and have something to do with the franchise, like:

1) Honey (Honey Ryder/Ursula Andress)

2) Roses (Rosa Klebb/

3) and, um, fresh cut hay.... (Pussy Galore/Honor Blackman)

See also:
Bond Girl 007 Misses The Mark For Some

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Objectified fur a Good Cause

Jamie Bamber digs bears. You heard it here first. Oh and I heard it from Mrs. Giggles.

Ax Men

I like the shows on the History channel about crab fishermen, the ice road trucker series was not quite as good, the one about loggers is another notch down but still worth watching. There was an Ax Men marathon today, getting ready for the new series. As reality shows these ones have a higher reality to show ratio than most. The testosterone overload is all part of the fun of getting some kind of feel for who these people are and what they do. It is like the flip side of that pageant Mom show.

But History channel could you please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please refrain from playing the ad for the show where the guy goes on about how a chainsaw is like a woman 5 times in one day. 1) I am already watching a marathon session of the show and so ads seem rather a waste of time and 2) by using that staged clip repeatedly rather than any others you appear to endorse it as a network rather than just observe it as a journalist. (And 3) if I see that clip one more time I will be a live demonstration of how a woman can be a lot like a chainsaw.)