Ragtime

Welcome to Today! The Monkey Barn Mythos rolls on, and today's installment is brought to us by Team Deez Nutz (where do they come up with these names?) Read their installment of how the Monkey Barn came about.


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We have a new feature here on the home page. If you'll look to the top left of the screen, you'll see a picture that says "Movie Matters." I'm starting a new series, answering questions you have about movies.

I'm not talking about the kind of question like, "which movie got the most nominations" or something like that. I'm talking about the important questions, questions like, "Was that piece of shipwreck big enough for both Rose and Jack?" or "If they traded off every twenty minutes, could they have survived?" or "Did Rose die at the end of Titanic?"

Or, maybe you don't care about movies that end in tragedy. Let's take a recent movie like THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS. My sister asked me, "How is it that one pair of pants fit four different girls, each of different height, weight and butt size?"

These are the questions that matter. I know you have watched a movie at some point and wondered something along the lines of, "Just how many guys did Jenny sleep with in FORREST GUMP?" or "Were there Independent Contractors working on the unfinished Death Star that were killed as collateral damage in RETURN OF THE JEDI?"

Well, we're going to get into those questions. If you click on the picture that says MOVIE MATTERS, it will open up an email with that in the subject line. Send in your question and I'll answer it next Thursday, or at least try to.

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Okay, today we have a real treat for you. For the first time in many many months HyperionX is back! And, in a daring new move, I'm posting it on the home page! Now, if you're new to HyperionX, here's the scoop: we talk about things in HyperionX that your grandmother might blush at. There are absolutely no holds barred, and we don't apologize to anyone.

(Let's put it this way: Don Imus wishes he could be this funny without being offensive.)

With that DIRE WARNING, lezz do it:


HyperionX959


Ragtime

Or

Scott Joplin, eat your heart out, or at least get your Red Wings with Janis



It’s been awhile (a long while) since HyperionX has shown its nappy head and made an appearance, but it feels good to be back. How we have missed all your miserable sons and daughters of bitches!

Today’s agenda consists of two issues, connected by how I’m choosing to use a particular word.

Okay, so I’m walking in the library, looking for the reference section, only to be eyeballed by this kid. It kind of pissed me off, all the more so because I took a wrong turn and ended up in an alcove. Not wanting to admit I’m a moron I stood there for a moment, and then grabbed a Reference book at random to take back with me. It turned out to be “The Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book of Etiquette” (50th Anniversary Edition).

Can some guys luck out or what?

The first thing that grabbed my attention was the quote on the back, by Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Manners are the happy way of doing things, each a stroke of genius or of love.”

And I always thought it was that bastard Thoreau who would get beat up by a Girl Scout.

I assume (had I bothered to read the four, count ‘em four introductions I would know for sure) that the book has been updated continually since its original 1952 publication date, but what I found inside makes me question that. Turning at random to the “Child” section, I found these few doozies on Kids’ Names:

Before making a firm decision on a name for your child, think about what nickname might be derived from it…Certain names seem to generate rather unfortunate nicknames. For instance, Sophia may become Soapy; Fatima, Fatty; Prudence, Prude…

Okay, since when was “Soapy” a big put down? Did kids really used to fear this? And who names their kid “Prudence”?

Also be on the alert for names that create awkward monograms, as in the case of Dorothy Ogden Graves or Albert Stinch Strong.

“Stinch” has to be the best middle name to come along in ages. I can’t wait to procreate!

And don’t give your child a name that seems amusing to you at the time. For example, a family named Hough (pronounced “hoe”) called their daughter Ida and she was stuck with this unfortunate name for the rest of her life.

On the bright side, Rutgers offered her a full scholarship….

Of course, Amy Vanderbilt did have some good things to say, like on that most cheerful of subjects: birth defects.


If a friend gives birth to a child with a defect, let her take the initiative in bringing up the subject with you. Unless you have gone through the same difficulty your reaction is of no possible interest or use to parents in
sorting out their feelings.
I believe Amy just told you to sit yo five dollar ass down before she makes change. Good for her, although, if the child has a second head, it’s kind of hard to pretend not to notice.

On the other hand, while offering sympathy to the parent is lame, acting like a problem doesn’t exist if fake too. This whole “coddling” of people with physical or mental problems is worse than bigotry, if you ask me. Just treat people normally. I used to have this friend “Charles” who was crippled in a wheel chair. I use the term “crippled” because A) that’s what Charles called it and B) the term is descriptive, not pejorative. When I call someone crippled I am not for an instant putting them down, but merely commenting on a condition that exists for them. (And I know of whence I speak, as I have to use a cane to get around, so I am semi-crippled, or a “criplet.”)

I used to make fun of Charles for not being able to walk, often calling him lazy or accusing him or a poor work ethic. Was I horribly insensitive? Of course not. I was his friend.

Now, if I didn’t know Charles and said those things it would be inappropriate and downright mean, but we were friends, and at least where I come from, friends rag on each other. I often make fun of Carlos for being a dumbass, Koz for his subscriptions to gay porn and Bear for the number of times I have achieved physical intimacy with his twin sisters. That’s what friends do. (And trust me, they give it back to me and then some.) If I hadn’t ragged on Charles for something so obvious as his wheelchair, it would have been the elephant in the room. More importantly, I would have been treating him differently because of his chair, which is what bigotry truly is. Do you understand the difference?

Anyway, one more from Amy Vanderbilt.


A baby who is stillborn or who dies within a few days of birth brings unimaginable grief to the parents. There is simply no way you can sympathize or console the bereaved parents because the event is too terrible and personal. There are no compensatory words. Phrases of comfort such as, “At least he didn’t have to suffer” or “There will be others” are insensitive…
There will be others? There will be others?????????????? What kind of dumb muthafuckas come up to a parent after losing a child—which has to be one of the top five most difficult things to go through ever (now there’s a Rank Everything list if I ever saw one)—and says, “Hey, don’t stress, there will be others,” like it was a blown birdie opportunity on the fourth hole?

(On the flip side, this is such a horrible horrible thing to say to someone that you will now not be able to get it out of your head, and if an acquaintance goes through such a tragedy that thought will pop into your head. Trust me on this one: do not crack a smile.)

SPEAKING OF RAGGING….

Okay, so at least once in his life (read: in the last month) every guy has turned to another guy, in the privacy of just their “guy-ness,” and has questioned the words, actions, attitudes or beliefs of a woman, questioned whether or not these words, actions, attitudes or beliefs must need be filtered through the prism of “that time of the month.”

And before you bitches get bent out of shape like a used condom, I’m betting at least 85% of you have done the same thing to another woman.

Teasing a woman about being on the Rag is as old as time itself. Heck, the Israelites used to make women leave camp while they had their periods. Biblical scholars tells us this was because of the Jewish obsession about being Ceremonially Clean, but you think about it...

Then there are the jokes, like “What is the difference between a terrorist and a woman on PMS?” (you can reason with a terrorist), and of course the joke so horrible I cannot repeat it here, even in the hallowed halls of HyperionX, other than to relay the punch line: “and then he said, ‘that’s because I never trust anything that can bleed for a week without dying.’”

Now, I know this is going to shock some people, but I’m really looking for some common ground here. On the one hand, I firmly believe—as does anyone who’s ever met a woman, at least if he/she/it is being honest—that there are times, times I’m going to give the acronym of PMS, that some women are at least partially affected by their girly plumbing which, at least as far as I understand it, and admittedly I know very little in this area, periodically tries to bleed them to death.

Hell, if that happened to me, I don’t think I’d feel very good about it. If menstrual cramps are anywhere close to as intense as cramps brought on by eating 2 pounds of super hot hot-wings and five bowls of chili when there is no bathroom nearby, and if that happened every month, EVERY SINGLE FUCKING MONTH, for like a week at a time?

Yeah, I’d probably flip my lid too.

On the other fallopian tube….

Ardent feminist that I am, I can’t help but think that “Woman’s Problems” is often used to keep women down. To undermine their positions or ideas, to de-legitimize their source of anger in the face of obnoxious or incompetent co-workers. I think some people use accusations of PMS (or what I am now coining “Ragusations”) so as to not actually need to deal with what the particular woman in question is saying.

And that’s wrong.

Anytime people are dismissed or marginalized for a reason that has to do with something fundamental and unchanging about them and not the content of their personality or character, that’s bigotry. It’s like saying black people only thought OJ should be found Not Guilty because they are black, or that a political point of view is invalid because it is presented by a sixteen year old. (There may be racial aspects to the OJ case, and the sixteen year old may have zero understanding of anything politics, but dismissing their arguments for race or age or anything like that on the surface is the evil we speak of.)

What matters in debates is the logic of the argument, and throwing doubt as to someone’s state of mind by saying she’s just on the rag is not only unfair, it’s dehumanizing.

(I don’t know what it’s like to be a woman, at least apart from wearing silk panties, but I do know about this kind of bigotry. There is a person in my life with whom, whenever that person is losing an argument on logical grounds, will throw up the accusation, “Well, you just think that because you are crazy,” as if that then validates whatever stupid-ass opinion that person was unable to defend.)

Of course, honesty compels me to admit that there probably are times I am crazy, just as there are times when women probably are adversely emotionally affected by hormonal tidal waves crashing within them.

So what’s a person to do?

The answer, I believe, begins with women.

Women must demand en masse that this behavior stop, and hold out on sex until it does (if need be), but before they do that, they must change a behavior they themselves do that gives rise to some of this.

Many women—not all, but many—make a big production about how much pain and misery they are in over their PMS. They roundly complain about how guys have no clue what it is like, go on and on like they are trying out for Queen of the Drama Club and—this one is the key, so pay attention—they use their PMS as excuse for all sorts of reprehensible behavior.

What kind of behavior am I talking about? You know. Mostly it’s being a total bitch. It’s treating people like crap for no reason because you feel awful inside. Don’t get me wrong: guys have been known to do this too, and it’s just as wrong when they do it, but some women use PMS as cover for their bad behavior.

In fact, there are actual court cases out there where women have used PMS as legal defense against a host of crimes, up to and including homicide!

You can see the problem here. If this kind of defense is allowed, if Women as a Gender are going to sanction this excuse for all sorts of anti-social behavior, well, you can see where it leads: dismissing what they have to say as more product of the Monthlies.

I don’t want that. I don’t want a woman’s arguments to be dismissed or questioned for strong emotion the way a man’s most likely would be not. I want all arguments to be decided as dispassionately as possible, with calm reason seeing the day.

But ladies, you can’t have it both ways. Either you shut the fuck up about it—or at the very least stop using PMS as justification for acting like a total bitch—or you subject yourselves as a group to the kind of institutional sexism that we’ve discussed. The power is really in your hands.


[Please feel free to leave comments expressing your opinion on these thoughts I have shared, but try to keep it logical as possible and avoid strong emtion, okay? After all, whether or not you ladies are ragging, I sure as hell am, and I will nail your ass to the wall like the cheap Tiger Beat insert posters that you are.]



If you're interested in more columns like this, go to Hyperion X.

1 comment:

Koz said...

Do you throw up signs to let other criplets know that you're down like that?