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Monday, July 16, 2007

Vicarious Manhood 3000

Beer. Cars. Guns. These are things men want, but can't buy because their wives won't let them. Now you can add the new Vicarious Manhood 3000 to that list. According to all modern advertising, men are knuckle dragging simpletons who watch football, drink watery beer, and live in their garages. Whereas women are portrayed as divinely infallible sarcastic goddesses who know they can control their husbands by withholding love, something men think they need 24/7 thanks to a culture that tells them so. So, if you don't want to sleep on the couch tonight, even if you actually bought that Swedish memory foam mattress and have chronic, debilitating back problems that can become permanent thanks to a night on a futon, don't, and we mean don't, buy our product. Just listen to some of our testimonials.

Man 1- I bought a Vicarious Manhood 3000 and my life has been misery and woe ever since.

Man 2- I do not deserve a Vicarious Manhood 3000 because I am a man and men have constant dirty thoughts and I need to start sharing my feelings instead of playing with icky fossil fuel guzzling toys. My wife told me to say that.

Man 3- I tell you what, I would love one. But, I just spent all my money on a Prius. Man, I hate those things.

Why do we advertise something you can't buy? Because we're jerks. We're Men.


*Brought to you by a guy who thinks modern television commercials are indicative of cultural decline.

Yeah, this was a pretty easy one to write. I think I wrote it after watching one of those "dumb dad can't stand up to his own kids so the mom has to take charge" commercials or tv shows. This is getting pretty irritating. Somehow, the idea has wormed its way into the culture that it's ok to make fun of the things men like, but it's sexist and wrong to make fun of anything women like. Boys on tv shows do "dumb boy things" like playing cowboys and indians, building soap box derby racers, and generally being little boys. The girls, however, pursue more intellectual pursuits like brushing their dolls' hair and having tea parties. Aren't these things merely different? Aren't men and women here on earth because they fulfill specific roles? Why put the other sex down for doing stuff that they like? If a woman wants to go buy shoes, I don't say, "Huh, dumb woman off to satiate her need for shopping." No, she wants some dang shoes because, thank goodness, she can afford them and wants them. So why put down men because we like beer, guns, and motorcycles?

Why does it seem safe to make fun of men? Is it because we're generally too polite to say anything? Is this principle the same reason we can get away with shows like Moral Orel, but a Norwegian newspaper runs a comic depicting Mohammed and the middle eastern world is ready to tear people apart? Or is it that people have a knee jerk reaction to perceived patriarchal patronizing from fifty years ago and feel that we must swing the other way just to make things fair? Why don't we stop knee jerking and saying, "let's see how you like it" and just show things the way they are? Commercials, movies, and tv shows would be a lot more relatable.

One of the biggest aggravators for me is the show, Johnny Test. Pretty standard fare; a boy who's a spy owns a talking tog and they go on adventures together. The thing that bothers me is the dad in the show is an effeminate stay at home dad, and the mom is a type A, no nonsense business-woman. No problem with a strong mother, mine is. She's helped me and pushed me when I didn't give my best, also she's the hardest working person I know. In fact, pushover mothers are unpleasant to watch, too. That's why I don't like the comic strip, Zits. But why the effeminate dad in this series? He's emasculated and very hard to look at. He's a freakin' castrati. How on earth does his son respect him? The show also features Johnny Test's twin sisters, who are brilliant scientists. Is anyone else getting tired of the "I can do anything you can do" agenda crammed down our throats? This show features almost every liberal agenda I can think of, though they haven't made Johnny and his dog lovers yet.

What the **** happened to cartoons being funny? Cartoons fill a gap between literature and visual art. They are supposed to be fun to look at and tell a compelling narrative with funny characters. Now, they seem to be conveyances for indoctrinating children. And lest you think I'm being one sided, I'm not too fond of most "Christian" cartoons, either. Most of them are preachy, but contentless. They tell a moral, but the art suffers. I agree with the message, but the message is all there is. It doesn't come across because I'm too wrapped up in the poor animation, poor voice acting, poor dialogue. There are a few exceptions, I like Veggie Tales, for instance. But that series isn't preachy, it exists in a world which presupposes Christian Morals, rather than trying to overtly preach for 22 minutes, hitting the viewer over the head with the blunt end of the premise. Ultimately, though, if I am going to watch something preachy (there seems little choice these days), I'd like to watch something with which I agree.

I think my point is best summed up in the "Star Trash" episode of The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat. Felix is on board a ship bearing a strong resemblance to the USS Enterprise, which is dumping garbage on our planet. The captain, in response to Felix complaining about this, says, "Why should you care? You people use it as a dump, anyway." Felix responds, "Oh, no. We're in a cartoon with a moral."


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