Wednesday, October 14, 2015

No Nudes Is Good News?

I'm not terribly surprised that Playboy is going to cease showing nude women in the magazine. It's been several years since I've looked at a Playboy (or a Penthouse) but when I last looked, I noticed both had become more like the MAXIM- type men's magazines of the time that had scantily clad pretty girls instead of nudes and more of a factoid approach to journalism that was akin to PEOPLE magazine rather than the literature that Playboy (at least) was known for. Yes, there really were articles to read and most were quite good.

The late Bob Guccione, who founded Penthouse changed the format of his magazine when he saw the writing on the wall that was internet pornography. Penthouse had always been pussy-centric and was the first mainstream men's magazine to show pubic hair, erections and then penetration- the natural order of things. Guccione realized a long time ago that people would opt for the free, unlimited porn of the burgeoning internet rather than spend several dollars a month on his magazine. He retooled, keeping the nudity while dropping the hardcore sex. Penthouse became MAXIM but with nudity, probably about the same time Playboy did.

I have long considered Playboy to be for arrested adolescent, over-aged frat boy types anyway, what with it's emphasis on hedonistic pleasures. It was very Sublime in it's time, with tips on how to romance women, what vehicle to drive, what wine went with what dish, and yada yada. Don't get me wrong- it was a great find when I was a kid and very, very enjoyable but after college age you realized, Hefner was a silly old man hanging on to a past that really only existed in a James Bond film.

Within the last ten years Playboy followed the MAXIM trend of mctidbits of information but kept the good ol' tasteful nudity. In a way it tried to become something a young man could read after jerking off to midget porn on the internet.

But, magazines, like newspapers, are struggling in competition with the internet. Whether they feature nudity or not, it's hard for any media to compete with the immediacy of the internet and it's only getting harder.

I don't really get how dropping nudity will help or even save the magazine. Evidently MAXIM is still popular with a circulation of 2 million readers each month. Playboy is down to around 800,000. When this Ferrerman was in high school, they were talking 5 million. MAXIM is not a feminist magazine and young men aren't flocking to it rather than Playboy because they'd rather imagine the models naked. The only thing I can think of is that Playboy has long since shown it's age. It's not just your father's nudie mag, it's grampa's! There's no changing that. Dressing it up is not going to help, Hef.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Merchants Of Death

I don't know if this most recent mass shooter (the one in Roseburg, Oregon October 1, 2015 in case you're reading this several mass shootings later in the year) was mentally ill. There's a strong argument that he was just an asshole. You can argue that anybody who kills so many people, so casually is mentally ill but, quite a bit of planning goes into an act like this and I question how crazy he was. Mentally ill people can certainly be violent but I rather doubt they are very detail orientated, given to plotting and writing or typing out manifestos. You know who does that? Assholes do that.

After every mass shooting in America- after the ones that really grab the headlines and the cable news attention- the guns and ammo fans in politics always say we need to talk about mental illness rather than gun control. They represent the gun manufacturers and/or the NRA that represents the gun manufacturers and they are financially bound to not say bad things about the folks who make the product that pays for the safe private schooling of their kids. In 21st century conservative parlance, these congress persons and politicians have an obligation to their shareholders...

We're maybe one republican president away from that being an accepted fact in American politics, that the Koch's and corporations are the ones that spend their own money electing these people so, they have a right to tell them what to do. That is what Citizen's United was all about.

But, I digress. Enacting laws to make it easier to kill people and to kill as many people as possible is not crazy but, actually killing people is? One is lazy and the other is messy but both are equally evil. You could argue that both are crazy. I'll argue that the true mental illness is in the politicians and pundits who, with straight faces, defend the inanimate objects that are guns rather than the living, breathing Americans they allegedly represent. A Trump, a Huckabee or a Hannity are all legitimately fucked in the head when they blanketly defend guns or the archaic, poorly interpreted Second Amendment. But, is that mental illness or are they just assholes? They all profit from guns so you could say that they'd be crazy to not blindly support all things gun. Even if a republican congress person doesn't directly receive money from the NRA, he or she better love guns if they want to remain a congress person. A republican congressman may not be on the NRA payroll but if he comes out in favor of gun legislation then he's quickly on their shit list. So, crazy or just practical? Or, assholes?

When politicians are publicly talking about "second amendment remedies" and saying "don't retreat- RELOAD!", they are sending a violent message to the assholes out there. The message sure seems to be: "Go for it, asshole!" If that's not the intent, they've certainly cheapened life enough when they say that or come out in favor of Stand Your Ground laws that encourage people to kill when afraid. When politicians and Lou Costello- looking pundits encourage militia's standing against the Federal government and for a deadbeat like Cliven Bundy- willing to kill American law officers, then we've got assholes trying to run the asylum, not inmates. These pundits and politicians are crazy like a FOX, and laughing maniacally all the way to the bank. Remember when GW Bush was the Federal government? FOX and Hannity liked gubmint then. That might seem like cognitive dissonance but it's really just assholery. The cognitive dissonance is when they practice this assholery- passive aggressively encouraging Americans to arm themselves against government and neighbors- while thinking that there would be no blood on their hands.

Crazy would be Sean Hannity or Ted Cruz shooting their child in honor of the Second Amendment they hold entirely too dear. Nope, they're assholes who don't care about YOUR kids or that your kids might be sacrificed for the Second Amendment that they hold entirely too dear. They are the assholes who trigger the other assholes to kill. And that is just crazy.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Ferrerman Addresses Mental Health Issues

With another mass shooting- this one happening last week in Roseberg, Oregon- we need to address mental health issues.

Why are we tolerating these obviously mentally ill kocksuckers in politics and the media promoting guns as they do? They're crazy. We need to do something about it. The easiest and best thing would be to enact far stricter gun legislation. That just makes sense. Civilized countries like England, Japan, Australia and others have done that and been quite successful at. They've made it very difficult for gun massacres to happen and yet the citizens still enjoy freedom. In fact, they probably enjoy more freedom than us because they can attend school or a movie without wondering if they'll be murdered.

All the GOP candidates are clearly mentally ill on a lot of issues but on their stance on Lack Of Gun Control, they are really nuts. When Chris Christie or Huckabee (too name just two of the hundreds of GOP presidential candidates) speak about guns, they sound just like any of the reichwing trolls on the internet. They all speak in talking points because they get their views from the same sources. Christie sounds like the imaginary person, Denny CranesPlace on Topix. Curiously, that would be an insult to either idiot. That's probably why I did that.

But whether it's jackleg magicians on Youtube,  presidential wannabes or Sean Hannity on FOX, some crazy fuckers are leading the pro-gun dialogue and that needs to be addressed because they are wrong. You've heard enough "good guy with a gun" bullshit rhetoric that you are probably gun-blued in the face. The Second Amendment has been reduced to a marketing tool. You know who wants people to have 30 guns? Smith & Motherfucking Wesson. They, and the other gun manufacturers, need you to buy as many guns as possible because it means profits for them. Every murder, school or theater shooting helps move their product. So does every democrat in the White House. There are camouflaged people in bunkers all over America who think Obama will confiscate guns on his last day. Just to fuck with their already fucked heads, I guess. They hoard guns and ammo like people did with Twinkies a couple of years ago.  The gun manufacturers don't care who buys and why, or how many they buy. And they don't care how bad they are for you. If they could, they'd put high-fructose corn syrup in bullets.

How far away are we from a fracking-like argument where politicians, Hannity's and imaginary internet people talk about guns and massacres as S&W legally plying their trade and "employing many people who need jobs..."? "Do you want cheaper ammo and jobs or do you want to wipe your ass with The Constitution after you shit all over the free market, you communist bastard?"

How soon before some politician honors the victims of these murders as "Patriots who gave their lives so that our glorious Second Amendment might live"?

We might not be that crazy yet but, you can see it from here. And from Roseburg. And Sandy Hook... The theater in Aurora.... Charleston... on and on...

Saturday, October 3, 2015

We exported the American Dream and all we got were these lousy t-shirts!

Well, and guns! We got guns! Not all God's chillin's got guns!

There's a popular meme showing a school teacher in Denmark who makes $61,000 a year. She (and they) get free education and healthcare. Yes, it's paid for with higher taxes but, getting sick there won't ruin you. Neither will a college education start you off a hundred grand in irrevocable debt. Danes get 6 weeks of vacation, maternity leave for women- and men- and everyone gets a pension at 65. In between, they get what used to be the American dream here of home and car ownership.

That's pretty basic stuff but it is out of reach for a couple hundred million Americans. It's basic stuff for the Scandinavian, socialist countries. Just not us. The Danes and Swedes seem to be enjoying the American Dream we knew here in America back in the 50's and 60's.  It's Beaver Cleaver but with personal computers and HDTV.

Their minimum wage is higher and- again- yep, they pay more in taxes. Taxes finance the free education, healthcare, roads, bridges etc. They don't get as much bang for their buck there because they don't blow the budget on the bang of war. They don't fuck with anybody, foreign or domestic. They don't use war as a moneymaker like we do. Our military budget is nearly $600 billion this year, more than half of the budget of the government. That's more than all our allies- combined! Story for another day. Just interesting that the same people who think that that's not enough are the same people who think a handful of good ol' boys from Texas can and should take over the gubmint by force.

That's part of the problem. I don't think Denmark has any obnoxious assholes like that. If they do, no one pays them any attention. Europe survived Hitler and Mussolini. We struggle with Cruz and yet another Bush. The Danes walk the walk and talk the talk of socialism while they live it. Evidently there is no FOX *news* there telling them that "You're neighbor has what YOU have and he doesn't deserve it!"  That's America at this moment and the American Nightmare that we might try to export but, no one is buying. Only in America can you feel less free as more people get freedom. Too many people here fear socialism because politicians and other idiots on the internet have told them it's the same communism. Well now, if it was the same, there wouldn't be two separate systems now, would there? It's like humans. You've got men and women and they're the same, right? Nooooo. Socialism is kind of a blend of capitalism and communism. In human sexuality terms, it'd be like bi-sexuality. In economic terms, it'd be like Eisenhower era and into the 60's where we had a very high tax rate on millionaires and corporations and used it to build infrastructure, schools and healthy Americans. Even conservative republicans supported unions then and no one thought we needed all (white) Americans roaming the streets of Anytown, USA with semi-automatic rifles and handguns.

We are less free than Denmark and many other countries but it's not because of literally exporting our freedom. We are less free as they've gotten freer with our dream but they didn't take it from us. We didn't even give it away. We just put a price on the American Dream so that fewer Americans could afford it. That wasn't very smart. However, it turned out to be a very American thing to do.