Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Britney Spears, The Comeback Kid



We laughed when Lady GaGa arrived at an awards show inside an egg, a pre-mature (or perhaps immature) Cleopatra conceiving the birth of her new song.  We laughed harder when the Phillie Phanatic tried the same schtick at a Phillies home opener early this season.  But we aren't laughing at Britney Spears.  The comeback kid has arrived, and circus critics take note- Britney plans to own the whole tent.

This is more than a well-oiled machine, this is a calculated strike for all the gold in the industry, accomplished with a cheerleader's smile.  Yes, her smile is back, and that smile can melt steel in Antarctica.  When Britney had her own rebellion/meltdown- the shaved head, the custody battle, the ambulance trips to the hospital, the terrible award show performances- her CD still  topped the charts and millions of girls danced to her music in clubs around the world.

Self-destruction and a million of units sold is a rare occurrence for an artist.  Usually, the business tanks along with the celebrity.  Charlie Sheen's recent misadventure illustrates that point perfectly. We don't expect to see him in feature movies any time soon, no matter what he may tell us. Britney not only survived her media-chronicled slip on multiple banana peels, she made a gazillion dollars while falling.  What would happen when she owns her image again, when her branding is as solid as a thick oak plank?

Let's take a quick look at her most recent video.  It's a brilliantly conceived display of sensuality and innocence.  Britney is surrounded by wet, sweaty, sexual dancers, popping and humping to the beat- but there is only one shot where she is truly as sensual as they are- one beautifully conceived shot that is 100% female heat (1:58).  Just as quickly, it's gone. She is still dancing with them, but slightly distanced because ....of that smile!  Britney's knowing look, an almost mocking grin, is like a dancer in a strip club, smiling at you with sweet seduction while expertly extracting all your dollar bills.  Are you loving this yet?  Got any more fivers in your wallet, daddy?

Through most of the video, Britney is wearing a spiky leather jacket, black spandex tights with holes designed to show off her flat tummy, and black nylons with runs so large you could fit a torpedo through them. She is almost sleethy in appearance, but then the next shot is a close-up and she's bopping her head side to side, like a teeny, um...cheerlead...um,...cute as a, um....teenager pretending to be a star in front of the mirror in their own bedroom.

But that kid's new video has had over nineteen (19) million views on youtube in only three (3) weeks.  Let's hope viral diseases never spread as fast as her video. The Britney Spears Company is an industry giant, an undefeated heavyweight, who may not have the best jab, but with the finest footwork, but will knock you out in the first round.  You weren't looking  for the left hook, and then the smile.  Stay down for the count Lady Gaga.  Britney floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee.

Her million dollar smile separates her from the rest of the pack. Britney doesn't get as down and dirty as Christina Aguilera did in a 2002 video surprisingly similar in style to Till The World Ends.  When Christina reaches down deep, a whole lot of sex comes out- she's as trampy as the dancers she's hanging with. When Britney reaches down into her sexual soul, she pulls out pretty cut flowers for the dining room table.  A nice dinner, lovely flowers, a little sex- sounds like the perfect date.

At one point in the video, she is wearing red sheer "I Dream of Jeannie" costume and it looks awful on her, and just when you begin to wonder who was the idiot that chose that garish outfit, the camera provides a split-second view of her backside (2:55). Oh Lordie, J-Lo has competition.  Time to get insurance on that booty. Suddenly, it all makes sense. Silly costume? Nooo...excellent costume!

And that is Britney's charm, that ability to look slightly askew, innocently beautiful, teasingly sensual, and even pensive (2:15) while dancing to a pounding beat.  The world above is crumbling and crashing down, but Britney is safe below, surrounded by half-naked men, women writhing on the floor at her feet and she appears oblivious to what the director may be artistically suggesting:

Once upon a time, the world was crashing around Britney, but she hid underground and never stopped singing and dancing. Her  innocence has remained intact. And now her brand is fully alive and she's  spitting fire, with just enough spark to light your scented bedroom candles.

The song ends- Britney pops her head out of a manhole like a cute groundhog from Punxsutawney, and you guessed it, the sun is shining and she can see the green money leaves hanging from every tree. Tell the competition that they will have six more years of winter. The comeback kid has emerged from her underground den. There is only one Britney Spears and this is her perfectly orchestrated and managed smiling groundhog day.  

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wikileaks - Anna Ardin: The Radical Feminist Revealed

President Anna Ardin (center, seated)
Heart, Believers Social Democrats in Stockholm




"So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."  -FDR, 1st Inaugural Address, 1933


There are radicals in every movement.  The cause of nearly every radical is the same- to bring massive and uncompromising change to a political structure. A radical sees the current political structure as irreparably broken. The radical defines people associated with that system as either corrupt or corrupted by that failed political structure.

The average person may look upon a radical as a singular person or small ineffective group with little chance of achieving their ideologically pure goals. This is a dangerous falsehood. Radicals will exhaustively work for the advancement of their reactionary goals. They gain power through incorporating their polemic into the existing legal and political structures of our society- in order to destroy them.  The Tea Party is a perfect example of this in our own country.

The radical feminist movement in Sweden has been extremely successful at incorporating their principles into legislation that is now Swedish law.  Politicians fear radicals and try to placate them, by incorporating the least radical of their ideas into the overall political platform. This is a mistake and is exactly what radicals expect from a corrupt system. Their foot is now in the door.

In the United States, the fundamentalist Christian movement integrated itself into the Bush administration and brought their narrow-minded belief system into our country's armed forces.  It has been widely reported that there were political and military leaders who believed our invasion of Iraq would expedite the second coming of Christ. Ridiculous, right?  Radical, yes?  We invaded Iraq on false pretense, based upon cherry-picked misinformation from unreliable sources.  Was this a coincidence or a well-execute plan by radicals within our own government?

And so it is with the radical feminists of Sweden, who have successfully lobbied for their own Minister in the government cabinet, have worked tirelessly to get new rape definitions placed into law.  Rape  is a horrible, violent and demeaning act. In the U.S., the rape is legally defined as a criminal offense of forcible sexual relations with a person against that person's will.   Lack of consent is the critical determinate in deciding whether a person has been raped.   But not so in Sweden- where a consensual sexual act is considered to be rape if the male is simply irresponsible in his use of contraceptives. Are there no female contraceptive devices in Sweden?

The expansion of the rape law is not enough to soothe radical feminists like Anna Ardin, or Belardin as she prefers to be called.  She continues to post about the male having more muscle mass than the average female, naturally placing the female in an inferior position and placing her at risk.  In Belardin's view. there must be laws that provide clear advantage to women. This is the sad mentality of a radical.  Justice must be blind to attitudes and be based upon facts in order to be fair.

We should never imprison the innocent in order to protect a class of people from the guilty.  We can never pass laws that would find a man guilty of being male before proceeding with a trial for his alleged male-related crime.  This is absurdity. This is anarchy. These radical women are declaring war on male of the species.

Creating laws that are weighted to one sex, or one race, or one religion is grossly unfair and untenable. This is a slippery slope the Swedish Government has built for themselves, and  exactly what the radical feminists want in order to advance their warlike agenda.

Wikileak's Julian Assange is at a serious risk in Sweden's rape investigation. His accuser, Anna Ardin, admits freely that they had consensual sex. Then she accuses him of not being responsible with his use of contraceptives.  That is how she was raped.   She has also affirmed on her own blog that she is a radical feminist.  Is Mr. Assange her sacrificial lamb to advance a radical agenda?

Yet Anna has mixed so many different philosophies together, it is hard to understand any longer how she can justify any of them.  In her recent posts and in defense of her posts, she has clearly stated that Islam is misunderstood by the West. She believes Islam is a religion that respects tolerance.  While Islam may be misunderstood in the West, Islamic fundamentalism is not. Any religion that treats women as second-class citizens, inferior to males, that uses stoning and murder as punishment for being a victim of rape- the same type of rape that Belardin believes is a result of the physical differences between the sexes- is not a religion a radical feminist should encourage her followers to accommodate.

Now that she has been conveniently appointed to the position of President of her Swedish Christian Brotherhood organization (now renamed Heart - Believers Social Democrats in Stockholm),   now that she has spent time in the Middle East helping families of diverse religions co-exist in the same village, perhaps she should now admit that her radical views towards the male of the species is indefensible.

Her own words place her in a compromising position. She should admit that she is a woman scorned, and tell the Swedish Government that she will not participate in a mockery of a trial, or use her disappointing star-fucking experience as an excuse to send an innocent man to Guantanamo Bay.

But chances are she will continue to advance her personal vendetta behind the guise of radical feminism and people will fear her power.  Julian Assange should not not fear this woman.  She is her own worst enemy.  When the major media finally gets their claws in her,  she will understand that being attacked against your will is not limited to a consensual sexual act in a Swedish bedroom- it can come flying at you through the lens of a CNN camera.  There is no defense from that, no condom law, no tiny village in Israel to to hide for the rest of your life.  That is where fear itself will be a most effective weapon.

Just as an afterthought, Anna.  There is no such person as a half-vegan.  You are either a Vegetarian or you are not. Vegan is a type of Vegetarian.  If you eat meat, you're not half anything.  You're omniverous. You sure do enjoy tossing names at people who disagree with you.  But you can't even be honest about your own diet. (Quoting an excerpt from Belardin's March 11th blog "Eftersom det igen bara kommer bli en halv veganism så behöver jag komplettera med nåt tänker jag.")




         




Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Father Cursed

My impulsive nature is nothing compared to my regrets, 
like nightmares when the lights are on; 
how can I still feel the warm embrace of your love 
from our yesterdays,
inside this chilling wind
within the dark curse 
of your forever in every tomorrow.



Saturday, April 2, 2011

Notes Upon the Passing of Your Grandmother


Dear Hawthorne,

Your random email reminds me of when we drove to my grandmother's funeral five or ten years ago.  It was quiet, overcast, the world a slate gray, the row homes of Reading reflecting the sentinel sky. The cemetery sat precariously on a small hill within the boundaries of the stone church, near the parking lot, overlooking lower part of the town.  I wondered as I stood there, how different was the view from this spot one hundred years earlier, when my ancestors gathered for a  burial in this same place?  I am a Grube, I thought.  This hill is filled with Grubes.  They command the high ground over a sea of poverty, forlorn industrial buildings of red brick and metal in full decay, small coal miner homes, once full of a new age promise, and then half-emptied of men through two world wars, and now filled with low-riders, salsa music, and another foreign language- this one not as willing to fade into the proper English as the previous generations of Dutch melted into the American pot over a century ago.  

We laid her to rest next to her parents.  Her husband, who died in the late sixties from heart failure, is buried on hallowed Jewish ground, protected from heathens like the woman he loved, who loved him- and who never re-married after his passing- out of respect, out of love, out of tradition.  This tradition passes with her too.  Their tradition remains intact, resolute, without compromise.  Their wars will continue too as men force their faith upon others, and wall themselves inside their zealotry, like that cemetery where mortal love receives no respect, even though true love remains is as equally eternal as heaven and damnation combined.  I can not visit my grandfather's grave, as I do not visit his faith and call it my own and I do not appreciate walls around people, living or dead.

Nanny, as she was called, chose cremation, she was a slight woman and her urn was small. The perfectly square hole that was dug in the ground, was as simple and neat as she kept her own house. I suppose she would have enjoyed the symmetry of that. I have a different idea for my own grave. I want to be buried with all my junk, my songs, my instruments, my piles of papers with half-written poems and lyrics, my favorite records, and a spare pair of underwear for the long trip home.  Hire a backhoe and dig out a nice deep hole, like the ones I have climbed into and evaluated for the past twenty years.  A soil scientist should be present to write up the soil log, with all the horizons, texture, and consistency of the soil properly described, and the colors charted from the Munsell Book. I hope I get some good colors, like a 5YR5/8 or a 2.5Y6/3.  Once the log is completed,  drop it on top of my pile of junk, lightly sprinkle with my ashes (maybe you could chart that color too) and then backfill the damn hole and plant a tree, but not a black ash because they are messy.  Plant a tree that is colorful in Autumn and will drop tons of leaves that some poor living bastard will have to rake and remove each year. 

As Nanny's urn lay there, after words were spoken, read from bible verses, and some poetry was offered, my younger brother (who currently despises me with his entire soul and may spit on my ashes if permitted too, if he outlives me- which is dubious considering his bad habits that I no longer share) drops a half-eaten bag of peanut m&m's into the grave and mumbles something about the trip.   I ask him if Nanny liked peanut m&m's and he shrugs and says something like "I don't know, but she'll need them for the trip".  I thought it was borderline appropriate- his way of saying goodbye, perhaps.  

I'll never forget the stunned look on the funeral home attendant's face when little brother dropped that half-empty bag of candy in her teeny barbie-doll grave.  The bag barely fit between the dark urn and the brown side of the hole.  And he dropped it in such a casual way that someone unknowing, like our attendant, might have thought of a deep disrespect- he dumped his trash into the grave of his grandmother!  I understood that look of disbelief and shock, but not well enough.  I wanted to comfort this stranger, tell him this is not what it appears to be. Now I am not so certain. Was there an unspoken truth I was not privy to?   

In recent days, my brother has told me there is only one truth. I do not reply but also know there are million lies that accompany one truth. Together they become an army, ruthless and victorious over the innocent and the guilty.  There is no time for justice in a world at war, there is no time for a common, shared perception of truth.  There is only blood in the river and a river of blood in the street.  Family arguments are petty creations of our own vanity, with pain and suffering too great a symptom for the minor cause.  Besides, Nanny would not approve.

Today, random skies pushed clouds across the hills in angry, black raven shapes.  Grandmothers pass and they take something with them we never had, and something they share only with their grandkids. She made have had that secret with each grandchild, but each one of us treasured ours alone.  Parents might become upset or angry and issue orders to the troops. Nanny would smile and wink at us, and we would rise above the moment- with her. All is not as it seems- she knows something about our parents that we do not. Chuckling softly to herself and winking at us, grandmother points to the dead fuse on wet dynamite.  The troops ignore their leaders, if only for a brief moment in her presence.  

Right into her last years, our Grandmother kept bottles of coca-cola in her refrigerator door- the kind in the greenish tinted bottles, where you needed a bottle opener. The soda always tickled our palette like the first time we ever tasted that sparkling delight and she would smile at us, like it was her first time too.  Grandmothers have that ability to spin magic out of the mundane, to turn a small row house in Reading into a perfect paradise, a fortress from the world at large- where love and safety play on the front porch together.

My condolences to you in your loss.  May you find strength in her love and in all your memories of your grandmother's life where it intertwined with yours.

Deepest Regards,
Melville

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