Culture Shock

I don’t own a television and my only exposure to mainstream programming is through DVDs of whole seasons of shows carefully selected by friends. The only time I see what’s actually on real TV is when I travel to academic conferences and channel surf.

I hope while surfing I never come across this new reality TV show, “Bridalplasty.”

“Each week, a group of women go head-to-head in such challenges as writing wedding vows and planning honeymoons. The winner receives the chance to choose a plastic surgery procedure from her “wish list.” She’s given the procedure immediately, and results are shown at the start of the following week’s episode…
The last bride standing will receive a “dream wedding,” where she will reveal her new appearance to friends, family and the groom. “Viewers will witness his emotional and possibly shocked reaction as they stand at the altar and he lifts her veil to see her for the first time following her extreme plastic surgery,” E! said.”

More here.


More on Mom

Recently I posted on the amazon “mom’ program, which really meant “parent” or “caregiver.” Since then I’ve been noticing this more and more.

Even people who start out on the right foot can let stereotypes slip in once they get going. Here’s a note from a program my child is involved asking for parent volunteers.

“Dear Parents, This is the time of year when we pull together support teams for each of our shows. With rehearsals already under way, at this point, we quickly need to gather Costumes Volunteers and Props Volunteers. READ ON FOR MORE DETAILS ABOUT THESE POSITIONS!! : ) The best part is you’ll be off to a great start with our offsite costumes and props warehouse to draw upon . AND very soon the two storage closets in the Rehearsal Hall will be sitting with empty wardrobe racks, shelves and bins just waiting to be filled up by our industrious Costume Teams and Props Teams!! You don’t all have to be sewers either – not at all! We’re also looking for parents who can help organize, process incoming costumes and scrounge and treasure hunt in our offsite storage space, our costume loft above the rehearsal hall, Goodwill stores, your basement – wherever the hunt make take you!! It’ll be a busy time but a fun time pulling it all together. It’s also a great opportunity to get to know other Moms! “

Trouble in Delaware

Christine O’Donnell – pro-gun, anti-abortion, believes masturbation is a sin, Tea Party candidate – won 53% of the Republican vote in Delaware. She will now stand for the US senate in November, for the seat vacated by Joe Biden. However, polls suggest she has little chance of beating the Democratic candidate, Chris Coons. So that’s alright then. *Gulp* More from the Guardian here.

Teacher reprimanded for child-murdering maths quiz

A primary school teacher in Japan has been reprimanded for setting his pupils a maths puzzle, which involved murdering children. The pupils were allegedly asked how long it would take to kill eighteen children, if three were murdered per day. This reminded me of our recent discussion about killing fat people with trolleys, where people were lampooned in comments for suggesting there might be something awry with asking folk to consider such things as part of a philosophy puzzle. Make of that what you will. You can read more about the teacher and his maths quiz here.

In other news, I am thinking of inventing a series of FP prizes that I will be awarding at random to our posts. This one wins the prize for ‘title most like a tabloid headline’.

‘Galileo was wrong’

The Pope is about to grace the UK with his presence, and so there’s been a lot of anti-Catholic news (propaganda?) hitting the headlines recently. Unfortunately, lots of it has focused on less important issues such as paedophile priests and some bloke’s* injudicious remarks about his being likely to forget where he was when he landed at Heathrow because there are so many brown people in Britain, he might accidentally think he’s landed in a Third World country. (Oh yes, he also claimed there was an aggressive streak of neo-atheism raging rampant in our green and pleasant land, but that seems correct – check out Richard Dawkins.) The bloke in question has unleashed no end of good old British outrage, which we’re all clearly enjoying (a bit like a hand ball in the World Cup), and paedophile priests are clearly a bad thing. But I can’t help thinking that since the percentage of paedophile priests is, one presumes, pretty small, and the remarks about brown people at Heathrow are not so different from what passes for critical analysis in certain sectors of the tabloid industry (Daily Mail hacks, I’m looking at you), you’d think there were more important topics on which to take issue with the Catholic Church. I mean, for example, its stance on the use of contraception, its opinions about abortion, and its views on the ordination of women. In case you missed the memo at previous meetings, there is a massive AIDS crisis going on right now. People are dying horrible deaths, leaving behind families, many of whom have little or no sources of financial support. Moreover, whilst there are cases of AIDS in the developed world (for ‘developed’ read ‘rich and taking steps to retain their riches at the expense of the poor’), the vast majority of cases are in the ‘developing’ world (for ‘developing’, read ‘poor and getting f&%$ed over by the rich nations’). Those folks can’t afford the drugs that would make living with AIDS possible. An excellent tool to help stem the spread of AIDS is the simple condom. But guess who thinks that’s the work of the devil? You guessed it, our mates in the Vatican. Abortion? Don’t get me flipping started. In fact, take the following words ‘reproductive rights’, ‘importance of allowing women control over their own fertility’, ‘treating women as people, capable of making their own decisions, and with control over their own bodily boundaries’ and just insert your own rant HERE. As for the ordination of women, well, I believe the Pope has pronounced that it’s a sin in the same category as paedophilia. Because, you know, there’s something intrinsically evil about those people with vaginas, and they shouldn’t be allowed entry to the old boys’ club. You gals want a role model? Here’s one: a lady who was both a virgin AND a mother. Having trouble living up to our expectations? Try harder.

Anyway, I wouldn’t want you folks to think to we’re out of touch with wider news themes, so here’s a lovely Catholic apologist conference you might be interested in attending. (Alternative title: some old white men spout crap about something again.)**

*Hilariously, said bloke is one of the Pope’s advisors responsible for building bridges and easing communication with other faiths – or so I’m informed by the BBC.

**No, I don’t know whether this is a wind-up. If it is, it’s one of the best pieces of trolling I’ve ever seen.