Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Observations from Salt Lake City

Two thirds of the tightest high school trio ever united over the weekend in Salt Lake City, Utah. My friend Jen and I haven't seen each other since my wedding nine years ago and I have never met her children so we had some catching up to do. During my visit I got to:

See Salt Lake City, which I've never done. It's gorgeous.

Shock a table full of Mormons by ordering (and consuming) two large carafes of hot sake. Fortunately, Mormons are more polite than teetotaling Baptists and refrained from praying for me on the spot.

Watch Alabama beat LSU.

Read a great book (Soulless by Gail Carriger. Go get it. Right now. I paid for my copy, FTC.).

Make chicken and dumplings at high altitude. It actually does make a difference. Who knew?

Observe the largest selection of licorice I have ever encountered. Apparently, licorice is big with the Mormons. Of equal interest to me was that the licorice was all manufactured by the Amish.

Count bicycles. There are lots.

Hang out with Jen, one of the coolest people on the planet, and remind her that her soon to be ex made a classic mistake. He married a chick way cooler than he is.

Regretably, I did NOT get to do thing I wanted to do most. Make the ex's ears bleed. Jen prudently neglected to tell me when he stopped by the house to pick up the kids. My only other opportunity would have been when he dropped them off. Of course I wouldn't have reamed him in front of his kids but I could have cornered him at the curb while they were safely in the house.

**The series of events that promted my visit is catalogued here.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Observations on the Cheestastic Eighties vs. The Modern Era

SyFy is running the 80's version of V since the updated one is coming to network television very soon. I loved the mini-series, but hey, I was in eighth grade and lacked sophistication. Catching it on the flip side of 2009 is just as good but for entirely different reasons. Reasons I'm certain do not represent the intentions of the original screenwriters. I find that upon reflection, V captured many wonderful eighties trends that were notable in other works.

198?: Women were equal to men. The gender neutral uniforms that fit the women much more snugly than their male counterparts demonstrate this fact.

2009: Women wear chick clothes because they want to look hot and that is just fine.

198?: No child was ever born whose parents understood him. Ever. In the eighties, parents sprung fully formed, with no childhood memories to lend empathy to their childrearing skills. The Breakfast Club said it best: "When you grow up, your heart dies." Even adult children bear the scars of the tumultuous parental/progeny relationship. They seek blue collar jobs that satisfy the soul rather than embrace the corporate ladder that consumes their materialistic progenitors.

2009: In YA fiction and entertainment, parents are well meaning but absent and bumbling. The modern teen may discuss his or her sex life with the extremely tolerant parent but probably prefers not to because of the ick factor. Youth today indulgently care for their parents who are hopeless outside the workplace. This is convenient when a girl with a policeman father has her boyfriend spend the night EVERY NIGHT.

198?: A midget who frolics each time a plane lands on the island is the height of tolerance and understanding. Good white people adopt black kids despite social pressure because, darn it, it's just the right thing to do. White people like "Benson" and "The Jeffersons" so race relations are good. Geeks haven't really entered the scene, just nerds. They are smart computer whiz kids with misunderstood poetic souls. Aside from the news and the AIDs crisis, homosexuality does not exist except as a cruel high school slur. ("I thought only pansies wore neckties." Anyone remember that gem?)

2009: Everybody has a gay best friend. The gay person is important and cooler than everyone else but not the lead. ( Will and Grace exception duly noted.) Lesbians are always bisexual and hot. Black people are also cooler than everyone else, sometimes the lead, but never the geek. Geeks can be cool but they must be quirky, caucasian, and routinely err in their fashion choices.

198?: Kids from the 'hood have good hearts and no opportunities until someone more privileged gives them a chance. Most people stereotype them and treat them badly.

2009: Erm, well, this one hasn't changed much.

198?: The villian is very attractive and beyond redemption unless they are a small town sherrif and then they are fat. They like to use phrases like "insipid fool" unless they are a small town sherrif and then they call everyone "boy."

2009: It isn't really fair to label someone. People have conflicts. Picking sides is arbitrary and judgmental. If the character is a demon, vampire, or werewolf, they are definitely not the bad guy.

Favorite stereotypes? Thoughts?