November 30, 2007

Dr. Laura’s Dream

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Radio call-in psychologist Dr. Laura Schlessinger told every young sensitive woman who called into her show for advice they were dirty whores for shacking up with their boyfriends out of wedlock. She liked nothing better than shoving her puritanical new-born Christian ideals down the throat of some troubled girl. “Isn’t it obvious,” she wondered, “I’m trying to save these girls from doom. Don’t they understand that men STINK. Their clothes STINK, their breath STINKS, their hands STINK, their balls STINK, their hairy assholes STINK.” Unable to curtail her meandering line of thinking she blurted out, “Don’t you realize everything about men STINKS?” Dr. Laura didn’t know what came over her. It was right out of Valerie Solanas S.C.U.M. Manifesto, only the doctor pulled up short of actually advocating the total annihilation of the male population called for by the Society for Cutting Up Men. When asked why she shot Andy Warhol Solanas told authorities she hadn’t intended to do it originally, she set out to kill another guy, “but he wasn’t home.” Then added: “As if you need a reason to shoot a man.” Dr. Laura knew she could become a real bitch on air sometimes, especially when she got a girl on the line that had slept with a man when she didn’t want to, or hadn’t slept with a man when she did want to, but quoting passages from Solanas’ screed was excessive even for her. She just couldn’t stop herself, and without realizing it she found herself riding a regular listener from her bully pulpit: “Sex is not part of a relationship: on the contrary, it is a solitary experience, non-creative, a gross waste of time. The female can easily — far more easily than she may think — condition away her sex drive, leaving her completely cool and cerebral and free to pursue truly worthy relationships and activities; but the male, who seems to dig women sexually and who seeks out constantly to arouse them, stimulates the highly sexed female to frenzies of lust, throwing her into a sex bag from which few women ever escape. The lecherous male excites the lustful female; he has to — when the female transcends her body, rises above animalism, the male, whose ego consists of his cock, will disappear.” Dr. Laura’s producer became concerned she was flipping out right in the middle of the show and peeked into the broadcast booth to see what was going on. What he saw surprised him. It was like the radio psychologist was trying to physically stop herself from uttering the words, only she couldn’t. The words kept coming out of her mouth no matter what she did to try and stop it up. “Retaining the male has not even the dubious purpose of reproduction.” She really got going on this one simpering caller all the while vainly attempting to clamp her own jaw shut by pressing her hands into her cheeks as hard as she could. “The male is a biological accident: the y (male) gene is an incomplete x (female) gene, that is, has an incomplete set of chromosomes. In other words, the male is an incomplete female, a walking abortion, aborted at the gene stage. To be male is to be deficient, emotionally limited; maleness is a deficiency disease and males are emotional cripples.” Dr. Laura seemed to relax a bit and toned down her rhetoric. “Not all men are bad, though” she thought out loud, “There are some good ones like…” Her secretary came in and announced, “Tom Delay.” Thinking the intern was feeding her examples, Dr. Laura said, “No. There are good men, like…” “The Decider-in-Chief,” the secretary said. “No, a good man, like, like…” “Darth Cheney,” the secretary said. “No, no, no!” the psychologist screamed. “Those are NOT good men!” Dr. Laura knew full well they were scumbags. She was screwing all three of them. The secretary realized the misunderstanding and clarified, “They are on the phone, Ms. Schlessinger.” The doctor groaned. She was sick of being passed around by the three of them like the trashy slut she knew she was. Lately it was nothing but twosomes, threesomes, and anal sex. There was hardly a moment when she didn't have one cock in her mouth and one up her ass. And she hated herself for it. The producer, who listened from the control room, braced himself. He could hear in her raised voice she was flaring up again, and got down on his knees to pray to baby Jesus, but it wasn't enough. All her life she had hated women Dr. Laura realized when it was really men who were to blame. “How many young girls had she told it was their fault?” she thought back. “Millions.” There was no time to waste. She needed to take action to turn around the mess she’d made of all those young, impressionable, feminine minds. Sure, girls need to be responsible, but not by blaming themselves for what men do. There was only one choice left. She would lead the SCUM revolution! “The sick, irrational men,” she shouted into her microphone, “Those who attempt to defend themselves against their disgustingness, when they see SCUM barreling down on them, will cling in terror to Big Mama with her Big Bouncy Boobies, but Boobies won't protect them against SCUM; Big Mama will be clinging to Big Daddy, who will be in the corner shitting in his forceful, dynamic pants. Men who are rational, however, won't kick or struggle or raise a distressing fuss, but will just sit back, relax, enjoy the show and ride the waves to their demise.” Dr. Laura knew just how to get the ball rolling. She left all three of her lovers on hold, the perverted creeps could go to hell for all she cared, grabbed her handbag, and walked out of the radio station without saying good-bye to anyone. The first order of business was buying a semi-cab. She wanted one with hot pink flames painted on the hood. It was going to be like Thelma and Louise (1991) only with a happy ending. The trick was to start small. She could see it now. Every time an emergency or law enforcement vehicle would come barreling down the street with it’s lights flashing and sirens wailing she would pull the bill of her trucker cap down low over her mirrored Ray-Bans, park her 18-wheeler monster big rig in the middle of the road and dare them to try and get around her.

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November 27, 2007

Žižek's Dream

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Of all the myriad possible intellectual embarrassments the Slovenian cultural critic Slavoj Žižek dreamed he was thrust into an adventure on the classic hegemonic American TV show Mission Impossible (1966-1973). In all fairness the show had one of the coolest theme songs, at least as good as the musical intro to Hawaii-Five-O and Rockford Files, and given the US ADD bubble-gum culture of sublime stupidity, the missions were remarkably complicated. Žižek wore the clean-shaven silver-haired mask of Mr. Phelps over his black beard, and whenever he went out — to the corner grocer’s for beer, or the gas station for an energy drink — he was enthusiastically greeted with the applause of Cold War veterans and nerdy kids that had watched every episode so many times they knew every line by heart. One of the signatures of the show was the ever more idiosyncratic and implausible scenario that introduced us to the facts of the case. Phelps had gone up in a Ferris-Wheel gondola, had test-driven a speedboat, visited penny-arcades, gone to countless secluded spots in parks, and was a well known denizen of unpopulated tourist vistas. Later episodes started with a vignette to introduced the villain before the Impossible Mission Force’s assignment was revealed. Mr. Phelps was the IMF contact (the brain that planned the strategy and chose the secret operatives with the necessary skill-set to pull it off), but the directions he received for his next assignment pick-up were so convoluted they totally exasperated him. “Doesn’t Washington have more important things to do than come up with this stuff?” he wondered. Phelps was supposed to navigate an active set from David Lynch’s Inland Empire (2006), somehow manage to stay off screen during the filming of one of the more schizophrenic episodes that involved the heroine, and find the package containing the tape and photographs on the Honeymooner’s era soundstage used for the surreal scenes with the family of bunny rabbits. Lynch is great with contemporary beauty, the problem is the last few movies totally blend together. Phelps not only had to navigate Inland Empire, he somehow had to keep it separated in his memory from Mullholand Dr., and Lost Highway. He was sure he was screwed, but as it turned out, the package was set out on the couch where he didn’t have to go digging around for it in the dark. Phelps looked around the room to make sure no giant bunny rabbits were eavesdropping and started the tape player. A noticeable twitch came over his face when the familiar voice revealed the true nature of the assignment: A cabal of despotic fascists were attempting to take over the US, and it was his mission to make sure they did not succeed. Two familiar headshots looked up at him when he emptied the content of the manila folder on the coffee table: The President’s and Vice President’s. The self-destructing tape ended with the same pledge as always — to disavow any knowledge and destroy all evidence of any member of the team who was captured — but Phelps, Žižek cheerfully recalled behind his sweaty rubber mask, was like a real American cowboy and never gave up on his operatives. He returned to his stylish modern apartment to mull the problem over: how to turn the despots against each other and bring down the corrupt American administration. Phelps would need super-agents for what he had in mind. He pulled out his gold embossed leather folder and flipped through the glossies. Michel Foucault and Jean Baudrillard were dead. Forget them. Norman O. Brown had name dropped the Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno when he quoted the line: “The wretched consciousness shrinks in the face of it’s own annihilation.” Anyone who was brave enough to make that reference was on his team, even if Brown took a dim view of "the death drive", a Freudian principal Mr. Phelps believed was crucial to the success of the mission. He struggled with which of the original cast members he should employ. Cinnamon Carter, Barney Collier, and Willy Armitage were shoe-ins. Whether he should go with Rollin Hand, played by Martin Landau, or The Great Paris, played by Leonard Nimoy was a little harder. Phelps decided to come back to it later and make the sixth member of the team another guest-star. He liked Julie from Return of The Living Dead 3 (1996). Curt is the boyfriend who brings her back to life with a military drug after a freak accident breaks her neck. The teen sweethearts are celebrating after having broken into his dad’s army base and discovering the US is secretly training an army of zombies to become the next super weapon, virtually indestructible because they are already dead. There was a scene in which the ID card Curt has stolen from his dad doesn’t work on the first swipe and Julie licks the information strip to get the door open. Phelps was sure it was a great example of his academic idea of the “real real” — a moment in a horror movie that hits you in the gut because the artifice of the flick is broken by a baldly sensual interruption. There are a few other moments in the movie that are as equally visceral as a girl’s saliva, but what he liked most about Julie was that she is a zombie with feelings, she inflicts hideous mutilations on herself to avoid eating her lover, and ultimately sacrifices herself for him. Julie is a zombie with a sympathetic consciousness, someone Phelps considered pretty normal by today’s standards. He believed she could easily infiltrate the Bushevick Administration’s council of corpse-fuckers, and provide a desirable antidote to their outrageous extravagances of inhumanity just by showing a little humility, some plain old self-doubt about whether the fact that she could kill both viciously and efficiently, and in fact liked the taste of raw human entrails very much, made it the correct course of action in absolutely every case. Besides, if they didn’t agree with her she could always eat them! It was a virtually foolproof plan. Barney was showing everyone the special toilet bowl he designed for the mission, while Mr. Phelps explained his theory behind the plan: “And here I came to think of the toilets in America, France and Germany. They make up a semiotic triangle that correlates exactly to Levi Strauss’ triangle, so we also have an excrement triangle. Now the German toilets are built in a way that the excrement falls on a flat surface in the back and is flushed through a hole in the front. This way you are directly confronted with excrement — and you can see whether you have worms, etc. This is a German ritual. The French toilets have the opposite system: the hole is bigger at the back so excrement can fall directly into the hole and vanishes immediately. The American variant is a kind of correlative of Levi Strauss’ cooked food, combining the elements: the excrement remains, but it floats in the water. I had a look at some books on the topic and came to the conclusion that every nation believes their system makes most sense. But clearly, a complex system is at work here. And if I am to carry on… here is the right answer for Lyotard and all those who say the end of ideology, period. Yes, but as soon as you flush the toilet, you’re right in the middle of ideology.” Afterwards no one really knew what to say. Phelps talked about Chaucer’s and Rabeleis’ obsession with scatology in literature and the central importance for it in the theology of Luther’s Protestant Reformation, but the agents were no less confused about how exactly Phelps’ planned to take down the administration with a simple toilet bowl. As excited as Phelps was about the Julie zombie, it was more of an intellectual curiosity than anything else. Cinnamon Carter was a real woman. Sensing an opertune pause, the silver fox swooped in on Ms. Carter, played by the sexy Barbara Bain who would later inflame the adolescent loins of pointy headed geeks in Gerry Anderson’s Space: 1999. Žižek closed his eyes behind the Phelps mask and breathed in her perfume. He had saved the best part of his research for her. “Friends from Vienna told me,” he furtively whispered into her ear, “that in avant-garde student circles the pubic haircut was strictly codified. There is the triangle, the New-Age hippy way, where everything grows profusely, the yuppie way, where only a small strip may be visible, and the punk style with pubic hair clean-shaven and rings hanging in the clitoris, etc.” Mr. Phelps a.k.a. the masked Žižek was pressing Cinnamon to divulge her preferred way of grooming her own pubic region when her old beaux Landau came to her rescue and rudely interrupted their conversation. It was then the Slovenian cultural critic realized the tragic flaw in his plan: he should have definitely hired Paris instead.

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