You Are Dumb, which is not a blog, posts new columns every weekday, except for a couple of days each month when it doesn't. It is also a Twitter feed, @youaredumb, with content in a similar vein but much shorter. My spinoff food site, Forkbastard, can be found easily enough by the clever.
Archive - Feb 17, 2012
Memo to Mr. Potato Head, Foster Friess, and Pat Archbold: STOP MAKING OLD LOOK BAD.
We are all, barring mishap or disease, eventually going to join the Old Community. Now, Hollywood makes old seem glamorous. You get to say rude things to whippersnappers, order hoodlums off your lawn, fly around in a balloon house, and get 90th birthday greetings from the President.
But I need to warn you, it's not all Viagra and Ensuretinis. Some old people don't just get older as time goes by - they stop learning. They don't adapt to changing times and new societal mores. Those old people make being old look shitty. And not just poor bowel-control shitty, but morally shitty. These old people are the theme behind a special edition of SPASTIC COLON MONKEY FRIDAY!
Chris "Mr. Potato Head" Matthews is 66 years old. That's one year past what most people consider retirement age, yet there he is, for a minimum of two hours a day, on the cable teevee news, talking like a less coherent caricature of Abe Simpson. If his family wanted to take all his money, all they'd need is a tape of everything he's said about the fake contraception controversy in the past two weeks and they could get him declared mentally incompetent.
But it's not just politics he's stupid about. You put Chris Matthews on TV, in charge of saying shit, for that length of time every day and you're gonna hear some freakish old-man babbling. Case in point:
"I don’t watch television the way most regular people do, meaning most people come home, they’re tired they go in the living room, maybe they watch T.V. while their wife, in some cases, making dinner, or the husband — in some weirder cases — is making dinner.
I'd love to find a way to parse that that didn't boil down to old-school male chauvinism, but that'd require a level of effort, and benefit of the doubt, that Spudley hasn't earned on his best day. Is it weirder because the man is cooking? Is it weird because the wife's the one coming home tired from work? What the fuck is going on inside Chris Matthews' skull besides the gradual conversion of sugars into starches, and perhaps the necessary processes required for his eyes to sprout? That is some Fred and Wilma caveman shit right there.
And it just gets worse, the older you get, it seems. Listen to this quote from Foster Friess. Friess, in addition to still being bitter about his name being changed from "Frosty Freeze" at Ellis Island, is a billionaire and the man behind Rick Santorum's totally not coordinated SuperPac. Friess is 72 years old, and apparently, that makes it OK to think it's funny to say, in the year 2012, nearly five decades into the sexual revolution, that women wouldn't need expensive birth control pills if they'd just keep their legs together. ELDERLY QUOTE TIME!
"This contraceptive thing, my gosh, it's so inexpensive. Back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly." - Friess, also at MSNBC, where they must have been serving lead enchiladas in the commissary that day.
I've got an idea. What say we disqualify anyone who unironically uses the word "gals" from having any say or opinion on women's reproductive freedom, OK? In fact, just to be safe, we should probably also disqualify any politician taking millions of dollars in unregulated money from someone who unironically uses the word "gals" from having any say or opinion on women's reproductive freedom while we're at it. Because the word "gals" is a pretty solid metric for when it's time to shut your creaky fucking gum-hole, Gramps.
I don't know how old Pat Archbold is, because three Google searches didn't tell me, but I ran his writing through one of those automatic analyzers, and all the results would tell me is that according to all available sources, both Methuselah and Andy Rooney are dead, and they probably didn't have a baby. Pat Archbold is so old his name ENDS IN OLD.
In fact, the piece that brought Pat Archbold to my attention, "The Death Of Pretty", is both pat, arch, and old. It's a paean to a simpler time, a more innocent time, when women didn't all dress like whores. Because this is how he defines the "pretty" that is dying:
"People will define pretty differently. For the purposes of this piece, I define pretty as a mutually enriching balanced combination of beauty and projected innocence."
Get that, ladies? Not actual innocence, which is in and of itself problematic and overrated for an adult woman, but PROJECTED innocence. In other words, making sure that when Pat Archbold looks at you, he can safely assume that he's the only one thinking dirty thoughts. I mean, obviously, the dirty thoughts wouldn't be reciprocal no matter how little innocence the woman in question was projecting, because Pat Archbold is a pervy old writer for the Catholic Register, but you know what I mean.
It gets better. Well, worse, but in a funny way.
"As I said, pretty inspires men’s nobler instincts to protect and defend. Pretty is cherished. Hotness, on the other hand, is a commodity. Its value is temporary and must be used. It is a consumable."
Sweet merciful fuck, if scientists can figure out the compression algorithms Archbold used to pack that many decades of religious repression into around three dozen words, it could revolutionize data transmission. He all but says outright that "pretty" makes women dependent on men, while "hotness" makes men dependent on women. Also, if hotness is temporary, but prettiness is eternal, that means that he expects women to "project innocence" for their entire lives. That is fucked up.
From there it goes about where you'd expect. Blaming Hollywood. A sly nod to "boys will be boys". An extended reflection on Olivia Newton-John's ass in "Grease", for a mix of outdated cultural references AND outdated madonna/whore dichotomies... hey, wait a second. What's this?
"Even back in 6th grade I hated the “hot” Olivia Newton John and felt sorry for her that she had to debase herself in such a way."
That's a fucking awful sentence, but it does have some key facts in it. Sixth grade. That means eleven or twelve, or maybe thirteen if he was as dumb in school as he was in this article. Grease was released in 1978... subtract 11-12 and you get 1966-67, which means...
Holy fuck. Pat Archbold is around 45 years old. Maybe 46, outside chance at 47. Yet somehow, he has the cultural attitudes of a man twice his age. I keep thinking that eventually the sexist dinosaurs would die off and go extinct, and now I find they're squatting in my own goddamned demographic. I think I need to go sit down for a bit.