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June 27, 2009

Sex Kills on ABC Family

The One Million Moms are at it again. They really don't like the new season of the Secret Life of the American Teenager. They disliked it so much that they're asking Kellogg to pull their ads from the show. (Apparently Hershey already stopped sponsoring it).

First of all, let's take a moment to laugh out loud at the fact that are still typing the word "sex" as s*x. Hilarious! Anyway... on to the show.

I was sort of on the fence the first time we looked at this show, but I've now decided that it is a complete piece of garbage. I agree with the OMM that the show sucks, but again we really disagree on the WHY.

Honestly, I'm surprised that they don't love the show. Just look at the ridiculous messages it sends about sex. According to ABC Family sex only causes problems.

Amy has sex for the first time... and she gets pregnant. Her mother has sex with her new boyfriend for the first time... and she gets pregnant too! What are the odds!? Now I know that it's important to teach kids that you can get pregnant the first time (because God knows too many teenagers think you can't) but come on! Of course, Amy is pissed at her mom for getting pregnant, because she's a big stupid hypocrite.

Also, apparently sex kills. And I don't mean that sex can transmit HIV or other STDs that can kill you... I mean sex can kill other people too. "Good girl" Grace has sex for the first time and her dad dies in a plane crash. Yes, sex can kill people who aren't even there!

No one on that damn show can have sex without being instantly punished. Amy has sex with Ricky: She gets pregnant! (Not that pregnancy is a punishment per se, but on this show they certainly portray it as such). Amy's mom has sex with her new boyfriend: She gets pregnant! Amy's dad has sex with Adrian's mom: Divorce! Alice and Henry have sex: They break up! Grace has sex with Jack: Her dad dies!

Wow... this is supposed to be a "brutally realistic" portrayal of sex? This show can suck it.

June 25, 2009

You Had To Be There... (at Skidmore)

Finally. The second installment of our Skidmore recap! We already went on (and on and on) about all of the great workshops we took during our week at Skidmore for the IWWG conference. You might be expecting a long, detailed play-by-play account of our trip, like we did after WAM!, but the truth is we're way too busy reading Guild member's books and trying to tackle the massive to-do list that we've suddenly acquired.

We had such a good time at Skidmore and have more hilarious memories than we could ever fit in one blog... but here are just a few of the highlights that come to mind. A lot of it probably falls under that whole "you had to be there" type of humor, but fuck it, we were there. (All the more reason for you to come to the IWWG's 2010 summer conference!) And at least maybe Dollface and ceirdwenfc will laugh.

The laughs started in Penn Station when we first met up with the Guild ladies and Heather Cariou yelled out "Evil Slutopia!" for all of the Amtrak to hear. Perfect way to start the week, right? While on the train, some asshole guy loudly asked if there was an "old person's convention". We quickly informed him that it was a writing conference, but wished him luck with the Douchebag Convention he was obviously on his way to.

Later on the train, we dealt with a woman whom we now refer to as "Grandma Shushy" because all she did the entire ride was shush people and/or stare at anyone who dared to speak in her presence. (Advice to Grandma Shushy - ride in the "quiet car" next time). Oh and of course, she also felt the need to spray perfume all over herself in a small enclosed space, because talking at a normal volume is rude but stinking up an entire train car apparently isn't. Cough cough. Luckily she didn't continue on to Skidmore with us, phew.

When we arrived at Skidmore, we headed to the Case Center to check in and get terrible photos taken for our ID cards. While waiting to get our room assignments, we watched the young man behind the desk flirt with a woman on line in front of us. He didn't even bat an eye at us though. Clearly, he's into cougars.

There was only one guy living on our floor of the dorm...the R.A., of course! (As far as we know none of the Guild ladies had any need for his advising services during the week.) We didn't see him until the very end of the trip, so we only knew he was a guy from his name on the door. And actually it's kinda surprising that we didn't see him sooner since we spent so much time in front of his door looking at all of the random pictures of TV characters that were stuck to it - he had everyone from Mr. Belding (Saved By the Bell) to Uncle Phil (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air). Our favorite picture was of the cast of Gossip Girl, because someone had taken a Sharpie and circled Chace Crawford's face and drawn an arrow back to the sign with the R.A.'s name on it, leading us to conclude that he must be a big manwhore like Chace's character and to refer to him as "Nate Archibald, R.A." for the entire week.

Our dorm room was shockingly disgusting. Whoever lived there had a serious gum-chewing addiction. There was gum everywhere. On the carpet. On the walls. Inside the drawers. Even on the sheets! Ew!!! We were totally grossed out. Also... there were bunkbeds. Really. It was like being at grown-up camp! Since I hadn't been in a top bunk for over 15 years, I actually thought about sleeping on the top but was a little worried about how to get down in the middle of the night (I needed Jezebel to spot me just so I could climb up there in the first place!)
"You can just text me when you need to get down."

"But... you'll be in the next bed. Couldn't I just tell you? Or just hit you with my pillow?"

"I just felt like the situation called for a more complicated plan."
Of course, I quickly dismissed the idea of sleeping in the top bunk for fear of crashing to my death. While up there I noticed that the bunk beds were broken. Yep. I could see only two possible scenarios: crashing to my death or sleeping on the bottom and being crushed to death. Fun! So we called maintenance to fix it:
"Our bunkbeds are broken..."


"Yes, the headboards are separating... and... and... the... what are those things called... the dowels... you know what I mean... the dowels are sticking out... and... and... it's going to fall apart... and... crush me... and... I FEAR FOR MY LIFE!"
Two guys came and took the beds apart. (They were just going to fix the bed, until we started hearing them say stuff like "wow, that piece is totally missing" and "who the hell put this bed together?" No way either of us was sleeping on the top or bottom after that.) We thanked them for saving our lives and then we debated pushing the beds together to make a Queen, in case we felt like cuddling.

The first evening we accosted Melody Cryns - in the ladies room - about what her workshop on the Internet and Computers would cover. (We're always looking for ways to shamelessly promote ourselves, including our consulting services). Apparently this started a trend... because we ended up talking to Melody in bathrooms throughout the campus all week long. Luckily she was a good sport about it (or at least is really good at pretending to be).

Saturday night we staked out a high-traffic spot next to Heather Cariou to sell books. We ended up buying more than we sold! (Always). In addition to nabbing a copy of Sixtyfive Roses and Married Women Who Love Women (reviews coming soon... or okay, maybe not SOON, but coming eventually) we also bought a handy travel/packing guide - you know we need that this year especially - and Mingmei Yip's Peach Blossom Pavillion, a novel about the last Chinese geisha.
"You'll like my book. It's about geishas. Okay, they're prostitutes. But high class. High class. But really, you should read it. It's about evil sluts!"
We also bought a copy of Amy Goodman's newest book Standing Up to the Madness (we had her sign it to the Evil Slut Clique - she was a little confused but she humored us). Amy, of Democracy Now! was the keynote speaker for the evening and let's just say WOW. Seriously, at a loss for words... which anyone who knows us is really rare.

We got to meet the beautiful and talented actress Robin Riker. I recognized her immediately but couldn't place her out of context (we "recognize" lots of people that we don't know when we're at Skidmore). It wasn't until she mentioned in a workshop that she was in the entertainment industry that it clicked who she was.
"Oh! I knew that I knew you! You killed your husband!"

"Many times."
We also made friends with a lovely woman named Babs Freed who invited us to her house for lunch when we get back home. She also told us to bring our bathing suits. Pool Party at Babs' House! Babs told us that her husband comes up to Saratoga Springs with her each year so that she can attend the conference. He drops her off in the morning and then goes off and does his own thing until it's time to pick her up. She said that he's met a bunch of local guys that he goes fishing with and stuff like that, which led us to the brilliant idea that there should really be a group for all of the significant others who get abandoned for the week while their partners attend the conference. You know, something like Guild Guys (and Gals).

We really enjoyed being at Skidmore this summer. While there's a huge range of ages, we were sort of on the younger side of the spectrum. We're never completely sure how the older generation is going to accept a group that calls themselves the Evil Slut Clique, but everyone seemed to love it. In fact, most of the "older" ladies talked about sex and stuff more than we did! (We had a long talk with our friend's roommate about wet dreams and erections. She was 80, by the way). We also got a kick out of the woman who, when we saw her walking back to the dorms alone late at night - something Campus Safety told us never to do - we caught up with her so we'd all be walking together. I joked with her "follow the rules!" and she said "eh, what's going to happen? Who's going to rape me?" (Funny, odd little backstory: here).

And of course, there's something very special about hearing women in their 70s and 80s say "evil sluts" and "suck it". Which reminds us... during our Legal workshop we learned that it might technically be possible for Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly to sue us for our Suck It series. (More on that later maybe.)
"What does your shirt say!? Rush Limbaugh what!?"

"Rush Limbaugh Can Suck It"

"Oh thank god. I saw something about Rush Limbaugh and got upset. This is much better."
Not all of our new friends were from the Guild. In the computer lab one day, we met a very...unique guy who worked on campus and was happy to share with us some of his many profound theories on many random topics. For example, he told us about how he knows that he's cool:
"I know that I'm cool because I know that the things that I like are cool. Even if nobody else knows they're cool, I know they're cool, so I know that I must be cool." (Don't worry, he thought that we were cool too.)
He also expressed some reservations about the name of our blog, because he explained to us that feminism shouldn't be about anger, and "the only successful feminism will come from love", and also that it's important to protect women's modesty. So we've decided to change our name to The Happy Loving Modest Clique. But not really.

At one point, he asked us if we had heard of the Riot Grrrl movement, and when we said yes he informed us that he had been a Riot Boy. I knew right away what was coming next.
"So you know who Kathleen Hanna is, right?"


"And you know that she used to..."

"Yes, I know."

"And there are pictures of her where she..."

"Yeah, I've seen them."

"That's awesome, you get a high five for that." (I got a high five for that.)
One day, Dollface came to have lunch with us, so she was able to meet our new friend too. She also got to hear a long monologue from him about Sarah Conner from Terminator and how awesome and cool and strong and badass she is (which turned out to be his way of telling me that he liked my boots. Yeah, we don't know either.) We told him that Dollface was a blogger too.
"Oh, what's yours called, the Angry Vagina Blog or something?"

"Yes! It's angryvaginablog.com, I can't believe you guessed it right on the first try!"
Okay, back to Guild stuff... we almost forgot the most important part of the laughs! The booze!!! At the end of every evening's events (open readings, etc.) someone would inevitably say "...to the Spa!!" The Spa was a little "cafe" (I use the term loosely) that sells sodas and snacks to the students year round, but during the summer carries wine and beer for the conference attendees. Some of the best laughs we had at Skidmore were at the Spa. This is most likely due to the fact that we were drinking beer and wine.

Now as you all know, we have a long lasting relationship with Corona. At one point, the unthinkable happened. We went back into the Spa to get another round of drinks, and... there was only one Corona left. After some calm and reasoned and thoughtful consideration, a decision was reached. (I'd like to take this time to ask for a moment of silence so that we all can contemplate the strength and courage and heart and determination of Lilith, who switched to wine so that I could have the last Corona. Yeah, whatever, I'm still mad).

Being with another feminist blogger, of course we had to do a little gossiping about favorite and least favorite blogs, craziest comment threads, best troll comments, and that sort of thing. One night we were talking about a commenter on one of the big feminist blogs who used the term "speciesist" in a conversation about animal rights. It got us thinking about all the discrimination other groups face... like inanimate objects."That's so tableist". Of course, that, got us thinking about objectum sexuals. Don't you love our drunken thought process? We decided that a good porn title for the woman who married the Eiffle Tower would be One Night in Paris.

Other random things we discussed were how to correctly use the sponge contraception - "you know, you don't just wipe up with it afterwards" - which of course, led us to come up with an awesome new invention: The Sperm Swiffer/patent pending. (Now that I think about it, it would probably be more like a Sperm Shamwow, but I'm going to stop thinking about that because it's kinda gross.)

We also subjected everyone to Kathy Griffin's Oprah-impressions: "Gaaaaaayle, fix the biblioteeeeeeeeeeeeeca!" (Yes, it's true, we do impressions of other people doing impressions, it's a lost art form).

I don't know how Carren Strock can claim to still like us after the drunken conversation we had one night at the spa. Not only did we go on about the title of her book Married Women Who Love Women, coming up with titles for sequels like Married Men Who Love Men and Unmarried Women who Love Married Women Who Love Women and the Women Who Love Them (clearly that one still needs a little work) - and admitted to doing dramatic readings of excerpts from the book in the dormroom whenever we got bored - but I also raved about BearForce1 and spent a good minute trying to open a bottle that was already opened. (I was twisting the invisible top - I suck at life).

On the last night, our keycards were mysteriously disconnected at midnight. (We didn't realize this until 2:00 am when I got up to go to the bathroom and found myself locked out of the room. Fun!) In the morning we went to Campus Safety to get back into the room. The woman on call gave us a hard time...
"That's not supposed to happen. That's really not okay".

"I agree with you completely on that one."
Later we spent a good 20 minutes in the Case Center having our cards reactivated, only to get back to the dorms and find that we were still locked out. Since we really only had time for lunch before going to catch our train ride home, we didn't bother with Case again and just had Campus Safety let us in. Again. They were totally thrilled to see us again [/sarcasm]. We attempted to pack, but realized that we were going home with way more stuff than we had come with.

Completely sleep deprived, starving, and delirious... my suitcase just would. not. close. I was really worried that I might break the zipper and end up carrying my clothes home on the Amtrak in giant trash bags. As I sat on the suitcase, slowly zipping inch-by-inch I invoked every deity and higher power that I could think of... "Please let me close my suitcase... please God... Goddess... Jesus... Buddha... Tara... Krishna... Kwan Yin... Spider Woman... St. Francis... Zita Christian..." (It worked, thank you!)

After finally packing up and eating a disgusting lunch, we dragged Dollface to the Case Center to watch Bearforce1 videos. Hope Player (HOPE PLAYAAAAAAAR!) accidentally got sucked into the bear fest too. My love for Yuri is strong. Then we sat at Saratoga station for an hour, because - shocker - the Amtrak was delayed, until we could head home... talking loudly and obnoxiously the whole time, annoying everyone around us.

We still have a big stack of business cards, etc. to go through... the longer we wait the harder it will be for us to remember which faces and stories go with which cards. So we'd love it all of the IWWG ladies reading this would get in touch with us - if you need blog/web advice, if you have comments about the blog, if you have recommendations of books for us to read/review, if you have corrections of any IWWG-member sites we've linked to incorrectly, if you have any suggestions for who we should tell to suck it next, or if you just want to say hi - we're happy to hear from you!

June 24, 2009

Governor Sanford...Hero?

That's what you might think if you turned on MSNBC right after his press conference this afternoon without knowing what the topic was. The anchor at the time was some random guy that I didn't recognize, and of course he had on a parade of pundits and analysts to dissect Sanford's statements. I had to start making notes because I couldn't really believe what I was hearing.

Here's a sampling. (For what it's worth, in the segment that I watched only one woman was asked to comment - all the rest of the talking was done by men.) Some of this is paraphrased cause I couldn't write fast enough while also yelling back at the TV.

~Over and over, people kept saying that Sanford deserved 'points for his candor' and 'credit for being honest'.

~There were multiple references to the moments when the governor got emotional, with one commentator describing Sanford as a "wounded man". An NBC News correspondent described the press conference as "a painful truth told by a tearful man".

~A few people remarked on Sanford's bravery in coming forward, with one person saying that "he showed a lot of courage today", and another commenting on how difficult it must have been for Sanford to look into the camera and face everyone and tell the truth.

~Someone floated the idea that by holding a press conference and admitting the truth, Sanford had "taken responsibility" for his actions.

~The cherry on top of this lovefest came from South Carolina State Senator Jake Knotts, who said of Sanford, "I admire him. It took a man to stand up there and admit that." [Much as I hate to give Fox News credit for anything, I was watching when Knotts tried this line during an appearance on Fox not too long after I first heard him say it on MSNBC, and Shepard Smith immediately came at him with a tough question about everything Sanford has done wrong in this situation, which is more than I can say for Random MSNBC Guy.]

Okay, refresh my memory. What was it that Governor Sanford did that was so courageous and responsible and honest and admirable? Oh yeah, he held a press conference to admit that the reason why he disappeared for a week, leaving his staff confused about his whereabouts and unable to contact him in case of emergency, and leaving his sons without a father on Father's Day, was that he had to fly to Argentina to hang out with the woman that he's been cheating on his wife with for a year. How laudable.

Maybe coming out and admitting the truth was a difficult thing for Sanford to do. Maybe his emotional moments during the press conference were genuine. But I don't feel bad for him. I do feel bad for his wife and kids, and you can definitely make a reasonable argument that these private family matters should be kept private. But in this case it was Sanford's misuse of the office of the Governor that forced his private family problems out into the public eye, and Republican notions about "family values" contribute to a culture in which these stories are considered "scandalous" and newsworthy.

I also don't think that he did anything admirable or brave today. I don't really get the idea that we're supposed to give him all kinds of credit for honesty, when he admitted that the affair has been going on for a year, and it's pretty clear that he only came clean because his totally mishandled "vacation" got so much attention and forced his hand. And I'm not going to give him a pat on the back for "taking responsibility" just because he held a press conference. (Resigning as chairman of the Republican Governors' Association was a step in the right direction on the responsibility front, though.)

To be clear, I'm not suggesting that he should resign (from his post at the RGA or as governor of South Carolina) because he had an affair. I do think that the fact that he had an affair makes him a hypocrite, because he opposes same-sex marriage (as a Congressman in the 90s he voted for the Defense of Marriage Act), civil unions, and gay adoptions, and because he was highly critical of Bill Clinton for lying about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, saying at the time that "the bottom line is that he lied under a different oath - the oath to his wife". [Insert cheesy joke here about how if all of the hypocritical politicians had to resign, there would be nobody left to run any government anywhere, ha ha.] If he did resign, it should be because of this:

By leaving the country without formally transferring power, critics said he neglected his gubernatorial authority and put the state at risk. It wasn’t clear how his staff could reach him in an emergency.

Again, I'm just having trouble figuring out which part of this I'm supposed to "admire". And as far as the "it takes a man" comment - I'll translate from Southern Republican white guy speak and assume that by "man" he means "mature and responsible person" - I'd say that it takes a man to be faithful to his partner and not carry out a secret affair with another woman and lie about it for months, and it takes a man to be faithful to the office that he holds and the commitment that he made to the people that he was elected to represent. It should take more than one tearful press conference to turn someone from a cheater and liar who showed horrible and irresponsible judgment into an honest, brave, admirable, shining example of a man.

Meghan McCain Thinks With Her Hair

This clip from Meghan McCain's appearance on Real Time With Bill Maher has been making its way around the blogosphere this week thanks to the exchange between McCain and Democratic strategist Paul Begala. Let's watch:

McCain: The Obama administration really has to stop completely blaming everything on its predecessor completely. And I really am sick of hearing 'oh well we were handed this, we were handed this'. I know! Everyone knows, but we need to move on.

Maher: You think that's what Obama is doing?

McCain: I do, to a degree.

Begala: Not to enough of a degree. I'm sorry. Not nearly enough. Ronald Reagan blamed Jimmy Carter every day for eight years. In the speech -- in the speech, what President Bush said one of the things he's had to adjust to.

McCain: I wasn't born yet, so I don't know.

Begala: I wasn't born during the French Revolution, but I know about it.

Maher: He's a mean man, Paul Begala.

McCain: You clearly know everything. So, and I'm just the blonde sitting here.

No, Meghan. You're just the person sitting there, and you're in the chair because you're supposed to have some idea of what you're talking about. You know, a compelling argument or two and some evidence to back it up.

Meghan McCain gets so mad (often rightfully so) at people like Laura Ingraham who criticize her appearance or dismiss her because of her age rather than engaging with her actual statements about the issues. But Paul Begala didn't call her fat or tell her that she was too young to remember things so she shouldn't talk about them. Just the opposite - he challenged her based solely on what she was saying. He countered her argument with his own. Was he a little sarcastic about it? Sure, but so was she.

In her response to Laura Ingraham, McCain said that she "expected substantive criticism from conservative pundits for [her] views", so she criticized Ingraham for making fun of her age and weight "instead of intellectually debating our ideological differences". And yet, in this situation, she was the one who chose to defend herself from Begala's criticism of her statements by cracking a joke about her age and then implying that she was being dismissed as just another dumb blonde when nothing of the kind was happening. Even if she totally didn't know what Begala was talking about, or just disagreed with him, she could have responded by saying something like 'well I'm sure you're more familiar with that time period than I am, but even if you're right, that doesn't mean that it's the best strategy for the Obama administration now'. Instead she decided to pull an Ingraham...on herself.

Either Meghan has internalized the common arguments against her so completely that she's now preemptively making them against herself, or she's being a hypocrite on this one.

June 23, 2009

The ESC Movie: Not Coming Soon!

We recently took a workshop on screenwriting.* Yeah, I know what you're thinking - what was the ESC doing taking a screenwriting class? Is there an ESC movie in the works? No. Definitely not. (At least not until the fantasy future). We actually didn't even realize the class would be strictly screenwriting 101 (the description was somewhat misleading) but we figured movies-books-blogs... the common thread is storytelling and knowing a little more about the subject couldn't hurt.

Or could it?

We realized about half-way through that this was not the place for us. The teacher was going on about how in every film, the main character must have a clear goal at the beginning, overcome obstacles throughout the film, and then finally achieve the goal at the end. No exceptions. (Now obviously there are exceptions, but for argument's sake let's assume that since none of us are Quentin Tarantino or Steven Spielberg, then her formula is best for your average first-time screenwriter).

She kept using the movie Juno as an example. Warning! Before you read any further: This blog entry contains spoilers about the movie, but if you haven't seen it by now then you deserve to have the ending spoiled because what the hell are you waiting for!?

Anyway, she claimed that Juno's goal throughout the movie was to find a loving family to care for her baby. Her explanation was somewhat problematic for us, so I asked if a character's goal could change as the character changes... because to me, that wasn't really Juno's original goal. At first, she was all ready to have an abortion and then after being talked out of it/scared away from it, she decided on adoption. Once she decided on adoption, then her goal was to find a loving family to adopt the baby.

Of course, the teacher wasn't having any of it. She said "well, we're not going to get into that" and when I persisted, she said that the loving family was always the goal and considering abortion was a just a minor obstacle on the way to achieving the goal. Woah. Obviously that pissed me off. (It's no surprise to any of our frequent readers that we're very pro-choice over here). Abortion wasn't an obstacle that Juno had to overcome in order to do the right thing. It was a valid option, just one that she decided not to choose.

Screenwriter Diablo Cody has made it very clear that Juno is not a "pro-life" movie:
“I think she makes a personal choice. I don't know what I would call it and I don't know if that would be my personal decision. But I think her journey is rich and valid.” [suicidegirls.com]

"I haven’t been addressed by any pro-lifers but apparently they’re pleased with the movie. I personally could care less about who enjoys the film and who does not. This is not a political movie so to me it’s just an interesting side effect..." [blog.allmovie.com]

"Anybody can embrace the film that wants to embrace the film, but I will say on the record that it's not pro-life propaganda and it's not a political movie."[comingsoon.net]

"I didn't want it to seem as if she left because she suddenly had some moral epiphany. It was more that she left for really human, teenage reasons. She's freaked out." [guardian.co.uk]
Maybe Juno isn't the best movie to use as an example for this formula, but we think if you had to make it fit... then Juno's goal isn't to find a loving family for her baby, but rather to resolve the issue of being a pregnant teenager. Juno is a pregnant teenager but she doesn't want to be a teenage mom. Period.

If you look at the film with that goal in mind, it makes more sense and is less offensive than the teacher's version. She considers abortion as a potential means of achieving that goal, but then her classmate's talk of fetuses having fingernails - and the generally creepy nature of abortion clinic waiting rooms - freaks her out. The obstacle is that abortion is not the right choice for her, so Juno considers adoption. Now perhaps the fact that she wants her baby adopted into a loving family can be considered a secondary goal or a stipulation of the original goal, but it's not the goal. Adoption is the solution, not the quest.

Mark and Vanessa's impending marital problems were yet another obstacle, which brings me to my next point.

After the teacher reiterated that Juno's goal was to find a loving family for her unborn baby and my question was not worth considering... she asked the class whether or not Juno achieved her goal in the end. Everyone in the class (or at least everyone familiar with the movie) was saying yes. Then she pissed us off again:
"Well... she got one."
It took us a second before we realized that she meant one parent (i.e., Vanessa). Of course, as a single mother that irked me a bit. I said, "well one parent is a family." She didn't disagree, but there's just something about the way she said it that kept it repeating in my head "she got one".

Why did she feel the need to imply that only one adoptive parent meant that the goal was only partly achieved? If she had said from the start that Juno's goal was to find two parents for the baby, it might make sense... but she didn't. She said family. There's no reason to specify that it's a one-parent family unless she was trying to imply that a one-parent family was somehow inadequate or undesirable.

Juno wanted someone to adopt the baby that would love it and care for it and Vanessa was the answer to that. Period. Mark and Vanessa as a couple would not have met the requirements (seeing as Mark was an immature d-bag) but Vanessa alone, did. Vanessa adopting Juno's baby was not a consolation prize; it was the best possible outcome for all involved.

*We purposely haven't given the name of the class or the teacher, because the truth is... we don't have anything against her on a personal level. As far as student/teacher relationships go, we definitely aren't a good match (e.g., we felt pressured to share more than once, which doesn't really work for us) but as a human being we're sure she's okay. We were just really uncomfortable with the direction the Juno discussion was going in. We're not going to try to claim that she is anti-choice or anti-single parenting. In fact, our guess is probably that she isn't. But we think people need to take responsibility for what they say, not just what they feel.

We can't pretend to know her true feelings on the issue, but what she said was problematic for us and it is what someone says that is going to be taken in and remembered. She might be a perfectly lovely person in her regular life, but in this class, she rubbed us the wrong way... and hard. So much so, that we actually got up and walked out halfway through the class. We have a "Screenwriting 101" textbook at home somewhere that will fill us in on what we missed... and it has never offended us. So stay tuned for the Evil Slutopia movie... not coming soon!

June 22, 2009

I was just joking...

So I was talking to someone about how awesome Carren Strock is and about her book Married Women Who Love Women. I mentioned how Jezebel and I had joked about promoting the book by reading it together on the train, my head on her shoulder, saying "Oh this is such a great book".

And then... this happened:

"You're lucky some black girl didn't kick your ass for reading that."

"Wow. It was just a joke, but way to turn it into both homophobia and racism."

"I was just joking too."

"Yeah, but your joke was homophobic and racist."

"Well you were the one who told me that black people are more homophobic than white people."

"Um, when exactly did I tell you that?"

"You told me about how that marriage bill in California passed because all the black people voted for it."

"You mean how racists blamed blacks for passing Prop 8, but it wasn't actually true? Great to know you were listening so well."

"Well... still there are a lot of homophobic people out there."

"Yeah, there are, and a lot of them are white. Also, you can be against homosexuality without feeling the need to beat gay people up. Unless of course you're suggesting that a black homophobe would be more likely to beat us up than a white homophobe because of the racist belief that black people are inherently more violent. You're not suggesting that are you?"

"No... I wasn't... I was just... Oh forget it."

I swear, sometimes it feels like I have to do this every day.

More Conservative Lies About Hate Crimes

Some conservatives are still campaigning against the hate crimes bill that recently passed the House and is now being considered by the Senate. And they're still using lies and scare tactics to do it. Take Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute, who recently responded to some comments that Attorney General Holder made regarding the connection between the need for this legislation and the recent murders of Dr. George Tiller, a soldier at an Army recruiting station in Arkansas, and a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum:
"The crimes that took place have absolutely nothing to do with the content of the hate crimes bill, which only really is focusing on the special treatment and special privileges of protection to be granted to people because of their homosexuality or transsexual status," [Dacus] contends.

Dacus adds that "the bill is not about providing equal treatment -- it's providing unequal treatment," which he believes is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution.

"The hate crimes bill accomplishes nothing except to intimidate and silence legitimate, peaceful opposition to the never-ending demands of the gay and transsexual activists," he concludes.
Actually, the hate crimes bill accomplishes nothing remotely close to anything in that statement. Being that it is a hate crimes bill, you would have to commit a crime to be affected by it, and generally "legitimate, peaceful opposition" doesn't qualify. The bill also refers specifically to violent crime - it's not about bias-motivated tax fraud or anti-gay jaywalking - and it specifically excludes any "exercise of constitutionally-protected free speech" so again, any type of genuinely "peaceful opposition" would not be impacted by this bill at all. And last time I checked, committing an act of violence against someone because you have issues with their sexual orientation or gender identity was not remotely legitimate or peaceful.

I do have to agree with him on one point though - those wacky LGBT activists are really out of control, always making their outrageous demands for things like equal rights.

You really have to wonder sometimes. If people like Brad Dacus are so completely sure that they're right about bills like this one, then why can't they ever put forth a counter-argument that's based on what the bill actually says rather than on deliberate misinterpretation and misrepresentation and just outright making shit up? It's pretty hard to have any respect at all for a "legitimate opposition" that is based on nothing but fear and lies.

June 21, 2009

Evil Stuff Clique

As we've mentioned a million times in the past week, we just got back from the IWWG summer conference. We're also headed to Chicago in a few weeks for the BlogHer conference. Whenever we're getting ready to go to on a trip like this, we always have at least one fantasyland discussion about all of the customized products and random stuff that we really really need to get to maximize our shameless promotion potential. Customized pens and pencils, Pokens, custom USB flash drives, mini business cards, oversized business cards, custom post-it notes, shot glasses, and of course our full ESC wardrobe. (Our "Evil Slutopia" and "Rush Limbaugh Can Suck It" shirts were big hits at the IWWG conference.) We'd have to hire an intern just to travel with us and carry all of the crap that we'd want to bring with us if we had unlimited money and time and resources.

Yeah, okay, so we have issues. Here in the real world, we probably don't need Pokens, since we've only ever met one person who owned one. And we're not a big corporation or a band or a music producer (although don't worry, ESC Records is totally in the Ten Year Plan) so the custom USB drives aren't really essential for us either. And we have tons of business cards already. And we have enough trouble packing as it is.

On the other hand, we're experts at justifying this stuff and enabling each other. Like, we've heard that Pokens are popular with the BlogHer crowd, and that's the next thing on our travel schedule! And the USB drives come in different fun colors and styles, so we could color coordinate! And with the mini cards we could recruit so many more members into the ESC. And the shot glasses are obviously an essential business expense.

It's a sickness. And it's no wonder that our Debbie is so big. So maybe for now we'll just stick to our own products and get started on some new stores, because telling deserving people to suck it and promoting evilslutism really falls more into the category of "public service" anyway. And if, for instance, one of our readers was to suggest a product idea to us (hint hint), well then we'd just have to.

...did we mention that we have issues?

Our Week at Skidmore

We were going to do one big recap blog of our experiences at the IWWG's "Remember the Magic" conference... but we realized there's just way too much to cover! We have books to read and review! We have tons of name-dropping to do. We have ridiculous stories to share (because we spread absurdity wherever we go). So here's part one of our week at Skidmore, focusing on the informative workshops we took this year and the amazing women who taught them.

Last year, while we thoroughly enjoyed and learned from every workshop we attended, we did decide on a Must-Have trifecta for this year... Hope Player. Carren Strock. Heather Cariou.

We'll start with the woman who has the best name in the world: Hope Player. Seriously, HOPE PLAYER. We couldn't even walk by her without shouting out "Hope Playaaaaa!" This year, Hope Player, a CPA, taught the workshop entitled "Coloring the Numbers: Your Book's Business Plan". It's not easy for the ESC to do anything at 9:00 am but starting the day with Hope Player was definitely worth it. And anyone who can put up with us at 9:00 am is clearly a saint. Hope Player (it's ESC law that you must say her full name every time) taught us a lot about our self-publishing options, tax tips for writers, and how to develop a marketing plan once your book is finished. We were also able to offer some tips of our own to some of the women in the class who are amazing writers but maybe not quite as web-savvy as us internet addicts.

Carren Strock, author of Married Women Who Love Women, might be one of our favorite people on the planet. Yeah, I said it. On the planet. Her workshop "The Smart Writer's Guide: What to Know Before, During and After Writing a Book" was incredibly useful (even though we also took it last year, because Carren keeps it fresh with new material each year based on her experiences) and Carren herself is just a lovely person to be around. Even when we were drunkenly babbling to her about BearForce1 one evening, she still wasn't scared off! We need to start a fan site for her... we can call it "Women Who Love Married Women Who Love Women".

Although Heather Cariou still led the troops from NYC to Saratoga Springs on the Amtrak this year, as she does every year (and believe us when we tell you that nothing starts an early morning off better than Heather shouting "Evil Slutopia!" in the middle of Penn Station) she didn't teach a workshop. Outrage! We've already started our campaign to get her back next summer. If you have any ideas for a good slogan, something like "Donna Martin Graduates!" let us know. We love Heather. Every time we see her we say, "Oh my god! It's the bestselling author of Sixtyfive Roses!" (It was funny, maybe, the first three times). The workshop that she taught last year that we loved so much was based on her experiences promoting Sixtyfive Roses, which we'll be reviewing soon, and was so packed full of helpful tips that many pens lost their lives during that hour from all of the furious scribbling. Basically, Heather Cariou is a force of nature.

Last year we only went for a weekend but obviously that just wasn't enough time! This year we did a 5-day week and did make the most of our five days at Skidmore.

We were pleased to finally take a class with Zita Christian - "The Key to Genre Fiction". Although we're not really fiction writers, per se, the techniques we learned in her workshop will definitely help us in our writing. And it was fun too! Of course, we missed the day that she covered writing sex scenes, so next year we will either have to stay the full week or convince her to have sex on Monday. (Um... wait, that's not right). She's one of those people that just has a really great energy that makes you want to be around her and take a class with her no matter what the topic is.

Anne Walradt made us laugh... and laugh again... and then laugh some more in "Secrets of the Ha-Ha Sisterhood: The Community of Women's Humor". We were inspired to write about one of our drunken stories in her class (coming soon?) and later did a live action reenactment in the dining hall. We also debated what's funnier: Rush Limbaugh Sucks or Rush Limbaugh Can Suck It. Anne is always on the lookout for funny words (you know, like knickers or kumquat), so feel free to leave suggestions in comments.

Sheila Levine, Esq., the adorable tiny lawyer who taught "Legal Pitfalls: How to Protect Yourself and Your Work in Print and Electronic Publishing" gave us so much valuable information - and led us to the realization that we have a lot to do to further protect ourselves. (The To-Do list keeps getting longer!!) I think we can safely say that nobody has ever asked Sheila whether they can be sued for telling someone to suck it before.

We attended another session of Susan Tiberghien's "The Mosaic of Creative Nonfiction: From Journals, to Essays, to Memoir", this time focusing on Op-Ed writing and travel writing. Of course, we have a lot to write about in the Op-Ed category. It definitely inspired us to get working on some opinion writing again. (Well, okay... almost all of our writing is opinion writing, but we're inspired to work on some actual Op-Ed pieces for the future). And who knows, maybe we'll even get a travel piece out of it too... especially considering all the traveling we've been doing this year!!

We sat in on one day of the workshop "Women and Hunger: Nurturing and Nourishing the Spirit" primarily because we wanted to spend an hour with the teacher, therapist Maxine Poupko (a.k.a. "Mahala"). She had such a calming, gentle, peaceful energy and that was really what we needed that morning. In "Memento Mori: The Divine Comedy of Love, Death and Writing," Diane Gallo led a discussion in which women went around a circle and shared stories that moved us in so many ways. In Rachel de Baere's "Letters, Language and Literature" workshop we each wrote letters to people with whom we had unfinished business. When we read aloud our salutation lines, the class did get a kick out of "Dear bitchy teacher from the last session". (More on that another time... maybe).

And although we didn't get to take her class (again, boooo!), we still feel compelled to mention Jan Phillips. Yeah, no specific reason really, except that we want to namedrop her. We both ended up getting sick (damn dining hall!) the last day that we had set aside to take Jan's class and are still feeling a little pissed about that. Next year we decided we just need to suck it up and take her class first before it slips away from us yet again!

Obviously, five days was still not enough. Next year we plan on staying the full 7-day week if money allows. (By the way, you can help send the ESC back to Skidmore next year by clicking here). We still have a lot more to write about regarding the trip, but in the meantime, we'd also love it if you were able to support any of the women mentioned here - they are all amazing people and talented like nobody's business.

Note: We didn't have web information for all of the women we discussed here. If anyone from the Guild - or anyone not from the Guild too - notices that we've left something out and has current/updated info please do let us know.

June 20, 2009

I Love the 80s... Toys

We interrupt this blog to bring you a flashback to the 1980s.

We recently had the pleasure to spend some time with Dollface of the Rotten Little Girls (a.k.a. "The Jr. ESC"). She's a full 10 years younger than I am (you can guess the math on that one if you like, but I'm not saying). It got me thinking a bit about age. I have many friends younger than me (and well, I also know plenty of children) and many friends 10, 20, 30 years older than me... and even higher. And of course, it's no secret that I've, ahem, dated men of various ages as well.

Now, in most cases age isn't even noticeable in a friendship. At the recent IWWG conference we were a little worried about how some of the older women would accept a blog called "Evil Slutopia"... but almost all of them loved it. There is a little something special about hearing an 80-year-old woman say "evil slut". At times though, an age difference between friends become more obvious - particularly when it comes to common memories. There are always going to be points where you just don't have the same frame of reference as a friend who is older or younger than you.

Not to sound like an episode of I Love the 80s, but I feel totally ancient when I mention any of the classic toys or retro cartoons that I loved as a child. I noticed this with Dollface, who wasn't even alive for most of the 80s and especially with my daughter and her friends, who think I am crazy when I go on one of my nostalgia kicks about the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or reminisce about Twister before it went electronic! (I mean, really, come on!)

I still know all the words to the Jem theme song and I'm pretty sure I have an old Jem doll somewhere in the basement, as well as a complete set of She-Ra action figures. I slept with my Glo-Worm every night. Sometimes the jingle from Lite+Brite sneaks its way into my brain when I least expect it. I still have nightmares about My Buddy (who looked disturbingly similar to Chucky from Child's Play, but for some reason was more terrifying to me than actual Chucky). I had over 30 Viewmaster "stories". I kicked ass on a Pogo Ball and with a Skip-It, but even back then I wondered how more kids didn't end up getting killed with toys like the Roller Racer. (Actual rollerblading, however, was the height of cool, as anyone who has seen the film Airborne can tell you.) I owned more than one hypercolor t-shirt. When I think of dolls, I think of Barbie and Cabbage Patch dolls... not Bratz. I remember when Polly Pocket really fit in your pocket. I tell my daughter stories that begin "When I was your age, we had to blow on the video games to make them work..."

Sorry, I have to go. I hear a beeping sound coming from one of my dresser drawers and I think it's the Tamagotchi that I've been trying to kill since 1996.

June 18, 2009

Back from Skidmore!

We're back from the IWWG conference! We have a lot to write about: the people we met, the books we will read, the things we learned and even the things we were able to teach.

We're still buzzing from all the energy and unpacking is going to take twice as long as packing. Sigh. But we'll be back soon with a recap, some book reviews, and lots of other cool info!

In the meantime, please enjoy the dancing bears.

June 17, 2009

Secret Life of the American Teenager

Okay, so while I was making fun of the One Million Moms for their protest against The Cougar, I mentioned their previous campaign against The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Even though their complaints are a little bit old news, it's still considered an active issue on the OMM site and The Secret Life's new season starts on June 22. So since we just love to make fun of them anyway, here's my take on it.

An increasingly popular TV show titled "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" combines anything and everything a mother tries to protect her children from viewing and rolls it into one soap opera for teens.

ABC Family is responsible for showing such racy content, when instead it should be adhering to its name by airing family-friendly content.

Mothers like us need to be aware of this popular sexualized TV show that won a 2008 Teen Choice Award. According to ABC Family, it's their # 1 original series of all time. The LA Times reports that the series is averaging 3.8 million viewers per episode.

"Secret Life" is brutally honest about teens and sex, so much so that it condones teenage sex, adultery and a host of other sins. The series airs Monday nights at 8:00 p.m. EDT on ABC Family (owned by Disney- ABC Television). This series includes:

* A teenage girl who becomes pregnant after a one night stand
* A "player" who takes advantage of multiple girls because of his sex addiction
* The school "tramp" who basks in her sexual encounters
* A boy who is molested by his father as a child
* Adulterous parents
* A shallow view of Christianity as portrayed through a "ditzy" blonde
* Favorable discussions of gay marriage and gay adoption

This is toxic poison to our children! Ask your children if they are watching this show, and consider making it "off limits" in your home.
The One Million Moms also linked to a review from the American Family Association Journal that further elaborated on all the reasons why the show is so bad for kiddies.

First of all, it's worth noting that the show has a TV-14 advisory. And it's also worth nothing that I realize I'm way too old to watch this show and my daughter is probably still too young to watch parts of it, but yet I still found myself sucked into a marathon a while back. (That usually happens when I can't reach the remote. Laziness!) I'm not particularly a fan of the show, although I find it oddly entertaining in an annoying sort of way (not unlike Seventh Heaven, which was created by the same person, Brenda Hampton). And not unlike Seventh Heaven, every episode of this show is full of "moral lessons".

Honestly, the The Secret Life of the American Teenager is so preachy it's almost an afterschool special. (In fact, a little google search found that someone else used almost that exact same phrase to describe it, so I know I'm not alone!) And yes, while they do touch on issues about teenage sex and pregnancy (duh), the storyline isn't even racy enough to be part of a Lifetime movie. In fact, every episode ends with a public service announcement from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy asking parents and teens to communicate with each other about sex.

The one thing the OMM is right about is that the show is relatively honest about teens and sex, at least in the respect that it acknowledges that some teens do have sex and that sex can come with certain consequences. I don't think that the show actually condones teen sex in any way. If anything, it does the opposite by only showing how much sex complicates people's lives. I don't know if I'd go so far as to say it's "brutally honest" because I don't think it's really an accurate portrayal of teenagers in general. There is not one single healthy sexual relationship portrayed on that show.

The lead character, Amy, became pregnant after having sex once. Despite all the concern about how the show would glamorize teen sex and teen pregnancy, it does anything but. The only message teens will get from Amy's situation is: "Have Sex=Get Pregnant=Ruin Life". Yeah, sign me up for that fun fest!!

Magically, there are only two other sexually active teen characters on the entire show and both are portrayed as completely screwed up. The aforementioned "player" and "tramp" (lovely) are Ricky and Adrian, respectively. Ricky's character is in foster care and therapy. His father's in jail after molesting and abusing him. His mother is a drug addict who lives on the streets. He's compulsively promiscuous, pursuing anything with a vagina, often resorting to lies and manipulation. Adrian is the"school slut". She has a totally absent father and a mostly-absent mother (she's always away because of her job or because she's fucking some guy, including Amy's married father). She uses sex as a substitute for love. She has an on-again-off-again casual relationship with Ricky but often resorts to manipulation to keep him/make him jealous.

World Premiere of Disney-Pixars Wall-E - Arrivals
The Cast of The Secret Life of the American Teenager
(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Content © 2009 Getty Images . All rights reserved.

Every other teenager on the show is magically pure and virginal (unless they're being tempted or manipulated by Ricky and Adrian of course). I mean, even the pregnant teenager only had sex once, mainly because evil Ricky seduced her. And of course, the idea that any of their classmates are having sex is totally scandalous! Now I'm sorry, but this is nothing like the high school experience that I had and that was... um... a while ago. If teenagers today are allegedly having more sex and having sex earlier than in the past, you wouldn't know it by watching this show. According to stayteen.org (which posts discussion prompts for teens and parents after each episode) about one in two teens is sexually active. But on the show, it's just Ricky and Adrian... and whomever they can bring over to the dark side for a few minutes. Not only are Ricky and Adrian to blame for everyone else's sexual mistakes... but their obsession with sex is also the cause of almost everyone's non-sexual problems too.

The most unrealistic characters on the show (for me) are the purest ones: the church-going promise ring-wearing popular cheerleader and Amy's boyfriend who tries to marry her and raise some other guy's baby with her at age 15. I mean, seriously... what characters are they writing for Season 2... a unicorn? A smurf? How about a visit from Snuffleupagus?

According to The Secret Life, sex is either the result of problems or the cause of problems... with no room in between. That includes the sex between adults as well, who are all hypocrites. Amy's father is cheating on her mother; Adrian's mother uses sex much in the same way that Adrian does (I guess the slutty apple doesn't fall far from the slutty tree). Now I know that when it comes to stuff like sex and teens, you have to walk a very dangerous line. You don't want to encourage teenage sex, but pretending that only people with "issues" have sex isn't the answer. If the only sexual relationships portrayed are dysfunctional ones, then what effect will that have on our children's views about sex when they are adults. When my daughter is older, I don't want her to be careless about sex, but I also don't want her to view sex as something bad or taboo or dirty.

Also, everyone in town is so against abortion that they can barely even say the word. When Amy considers "doing that" or "taking care of it" her friends are so outraged and horrified that they everyone follows her down to the clinic to prevent her from making such a grave mistake. How the clinic has survived without being bombed by now is a mystery. If these were my high school peers, they would have been like "OMG, of course you have to get an abortion! You're in high school!" (For the record, I'm not promoting abortion, nor do I think The Secret Life should... I just think it's a little unrealistic that almost everyone Amy encounters - except slutty Adrian of course - happens to be anti-choice, but it's ABC-Family so I guess I'll let that one slide).

Much like my feelings about the anti-Cougar campaign, I agree that The Secret Life isn't necessarily the best thing on television, but I definitely think the One Million Moms are against it for the wrong reasons. They don't like the show because they think it's promoting or glamorizing teen sex and teen pregnancy. I disagree. I think the show is very realistic about the problems associated with teen pregnancy, but I don't like the way it paints sex in such a negative light. It's not that I necessarily have a problem with unrealistic preachy shows like this, but it definitely irks me when groups like the OMM criticize it for being "brutally realistic" about sex when it's anything but.

Overall, it again comes down to the fact that parents shouldn't let the TV raise their kids. Instead of just banning The Secret Life from your home, use it as an jumping off point to talk to your kids about sex. If you don't talk openly and honestly about sex with your children, then it won't be just the TV's fault if they make bad decisions.

June 16, 2009

Rock of Ages

I'm generally a fan of New York Magazine, a big fan. But right now I'm a little mad at them. So mad in fact, that I'm thinking of writing a letter over an issue that has really offended and saddened me... their lack of respect for strippers and 80s hair bands. It really makes me think "WWHD?" (What would Heather do?)
Dear New York Mag,

What the hell do you have against Rock of Ages? I don't understand.

I know it's not Shakespeare, but it doesn't pretend to be. It's just a fun, silly, guilty pleasure. The cast is amazingly talented and the music ROCKS my nostalgic socks off! It was nominated for five Tony-awards, an Astaire award (for the sexy ensemble dancers) and cast-member Wesley Taylor won a Theater World Award. I've yet to meet anyone who saw the show and disliked it... and that's people of all ages.

So I'm sick of reading all these snide little comments. Stop being such theater snobs. Maybe the 80s wasn't a fun time period for you or maybe you had a really bad experience listening to Poison or something, but you need to get over it already.


Seriously, I don't understand why NYmag keeps ragging on Rock of Ages. First they gave them an unfavorable review:
Rock of Ages is in on its own joke, which ruins all the fun.
Heavy metal is so intrinsically theatrical that it makes sense to build a musical comedy around it. But can you parody a form that's already a parody of itself? Rock of Ages is a mangled singing, dancing extravaganza set to the hair metal of Whitesnake, Journey, and Bon Jovi, among others. (Def Leppard, proving their members are gentlemen of taste, wouldn't grant the rights to their music.) An aspiring rock star and an actress hopeful (played by Constantine Maroulis, of American Idol fame, and Amy Spanger) pursue their dreams, and love, in late-eighties Los Angeles. By night, they work in a Sunset Strip rock club that an uptight European developer (Paul Schoeffler) hopes to demolish and replace. There's also an emcee (Mitchell Jarvis), who narrates the action like a Greek chorus made up of one desperate Jack Black imitator.

Rock of Ages, which was written by Chris D'Arienzo and directed by Kristin Hanggi, and which played Off Broadway last year, is too full of self-conscious winks, nudges, and wine-cooler jokes to be much fun. There's energy onstage, all right, but it's unfocused and muddled. The dancers—the show's choreography is by Kelly Devine—wriggle about in epaulette-shouldered leather jackets and neon animal-print Spandex, trying to conjure the big-haired ghosts of a lost era. They only end up looking cheap and desperate. This is no way to get your rocks off.

I really disagree with them. (And so does the New York Times. And Time Out New York. And Spin. And The Village Voice. And NY1. And TheaterMania.com. And even the generally stuffy New Yorker!) But I respect New York mag's right to have their opinion.

You'd think that would be enough for them. But no... Then they went on to put them in the "Despicable" side of the approval matrix:
The Tonys snub Carla Gugino and Mercedes Ruehl, yet nominate Rock of Ages for Best Musical.
And then again, they dissed them in a review for another show:
At Rock of Ages, a show that imprisons you for two hours between a woofer and a tweeter, the cacophony for the first time seemed intentional: a way of obscuring the cheesy story and driving the sale of drinks. The producers would do well to sell earplugs too—but earplugs are no longer enough.
Enough already! We get it! You don't like the show! You don't like 80s music, you don't like incredibly hot ladies in spandex, you don't like wine coolers jokes (seriously, there's like one wine coolers joke, get over it already). You don't have to like it, but you gave the review... now just shut the hell up already. Because so far everyone else I've heard from LOVED it. Not just liked it, but loved it. The cast is amazing (I've never been a fan of American Idol, but Constantine is good).

The cast of Rock of Ages
(Photo credit: Joan Marcus

The dancing is amazing, the music is amazing... plus, they totally rocked out at the Tony awards with Bret Michaels and Poison.. which you gotta give them credit for. (PS: For those of you who caught the show, don't worry, Bret's okay).

63rd Annual Tony Awards  - Show
Rock of Ages cast at the 2009 Tony Awards
(Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
© 2009 Getty Images . All rights reserved

And okay, full disclosure compels me to admit that I do know a member of the cast... but it really is a great show. Trust me. And trust almost every theater reviewer in New York (except for New York Magazine's Stephanie Zacharek, boo!) And as if that all wasn't enough reason to love them, check out their hilarious backstage web series.

Still not convinced?

Yeah, that's right. New York Magazine can suck it.