Legally Blind

18Aug09

So, here’s the scenario.  You’re driving along, perhaps singing to the radio, or intently listening to the last couple of minutes of the game, or maybe just running through a mental list of things to do for the day, and your right foot gets a little heavy.  It is at this time that you notice the police car parked on the side of the road.  Instinctively you hit the brakes and dart your eyes to the speedometer.  “Shit.”  Your eyes shift to the rear-view mirror. “Don’t pull out.  Don’t pull out”.  The squad car pulls out from the side of the road and takes its place behind you.  You hold your breath – the rollers illuminate.  Immediately, your mind starts racing, desperately scanning through possible excuses.  “Sorry Officer I’m sick…have to use the bathroom…late for work…usually very careful…wasn’t speeding…had a fight with my boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/boss/friend/parents…”  Or perhaps you yourself are employed in law enforcement, government, etc., so you reach for your ID, hoping that it can do its magic one more time.  Or maybe you cry, unbutton your blouse an extra button, put on your most innocent face…

Now, why would we possibly go through all of these tactics? We broke the law, and we know it.  Time to suck it up and take what we get.  Why do we do it? – Because sometimes it works.  But, wait…This is the law, blind lady justice, non-negotiable, right?  I mean if you’re caught breaking into bank, you’re not going to be able to talk your way out of it, so why is this any different?  But it is different, and worse than that, it’s accepted.  We all know that you can talk your way out of a ticket.  We know that the law is not absolute or consistent, and we don’t care.  We have accepted that for this facet of the law, your reception of a court summons is based in part on the demeanor of the police officer who caught you and in part on the quality of your bullshit story.

The good news is that if you’re a fan of consistency, you can take solace in the fact that there is no justice on either side of the equation.  After being pulled over for allegedly doing 40 in a 25, I went to court to defend myself – a seemingly simple task in a system where the accused is innocent until proven guilty.  The police officer went first, explaining the details of my crime, providing no evidence but providing several egregious errors.  When it was my turn, I corrected said errors and stated my case logically and thoroughly, supporting my arguments with objective evidence of both legal fact and laws of physics.  During my explanation, when I presented my maps and illustrations, the bailiff and arresting officer scoffed and the presiding judge took, but never actually looked at, the evidence provided to him.  When I had concluded, the judge indicated that my arguments were less than persuasive, without pointing to anything in particular and relying on nothing that would prove guilt other than the flawed testimony by the officer, but indicated that he would waive any points and simply assess a reduced fine – a sort of not-guilty-but-still-guilty verdict.  Sadly, my experience was not the largest travesty of justice that I was privy to, as I was forced to witness similar guilty verdicts for drivers whose arresting officers “didn’t have a radar gun, but could tell that they were speeding” and while not “actually facing the traffic signal when the driver went through the intersection, when [he] turned around, the light was already red, so it must have been red when the driver went through.”

Part of the problem is that people don’t consider a traffic ticket to be a big deal.  Oh, well, in order for me to fight the ticket, I have to take the morning off of work and that will cost me more than the ticket, besides it’s only $100 or so, what’s the big deal.  Are you kidding me?  Forget the money, this shouldn’t be synonymous with finding out that you got charged for two boxes of crackers when they were advertised as buy-one-get-one.  This is the law, part of our legal system and one of three branches of government – an essential check and balance.  Try putting this in terms of a “more serious crime”.  Would anyone stand for a murder trial where the judge simply took the cop’s word over the defendant’s as sufficient evidence to find a guilty verdict or, on the other side, charges were dropped because the arresting officer was sick and couldn’t show up for court.  The verdict in the O.J. trial is still debated at water coolers today, in spite of the fact that a jury listened to hours of evidence, arguments, and deliberation and decided that the accused was innocent, and yet we shrug off the fact that a judge agreed that you ran that red light just because the cop said so.

So, while I will admit that whenever I see a new sign posted on my commuting route indicating photo-enforcement – I groan.  But honestly, as much I hate the fact that I can no longer try my luck at doing 10 mph over the posted limit, I am only victimizing the cameras because they are fair, consistent, blind, and impartial.  And, let’s face it, I’ve never heard of an egotistical camera that gives you a ticket because it is having a bad day, doesn’t like your attitude, or needs to fill a quota.


Let me start by prefacing this post by saying that, in my opinion, women tend identify more with the emotional and men tend to identify more with the physical.  If one wants proof of this, they only need to ask a couple in a committed relationship for their honest opinion as to what constitutes an ideal way to spend an evening with their significant other.  This is not to say that there are not emotionally-minded men, or physically-minded women; Nor is it to say that both sexes don’t have both physical and emotional needs; Nor is this to villanize either perspective.  It is just that from my experience, females tend to relate more to an emotional connection with their significant other while men tend to relate physically.  Anyway, operating under this assumption…

The other day…well, who am I kidding…about six months ago (ok, sue me, I’m not really good at keeping up with this blog thing), I was watching Cheaters on G4.  It’s a little bit of a guilty pleasure of mine, although, I must admit that when both parties are equally “guilty” and equality unapologetic, it is much more entertaining than having to suffer through the gut-wrenching experience of watching someone’s heart break.  The episode that I was watching on this particular night followed a familiar story line.  Girl thinks guy is cheating and hires investigators.  Investigators follow guy and obtain evidence for presentation to d-bag host.   D-bag host confirms that guy is cheating to girl and gives girl opportunity to confront guy.  Girl takes opportunity to confront guy and catches guy in act with other girl.  Fight/drama ensues. 

This episode, however, provided more to me than usual.

After the girl had sufficiently berated her “no good cheatin’ ass” of a boyfriend and proceeded to call him every insult know to modern society, she immediately ran to her son who was sleeping in the room next door.  The focus of the show then turned to the fake concern of the host as he let loose his plethora of clichés regarding “other fish in the sea” and “conflict making her grow stronger.”  My focus, however, turned to the interaction between the girl and her son.

Her son couldn’t have been much more than one-year old.  There was an air of desperation when she first grabbed him from the warmth and security of his blanket-filled crib, but now, as the host rambled on in self-satisfaction, her eyes lost focus and stared blankly past the camera and she held her son close with a motherly tenderness, repeatedly kissing him on his bald head as the salty remnants of tears dried on her cheeks.  And ever so slowly, but ever so surely, her rapid breathing and choked whimpers began to subside as she regained her composure – ever clutching to her offspring.  It was at that time that I had the following revelation:

When a guy and a girl enter a monogamous relationship, they are both agreeing (or accepting) that any physical connection and/or physical reinforcement that they seek is limited to their partner.  When a guy and a girl enter a monogamous relationship, they are both agreeing (or accepting) that they can still seek an additional emotional connection and/or emotional reinforcement via, inter alia, children.

When considering the initial assumption, presented above, that women tend identify more with the emotional and men tend to identify more with the physical, it should be apparent that this agreement heavily favors the woman.  Plainly stated, when a male feels unsatisfied; when he feels like he is not having his physical needs met (his governing emotion) there is no alternative means.  When a woman feels unsatisfied; when she feels like she is not having her emotional needs met (her governing emotion) there is always the option of turning to children.  In fact, not only is the woman permitted to add another individual to her committed relationship to have her emotional needs met, she is lauded for it.  Congratulations abound, parties are held – hell, the greeting card store has an entire section devoted to it.  And, furthermore, the emotional reinforcement that she receives is unlike anything that she can get elsewhere and, more significantly, unlike anything that her partner can provide.  When a newborn enters her life, it is more than a typical emotional connection.  The love between a child and his/her mother is a deep, unconditional love unlike any other.  So where does this leave the man?  Does anyone think that a man would be congratulated for going outside of his marriage to sleep with some nubile 19-year old to fulfill an unmet physical need?  Somehow, I don’t remember seeing a “Congratulations on convincing your wife to let you bang the neighbor” card the last time I was in the Hallmark store.  We all know that the man would be ostracized for committing such an act.  And let’s not kid ourselves about what fuels the actions in question.  A woman’s biological clock is nothing more than an urge that her body desires to be fulfilled.  I think we all know that men have similar urges, but a man giving into such urges receives responses that are less than desired.

And it is such a recognition that hit me when I watched this woman on Cheaters.  When I witnessed her run to her son for comfort, I was struck by how animalistic is was…so basic and instinctual.  She didn’t run to him to ensure his safety.  She ran to him to ensure her safety.  She had just taken a serious emotional hit.  She needed to feel loved.  She had a need and she had found someone else to fill the need.  In my opinion, the same could be said for her “no good cheatin’ ass” boyfriend in the next room.


Overall, I’m a fan of capitalism.  This is not to say that I don’t have problems with aspects of it, but it’s hard to argue with capitalism’s ability to fuel innovation.  Similarly, I also generally subscribe to the capitalistic idea of removing unnecessary restrictions on businesses to aid in cultivating economic growth (e.g. deregulation), but I also recognize that, due to the associated risks, it is important to include measures of oversight to maintain the delicate balance between economic freedom and responsibility.

Deregulation has been taking a beating as of late, and rightfully so.  However, it’s important to note that with deregulation, and many other similar capitalistic concepts, its successes are not always discernable while its failures are readily apparent.  For example, if the removal of costly reporting requirements encourages financial gain in small businesses or a deregulated market provides for a successful and efficient merger and, consequently, the market increases, deregulation is seldom showered with praise.  However, when a company bottoms-out after being exposed for cooking the books or a financial institution files for bankruptcy due to irresponsible lending, deregulation is immediately raked over the coals.

For the most part, any situation that can be regulated has corresponding advantages and drawbacks to such regulation.  Phil Gramm’s deregulatory circumventing of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, has been generally accepted as the main contributing factor to the Enron fiasco.  Score one for regulation.  However, in response to the Enron scandal, and its sister Tyco, Adelphia and WorldCom scandals, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act was put in place to increase the financial reporting requirements of public companies.  And while there hasn’t been such a large-scale corruption scandal since its inception, one can’t say for certain, that a scandal isn’t brewing beneath the surface.  What can be said for certain is that immediately after the Sarbanes-Oxley Act going into effect, the number of small and foreign firms deregistering from the U.S. stock exchange increased dramatically due to the additional cost required to comply with the act.  Score one for deregulation.

It is also important to note, that in order for deregulation to be successful, it has to be implemented in a manner that keeps itself in check.  Basically, the system must be set up such that businesses have the right to take advantage of loose requirements in order to acquire large gains, while at the same time being held in check by recognition of large risk.  The system does not work when businesses are allowed to run free without any risk.

A week ago, Henry Paulsen stated that the Federal Government’s refusal to bailout Lehman Brothers, was due to a threat of moral hazard – the basic concept that if shielded from any risk, a company is more likely to be reckless.   In my opinion, this was a fair decision due to this understandably large problem associated with government bailouts.  Obviously, if executives know that their company will be safeguarded, via a government bailout, from any serious repercussions due to failed financial undertakings, the idea of chasing after lofty, high-risk ventures becomes reasonable.  This is why deregulation and bailouts need to be kept separate.  Deregulation provides the opportunity of high gains, while the risk of financial ruin keeps the pursuit of such high gains in check.

However, while the risk of moral hazard as been discussed in the past few days, we’re now faced with the proposal of a potential $700 billion bailout that will require raising the national debt ceiling, further dragging down the dollar, but that will not require any specific oversight or define any restrictions on executive compensation.  Add this on top of the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the rescue of AIG, and we’re sending a dangerous message.  Where does it end?  Does anyone really think that the government would even hesitate in instituting another bailout if Bank of America were to fall on hard times?  There’s no way that the government would allow an institution that big and that important to fail.

Currently, it does seem clear that, in light of the news of companies beginning to go under due to their inability to acquire necessary loans, some type of financial assistance is needed, but it had better come with serious stipulations and specific oversight measures as opposed to its current “blank check” form.  Otherwise, we need to have faith that, after being bailed out, our respectable financial institutions will, of their own accord, resist the lure of wealth and greed-laden impulses to pursue high gain/risk ventures, and instead make secure, responsible decisions…call me a skeptic…


Ahh…spite.

06Aug08

I love spite.  I try not to subscribe to it myself, but from a third-party perspective, I find it amusing that someone would take the time and effort to carry out malicious acts that are misguided and/or which provide little or nothing to gain.

 

Enter the PUMAs – and I don’t mean Puma concolor, member of the Felidae family.  I mean “Party Unity My Ass”.  (I know that the official committee name is “People United Means Action”, but who are we kidding?)

 

Now, the PUMAs themselves will argue that their movement is not an act of spite, but rather political protest against a flawed democratic process that was unfair to their preferred candidate.  Fair enough.  I like political activism.  But organizing a movement, that is in opposition to the presumptive Democratic nominee who has viewpoints almost completely in line with your preferred candidate and who was elected by the party’s voters in accordance with the current Democratic guidelines, in order to help the other party’s candidate who seemingly does not represent your best interests, while your preferred candidate herself is publicly stating that such a movement is against her wishes?…Sounds like spite to me.

 

With its members’ opinions ranging from Pro-Hillary to Anti-Obama to Anti-DNC , PUMA doesn’t seem to have a clear mission statement, however, it appears that the general opinion is that the 2008 Democratic Primary was a sham due to 1) misogyny and sexism in the media, 2) an unfair ruling by the Rules and Bylaws Committee on seating Florida and Michigan delegates 3)and unfair treatment by the party leadership which influenced the outcome of the election.

 

Really?

 

With respect to sexism in the media, admittedly, I do remember instances where the political analysts, in moments of ground-breaking journalism, were discussing Hillary’s need to soften her image and “fem it up a little.”  In fact, after one of the debates, I believe Wolf Blitzer and Carol Costello were talking about Hillary’s bright pink jacket.  Ok, so gender was an issue…but is this unexpected?  Hillary was the first legitimate female presidential candidate.  Of course people are going to make a big deal about her being a woman.  The fact that reporters were commenting on Hillary’s outfits doesn’t seem to me to be an indication of sexism in the media, but rather an indication that the media has generally abandoned journalism for the pursuit of headlines (i.e. pants suits, lapel pins, etc.).  Additionally, you can’t honestly tell me that the media’s constant onslaught of stories regarding race and/or religion with respect to Obama didn’t outweigh the gender discussions.  Besides, if this is an issue of sexism, it’s a problem with the media and not the DNC.  Are the PUMA members angry that the Democratic Party leaders didn’t speak out against the suggested sexism in the media?  Because, I don’t believe that the party’s involvement would have had helped.  If Howard Dean would have addressed the apparent sexism in the media and asked all of the reporters and analysis to please steer clear of discussing gender, it would have had the exact opposite effect.  Gender would have been all that the media discussed for weeks.

 

With respect to seating the Florida and Michigan delegates, there’s no real need to go into too much detail as it has already been discussed at length.  I will note, however, that in my opinion the RBC should have decided not to seat any of the Florida or Michigan delegates, which would have adhered to the initial decision back in December.  Unfortunately, they didn’t which does give weight to Harold Ickes argument that by allocating delegates to Obama the committe has decided to remove four delegates won by Hillary.  So, if the PUMA argument is that the allocation decided upon by the RBC is unfair and, instead, the Florida and Michigan delegates should not be seated, I can get on board.  However, taking any other action is equally unfair and that definitely includes counting the Florida and Michigan delegates based the election results, when there was no campaigning in Florida and only Clinton, Dodd, Gravel, Kucinich, undecided, and write-in were on the ballot in Michigan.  I honestly cannot understand how anyone can believe that ignoring an initial decision that was made with the consent of the Democratic candidates to not seat the delegates from Michigan and subsequently giving Hillary her delegates without allocating any delegates to Obama is even remotely fair — even with the compelling arguments of Harriet Christian.

 

The third complaint that Obama was elected due to improper influence by the party leadership and not according to the voters’ wishes also seems to be without merit.  If PUMA has a problem with the current system, so be it.  Don’t like caucuses?  That’s fine, but that doesn’t mean that Obama wasn’t democratically elected because it doesn’t discount the fact that more individuals voted for Obama then for Clinton under the system as it stands.   A decision by the party leaders to ignore the caucus results when it favors one candidate over the other?  That would be an undemocratic election by the party leadership.

 

In my opinion, what it really comes down to is that Hillary supporters feel that she was forced out of the race early because the leadership started calling for her dropping-out before the convention.  Again, I will admit that there was a lot of talk that Hillary should get out of the race, but again, most of this was a result of the media outlets making it a headline.  Additionally, she was never “forced” out and, if you listened closely, there were a lot of individuals that were supportive of her continuing her campaign.  The main reason that party leaders, especially Pelosi and Dean, wanted the campaign to end before the convention was because they believed that a drawn-out primary would tear the Democratic Party apart.  Hillary’s supporters’ response to such a claim?…That would never happen, there will be plenty of time to heal the party!  And what happened as a result of a drawn-out primary season?  An organization called PUMA.  Yes, that seems right.  We’ll show the party leaders that they were wrong in thinking that a prolonged race would divide the party by forming an organization called “Party Unity My Ass”.

 

The other cry is that the DNC is too shortsighted to see that Hillary is the better candidate to beat John McCain.  My problem with this argument is that on November 4th, the PUMAs seemingly have three options consistent with their goal:  vote for McCain, don’t vote, or write in Hillary’s name.  If McCain wins, because of a large enough number of PUMAs don’t vote for Obama, it doesn’t prove that the DNC was too shortsighted to realize that Obama can’t beat McCain.  Instead, it just shows that PUMAs have created a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Obama doesn’t have enough votes to beat McCain.  Want proof?  On voting day, just to make our point, a couple of million of us will not vote for Obama and you’ll see.  It’s synonymous to a proponent of gun control stating that guns are dangerous and then in order to prove his point he embarks on a shooting spree.

 

All of this aside, wouldn’t it be interesting if this PUMA operation succeeds?  It’s no secret that many of the PUMAs consider themselves to be feminists and, accordingly, feel very strongly about women’s reproductive rights and yet they ignore the warnings from fellow feminists like Katha Pollitt and Nancy Keenan who have publicly stated that electing McCain may be the end of Roe vs. Wade.  McCain himself said that “[i]t will fall to the next president to nominate hundreds of qualified men and women to the federal courts, and the choices we make will reach far into the future”.  So, wouldn’t it be interesting if in the name of feminism, the PUMAs lead to overturning what many feminists consider to be a landmark case in defending the rights of women?  ‘Cause if there’s one thing that I love more than spite, it’s spite that backfires.


With California’s recent legalization of gay marriage, and the potential of other states to recognize a California marriage in their own state, the “debate” about gay marriage’s legality has resurfaced.

I use the term “debate” very loosely since a debate has the connotation of being an intelligent discussion between those of opposing viewpoints.  With the “debate” about gay marriage, I tend to hear one side presenting a viewpoint that the constitution guarantees individuals basic rights and equality, while the other side presents “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” with an occasional spattering of “It will lead to someone marrying their dog”.

Now don’t misunderstand me.  Personally, I’m a fan of religion and I’m not here to have a religious debate.  If one chooses to maintain a religious standpoint that homosexuality is wrong, that is well within his/her rights.  In fact, who am I to tell them that they are wrong?

Additionally, while I would prefer that arguments against gay marriage be presented in a manner that does not break down either when presented to someone who doesn’t share the same religious beliefs, or that does share the same beliefs but also believes in a separation of church and state, my point is not to analyze whether or not morality should be used as a justification against gay marriage, but rather to discuss how flexible the majority of the population is when it comes to their take on morality, except when it comes to gay marriage.

When attacking the idea of gay marriage, the majority of its opponents turn to the Bible.  Again, I am not here to debate the Bible, but rather to look at it objectively.  There are several passages of the Bible that reference homosexuality, the main passages being in the books of Leviticus, 1 Corinthians, and Romans 1.  As a side note, these passages are only found after a thorough reading while, without any type of research, most can quote at least “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, “He who is without sin may cast the first stone”, “But for the grace of God, there go I”, “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me”, “Judge not, lest ye be judged”… but I digress.

Now both Leviticus and Romans 1 are fairly straight forward with passages calling homosexual behavior “detestable”, “indecent”, an “abomination” and a “perversion”.  1 Corinthians, as well, states that “neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.”  So it is apparent that with respect to the Bible, homosexuality is not allowed under any…wait…what’s that?  No revilers?  No swindlers?  No fornicators or drunkards?!?!  All listed in the same verse as homosexuals?  That doesn’t sound good.  Where’s the country’s sense of moral outrage when it comes these other indiscretions?  Or are we only outraged at homosexuality because, for the majority of the population, the issue doesn’t affect them personally, while the other activities sound like an enjoyable Friday night.

While we’re at it, in 1968 the Catholic Church, via Pope Paul VI, issued the Humanae Vitae stating that contraception, in any form including the “early withdrawal” method, is morally wrong.  I’m assuming that if a law banning the production, sale, and use of contraceptives was placed on a ballot along with a gay marriage ban, the average Catholic would exuberantly vote “yes” for both bans to fulfill his/her moral duty?

Additionally, I don’t believe that you can find a major religion that hasn’t taken a negative stance on the sex industry, so we can throw in a provision banning strip clubs, adult toys, and pornography.  No?  Then maybe we’re not as concerned with keeping a moral standard as we thought.

What is it then?  For the overwhelming majority of us, we don’t have homosexual urges.  Add in the fact that, outside the current generation, our upbringing was without exposure to a gay community and referring to someone as “gay” was an accepted insult, and it can be expected that homosexuality is unfamiliar and makes us feel uncomfortable.  Therefore, rather than coming to terms with the fact that we have an archaic perspective to overcome, we simply go into hiding behind religion.

But, doesn’t religion deserve better than that?  Better than being distorted to provide selective justification for hate, discrimination, and intolerance.  Besides, if you can honestly say that the reason that you want to deny a fellow human being the happiness of marrying someone that they love is because it’s what Jesus would want you to do, then you’ve completely missed a fundamental concept.

 So, come on.  Repeat after me: “The whole gay thing makes me feel uncomfortable.”  Now everyone hiding behind religion can come out and do the right thing.  “Olly Olly Oxen Free!”


First a disclaimer:

I’m all for personal freedom…I’m for female empowerment…I’m familiar with the double standard when it comes to women and sexuality…I recognize that many individuals find themselves in difficult situations that are not their fault…yada yada yada.

That being said, I have noticed a trend.  As we all know, due to situations both financial and anatomic, a handful of women decide to become exotic dancers as some point in their lives.  (Note: This discussion also applies to other “adult” job opportunities, but for simplicity I’ll just focus on stripping)  For most of this select few, it is only a small window of time, encompassing their late teens and early twenties, where one can make a reasonable amount of money quickly and, after which time, leave it behind them and continue on life’s journey.  However, sometimes these girls’ erotic pasts come back to haunt them later in life, perhaps when they become gainfully employed or decide to run for public office.  At which time, a fair amount of these girls scream foul.  The complaint is that they were young and naïve or needed the money to pay for college (the so-called Chris Rock stripper myth).  And that’s fine.  From a purely social standpoint, I tend to agree with their complaint and, except for a few select situations, I would concur that it is indeed unfortunate that society victimizes them as I am not one to impose some type of holier-than-thou sense of morality.  However, for the sake of argument, I would like to point out that when taking a purely economic position, one can’t expect me to be sympathetic when society comes back to bite said individual for her choices.

For example, when one looks at the service being provided and the corresponding cost, it has to be recognized that there are greater factors at work.  The whole reason that particular patrons pay $1 for a 30 second visual showcase and/or fork over $20 to have someone rub her body on him for 3 minutes and 41 seconds while Ted Nugent’s “Cat Scratch Fever” blasts in his ear is due to the fact that society doesn’t approve.  This results in a relatively small number of women willing to perform the act and, consequently, forces the patron to pay the market rate.

Now I know that this isn’t flawless math due to the reality that a girl cannot be working every minute, but making $1/minute on stage and $20/5 minutes in a back room comes to $60/hr and $240/hr, respectively.  And while I recognize that the job doesn’t provide an 8 hour work day, and it’s unreasonable to think that one can work 40 hours a week… let’s face it, anyway you slice it, it destroys minimum wage.

So, how does fundamental economics come into play?  Let’s turn to the Supply-Demand curve:

ste1.jpg

As we can clearly see, the price of the services being provided corresponds to the quantity of the service available, based on the given supply and demand.  For the purposes of our argument, we’ll assume that the number of bachelor parties, “guys’ nights out”, and couples trying to spice up their relationship stays constant giving us the same demand curve. 

Now let’s look at what happens given a situation where society completely embraces stripping and the strip clubs are flooded with applications.  We’ll call this theoretical situation…Amsterdam.

ste2.jpg

All of the additional applications shift the supply curve to provide a higher quantity of available girls.  As such, the price that can be reasonably asked drops accordingly.

Now let’s look at what happens given a situation where society completely eradicates stripping due to it being the work of the devil.  We’ll call this theoretical situation…Republican Utopia.

ste3.jpg

The drop in the number of girls willing to provide the desired service shifts the supply curve to a lower quantity of available girls.  Consequently, the going rate increases as they are now at a premium.

As can be seen, it is society’s approval, or lack thereof, that ultimately controls the amount of money that can be made.  Theoretically, if society completely embraced the adult community, the price of stripping would reach a minimum and if, during such time, a huge amount of girls found stripping to be more enjoyable than working in fast food, working the drive-thru could actually pay better than working at the club.

Therefore, since it is society’s disapproval that made it worth-while for a girl to work in the strip club in the first place, I find it a little hypocritical to complain at future times in life when she becomes a victim of society’s disapproval.  Or at very least, in my opinion, it would be fair for a girl to…ahh…never mind.

 


Musical Purist

12Feb08

So, I’m at the bar the other night and some guy sitting to my right turns to me and my friend and asks if we’d be interested in going to some type of metal-fest.  The question is pretty random as the guy doesn’t know us from Adam and he has no idea of our musical tastes.  While my friend isn’t particularly into the metal genre, I would fairly consider myself to be a metal fan.  So, recognizing in light of the inebriated state of my new acquaintance that he most likely isn’t as much looking for a concert companion as he is looking to strike up a conversation about music, I take the bait.

He immediately steers the conversation away from the concert and proceeds to list a plurality of bands that he likes, trying to subtly impress me with his apparent understanding of the genre and connection to the music underground.  When it was my turn, I commenced by indicating that my musical taste is quite varied as I appreciate many different genres and, in the same vein, I like a wide-variety of metal bands ranging from the old-school to the new-school and from hardcore to melodic.  I then enumerated my top tier of bands, some of which overlapped his list.  He smiled every time that I mentioned a slightly obscure “underground” band, nodded in approval when my list concluded, and then remarked that we should definitely check out this metal-fest.  He also mentioned that we could go to the bar when there was a band performing that we didn’t want to see…say Slipknot.  The following exchange went something like this:

Me:  “What’s wrong with Slipknot?”

Him:  “You don’t like Slipknot, do you?” (With disgust)

Me:  “Yeah. ”

Him:  “What’s wrong with you?  How can you like Slipknot?”

Me:  “What’s wrong with them?”

Him:  “They’re too mhyee-mhyee.” (This was said while pretending to hold a microphone and contorting his face)

Me:  “I’m sorry.  I don’t know what that means.  Are you saying that they sing too much?”

Him:  “No, they just suck.”

Me:  “Poignant in its brevity.  Care to elaborate?”

Him:  “Well for one thing, they’re not metal.”

Me:  “In your opinion, what constitutes metal?”

Him: (silence)

It was at this point that I decided that confronting his statements head-on was getting me nowhere.  Instead, I tried to draw-out an explanation through mutual understanding.  I continued…

Me:  “Don’t get me wrong, I understand that they’re a different type of band than Sepultura, Pantera, Napalm Dea—“

Him:  “I can’t believe you like Slipknot.”

Me:  “Yes, we’ve already been over this.  I can appreciate that if you don’t like their sound then you naturally wouldn’t like the band, but you haven’t indicated what it is that you don’t like.  Additionally, I’m trying to figure out why you can’t understand why anyone would like them.  You seem to think that they suck and aren’t metal just because they don’t sound exactly like other bands that you like.  Look, we both agreed that The Dillinger Escape Plan and Pantera are great bands and yet they sound very different from each other and neither of them are anything like Black Sabbath, and just about everyone accepts Sabbath as metal.  And I guarantee you that I can find a lot Sabbath fans that wouldn’t like Dillinger or even call them metal.  In fact, I saw an interview with Ozzy where he was talking about how he doesn’t even understand what is considered to be metal anymore since the bands that are on Ozzfest are so different from what he knows.  So, you see there’s an accepta—“

Him:  “I can’t believe you like Slipknot.”

Me:  (sigh)

Apparently, he could respect my taste in music during the first part of our conversation, but when it came to this particular group, he was inconsolable.  Seemingly at an impass, our conversation ended and we parted ways.  A couple of minutes later, Metallica came on the jukebox and I heard him remark, from across the room to everyone in general, and no one in particular, with the same voice of disgust, “Who put on Metallica?”.

This self-proclaimed musical purist is only one of many.  To find more examples, simply go to Amazon.com, and look up just about any CD review and you’ll find them.  “This group isn’t metal, it’s crappy nu-metal”…“You call this rock?  It’s clearly emo”… “He’s not rap, he’s ’top 40’.”  I’ve even stumbled across a “review” that was more of a 1,000-word dissertation on how the Sex Pistols are the only band that can be considered to be punk and everyone else is an insult to even be mentioned in the genre.  Hardcore, mathcore, screamcore, grindcore, rapcore, glam, gothmetal, symphmetal, nu-metal, darkwave, thrash, emo, screamo, poprock, powerpop, symphpop, horrorpunk, skatepunk…While these subgenres are helpful to those seeking bands with similar sounds, it now seems that half of these subgenres are being used by music elitists to set a band apart, while the other half are being used to brand a band as being completely unacceptable.  A common example:  Don’t like a band?  Doesn’t matter what they sound like, simply call them “emo” and talk about kids with dyed-black bangs and black lipstick.  Give me a break.

Is this what music criticism has been reduced to?  No longer analyzing music on its merits and responding with intelligent opinions about performance technicality and overall effect but instead disregarding everything as tainting some ideal purist genre?  If so, count me out.

And I have news for all of you “musical purists” who think that you are the pinnacle of musical aptitude.  There are many other purists out there that have been fans longer, “understand” the genre better, and are better connected to the underground…and they think that your taste in music sucks.