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Judd Apatow is a Pimp! Our Young Men are the Prostitutes…

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Dear Judd Apatow:

You are an ASSHOLE.

But don’t despair, there’s hope.

Apatow and leslie mann

Apatow and wife Leslie Mann…

I know you think you’ve done amazing things with your Hollywood writing, producing and directing career. And if you were 14 years old, I’d agree wholeheartedly. But you just gotta know, Hollywood box office bucks don’t equal quality. OK?

To be fair, you were the driving force behind a TV show years back called Freaks and Geeks that was truly inspired. Your sensitive take on awkward teenagers coping in a COOL and cruel high school world was heartrendingly beautiful. But you’ve plunged to the depths of depravity in recent years making movies such as Knocked Up, and This is 40, that glorify and promote male infantilism, shallowness and immaturity.

And it’s the misogynism of your characters that really bugs me.

I don’t like it when men put down and/or objectify women as you have your ManBoys Seth Rogen, Jason Segel and Jonah Hill do in much of your stuff. To be fair, I don’t enjoy it either when the tables are turned and women gorge on the weakened entrails of us men.

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The world is full of assholes…YES, EVEN I AM AN ASSHOLE…at least to some (badly misinformed!) people or at least some of the time. (Please don’t overload the comment section of this blog post with agreeing statements on this point, OK?) I guess you could say that about most of us.

To soothe your fractured ego, I should tell you that you’re not alone. Following is a shortlist of those on my current Asshole list:

  • Lance Armstrong
  • John Mayer
  • Madonna
  • Billy Bob Thornton
  • Tiger Woods
  • Chris Brown
  • Charlie Sheen
  • The Lumineers
  • Stephen Harper
  • Kanye West
  • Donald Trump

For all I know, you are a really nice guy Judd, which raises the question:

Do we, should we, separate the abilities and talents from the person him/herself?

I don’t have a good answer here. Using Lance Armstrong as one example, I greatly appreciate the athleticism and drive that he brought to his cycling career. Watching him pedal his way up the stunningly steep slope of Alp d’Huez on his bike was a wonder to behold. With or without the aid of drugs, I believe he is an extraordinary athlete who just happens to be an ass in many ways. Maybe I could say the same about you Judd if I only knew you better.

Today’s cinematic world is full of great inspirational and aspirational moviemakers eg. Steven Spielberg, Nora Ephron(late), Ang Lee, Martin Scorsese, Kathryn Bigelow, Woody Allen, Jane Campion. These people, through their artistic genius and skill, can have us sit in the dark and laugh, cry, and think, often within the same scene. I celebrate their amazing prowess. Judd, you have it too. I can see it slyly peeking out and seeping around corners in some of your movies. It’s a waste of talent, shedding its tears in a dark secluded alleyway.

Our young men are watching your cinematic product and living the life that you project as appealing and good. Only you, Judd Apatow, are benefitting…you see, you’re making a bunch of “prostitutes” out of men and collecting millions of bucks on the sidelines and laughing your head off at all the ManBoys you’re helping to create.

Sure, we shouldn’t just shoot you as the messenger. We all have the ability to make choices. But just like prostitutes who are forced into doing things they don’t want to because they have limited choices, your writing and filming takes full advantage of the weaknesses and frailties of young men. Our young fellas are struggling with a world that has changed dramatically in a short time span and is pulling the rug out from under their feet. They need help moving forward, not in slipping back into the anal recesses of their own wretched flatulence.

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Even Shakespeare plumbed the depths of childlike humour, so at least you have some divine company. “O Romeo, that she were, O that she were an open-arse and thou a popp’rin’pear.” –Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene I.  Shakespeare generally reached down with subtlety, nuance, and craft. Try following his lead, you could find a worse mentor out there.

I don’t normally rant on about things like this. And please let me finish by repeating myself. I think you have some great talents that have been hinted at at times in films like The 40 year Old Virgin and Bridesmaids. You have the neurons and synapses in abundant supply to do great stuff.  There’s a dumptruck load of money in your back account now, so don’t settle for the low bar. More truckloads of films making manure-into-money won’t make your smile any bigger at this point.

You’ve passed 40 now. It’s time to grow up. Don’t confuse inanity with good-natured and harmless boyishness. There is some wisdom and humour in you that can be unleashed in fine fashion.

Make the second half of your career funny, but uplifting and aspirational. Find your internal wise wit. I hold hope in my heart that your best time is coming.

Take off that Pimp’s fedora and fur coat and pull yourself up from the fetid gutters. The finishing cut of real man’s clothes will fit you better than you realize.

Cheering you on from the Cinema Sidelines,

Man on the Fringe

Steve Martin to Judd

Apparently I’m not the only one who writes to you Judd!

Do You Really Need the Ten Commandments?

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I am the Anti-Christ!

Many Americans think that Barack Obama has already filled the job, but it’s a big world so I think there’s room for a few of us out here.

Barack-Obama-The-Antichrist

Lionel, a jet-black man from Guyana said to me,

How can you be a good person and not a Christian?”

He looked at me as forthright and innocently as anyone has ever done.

Home for me at the time (1982) was a small basement suite in a little house in the bucolic, fruit-growing countryside of Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. Lionel, the ebony-skinned Guyanan, lived next door with his wife and 6 kids in a tiny wooden rental house that was more like a poor southern bayou shack than a true house. They were poor but happy people, and their little kids were the absolute cutest things going.

Lionel and I would get together a couple of times a week and lift weights and chat in the basement laundry room beside our suite. He and his burgeoning family had moved to Canada so that he could study theology at Acadia University in Wolfville. He wanted to be a man of Christ and God. He wanted to share his beliefs and his love of Christ. He wanted me to be like him.

I was the antithesis of his belief that to be a good person, one had to believe in Christ. He’d been taught this all of his life, and though he knew he should dislike or reject me, he couldn’t dig up a reason to hate or at least pity me. It was frustrating for the poor guy. I needed (and need) lots of help, just not the kind that Lionel was offering. I liked Lionel a lot.

To Lionel, you couldn’t NOT believe in a God and still live a moral life. A moral person must read and follow the scriptures laid out in the Book of Exodus.

Charleton Heston knew it too in the movie. A moral person needed: mosesheston

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

  1.  You shall have no other gods before me.
  2. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God…
  3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work,  but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. 

Commandment numbers 1 through 4 are really just protection for the benefit of the Creator and don’t hold a lot of sway in the life of the average person. But any business or operation out there needs some rules to protect their property, and God is no exception. God, in today’s multicultural and technological world, is a brand like Coca-Cola or McDonalds and we don’t want anyone mucking up that value. Competition from outside could sully or detract from the brand, and so some rules are necessary to keep the religion lawyers in litigation heaven. These rules all make sense when you consider the outside forces that would attempt to corrupt or steal the product. Just like Steve Jobs protecting the iPhone specs, “I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God” doesn’t want or need someone stealing His flock.

         5. Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

If the land the Lord has given you happens to be your parents’ home, then I think that today’s generation of young MAN-BOYS have taken this commandment to heart. The modern concept of “Failure to Launch” is buried within this commandment. Large numbers of 20’s to 30’s males, hands clenched to their joysticks, are camped on the basement sofas of their parents, some drawn in by the siren call of computer and TV screens, others too paralyzed by the nervous fear of real world responsibilities. I don’t think this is the land the Lord intended to give young folk to live long in, but how could He have anticipated the rise of X-Box and internet porn 2,000 years ago?
       

         6. You shall not murder.

This is a great commandment. From early childhood, it’s pretty clear that most of us have an innate desire to bludgeon and kill our friends and neighbours, right? This command is probably the only thing that has held us back from wanton bloodbaths. Alright, you know this isn’t true. The really neat thing about having a brain is that it helps us realize that if we choose to go about killing others, there is a very clear and present danger that we are going to come under the same threat ourselves VERY VERY soon. Humans may not have a long list of instinctive characteristics, but I’m pretty sure that self-preservation is at the mountain peak of the list. The expression Live and Let Live is as good a commandment as the one provided in Exodus. It’s called a Basic Truth.

         7. You shall not commit adultery.

Our intimate relationships are enormously complex and varied. A commitment between two adults of whatever gender involves a great deal of trust and emotion. The core structure of our society rests on a bed of family stability that works best in the presence of a pair of parents. Screwing around with another hottie could be great fun and pleasureful, but knocks a leg out of the tribal chair that we sit upon. This one can cause a lot of bruising. “Look but don’t touch” might do the job here except it kinda messes with commandment #10.

        8. You shall not steal.

This is really just a copycat version of the You shall not murder commandment. It comes down to the Golden Rule, doesn’t it? Every religious and philosophical organization out there believes in the concept, “Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You”. Civilized groups know logically that a society that indulges in theft can’t move forward and think about anything other than guarding their refrigerators and Big-Screen TV’s. When I go to work in the morning, do I want the nagging thought to be, “I hope that chicken leg is still waiting for me when I get home”? Reminder to Self: Pay for the next Justin Bieber download!

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        9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour.

Simply put, “DON’T LIE”. This commandment needs a touch of interpretation, in my view. Many lies are hurtful or injurious to those we love, and just as often to those we have no use for. Our court systems are jammed to the rafters dealing with this commandment. When I tell the National Enquirer that I had amazing hot sex with Britney Spears (this may or may not be a lie!) and they spread the good news to the world at large, Britney has a right to be pissed off with me. Apparently her latest boyfriend or husband thought he was her one-and-only. He gets mad and sues her for millions of bucks for hurt feelings and loss of reputation. MY LIE…MY BAD!

But, when Britney asks me if I think her ass looks good in those jeans, I’m going to be the first (and for sure not the last) to break this commandment. Break this commandment judiciously or DIE young, I’m afraid! God didn’t think the consequences through fully here or hasn’t had ANY lasting relationships.

I absolutely love your new hairstyle Britney...

I absolutely love your new hairstyle Britney…

       10. You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.

Most of us are pretty susceptible to this covetness stuff, and all the advertisers know it. Billions of bucks are spent every year on Super Bowl and World Cup advertising to play into our weaknesses on wanting what our neighbour has. Is the Apple iPhone so much better than all of its competitors (well, probably yes) that we’re willing to pay a big ransom…OR….could it just be that maybe we want to be cool like Candace or John at work? I’m not sure about wanting someone else’s ox or donkey, I can make a big enough Ass of myself without taking someone else’s.

10 Commandments

The Ten Commandments are not a bad basic set of rules to govern human existence. It could probably use some updating and bits of revision, but all in all, not too shabby.

My old friend Lionel was a good man with a heart of gold and a list of commandments to keep him on the straight and narrow. But do we really need a list of rights and wrongs from on high? The list IS valuable, but these are values we humans could figure out, accept, and follow for ourselves. Still, even when we know the good from the bad, we get our fingers caught in the cookie jar over and over again.

We’re human.

We try our best.

Sometimes we succeed, sometimes we fail.

Even if Moses came down from Mount Sinai to give ME the hows and whys of being a good person, I like to think I could figure it out all by myself!

SHAMELESS Like Me… YEAH, I’m a Bad’ish Ass!

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I hate him but I love him.

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If I could start out in life all over again, I’d be a real BAD ASS, like Frank Gallagher.

Arguably the most aptly named show on TV, it is profane and crazy and lusty, and even a bit far-fetched. BUT it’s great fun, so not MY life.

Frank Gallagher is the most lovable, hateful boozer out there (despite being the possessor of 3 testicles!)  He’s shameless, and so are all of his kids in their own uniquely dysfunctional ways.

Canadian actor William H. Macy plays the role of the alcoholic father of 6 children in the TV show called SHAMELESS (based on a British show by the same title). He would sell his soul and anyone else’s besides if he could get a freebie support cheque from the government to support his drinking ways.

WILLIAM_H_MACY SHAMELESS

Like the Shakespearean Fool–and despite all of his unforgivably, incredibly bad behaviour– he often utters the least fool-like and most intelligently profound statements. He has cachet and charisma.

Frank Gallagher is the perfect old-man bad boy. He pays none of the bills. Totally narcissistic, he lures his youngest daughter and sundry other women at various times to do his bidding, with a charm that is both loathsome, yet irresistible. There’s nothing physically appealing about him yet he attracts female attention like elder bees to autumn honey.

I’m even attracted to him and I’m a Straight Guy!!

Bad Ass Boys

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The world is full of bad boys that a substantial cadre of women are drawn to, like moths to a flame. This bad boy attraction strikes girls at a young age. By the time they wake up to their folly, they fall exhausted –alone– into bed at night, the adjoining bedroom containing 2 wee moppets who struggle at school and eat poorly because Mommy can’t afford to feed and clothe and supervise and educate them while simultaneously working a dead-end job at just above minimum wage…sans BAD ASS BOY or his bankroll!

It’s been described as “ovulation goggles”, the period leading up to a woman’s period where she’s most attracted to the bad boy who bizarrely…paradoxically… looks like the great father type. Women love a man who appears confident…and for Bad Ass Boys it really is just an “appearance“. Women are attracted to men who take risks and who take the initiative to meet them. They say they want the solid, caring, sensitive type of guy but what women say and what they actually do are generally miles apart.

BAD ASS BOY harbours only a smatter of important dreams in his little head…a great car, a beer in his hand and a great piece of ass in his bed at night…probably in that order of appearance and importance.

BAD_BOY

So let’s look first at some of the traits of the typical Bad Boy and see what we can learn from him.

The typical Bad Boy:

  • is cocky, arrogant
  • always puts himself first
  • is inattentive to a woman’s needs
  • does what he wants when he wants to do it, regardless of what anyone else thinks
  • acts like a loose cannon
  • struts his masculine sexuality
  • treats women badly
  • often uses women for sex

The lure of excitement and cocky self-confidence draws women into their “Bad Ass” moats like a desiccated wanderer in the desert lacking water for days.  Akin to Lady Chatterley’s lover Oliver Mellorswomen feel the draw of the stereotypically aloof, sarcastic but masculine woodsman whom Lady Chatterley falls for.

How do these relationships usually turn out? In a word, poorly. That’s because bad boys won’t change unless they want to—no matter how long-suffering their partner might be.

Further, despite initial attraction, most women get tired of bailing a man out of jail, wondering if he’ll make it home from a party, or catching him with another woman. Women who sign on with bad boys enlist for endless conflict and turmoil. Ironically, the very thing that draws good girls and bad boys together also sows the seeds of the relationship failure. Many women have learned the hard way that bad boys make bad dating partners–and even worse spouses.

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What woman wouldn’t want a piece of these BAD BOYS! Bad Ass though…who knows?

Women are all to blame, right? Yes, and NO!

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Typically, we blame women for falling under the spell of these magicians. But maybe we should look at this from a different side. Men can be a part of the solution too.

The world needs good men. Good women need good men too! But good men need to change. There are too many good women who end up in dead-end lives because they’re fooled and taken in by the tricksters…the BAD ASS BOYS. Fear of failure keeps many nice guys home alone while faux-confidence keeps the bad boys busy.

Nice guys need to learn to be a bit more shameless…confident and cocky and adventurous and risk-taking, while simultaneously retaining their sensitive and caring side…we talk about a perfect woman possessing beauty, intelligence and charm. Men need to be the perfect 10 of humorous, adventurous and compassionate.

Good guys need to wear the disguise of the BAD ASS. Become a BAD’ish ASS Too!

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Three Things to Bring out the Bad’ish Ass in a Man:

  1. A good humour can be cultivated by anyone, good or bad. Just as math and spelling can be learned, a sense of humour isn’t necessarily an inborn trait. Guys, learn how to tell a killer story and women will love you for it. Try to learn a funny line or two,  absorb the funny things that happen in life. The everyday stuff gives every Jerry Seinfeld out there plenty of material…it just needs to be observed and absorbed. Women LOVE a funny dude. A bit of attention to humour will bring life and love into a man’s life. Nothing Bad Ass about this, but it still looks edgy.
  2. A life well-lived means taking a bit of risk. This doesn’t have to be a jump off a cliff with a hang-glider, although, why not? Cultivate some additional interests that push the edge even a bit. Rock-climb…learn to sail…mountain bike on trails…play the drums. Women want to see someone who LIVES life because it makes them feel alive just being with you. Bring some passion into your life, and others will feel passion for you.
  3. Ditch the gut. Even a bit of regular exercise outside the bedroom will pay off here. We know that women are far less beautiful-body absorbed (in their men anyways), but showing that you care about your own body and health will show her that you might care about her too! BAD ASS BOYS always look decent in a pair of jeans!

I’m trying to be a bit more SHAMELESS! I’m as lucky as a guy can get in my life, but running a bit closer to the edge adds some zing to life. Just writing this blog makes me way more aware of the silly things that happen in everyday life.  And the next time I get the opportunity to parasail, I’m there!

So girls…save yourself a lot of agony and despair, and search a bit deeper for the caring, sensitive, good, BAD’ish ASS BOYS. They exist. Relationships can be exhilarating and edgy, and still be filled with compassion, commitment, and equality.

And guys…being BAD’ish ASS can be cultivated while still retaining the passion and gentlemanly qualities that make a dude a MAN.

Let’s all put Frank Gallagher out of business and keep him as a fictional guy on the tube where he belongs!

Grow A Pair- Can You Man Up?

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“A man is at his youngest when he thinks he is a man, not yet realizing that his actions must show it.” 
―Mary Renault

MAN-BOYS!

NO, these aren’t my testicles I’m talking about here. But hey, maybe that will make a riveting blog at a later time!

Man-boys are usually 20- or 30-something male-types whose world stopped revolving and evolving at the dawn of their pubescent years.  If evolution is supposed to improve and strengthen our species, then I have to believe that some genes have gone rogue (just like Sarah Palin) and left a hole in the world where manhood once existed. Manhood, according the Online Free Dictionary  is a “composite of qualities, such as courage, determination, and vigour, often thought to be appropriate to a man”. I would add that accepting responsibility for the health and well-being of others is also part of manhood.

English: Sarah Palin speaking at a rally in El...

Another sign of rogue genes!

I won’t put on my rose-coloured glasses and pretend that historically, men have always been strong, resourceful, hard-working, supportive, etc etc. There are examples aplenty of men who abused and neglected their wives and children, and refused to take out the trash when a Tyrannosaurus stood outside the door; but since the information age has taken hold I see a sub-section of our male society that has made slothfulness and indolence an art form of magnificent dimensions.With the existence of Nintendos and X-Boxes and Game of Thrones and World of Warcraft, a new generation of young men are bravely going off to …COUCH WARFARE!

This cabal of young men who have never lived in an era where real war consumes the affairs of our country, are losing sight of responsibility and personal motivation beyond reaching a new high score in the latest version of the latest computer game.

“BEST day ever… I reached a new level!”

The 20th century in North America was marked by huge manhood-altering events such as 2 world wars and a major economic depression. Keeping a family fed and under a warm roof meant a lot of sacrifices and hard work for both men and women.

But then in the latter part of the century, we grew much more civilized and learned to live together better in most parts of the world. Junk food chains were built as huge empires and all was going along swimmingly. We also discovered ways to maintain a decent economy that never crashed to a devastating effect. Humankind improved its lot in so many ways such as medical care, education of all citizens, and food production that living grew easier and easier day-by-day for the majority.

BOOM … a generation of new baby boomer parents came along who wanted – or at least allowed – their progeny to keep the couches of the country warm. Further, to keep them entertained and happy – and perhaps out of the way –  they were provided with big-screen TV’s, music stereos of various formats…and computers… and gaming consoles… and smartphones.

The girl children took all of these marvellous technological gifts and threw them all away except for the smartphones, which they’ve welded to their bodies so that there can never be a separation from friends day or night.

The boy children kept it all and use it all simultaneously with manning a key position on the basement or living room sofa where they can also have easy access to the Pizza Pops and hot dogs provided conveniently nearby by their parents. From their central position, the young boys are growing into Man-Boys with healthy growths of unshaven facial hair and backwards baseball caps.

Occasionally these Man-Boys are seduced out into the world to interact with the fairer sex and some even manage to charm their way onto the couches of the young beauties that so desperately want a man to love and nurture. A new existence blooms!

From the fresh vantage point of their lovely partner’s living room, they now survey a kingdom where they are the alpha-male BUT NOT the bread winner and definitely not a bring-home-the-bacon guy. It’s the young lady who comes home in the evening from her job that supports them. She does the grocery shopping. She does the cooking. She does the cleaning. And when the Man-Boy’s personal joystick helps to produce some new progeny, she also becomes the child-minder.

This is the romance I dreamed about? …

What about Man-Boy Boredom? Well…good news here because there are always new iterations and versions of computer games so the Man-Boys never grow bored of sitting and playing their video games, and they never feel the need or desire to contribute to a home and family in a meaningful way.

And perhaps most sadly, the girls who want love and stability in their lives aren’t strong enough to make a change to this situation. Responsibility and fairness between the genders is an illusion in the households of our nation. Women, wake up and stop enabling your MAN-BOYS!  And MAN-BOYS …grow a pair and man up!