Sunday, January 20, 2013

Distaste Previewed

     As I do as awards season annually approaches, I enter obsessive-I-must-see-every-nominated-movie mode.  I absolutely cannot bear to watch the Golden Globes, PCAs, or (heaven forbid), the Oscars, as a not-completely-informed citizen. Awards season, like the December holiday time, is a special moment of the year, and I feel it is my duty to, as a consumer contributing to these shows' ratings, be able to make informed guesses as to the projected outcomes of each win.
    Since the majority of my usual day-to-day life, even weekend-inclusive, is consumed by necessary duties such as that minor task otherwise known as my career, never-ending personal errands, and then the occasional social commitment, the notion of going to sit in a movie theater for 3 hours at a stretch typically does not enter my realm. During awards season, however, I try as best I can to overcome this and prioritize the task of movie viewership in my life.
     This year, as in years passed, I have paid visit to the movie theater three times within the past three weeks, the last time being for "Zero Dark Thirty". The movie, in my regard, was extremely well done, the acting top-notch and the storyline founded on a well-chosen piece of history essential for all to see. Since Zero Dark Thirty is not, in actuality, the subject matter here, I wish to move on.
     It is my expectation that when I, as a paying citizen, make the choice to see a movie, the previews for said movie will be apropos (or at least somehow relatable) to the feature I have chosen. For illustrative purposes I will be overt for a moment -- should I choose to see a drama such as, namely, Zero Dark Thirty, I would expect its respective previews to be for upcoming dramatic films. Should I make the choice to view a comedy, I expect the preview selection to be within the comedic genre as well. As of late, I have found this not to be the case at all but in fact, quite the opposite.
     Let me date back to my most recent experience of Zero Dark Thirty. Well before taking my (quite comfortable) seat in the theater that day, I was well aware of the subject matter of the film. Historical non-fictional of my favorites. So when the lights finally dimmed to commence the previews, I was actually quite looking forward to what I expected to see. I mentally prepped myself to assess which of the upcoming three-minute drama clips intrigued me enough to internally decide I would see it upon release. Not only did none of the previewed clips meet that expectation...none of them bore even the slightest relevance to the feature title.
    While in drama-anticipatory mode, I sat idly by watching Melissa McCarthy disgrace the screen consecutively for two different upcoming films. These respective movie titles may very well have been the same, although they were indeed different, since her projected character was absolutely identical in both. Please excuse my judgement in the following statement but there she was again, the same annoying broad we saw in Bridesmaids: the "it-doesn't-matter-that-you're-fat-because-you're-supposed-to-be-funny" girl next door. Since this is indeed my own blog, I feel somehow allowed to say that I despise Melissa slash Molly. I find her to be a disgrace to both the small and big screens and that she is no more than another much-less-amusing overweight Roseanne.  (Insert fact here that Roseanne can do no wrong in my opinion and I do quite enjoy and respect her acting unlike Melissa).  I try to be open-minded, try to find good qualities in all, however I struggle to find anything resembling redeeming in Melissa McCarthy. Her characters both annoy and disgust me, I find no humor in her fart jokes, and I simply cannot abide the fact that she is even famous at all.
    Having gotten that rant under way, if Melissa/Molly must exist in the prestigious land known as Hollywood, her presence on the screen should be limited to those "I-am-not-intelligent-enough-to-understand-this-is-not-real-humor" genre movie previews. Make no mistake I personally would never, not today and not ever, pay good money to see her in action and I do not wish to see her tacky self on screen when I make the intelligent decision to see a valuable movie such as Zero Dark Thirty.  If I wished to view tasteless toilet humor, I would, but being that I do not, please, Hollywood Press, spare me from this disgusting nonsense. The world is tasteless enough without being forced to further witness it on the big screen, so I bet of you, film industry, grant me the privilege of forming my own qualitative cinematic priorities.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Lance At A (Pretty Unflattering) Glance

     Oprah Winfrey took on Lance Armstrong in all his supposed candor in a two part Interview last night and the night prior. There is no question that if any reporter was going to get him to open up about his (now old news) "most scandalously pulled off" doping scheme it was Miss Winfrey. Unnecessary to state but nonetheless relevant in this context, she is the reigning queen of posing the most penetrating, personal, difficult questions in a manner that seemingly makes those on the chair across from her unafraid to answer. So after hearing via every possible news outlet that she would be doing the long awaited broadcast, my hopes were high. What exactly I hoped for from the interview I'm not 100% certain I can accurately capture in words, however it was certainly not what I saw over the past two nights.
     Having never been a real Lance fan nor hater one way or the other, I was neither hoping for yet another public humiliation nor a "new Lance" to come forth. And, as it turns out,  neither of these scenarios took place. What I, perhaps presumptuously, assumed would occur would have been the public getting to see, feel and believe a real human sense of remorse from a man who lied to himself, his family, the sports industry and the public for years. While at times during the 2.5 hours it seemed like he was going to convey true apologetic remorse, these times were few and far between. During the majority of the chair to chair confession of sorts, I got the unmistakable sense that at the core of the situation, yes Lance was sorry...sorry he got caught. 
    Not surprisingly, Miss Winfrey's questions spanned a broad range of topics warranting diverse genres of answers. She commenced the interview with the series or yes or no questions to which the the public has wanted to hear truthful answers from Lance directly since 2005 when his doping controversy first reared its head courtesy of his former teammate. He answered this painstaking series of "Did you ever use illegal banned substances while competing in the Tour de France? Have you ever had blood transfusions leading up to a race?" with honest yeses to each and every incriminating question. But although this would have been a dramatic confession, the answers were already known and I therefore grant him no credit for his "honesty" in that vein. Perhaps had he voluntarily come out with the truth and done this interview four years ago, I would grant him a few ounces more of credit but no. Not now. From the yes/no questions, Oprah proceeded the inquisition, posing questions ranging from the process of injecting EPO, its secret disposal, the repertoire of scheduling doping sessions so as to not fail drug tests all the way to the other emotional end of the spectrum: his emotions towards the public outage and how he has broached the issue with his five young children. Watching Lance discuss the process of doping, it almost seemed to me at times that in a way, he missed it. Missed the whole competitive process of gearing up, training, "putting air in his tires" otherwise known to the public as using banned drugs, and self-proclaimed by him as the most important thing in the world, winning.  I sensed a tangible longing in his eyes and tone of voice when speaking of his Tours de wherever and my sense was substantiated when Lance candidly answered that yes, he would like to compete again and that he lived for the sport of cycling. 
     I would be a heartless person if I sat here saying there weren't moments when I believed Armstrong's sorrowful emotions, for instance when speaking about his son. He spoke of an experience in which his thirteen year old son naively defended his father to his undoubtedly cruel teenage peers, asserting that his father was innocent and did nothing wrong. I don't believe Lance's trembling lip and much too long pauses before answering were fabricated -- upon seeing the effect his irresponsible careless actions had on his children, he was presumably visibly sorry. 
     Since I cannot depict in writing the answer and emotional takeaway of each question posed to him by Miss Winfrey, from an overall evaluation stance, Lance did himself no favors with this interview. When the final question came to light (predicted by me early on) "Do you feel remorse?", he appeared, to me, as nothing more than a little boy upset for having gotten sent to his room. There is no question that Lance now wishes he could turn back the clock on his untruthful, continuously illegal actions over the past decade. What there is question about is his preference on having ever gotten caught or not. And I believe that preference to be no. "Do you think you would have gotten caught had you not made your come back in 2009?" Oprah posed. "It is impossible to say one way or the other but the chances are much less likely" was his answer. And this answer, to me, says it all. Were he able to turn back time, he would have maintained his 2007 retirement, given up his oh-so-shameful third place in the 2009 Tour, kept his seven Tour de France titles, and never gotten caught for doping. 
     In his words, he has "a long way still to go" in learning and accepting his now unqualified-to-compete fate. And although I would not call his 150 minute confession a great one, I hope that over the course of the next several years and many therapy sessions, he is able to more fully grasp the wrongdoing he exhibited and take real responsibility for it. Here's to hoping, Lance, you will be able to reclaim your morals, earn back a trace of trust, and once again, Live Strong.

For full coverage of the interview please refer here:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Evolution of Professional Fashion

     I am a self-proclaimed media chick. October 2013 will mark my 10 year anniversary of working in the fun-filled land of media planning.  I have spent the better part of a decade sitting in cubes, pods, and thankfully (but not ungraciously) now a window office debating the merits and falls of TV network ratings, target consumer psychographic qualifiers and decimal points of GRP levels on microscopic flowcharts. I have sat courtside at many a Knick game while making $30K a year, dined at five star locales in the trendiest of neighborhoods while internally arguing with myself if that $10 salad was really worth it. And all the while doing so, I have donned quite the vast range of ensembles to the office  (office read ad agency). While I of course recognize that my personal choices in work attire have evolved from 2003 to present, the culturally (versus personally) relevant tidbit of note here is the broader evolution of fashion in the professional setting.
     Okay so yes, I work in media, clearly not finance, not law, and not education. Having said that, I do still consider myself a consummate professional (as unbiased as I can be of course) in my daily ins and outs. Sure, sometimes I sit at my desk rewriting the same "concise while thorough" bullet point for 2 hours but I do also manage, like, a lot of money in ad placements. I'm important ya know? But I digress. So yeah, media is,  I guess, slightly less staid than other professions but not totally.
    Today I had a client meeting. These weren't just, you know, unimportant "I call myself 'the client' but really I don't make any important decisions" clients -- I mean these were mucky mucks, the decision makers. Ten years ago, I probably would have picked out my outfit for such a momentous event the evening prior, no doubt choosing my Rosh Hashana temple outfit, tights and heels for the occasion. Mmm yeah, so not so much what occurred this morning an hour prior to my meeting. Now misread me not, the importance  I place on my career is twentyfold what it was a decade ago, however the fashion choices I make have drastically evolved since then. Allow me to elaborate.
     It's 7:30 am, my very-important-cross-town meeting is slated to commence at 9:00 am sharp, my hair is dripping after my 3 mile in-the-dark run, and I am nowhere close to being dressed. Skirts and tights are nowhere in my realm of mentality...and not because that genre of outfit would take too much effort to sport. Quite the opposite my media friends. The instinctive thought that goes through my mind is "shit, where are my 'fanciest' jeans"? At the risk of sounding arrogant, I happen to enjoy the way I come across in jeans and a blazer but this is really not my intended point. Forty, thirty, even twenty years ago, the simple notion of donning "even your fanciest jeans" to a client meeting was not was out of the realm of reality.  A client meeting warranted a monochromatic business suit (and as a woman, a skirt-oriented business suit at that). But moving on, I did manage to find my fancy jeans, one of my most prized blazers, and a cute cami on time to bolt out the door and waltz in early at 8:55am, beating the majority of my clients to the meeting. "Oh Rachel, what a great outfit!" "You look so professional today!" Smiling to myself, I said thank you to these compliments, took my seat and put on my business/media hat for the day. 
    Everything, importantly fashion choices in both business and pleasure, evolves over time. And fortunately so. I cannot imagine being forced to wear skirt suits day in and day out and my collection of jeans is one of my most prized entities. I am a lucky lady -- I work in a job I enjoy in clothes I love to wear. This post is simply intended to convey my intrigue at how time can morph cultural standards. I wouldn't give up media for anything yesterday or today...or my professional jeans.

What's Up With That, Jodie?

     The Golden Globes deserved an A- this year overall in my opinion. From start to finish, the show delivered non-awkward, organically flowing entertainment. Needless to state, Tina and Amy were, as expected, divine, and enjoyable to watch in every capacity. Their humor spans age, gender, and all of that and worked flawlessly for the bubbly-infused awards show.
    My opinion on that matter stated, I'd like to address the meat of the title of this post. As background, I would generally (as unbiased as possible) label myself as an open-minded, non-judgmental humanoid. Nice Jewish girl that I am, I married a (in the words of Barbra Streisand in The Way We Were) nice Gentile boy. I don't frown upon people stepping outside of their expected cultural boxes, I respect openness even at the risk of seeming weird, and I certainly encourage coming out of the closet if one is gay. Not being gay myself, I cannot feign to come close to understanding what that experience must be like, however I do suspect that I would prefer not to live secretly in any way, shape or form. There is simply no need for secrecy in regards to a matter as mundane in 2013 as homosexuality.  And Jodie, my dear, I commend you for "coming out" or whatever you would call that blubbering mess you put forth after receiving your Cecil B. Demille award.
   I must say, I am pretty quick-witted and can usually ascertain the deep meaning of a speech, article, or movie before much it comes to a close. Mmmm, not so much the case this time, Jodie. In the midst of listening to your "you won't be seeing me on stage anymore" to "if you had been living a life in public since the time you were 3 you'd value privacy" to "my mother can die now", I truly don't think I have ever been so lost for the net takeaway of a speech...ever. Are you retiring? You're single? Are you leaving Earth tomorrow? Or wait...are you (no one gasp here since everyone already knew)! Gee, Jodie, for such a respectable "woman of 50", I think you could have just a little more clearly stated "I'm gay and I'm proud". In my opinion, this would have been the more respectable route to take, not only for yourself but for the gay community at large. I have watched your speech now three times and I still struggle to understand why, if your goal was to share your sexuality with the world, you made absolutely no mention of it. It's 2013 here, Jodie. Ellen is gay. Rosie ie gay. Doogie Howser and Anderson Cooper, the stone silver fox, for G-d's sake, are gay.  Coming out of the closet is nothing new and you would not have been the first, second or twentieth to do it.
    Don't misread me here, Jodie, I commend you for (finally) being open with the world, your fans, and your undoubtedly tipsy Golden Globes comrades, however I do think your approach could have used a little fine-tuning. The deed is over now, so sit back, relax and enjoy your now publicized private life. And next time you waltz the red carpet, please do bring a date.

Oh...Is The Flu Going Around?

    Okay, honestly, I do have a flair for drama. I love a good "all-hands-on-deck-the-world-is-ending" news story that gets everyone from here to eternity riled up and running for the nearest airport to flee. It somehow makes me feel connected to the human spirit to know that we are all going down at the same time and nothing anyone does will save us. (Cue dramatic Zero Dark Thirty-esque music). Read, since I am a Manhattan-centric arrogant brat, New-Yorkers-Bond-Over-Hurricane-Sandy.
     Now that I've gotten that dramatic intro under way, I can comfortably make the point I came here to make. I think by now, it's safe to say that we all know people are, like, getting the flu. Yeah, some people in my office are coughing and all and others are proudly displaying their self-proclaimed "immune-system-repairing" remedies on their desks as if on display in the MOMA. Okay, yes, I get it...people are under the weather.
     This morning while running on the treadmill (undoubtedly coated in a layer of toxic flu germs), I watched The Today Show cut to an emergency segment "The Growing Epidemic" detailing the emergency situation at hand.  "Everyone take precaution. Touch nothing and no one," they voiced over  while a map flashed across the screen with that threatening red "flu" coating spreading across the states whilst I tranquilly clocked miles on the treadmill. Hmmm. Maybe I should get a mask so I'm not breathing in this very public air? Virtual internal slap across the face...get a grip Rachel! I am sorry but this is the FLU we are talking about, people, not the bubonic plague. Not Ebola...(I don't think?).
     Not to don my hypocrite hat for the third post in a month, however even though I do enjoy a good drama-inducing news story every now and again (as previously mentioned), let's just all take a step back here people. It's 2013. And it's the flu. Stock up on Robitussin and Emergen-C (I heart Pfizer), skip the gym for a few days, and become one with your DVR. If we did it when we were six, we can certainly do so now. Being sick absolutely sucks and there is no way around it, but this nonsense has got to stop. No more maps with spreading red virus stats, please, and enough with the threatening surgical masks on the subway, folks. It's winter and you, like all humans, just might get sick. Deal with it.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Resolutions Shmesolutions

      New Years is fun. I love getting dressed up in sparkly outfits, imbibing in bubbly cocktails in champagne glasses while donning an absurdly ugly hat with the year prominently written in silver glitter. There's nothing better than kicking off a new year with a festive, friend-filled evening and a subsequent blank slate (well maybe a few things but I like to be absolute in my written assertions). But I digress. What I in fact do not enjoy annually about New Years is the widely accepted human practice of making resolutions for the coming 365 days. I find the whole idea to be idealistic but quite frankly more so than that, lazy.
       Life exists for 365 days year after year, and I believe it should be lived the way we aspire to live on every one of those days. Although New Years Eve is enjoyable and the notion of receiving a blank slate is somehow encouragingly uplifting, that in no way gives us the privelage of being lazy during the rest of the year.  Bad things happen every day, cutting lives short, inflicting life-altering incidents on the most unknowing of us. One day, everything could change for any of us at any time. God forbid this ever occur, however I would hate to look up one day wishing I had run that 5K and knowing I no longer could, dreaming of that trip to Hawaii I never took, only to try to convince myself that I had "saved it for a resolution one year." To those who insist on living a less-than life for most of the year sans a few weeks, I wish you the courage to (at the risk of sounding like Oprah) live your best life more  consistently. Resolutions may seem grand on January 1st, but life itself gets no do-overs so live it now and live it well.