Robert Nason's Culture Café

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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Robert Nason
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Re: Robert Nason's Culture Café

Postby Robert Nason » Wed Sep 17, 2014 8:35 pm

[quote="Ezra Lb."]The lines are straight. If you don't believe me fetch a ruler.

It's hard to believe, but when you look at the lines closely, you can see they're straight. But even if they weren't straight, there'd be nothing wrong with that.
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion

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Robert Nason
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Re: Robert Nason's Culture Café

Postby Robert Nason » Wed Sep 17, 2014 8:40 pm

Frank, I'm actrually one of the rare New Yorkers who defends the vast middle of the country against snobs and elitists who put it down. I know full well that there are plenty of smart, interesting, cultured folk in every state in the union. (Well, maybe one or two states could use a few more.) The funny thing is that I regularly get into arguments with a guy I know from Idaho (I won't say we're friends, though I've known him since college) on this very subject when we happen to run into one another. (New York is very crowded, and you run into people all the time, which accounts for the crowded emergency rooms.) I'll defend the people of the heartland and he'll say, "You don't know anything about them! I grew up among those Bible-thumping right-wing morons! That's why I got the hell out of there!" So I find myself in the amusing position of defending HIS family and neighbors to him, and hearing him condemn me for it. Makes me head spin sometimes -- but maybe that's due to running into him.
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion

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Robert Nason
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Re: Robert Nason's Culture Café

Postby Robert Nason » Wed Sep 17, 2014 8:41 pm

Although I must say, Frank, I find that picture of the woman with one eye wearing glasses with just one lens very unnerving.
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion

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Robert Nason
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Re: Robert Nason's Culture Café

Postby Robert Nason » Wed Sep 17, 2014 10:31 pm

"IS very unnerving," that is.
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion

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Chuck Messer
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Re: Robert Nason's Culture Café

Postby Chuck Messer » Thu Sep 18, 2014 5:17 am

I find that picture of the woman with one eye wearing glasses with just one lens very unnerving.


Actually all those pictures were a bit unnerving.

But why do women really think that kind of "cosmetic" surgery is attractive?


It's a trap a lot of us fall into. Women in particular are encouraged to hate their bodies if they don't fit a rather narrow definition of beauty. Youthfulness is valued above all else -- well, that and being thin. In fact, the ideal is being determined more and more by porn stars, who go under the knife to reshape everything from their nose to their labia.

That's why I admire Jamie Lee Curtis, who let her hair turn gray and let her face age naturally. I don't normally swing that way, but I do think she's still lovely, wrinkles and all.

Look at all the ads for men that are supposed to make us feel like losers if we've lost some hair. A lot of us fall victim to that one. I tried Rogaine once. It gave me the worst case of dandruff I ever had. I was a walking snowstorm. I decided to hell with that and let my hair be what it is.

Though I do need to lose some more weight. I've already had one heart attack, and I don't want another one.

Chuck
Some people are wedded to their ideology the way nuns are wed to God.

Mark Tiedemann
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Re: Robert Nason's Culture Café

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Thu Sep 18, 2014 7:27 am

What Chuck said.

Basically, a man looks at a picture in a magazine, says to female friend, "She looks hot!" Subtext: you should look like that, too.

Female, who has been raised to have self-image issues, does whatever she can to match the preferred image, from dieting and exercise to major cosmetic do-overs. Eventually, the man who said that to her looks at her and says "Ugh, what've you done to yourself?" and goes off to find a twenty-something that looks like the picture that started the whole mess, leaving the baffled, angry, now possibly ridiculous-looking woman alone and the subject of pity by people who wonder why women think all that makes them look attractive.

The above has been a simplified version of a deeply-ingrained cultural phenomenon.

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FrankChurch
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Re: Robert Nason's Culture Café

Postby FrankChurch » Thu Sep 18, 2014 9:06 am

Art is supposed to be unnerving. It drives by and shoots paint onto your fancy white suit.

Somebody show those pics to Harlan, he would really like them. Possibly.

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Re: Robert Nason's Culture Café

Postby FinderDoug » Thu Sep 18, 2014 9:20 am

Somebody show those pics to Harlan
You know, you do this frequently: approach people here like they're your secretary or intermediary or lackey. It comes across as both rude and presumptuous.

Not saying it is, but it MIGHT be a reason some people find your manner off-putting.

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Lori Koonce
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Re: Robert Nason's Culture Café

Postby Lori Koonce » Thu Sep 18, 2014 11:54 am

Robert Nason wrote:
Lori Koonce wrote:
Robert Nason wrote:Too bad Joan Rivers died. She was single, too.


First things first, welcome back. I've missed you and your way of expressing yourself.

Now about Ms Rivers, do you really wanna look like what ever phrase is out there for a male gold digger? I mean it's not like she was the only elder!y, rich and singleJewish woman in the entire state was she?


Actually, Joan is pretty typical of the kind of women her age who live in that neck of the Upper East Side. They're not as funny as she was, but they kind of look and think the same. Personally, just looking at that mask she substituted for her actual face would give me the creeps, though of course I extend my deepest condolences to her family, etc. But why do women really think that kind of "cosmetic" surgery is attractive?


Go pick up a copy of any High Fashion magazine you want and take a look at how the older women are portraited.. Then ask that question again.. Women are allowed a very narrow range of ways to look. Someone mentioned Jamie Lee Curtis. God bless her for having the guts to be her self. Meryl Strep is another.

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FrankChurch
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Re: Robert Nason's Culture Café

Postby FrankChurch » Sat Sep 20, 2014 11:09 am

What did you think of the art Lori?

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Lori Koonce
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Re: Robert Nason's Culture Café

Postby Lori Koonce » Sun Sep 21, 2014 11:36 am

Frank

If there was a link to what ya want me to see, I missed it. Post it again and I'll take a look at it.

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Robert Nason
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Re: Robert Nason's Culture Café

Postby Robert Nason » Sun Sep 21, 2014 7:32 pm

Lori -- women may be allowed a very narrow way to look, but judging from the fashion magazines I've seen, women prefer to look at very narrow women.

This is a very dangerous topic. Almost anything I say is likely to get me in trouble. Women are allowed a narrow range in how they can look, but we guys are allowed a very narrow range in what we're allowed to say about women. And I hear women on TV and in articles say the most appalling things about men and get away with it -- are even applauded for it.

But then, maybe that's because we guys really are all swing.

Still, I'd never say anything as hurtful to a woman as one once said to me. She had insulted me and I responded by saying, "That's a pretty ugly thing to say," and she responded, "Not as ugly as your balding head." That depressed me for weeks.

What if I make a similar crack to a woman about her breasts after she had a mastectomy?

So Chuch, I'm sypmpathetic to you. The good news is that all the young people will get old and have to find out what it's life, unless they die young and leave a good-looking corpse. Well, maybe not good-looking, but a corpse with a lot of hair. In the end we all have to bite the bitter apple.

Mark, the man doesn't find the 50-year-old woman with all the cosmetic surgery attractive -- of course not. He finds the 20-year-old attractive because it's the real thing. The first woman is faking it. It's the difference between real Coke and Diet Coke. Diet Coke may be healthier than the regular kind, but it just doesn't taste as good.

I think I just said one of those things you're not supposed to say.

Ironically, many women, especially the "highly attractive" ones, don't care a damn what a man says if he's got enough money. She'll marry him and sleep with her physical trainer. The guy fools around with his secretary -- excuse me, personal assistant. The rich and beautiful get it all. The rest of os have to be "mature" and "realistic." We all want the birght shiny apple, not the old and bitter one; and not getting a bite of that apple makes US old and bitter. So it's best to think of happier things.

Frank, I've never gotten along with WASPy women, though sometimes they do look very appealing. It's the Catholic women who tend to like me. Possibly because they're more forgiving, and God knows I have a lot to be forgiven for.

Seriously, I want everybody to be happy. And knowing that everybody never will be makes me kind of sad. Which creates just one more unhappy person. So I'd be wise not to think about it. But how can I not think about something the pursuit of which is promised in our Declaration of Independence.

If have a nose job makes someone happy, I say go for it. However much we might deplore it, Marlo Thomas would never have gotten to star in "That Girl" if she hadn't had cosmetic surgery to "fix" her nose, which resembled her dad's, Danny Thomas. That's show biz. But these days, every citizen wants to live and act as if life is show biz. That might be the real problem.

End of my, ahem, Sunday sermon.
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion

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Robert Nason
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Re: Robert Nason's Culture Café

Postby Robert Nason » Sun Sep 21, 2014 7:41 pm

And while we're on the subject of body image, here's an interesting piece dealing with tattoos and the people who love them:

http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusiv ... -tattoos-2
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion

Mark Tiedemann
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Re: Robert Nason's Culture Café

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Sun Sep 21, 2014 9:27 pm

Mark, the man doesn't find the 50-year-old woman with all the cosmetic surgery attractive -- of course not. He finds the 20-year-old attractive because it's the real thing. The first woman is faking it. It's the difference between real Coke and Diet Coke. Diet Coke may be healthier than the regular kind, but it just doesn't taste as good.


Obviously. But we've been talking about the "cult of youth" for centuries and publicly deploring it while under the surface worshiping like some pagan statue that dispenses gold. The hypocrisy is killing people.

I have no qualms at all saying that I think men who abandon a partner because she doesn't look young anymore are shallow to the point of one-dimensionality. While I like looking at attractive young women, the idea of sleeping with them is simply not one of those things that occurs to me. Because, primarily, just what would I talk to someone thirty or forty years younger than me? That, too, is a shallow comment in its own way, because I know plenty of 20-somethings who are very interesting to talk to, but the basis of the conversation is entirely different. It's not "intimate" in that way.

I think men who seek younger women are by and large afraid of women who are their own selves. They don't want to have those conversations because they don't know how to be intimate, probably not with anybody, but especially not with women, who they have probably taken no time ever to get to know.

The tragedy is that many women buy into the youth cult to keep a man who isn't worth keeping.

Or it's entirely their own thing and it doesn't matter what men think. Men cop that attitude all the time.

It's a complicated topic and plenty of shallowness to go around, but the culture, the thing we look at, does a very good job at equating a youthful, sexy appearance with everything worth having, and selling that to both men and women. It isn't real, but what else is there? Plenty, obviously, but it's harder and not as easily assimilated and entails risking being dissatisfied much of the time with what passes for authenticity (and isn't).

Women have a hard job---finding companions who aren't shallow. Men have a harder job---getting over themselves so they can find a companion who doesn't just look good but can keep them company. I suspect most people actually do pretty well at this---just not the ones buying into the fashionable zeitgeist.

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Re: Robert Nason's Culture Café

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Sun Sep 21, 2014 9:31 pm

Addendum to the above: I know a LOT of women who are beautiful, sexy, fun, and look nothing at all like the prescribed standard gracing the covers and interior shots of Cosmo and Vanity Fair. Looking good doesn't come in a bottle.


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