Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Goosebump making diversions

I write about love...so I thought this was appropriate. Bob knew the true international magic of music, and I can't watch these videos without feeling choked up. The following video is even more poignant. Halle Salassie's words are as timely and important today as they were when he spoke them in front of the UN..."Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and perminently discredited and abandoned, everywhere is war..." While I love the whole idea of Playing for Change, I will admit to loving, above all else, Bob's version of 'War'.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Out of the mouths...

I have to admit some of the conversations I have with my son could very well be classified as unconventional, and this one ranks right up there with the best of them. First, a little background...my son is fifteen, and quite mature in many respects. He's also a thinker, given to coming out with pronouncements so clear sighted I wonder why he isn't doing better than he is in school! I should also tell you I don't hide what it is I write from him, although he's (obviously) not allowed to read any of it.

So...I'm cruising the blogs and happen to mention to him the growing popularity with m/m romances, many of which are written by women, for women. He looks at me for a long moment, then shrugs. "I can see that," he says, to my surprise. "What do you mean?" I ask. "Well," he replies, "How different is that from all the girl-on-girl stuff men write?"

That blew me away, because honestly I'd never looked at it that way before. But he was right, and looking at it from that angle, it became logical and very understandable.

Then he grinned and added, "Of course, there is one major difference. The stuff you guys write probably has to have a plot."

After I finished laughing and picked myself up off the floor, I decided I wasn't going to make any inquiries into his obvious familiarity with porn...making a fuss would be, I think, rather hypocritical!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My apologies to LOLcatz

I couldn't resist...meet Mo.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Blame it on the gremlins

After seeing thorough chastisements in all the places where people have been expressing disgust at Amazon's latest stupidity, including being told we're paranoid, spouting off without having the facts, seeing bogies where none exist, etc. the only response from the corporate behemoth is the old saw about all of this being a "glitch" which will be remedied soon.

If we (romance writers, and erotic/GLBT writers in particular) are simply throwing conspiracy theories around, I know which group I'd propose as the power behind this act, just to shit-disturb. Who suffers most from egg on their face when authors like Erastes and Alex Beecroft threaten to challenge the 'tried and true', being put out by the usual suspects, on the best-sellers list?

Unfortunately, that's just my late-night, over-active, insomnia stressed imagination at work...but damn, that would be fun. Disillutioned as I am with the workings of the world, I have to look for my amusement where I can find it...

I'm preparing to be tickled even further tomorrow, as the PR machine at Amazon churns out spin to try and recover from this friendly fire incident. I feel rather sorry for 'Ashlyn D', who replied to Mark Probst's inquiry. Girlie, you're probable gonna get thrown under the bus by management, with a big sign saying "Scapegoat" hanging around your neck.

That's the way of the world...and frankly it sucks.

Crazy people, crazy times

Just when you think "civilization" has moved past the blatant bigotry of the past, Amazon makes you realise sheer stupidity and ass-wipe prejudice hasn't died: it was just waiting to find a powerful, fucked-up jackass corporation to lead the charge.

In a move of monumental ridiculousness, Amazon has stripped sales figures and rankings from a wide selection of books they deem to have "adult content." To put it into context, they have decided to to exclude GLBT, erotica and some romance novels from their rankings, which converts into those books not showing up on best seller lists and even on searches done within Amazon. From what I have been able to glean, the main thrust of this book banning exercise is to get all books with any mention of gay, lesbian, transexual or bi-sexual relationships out of the public's view.

To experience the ridiculousness of what they are doing, please visit Meta Writer, for their list of books that have had their sales ranks removed. I'll quote one thing, of the many, that caught my eye in that list. Regarding the stripping of sales rank from The Well of Lonliness by Radclyffe Hall, there was this brief note: "(the only "sex scene" in The Well of Loneliness consists in its entirety of the words "And that night they were not divided.")"

Frankly, no matter how you look at it, it's censorship, pure and simple, with a thick, nasty overcoat of bigotted prejudice.

Sarah, from the Smart Bitches website, has created a new definition for Amazon Rank and it says it all far better than I ever could.

I'm not the combative type, but Amazon is really starting to piss me the hell off. I keep picturing Bezos as The Brain, with the guy who suggested this fuckery as Pinky, saying, "Gee Brain, what do you want to do tonight?" and Bezos replying, "The same thing we do every night, Pinky--try to take over the world."

Amazon...you're gonna have to go through a bunch of us first.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Not so funny ad rant

Anyone else notice the preponderance of goofy men in television ads? Whether oblivious, stupid or silly, it seems to me there are fewer and fewer “normal” men being portrayed in television advertising. Jackasses abound. One builds a deck in his living room as a way to avoid responding properly to, “Honey, we need to talk,” another is so intent on his hamburger he fails to hear his wife say she wants to try for a fifth child. There is the office yoghurt stealer, the slightly demonic looking red-head who seems pleased to inform his wife they will, indeed, one day have arthritis, and the two dads having the late-night snack, sobbing to each other about crying babies.

I’m getting really annoyed. The numb-nuts who runs into his sliding glass door was bad enough, but this is getting truly aggravating.

I love TV ads. They’re like the cartoon strips of television. My son and I have spent many a happy hour yucking it up over them (poor soul inherited my sense of humour) but I’m finding less and less of them to enjoy. The Ikea ads amuse me. My co-workers had to get used to occasionally hearing me say, “Start the car! Start the car!” at the end of a shift. No matter what I’m doing I can’t help stopping and watching the kitchen ad with the guy raging in the background and the Antonio Banderas-like voice over. Those are funny. The people look normal but not cartoonish. In most other ads the men fall into two categories: the bumbling fool or the too-cool-for-normal-guy-with-buckets-of-money. How f***ing sad is that?

Ads have tropes too, but what are the advertisers trying to say with these doofus ads? “Women, if you’re married to or dating the guy who wears expensive cologne, drinks $40-a-shot liquor, or drives the $40,000.00 car, then good on you. If not, we know you’re married to an idiot—and you are the real brains behind the outfit?” What ever happened to the idea of partnership in marriage and relationships?

Even in the world of romance writing we’ve come to the point (ab-awesome covers notwithstanding) where we realise we need to make our heroes and heroines more accessible to the readers. I wonder if that was the tack advertisers were trying to take...if so, for this viewer anyway, they’ve missed the mark by a mile. There’s enough bashing, both male and female, going on in the world without them jumping on the bandwagon. Funny is one thing, but these ads make men look like a bunch of absolute losers. Its swung so far I can’t even find them amusing anymore—just enraging, and saddening too.