Advice: Surprise! There’s a Camera in my Bedroom

Dear Bartender and Priestess,

I was raised Catholic, and my parents and I go to church semi-regularly. I am 19 years old and in college, and still live with my parents. Recently, I learned something that’s kind of freaking me out and I don’t know what to do.

Our house was broken into several years ago, and after that my parents installed perimeter cameras. I didn’t know they had installed any cameras inside the house. Surprise, surprise. Suffice to say, when I’ve been alone in the house I have occasionally done things to relieve certain urges, and I sometimes walk around nude in my room after a shower.

On the one hand, I want to confront my parents about this, but I don’t want them to have a reason to go into their video archive and watch anything for themselves. I suspect that since they haven’t said anything they haven’t watched anything, but that’s the problem. I don’t know what they know. On the other hand, I feel like I should just let it drop. I mean, they’re my parents, right? It’s not like anything bad has come of this.

I’ve been hearing all about the sins of self-love for my entire life. I don’t totally agree with the way the church talks about it but I still don’t know how I would feel about confronting my parents about it.  What should I do?

–Not As Alone As I Thought

P: Pssst… Set ‘em up, Terri, we need to steady our nerves if we’re going to talk about parents who spy on their kids when they’re grown ups. Yikes.

B: Imma answer this as soon as I’m done beating my head against the bar.

Dear Not Alone,

It seems like paranoia runs in your family. Your parents are paranoid that someone might be manhandling their little girl, and you’re paranoid that your parents might know that all the manhandling in your room is being done by you.

What’s a Catholic girl with burgeoning sexuality to do?

There are a few things happening here. One: you’re going through an enormous growing pang. Two: you’re an adult now and need to set down some new parameters. Three: your parents are, unfortunately, a little bit creepy, and need to stop.

The first thing I want you to do, regarding growing pangs, is to start calling things by their real names. Whether you’re “doing things to relieve certain urges”, or tickling your taco, or flicking the bean, what you’re actually doing is masturbating. Say it at least once before returning to the more adorable-sounding bean-flicking. Masturbate. See? It’s just a word, and an adult one, at that.

I also want to take a moment to redirect your focus. This isn’t a letter about whether or not you should masturbate (because oh, honey, you should get to know yourself in every way possible, and this is simply an avenue of your blossoming sex life) or what your parents might think if they know you do it. It’s a question of adulthood and privacy, and where boundary lines need to be drawn. It’s also…not really…a question of what they have or have not seen, because you’ve done nothing to be ashamed of (walked around naked in your own room? Played the flesh fiddle?) and besides, what’s been done is done, what’s been seen is seen. Do you need to know exactly what they saw and when? Because…why? Your issue ought to be more that they respect the privacy you deserve.

P: Not that I think it’s particularly relevant to your parents’ spying, but since I’m the priestess, let me address the whole masturbation thing from a religious standpoint. There’s only one mention of what we think of as masturbation in the Hebrew Scriptures. You can look it up (Gen. 38.9). When Onan’s elder brother died, O was forced to give the brother’s widow a child so she had a way to claim a livelihood. He did not, and his babyjuice hit the dirt, which then became a sin. It had to do with wasting “seed” which at that point was considered to “belong” to the patriarch, who decided where wombs were impregnated and seed was spent. So it was a flouting of responsibility that had nothing to do with his having a great time on his own.

But worries about masturbation are ways to control people, and in particular women. Although in my youth, there were plenty of “worried” jokes about boys growing hairy palms — which come to think of it, might have added some welcome friction… but I digress.

If you read the literature, the worries are more about your knowing what you want, and anticipating a good sexual relationship with your future partner. Can’t have that.

It also conflates masturbation with obsession rather than natural urges. Sigh. Glad you’re taking care of yourself. Hope your fantasies are lovely and not demeaning. If because of your training they’re not great, you might want to work on redoing your fantasy life. Because as the Bartender says, and she hears as much of this as I do, exploring yourself and your sexuality is a wonderful, important step in your life.

P: If in fact there’s a camera in your bedroom that is active. this is creepy. It’s also weird. Be very sure it’s an active camera before you talk to them. But …

The fact that the first thing you think about when you say your parents are looking at you is masturbation probably means you’re not doing hard drugs, so it’s not as if there were any reason for them to be suspicious, even if it weren’t still furtive and icky.  And yes, I’d be completely weirded out if I thought my parents were watching me walk around naked in my room or watching me “take care of urges.” Because this? Is spying. Or even creepier, voyerism.

B: You don’t specifically state in which room you’ve discovered this unwanted gaze, but since we’re talking about masturbating then I will assume it’s in your bedroom, since a camera in the bathroom is far too disturbing for me to contemplate.

If the camera IS in a public space, like the living room, then all bets are off. Stop wanking off in trafficked areas! And rewrite this letter so we can discuss your secret desire to get caught.

So you have a camera in your bedroom. Ick. One that your parents never told you they installed, double-ick. And it needs to be un-installed, or at the very least, blocked.

You can do one of a few things. You can cover the camera with a T-shirt and wait until your parents say something to you. This is passive, but you can at least feel comfortable knowing you aren’t being filmed in your down time. Or your get-down time. And if your parents do mention something, then you can tell them you don’t appreciate being filmed without your knowledge or consent, and you consider it a violation of the general principles of privacy that a parent ought to bestow upon their child.

You might want to practice saying that part until you get used to it.

You can address the issue straight on, and tell your mother and father that you discovered there is a camera in your bedroom. You can tell them you don’t think it’s right, that it violates your privacy, and that you expect them to remove the camera tout de suite, or you’ll pull it out of the wall yourself.

Can you disconnect it yourself? Because if you can, that’s a possibility. Leave it on the kitchen table with a note: Hey, you must have left this in my room, because I know it’s not mine.

Or you can leave the camera where it is, and walk around resenting them for being intrusive.

Because a camera in your bedroom IS intrusive, and it robs you of your autonomy and your sense of well-being. Have you felt “normal” since you discovered the camera? Or have you felt freaked out and vaguely guilty, even though you’ve done nothing wrong? My guess is “freaked out and vaguely guilty”, because otherwise, you wouldn’t be writing to us. And you need to understand: NOBODY ought to be permitted to make you feel like that. Especially not if it’s you granting the permission. And if you don’t take any course of action and leave the camera as-is, then you’re giving tacit permission for them to continue to make you feel bad. Inaction is an action. Bonus! The negative feelings will stay, too. This is a major test of your status as an adult. The problem with being an adult is, often (and for me as well), figuring out how to act like one.

Now, it’s possible your parents will push back and offer up the “If you’re living in my house then you’re living by my rules”, which once again invalidates your status as an adult. If that happens, then you’re at another crossroad (and believe me, the crossroads never stop appearing in front of you, no matter how slick you think you are at organizing your life). It will be up to you to decide if you want to move on campus, or move out, or continue as you are in their house—camera and all—until you graduate from college. Because of your age they can absolutely withhold your ability to get financial aid (and can do so until you’re 24) so if you intend to stay in college you probably don’t want to alienate them entirely.

I wish I had an easier answer for you, because the question really isn’t about whether or not you—like pretty much every other human being in the world—masturbates, and whether or not your parents know. It’s about whether or not you deserve the privacy a closed door ought to signify. I say, of course you do. The trick is getting your parents to see it that way too.

P: Privacy. Yes. They don’t believe in it. And sadly, what comes up is that whatever your parents have taught you about honesty… they don’t believe. They have chosen lying over honesty so that they can spy on you. And how did you find out? Have you been sneaking around? This is not a family trait you want to take on…

I understand that it’s nice to live at home and inexpensive. And you may be going to school and pursuing dreams. And I want you to have dreams and pursue them.

It is not good for a 19 year old to be under secret surveillance. They’re saying, whatever they think they’re saying, that they think you’re going to run off the rails. We internalize what people think of us. So we start thinking about running off the rails rather than pursuing our dreams.

If you think they’re open, and I have my suspicions, you can talk with them about stopping it. You can say you’re aghast, you feel invaded, that you’ve never given them cause to be suspicious and this is a terrible way to relate to you. Do you have siblings? Because if you do this is information they need and they may want to join you in this intervention.

But siblings aside, I think you’d better be prepared to move out. Which means you need to prepare. Do you have a job? Get one. Doing anything. Until you can afford to move out, you might start paying rent. Get a contract with them that precludes their spying on you. If you think they can be trusted. And so far, they haven’t shown you that they can.

I know it’s easy to have them pay for things. But they’re stealing your independence. Even for love, that’s too big a price to pay.

Bottom line: it's time to start standing up for how you want to be treated.

Bottom line: it’s time to start standing up for how you want to be treated.

If you have a question for The Bartender and The Priestess, email us at bartender priestess (at) gmail (dot) com. Non-spambot humans, remove spaces and insert proper punctuation.

For more information about The Bartender and The Priestess, go here!

Thank you for reading! Now go tell all your friends about us. 

Advertisements

Flea Market Find: The Story of Cane Sugar

…which sounds like it could be a porno, but it isn’t.  Instead, it’s a pamphlet that is–best as I can figure–printed before 1941, when the Pennsylvania Sugar Company was taken over by the National Sugar Refining Company. I’m only guessing that because there’s nary a hint of anything about National Sugar on the pamphlet, and why wouldn’t a parent company promote itself?

It's like a map. Did they give these out at gas stations?

It’s like a map. Did they give these out at gas stations? And what are those guys sitting on the boxes of sugar supposed to be?  Elves? Railway workers? I honestly can’t tell. Front and back covers.

As a side note, I *love* all the doodles on the cover. I used to do much the same thing when I was a kid; I’d write on anything and everything. I even remember writing on a bottle of baby powder, though I don’t remember why I needed to claim that as my own. Please note that in the bottom left corner, in the space surrounding the teacher in the blue dress, some imp wrote: Miss Wangor, The Old Crab. (At least, I think it says crab. Any and all other guesses welcome.) And I digress.

I came across this bizarrely charming little pamphlet while crawling among the racks at the much-beloved Street of Shops. The pamphlet is an anomaly of sorts, a throwback to an earlier time, when…

…ummm…

I actually don’t understand what this is. Not that I don’t understand what a pamphlet is, I just don’t understand why/where/how/the reasoning behind the Pennsylvania Sugar Co. printing up pamphlets to be distributed…where?

See what I mean?

But the fact is, I don’t really care why they made it, I just care that they did. These sorts of “modern miracles” economic history printings really speak to the idea of some kind of grandiose dreams of expansionism and empire. Anyway. Getting to it…

Why don't they finish the instructions for chocolate cake???

Why don’t they finish the instructions for chocolate cake??? HOW WILL I EVER MAKE THIS CORRECTLY?

The above image with its disappointing cake recipe was found on the inside pages, when you open it like a book. And then it folds out, first into a tri-fold that I have more-or-less stitched back together for you.

Sugar Cane trifold

Come visit the enticing world of sugar harvesting.

I love that the artwork is all scrolling and pirate-y and a completely romanticized glossing of the sugar industry, largely harvested thanks to slave labor or poverty-level wage earners. The industry saw a significant amount of unrest in the 1930s (i.e., roughly around the time this pamphlet was printed, and these links are but a few small examples). But it’s all good, right?  Because Nancy Tice reminds housewives: Sugar is one of the most necessary foods in the family diet (see the back cover image if you don’t believe me). So that makes it all OK, right? I also love that Thailand is still referred to as Siam and the rest of the Cambodia/Laos/Vietnam/Myanmar peninsula has been lumped together by western mapmakers as one big “Indo-China“. Who needs specifics when you’re pirating the sugar trade and working with slave labor? Yo ho, me hearties!

But then.

And then.

The entire pamphlet opens up into a centerfold of sugary awesome, as the Pennsylvania Sugar Co. examines the total process of sugar production, from harvest to loading to ships steaming in to Philly, through production and then onto the trucks for distribution unto a hungry world clamoring for sweetness.

Centerfold? Hey, this did turn sexy!

Centerfold? Hey, this did turn sexy!

Oh, for a simpler time, when no one balked at the idea of using cheap labor, and the world was ours to harvest at will!

One question: what have they got going on in Louisiana?  While the world labors to make sugar affordable for all Americans, are the Louisianians…sitting around playing banjo? Is that it?

As gloriously jingoistic and kind of craptastic as this pamphlet is, I’m still having a hard time trying to understand its practical benefits. Mainly because I can’t figure out when or where this would have been distributed. I mean, sure, at the grocery store, but that begs the question of the consumer: why would you take it in the first place? Though–believe me–I know why I paid one entire dollar for this baby, and it was worth all 100 pennies. Hells to the yeah.

FYI: This scanned e-book is an interesting way to explore the concept of economic and trade pamphleting, but its writing style is dry and old-timey, so be prepared that it’s kind of like reading through sandpaper.

The Walking Dead, S4 Ep 10: Inmates

~~~SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS~~~

There you have it.

So. We’re still putting together the chess board that is Walking Dead World in the aftermath of the Governor’s rampage on the prison, as Rick & Co. are still making their way through the woods, kind of freaking out to find themselves in groups of two or three, after a horrific expulsion from what had served them well as a fairly safe zone. Some wise person asked of the internets, “But why didn’t they have a contingency plan? Why didn’t they have a predetermined rendezvous point, like you do with your kids if there’s a house fire?”

Because that wouldn’t have made for nearly as interesting TV. Why have them logically organized, when an unstructured dash for survival is so much more thrilling for the viewer?

Maximizing my total geek cred, I couldn’t help myself when a Lord of the Rings moment ran through my head:

There is no strength left in the world of Men. They’re scattered, divided, leaderless.

(The quote in question is all the way at the end of this clip; forward to 3:10 if you also can’t help yourself. Or, congratulate yourself on escaping the Nerdery and living a life less dominated by film/tv/book quotes. True nerds: I expect to see LOTR/TWD comparative essays tout de suite.)

First: YAY! Daryl‘s alive! Ladies, let’s all take a moment to enjoy a collective swoon before moving on.

Finally…FINALLY they did something with that annoying Whatsherface…OK, I mean “Beth“, whatever…Hershel‘s other daughter, the not-Maggie. She’s escaped into the woods with the totally emotionally wooden Daryl, because Daryl and Michonne (as we saw her in the previous episode) seem to share a similar, “Shutting down is better, hoping hurts too much” mindset.  They kill zombies, they argue about having hope, they discover they work well as a team, Beth has a full-on crying meltdown when they come across zombies feeding alongside the railroad tracks. I get it; in her world, threats and horror lurk around every corner. The episode opens with a voiceover of Beth reading a passage from an old diary she kept, reminding the viewer that she’s really only 16 or 17 and the kind of girl and writes in her diary so her wishes can come true. *sniffle*

Which makes it that much more interesting when she burns the pages of her diary for kindling. If wishes were horses then beggars would ride…away from the hordes of flesh-eating undead.

So long, wishes!

So long, wishes!

Next: Yay! Tyreese has Baby Judith, and a big congratulations to these folks, who nailed it at the mid-season finale!

Tyreese also has the girls Mika and the increasingly psychotic Lizzie, and they’re trundling through the woods like a psychotic postmodern Brady Bunch.

Here's the story...of a man named Tyreese...

Here’s the story…of a man named Tyreese…

Lizzie is developing apace as a bona fide serial killer. She is a little young for autoeroticism and alcohol can’t really be a factor for her development,  but traumatic childhood? Check. Animal torture? Check. (Those poor bunnies. More on that later.) If she starts wetting the bed or lighting fires, then we’re in trouble deep. Baby Judith was just a few lungsful away from becoming the first official Crawling Dead, since fortunate timing is the only thing that prevented la Liz from smothering her.  And Judith was only saved because…

Considering my postmodern Brady Bunch joke, it's fitting her name is Carol.

Considering my postmodern Brady Bunch joke, it’s fitting her name is Carol.

Yay! Carol is back! She saw the prison go down and followed Tyreese & Co. into the woods. Tyreese clearly has no idea that Carol is the woman who stabbed his lady love, Karen, in the head and then lit her body on fire.  Which, at the moment, is probably better for all involved. We’ll see how all that plays out, though I suspect there’s going to be a, “Yes, that was me” moment of truth with Carol that will make Tyreese lose his mind. Then he’ll try to kill Carol and attract a zombie horde, which will force him to have to trust Carol to get him out of it. Or, he’ll bring about his own death because of his rage. As a side note, my boyfriend and I were talking about how, despite the crazy circumstances of the post-prison dash, Tyreese seems so much less vengeance-minded-ly insane. It’s like he went, “Oh, crisis, right! Time to focus on saving my bacon and not lash out at my cruel and indifferent world.” Which then got us talking about mental illnesses, and if there is a leisure-time component to them. So. That’s a fun discussion to have with your sweetie as Valentine’s Day weekend comes to a close.  And I digress.

Countless hordes of sleepless, ravenous undead. Me, and one 4-inch blade. I can take 'em.

Countless hordes of sleepless, ravenous undead. Me, and one 4-inch blade. I can take ’em.

Yay! Maggie is still alive, with Sasha, also yay! Oh, and Bob Stookey is there. This is the third camp that’s been destroyed out from under him.  Maggie is still reeling from the gruesome loss of her father and possible loss of her husband in one day, and sets off “with or without” the other two, who kindly don’t let her go toddling off into the woods armed with nothing more than a…what was that, a 4-inch hunting knife?  She finds the bus that Glenn was supposed to be on (but was not), which has of course become a bus filled with Rolling Death.

Hey, lady, could you get the door?

Hey, lady, could you get the door?

Maggie unleashes her rage and grief-fueled frustration on zombie after zombie after zombie. While the burning of the prison has shut Michonne and Daryl down and given Tyreese clarity, Maggie has become reckless in a desperate search to restore some of her family. Interestingly, she doesn’t say a word about finding Beth. I can’t say I blame her.

Oh my, I just had the worst dream...my home had blown up and then...

Oh my, I just had the worst dream…my home had blown up and then…AAAAAGGGGGHHHHH!!!!

Yay! Glenn is still alive! Once he and his still-pleuritic lungs lurched off the bus in an enfeebled attempt to help Maggie (ironically, saving his life), he ended up getting knocked out in one of two spots in the prison that’s inaccessible to zombies.  Good for him! Though it did generate this text from my nephew:

How on Earth is Glenn still at the prison?

The next thing you know we’ll start Skyping to watch it long-distance together. Ahhh, family times. Yes, they did cover Glenn’s bizarre bit of impractical bravery in the story arc of the prison’s destruction, but Michael, if it makes you feel any better, George didn’t remember that either. Anyway. Glenn–one of the smartest characters–scavenges the prison, gathers a big bag of goodies and a riot control suit, which simultaneously turns Glenn into a live-action action figure while providing the TV viewer with a Glenn’s eye view of zombie mayhem.

Zombie Mayhem Suit. Nom Access: Denied!

Zombie Mayhem Suit. Nom Access: Denied!

As he’s running through the grabbing, bitey chaos he sees Tara, still alive, and still completely flaked out after being party to The Governor’s deranged last tango with Rick. (If you remember, Tara had one of the greatest “Fuck this, I’m out” faces I’ve ever seen.) With the cunning use of psychology, Glenn convinces Tara to get on her feet and out of the prison with him, saving her life even though he knows she was one of The Governor’s people.  But.  Stranger alliances have been made in the zombie apocalypse.  They have a talk, find common ground, Glenn admits he doesn’t want her company so much as needs it, then they beat the crap out of some zombies which finally exhausts Glenn, and he drops to the ground.

See why he needs you, Tara?

Then we meet this guy. This fucking guy.

20140217_164417

I have no idea as of yet what to make of Abe Ford and his crew.  They’re just…present.  And show up in a militarized vehicle, which has never once boded well for our intrepid band of survivors.

Also introduced in this episode: a sanctuary called “Terminus“, which literally means “the end of the line“. That can’t be good.

As for what happened with Lizzie’s bunnies, take a look at what was in a log as Daryl and Beth made their way through the woods.

Sad bunnies. Crazy child. Deranged future.

Sad bunnies. Crazy child. Deranged future.

Remember, the timelines in these stories are linear unto themselves, but not contiguous. They’re all starting at different times, so we’re trying to piece together the timelines.  And it’s sad and poignant–they’re just missing one another.

So now we know, sort of, where everyone is. Next week: Craziness ensues!

1984 Rebooted as Romance, and No, I’m Not Kidding

George Orwell‘s dystopian tale of the ultimate in Big Government, 1984, is apparently receiving a reboot.  Currently called Equals, this movie is set to star Nicholas Hoult (a/k/a Marcus from About A Boy, a/k/a Jennifer Lawrence’s main squeeze) as Winston Smith and the perpetually grim Kristen Stewart as Julia.

And it will be a romance.

A ROMANCE.

“I’m terrified of it,” says Kristen Stewart and I’ve gotta say, K-Stew…that makes two of us.  Because here’s the thing:

NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO.   ///big gulp of air/// NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO.

I mean…yes, there is sex in the book between Winston and Julia, and it’s a pivotal part of the plot, for sure.  But even in my most jaded times, I’ve never confused dingy, bleak, anti-Big-Brother-fueled hate-fucks, that lead to the ultimate in betrayals, as “romance”.  Sure, maybe they have moments of feeling tender toward one another, but when Big Brother finally catches on to their trysting, they both start checking bus schedules to figure out which one they’re throwing the other under.

I imagine it’s going to be like this:

julia cat 1

winston cat 1

winston cat 3

julia cat 3

julia cat 2

winston cat 2

*sigh*

See, the thing is, there are plenty of dystopian novels that focus on unlikely romances to work with, and that’s fine, I’m not saying it can’t or wouldn’t ever happen, and I don’t object to it as a storyline.  But the authors of these other works didn’t call them: 1984 2.0 or 1984: Reckoning or Winston (hearts) Julia: A Tale of Light in the Darkness.  No.  Because that’s not Winston and Julia’s story.  These other authors created their own stories.  They didn’t co-opt someone else’s under the guise of a “reboot”.  Because that?  Is cheating.

So I, of course, expect it to be dreadful, and I admit I’m clearly already prejudiced against it.  Though I will say this: I’m tickled by the idea of legions of Twilight fans downloading 1984 into their Kindles so they can get ready for K-Stew’s new movie.  Because in the real 1984, there’s not one sparkle to be found.

Bonus! A game of #romantic1984 started on Twitter once this was announced.  Thus far, here is my favorite Tweet.

https://twitter.com/lavietidhar/status/423393806885867520

And that, friends, is the problem with the romance of 1984, in a nutshell.

I can’t wait for the musical.

The Walking Dead, S4, Ep 6: Hello, Governor!

Spoilers present here.  Read at your own peril. #consideryourselveswarned

He’s ba-a-a-a-a-a-ack.

That one-eyed Master of Disaster, The Captain of Crazytown, el Jefe de horror, the Cyclops of Chaos…Oh, my stars and garters, buckle your seatbelts, boys and girls, because The Governor is back.

Only…he’s looking decidedly worse for the wear.

This episode–season 4, episode 6, titled “Live Bait”, think about that for a while–was all Governor.  No Rick, no prison, no “what the hell is Daryl doing now that Carol’s exiled to Neverwhere?”.  Just.  The Governor.

Who is a shambling mess.

A narrative opened up last season that draws strong parallels between The Governor and the zombie.  This narrative was pretty gruesomely explored in S3 Ep 15, where he gets about as zombie-like as a human can be and literally bites off Merle‘s fingers (forward to 2:55 if’n you wanted to relive the magic) just before killing him, begging the question: what makes a monster?

So this episode picks up pretty much where season 3 left us with The Governor. The soldiers from Woodbury are freshly dead and The Governor is on the road with Woodbury henchmen Martinez and Shumpert, apparently in the process of losing his fricking mind.  Because he snaps and slaughters his allies in the street, he mentally collapses into some undefined dissociative disorder (my bet: depersonalization disorder, since he talks about “the guy in charge” who lost it–which is of course, him–as though he’s a separate and distinct person, but I digress).  He even distances himself from his own name when he finally meets the family that takes him in (though there’s some stuff about that family that I don’t like or trust, more on that later), neither calling himself The Governor nor his given name, Philip Blake.  But I’ll get to that in a minute, too.

First, Governor as zombie.

While he’s adrift on the road, he wakes to find formerly loyal henchmen Martinez and Shumpert have deserted him in the middle of the night.  In a perfect use of camera angle (psst, AMC, I hope you paid your cinematographers well in this episode, because they made it fly), we see The Governor as he truly is–one small man, friendless and alone in a vast, bleak world.

The Governor haz a sad.

The Governor has a sad.

The Governor goes back to Woodbury and burns it to the ground.  I saw one review that speculated he did that out of spite; if he can’t have it, no one can, and maybe that’s truly the motivation.  But that doesn’t ring true for me.  If he’s a man intent on distancing himself from his past, it would make more sense to burn it because it’s the scene of his greatest failing.  It’s where he stopped being human.  Torch that sucker and obliterate the past and maybe, some day, start over.

And while he’s burning his city to the ground he almost…almost breaks the fourth wall and directly faces the audience.  At least, he’s facing the audience thanks to his body and posture, turned and open toward the camera.  However,  if he had truly broken the fourth wall he would have looked directly in front and stared at the camera and thus, the audience.  Facing the audience would have implicitly asked the viewers what they would have done in his situation.  But he doesn’t (and we’re spared having to consider what it would mean to wear his ill-fitting shoes), because he barely faces anyone.

“[...] each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can't strike them all by ourselves”

“…each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can’t strike them all by ourselves”
― Laura Esquivel, Like Water for Chocolate

Instead, he’s focused on the zombies in the streets of Woodbury.

Whassup?

Whassup?

Who are zombie-lurching past him like he’s a brother.  They can’t even bother to glance in a cursory, perhaps-you’re-living-flesh sort of interest.  Nope.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.

And when a horde of eternally ravenous zombies can’t even bother to send a perfunctory sniff in your direction, in some deranged sort of way…that’s gotta hurt.

Then blah blah, he stumbles into a town and blah blah, meets the Chalmers family–Lilly and Tara, sisters; Lilly’s daughter, Meghan, and the dying family patriarch, David–who takes him in.

What. Is wrong. With that family?  Because something felt entirely false.

Meghan, the little girl, hides behind chairs and her mother while dying Grandpa tells The Governor she doesn’t talk.  Yet she prattles away to The Governor and charms him with her air of insouciant youth so much that he lets his guard down and seemingly decides to rejoin the human race.  She also doesn’t make me believe that it’s hard to get words out of her.

It’s been two years (ish) since the start of the zombie apocalypse.  Who doesn’t know–two YEARS into surviving a zombie apocalypse–that you have to kill zombies in their brains?  It seems that the Chalmers clan has managed to survive for two years without knowing that tasty bit of trivia.  And I?  Don’t buy it.

One apartment, four people…I’ll give them a pass that they managed to scavenge enough food from that truck and from raiding the other apartments, but water?  Other supplies?  Enough…toilet paper?  I don’t buy it.  Not without knowing you have to kill zombies in their heads, because there’s no way one of them would survive a scavenging party out-of-doors.  It’s a forced helplessness that seems entirely facetious in the given situation.

Who lets their little kid hang out dead-center in a window for everyone to see, possibly attracting zombies looking for noms to storm their front door?

No.

No.

And I’ve watched and watched and watched the scene repeatedly; I still don’t know what Tara supposedly tripped on in the street to make her fall and wrench her ankle, slowing them down.  Why did the truck they drove out of town in–which seemed to work fine–suddenly die?  What mother thinks it’s a fine idea to bump uglies with a near-stranger while her sister and kid are asleep just inches away in the back of a panel truck?

Remember, the name of this episode is “Live Bait”.  And I think this family was assigned to catch people that cross their paths, so their group could acquire warriors, eliminate threats, whatever.  Zombies in the streets are one thing.  You know what they’re going to do.  But people?  People are quite another.  If the Chalmerses are working with Martinez (who, thanks to the preview of next week’s episode, we know is in charge of a camp) and funneling people into his camp for his judgment and/or dispatch–and I think they are–then we know he’s learned camp management from the psychotically best, if season three bears any weight.  It won’t take long for things to get bloody with Martinez back in the picture. It’s sad that The Governor has gotten hooked back in with Martinez again; running with your old pack, old habits die hard, ingrained interpersonal dynamics are a tough thing to overcome.  Because I think, right now, all The Governor wants is a second chance to not be a menace unto the world.

He just wants to be loved.

Remember when he came across the barn that had spraypainted instructions for certain people?  “Do NOT go home!”  “Went to Jim’s [something, I can’t read it]” or “Megan Cook died”

In Memoriam.

In Memoriam.

The Governor took his alias–Brian Heriot–from the side of this barn.  He didn’t choose the name of someone declared dead.  He didn’t choose the name of the mysterious Jim.  Instead, he chose Brian Heriot.  So, you’re asking?  It’s a perfectly functional first and last name, it’s male, he’s not going to be Megan, after all, right?

*sniffle*

*sniffle*

True.  But Brian’s was the only name that was accompanied by a declaration of love.  Why not choose to be a man memorialized so endearingly?  For a man completely alone in the world and already considers himself almost dead, that’s got to be a powerful lure.

And thank you, David Morrissey, for a gorgeous  bit of acting.

And thank you, David Morrissey, for a gorgeous bit of acting.

So when (not “if”, I’m that confident) he eventually realizes the Chalmerses had manipulated him from the start, his betrayal will be that much more intense.  His feral nature isn’t so far into his past that he can’t dial it up again when he needs to.  How do you torture the man who has nothing?  Give him back something he used to have, but give it back broken.  Give him the family that isn’t his, the daughter that turns on him, the lover who only sleeps with him out of a sense of duty to another man.

Then step back and watch as the Captain of Crazytown, el Jefe of horror, the Chaos Cyclops, rises.

I’m not sure yet how I think he’ll interact with Rick and crew.  On the one hand, it’s possible his fight with them came to an end with his break from reality, and he sees what Rick does as nothing more than protecting his people.  If that’s the case, then I can imagine him working behind the scenes to undermine Martinez, who deserted him on the side of the road.  Left him for dead.  Left him completely exposed and vulnerable, really, because it’s not like zombies can’t rip into the side of a pup tent, in which The Governor was sleeping when Martinez split.  On the other hand, if The Governor dips back into a crunchy batshit crazy shell, he may decide he needs to finish what he started.  I need to see a little more before I try to figure where this is going.

Don’t worry, kids.  That wacky Governor?  He’ll be back.

One More Thing About Miley Cyrus…

I know, I know.  I’m sure we’re all sick of Miley Cyrus and her twerky ass, but I just feel like I have to say this…

…and I can’t believe I’m saying this…

…but I think we need to give her one tiny break.

Just one.  Let me explain.

It’s not that I think she’s so totally awesome that she gets a pass because OMG how can you not love everything she does?  No no, I assure you.  I’ve said since seeing the VMA performance that’s caused the avalanche of media hooha that the thing I’m most offended by about her performance is that she’s making bajillions of dollars and can’t fucking sing.  She is a testament to the magical properties of auto-tune, and will keep any skilled vocal-mix professional working for years to come.  (Miley Cyrus: Job creator.)  They claim she wasn’t auto-tuned for the VMAs.  Go on, go watch it again and play the “count the flat notes” drinking game.  Every flat note, take a shot.  You’ll be knackered before the song comes to an end (and if you play through Robin Thicke’s part of the performance, put 911 on your speed dial to counter the inevitable onset of alcohol poisoning).

It’s because, if people had been paying even a tiny bit of attention, there wouldn’t be a public outcry for a national fainting couch to combat the epidemic of swooning from the shock of Miley’s ladyparts being so vigorously and unapologetically diddled on stage.

I took this picture from somewhere off this blog http://jennytrout.wordpress.com/, though God help me I don't remember exactly which page because I've been reading it obsessively the past few days.

I took this picture from somewhere off the blog http://jennytrout.wordpress.com/, though God help me I don’t remember exactly which page because I’ve been reading it obsessively the past few days.

I was talking with my boyfriend the other night and he said, “Someone asked who came up with the choreography for Miley Cyrus’s performance.  Apparently, it’s taken pretty directly from her video.”

Oh, really, I thought.  How ’bout that?  Re-enacting a video (at least in part) at the VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS.  I guess I didn’t see that coming.  I feel so naive.

So I watched her video for “We Can’t Stop”, which was of course the song she sang at the VMAs.  Here it is.  I’ll get back to this in a minute but please, for the sake of the rest of this article, pay attention to what’s going on in the video.  Feel free to watch it without the sound on.  It makes it easier.

Well all right.  There you have it.  They totally pulled parts of the video for her performance.  The giant furry costumes.  Some of the dance moves.  Her goddamned tongue, which I’m pretty sure she can do push ups on.  It also, for the record, included:

  • what looked like fingers being sliced off a hand
  • copious twerking
  • a guy shooting smoke out of his crotch
  • enough with the tongue, Miley
  • abundant ass shots and spread eagled bed writhing
  • girl on girl food wrestling, booty smacking, and at least one boobie fondle
  • oh, yeah, and then she licked that doll’s face

My point is: this was all in the video which has been released for months, so people freaking out about virginal Hannah Montana suddenly becoming sexually supercharged is…well…inauthentic at best and hypocritical at worst.  Clearly, they’re not paying attention to the same things their kids are paying attention to, or else they think that whatever happens in the confines of a three-minute music video can’t ever possibly translate into live performance.

Whatever.  This is why child stars develop substance abuse problems.

But then it gets even more deranged, because Miley didn’t get as much shit for her own performance as she did for her participation in Robin Thicke‘s song, “Blurred Lines”.  Here’s the video, if you’re unfamiliar with the song.  Please notice the plastic clothing on the models, in relation to Miley’s VMA costuming.

God, I hate this song.

For Thicke’s part of the performance, Miley Cyrus ripped off her stupid, stupid furry bear onesie and revealed her vinyl bra and panty set, so she looked shiny and almost-nude.  Which kind of emulates what the models were wearing.  But that finger, good God…what about that giant foam finger she was waving around at the VMAs?  Why was Miley Cyrus just a protective vinyl barrier away from flicking her bean on national TV?  In front of the children?  Wearing that godforsaken foam finger?

OK, point #1: this wasn’t the Kid’s Choice awards, this was the VMAs.  It wasn’t a show for kids.  (Waaah!  But it was prime time!  So is CSI, American Horror Story, The Bachelor, Supernatural, America’s Next Top Model, Bates Hotel, and Californication.  These are all shows that have weird/questionable subject matter that isn’t necessarily kid friendly.  Especially that show about modeling, which I’m sure has helped fuel plenty of eating disorders across the country.  Don’t let them watch it if you don’t like it.)  

Point #2:  It’s the music industry, which is a carnivorous beast that thrives on sex and the blood of the young.  What did you expect?

And point #3:  That finger?  The hyper-sexualized content?  It’s in Robin Thicke’s video.  Not that one.  This one.  The other, unrated, way naked, kid-unfriendly version of “Blurred Lines”.

(I warn you now, this is not safe for work, for kids, for mother, for the good of all humanity.  Watch at your own risk.)

Please note that this video features:

  • Plenty of topless models in nude-colored g-strings and white platform sneakers
  • What’s up with that lamb?
  • Fully clothed men, because of course they can’t be seen as vulnerable/exposed/not in charge
  • That. Fucking. Finger.
  • Mylar balloons spelling out that Robin Thicke has a big dick

So once again, they were re-enacting a video.  Robin Thicke’s video, not Miley Cyrus’s.  It may have been the unrated one but still, these videos have been released since March 2013.  The world has had six months to hate on the goddamned finger and they focus their anger NOT on Robin Thicke, the person who inflicted it unto the world but rather, on the young woman who performed it with him at a live show.  They may as well hate the models who danced in the unrated version, because clearly they were the ones in charge of artistic direction.

Was it over the top?  Sure, I guess, though the entertainment industry as a whole is pretty well known for its decided lack of boundary/sense/taste and there’s not much that shocks me anymore.  When performers are as untalented as Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke, it’s no surprise that they have to become giant media gluttons just to keep the spotlight.  Outrageous behavior distracts from the fact that they’re untalented hacks.  I don’t care who Miley Cyrus grinds her ass up against, or who Robin Thicke has to simu-bone for attention, though I do care that these two performers are being held to entirely different standards for doing essentially the same thing.  Yes, yes, I know, RT is a man and we all know it’s OK for guys to swagga into a room dick-first but if a woman is overtly sexual?  Whoooooooooooooooore!  I feel kind of bad for Miley and her overt sexuality.  You know when a baby discovers his feet?  And then his parents put little jingly socks on him and he waves his munchkin feet around and sticks them in his mouth and can’t keep his hands off them because they’re all fresh and new to him?  That’s exactly how I view Miley Cyrus’s relationship with her vagina: it’s like she just found it and can’t stop (see what I did there?) pointing it out to everyone.  I blame Disney.

So please.  Don’t stop buying Miley’s albums because she committed some very public self-canoodling with a prop from one of Robin Thicke’s videos.  That’s unfair, and doesn’t focus on the source of the behavior, which (I will spell out) is Robin Thicke, or at the very least RT’s artistic director.  And don’t not buy RT’s albums because he’s a misogynistic tool.  Instead, I beg of you all, to do this: don’t buy their albums, because they CAN’T FUCKING SING.

What the hell, Justin Bieber?

Normally, I don’t give a shit about celebrities behaving badly.  I mean duh, of course they’re misbehaving in public.  Of course Lindsay Lohan is violating parole and going to rehab and pick-a-celeb, you’ll find a bar fight and Charlie Sheen became a celebrity anti-hero after a tiger-blood-fueled, insane ragestravaganza (and subsequent publicity tour) and Led Zeppelin are still unfortunately noted for doing unspeakable things with a fish.  And on, and on and on on on on.

Meh.  Whatever.  Celebrities.

But you know, sometimes?  There are those celebriturds who go too far.  For me, the line often gets drawn when there’s thoughtless aggression directed towards people who are just trying to do their jobs.  People who don’t exist in the rarefied circle of celebrity entitlement, who don’t have handlers and fret about health insurance and worry how to put food on the table every day.  People who may hate their jobs but show up because they don’t have the luxury to not get it done, whether “it” is taking care of their kids or making their rent or generating income while they write the Great American Novel in their spare time.

They’re people who deserve better than this.

That’s right. On leaving a nightclub and going out the back way through the kitchen, Justin Bieber thought it would be abso-fucking-lutely hilarious to piss into a mop bucket that’s supposed to be used to keep a restaurant clean and in compliance with health codes, while his professional ass-kissers cheer and his bodyguard (remember him? The guy who sat The Biebs back in his car like he was handling a 4-year-old?) benignly looks on.  Video him peeing, even, with a phone.  This of course begs the question: who’d he piss off enough that they released the video to TMZ?

See, here’s the thing: Someone’s got to clean that up.  The Maple Christ may think his piss is suitable for mass consumption (just listen to his music; it’s not far off) and that wherever it may fall, unicorns will spring forth and fart rainbows.  But to the kitchen staff making $7.25 an hour–the ones who have to empty the bucket and sterilize it before it can be used to clean, you know, a place that processes food, so they may be compliant with state and local health and sanitation standards–he’s just another rich doucheketeer looking for new lows to exploit in his pursuit of privilege.  Go, Wild Kidz!  The baddest gang to ever have a bodyguard to defend them!

Seriously, New York City, if you don’t at least issue a charge for misdemeanor public urination (because how much more public can it get than broadcast on TMZ?), you’re seriously dropping the ball, and that restaurant should consider pressing vandalism charges.

Though it will be interesting when the Bieber train wrecks, like most manufactured pop acts do.  Just look at Brittney and her extraordinary meltdown in 2007.  And Biebs is fifty times as arrogant as she was, so one can only hope that when he melts it will be fifty times as spectacular.

Maybe I should just sit back and enjoy the show, because it’s bound to happen and his behavior is increasingly erratic.  This could be fun.

But first, asshole, the least you could do is apologize.

Canada, can you please come here and take him back?

No more posts.