Adventures in Iconoclasting
Sad and in the dumps, Mary Ladd is redirected to snap out of it, contemplate pop culture's more philisophical questions, and do some serious iconoclasting with her friend, Ken Simms.
Subject: Alien v. Predator
Would you ever go see this movie? Unfortunately, I think you would...since both of these characters are pop icons and you would not be true to the Ape if you didn't.
Subject: Re: Alien v. Predator
No. I wasn't going to see it. I don't know the whole Predator mythology. And I have a secret phobia of movies about mass human annihilation. Seems too real and thus I am never entertained and look for things to hate about the movie, like I did with Independence Day?
Interesting....How do you feel about the Lollipop Guild?
Although much ballyhoo'd among munchkins of a certain dreamstate, I don't know that they are actually any great value-add to the ongoing struggle for lollipop quality assurance. And as an informative guild, they fare even worse. For instance, they have issued no documentation in their history that I am aware of, (and you will surely correct me if I am wrong), accounting for how many licks it does in fact take to get to the center of a tootsie pop. Please be informed, that is not a statement of feeling, per se. Those are simply the facts.
You are absolutely correct about the lack of documentation; and further, the tootsie roll pop controversy does rage on. However, I, in my own mind, have augmented the now famous Woodsey Owl Theory from "three" to "a minimum of three." Which, alas, does not answer the posed question. However, I would also like to state for the record that the question itself was flawed. A better phrased question would be: "What's the maximum number of licks it takes before you reach the gooey dark core of the tootsie pop?"
At any rate, I won't take up more of your time on this topic. I am sure there are doctorate classes out there that studying this very issue with people far more intelligent than you or I.
You are right about the misleading inferiority of the original Tootsie Roll question that was put to us so many years ago. It's an old trick: confuse the issue with an unanswerable question. After years of struggling with such a koan you would either eventually attain enlightenment or become irreparably befuddled into voting for the wrong presidential candidate.
Subject: Jeannie's Bottle
What are your thoughts on the décor of Jeannie's bottle? Over the top or simply way too circular?
Subject: Jeannie's Bottle
Wow. Laurie Partridge - that's a nice compliment. :-) I think I could actually convey her tortured love of the unattainable teen-idol co-star.
My thoughts on the decor of Jeannie's bottle. Well, although I didn't watch I Dream of Jeannie too often because I felt Jeannie was too codependently boy crazy and Larry Hagman wasn't really my cup o tea and he had already coagulated in my consciousness as the sadistic JR Ewing, I am experiencing a sentimental bit of revisionist thinking about the show this morning.
The idea of the bottle is so crucial a symbol for the needs of the unrequited heart of Jeannie. The dream of Jeanie is to forcibly pull Tony Nelson into this contained area with lots of make-out couch space that you couldn't conceivably fall off of in the heat of the moment, a contained space where Jeannie could bring Tony, void of all worldly distractions, in order to make her argument of love, where she could be admirably uninhibited with her love, wow - what a dream it is, indeed.
The only parts of the show I liked where in Jeannie's bottle. It was a comforting space, although very pink, maybe too pink. The space was soft and the surfaces looked very tactile and sensual. It had flowing Indian-lite fabrics that were very erotic in a kind of saccharine pink way. The room was dizzyingly circular, yes, but that served to create a vortex focus on Jeannie and Tony. Here, neither of them could successfully "retreat into a corner". They had to focus on each other. Jeannie could return here for comfort when her dream was failing miserably; and she could bring Tony here, a symbolic gesture of the powerless lovelorn to contain something very elusive for a small amount of time in order to say I love you to somebody, who in the outside world, really doesn't want to hear it.
Jeannie could be annoyingly childish and abrasively pixie, but I envy her everything because she had that lovely bottle.
Subject: Jeannie's Bottle
You would be an outstanding Laurie Partridge because you would add a little backbone to an otherwise milktoast character. You would be strong enough to insist on storylines that relate to you instead of simply watching David and Shirley constantly circling that sexual mullberry bush. Screw already and be done with it! You'd be awesome!
On to Jeannie...I am not sure that she is boy crazy, but she is definitely a stalker. I don't know what I would do if a girl dressed in a scantily clad pink outfit, muscled her way into my home with all sorts of "wish" promises that never ever turn out the way I want them. And to add insult to injury, if I don't make any wishes or have sex with her, I wind up on some desert island or in a lion's den somewhere. The more I think about it the more I realize just how sadomasochistic that show really was.
As for her bottle, I once thought it was a cool place to hang out. Now I just think of Barbie and her neo-conservative hello kitty fascism. You know, the oval office is set up in the same way...do you think it's done on purpose to disorient people?
BTW: Why didn't Tony just pass Jeannie on the Major Healy or Dr. Bellows? Those two seemed like they would enjoy a stalker.
Subject: Jeannie's Bottle
I see your point. I suppose the ultimate story of Jeannie and Tony is one of social awkwardness and rejection, which you will see as either a wart-nosed witch or a genie’s bottle in this figure/ground scenario depending upon whether you are seized by lovesickness or are being stalked by someone in your mail room.
Unfortunately genies cannot be “passed off” like groupies. This objectifies and dehumanizes them. They can, however, be confused and reprogrammed by the snide comments of ex-girlfriends. To help himself, Tony should arrange a girl's nite out with the former Mrs. Tony Nelson, the ex-wife he never talks about. After three gin and tonics, Jeannie will be slurring out "what the hell was I thinking!"
You do remind me how sadly incompetent Jeannie was and what aggravation this must have caused for Major Nelson. Unlike Gomer Pyle, whose own incompetence grates on my very soul (see my review of the book "Why We Watch"), Tony is a military professional who seems to have more in common with the work ethic and workmanship of the much maligned and misunderstood Sergeant Carter. Nelson is a stoic, trim professional. Jeannie is a fluttering loosey goosey. They would be a disjointed mismatch. Jeannie is sorely blind to this fatal difference in characters, which makes her situation reminiscent of the doomed marriage of Meathead and Gloria, Carlton The Doorman's pitiful love for Rhoda, and Marcia's doe-eyed gushings for Davey Jones. For this menagerie of heartache, even the Greeks would weep.
How about this conundrum: Oompa Loompas? Good for society or a choral mouthpiece for the religious right?
To answer your question, we need to take a small step back and review their history: Once you are done reading this, we can have a common framework to discuss your question. (worry not...it's a quick read): http://www.oompa-loompas.net/history.htm.
I have read your attached history of the Oompa Loompas, which I found profoundly informative if not deceptively misleading. It's almost as if they are saying, we want to be the center of attention, not these gum-chewing, chubby, brats Wonka trots through the factory once every ten years. I think this is their subconscious aspiration. They envy the torch-singing panache of Veruca Salt’s “I Want It Now” and are secretly smiling when she falls down the egg hatch to her premature and untold demise.
These Loompas claim to be peaceniks with some kind of moral code, but their simplistic truisms seems to consist of the following proclamations: don't overeat, don’t chew gum, don’t watch TV or don’t dare belt it out like Ethel Merman. Well, what a joyless world we are left with now, I say. These Loompas sound more repressed than moral.
Why is there no catchy song about the evils of Horn Swagglers beating up Oompa Loompas. Why is there no song about the “bad habit” of a Rotten Vermicious Kinid torturing and devouring an Oompa Loompa. As if that isn't a vice. It certainly puts gum chewing in some kind of perspective and I am disappointed these druid-like curmudgeons have not addressed this before. They’re evading the real issues.
Believe me, I am no defender of English businessman William Wonka. From the evidence I've seen, he is an aloof genius at best, completely self-absorbed and needlessly paranoid about his ridiculous gobstoppers, at worst. I do not see him as "demented" or "violent", although he does seem to be suffering from some kind of bi-polar disorder if we track his pendulous mood swings while acting as his factory’s historical interpreter and museum guide. I doubt Charlie will last under his tutelage for very long.
I believe Wonka was sincere when he expressed sympathy for the historical trials of the oompa Loompas that day near the chocolate river before Augustus Gloop’s successfully concealed but fatal drowning. I just believe Wonka has no effective way expressing himself. I don’t believe he abused the Loompas, as they claim. Those plump Puritans look like they got plenty to eat, unless you are suggesting they are simply big boned.
Like many of Mia Farrow’s children who have been through hardships and are subsequently adopted by benevolent but flawed benefactors, I believe these Loompas are lashing out at the world and its disappointments and may possibly have their own agenda to snaggle some Warholian 15 minutes of fame.
And at the end of the day, I don’t find their Victorian platitudes helpful in our ongoing discussions regarding public decency. Those four kids, may they rest in peace, who visited the Wonka factory that fateful day were all desperately in need of some serious therapy. What they got was nothing but Monday-quarterbacking self-righteousness and the opportunity for their childless parents to now file multi-million dollar general liability claims, which will subsequently over-tax the insurance industry and hence, we will all be suffering higher premiums as a result. Where’s the Oompa Loompa dirge about that?
Now that we have a semi-credible account of the Oompa's history (after all, it's the victors of any conflict that write the history books), and your admirable analysis of their version of events, I think we can only now approach your original question. And itseems as though their history answers the question quite nicely. I submit that the Oompas are not good for society and they are certainly the choral mouthpieces for the religious right?
Here's why: like most members of the religious right, the Oompas believe they are the center of the known universe. As proof of this you need look no further than the name of their country: Loompa Land. What the hell? It amazes me that they have the gall to name an entire country after themselves. What would people think of Ladd Town or Simmsopolis?
[As an aside, is anyone going to talk about the 1,000 lb elephant in the room? Either they are products of genetic engineering, hillbilly inbreeding, or they have simply sipped way too much irradiated Kool-Aid. How else do you account for that Seneca pigmentation and green hair? The reason they have given for their physical characteristics: a proximity to Armenia or the Caspian sea! I think not!]
I agree with you: their so called peaceful society is predicated upon a complete lack of individual freedom. A room full of mannequins is peaceful, too. Further, I always look squinty-eyed and sideways when people use the words "never" and "always", such as, "never resorting to violence". Never is too long a period of time and Always is too consistent a concept for any life form. It also speaks to this notion of an innate perfection which is another attribute of the religious right
Now, on to this question of morals and how they used both consciously and subconsciously in those triad-ridden anthems they are so fucking proud of. The more I think about it, the more appalled I am about how I was brainwashed by them as a child. First, from a composition point of view, those songs are, as previously mentioned, "triad ridden" and in a minor key. Back in the good ole days, before unwieldy and unnecessarily complex Baroque period, the shire folk didn't give a second thought to stoning composers that used triads and minor keys. Those composition tools were thought of to be linked to the devil himself. With respect to the Oompa anthems (the tune of which, by the way, apparently does not change), I concur they are the works of Satan skillfully wrapped in the coarse burlap of morality. The use of these songs and their related demonic composition, shows that, like the religious right, they will use any tool necessary to promote their agenda.
As for these Horn Swagglers, Rotten Vermicious Kinids and Swangdoodles, I'd like to know their side of the story. It's hard to imagine that group just hanging out; then, all of a sudden, they just up and decided to wage war on the Oompas. I am positive they were provoked. ‘How can you be so sure, Ken?’ you say. Simple. It's all right there. Case in point: "Currently a horrible Civil War is taking place in Loompa Land." If you think about it, the definition of a Civil War is a war within a specified country. Don't you think it's rather interesting that the Horn Swagglers, Rotten Vermicious Kinids and Swangdoodles all live in "Loompa" Land? So, here's what really happened. Some of these egotistical, self-righteous bastards traveled to some distant land and named it "Loompa land" with no regard for those who were already living there. Sound familiar? Except in this scenario, the invaded had the ability to thwart the invasion, forcing the Oompas into an unholy alliance with the now widely recognized serial killer and pedophile Willy Wonka.
So now we are at the chocolate factory. While I completely agree that Wonka was a Grade-A super-sized nut, and it did appear that the Oompas were working hard, I think that as with any job situation, you have to balance the job environment with the job itself. Yes, you work long hours; but you also get most, if not all, of your candy for free. Where else are you going to find a job that hires not only you but all your friends and family? Where else are you going to find a job where you can sing the same song over and over and over again and convince those around you that it's a different song? Shit wrapped in cellophane and shit wrapped in foil is still shit. Oh and by the way, work is work. It's supposed to be hard and unpleasant, otherwise we wouldn't call it work. I also think that the Oompas, in general, have a tendency to exaggerate. Willy Wonka: Serial Killer and Pedophile: Yes. Nazi: No. Just as with the religious right, the Oompas have an over exaggerated persecution complex, paranoia, and fear of change.
One more quick point: during the now infamous Charley Coronation Tour of the Chocolate Factory, the Oompas seemed awfully happy. Since the Oompas are in fact precursors to the employees at Wal-Mart, they deserve what they get for not nipping this sort of alleged maltreatment in the bud. Wal-Mart now emulates the Wonka factory business model.
As for them "rising up" and killing Wonka...another lie. Last I checked, Charley was in charge. A more likely outcome is that they tried to kill Charley and take over the factory. But they failed and Charley, being from the ghetto, committed genocide on the Oompas thus explaining their extinction. For my money...good riddence.
Subject: George & Weezy
I prefer Laddville or better yet, I would wholeheartedly appreciate an entire land region to be referred to as Ladd Land, named after the Ladds of Enchantment.
I hope we have successfully taken the nagging Oompa Loompas down a peg. Thank you for your adept deconstruction of their structural musical manipulations and misuse of MAC products. Also, your forthright concerns about terms of absolutism can never be acknowledged enough. We need to let go of our desire for innate perfection in all things, from relationships to napkin folding with bendable twigs. Acceptance and tolerance of our failures and even our flawed successes is the natural way.
Which brings to mind the contentious relationship of George and Louise Jefferson. Was this a marriage of convenience or a solid partnership, fueled by challenging verbal repartee? Although I love a frisky bickering myself, I always sensed a tone of condescension from George and one of ridicule from Weezy. I was not convinced sexual contact ever existed. To further the point, Lionel doesn’t look or seem like either one of them. On the other hand, I have no doubt the squabbling volley ball between George and upstairs-neighbor Helen Willis lead to some illicit escapades in the back bedroom where I imagine George jumping all over the bed in that special way that he does while Tom was off laboring as some number-cruncher somewhere in a ubiquitous Manhattan high-rise. Unlike the girlish innocence that would mislead Edith Bunker into marrying Archie, Weezy was a smart cookie who should have seen through George’s self-promoting theatrics. I often wondered what Weezy and Edith confided to each other in the quiet dusk of Edith’s rear kitchen. I imagine Edith shaking her head, frowning, and mumbling, “Oh Louise. That’s aawful.” as Weezy tried to explain George’s latest sexual methods.
I am glad you brought this up.
Subject: George & Weezy
The Jefferson theme song was written by Jeff Barry and Ja'net Dubois, who also sang the song. Readers may remember Ja’net from the popular Maude spin-off Good Times. Maude itself was already a spin off of All In The Family; so Good Times earns the distinction of being a highly successful spin-off twice removed. Ja’net played the next door neighbor Willona Woods whose most popular storyline entailed adopting Janet Jackson from the abusive mother of Kim Fields who played Tootie in Facts of Life.
I have to admit I have a soft spot for George Jefferson’s empowered, self-loving strut. George’s character was created to be the equally-unreasonable but annoyingly effective foil to Archie Bunker. In any case, it was Lionel on All In the Family who was so wonderfully adept at teasing Archie by leading him down the path to the conclusions of his own illogical intolerances. How disappointing, looking back, that the late 70s marginalized the very smart character of Lionel in The Jeffersons just to bump up the laugh track for George and Weezy (RIP).
The interesting thing about Florence for me is that she set the standard for a wise-talking, push-back work ethic that I’ve tried to adopt at every office job I've had in the hopes that this kind of abrasive, eye-brow-raised attitude would garner some begrudging respect and mass co-worker avoidance. Unfortunately, I have been hereto completely ineffectual because I cannot seem to shake my insipid Pollyanna office personality bred into me from years of temping. Florence, sadly, is not my essential office nature. I do believe however that I have an inner Florence which comes out when I am relaxed and in my natural habitat and finally able to mistreat the people I care about most deeply.
Back to the lyrics of The Jeffersons: being set in New York, I am supposing that the pie refers to pizza pie. Everyone wants a slice. In essence, you could say the whole world is one big pizza pie. Some, like Tony in Saturday Night Fever, live life to the fullest by taking two slices and eating them at the same time. Others, in attempting the George Jefferson/Tony Manero strut down the bustling avenue, find instead that their cheese is sliding off onto the street because they don’t have enough mushroom anchors. They have a piece of the pie and they are still not happy because it’s not how much of the pie you get, but what toppings you choose for your piece and what you do with those toppings that counts.
( I might just make it after all....meow)
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