Sunday, 30 August 2009

Embrace the Cheese

My Sunday confession: I purchased the season one DVDs for 7th Heaven this week. Yes, I handed over 27 of my hard-earned dollars for twenty two episodes of pure American cheese.

7th Heaven was like a train wreck. It was awful, just awful, and yet I would catch myself watching anyway. The terrible acting, the anvilicious plots, the heavy-handed "morals" such as spying on your children is good parenting, half a beer is equivalent to heroin addiction, and the 'b-word' is an affront to God himself.

The show was never as popular here as it was in the US. Too American, too Christian, too earnest. It was only shown on TV here for the same reason that most bad shows are shown here: it was purchased as a package deal along with more desirable shows, and then stuck on during the non-ratings period. First it was the early afternoon replacement to PG-rated Oprah during school holidays when TV had to be G rated/kid safe all day, then it was stuck on at 6:30 Saturday during the non-football months. We never made it through a full season before football returned, and we were perpetually behind America. Eventually disappeared altogether before resurfacing years later on cable TV. Whenever I spot it on Foxtel it is always the late-season schlock with those horrible Schultz brothers, the less talented Duff sister, and all varieties of non-talent young actors and actresses with old fashioned names like Margaret and Joan spouting lines that no real person would say.

For all its plain awfulness, I found myself heading over to the DVD shop to see if they had any copies, and went home with season one in hand.

I watched all the episodes in a week. Best fun I had in a long time.

There are many reasons for me to love it, including the so-bad-its-good thing. But season one was much less horrible than the coming seasons when the focus shifted off the family and onto even more annoying peripheral characters. Ruthie was kind of cute and not so horribly precocious. The family members seemed to like and care for each other. The children were slightly rebellious and not so preachy, there was foreshadowing, and continuity, and friends that were featured for more than one episode. It was corny, but it knew it was corny.

More importantly, there was something in the show that reminded me of something I can hardly even describe. I grew in a fairly typical family: parents, 2 kids. My parents immigrated with nothing and worked very hard throughout my entire childhood, only really finding stability as I reached my early teens. My sister and I hated each other violently until we reached ages where we could effectively avoid seeing each other. Most of my childhood memories are just of me, alone, taking care of myself. Getting myself ready for school, walking to school alone, coming home alone, taking care of myself. Even when my parents came home they were busy: my mother studied for her Masters in the evening, my father usually worked a second job. There were no family board games or even shared time on the couch together watching TV.

I guess that is why I associate a working life- even my own which I enjoy- with a sense of drudgery. Day in, day out, no time for life while you work. There was no family life while there was a work life. That is, come Christmastime. In the second or third week of December my parents would start taking annual leave, and school would be coming to a close. Finally, my house came alive. There was someone there in the morning, and sometimes we even had a special cooked breakfast before school. There was someone to come home to, and usually family activities waiting. Walks to the park, late night shopping trips, planning recipes for Christmas Day itself. We no longer had anywhere to go, or anyone to be with. We were just us, together.

Season one of 7th Heaven is like a big, cheesey hug.

Saturday, 1 August 2009


I just drank a glass of milk that was one day past its expiry date.

I live on the edge.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Josh and Anna play hide the purple parsnip

Geraldine: So how's married life little Miss Coke Donkey? Everything alright in the bedroom?
Alice: Niiice.
Alice: We had a bit of trouble early on. Couldn't quite work out what went in where.
Geraldine: Well that's always tricky.
Alice: But you know once we got a wardrobe we were fine.

Heeee. You know that is totally how Josh and Anna Duggar's first few months of marriage were like. Well, that minus the humour and with a big dollop of shame thrown in.

But if the Vicar of Dibley taught us anything, it's that sexually oblivious people manage to be prolific breeders. Just as Hugo and Alice managed to conceive baby Geraldine on their honeymoon and then managed to have an additional nine children over the next six years, it seems like Josh and Anna have already begun their brood.

I had hoped that Anna might struggle to conceive for year or two, or even, *gasp*, use contraception for a couple of years. But it seems they have drank the Kool Aid and are eager to get their own spin off.

There hasn't yet been an official announcement that she is pregnant, but the evidence is stacking. A couple of posters on Television Without Pity spotted a commercial for an upcoming episode in which Anna mentioned taking pregnancy tests. Why would they show Anna taking tests that come up negative? That doesn't play into their storyline of "God loves us and showers us with gifts!"

The Duggars will be on the Today show on Monday to make an announcement. Put your money on a J'Grandbaby.

Monday, 6 April 2009

The Rastafarians were right!

Aside from the juvenile humour of giggling at how a banana is perfectly shaped and sized to fit the human mouth, and how the contents don't squirt in your face, I also have to wonder whether it would completely blow the collective mind of intelligent designers to turn the banana around to face the other way. It is no longer conveniently curved towards the mouth, shock horror.

Then there is that whole "God created the perfect food" argument. Um, no. The banana- the sweet ready to eat fruit as we know it- was cultivated from a mutated plantain tree by a Jamaican dude called Jean Francois Poujot in 1836. Either God created an imperfect fruit that was improved by evolution and selective breeding, or God is Jamaican.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Fundie Watch

Since the death of (modestapparelChristianclothing) Lydia of Purple (dressescustomsewing), I have been occasionally googling around to find another loltastic fundie website.

I generally stick together a few fundie hot topics like "modesty head covering submissive wife homesteading homeschooling DH DS DD purity ball" and see what turns up.

So far I have only really come across old favourites like the Prairie Muffin Manifesto, full of such feminist gems like "Prairie Muffins do not reflect badly on their husbands by neglecting their appearance", "Prairie Muffins prefer others above themselves", "Prairie Muffins place their husbands' needs and desires above other obligations", and "Prairie Muffins are fiercely submissive to God and to their husbands".

Better yet is the biblical argument for why women should not go to college. (Surprisingly it isn't because "it makes them uppity"). The argument is that the woman's sphere is the home, and that "those who pursue higher education are ill-equipped to fight battles in the real world" because they spend too long in "the artificial environment of the classroom".

I guess that ties into the whole homeschooling thing. Women should not be in the "artificial environment" of the classroom because they should be at home being fiercely submissive to their husbands and homeschooling their own dozen children. It seems that all fundies homeschool as a rule, although not all homeschoolers are fundie.

I have no moral objection to homeschooling, even though I am a teacher in an "artificial environment". I do have some problems with homeschooling in theory, but not in practice. It is kind of like high heel shoes. Why is it that women as a gender wear high heels, even though they are often painful, sometimes dangerous, and make it very difficult for women to run? Because they were designed by men to make our legs look nice and to keep us vulnerable. But is that what women are thinking when they wear them? Of course not. We wear them because they do make our legs look nice, and they make us feel feminine and attractive and can really set off an outfit.

Homeschoolers as individuals have a million good reasons to homeschool: their local schools are crap, their child has a learning disability that really benefits from one-on-one attention, they are geographically isolated, or they don't want their kids taught about sexual education and evolution. The individual reasons to homeschool are solid, but I think the homeschooling movement as a whole comes from something much more sinister. In years past, keeping house really was a fulltime job. Cooking everything from scratch, doing everything by hand. But with advances of technology and products and with the ubiquity of preprepared food it no longer is a fulltime job. I cook for 4 people 6 nights a week and am responsible for the cleaning of this 6 bedroom, 2 bathroom house and it really doesn't take that much work. Maybe ten hours a week at most. Not enough to keep a woman home fulltime. She could work part-time at least, or even juggle fulltime if hubby splits the domestic duties with her.

There needed to be a reason to keep women at home, and homeschooling a dozen children filled that gap quite nicely. And that is why every fundie homeschools. Well, that and not wanting their kids to ever hear the words 'dental dam' outside of the dentist's office.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Oy, oy, oy

3 things I like about Australia:
  1. Universal health care
  2. Secularism
  3. Tim tams
3 things I dislike about Australia:
  1. The heat (Tuesday night was the third hottest overnight low, only dipping to 28 degrees Celcius/82 degrees Farenheit)
  2. The inferiority complex. A celebrity making a positive comment about Australia is often headline news. Every interview with a visiting foreigner always has to ask what they think of Australia and Australians in general. It's not like they will say anything negative in an interview, so asking is just fishing for praise.
  3. Flagrant disregard for the correct pronunciation of names. Nothing will make me yell louder at my TV than a newsreader talking about "Barrick Obama" or "Opera Winfrey". You just introduced footage in which the name was spoken correctly several times and yet you still say it wrong! A proper noun is not something open to interpretation or an opportunity to add an Australian take on it!