You’re In the Middle Of the Ride

Sunday, just about midday, I coughed up breakfast, then spent a day and a half either unconscious or very close. I could barely open my eyes, so mostly I lay still or sat still. With my body out of commission, I thought about Melissa Ethridge, dreaming herself well. I thought about the passions of the saints and the phrase “lying in the light of the Lord,” which I would bet is a normal physiological reaction to high fever. Ever wake up in a dark room and wonder who turned out the flood light? Yeah, that can have consequences. I don’t want to find a flowing spring off the Raritan with my bare hands, but if I do, I’m keeping a manicurist on call.

When I couldn’t move, I slept. I lay awake and drifted. I listened. I listened to TV, to the talk of cats, to the sounds of my neighbors, to quiet and birds, to Pete. For the first day, I wanted to hear the predictable, soothing rhythms of reruns and soap operas. Later, I wanted to listen to the cool and the quiet. Sometimes, I lay quiet while Pete watched cartoons, which was sweet, but I also heard a commercial that soured my mood. It’s stuck in my mind now, and I’m pissed.

Reese’s has a new candy product out, which is apparently a whipped, smoother, fluffier candy resembling its other candy line products. Actually sounds pretty good to me.

Reese’s Whipps has a TV campaign stating, “Whipped and proud of it!”

Who reading this is not familiar with the phrase “whipped,” and its connotations? Does anyone need me to explain why I have a problem with this ad slogan being used in ads pumped across “family time” TV shows?

There’s a word missing before “whipped.” A very important word. For the .04% of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, whipped refers to a man who is bossed around by a woman due to her sensual charms.

The word we all know coming before whipped is also a name for cats. And it rhymes with wussy. Hey, if you think this post is drifting toward the vulgar – now you are getting my point. Don’t direct your anger at me; I’m the cultural observer here pointing out the trash. So help me take it out. My firm wouldn’t touch creative like this with a 10-foot Hershey bar.

Fuck me running. How on earth did that get past the grownups at the ad agency?

Another thing I’m sorry I heard was an Oprah Show report by Lisa Ling about a woman who strips to provide for her three children. By the end of the report, I was so angry about the loaded language, ignored economic realities and mob mentality I wanted to conduct classes explaining to Oprah viewers what a railroad job they’d just seen.

I hate Oprah. One of the absolute worst aspects of any Oprah show is the part where Oprah poses question after question to elicit shame. In this case, when the subject didn’t exhibit – har har! – any shame, and her 13-year-old daughter was actually proud of Mom, both Oprah and Lisa Ling were openly scornful.

I could go until I turn blue about how much women hate other women, but I couldn’t possibly do this moment justice: the subject was describing how some club clients just want to talk – about their own wives and children, about her children. She mentioned she kept a picture in her shirt.

“What shirt?” snorted Ling. The audience cheered. It was a good thing I’d already felt physically ill, so I noticed the nausea right away.

The message board is an embarrassing woman-on-woman hatefest. Nothing is said about the men who abandon families. Nothing is said about the man whose jealousy and possessive behavior kept her prisoner in her home for five years, then left her and her children to starve. Nothing is said about the society that scorns working poor women with two jobs and no time with their children, but hates women who take sex work and have time to correct homework. Nothing is said about how what women really hate is the window into their own economic vulnerability if that man at home ever gets up and leaves.

I wondered how the producers found that woman. I wondered what she thought would happen. Whatever it was, I wish I’d changed the channel and slept easy.

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