Oh Joy!

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Oprah is a Hypocrite.

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If you’re like many American families, the story of The Butler intrigued you enough to visit the theater… or at least pirate the best copy you could find. A $25 Million opening weekend means that many were moved to experience this telling of a true story, moving many to tears and after leaving those seats, based on your ethnic experience you may have felt a pang of anger, or a dash of guilt, but you most certainly felt something.

Feel free to shed any emotions you’ve experienced in ANY capacity, because the entire movie is a tightly written sack full of lies – and yes, the same kind of lies that Oprah spent an entire episode shaming and scolding James Frey for including within the pages of his admittedly embellished book, A Million Little Pieces.

For information about the incredibly tall tales told around fictional character Cecil Gaines in the film vs. the true story featuring the actual character of Eugene Allen, Click Here . Then, for sh#t$ and giggles, read the transcript of that infamous show where Oprah set herself up to look like a damn fool in the near future Here (I’d love to post the video, but of course, her majesty has it on lockdown). Oprah later tries to act regretful toward her actions during This Video.


Oprah’s Verbal Paddling of James Frey

If the end result of instilling everyone with a desired emotional disposition on a particular subject does not justify the means of packing lies into a film that claims to be ‘based on a true story’, then just because Oprah is Oprah doesn’t mean she gets to run around getting involved in exactly that which she rails against. It’s disgusting and unseemly. If those involved with The Butler couldn’t stand creating an honorable story about a strong, silent man whose quiet dignity brought him upward into a respectable White House position, they could’ve simply created a fictional tale. Taking the low road with such an important subject in the history of our country just seems…. cheap.


Get Inexpensive Video Content for your Website!

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Great luck moving forward!


The Formulaic Fortitude of the Final Girl

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**This article can also be found published in the March 2012 Special Issue of HorrorHound Magazine**

The Final Girl is to the slasher film what an old lady’s diary is to the romance film; she is the vehicle through which the story unfolds, bringing you the unique thrill that defines the experience of the genre.

Rising to fame in the 1970’s, the ‘Final Girl’ is a commonly used and very successful formula for a female character. Through her quick wit, intelligence, willingness to put up a fight, and the ability to maintain a sense of level-headedness while pursued by some form of blood-thirsty killer(s), the FG outlasts the entire cast to defeat her pursuer – at least until the sequel.

As a horror fan, you’ve undoubtedly found yourself rooting for a FG, whether it be Jamie Lee Curtis or Danielle Harris in Halloween, Camille Keaton or Sarah Butler from I Spit on Your Grave, the women of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, or the many, many others that have helped keep horror interesting over the years.

Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween 1

One o' the greats, Final Girl Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween 1

Many argue that the very existence of this bold character type is a reflection of the American society’s desire for a cathartic reaction to punishment of the women in these films who are not the star/Final Girl. Co-starring female characters found in films who star a Final Girl typically have the opposite personality characteristics. They are portrayed with any of the following traits: sexual (or overtly so), unintelligent, impulsive, bratty, spoiled, or otherwise flawed through unlikeable mannerisms.

One can hardly deny the ease in which (overly parodied) scenes with necking young couples whose heavy petting is interrupted by a brutal slaying can be found.

Of course, punishment of the previously mentioned character types means that the Final Girl characteristics would instead be rewarded for being the sexually withholding, quick witted, smart, conservatively dressed girl that’s kind enough to run back for you after the inevitable tumble you’ll take as the killer advances.

As far as character development goes, nearly every writer and/or director drops some type of formulaic character into his or her script to help advance the story while giving the audience something familiar, whether intentionally or not. Those insisting the FG is nothing more than an insult to females are missing at least one big aspect: what she brings to the slasher story.

As in any other genre of film (with the exception of thrillers), the central character(s) must evolve, there must be a recognizable movement from one state to a new, more interesting state of being.

The pre-transformation FG is not unlike any young girl cast in a coming-of-age drama. She is at a pivotal age – taking her first few wobbly steps toward autonomy. The difference? Instead of her life-changing event being a girl-on-girl kiss with a bff, the divorce of her parents, the first time she’s caught stealing or any number of other stereotypical tropes you can imagine launching a drama film, she’s forced to find the strength to preserve her very existence – often against a much larger, stronger, and sometimes paranormal attacker!

In keeping with ideas about rewards and punishments, perhaps the FG’s  prevalence against her attacker represents a general desire to see women destroy violence against them on their own? Either way, there is very little that can measure up to a leap this big in terms of character growth.

If instead of the FG the director were to choose the promiscuous and cocky diva-chick stereotype of the cast in this same scenario, would there be as many audience members rooting for her? There’s no reason she couldn’t win in the end. However, the fact is, seeing an uncertain girl who sleeps in a ruffled flannel nightgown, counts 100 hair brush strokes before school each morning and to whom ‘Dirty Sanchez’ has no meaning go head-to-head with a criminally insane murder is much more intriguing to most people than seeing someone with any type of intensity already infused in their personality (sexual or otherwise) graduate to a hero. Intensity infers experience, and the fun of the Final Girl is knowing that she has none.

So, in a FG we have an innocent girl who has been pushed to the outer limits of her potential. By this point in the film, we already trust her to give us the good vs. evil battle we all love to watch unfold. When the dust settles, half the cast is in the ground and the entire small town of *fill in the blank* are terrified to leave their homes, who better to rise as the hero than the character that has been given the most hero-like qualities?

And sure, FG’s benefit from an increasingly three-dimensional personality when compared to slashers from the 70’s… but too much time spent on character development takes space that can be used to infuse all the awesomely gruesome killing that gets the crowd in the seats in the first place.

So, do those who find no good in the FG simply not understand the appeal of horror films in the first place? It is arguable that the personality types of those killed in horror films doesn’t matter much, because crowds come to see something extreme that can’t be seen everyday – the horror – which by the way doesn’t mean they won’t flinch, jump, cringe or even close their eyes. Horror fans enjoy being made to flinch, or proving they don’t need to.

Because I’m truly thirsting for thought-provoking conversation on this topic, I must ask: what’s YOUR take on this?

For more ideas on the social impact of the horror genre’s Final Girl, check out the book that is responsible for a lot of the ideas that led me here, Men, Women and Chainsaws. Also, there is a seriously fantastic podcast out there called Stuff Mom Never Told You, (part of the friendly neighborhood info folk at How Stuff Works) which covers the Final Girl as part of the Halloween Slasher Spectacularepisode.

For more instant gratification on the idea, here’s Actress Caroline Williams (Star of Texas Chainsaw Massacre II, Rob Zombie’s Halloween II, Stepfather II) in a video interview – (if you can tune out the infuriatingly repeating sample of what I’m certain is Trent Reznor screaming in the background for no apparent reason). I must make this disclaimer, however; although I was largely there to listen since Ms. Williams was part of the aforementioned cinematic movement, I’m mostly with her until she trashes women’s studies folk, a group with whom I proudly identify both as a rabid consumer of philosophical writing and a proponent of equal rights.

Besides, feminists and women who appreciate Women’s Studies aren’t all the single-minded image of joyless flannel-flaunting, work boot-cladded male-haters that Married With Children seemed to impress upon an entire generation.


There are also many other great articles, bits of data, and conversations about the Final Girl out there, but not nearly enough so do feel free to give me a shout! As I mentioned, this article will appear in HorrorHound Magazine March 2012 Special Issue, so if you raise good questions, witty retorts, or present me with a fun argument, you may just find your ramblings in HH Magazine, HH Online – or better yet – FinalGirl – HorrorHound’s BRAND-SPANKIN NEW sister company that is scheduled for launch in March 2012 with this article and the awesome teaser trailer during the Film Festival at HorrorHound Weekend, Columbus. Join the fun!

Bugs: Too Dumb to Travel (- monarchs)

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Upon hearing a particularly loud cricket in a close friend’s home – I pointed out the strength of it’s song and commenced to daydreaming about how it would be deemed a “lucky cricket”, placed on a hearth and treated like a little rockstar in many other times &/or places in the world.  In China, the noisy little insect would have it’s own multi-floored cricket cage and be displayed as a prized accessory.

Then, when I left the room, he killed it.

Dead Bug

Please don’t think this is sexy.

For some reason, this really upset me.  I began to think about how UN-lucky it was, appearing on the wrong patch of land and probably in the wrong century, and the contrast of how great it would have lived if it’s song had wafted into a different window, in a different time….Folks in most European areas and the Native Americans would NEVER kill a cricket, believing it to bring terrible luck on it’s death dealer.

Lucky Cricket

I’m …. still pretty unhappy.

And then I realized I had felt something similar recently.  Yes, it was over a cow – not that I have a “thing” for cows, for crickets – or even for animals in general for that matter.  However, trying to get a handle on the sheer number of cows we slaughter in the U.S. compared to the scant few here and there that are let to roam the streets of India to have full, carfree grass-chewing lives became sort of daunting to me.

Third & final realization: As ANYTHING other than a human, you are basically FUCKED if your randomized and indifferent creature ancestry led you to a life in the United States -it is likely that if you aren’t straight up killed by a car, pesticide, farmer, etc., you also have to worry about having your territory bulldozed (since the dudes atop the Caterpillar machinery don’t recognize territorial tree pissing as a legitimate claim to land).  But if you’re a human here, you’re probably doing better than people on most of the rest of the planet.

Sure, the U.S. has a looong way to go, but at least you don’t have to sleep in shifts because I’m willing to bet your neighbors aren’t warring factions, gangs that are eager to enroll you as a slave, or a millitary that greets your face each morning with heavy artillery.

So yeah, it is no secret (thanks to light-shedding cultural phenomena such as Food, Inc.that the U.S. treats animals like shit – that’s what happens when we are brought up with no connection to the space we’re inhabiting in order to exist here.  It doesn’t help that our culture teaches people that are already full to eat more, plan on consuming more than they can get their hands on, and then often times offer nothing better through which to attain all this idealized crap than jobs – like in slaughterhouses -where no one earns enough money to consume the shit they’ve been trained to believe they need.  It is utter ouroboros. At least the snake’s eating cheap.

Side note: PETA, if you want to make a difference, stop putting naked women in cages to make a point (because it doesn’t).  Instead, work on inventing something yummy aside from animals to tote home in word puzzle-covered, grease-stained paper bags (how is that genetically-cloned, animal-free skin-blob meat thing going for you?), something that is just as satisfying for assholes to abuse (i.e. it wails, is helpless and runs scared from its abuser), but that can’t really be hurt; or just pay for over-zealous bouncers to constantly stand next to slaughterhouse workers to redirect the abuse anytime work gets frustrating . Good luck on that.

Book, “The History of Fanny Thoughtless” Uninspires Procrastinators Past and Present

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For my British friends – no, this book was not about a careless vagina – the actual underdog protagonist of the story is a little girl named Fanny.

Sorry, had to get that out of the way.

Fanny Thoughtless was written in 1855. Once considered the most popular pastimes for children, trading one’s boringly water-dwelling body for a land-dwelling, but still human-based life form (aka mermaid), deep adventures into forests sans chaperone, the consuming of edible witch homes and TONS of similarly harmless, fun-filled activities all took a dive in the 1800’s.

This sudden plunge into fear-based fun restriction was widely attributed to children’s books of the era, i.e. Grimms Fairy Tales, Hans Christian Andersen and other similar works, dubbed “the buzzkill” by affected children.

Today, these stories have had their “scary parts” dismembered & re-imagined so thoroughly by ad-friendly factions that the originally creepy content is actually known by very few…. begging the question: Is it better to have your children paralyzed by fear, or merrily ignorant of the many horrors that lie around every turn?

Anyhow, seeing that the devices of terror had been thoroughly covered, the authors of Fanny, Milner and Sowerby made a marketing decision to explore the territory of annoying habits (those displayed by children, of course). Apparently, once people figured out how to stop dying in their 30’s, they realized that they needed to use all that health to self-sacrifice for god, because (arguably?) the very first emergence of the word procrastinate in the English language (with the exception of the root word, which I’m sure you can look up on your own).

Among other thoughtless (oh, that’s so like Fanny, amIright?) actions, Fanny puts off informing anyone (including her mother) of a widow’s pending eviction, causing the poor woman and her children to be booted out of their home.

Basically the point of this backstory is to beg the question: Is this book the foundation of where we extracted the term, “Get off your lazy Fanny and get (fill in the blank) done”? That is literally all I want to know.

This is a fun slang-origin question – and if this origin is true, it makes so much sense why we only hear this particular definition of “Fanny” delivered in a whisper as nursing-home hallway slang (get it? only old folk use it. ZING!!)

Of course, it is sort of entertaining to imagine the authors’ reactions if they were able to peek  into the shameful heights that the “Lazy and Proud” movement has reached in our present day….

Used & New, Now Available in Flea Markets Everywhere!

Thoughts/Insights/Arguments welcomed 🙂

lazy people suck

Hey, that government money could'a been in my disability check instead! No faaaair!

Haislip Gyps Hordes of Nerd Girls – Unknowingly (?)

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I have been chewing on a general complaint for quite some time, and it has just recently turned specific now that I have a semi-famous person to attach to aforementioned complaint thanks to the always entertaining Nerdist Podcast …

I sorta like Alison Haislip – and all of the things that she pretends to enjoy for attention claims to stand for.

However, I’m sick’a hearing her and other women who just happen to enjoy nerdy things speak on themselves like they’re the only ones out there!  I suppose it’s likely that there are less women of this persuasion who also happen to be actors, and I also realize that she feels the need to self-promote on the air, but come on!  We aren’t an endangered species, and when I say “We” I’m speaking of HOT nerd girls, not just nerd girls in general (although that is subjective, you know what I mean – I think…) ->

Whatever, keep letting that nerd flag fly, but PLEASE all you hot gamer chicks out there in TV land, can you please just stop with the,

“Yea, I mean how many other girls are out there like ME? hehe <humblebrag chuckle>”

and the, “that’s why I’M just the BADDEST, most AWESEOME chick”,

and the grossly self-masterbatory, “I can only find guys like me… no girls ever want to be around me and I guess I’m just too competitive and into things they don’t understand” brand of comments….

…and maybe instead say, “well sure, but just because I’m female doesn’t mean I bead jewelry, bleach my asshole and brush my hair all day long” or, “there are actually tons of us out there, don’t be afraid to find us!”

Alison Haislip

That’s right, I’m the only one who understands you, nerd boy. 

This is an attempt to raise awareness for other nerd girls out there to spread the word of our existence, not a slam on anyone. It is hard enough already to get nerdy guys to feel comfortable talking to us. Pop culture teaches the poor guys that hot girls will invariably share no common interest with them, we don’t need more *nerdy guy < hot woman * muck out there perpetuated by women who intentionally hang out with only guys and are just DYING to believe they’re somehow special and unique.  It’s gross.

BTW Haislip, I lost some respect for you when you shot off the fact that of the TMNT clan, you liked Michealangelo the best?! Only the booger-eaters and specials dug him and his lame catchphrases.   #RaphstheMan

And lastly, for someone who’s only seen 2 episodes of Dr. Who, you are certainly gung-ho to masquerade as a seasoned fan via treating your introduction to Matt Smith and Karen Gillan as the greatest event of your young life….ahem…


Sexual Assault, Victim Blaming, and a Call to Action

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I was happy to be a guest blogger for fellow feminist friend Linda K. – Check it out here

(her site is perdier than mine):

An Honest Look at Victim-Blaming – and a Call to Action

Written by joyelove

July 13, 2011 at 6:10 am