Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Social Suicide? Game of Thrones meets RHOT Dummy Squad

The Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode Seven

If you are a woman of conscience, the longer you observe a person, the harder it is to completely despise him or her, which is unfortunate if your aim is snark. Even Amanda Lindhoult (an inspiration of mine) could find some shred of redeemable humanity in the captors who tortured her and she was able to forgive. To err is human, to forgive divine.

Dummy Squad. A fool can no more see her own folly than she can see her ears.

Nevertheless, to be an unyoked, highly functioning sociopath must be exhilarating. For those of us burdened with a sense of right and wrong, however, no such exhilaration exists. Or if it does, it is a fleeting mania that arrives with a mad rush and leaves with a painful thud.

It is therefore not a surprise to me that I've discovered facets of Roxy but mostly Joan I can enjoy, even admire, in episode seven of The Real Housewives of Toronto. That said, if I let my heart get in the way of my head, these blogs would dissolve into a sappy heap of goo and that's fun for only so long. Too much sugar is bad for the brain.

Tweedledee-Jana and Tweedledum-Grego think Kara has committed "social suicide" by "trashing" Joan. They meet to gossip about the situation, deciding they have to clue in blissfully unaware Joan AND confront the "evil" "master manipulator", Kara Alloway. Jana: "Joan is A GODDESS!! She will outsmart and outwit Kara and everyone! And I have NO PROBLEM saying that to her face! I'm disgusted!" Grego is also "disgusted" and decides Kara must be "insecure around Joan". Lala is ALSO disgusted at how DUMB these two are.

Besides, there's still plenty of absurdity, phoniness and arrogance to explore. Social suicide, Jana? For a former Albertan milkmaid and chicken executioner, you've really built not only yourself but Joan up into something, haven't you? Not everyone is bamboozled by people like you, though, and good people don't forget where they come from. 

The only reason Jana, who is neither a housewife nor outrageously wealthy, is on The Real Housewives of Toronto is to market her Joga business. I'm still curious what backroom deals and "favors" she had to trade and with whom in order to make that happen. What powerful member of the business "elite" with a penchant for blonde bimbos and reality TV does Jana have "contact" with? Hmm...I wonder. Either she's a sellout, or the other name you call a woman who willingly allows herself to be degraded for profit. I won't say the name because I'm a nice person, but when you watch her dry hump Gregg as she, in her words, "takes the opportunity to network and sell her Joga products to the business elites" who attend this charity golf tournament they're all exploiting, you'll catch my drift. 

Jana and her Joga Girls getting physical with Gregg and his golfing Boys. This is what they call "networking" or "cross-promotion" in entrepreneurial mentorship programs. I'm sure Joga clients are happy to be "coached".

Vulture capitalists shouldn't be allowed to use wounded soldiers like this. Haven't the men and women who serve and protect the free world gone through enough? If they need financial support, just give it to them. Other people's misery, suffering, PTSD and sacrifice isn't a fucking "opportunity" for greedy entrepreneurs to capitalize on, no matter WHAT some smug, morally bankrupt investor preaches. We're starting early, today, Brett Wilson. Fuck you, prairie boy, pauper of wheat, slave of ego, moron.

And who the fuck is Joan, other than a farm girl from the prairies? Now? Because she's married to "a Donald" she has some ordained right to not be offended no matter how dismal her behavior? It's not like Karma Kara made things up about Joan out of thin air. Joan literally did strip off her panties and she literally DID get sloshed. And Donald? What's so great about a man named Donald who was dealt a lucky hand and granted by dark authority permission to cheat? Let me see what you do with unyielding integrity and a shitty hand, then get back to me. I'll be impressed with you then and only then.

This is why I have issues with class hierarchies. It transforms the ambitious into unapologetic tyrants as they claw, scratch, steal and blow their way up the rungs to finally attain the power they crave. By the time they reach this idealized "nirvana" the upper echelons of society  they are so sore from having to go through so many unpleasant, possibly demeaning trials and tribulations in their climb to get there, that they now feel entitled to act holier than thou, cruel and put on airs.

Jana Webb, who considers herself a "community leader", mentors young women on how to "climb" to the "top". *Hint* It has nothing to do with intelligence or character, which begs the question, when she says "top" what positional "top" is she referring to exactly? Jana coaches her Joga girls, "You have to be in great shape if you want to climb to the top". Those geriatric "business elites" are usually pretty tubby with protuberant bellies, so I guess that's why it's a "climb".

Don't ever think that just because someone has gone through an ordeal, as Amanda Lindhoult did, or lived through a traumatized past that it automatically makes them empathetic to others still living through similar situations. Not everyone is created equal. Not everyone is Amanda, which always confounds me. How can people be so unkind to someone especially when they know what it's like?

This is why the adage "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable" is as much for those who suffer as for those who don't. Affliction is an antidote for arrogance. Arrogance is a virus that never ceases to need updated inoculations or "afflictions" for the sake of herd immunity. Without the protective resistance that affliction provides, "egoism and pride", as the visionary genius, Nikola Tesla, once said, "is always prone to plunge the world into primeval barbarism and strife". Nobody wants that.

But eliminating ego altogether is absurd. Your ego is there for a reason. We all need an identity in order to interface with material existence. The trick is not to eliminate ego, but to become aware of it (self-awareness). If there was more self-awareness and yes SHAME in the world, we'd have far fewer assholes with which to contend. 

You wouldn't need things like "political correctness", formal etiquette, religion, bylaws, and good-old-fashion struggle to keep the lowly aspects of human nature in check, because with self-awareness comes self-regulation of behavior AND thought, as well as a deep regard for "the other". You begin to see everyone is a tributary of the same vein and as such, to demean another is to demean yourself (unless, again, you're a natural born psycho, sociopath, or sadist through and through, in which case you truly don't care and there is no hope for you).

However, a great many egos are utterly unaware of anything other than their own perceived brilliance and are completely caught off guard if someone comes along and points out not only a flaw in this "brilliance", but that not everyone shares the same definition of brilliance. This is hugely jarring to an egoist accustomed to nothing but praise, compliments and pampering. When Tweedledee-Jana and Tweedledum-Grego, for example, inform Joan that Kara has been saying "really negative things about her", Joan is genuinely taken aback by this revelation, replying, "I really honestly did not see that coming". 

But Joan, thankfully, is not as stupid as she has been made to look thus far and does not immediately plunge into outrage and self-righteous indignation. She wants more details before she simply believes unsubstantiated gossip and proceeds to thoroughly question Tweedledee and Tweedledum. The twin idiots fumble about trying to defend Roxy's malicious gossiping and Joan isn't buying it. 

Joan, significantly shrewder and wiser than she's been given credit for thus far, asks Grego: "And how did YOU hear this?" Tweedledum fumbles around trying to come up with an excuse until her sidekick, Tweedledee, pipes up, "From Roxy". Joan whips her penetrating stare on Jana now, making Madam Joga visibly uncomfortable, and demands to know, "Why didn't Roxy come to ME with this?" Jana is paralyzed with fear and can't answer right away because all she's thinking about is how she might have pissed off Joan, one of the most "powerful and respected women in Toronto" and therefore another contact Jana wants to keep "happy".

She says she will have to talk to Roxy and Kara directly to get to the bottom of this. She also questions Roxy's motives for repeating and embellishing what Kara supposedly said in the first place, advising, "When you talk about something you give it life, you add fuel to the flame". Wise woman! And just like that my esteem for Joan is rekindled.

Joan: "I'm human. When you hear bad things about yourself it's hurtful". You're going to need tougher skin than this if you insist on making a spectacle of yourself on reality TV, there Joan. The "lower" classes have a lot of pent up resentment and they want to direct it somewhere. Can you blame them? Think of the Sewer Children and their illusions of choice. Spectacle of Poverty.

That said, it kills me that Joan's being so melodramatic about how important "honesty" is to her. If you're concerned with honesty then The Real Housewives of Toronto is definitely NOT the place for you. Also, please explain how relying on a multitude of cosmetic procedures is not in fact dishonest and driven by a desire to trick people into thinking you're something better than you actually are? How can a mind be free under the strain of so much phoniness? It must get emotionally and spiritually exhausting for these women to keep up so many pretenses.

But then, pretense is what this show's all about, isn't it? Dishonesty, superficiality and marketing schemes are weaved throughout every episode like a web that gets more tangled and sticky with each passing week. They all take advantage of this web, each character contributing her own "unique" self-serving thread, such as Roxy trying her hand at entrepreneurship with a completely frivolous app that will only add to our planet's woes by stoking the consumer's insatiable appetite for more! more! more! Look at me! Look at me!

Roxy pitching her app idea that encourages mindless, environmentally irresponsible consumerism: "I'm a little humble to come and present my idea for consuming fashion, but there's a desire out there among woman for an outfit of the day. I never want to wear something more than once, so I just imagine the general public's the same." Then she informs us that she doesn't have to work if she doesn't want to, unlike the rest of us schmucks, but thinks she should use her "genius" to make the world a worse place: "I could just go to the spa, but honestly I think intelligence wasted is such a lost opportunity." Irony! Irony! as far as the eye can see! Irony! Vultures.

Roxy proudly admitting that she never wears the same thing twice is nothing to brag about, and encouraging others to live in the same wasteful manner as her privileged donkey's ass allows HER to live makes her a disgrace. 

Privileged trash with "traction".

The clothing industry is the second largest polluter in the world. Source.

This is especially true in light of the air and water pollution, overflowing landfills and ecologic destruction already choking the globe and causing needless misery for millions, particularly in the developing world, as a direct result of the mindless consumerism and waste that Roxy and her friends represent. It might make them look "pretty" and feel pleased with themselves, but the price the planet has to pay so they can look good is too much. Plus, they don't even look good! They look ridiculous, like grown women pretending to be little girls playing high society.

Mad Hatter: You are trying to understand madness with logic. This is not unlike searching for darkness with a torch.

They do things like dress up as if they are at a Mad Hatters tea party, boasting about themselves and their achievements in various ways; some appear to have no sense whatsoever that maybe they should be embarrassed. Pride in one's accomplishments is fine, but there's a thin line between confidence and arrogance. No one likes a bragger. Tread carefully, ladies.

Ann gets all dolled up for high tea with Lady Kara and Lady Holly to discuss the AMBI charity gala. This is a closeup of the piece of broccoli Ann, Patron Saint of Plastic, intentionally decorated her hat with. She will feed it to Stephen later when they're alone after he's tried out his new toy, SculpSure on her. Getting kinky with broccoli and lipo-sculpting.
Oh, baby.

Not even Ann, the mother of a gaggle of kids and wife of a well-respected doctor, as well as a successful businesswoman in her own right, displays the slightest hint of embarrassment for her, to borrow Joan's expression, déclassé behavior and frivolity. 

Ann and Stephen use The Real Housewives of Toronto platform to "cross-promote" SculpSure and use it as an opportunity to invite the RHOT sycophants to Barcelona as dummy demo models. Jana is IN without a moment's hesitation. 

Ann just gets odder with each passing episode of The Real Housewives of Toronto. She bobbles around here and there, with a ready piece of broccoli always stashed in her elaborate hats and handbags for those occasions when she meets up with munchkin Stephen for one of their extravagant rendezvous and she wants to shove a vegetable down his throat. She seems to think broccoli will save Dr. Munchkin from the Reaper's scythe. It won't, but it's amusing to watch so carry on.

Kara attempts to interject some actual interesting information regarding the current epidemic of young women brainwashed into relying on excessive and unnecessary cosmetic procedures or "injectables" when Ann rudely interrupts. Ann is, after all trying to use The Real Housewives of Toronto to market a plastic surgery product and she can't have Kara point out anything negative, no matter how true, now can she? Then UNBELIEVABLY, Ann has the audacity to question Kara's agenda?? The hypocrisy of these people is beyond the pale.

It's also amusing to watch the other sycophant wannabe demo models, (did you see how quickly opportunist, Jana, jumped at the chance to go to Barcelona?) Roxy, Grego and Jana, getting sloshed yet again as they cackle over how they are SURE Joan's gonna stick it to Kara. The injectable-reliant Ann, Patron Saint of Plastic, suggests they all make bets on who they think will emerge victorious.

Kara Alloway and Joan Walker heading into battle.

Will it be Kara, tiny but sly and fierce, adorned with her Game of Thrones braids? Or will it be Joan, tall and regal but self-pitying and easily distracted by bubbles and baubles, adorned with fake lashes and hair extensions?

Look and see which way the wind blows before you commit yourself.

― Aesop, Aesop's Fables

Kara is victorious, but she has enough class not to gloat. Besides, after her little "air clearing" initiated by Joan, I might add, she is now well-aware that she is NOT among friends. When the other ladies ask what happened, Kara, sharp and with unsmiling precision: "The air is clear". Throw me to the wolves and I'll return leading the pack. How cool is Kara? Stay you, Kara.

There can be no doubt, of course. Game of Thrones wins. Swords, whether those that slay with word or blade, beat bubbles and baubles every time.

Until next week, ladies.

Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 1: Dumb, Plastic and Sleazy
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 2: Boring Housewives and Ugly Husbands
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 3: The Polished Real Housewives of Toronto
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 4: The Slut Shame
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 5: Amazing Reality TV Stars
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 6: Infomercials and Friends in High Places

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Friends in High Places: The Real Housewives of Toronto

The Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode Six

It is official. The Real Housewives of Toronto is not a reality TV show at all. It's one epic infomercial promoting the business concerns of not just the wives and their husbands, but their friends as well. 

They present some of it in the guise of "charity" but that's merely a justification for their greed and a diversion from their true agenda (exaltation of self). However, in the battle of good versus evil, what is good often uses what is evil as an unwitting tool of grace, so I'm not so "outraged" that I can't continue trashing this show. 

Luckily, it's not all bad, though. Watching the always amusing Stephen, especially as he struggles with his nemesis, broccoli, has put me into delicious fits of laughter on more than one occasion. He is truly the highlight of the whole shebang. 

As Ann waxes poetic about their life together, Stephen tries his best to pay attention, but all he can think about is this vile smelling cabbage head he's being forced to choke down. He's so close to saying fuck it, spitting out the broccoli and reaching for the bottle. Screw longevity. In Vino Veritas.

If satire wasn't my goal, I'd probably have nicer things to write about him and his wife, as well as the others, but you can't put a spotlight on the folly of mortal man by being "nice". It doesn't work.

Everyone gets bored and goes charging after an innocent person, group or animal to victimize. There is a sadist in all of us that demands appeasement. The important thing is that you learn to master your inner sadist so that the extent of your "cruelty" does not go beyond a barely perceptible smirk at an inappropriate joke. I myself am not quite there yet, but I'm working on it. In the meantime, the folly of the Real Housewives of Toronto is fair game.

If Truth were everywhere to be shown, a Scarlet Letter would blaze forth on many a bosom
~ Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

But first things first. Why is Jana even on a show about married socialites? She is neither of these things. Lala smells a rat. What did she and the "Joga girls" have to do exactly, with what Roger Ailes type executive, in what after-hours, dimly-lit auditioning room with a pole? Don't be so "appalled" by the insinuation. Jana is as much a participant in her slut shaming as she is a victim of it. 

Jana explains with a lascivious tilt to her voice that she likes her Joga girls to do "tips and tricks" with the golfers so "when they come to our hole, we give them a tip that will help their golf game". 

When she sits across from Gregg Zaun batting her eyelashes, intimately reaching across the table to fondle him, and suggestively asking if he wants "her girls" to perform stretches and "tricks" (*wink* *wink*) for him and his golfing buddies at the charity tournament they're exploiting, she's well-aware there are cameras on her. 

She knows what she's doing and in fact says it outright: "It's great to have a chance to support my friends in a way that helps my business as well. We do cross promotion with Joga sponsors". 

It would seem Jana Webb's "mentor" and former Real Housewives of Vancouver cast member, Brett Wilson, taught her everything she knows about "cross-promotion". He openly rationalizes exploiting human suffering (euphemistically calling it "charity") for his own profit and that of his "friends", which Jana parrots wholeheartedly. You "scratch" my back, I'll "scratch" yours. Wilson is proud of this exploitation philosophy, too. He in fact never shuts up about it, his mouth constantly agape like an unmuzzled hound that's been kicked in the head too many times, slobbering capitalist propaganda wherever he goes: "I’ve made a lot of money off the relationships that I’ve built. The goal was to USE (aka exploit) our charity budget as our marketing budget and the result was that we ended up building some pretty powerful relationships. I have trouble believing that there is something wrong with USING (aka exploiting) charity" (Source). This babbling fool along with his legions of babbling bimbos and babbling buffoons seem to have "trouble" believing a lot of things that are true. Refusing to believe truth and refusing to accept hard realities because those realities don't serve your personal agenda isn't critical thinking, MORON.

"Cross promotion" is obviously code for some sort of sex act. Your guess is as good as mine as to what act specifically, but Gregg seems to know right away as he coyly smiles and answers, "You girls are always such a big hit". I bet they are Gregg. I.Bet.They.Are.

The look on Gregg's face when he hears about Jana's latest Joga girl "trick and tip". It involves cupping and lifting the scrotum of a golfer lucky enough to land on a Joga Girl "hole". "Balls up, boys," Jana quips, licking her lips like she's getting ready for a meal and not just downing more booze. So much for the Muskoka excuse.
Jana's perma Jim Carrey "The Mask" neon grin widens even more, defying all measures of probability in the process, as she reassures Gregg that her "Joga girls are all ramped, booked and ready to go" if you catch her drift. What risky business is this, anyway? Is she trying to be the Canadian sport and fitness world's answer to Heidi Fleiss?

"I really want to be more apart of it....anyway we can do that," Jana directs the golf tournament conversation into murkier waters as Gregg eagerly follows along. "Do you still want us to do the 'stretch' in the morning with all the golfers?" she asks all coy now. Gregg's definitely "into it".

Jana, the Heidi Fleiss protege, might be wise to what's going on here and gaming the show for her own ends, but slow-witted Joan is another story. 

Joan is AMAZED by weirdo looking John and his in-the-box design idea: "He's one of these out of the box thinkers", she coos. What brings on this adulation? His suggestion is to separate sectional pieces of a couch and shove "a cool little custom" walnut table between the pieces. What am I missing? How is this an out-of the-box idea that makes Johnathan so good at what he does?? What is wrong with Joan's brain? Pretty soon this really is going to feel cruel and I won't be able to say another word about her questionable intelligence, limited insight and poor judgment.

She's so busy mentally taxing herself with home decor and being "amazed" with her weird ass looking friend and his remedial school design suggestions that it completely goes over her head that she is the butt of a joke. Jana (wise only to things that serve her specifically) and Grego are simply aghast when they are informed of this. 

"IT'S MUSKOKA!!!" Jana and Grego scream in unison, their faces contorting and twisting to reveal their true hideous form, "WE DO WHAT WE DO IN MUSKOKA !!" What does that mean now? There are so many innuendos when Heidi Fleiss Jana Webb is around.

Apparently they too didn't grasp the intent behind Kara's gag gift to Joan until Roxy, embittered after, in Jana's words, she was "embarrassed and humiliated" that none of Michael's elaborate gowns were big enough to fit her, spills the beans out of pure spite.

Another one whose hidden witch comes screeching out the second she is challenged.

(How is that anyone else's fault, by the way? If you're unhappy with your size, Roxy, go on a fucking diet, otherwise keep it to yourself. Your whiny bitterness implies you're not actually as "proud" of your "curves" as you claim. And this has nothing to do with "fat shaming", this has to do with another entitled bitch princess who believes she is beyond reproach, that even her flaws are perfect and woe to ANYONE who DARES to mention the elephant in the room. I understand, though, breaking through denial is painful, but when you reach honesty's greener pastures and attain the kind of self-awareness and acceptance that allows one to laugh at herself, warts and all, you'll find it's worth it).

When Roxy initially broaches the subject of Joan's denseness, she at first seems to imply Kara was badmouthing the entire group and IMMEDIATELY Jana and Grego defensively launch into attack mode before they've even heard any details. 

Now that they understand Kara was only referring to Joan, they are still defensive on their drinking buddy's behalf, but nowhere near as enraged as when they initially thought THEY were the ones being insulted. These women REALLY do not like it when someone hurts their feelings. Nice to see that grin wiped off Jana's face. Reality's a bitch, Jana.

They calm down significantly, though, when Roxy, relishing in having recruited more rage and indignation to her side, reluctantly concedes that actually the only woman Kara's been saying "horrible things" about is Joan. 

In reality, the only "horrible" thing Kara has said is, "Having fun is not an excuse for behaving badly". This comment was mainly in regards to how sloppy drunk Joan got at an earlier dinner Kara meticulously went to the trouble of putting together for the women. 

When people get that drunk to the point they can't even speak, it ruins everything from dinners to other kinds of social gatherings, to childhoods, marriages and beyond. Kara was therefore completely justified in being pissed off and her approach for dealing with it was not "vindictive", as the editing might have you believe, but was inspired.

Using humor to make a statement about hard to hear truths is one of the kindest ways to open someone's eyes to the reality of self-destructive beliefs and behaviors to which they are otherwise blind. 

There is an understandable reason for this blindness – if we had to face the harsh reality of every single one of our personal failings, it would be downright debilitating (for everyone excluding those without a conscience). You'd never get out of bed, you'd lie there a tortured insomniac berating yourself with the same counterproductive thoughts over and over until eventually suicide seems like your only escape. 

That said, living in utter denial of the most dysfunctional of one's behaviors can have the same deleterious effect on a life. So when a person comes along and highlights a flaw for you, whether friend, who does it as gently as possible with humor and empathy, or foe, who does it with snark and ill-intent, it's to your benefit to take what may feel like a sting at first, not as an injustice or insult, but as a "blessing in disguise". As an old Jesuit once said: "A wise person gets more use from her enemies than a fool from her friends".

I drink to make other people more interesting ~ Ernest Hemingway

Besides, gargantuan wine glasses that fit an entire bottle of vino are hilarious. I too have embarrassed myself MANY times over the years after imbibing a "little" too much. This is why, regardless of how it may be coming across, I find this whole drunken fiasco not only hysterical, but also why I feel  – deeply feel – Joan's humiliation. You are not alone, Joan. Alcohol and the internet: The great equalizers of our time.

Not that the privileged in all their grandiosity are happy to hear from the peasants, mind you. EVEN the privileged who were once peasants themselves! Oh how quickly they forget. It's why worldwide peace is impossible (sorry to break it to you Rhonda Byrne converts). Power and the need to control always corrupts, bringing the evil oppressors to the top and eventually collapsing the entire dominance hierarchy into chaos and despair.

Many of these privileged people, despite using the internet themselves, seem to believe with religious conviction that whatever they do or say, no matter how depraved or ignorant, should go by without criticism. They only want praise, only respond if their ego is stroked, and if you do anything other than compliment them, they either disregard you altogether as nothing but an annoying flea or mosquito not worthy of their attention, or spout some pompous nonsense about "keyboard warrior" cowardice. 

First of all, you can ignore a single flea or solitary mosquito as much as you want, but their bite still itches and where there is one insect, there's always more. 

Secondly, neurodiversity dictates that every brain has different weaknesses, strengths, and reactions to stimuli that have absolutely nothing to do with culturally manufactured ideas about what is brave or cowardly. Not everyone is walking around with no sense of themselves and nothing to gauge whether or not they should be ashamed of their own actions and words. 

By way of illustration, for the naturally born extrovert, especially one coursing with massive amounts of testosterone, confrontation and spouting off about any preposterous notion that occurs to him without a moment's hesitation is as instinctual as breathing. For the more reserved, thoughtful, alert and discerning naturally born introvert, it's a completely different situation. 

Thirdly, in addition to constantly having their egos stroked, people with unlimited resources and clout have a nasty, vindictive tendency to blackball those who are critical of them, or who refuse to bow down to their demands. These are people who have the ability to destroy a dissident's life. The physically repulsive Roger Ailes, for example, did it with women who refused to submit to his sexual advances, ending careers before they started. And misogynists with loyal armies of online trolls do it ALL THE TIME to women who express opinions that do not fall in line with their irrational hatred.

To put it another way, David and Goliath make for good fiction, but the reality is that when a lone insect attempts to full-on face off with a giant megalomaniac, the most probable thing that happens is the insect gets squashed, if it's noticed at all. This is why this common reaction by well-known, influential personalities to dismiss criticism on social media as nothing but the cowardly rantings of "jealous haters" is a bogus argument. 

There is an existential threat involved with approaching raging bulls and rabid giants if you're nothing but an insect, an Ant. It would be pretty fucking stupid to attempt that without some sort of protection (anonymity equals protection, although it's harder to be anonymous nowadays with so much surveillance infrastructure successfully put in place, which the ants themselves have been duped into helping maintain! This addiction to the selfie and constant Facebook status updates is pure idiocy. Ego, vanity and greed have always been and always will be a manipulable Achilles heel and exploitable weakness).

Ant Anonymity: "Ants, whose invasive colonies may span hundreds of miles and multiple continents, have societies that can be millions strong. To cooperate, members don't need to recognize each other as individuals. There are pheromones that define friend or foe. So even with millions of strangers, there's no ambiguity about who's who". Source: National Geographic, The Journey of the Apostles, March 2012 edition, page 30

In addition to the above, the privileged, like those we see shamelessly posing on The Real Housewives of Toronto, cluster together like a coven of witches and goblins with all their financing hosts. They rig the game so that a few are always on top and stay there. 

"Cheers to us and only us!!!" Look at Joan's face. She's SO READY for another drink!

They ensure their dominance by feeding and toasting only themselves, making alliances and striking deals with each other at the exclusion of everyone else. We see this happening in every single episode of The Real Housewives of Toronto whether it's Jana "cross-promoting" her business with that of her friend's golf tournament, or Grego taking the opportunity to display her husband's wine label like she's a cheap, poorly rehearsed infomercial spokesperson.

Grego: "This is a private label from the Spoke Club". She enunciates Spoke Club very carefully so no one misses that the wine comes from THE SPOKE CLUB.

Kara also takes the opportunity to endorse a fashion designer she's chummy with, as well as sell tickets to the other women for a charity gala dear to her heart. This perplexes Ann who cannot fathom why anyone would take money from people they don't like. It boggles her surgically mutilated head why a person would do something that doesn't serve her own vanity and her own vanity alone. 

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

But it's for charity, so who gives a shit where the money comes from? You're never going to abolish the ills of this world by snubbing them. When you find yourself living a rigged game, where the rules are set by a select few who tweak the guidelines on a whim, giving themselves advantages denied others, the only hope you have of doing any good at all is strategy, stealth and infiltration. There is no point in lamenting the unfairness of it. You're damn right it's unfair, but wallowing in pity does nothing to change it. Besides, if a business venture can take advantage of charity to make itself look good for marketing purposes, then charity has every right to return the "punch" so to speak.  In other words, never feel conflicted about taking their money, Kara. 

As a believer, you're called to help those in need, and whose heathen souls are more in need than the self-glorifying rich? By giving your friends and foes an opportunity to be charitable, you're hitting two birds with one stone: You not only answer the call with regards to the poor and suffering, like a candle flickering in the abyss, you also inch the lost a fraction closer to the light, whether they realize it or not. Putting others before self replenishes the soul and helps heal the earth.

On that note, I think I've rambled on long enough. Roxy's eyelashes, Stephen's broccoli troubles, men who wear jewelry, Joga girls and Jana's childish feeling of being offended because she couldn't afford a dress will have to wait another day. 

(But seriously, how is Jana's relative impoverishment Kara's fault? And who the hell does Jana think she is anyway to put on airs like that?? It's like what I said earlier, how quickly peasant farm girls forget. How quickly nerdy Saskatchewan boys who were bullied in elementary school and whose mothers were social workers also forget. Someone needs a refresher lesson or two in humility). 

Also, fuck you, Brett Wilson (rape apologist). This will be my tagline from here on out. Don't tell Gracie. There could be trouble.

Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 1: Dumb, Plastic and Sleazy
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 2: Boring Housewives and Ugly Husbands
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 3: The Polished Real Housewives of Toronto
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 4: The Slut Shame
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 5: Amazing Reality TV Stars
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 6: Infomercials and Friends in High Places
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 7: Social Suicide: Game of Thrones to the Rescue

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Influence of "Amazing" Reality TV Personalities

The portrayal of women on The Real Housewives of Toronto as self-absorbed bimbos whose main concerns in life are shopping, parties and abusing the word "amazing" until it no longer means "amazing" is pure mental agony. 

In episode five, I lost count of how many times Joan in particular, but all the wives do it, used the word "amazing" to describe everything from Grego trying on lingerie, to a grown ass woman's birthday party, to the commercialized New Age cult-of-self banality these people are peddling.

Joan has an "amazing" way with words. This is her verbatim describing three separate situations: "Wow, it looks amazing on you". "Wow, this is amazing". "Wow, this place is amazing".

The only wife I can tolerate at this point is the self-proclaimed Christian, Kara, which may seem surprising considering my initial opinion of her. However, I've always been skeptical of first impressions, particularly when those impressions are based on dialogue taken out of context, contrived scenarios and a manipulative editing technique known in the business as "frankenbiting". 

Frakenbite: A method used by reality TV editors to manipulate viewer perception and manufacture story lines by extracting the salient elements of a lengthy, nuanced interview or exchange into a seemingly blunt, revealing confession or argument. Source.

Nevertheless, despite the trickery of The Real Housewives of Toronto, with an eye for detail, a sense of the absurd, a basic understanding of female idiosyncrasies, cultural norms and stereotypes, as well as an interest in human nature, one can still entertain herself watching a program like this and in the process extrapolate some possibly useful, even truthful information. Why would a person be compelled to do that in the first place, you may ask? One name: Donald Trump.

It would seem reality TV and the celebrities it creates have a horrifying influence on society. Scoffing or dismissing this influence as beneath you, as John Doyle does in the Globe and Mail, doesn't make the influence go away, any more than ignoring blood in a man's semen makes his prostate carcinoma go away. 

In the meantime, as the malignant symptoms of cultural and global destruction are trivialized, little Donald Trumps, such as Canada's own Kevin O'Leary (the absurd), are popping up everywhere. They are busy spreading lies and fake news, expressing idiotic opinions, stoking hatred and normalizing despicable behaviors that have serious repercussions, which unfortunately significant numbers of people are imitating. 

And it's not only emboldening the lowest common denominator of populist sentiment, it's also emboldening OTHER reality TV personalities to jump on the bandwagon and express their self-serving, questionable beliefs as well. 

Do we really need, for example, another asshole with reality TV cred, who got rich off dirty oil, toxic tailing ponds, poisoned drinking water and CO2 emissions to give a lecture on critical thinking (source) and how we should all be mistrustful of science? But only as it relates to global warming, climate change and the same greenhouse gases that made him stupidly greedy? 

Make no mistake, these "brilliant" investors who make their gazillions leeching off the natural resources they had nothing to do with creating, as well as other people's sweat, tears and ideas, like parasites who cannot conjure up a single unique thought on their own, are complicit in the environmental decimation caused by Alberta's tar sands. On behalf of humanity's future descendants (if anyone's left after the crazies who have made the world an asylum are done): FUCK YOU. May your reaping be just.

O'Leary's co-conspirator and former Dragon Dens' reprobate, Brett Wilson, doesn't mind science if it's used to develop techniques to extract bitumen from his sacred tar sands, cast aspersions on Christianity, get an engineering degree, build a commercial spacecraft so he can vacation in orbit and hopefully never return, or find a cure for his own cancer, but climate science? THAT is where this paragon of critical thought draws the line. Here's another sleazy oil tycoon who gets his "facts" off Fox News and makes his employees read his books for him, yet claims he wrote a book all by himself? Sorry, but philistines who don't read and brag about it cannot write books.

Maybe I'm extraneously going off on a Brett Wilson tangent here, but these reality TV types are all connected and all take advantage of the platform reality TV provides them in order to promote both themselves and their "friends". My tangent therefore isn't completely irrelevant to the topic at hand. Besides, I'm sure in my past cyber-travels I've seen a picture of him with Jana Webb on a date at some sporting event. Suspiciously, though, I can no longer find said picture and admittedly sometimes when I'm "sure" about something I've either been duped or I've been terribly, horribly wrong. So I guess I'll just have to live with this suspicion, too. Add it to the list.

But even if I'm totally off-base and this clown, who has dabbled in reality TV on more than one occasion and has a penchant for bimbos with dumb ideas, has nothing to do with Jana Webb (which he does – "coincidentally" both have fitness-related interests in Kelowna), I find Brett Wilson's pomposity as irritating as I do Roxy Earle's very existence, and he deserves some shade, too. I've disliked him with an irrational intensity (although nothing like this kindred, if somewhat lost spirit) ever since he was brought into my purview on The Real Housewives of Vancouver. 

There, he made a cameo appearance hawking his poorly written, incredibly dull, uninformative, self-aggrandizing, name-dropping piece of crap book while on a "blind" date with Mary Zilba. It was one of the most embarrassing things I've ever seen on a reality show. However, his failed attempt at branching out on his own in "Risky Business" is a close second. 

This is what a dopey capitalist spewing a steady stream of unregulated, redundant bullshit looks like.
Close your mouth, shut up and listen to something other than your own voice, relic.

The poor sod tries so hard, but doesn't quite hit the mark. He simply does not have the mental capacity. Whenever he's interviewed, does a talk or writes something, he uses the same three tired anecdotes, references the same book, the same movie, the same deranged actress, and the same Justin Bieber to illustrate his points. For someone who boasts about all the things he's accomplished, the places he's been and the contacts he has, you'd think he'd be able to dredge up a few new anecdotes from the ancient ruins of his Babylonian mind. 

I mean think of poor Gracie. It must get tedious for her, the "Goddess", who like Joan has an aversion to clothing, to have to hear the same thing over and over again as she follows Brett Wilson around the internet like a topi antelope in heat. Somewhere in the chaos of her jumbled thoughts she probably marvels at what dark force must have put a hex on her that she would be so obsessed with such an idiot. 

Incidentally, you shouldn't fuck around with the occult when you don't know what you're doing.

Digression complete.

As for the characters on The Real Housewives of Toronto, they are no less shameless in their self-promotion and twisting of reality than Wilson or any of the other players on The Real Housewives of Vancouver were. Granted, some of the promotion is for charity and that's fair enough, but the rest of what these people do is worthy of little more than exposure and ridicule.

The ridicule in episode five of The Real Housewives of Toronto begins not with Kara, which clearly is what the "unscript editors" were going for, but with Grego and Joan modelling some skin as they lingerie-shop for Grego's 10-year wedding anniversary. Joan gushes how "amazing" Grego looks, using the word "amazing" more than once, and thinks Pierre's eyes will fall out of his head when he sees her. Now, that would be something "amazing" to witness. My interest is unexpectedly piqued. Maybe it's foreshadowing?

Goofy Pierre squinting in an attempt to keep his eyeballs from falling out of their sockets.

But no. Pierre's eyes do not fall out of his head and instead we're treated to this cringy platitude regarding his over-botoxed wife: "I would describe Grego as a flower that keeps blossoming". 
Aw, what a precious flower Grego is. Just watch her eyebrows rise to her hairline and blossom into an extra head. What the hell do they put in those injections, anyway? These women look like they're transitioning into some kind of mutant hybrid after a science experiment has gone dreadfully awry.

The question is did he come up with that line all by himself or was he repeating what he was told to say? I'm going to guess that a man who marries a cocktail waitress he picked up from the nightclub he manages isn't exactly a deep thinker. I'm sure he's happy to deliver his romantic cliches and lame gestures no matter how they come to him, so long as his easily-impressed trophy-wife is conveniently placated. I wonder if Grego is as ditzy in real life as she's being portrayed on this show...hmmm.

Joan comes across as no less ditzy. I'm curious who her ventriloquist is because he needs some fresh material. Stop telling us what a strain it is to host a party, "relax", be "silly", get wasted, take off your clothes and respond to every situation with the adjective "amazing".

Long neck, trophy-giraffe, Joan, is permanently amazed, although it's hard to tell with her facial muscles so numbed out. God-forbid she lets a wrinkle express itself.

Joan is such a line-fed dummy you can practically see her lips moving as if she's reading from a prompter and taking direction from someone off-camera. She appears hyper-conscious of being filmed too, which makes her seem stiff and robotic. She moves her head like she's a car show model with rudimentary artificial intelligence.

I do not care for trophy-giraffe Joan.

Roxy and her husband, Spaghetti Sauce, I also do not care for and I don't think her inane birthday party was "amazing" at all. 

A face you can put on a jar.

The only thing "amazing" is the way the "fabulously" wealthy blow money when there is so much need and suffering taking place in their own backyard. Apparently it isn't so sexy and hip for privileged Canadians to help those in desperate need if that need happens to be languishing in cold, remote northern locations where camera crews are loathe to go.

Look at Spaghetti Sauce's face. Even he can't stand Roxy. Did she blackmail him into marrying her or something? Raghu:"It's very difficult to keep things from Roxy. She'll ask a million questions. She's very perceptive, so it's difficult to keep things from her."

Africa isn't the only place with abject poverty and unsafe drinking water, Joan. There is plenty of misery going on right under your perfectly symmetrical nose here in Canada, the same place responsible for all that wealth that enables you and your friends to throw lavish parties on a whim and shop for frivolous fiberglass dogs at $1000 a pop for some spoiled Delta Burke clone you hardly know.

Roxy pretending to be surprised about this ridiculous birthday party: 
"WOW! You girls! This is SO amazing! I'm so special!" OH MY GOD. Stab me with a fork, kill me with a spoon.

Not that Ann is too bothered by the struggles of her fellow citizens, either. She's more concerned about getting a cheap deal on an artisan's hard work, thereby depriving a starving artist trying to eke out a living at a measly 10% selling his wares on consignment at buddy Christopher's boutique. 

When detective Frankenstein-Ann questions Kara about her injured ribs, in an attempt to convey how painful it is, Kara asks, "Have you ever been punched in the boob? That's the only thing I can equate it to". Ann is utterly confused by this question and says no. But is it any wonder? I mean, at this point does she even have any sensation at all in those things?

I suppose every penny counts when you rely on cosmetic procedures to get you through to the next extravaganza of greed, excess and vanity. Narcissism is expensive.

The only one I can tolerate, as I've said, is Kara, not necessarily because I believe this broken rib business is legitimate, but because she's the only one so far with some halfway decent quips. They've gone totally overboard with the whole "vindictive bitch/out for revenge" angle too. 

Ann thinks she's being clever, sticking it to Kara with a custom-made sling to aid with the rib injury she thinks Kara is lying about. But Kara takes the dig in stride and with good humour. 
Kara laughs, "What's the cup for, Ann?" Ann is all saccharine and serpentine, replying, "People feel sorry for people when they're injured." Then to emphasize her point, Ann puts a coin in the cup to get Kara started. Kara laughs again, but she's on to Ann and as they part and Ann says, "So, we'll see you on Saturday," without skipping a beat Kara quips, "You'll see me outside the restaurant". Haha! Good one, Kara!

I don't know about anyone else, but I for one don't appreciate being played for a fool. The deceptive editing is so blatant, it's not even deceptive. If Lark Productions wants to passively-aggressively insult the viewer's intelligence and get away with it, it's going to have to be a smidgen more subtle than this, or at minimum be dramatic and entertaining enough that we don't mind the farce. Some of us will humor you only so much.

As for me, I think I've humored this particular episode to death now. It's too bad, though, because it would have been fun to get into some of the other absurdities of episode five, such as this "sound therapy" nonsense, or the ridiculousness of "super-sleuths" Ann Kaplan and Jana Webb. They and their dummy-crew of "Sherlock Holmes" filler-injected wannabes deserve a little mockery too, as they attempt to uncover the great "rib conspiracy" masterminded by the ever cunning and "vengeful" Kara Alloway. Stay sly, Kara.

Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 1: Dumb, Plastic and Sleazy
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 2: Boring Housewives and Ugly Husbands
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 3: The Polished Real Housewives of Toronto
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 4: The Slut Shame
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 5: Amazing Reality TV Stars
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 6: Infomercials and Friends in High Places
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 7: Social Suicide: Game of Thrones to the Rescue