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. 

I like my Joga Girls to give tips and do "tricks". Wink, wink. You scratch Jana Webb's back and she'll definitely "scratch" yours. Wink, wink.

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 seems 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 (bully apologist), picking on poor Gracie like that, you obnoxious galoot, bully, asshole, moron. Don't go around babbling about how you're against bullying and for mental health awareness when you don't put it into practice. 

Big mouth, Brett Wilson, claims to be an anti-bully "advocate" but in practice is in fact a BULLY as well as a HYPOCRITE.
Using your platform to demean a single mother who has none of the power you do, imply she's "crazy" and then send your minions to harass her is actually the VERY DEFINITION of bullying and not to mention perpetuates mental illness stigmatization, another issue you claim to be concerned about, but clearly you're full of shit. When you contribute to stigmatizing mental illness by ridiculing the mental stability of a person who may very well be unstable, that makes YOU not only a bully but a hypocrite as well. Pick on someone your own size. But you can't, can you? You don't have the wit. Fuck you, again. It cannot be said enough.

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
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 8: Curious incuriosity
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 9: Denials, Dragons and Dummies
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 10, Season Finale: Final Absurdities

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