Monday, March 2, 2009

The Bill Withers Omnibus

Here's probably one of the best songs you will hear today. I would argue ever. And, before I get too tangential, with some talk about chicken, hay, stimulus bills, or some the revenge of the nerds, I'm going to break it down. Now I do not profess to have anywhere near the ability of Bill Withers, but I want to assault your ability to read with a little abruptly disarming writing. I'm not a song writer, but my voice is not bad and I can play the cello, but, generally speaking that doesn't prove to be the best blog fodder. What does, at least for this blog, is satire, random issues, lists, crazy pictures, videos, and absurd pronouncements. Today I hope to quench that thirst for carefully articulated absurdity.

Today I will address several issues. Call it an omnibus post.

The first issue is how men and women speak. Yes it's hilarious to hear grown men who look huge say something, and then you realize they sound like they belong in the Vienna Boy's Choir. It is also equally disarming and scary (in a different way) to hear petite women with huge Bertha-esque pipes. But that is not the speaking I intend to speak (or write) about. No, I am going to talk about how men tend to be very visceral and detailed in their descriptions of women, while women tend to be very vague and purposely elusive when they describe men.

The reasons for this come down to differences in how men and women see, and are taught to see the world. When a woman describes a man, she tends to say, "He's cute," or, "He's nice," or something equally non-descript like, "He wears nice shirts." Now, this may not be the way all women describe every man, and indeed many women can be very descriptive, but on the whole, most of their vocalizations at least, tend to be mundane, and general. This is because women are taught to value men for their ambition, brains, wit, and things other than physical appearance (or, at the very least, pretend that that's all they care about).

The truth is, women are very concerned with looks as are men. But, maybe on the whole not so concerned as men. That has to do with our culture. Women are significantly more objectified than men. So men, on the other hand are extremely visceral (visually oriented) in their observations about women. A man will say uncouthly "She's got a tight butt," or "I like a woman with curves," or "Her lips are luscious." While some, if not all of these comments probably lack a great deal of tact in most situations, they are certainly more descriptive. And, although it certainly objectifies women, the men saying them are not entirely to blame.

In many instances, women have themselves to blame. Some can say they are driven to wear skimpy clothes by society and culture, and that it is too hard to find modest clothing that is fashionable, but when it comes down to it, it is a choice. However, and this may be where I raise the most ire, while I think men should be more careful with how they say things, I do not think they should be any less descriptive. And, on top of that I wish women were. While no one wants to be thoroughly diagnosed on his or her body image without any modicum of tact or censor (because we are in general fairly disparaging of ourselves without other people's help), being more to the point is nice.

For instance, if you've been working out at the gym for a while and have made noticeable improvements in your abdominal region or with your arms, legs or pectoral muscles, it is nice to feel legitimately validated. A guy is much more likely directly pin point another guy's calves and say, "Your calves are super toned, you're a beast," than a girl would be. So I guess if there's any lesson to be learned from this hopefully informative diagnosis, it is that men need to temper their descriptions a bit, and women need to be more descriptive. I don't care if he's "cute" "nice" or "fun." You haven't said anything about him.

Ok. Next issue.

Your versus you're. The first is a possessive pronoun. The second is a contraction combining the words 'you' and 'are.' Hopefully I am getting a resounding "duh" from those reading at this point. Unfortunately, while many may say "duh," even some of the smartest, and funniest people I know confuse the two, along with there, they're, and their, and all of those others. Now it's okay to flub up every now and then (the mafia will not kill you - right away anyway), but if it is a consistent problem I'm not about to blame public schools, although, I can.

When I see things written online like, "Your stupid" I laugh, wince, and then cry. I just cannot get over the irony. Here's a person making a declarative statement to in essence "put someone in their place" by calling them stupid, but in the same sentence, are sentencing themselves to the same stupidity. As soon as I see some response like that to anything I write online I really do not feel any need to respond. They have responded for me. But, as much as I relish in it, I really don't. It's painful. Like 'nails on a chalkboard,' 'passing a kidney stone,' 'having Jack Bauer torture me' painful.

And here's the last issue: Balloon animals, Babies, and cats. Why are they so funny?


squirrelyearl said...

I will take some issue with the women being descriptive thing, I'd say they typically get more descriptive than men, but it has to be under the right circumstances. There's all sorts of vague statements they throw out when in more public circumstances, but if they're especially comfortable or it's just the girls they will go on and on and on and on. I don't know, I get irritated with how often women just start talking about looks even. At least in the case of men irrespective of whether or not it's vague they have captured the sage wisdom of Polonius, "Brevity is the soul of wit."

Britton Stanfill said...

"Your stupid" thats too funny. Thanks for the laugh. I also see people make the mistake with too and to quite frequently.