Tuesday, October 11, 2005

i'm glad i'm a guy

With my girlfriend stuck in bed with a miserable cold this past weekend, circumstances dictated I accomplish tasks that normally fall outside the scope of my guy-related responsibilities.

First came a trip to the dreaded Target.

As a matter of principle, I generally stay away from any store that induces vomit. And that's exactly what happens when I hear girls call this particular establishment "Tar-shay." It's as if they are deluding themselves into thinking they are shopping at an upscale French boutique instead of a crappy discount outfit.

On Friday, however, there were several items I needed to purchase in a limited timespan. Since one of these giant, cookie-cutter boxes sits a quarter-mile from our apartment, it was time to take the training wheels off and make my first solo voyage to Target.

I immediately notice I am an outsider. Upon arriving in the parking lot, I observe no less than five women loading purchases and children into their respective SUVs -- it is apparent the minivan is an extinct form of vehicular transportation for the suburban housewife.

Once inside, my minority status becomes clear. I am the lone male customer in a sea of moms with snot-nosed urchins in tow. Whiny kids demand treats and attention from their mothers in every aisle.

As with any shopping experience, I decide my best course of action is to grab what I need and get the hell out.

I had the remarkable luck to be standing near the "hot cereal" section of the grocery area when I arrived, so finding the oatmeal was simple enough. With wanderlust in my eye, I next set out in search of greeting cards.

After five minutes of futile roaming, an employee must have spotted the bewildered look upon my grill. He asked me, "Can I help you find anything?" Naturally, I responded, "I'm fine" with a tone of mock annoyance.

Then I proceeded to scour the store for another five minutes searching for greeting cards.

It took a while, but I finally compiled the oatmeal, milk, greeting cards, batteries and humidifier filter on the shopping list and arrived in the express line, where the teenage employee had far more interest in her cell-phone conversation than assisting me with my consumer-related needs.

I reached my car, cranked up the volume on the Marah occupying the tape deck, and started to breathe normally again.

My second experience in foreign territory came Monday when I briefly sat down with my girlfriend on the couch. She was watching "Oprah."

Look, I could sit here at the keyboard and write reams of copy on the digustingness of this show and its host, about the time "O" took credit for buying poor people cars when the cars were really donated by auto companies, about her embarrassing-yet-successful book club, about any number of social blunders committed in the name of television ratings.

I'm not going to do that. At least not today. For now, let's just say Oprah is geared toward a certain female, brain-washed demographic I clearly do not fit.

What I will rip her for is the inane conversation she had with Monday's guest, Reese Witherspoon, the once-talented actress.

Reese and O enjoyed a spirited discussion about the plight of young women in today's world. Reese lamented how young girls today feel pressured to dumb themselves down, how smart women are regarded as outsiders or bitches, how the media sets poor role models and equates stupidity with popularity.

All of these are valid points.

But I'm listening to her say all this and cannot help but think, "Aren't you the one who made the cinematic atrocity "Legally Blonde," a film that makes the very traits you purport to abhor the central personality components of the character you played, you stupid, hypocritical twit?"

Thankfully, my girlfriend is feeling better these days, which means my exposure to future mindlessness will be limited.



At 1:55 PM, Blogger jeffro said...

sounds like somebody's wearing their crankypants today...

At 5:06 PM, Blogger Pete said...

Today... tomorrow... everyday.

At 5:42 PM, Blogger Dan said...

Pete's crankiness is part of his charm.

I take exception to your criticism of Oprah's Book Club. The overpowering stench of elitism that emanates from your comment about her "her embarrassing-yet-successful book club" is itself embarrassing.

Let's review some of the books that have graced her list:

Anna Karenina
East of Eden
One Hundred Years of Solitude
As I Lay Dying

How dare Oprah expose the masses to such classics! Tolstoy and Faulkner should be limited to only those with an Ivy League education. Although I suppose we could make an exception for Rutgers graduates.

I'm reminded of a 2002 visit to Washington D.C.'s legendary Kramerbooks, where I saw the following sign: "Oprah-free zone."

Were they trying to say that reading is a pursuit that should be reserved for Dupont Circle intellectuals?

It was obnoxious.

At 11:39 PM, Blogger Pete said...

I'm glad you brought this up, because I wanted to add it to the entry, but it seemed to extraneous.

In the sense that Oprah's club may get some otherwise-illiterate housewives to read, great. I'm all for reading, and those who encourage it.

Where the Oprah Book Club catches in my throat, so to speak, is I suppose not so much in her, but in the bland people who blindly worship her recommendations.

Oprah recommended it, therefore it must be great and worthwhile.

This is how Marshall Applewhite started his cult.

"Thank you, Oprah, from descending from on high and telling the masses what they should and should not read. Let us all bow and thank you."

What is wrong with this is she has zero credibility.

Who is she to tell me what is worth reading? A college professor? No. A critic? No. An author herself? No.

Her background came as a news anchor -- you already know how I feel about TV people -- and I don't see how that qualifies her to be our nation's leading literary critic.

As you noted, she has selected some classic titles. She has also picked overwrought, chick lit drivel. It's often a disservice to her followers because they are too ignorant to recognize the difference between the two.

That is why you have people in this country who count "Tuesday's With Morrie" as an all-time classic.

At 3:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't Reese play a smart blonde in Legally Blonde who was perceived as being stupid? I don't think she was being hypocritical at all. She made a very good point.

On top of that, she's wondeful as June Carter. I saw the film at Toronto and she deserves an Oscar nomination.

At 10:41 PM, Blogger Pete said...

Welcome, Reese shill.

Witherspoon indeed played a smart person in Legally Blonde, someone capable of gaining admittance to Harvard.

Yet her character adhered to strict "dumb blonde" standards, dumbing herself down to imbecilic levels despite her academic credentials, thus portraying the precise character she so vehemently railed against on her Oprah appearance.

Lest you think I judged this movie from afar, I watched it in its entirety. It was the only thing playing on the redeye from Mexico City to Los Angeles, and I was too hung over to do any reading. Thus, I was subjected to this preposterous movie, which I later lashed in a stinging angry letter to United Airlines.

For my sake, I hope your review of "Walk the Line" is accurate. I am a Johnny Cash supporter and have looked forward to seeing this movie for some time.

Given your unabashed fervor for anything and everything Reese -- you have an entire blog devoted to your hero worship -- I suspect, however, you cannot be trusted to offer an objective or accurate account of this film.

At 7:45 AM, Blogger amyrose said...

Do I sense and Angry Letter to Oprah coming on, Pete?

First, don’t crap on Target.

Second, why you gotta hate? I think that you are dismissing Oprah’s Book Club out of hand. You are so busy being pissed that these "ignorant" people/women are blindly reading what Oprah tells them to read that you are missing the point She is motivating people who possibly may not otherwise pick up a book to read and think.

You are right, some of these, “otherwise illiterate housewives” as you so poetically dubbed them might not have read these books otherwise. But they are now and how is that a bad thing?

Also, to call the books "chick lit drivel" proves you didn’t do your research. The books on her list are a representation of some of the best of popular literature in America. Award winning authors like Toni Morrison, Wally Lamb, Maya Angelou, Alice Hoffman, and Barbara Kingsolver cannot be considered drivel or chick lit. And, by the way, I can appreciate some chick lit drivel.

I am not some crazed Oprah fan. As a matter of fact I think she is a lousy interviewer and probably wouldn’t watch her show if I had the chance. But she is using her powers for good not evil.

That is all, cranky, cranky Pete.

At 11:29 AM, Blogger Joependleton said...

Yeah, I gotta go ahead and disagree with you here.

OK, Oprah blows. No question. Witherspoon? Non-entity.

But please, don't go ripping my Target. The next time you are in NJ, please go to any Wal-Mart for about 5 minutes, you'll be begging to hit a Target after that. I hear Wal-Marts West of the Mississippi are pretty nice, there's one in Piscataway, NJ that I absolutely dread going into. It's like hell on earth. It makes Target seem like Tiffany's.

As for me, I'm still a minivan guy. F status. Minivans kick arse.

Keep up the good work.

At 2:06 PM, Blogger Erik said...

I saw Reese's boobs in Twilight.

At 12:44 PM, Blogger Pete said...


I covered that ground already and noted the potential benefits of the book club and the fact she doesn't always choose trash.

It's the mechanics of the book club that I have the biggest problem with, again, as already noted.

Still, I'm thrilled you felt so strongly about this that it compelled you to register.

As for all you Target lovers ...

It is true that Walmart is to Target what New Brunswick is to Short Hills. You'll get no argument from me on that ... but both still suck.


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