Image: Pam Halpert from The Office, in front of her watercolors
The Office is a show that focuses on men–four out the five stars are male. Nonetheless, it's one of my very favorite shows, and I think it has strong, likable, interesting female characters. It's launched the career of Mindy Kaling, who writes for the show and plays the totally hilarious Kelly Kapoor. And it's got Pam Halpert (formerly Pam Beesley), whom I like quite a bit. Over the series, she has grown quite assertive, a admirable quality not usually rewarded in women. But her early independent ambition for art has been abandoned so that her professional identity can be attached to her husband Jim Halpert's.
This week, like most weeks, brought with it a parade of douche. However, I've been scouring the world wide web–OK, googling stuff for the past few hours–and no one d-bag is standing out head and shoulders above the rest. It's been a week of tiny douches (hold me closer, tiny douchebag!) and that calls for a douchebag roundup. Sarah Palin, Bret Easton Ellis, Michael Pollan, MIA/Lynn Hirschberg, and the rest of this week's douchebags, come on down! Play along at home by adding your suggestions in the comments section!
Yes, I said Samantha from Sex and the City is a Size Queen. But I'd never call Samantha a cougar.
Neither would Kim Cattrall--and she refuses the label for herself. To the point she refused to pose with an actual cougar on a highly popular magazine aimed at women over 40. (Just watch the first 40 seconds. The rest of the interview is standard feature-writing 101, ice-breaker questions.)
It was oddly apropos to be mulling over the idea of social bubbles over bubble tea. Totally unplanned, though (as was the choking on a tapioca pearl). A friend and I were discussing the need to stop accepting online culture as the status quo. It's exclusive and exclusionary, with its own language, its own jargon and touchstones and for all of its ubiquity, the culture of the internet isn't universal*, not even amongst our generation. My brother-in-law doesn't have a Facebook account, my former coworkers had no idea what LinkedIn was, people who aren't using it don't give a flying...fig about Twitter and on and on. But if you're immersed in internet culture, it seems like the norm. Everyone blogs! Or comments on message boards. Or knows what a lolcat is, etc. It's not the norm, though. It's a bubble. And given that the topic recently came up again in an online (har, har, har) discussion wherein the majority sided in favor of the supportive power of surrounding oneself with like-minded folks for the sake of encouragement and motivation, I thought I should finally get around to digging out my hatpin and getting to work on breaking down (bursting if you're the punny sort) the idea of the bubble.
Don't let the picture fool you--Sabrina Chap's forlorn album cover of Oompa! doesn't reflect what inside: bouncing rhythms, complex instrumentation, and intelligent lyrics covering everything from heartache to performing femininity.
For the record, I'm not a huge fan of the term "cougar." It demonizes older women by framing them as dangerous predators who prey on younger men, and it has inspired far too many terrible jokes. However, I am also not a fan of Google AdSense's recent decision to refuse service to ads for cougar dating sites. Their reasoning? The concept of an older woman looking to date a younger man is not "family friendly." They will continue to allow "sugar daddy" dating sites to advertise online though, because those are way more kid-appropriate.