November 2001 Notebook Entries

Notebook entry, November 18, 2001

Ok, I caught the TV broadcast of Victoria's Secret fashion show on Thursday night on ABC. It was very interesting seeing these attractive and (mostly) voluptuous women "strutting their stuff" down a catwalk in their underwear. (I am assuming that it was hard not to "strut" due to the wearing of ultra-high heels forcing the females hips forward or else fall on their face).  The most important thing that I came away from the show were these points: 1). The show was shown on broadcast television and not on cable which is famous for its openness regarding sex. And 2). During the finale, the models donned angel wings and strutted their stuff -- some were even shown "flying" through the air.  What is significant is the mixing of memes concerning the representation of "angels"-- which classical representations usually have them as religious, and thus, highly moral in their behaviors --  mixed with the representation of voluptuous women in their underwear. Is it the usual "Madonna/Whore" synthesis of attraction and repulsion that draws an audience in?  If the behavior was a success in terms of attracting audience share and advertisers willingness to pay the price for ads on the show, then we could easily expect more sexually oriented shows to appear in broadcast television. Thank God. Better then the continued swill of nameless and endless dumb-shoot-em-up-and-kill-em-and-then-solve-the-crime show of the past that we, as audiences, have been fed.   It has always been a deep mystery to me why violence could be so prevalent on American television that gives us a steady diet of death and blood, yet has always starved us of sexual openness that represents the necessary formalities in producing this thing we call the sacred life. And that begins with sex.

Britney Spear is on tonight; but she will be on cable.  On Tuesday night at 7pm....MST...Jennifer Lopez will have a special television show.  If the coming attractions are anything like the real show, then we are going to see more sexually oriented performances. What is significant about the time period, is that is usually considered "family" hour and the broadcast studios have promised to promote shows oriented toward family values. Well, if people don't watch the broadcast channels, then the big money moguls are out of the big influence picture.

I will make sure that all three shows on the same tape and I will archive the tape along with the commentary from the past two notebook entries. 

Notebook entry, November 15, 2001

I have been noticing a shift in the culture lately regarding more open sexuality of the female and the freedom to express that sexuality.  I see the factors as multi-causal, but point to two main factors.  1).Open visual inspection of sexual images on the internet of all types, and 2)., the emergence of the new "Y" generation as an even larger economic and cultural force impacting on American demographics than the baby boomers. 

In citing specifics, I cite the young (age -- 19 years old) Ms. Britney Spears, who appears to be at the mast head of this new generation; the success of Victoria's Secret, an ultra chic female lingerie manufacturer; and nudity on broadcast television this fall, (in particular on Fox television  -- "24," and "X-Files" -- which by the way, is owned by a male conservative. This I, believe, is the the result of stiff competition from cable television that has been drawing away viewers from broadcast TV because -- you guessed -- explicit sexual, and unfortunately, more graphic violence). This week, Ms. Spears, in conjunction with the release of her new album, was on the cover of the popular music magazine, The Rolling Stone.  The photo on the cover reveals a wonderful sight (to me, as a male now in his 56th year) of her firm mammary glands bulging forth from her push-up bra and giving the eyes a prominent focus point -- what that has to do with music is obviously not the point; she was "shaking her money tree" as the expression of truth that has emerged from one episode of the new hit TV show, "The Education of Max Bickford." 

I also was flipping channels several days ago and caught her in a "special" devoted to her new album release and she performed some of the dance routines that accompanied the songs.  The dance movements were all highly sexual in their in humps and grinds.  I have no doubts that Ms. Spears has been highly influenced by the "slut"/"virgin" Ms. Madonna as many of the young Ms. Spears' movements seem to echo the elder sexual icon.  But Ms. Spears represents something important: Unlike Madonna's "Italian" heritage, which some members of our dominate culture have preferred not to mix with since the mid 1920s, and "could understand such behavior," Ms. Spears roots include the mythical "do-gooder" show The Mickey Mouse Club where wholesomeness, family, and morals run down the lane of society's structural display rules that strictly forbid sexual freedoms by women.  Even her first name, Brittany, recalls the days of Victoria's reign in Britain of sexual frigidness and propriety.  But it is in Ms. Spear's facial phenotype that reveals the most: it is of Central and Western European in origin.  What we are seeing is the stamp of approval of generation "Y" that is shedding the past preferences to exclusionary practices of "others," to a more open acceptance of sexuality by the dominate Western and Central Europeans. Martin Luther must be turning in his grave. 

What can one say about Victoria's Secret as a success in the American culture?  For those not educated, Victoria's Secret is a women's underwear catalog that show some of the most beautiful and voluptuous women wearing those underwear. Well, once again there is that conflict with the name Victoria again, harking us back again to images of a stoic queen, wearing for many years of her reign the black mourning dress that she buried her beloved Albert; she worn the same style of dress for over 26 years until her death.. Her distaste for any "immoral" behavior was well known, and in fact, it was so well known that the "Victorian" era of morality will probably endure as her legacy throughout history instead of the expansive era of British dominance in commerce, exploration, and scientific discoveries. The success of Victoria's Secret has been so influential that it has been rumored to cause an increase in breast enlargement operations continuing to rise -- despite -- despite the law suits brought against Dow Chemical company and the dangers of breast implants that were prevalent in the media.

I really believe that because of the success of Victoria's Secret over the past five years there appears to be a general trend in America toward more voluptuous breasts and large hip-to-waist ratios as the cultural ideals; these are reminiscent of the late 1950's and early 1960's and take us, thankfully away from the anorexic fashion model ideals. From an evolutionary perspective it signals to me a tread of reproductive signaling by the female that things are very advantageous for birthing -- and of course, the male responding to the obvious signals. In time of war and economic strife the opposite is true; birth rates plummet and the female has children as early in her life cycle so that she is more strength and agility of taking care of those children. I take all these as positive signs that peace and prosperity is within reach.  So in a way, sexual freedom and expression of that sexuality may take us one step closer to our primal ancestors the Bonobos who know that resolving conflict through sex with other members of their primate clans creates a world without violence. 

In any case, I leave today's notebook entry with two notes: 1). I will record on VHS both the Victoria's Secret "fashion show" on ABC TV tonight, and also will record on the same VHS tape, The Britney Spears special on HBO on Sunday the 18th as a historical note of interest to complement my notebook entry -- Hey, I'm working here!!!

2). But, if you think that America is about to go to hell because of it's permissiveness, then perhaps you should view the two paintings that were found on a unisex locker room of a gym located in the town of Pompei, Italy about 2000 years ago.  (These two photographs of the paintings were taken from the news headline section of !Yahoo this morning -- this shows a new "openness" that obviously was not present just several years ago).  Of course, the Moral Majority, would want you to believe that all that open sexuality actually caused the volcano eruption of 79 AD in Pompei, but I leave that argument to your own good judgment as its leader has been quoted as saying that gays, lesbians, and "liberal" democrats also made God "allow" the attacks on the WTC on September 11, 2001. 

Notebook entry, November 11, 2001 

Happy birthday to me.  I am 56 years old today, and I am beginning to feel it in terms of the job. My back seems to have taken a turn for the worst, as I was working out on the Nordic Track ski machine and started to feel some minor pain.  Same goes for cross leg twists; seems to be causing a slight twitch of pain in the lower back.  I believe that I will have to limp to the finish line in terms of my retirement, and as such, I have begun to explore all options, including a possible workmen's comp claim.. 

Notebook entry, November 6, 2001

I just finished my book review of Taliban and placed a link on the front page where it will stay until just after Thanksgiving; at that time I will drag out "The evolutionary Christmas Tale.".  It was one of the most difficult, yet information loaded books that I have read in quite some time.  For the first time I can begin to see most violent and aggressive male behaviors behind references to politics and religion emerging. Also, at this time, I am listening and taking notes from the lecture series of The Teaching Company on religions and all of the pieces of the puzzle are falling into place.  How religions evolved, etc.....I can see the connections in my mind now and will commit these notes to essays as soon as I can.....At my snail's pace, that should be within the next two years -- sigh.

You can read my book review by clicking Taliban.