Fearful Symmetries

Witness a machine turn coffee into pointless ramblings...

14 November, 2006

Surveying the Vast Wasteland

With my roommates vacationing for week in sunny Mexico, I have assumed control of one of our TiVos. And so I availed myself of the opportunity to see what cable had to offer, even at times of the day when my ass couldn't be sitting on the couch in front of the TV.

I found that it remains a wasteland and seems vaster than ever. Despite (because of?) having hundreds of channels from which to choose, I really didn't find much of interest. Perusing the channels, I discovered that any event that's remotely like a sport is on cable. If there's rednecks in an arena filled with dirt, you can watch it. Another disturbing thing was the plethora of shows on channels such as the Discovery Channel and The Learning Channel that showed people chasing ghosts and the adventures of psychic detectives. Folks, science has looked into this and the verdict is in - ghosts don't exist and psychics are frauds. Why is the Discovery Channel putting on shows that portray these hucksters in a positive light?

Any show involving a shop that builds custom motorcycles should be taken off the air. Period. And so should most home improvement shows. There's about 80 million of them, though I think the trend is waning. I mean, how many rip-offs of the UK program, Changing Rooms, do we really need to accommodate? And how many of the hottie twenty-something hostesses of these shows know anything about remodeling? Come on! Carpenters are scruffy guys with lots of scars, not soulless midriff bearing automatons.

Still, there are some good programs to be had. One of them is Real Time with Bill Maher. I don't agree with him on everything and some of his jokes are bad, but, overall, he's funny and his is probably the only program on commercial TV in America where religion is called out as the bullshit it is each and every episode. Real Time is also probably the only show on American television that can claim Salman Rushdie as a (semi-) regular guest. Why Maher claims Ann Coulter as a friend, however, is beyond me.

One program I recorded was called Downtown Girls: The Hookers of Honolulu. Now, the novelty of documentaries examining the lives of prostitutes wore off a long time ago but this one promised to be different: the hookers it featured were all transvestites or transsexuals. Having met a trio of transgendered folks recently and having gotten to know one of them a bit, I was interested in hearing more.

It started off poorly enough with some horrid faux reggae music and this awful poetry being read over the top of it in some grotesque Beat poetry parody. This crap petered out around halfway through, thankfully. Here's a few observations about the show:

1) One of the hookers remarked that a particular block or street in Honolulu was around 90% trannies of whatever flavor. This made me wonder if there was something peculiar about Honolulu or whether this is common in large cities. How many prostitutes are transvestites or transgendered? The documentary didn't go anywhere near this question.

2) One of the transgendered women interviewed was very beautiful. There were shots of her crotch area and they betrayed no evidence of there having been a penis and testicles. My question is: how did that woman get the hourglass figure? Was that surgery too? Do hormones have a role?

3) During one sequence, the interviewer asked if the hooker accepted propositions from gay men. (I believe this was a transgendered person who had not yet had surgery on her bottom half.) She said that she didn't and wouldn't. Indeed, she seemed offended by the notion and came across as almost being repulsed by gay men. I found this really odd, though perhaps I shouldn't have. For my part, I assumed that someone who presumably understood gender as being fluid, someone who stood between the two poles of gender, that she'd be blatantly open and tolerant. Not necessarily that she'd take on gay men as clients, but at least that she wouldn't belabor the point that she found the idea abhorrent.

4) There are more pervs out there than we let on. One of the women, a transsexual who still had male plumbing, related how she had male clients who just loved to play with her penis. She also related a story about one of her johns that was into scat. I am convinced that there are more people in this country who are into kink of some kind than we normally let on.

5) Finally, I had to wonder where all of Madison's prostitutes have gone. They used to walk King Street - just off the Square. Watch the film Not a Love Story for some footage showing the porn shops and whatnot that littered downtown. State Street Arcade has closed making downtown Madison almost 100% squeaky clean for all the yuppies and tourists. A few years ago, the cops ran a sting operation busting hookers and their johns over on North Street by Red Letter News. So where are they now? Do they all work for escort services? Did they emigrate to truck stops?

Next up I've got a look at the impact that Hurricane Katrina had on the musicians of New Orleans. I saw a couple minutes of the program this morning and it features, amongst others, Irma Thomas. (The Rolling Stones covered her tune "Time Is On My Side".) I think I also set it to record some Mythbusters too. Last night I peeked into the recommended programs folder. I guess the TiVo has a feature that, if turned on, it will automatically record programs that it thinks you may like based on the shows you have already programmed it to record. Never having peeked into the folder before, I dared do so yesterday. And what do I find at the top of the list but a soft core porno from Skinamax.

I've also acquired some some stuff from the Canadian Broadcasting Company which looks to be interesting. Firstly there's a documentary about spam, the electronic kind, that is. Next is a doc on hysterectomies. Why is the rate of them 5x higher in the southern states here in the US than the rest of the continent? Finally there's one on the myths surrounding breasts and breast cancer.
|| Palmer, 4:30 PM

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