Saturday, April 14, 2012

The hardest-working woman in politics

Wading in where wiser men would fear to tread…

The latest twist in the Republican presidential campaign narrative is that Democrats are waging a “War On Women” (enjoy this link to the ironically named American Thinker piece on the subject) because one B-List left-wing TV pundit opined that “Ann Romney never worked a day in her life.”

This, of course, blew up into a media shitstorm of epic proportions. Team Obama, from Barry on down, all ran to the cameras the same day to distance themselves from the toxic remark.

Team Fox News picked up the story, had it converted to 3D, threw a blonde wig on it, packed it full of steroids and fired it out of a cannon at the sun.

Team Fang sat in his mancave and scratched his head. I remember having a young ‘un around the house and it was almost more work than The Missus and I could handle, even with our part-time babysitters when we could afford them. If that wasn’t work-by-definition, I’ll eat my hat.

Then I recalled well-heeled friends and family and the Roman Catholic broods they have produced. And I remember distinctly how proud all the moms were—almost like it was a competition among them—at how fast they had their figures and their regular schedules back in order.

Parenting for The Missus and me was like storming the beach at Normandy; for them it was a speed bump on their social calendar. And that got me to thinking…

Giving full credit to Mrs. Romney for carrying and whelping her litter personally—no small accomplishment, and one we’re not quite technologically able to contract-out yet—I guarantee you, between all the nannies, drivers, au pairs and various domestic help including car elevator installers, Mrs. Romney did less hands-on parenting of her five sons as kids put together than we did our one son alone.

Because if we had had the money to job some of that shit out and catch up on our sleep instead, we would have done it in a heartbeat.

So I don’t resent Mrs. Romney’s access to abundant help raising her family. Given the option, who wouldn’t take it? We would have a much bigger family today if we had had any help at all the first couple years of The Boy’s life.

But it is kind of hard to stomach the comparison of my wife’s first year after our son’s birth—when she parented, worked at a soul-crushing office job, wrote her PhD dissertation and taught English Comp to freshmen—to Mrs. Romney’s ‘equivalent’ job description of director of household staff.

Sure wish Facebook had timelines back then. It would be interesting to see what a forensic examination of Mrs. Romney’s use of her time during the period when her boys were kids looked like.

I’d bet my last dollar—conveniently on-hand—it would look breathtakingly different from an hour-by-hour breakdown of what raising up a similar brood looks like for most American families.

So everything being relative and equal, I think it’s only a slight stretch to say Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life. I understand why the observation has to be disavowed, but really, do you think she’d last even a single full shift as a WalMart greeter? God help her if she were to find herself working a fry-pit at McDonalds.

What’s really outrageous is that Romney is so of-the-Bubble that he repeatedly tells crowds that “his wife keeps him up to date on women’s issues.” Really? In 2012, your areas of interests are not expansive enough to include what’s going on with 50+% of the human race?

What would have been a funny wink-to-the-crowd aside in a 1950s campaign just sounds like an awkward 1950s wink-to-the-crowd aside in 2012.

And does this mean that if Ann Romney told her husband she wanted to join Augusta National Golf Club, which still excludes women from membership, candidate Romney would pick up that particular women’s issue and run with it? Or would he more likely tell his missus to mind her beeswax and get her little fanny on back to the bedroom, kitchen or ladies’ auxiliary meeting where it belongs.

Who am I kidding? Ann Romney would never embarrass her husband by having a contradictory opinion. Her job is to stand next to her man on the dais, smile her empty smile, hit her marks and say her lines. Praise her man to the high heavens, as many times a day as necessary, on schedule, tick tock, tick tock.

Come to think of it, Ann Romney may have the hardest job in politics today. But it doesn’t have a thing to do with raising a family.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Putting the “Axl” in Axhole

I am so over defending Axl Rose.

He officially ended speculation this week about whether he’d bother to make it to the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony when he released a statement declining the honor. He followed that with a list of complaints about his former bandmates—all of whom he screwed out of financial participation in the catalog of music they created together—and how they are all out to get him.

And not just his feckless ex-band members, either. Even the Hall itself, in proposing to honor him, is clearly in on the whole ugly travesty.

He then went on to warn them not to honor him in absentia, or give his trophy to anyone else to deliver to him.

I don’t think he has anything to worry about on that count.

The text of his statement reads like a break-up email from a petulant teenager, which I guess makes sense. Back in the ’90s, his act was the emotionally unstable man-child… well, back then I thought it was an act, anyhow. Developments in the decades since then tend to suggest, as usual, I may have been too generous with my idols.

Axl Rose is an exemplar of the “what’s sexy at 25 is just crazy and sad at 50” rule.

Have you ever listened to “Chinese Democracy,” the years-in-the-making follow-up to 1992’s twin “Use Your Illusion” behemoths? Man, it’s awful. It’s I-don’t-know-how-many-minutes of densely packed sonic sludge. I’m listening to it again as I write, to see if it has perhaps improved with age, but no, it’s just irritating. I keep forgetting why I’m listening to it and almost changing it. It’s like 175 song ideas distributed randomly between the album’s 14 plodding, schizophrenic tracks.

The absence of Izzy Stradlin’s songwriting and Slash’s feral, lanky guitar prowess is acutely felt. With nobody around to challenge Rose in the studio, he’s allowed to do things like take almost fifteen years to produce this unlistenable mess.

It also underscores the ex-Gunners’ contributions to the band’s success, and the merit of their claim to the Hall’s honors, even in the absence of their volatile former frontman. The fact that they were able to achieve what they did back in their heyday in spite of Rose’s counter-productive antics makes their accomplishment even more impressive.

The Rock Hall ceremony was Rose’s best chance to pull his head out of his ass and begin to rehabilitate his image from a place of credibility and respect. Instead, like the sulky, self-destructive teen he still is emotionally, he set fire to the bridge he was standing on then took a whiz off the side while he waited for the authorities to show up and pay attention to him.

His would be sad behavior from the latest starry-eyed ingénue off the bus; for a guy about to receive a welcome letter from the AARP this year, it’s pathetic.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Three words for Carnie Wilson to think about

“Bitch, stop eating!!!”

You’re welcome.