Month: May 2012

5 Reasons Being a Straight White Male is NOT the Easiest Game Play Setting

The long skinny ones always look so simple, but they’ll getcha. They always do.
(source)

There’s an article floating around the Intertubes at moment explaining how being a straight, white male (SWM) is essentially playing a video game on the easiest setting. The only video game I ever play is Katamari, so I’ll let the author of the post explain himself, because I’ll just screw up the lexicon.

He starts the article thusly:

I’ve been thinking of a way to explain to straight white men how life works for them, without invoking the dreaded word “privilege,” to which they react like vampires being fed a garlic tart at high noon….So, the challenge: how to get across the ideas bound up in the word “privilege,” in a way that your average straight white man will get, without freaking out about it?

First of all…WOAH! Taking on complicated, nuanced societal topics. Ummm, the Internets are for funny cat videos and re-purposed pictures of Keanu Reeves, thank you very much. The ego of some people using a free, worldwide distribution system to be all blahblahmyopinions! Ugh.

He continues:

Dudes. Imagine life here in the US — or indeed, pretty much anywhere in the Western world — is a massive role playing game, like World of Warcraft except appallingly mundane, where most quests involve the acquisition of money, cell phones and donuts, although not always at the same time. Let’s call it The Real World. You have installed The Real World on your computer and are about to start playing, but first you go to the settings tab to bind your keys, fiddle with your defaults, and choose the difficulty setting for the game. Got it?

Okay: In the role playing game known as The Real World, “Straight White Male” is the lowest difficulty setting there is.

This means that the default behaviors for almost all the non-player characters in the game are easier on you than they would be otherwise. The default barriers for completions of quests are lower. Your leveling-up thresholds come more quickly. You automatically gain entry to some parts of the map that others have to work for. The game is easier to play, automatically, and when you need help, by default it’s easier to get.

Second of all…WOAH! This sounds insane. Why are video games so complicated?! That’s why I like my Katamari. You just push a ball around and pick stuff up with it.

Now, once you’ve selected the “Straight White Male” difficulty setting, you still have to create a character, and how many points you get to start — and how they are apportioned — will make a difference. Initially the computer will tell you how many points you get and how they are divided up. If you start with 25 points, and your dump stat is wealth, well, then you may be kind of screwed. If you start with 250 points and your dump stat is charisma, well, then you’re probably fine. Be aware the computer makes it difficult to start with more than 30 points; people on higher difficulty settings generally start with even fewer than that.

As the game progresses, your goal is to gain points, apportion them wisely, and level up. If you start with fewer points and fewer of them in critical stat categories, or choose poorly regarding the skills you decide to level up on, then the game will still be difficult for you.

Third of all…WOAH!! “dump stat”? Haha! That’s a hilarious sounding thing.*

Fourth of all..WOAH!! This is just wrong! Look, I do everything in my power to escape the cruel joke the universe played on my by injecting me with melanin and making me look like an RBP. But being white is totes tough!! I mean, just look at the very well-reasoned comments at the bottom of that article and you’ll see! Not being a minority comes with some serious baggage.

1. Sunscreen. You have to put that shit on like every time you go out in the sun. Every. Time.

I’ve had one sunburn in my life and yes, I was thrilled that I got to stick my toe in the waters of white life, but that thing stung like crazy! And so much aloe! I had to drop like $4 just to feel better.

I’m not sure how I feel about the fact that you can put this plant’s juice both on your skin and also in your mouth. Seems like it should be one or the other.
(source)

2. Boring interactions with authorities. Imagine this: You get pulled over by a police officer and s/he just asks for your license and registration. Or this: You walk into a high-end store and NO ONE follows you around making sure you don’t steal things (this happened to me at Ralph’s the other week..No offense Ralph’s, but if my RBP takes over and I decide to rip off a store, it’s not gonna be for some fennel and sourdough).

Or this: You’re a kid in school and when you act up, the teacher wonders if you have ADD, talks to your parents and comes up with an action plan and DOESN’T call you a thug.

Where’s the excitement in any of that? While yes, profiling is insulting, annoying and inaccurate, it does make your average minority’s life a touch more exciting. People do expensive things to chase adrenaline rushes all the time. Who needs skydiving when you can get a random gun in your face?

Of course, there’s always extreme ironing.
Yup. that’s a thing.
(source)

3. Dull, predictable hair care and beauty products. Sure, some white people have difficult hair, but you can generally go into any place that sells hair stuff and just buy it. You don’t get the action adventure of traveling to three separate places to find the right combination of products that allows you to actually reposition the hair on your head. And that sucks! We evolved from hunters and gatherers, we crave adventure and scarcity, we want to fight for what’s ours. And being brown forces you into hours-long pursuits to find stuff that works on your scalp and makeup that actually matches your skin.

Sigh. Oh, nude slash flesh-colored Band Aid…one day your name will be true for me. One day.
(source)

4. Not being able to get into college. One of the big comment trends in the above article is about how it’s harder to be white because thanks to Affirmative Action, poor, dumb brown kids are taking the place of deserving white kids at schools.

And that’s totally true. Because when I think of a college campus, I basically picture South Central. Nothing describes the look of a college campus more than “basically a still from The Wire” or “kind of like the set of a Spike Lee joint” or “wait, this is Harvard, I thought  it was Madea goes to Cambridge.”

I mean, goodness, look what Affirmative Action did to the White House.

Once the Ivy League. Now the Izivy Lizzeague.
(source)

5. The boring ol’ benefit of the doubt. When life is too predictable, with no bizarre threats to keep you on your toes,  complacency follows. Then depression and soon you’re writing passive aggressive blog posts and not living up to your potential. Just think how much more exciting it would be if you had odd systemic threats lurking around corners.

Like, you could be Florida’s George Zimmerman who tracked and killed an unarmed kid who was leaving you alone and then ONLY get arrested after everyone in the nation threatened to disappear your state. ORRRR you could be Florida’s Marissa Alexander who DIDN’T kill her terribly abusive ex-husband after he ran after her threatening her life and you could get 20 years in prison!!

C’mon!! Which makes a better facebook update: “still livin’ life, yo” or “holyfuckingfuck!! i’m going to be removed from my children’s life because I tried to protect them against a known abuser, thus making it more likely that since they’ll grown up without parents, they’re more likely to continue the cycle of violence that I was hoping to shield them from!!! hashtag HungerGames.”

#noonelikesaboringhashtag

Even with these burdens, I’m still committed to my Oreo lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy not having to worry about the angry angry sun and getting jobs that I’m not qualified for, but if one more person at Zumba says something to me like “You sisters are so lucky–you can do all those moves ‘cuz you’ve got natural booty,” I might go all Marissa Alexander on them.

And Bonus: Slavery totally had TONS of benes that only a certain segment of the population got to take part in. And to think, RBP have the nerve to white about the peculiar institution like it wasn’t kind of baller.

I’m starting with a quick review of the Oreo basics. Won’t you join me?

Not sure you’re using the term “Oreo” correctly? If you’re still reading, you probably are. But click here to double check.

Why go white? Lots of reasons!

Stuck talking to an RBP or someone who thinks you’re one? Remove yourself in 3 easy steps!

What do you think? Is there an easier gameplay setting? Wanna hang out and play some Katamari together? Let us know in the comments!

*Seriously, though, what’s a dump stat?

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For Mor-eo! Follow The Oreo Experience on Twitter (@oreoexperience)
Leave a comment here or at any of the above and let us know what you think!

Then and Now – Renn Fests, RENT and Sad Ass Rats and Puberty

I’m pretty sure that the first time my parents took me to a Renaissance Festival, they thought I would, like other (read: normal tweens) would find it to be a ridiculous exercise, and demand that we go do something  that other (read: capable of being popular) tweens would like to do like…anything else.

They were wrong.

So so wrong.

What happened instead was that I immediately fell in love and vowed never to leave my corsetted haven again. I had come home and ‘twould be an impossible task to render me from the hearth that had been kept from me so long. And by “impossible…to render” I mean that 12 hours later my folks were super annoyed and it was bloody well time to go.

Every year I think to myself (read: speak aloud to myself much to the chagrin of other [read: normal] people sitting in my office around me): “Okay, we’re gonna go to Renn Fest this year…but the magic’s probably gonna be gone. It might be kinda boring. I’m sure it won’t be as fun as OHMYGODWEGETTOGOTORENNFEST!!!”

Every year I go back to Renn Fest and fall in love all over again.

I have changed…somewhat. Here’s saucy college Oreo Experience and my period-tastic blanchetourage:

What happens in the Queen’s Court stays in the Queen’s Court.

And here’s 2012 Oreo Experience. Still dorky, more understated.

Girls just wanna have fun…and personalized garlands sold to us by a man wearing pointy felt shoes.

And so it was that I spent a lovely day eating huge pieces of meat, lusting after perfectly boned bodices and watching men ram each other with their long poles.

That’s exactly what jousting is. Men. Ramming. Poles
(source)

And I realized that while I loved Renn Fests as much as I did the first time, not everything from childhood holds up so well. Here are some things I loved loved loved as a kids and had very different reactions to later:

RENT (Life is hard for artists)

What I thought when I first saw it: Yes, yes yes!!! Art is important, AIDS is terrible, homophobia is bullshit!!! We all need to WAKE UP and stop letting THE MAN dictate  how we’re supposed to live our lives!!

What I thought when I saw it as an adult: Yes, art is important, AIDS is terrible, homophobia is bullshit. Buuuuuut, how hard is it to just get a part-time job, you know. I know it’s not “ideal” but neither is meatloaf. Doesn’t mean we don’t eat it sometimes….Though I’d still pay $1,500 to sing a duet–any duet–with Adam Pascal. (Seriously, I would pay that. Does anyone know him? Have him email me! Not bad for like a hour of his time, yeah?).

Hell, I’ll even claim my blackness and do Aida if it means I get to do… that.
(source)

Willow (I loved them both, the bushel and the peck)

What I thought when I first saw it: I don’t know what sex is yet, but when I do know what it is, I will want to have it with Madmartigan.


Elora Danan’s real baby daddy?

What I thought when I saw it as an adult: Good on you, Warwick Davis! Way to keep your career going, that’s actually really impressive. Am I racist for wondering if he and Peter Dinklage know each other?

The Neverending Story (Open book, insert boy)

What I thought when I first saw it: Yes, yes yes!!! I want to dedicate my life to reading books in the attic so that I can have awesome adventures. Those eyeball lasers are the scariest! I am in love with Valcor.

What I thought when I saw it as an adult: “You’re letting the sadness of the swamp get to you??!” Who wrote this shit? Also, what the fuck are they standing on if “this is all that’s left of the world”?? How are they breathing? If “that” is all that’s left, then there’s no air, princess. And how exactly does shouting an unintelligible name save anything? Dammit, did we go through this whole bottle??

Crying because she doesn’t know how physics work.
(source)

The Secret of NIMH_(Really tough real estate market for rats)

What I thought when I first saw it: This movie is nothing but beautiful. Also, I’m don’t know what sex is yet, but when I do know what it is, I will want to have it with Justin.

You can call me Ms. Brisby if you’re nasty.
(source)

What I thought when I saw it as an adult: *sobbing* Her poor son..that poor woman. She’s… Her husband never… Their house is just… They come from a lab… *sniffling* Why did I have so many crushes on animals as a kid??

Who Am I Now? (Horrible video my parents thought would explain some of life’s tougher questions)

What I thought when I first saw it: …the fu–??!? Okay, I’m just gonna watch it one more time. Maybe it’ll make sense then.

What I thought when I saw it as an adult: …the fu–??! Ha!! If only I had made this a drinking game back then!!

And if you’re wondering if The Core holds up.. Yes. It does.

What did you watch as a kid that doesn’t make sense now? What stands the test of time? Let us know in the comments!

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For Mor-eo! Follow The Oreo Experience on Twitter (@oreoexperience)
Leave a comment here or at any of the above and let us know what you think!

How to Sit For a Portrait

My friend made this! Go to his website, marvel at his other awesome paintings and then hire him to make beautiful paintings for you too!
(source: Leighton Hickman Art)

Sometimes, yours truly gets to do cool things. In case you want to do cool things, too, here’s a step-by-step guide for making said things happen.

Today’s lesson: How to Sit For a Portrait. We’ll cover everything from finding an artist to getting through the session.

Pencils up? Let’s go!

1. Through an amazing stroke of luck, find yourself employed by a top-tier animation studio.

2. Spend 4 or 5 months marveling at your luck, keeping your eyes down and speaking to no one lest you do something to wake up from this wonderful lucid dream.

3. Finally work up the nerve to start talking to people. Start with the dude you always seem to end up riding up 5 floors with in the elevator.

4. Chide self for thinking that the Bo Burnham lyric “…and f*cked her in an elevator…It was wrong on so many levels…” Is the funniest ish in the world.

5. Initiate sarcastic conversation about the peanut butter and jelly sandwich your elevator-mate is holding.

6. Wonder if maybe you shouldn’t be such a fucking bitch and maybe try starting conversations with “Hey, I’m TOE, I’ve seen you around…what’s your name” instead.

7. Take Artist’s lack of response as confirmation that you are a fucking bitch, ignoring any possibility that maybe Artist is shy or distracted or thinking about something, I don’t know, related to his life and not sitting around waiting for you to make some lame joke about sandwich crusts.

8. Wonder why so many kids want the crusts cut off sandwiches. The crusts really don’t taste any different from the rest of the bread.

9. Put the desire to rationalize with beings whose frontal lobes haven’t fully developed on to your list of reasons to not have kids.

10. Repeat awkward elevator rides for a few more months.

11. Finally determine you have a legitimate reason to talk to Artist because Artist is friends with the guy who dresses entirely in Victorian Era clothing and you need to be introduced.

12. Enjoy this new, albeit sometimes quiet collection of friends.

13. Go to a meeting of the Whisky Society at work.

14. Feel awkward there. Probably because you made the same lame jokes instead of just relating to people as human beings.

I’m not saying that I would have been into the impenetrable class structure and popular notion that slavery maybe wasn’t terrible, but man, sometimes, it’d be easier to live in a place and time where every conversation was already tacitly scripted in order to ensure the most pleasant effect.

15. Miss going to Artist’s goodbye party because you have a show that night.

16. Be surprised as f when six months later, you see Artist back at the studio.

17. Assume that when Artist says “Good to see you, we should hang out!” that he’s lying.

18. Have lunch with Artist anyway.

19. Learn that Artist has joined the Whisky Society at work.

20. Wonder if this might be a way back in to getting to sample some amazing amazing bottles.

21. Discover that yes, it is.

22. Attend artist’s birthday party.

23. Sample from too many amazing amazing bottles.

24. When discussing the other portraits in Artist’s home, mention that you did figure modeling in college.

25. Enjoy the fact that because this isn’t super conservative Texas, the creatives in the room understand that yes you were naked, but no, it wasn’t all creepy and/or sexual and that you weren’t causing your brothers to stumble. You were just helping people make art to the tune of a very good hourly rate.

26. The next day, wonder if you remember correctly that you said you’d pose for Artist.

27. See Artist at work. Confirm suspicions.

28. Send an awkward email asking if the third pour of cask strength Laphroaig caused you to say that you’d pose nude.

29. Learn that it didn’t.

30. Exhale.

31. Wonder if Artist is just following up on said portrait session to be polite.

32. Decide to go along with it anyway.

33. Gain 3 pounds. Of course.

34. When asked, say that yes, white truffle oil pizza and duck confit salad sound just fine even though you’ve never had either.

35. Haul your costume choices upstairs.

36. Discover that you don’t like truffle oil or duck. Try to hide this fact from Artist who loves the shit out of both and got this food as a nice gesture, you cultureless ingrate.

37. Marvel at the amount of preparation Artist goes through before painting. Realize you never knew that many different kinds of brushes existed and that you’ve never seen oil paint except on already-mounted pieces in museums. Wonder if you’re this diligent about your art. Think that it’s neat that this rough and tumble dude can make really pretty things with his hands. Wish there was a way to cut through small talk bullshit and get right to this part of a friendship from the first time you meet in an elevator.

38. Watch Downton Abbey while Artists paints.

I don’t care how put upon she is or how much of the entail she won’t get, that artless, doghearted dewberry doesn’t deserve Cousin Matthew!
(source)

39. Wonder why the effing eff you’ve never seen this miracle of television programming before. Seriously, it’s like the producers took all the things you love about life–including Laura Linney–and put them into one fantastic show handcrafted just for you.

40. In between episodes enjoy the sounds of brush on linen and cars on street.

41. Decide that this would make a great one-act play where the audience is forced to watch two actors be very still and to create all the movement and action in dialogue and acting alone.

42. Hope you’re not being vain by wanting to see the final thing.

43. See the final thing.

44. Gasp.

45. Hope that it’s possible that you sometimes look that lovely.

46. Finally feel confident in a friendship.

47. Ruin that bit of maturity by checking Aritst’s post of the picture to make sure that people are saying that not only is the painting gorgeous, but so is the model.

48. No really, truffle oil tastes like poop. How can anyone disagree??

Forget the fancy food, Cousin Matthew! We can have all the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches you want. I’ll even cut the crusts off for you.

How do you feel about truffle oil? Painting? Downton Abbey? Let us know in the comments!

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For Mor-eo! Follow The Oreo Experience on Twitter (@oreoexperience)
Leave a comment here or at any of the above and let us know what you think!