Sunday, February 7, 2016

Clinton Campaign Feminist Séance Backfires

New Hampshire–Feb 7th 2016

Following strong endorsements over the weekend from living feminist legends Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright, the Clinton campaign saw instant poll number boosts from guilty young feminists who had begun to support opponent Bernie Sanders.

Hoping to ride on the momentum of using notable feminists to berate young, delinquent feminists into supporting their candidate, the Clinton campaign doubled down on this strategy in advance of the New Hampshire primaries by pouring the remaining of their marketing/PR budget into séances.

“We realized we were really limiting ourselves by only talking with the living old-school feminists,” said a Clinton camp representative, “That’s why we decided to enlist Theresa Caputo, Long Island Medium, to draw endorsements from the most respected feminist leaders of our nation’s past.”

The séances all started according to plan.

“If you don't’ have a crisp pant suit, you’ve got nothing. Us pant suits must stick together,” urged Marlene Deitrich.

But all went south when Caputo made contact with Hull House founder, Jane Addams.

“I didn’t know what to do,” Caputo lamented, “You know, the Clinton camp put all of their trust in this process for endorsements, but I can’t control what the dead are going to say.”

“Why wouldn’t we want the nation’s wealth to work as hard as it can for all of our citizens, especially the poorest and most vulnerable? I think Sanders really has the right idea.” Addams started.

After Jane Addams voiced support for Sanders’ democratic socialist policies, Caputo says that dozens of undead feminists fought over the Sanders soapbox. Nightingale supported single payer healthcare. Angelou recited fresh poetry about free college education for all.

"We didn't fight for women's right to vote so that they could follow an arbitrary herd mentality," suffragette leader Anna Howard Shaw retorted when Caputo desperately tried to coax a Clinton endorsement.

“We’re deeply disappointed,” the Clinton campaign reported this afternoon, “With only one day left to the primary and our budget spent, we will just have to rely on our eleventh-hour guerrilla tactics.”

While the campaign would not reveal the content of these secret guerrilla tactics, sources close to the campaign said that volunteers were recruited to paste feminine pads painted with the phrase “We bleed together!” around polling locations throughout the state.

Friday, November 13, 2015

About that TV Spot, Dad

A Chick in Search of a Thing

It’s normal to feel aimless. To seek purpose. Humans have been doing it through the course of existence. Authors have bored me with it through the course of my education (I’m looking at you James Joyce). It’s not that I feel unhappy, but I am in search of my “thing.” The one thing I am great at. The thing that identifies me.

I’m good at a lot of things, but nothing stands out. Writer? Actor? Singer? CrossFitter? No. What I am best at is passable mediocrity. Or sometimes passable slightly-above-average-ness. My test scores showed this growing up. My physical abilities demonstrate this now. And my you-can-be-in-the-chorus-but-don't-ask-for-a-lead performing arts experience deliver this in a harsh dose of reality.

Sometimes I blame my mom. “Why did you let me quit everything?!” my 27 year old self whines to my mommy, “I could have been great!”

And I for sure blame my dad, an advertising executive. Who I suspected then but know now he could have definitely placed me in those TV commercials I begged to be in with Scott Hamilton. What did you even put me in ice skating lessons for, dad? Is this a sick joke?

My husband, who is a rapper with a real EP and a comedian who writes sold out sketch comedy shows in Chicago (and also a successful PR professional), says maybe my job is my thing. I’m really good at my job and I like it. Fuck you, Matt. (I love you).

Maybe it is, though. Maybe my job is my thing in a world where people are identified by and have to steak a claim in the one thing they can be recognized for.

But I invite you and must force myself to step out of that world where we are defined by one thing. It's a tall order, but here are 3 thoughts I hope will help me get there:

1. Take the Chance: 

You can't succeed if you don't try. Better to try and fail than to never try at all. Blah, blah, blah. It's true though. Take the class. Write the piece. Be in the show. Play the instrument. Because it's not about success or failure. Doing it is the thing.

2. You Don't Expire

So many times I have thought to myself, "Well, I guess my time has passed. I'll never be a famous performer, professional athlete, [fill in the blank]." It's hard to remember, especially for women, that you don't expire. There is no real timeline by which you have to accomplish greatness or fade away forever. Push yourself to try new things.

3. Screw Everyone

Originally, I called this "get out of your head." But that doesn't work for me.  This is the hardest part and frankly I can't do it yet. But when I find myself fearing failure, or fearing mediocrity, sometimes I just have to whisper to myself, "screw everyone." They don't matter. Their perception of my success, failure or one true "thing" doesn't matter.

So embrace the concept of the Renaissance Man and find value in the Jacks Of All Trades. Don’t do your thing. Do all the things and don't worry about the results. Find joy in the process.

Because that’s a world where I win. And winning is everything.

(You guys, I’m sorry I ended the post that way. I typed it and laughed out loud and couldn’t delete it. But you all go do you. Whatever that means. Whatever that means is right.)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The 3 Truths Behind Starbucks Red Holiday Cups

If you're reading this, you're an idiot. I'm an idiot for having written it. The whole internet are idiots for having entertained this. But here we are, discussing Starbucks controversial holiday cups. Because everybody's doing it. (The Washington Post UproxxCNN & Donald TrumpThe Atlantic, The New York Times, etc, etc.) And because I'm a sort-of-blogger handcuffed to relevant content who also happens to think this is outrageous.

The controversy is that by rolling out plain red holiday cups this season, rather than holiday designs similar to years past, Starbucks is obviously trying to sanitize Christianity. The real truth of the matter, however is 3-fold.

1) Starbucks obviously still loves Christmas. And by association they are at least symbolically down with Jesus. Not only do they sell a Christmas Blend coffee, which one could argue is more of a commercial than a religious statement, but they sell Advent Calendars. That shit is so Christian I barely remember from my Christian upbringing what it symbolizes. But it's certainly an overt celebration of the looming birth of Christ and more than just a secular-ization of the season.

2) The previous designs really had nothing to do with Christianity. At best, they were Pagan-based or secular holiday representations meant only to evoke holiday cheer, not to hold over your Advent prayer book. (But, as discussed Starbucks has an Advent Calendar just for your Jesus rituals.) So whatever these protesters think has been taken away, never really existed in the first place. If anything, a devout Christian might be pleased that secular and pagan symbols are removed in favor of plain red. 

3) Christians taking up this issue clearly need to work on their definition of sanitizing religions. There are real threats and gruesome examples of religious sanitizing and cleansing throughout the course of history and happening today. The worst cases involve extreme human struggles and death. So maybe reframe your outrage over disposable coffee cups

Choose not to patron Starbucks if you want. We won't miss seeing you there. And take your business over to the coffee chain next door. But for the love of white Christian privilege, please shut up about it.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Check Your Inferiority Complex At The Door, Please

Erin, you ignorant slut.
(I promised a friend that would be my opener.)

But in half-seriousness (because fuck all y'all for taking yourselves too seriously), social media has been abuzz of late with some severely anti-CrossFit articles, one most notably from Erin Simmons, who was picked up by HuffPo - the world's most reputable news source. The CrossFit community raged, with rebuttal post after rebuttal post, building the negative momentum. Then Mashable jumped on board, with an entertaining vignette of CrossFit fails.

I'm not going to waste words defending CrossFit, the community has taken care of that ad nauseam - Google it if you must. I'd simply like to request that everyone get over themselves. In the gym, an actual mantra of the overwhelming majority of CrossFitters is to "check your ego at the door." This simple philosophy actually helps prevent the image of piles of injured people crumbling into puddles of their own vomit that naysayers are tickled to paint for you. I'll say that some CrossFitters could stand to take this mentality into discourse and be more open to constructive, objective feedback about the new, still developing sport (That means "get over yourself" applies to you, too).

Speaking of getting over one's self, on a first read of Simmons blog (and of most similar visceral anti-CrossFit posts), my gut reaction was that she needed to "check her ego." After all, she opens with an anecdote about how she gazelled with her perfect machine of a body into a gym, pulled herself into a muscle-up and spent the next 20 minutes pointing and laughing at the other people attempting to do the same (that's how I imagine it, anyway).

Having thought on it some more, reading comments from her likeminded following, I've come to realize that they don't need to check their egos. They need to check their inferiority complexes. The ingroup/outgroup mentality that CrossFit  fosters earns it the reputation of family and cult, respectively. As the contra-culture becomes more mainstream (because it's not actually a cult and is welcoming to anyone), the fear of the unknown is drumming up in traditional athletes.

Are Simmons and those interested in health and fitness right to question the risks and rewards of and form opinions about a new sport? Absolutely. But writing off all participants as inexperienced, brainwashed bafoons begging for rhabdo represents something entirely different. It represents current or washed-up athletes terrified of an emerging, accessible sport producing tens of thousands of athletes who threaten their confidence in their own fitness. It's our human nature to fear what we don't know. Plain and simple.

So to Erin Simmons and many others out there who have written mostly identical attacks on CrossFit. I invite you to check your inferiority complex (and ego) at the door. You don't have to drink the Kool-Aid, but if you're going to keep writing the same uninformed crap, consider drinking a big glass of "shut-the-hell-up."

Monday, May 12, 2014

Bitches On The Knot Be Like...

Tra-la-la you're in happy wedding planning bliss. And like any reasonable person dumping hilarious sums of money into a wedding, you want to make sure you've got your bases covered. So naturally, you do what any good modern bride would do when you have questions and consult some forums. You find The Knot, as it usually rises to the top of your Google search, and that's when it happens. BAM. You just got bitch-slapped by bridezillas.

Let's say, for instance, you're in the early planning stages trying to find out the best way to have a large wedding party within a casual wedding setting:

Great. Now that these woman have established that you're a whore.  Let's move on, maybe with a more vanilla topic. You found this cool idea on Pinterest - what do they think?! 

Yeesh. OK - Point taken on Pinterest as the root of all evil, designed to lure brides down a path of improper etiquette, wedding train wrecks and certain death. But you could really use some advice about which honeymoon registry to choose. Maybe such a specific, harmless topic will illicit some actually constructive responses.

But don't worry guys, she's trying not to judge. She just thinks you're objectively lazy, entitled and tactless.

ENOUGH, ladies. Can't a gal get some solidarity? Maybe you should say something. Yes, let's suggest they could be more polite:

Woof. Who are these wretched excuses for human beings anyway? Well, based on the description of their community, many of them may not even be engaged yet. That's right, the psychotics planning their wedding with no partner in the picture. And suddenly the world becomes a little clearer. My advice to anyone seeking wedding advice is: It's your wedding, do whatever the Hell you want. And whatever you do, stay away from The Knot forums. Because bitches on The Knot be CRAZY.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Stages of Dieting Grief

During some downtime recently, basking in the post-consumption euphoria of a particularly amazing Chipotle burrito whilst also fighting the powerful urge to indulge in a double chocolate chip cookie dessert, I found myself pondering my relationship with food.

I had a revelation: My emotional process for dieting mirrors the psychological process for grieving. If I look back on my Whole Life Challenge experience or any other attempts to diet, for that matter, the phases are evident. As an example, let's take my thought process for said cookie that is lingering in my line of site for the entire time I am composing this post:


"I don't need to be on a diet. I'm not that fat and I workout a significant amount. Maybe I should just get the cookie. Look at it. It's scrumptious. Mmm. Cookie."


"Damn everything. Damn myself for pining for the cookie even though I'm not hungry. Damn society for making me feel like I need to diet. Damn Starbucks for stocking it. Damn Nestle Tollhouse for making the first chocolate chip cookie that was the domino to ruin so many lives."


"I mean, Chipotle was a realistically healthy dinner – I got the salad and used no dressing, cheese or sour cream. And really, although a large potion at once, it seemed like a very reasonable volume of food in the context of my intake for the day. I could probably afford the cookie...But wait, I'm getting drinks later and this cookie will cause me to forfeit a beer or two."


"This sucks. I really want that cookie and beer later. Why does it have to be one or the other? I'm going to miss out on all of it's chocolatey goodness. If only I had a little better self control, I wouldn't have eaten like crap all weekend and would be able to eat this cookie. And if I had much better self control I wouldn't have this debate with myself in the first place. And I wouldn't be such a fatty. I'm worthless. A fat, worthless, self-control lacking slob."


This stage is usually not afforded to me, and I proceed to eat all of the aforementioned feelings. When I do arrive at acceptance, it's begrudgingly: "Well, I guess I need to make the healthy decision (so I can drink beer later)."

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

CrossFit Gives No Fucks


I care a great deal about my CrossFit family and they care a great deal about me. Our coaches and athletes know each other by name, occupation, ability level and personal goals. It has changed my life permanently for the better. This post is not about that. This post is about CrossFit HQ. And how they give no fucks.

First, some background. CrossFit headquarters (HQ) owns the CrossFit brand and the CrossFit games and that's about it. Affiliates pay a very low cost registration fee and their coaches initially attend a weekend-long certification session. Once that happens, it's hands off, and affiliates more or less run autonomously. This low cost of entry for affiliates and increase in popularity among consumers has caused CrossFit as a sport to explode – A rapid growth spurt, if you will, leaving us with what I've often observed as an angsty adolescent in identity crisis. It doesn't know what is wants to be when it grows up. And it's not ready.

This scenario mostly plays out, loudly and clearly, when the community relies on it to act like the mature organization it's not, and the apathetic aftermath plays out in laughable, or sometimes deplorable communications. I submit to you 3 (of many) examples:

1) CrossFit for Hope

Outrage and disgust abounded when the organization tried to coordinate a new fundraising effort across all of its affiliates. They declared CrossFit for Hope would be an affiliate-wide event where participants all over the globe could perform the same workout on the same day and raise funds for St. Jude's Research hospital.

So what went wrong? Everyone can get behind helping sick kids, right? A promo poster of a slutty nurse pulling a wagon of grotesquely caricatured dying children, that's what:

The masses erupted. By the time I entertained blogging my own reaction, dozens existed accusing HQ of a gross misstep.

As a communicator, the appropriate PR strategy here would be to course correct - Acknowledge and amend. Their PR strategy looked more like this:

No, really, they basically told everyone to shove it:

2) The Reebok Hissy Fit

What happens when an inexperienced CrossFit HQ marketing team pairs with a once-popular athletic apparel company (and likely their very steeped, experienced agency) trying to freshen its outdated brand? CrossFit's brand gets owned. Literally. Clearly CrossFit HQ didn't understand the subtle nuances in the brand and logo architecture that Reebok initially created for the Reebok CrossFit Games. And then their Reebok CrossFit clothing line. Maybe you didn't either. But any experienced marketer could see that Reebok managed to make their brand the Masterbrand of CrossFit. It was really genius of Reebok, actually. Not to mention effective.

When CrossFit HQ finally figured this out, it was way too late. And I get the impression that their marketing people took a break from passing notes in study hall long enough to launch a social media attack.

After the social sphere discovered the hissy fit and called out HQ's social media people. What did they do? Gave no fucks:

“We have since hashed things out with Reebok and it worked out great. If you were late to the party and just want to know what everyone else is talking about, sorry. There is no reason to explain what you missed because it has been resolved and we are happy with the result.”

                                  -- Russell Berger, CFHQ

3) T&A

Last but certainly not least, let's not ignore the rampant, gratuitous sexism that often takes place on HQ's Facebook page and, of course, how little they care about it. The photos that CrossFit selects and the comments they allow to be posted in their community are a disgrace to their female athletes. For example:

Many have written about these disparaging practices of CrossFit HQ. Particularly following a provocative shot of athlete Talayna Fortunato climbing a rope in the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games, the communities fired back. In response to the concern raised by their communities, CrossFit HQ responded exactly as expected – With great apathy. At best, they remain unchanging, neutral and unapologetic. At worst they are defensive and antagonistic.

So, to recap:

It's time for CrossFit HQ to understand that, where the brand is concerned, contrarian doesn't have to equal offensive or careless, and a little tact is never a bad thing. Simply put, it's time to grow up. And perhaps it's time to rethink their "Do Not Cross CrossFit" social media practices. It's time to give a fuck.

UPDATE: On June 4, 2014, HQ posted a video parodying Jesus as a "Cross"Fitter. Get it? Damn they're clever. Personally, I'm not offended. But their threepeat Fittest Man alive, Rich Fronig, who owns CrossFit Faith and is (annoyingly) vocal about his spiritual drive and commitment? He may think differently.

I presume they will go on without any regard for the implications to their brand until they badly lose a lawsuit. Otherwise their business model seems to allow CrossFitters, who identify most closely with their own, independently owned and operated gyms, to distance themselves from the atrocity of HQ. Good thing, because those CrossFitters input is falling on deaf ears.