Dear Dear Prudence, Volume III

Remember when this was supposed to be a weekly feature?  Me neither!  We’re back with more D.D.P. after taking October and November off.

Every week Slate, an online magazine that’s a lot like if TMZ was written by the editors of The Economist, runs an advice column called Dear Prudence.  Written by D.C.-based Emily Yoffe, the column is similar in format to Dear Abby (ask your parents) and covers a range of topics such as manners, etiquette, familial relations, and of course how to deal with ill-conceived sexual decisions.  At least one of those makes it into the column a week.  Drink when you hit it.

This week we deal with the medical mysteries of adoption, why women don’t understand pissing in sinks, strange manifestations of other-woman guilt, and women thinking too hard about friendship.  Put a pink magnetic ribbon on your car and pretend to like missionary, it’s Ladies’ Night on Fantastic Manliness!

Dear Prudie,
My father was adopted as a baby in the 1950s. About all I know is that his birth parents eventually married and that he has full brothers and sisters. He does not want to know anything about his biological family, and I respect that, I really do. However, my husband and I want to have children in the near future and I feel it is important to have a more complete family medical history, though it’s not that the presence of some horrible disease will likely sway our decision. (My niece does have a rare, genetic blood disorder which my mother points out could be from her side of the family.) I have asked my mother many times over the years how I can get this information, to no avail. I’ve thought about hiring someone to track down the biological family or having genetic testing done, but these things are simply too expensive. My mom supports my dad’s decision to know nothing and feels that it is not my business to ask such questions. My dad doesn’t have much adoptive family left and they would probably be insulted by such an inquiry. Should I talk to my dad about all this? If so, how can I explain that I support his decision not to have a relationship with his biological family and that I am purely interested in shedding some light on my own family medical history? Continue reading

Gonna Talk About Star Trek Now

I’ve watched a lot of Star Trek.  Growing up I watched repeats of Star Trek: The Next Generation every weeknight at 7 on WTVZ Fox 33, along with new episodes every Thursday on WGNT 27, which at the time had no network affiliation.  From there I worked my way backwards through the Original Series movies, while simultaneously seeing the Next Generation movies and being vaguely entertained, thrilled, bored, and ready for a new movie series.  I also took in the entirety of Deep Space Nine and as much of Voyager as I could tolerate.  I have enjoyed other series, but The Next Generation (or TNG, as the pros call it) was my first and favorite Star Trek.  For some of the younger people, Voyager is their Star Trek, which is a shame because Voyager is mostly shit.

Star Trek exists in a rich universe, one that is much more fleshed-out than that of its often-unfairly-compared “rival” Star Wars.  The Star Wars mainline canon consists of six movies.  Star Trek has three seasons and six movies of Original Series, seven seasons and four movies of TNG, seven seasons of Deep Space Nine, seven worthless hackneyed seasons of Voyager, four inconsistent seasons of Enterprise, and the 2009 reboot movie.  That’s a lot of characters, alien races explored in relative detail, and situations to be dealt with by the protagonists.  This detailed picture of the galaxy means that you can, as an adult, find yourself musing on the practicalities of the Star Trek fictional universe in pretty concrete terms.  During some downtime this past weekend, I had a sudden revelation about the era of Star Trek that begins with The Next Generation:

There is no longer any need for a shipboard Medical Officer.  The only reason to have one is for her to be attractive to the Captain and ensure his sexual needs are met. Continue reading

List of the Week: 5 Head Coach Dilemmas – Call the Athletic Director or the Cops?

This week the world of college football was rocked by the revelation that beloved Penn State Defensive Coordinator Jerry Sandusky was a serial child rapist.  I, personally, was amazed that a team in the Big Ten could actually find a new way to suck – even moreso when it turned out to be a team other than Ohio State.  Sandusky was caught in red-penised red-handed by a Graduate Assistant in 2002 who went on to join Head Coach Joe Paterno’s coaching staff.  The Assistant reported the incident to Paterno, who then informed the school’s Athletic Director that Sandusky is a…uh…let’s say “4chan user” when it comes to sex.  Paterno then went about his business quasi-coaching a football team that needed a new head coach 20 years ago, never to think of it again.

Alright, well in retrospect I guess this looks pretty bad

Continue reading

If That’s Not Prostitution, Then I’m Not a Sarcastic Ass

Nothing makes me set my phasers to “get off my lawn” quite like MTV.  I’m not going to pretend it’s become suddenly bad during the exact same years I turned from a high school student to a nominal adult.  I accept that it was bad back when I watched it, too, just differently.  The mash of payola-saturated reality shows and ads for teen botox looks to me now probably the same way it looked to my older brother when I was 15 and it was a mash of payola-saturated music video countdowns and ads for dot-com startups.

The problem isn’t the content, it’s what it represents.  MTV is pure, uncut youth arranged into pixels accessible by every cable subscriber in the country.  I’m not talking about “youth” as in young people with jobs starting to make their way into the world.  No, MTV is for people who just learned that there is a word called “youth” and it applies to them.  They probably don’t even say “youth” – they call themselves “tweens” or something like that.  When you’re in that bubble – that zone where MTV actually speaks to you – it’s the most compelling thing on the dial.  It’s a remarkably sharp focus.  All the kids younger than their target think MTV is torture and would rather watch (MTV-owned) Nickelodeon.  The college students (if they’re smart) and twenty-somethings (if they’re not completely stupid) look down on it with the cynicism and disgust it deserves.  Once you get into those upper-twenties, though, it’s that first taste of hating people younger than you.  It hits you like a ton of bricks.

Tonight while I was eating dinner the only thing that looked the least bit watchable was True Life.  True Life is a documentary series that holds the distinction of being one of the few shows on MTV that isn’t trying to sell you something between commercial breaks.  It dates back to when I was passing through the MTV demographic and tends to be at least worth a look if you don’t have any other choice.  Tonight’s episode was “I’m a Sugar Baby.”  I didn’t know what a “Sugar Baby” was so I watched.  Let me save you an hour:

You know prostitution?  That’s the new word for it.  Make a note to yourself.

These women “date” an older man with money that they meet on a dating site specifically for this practice (the practice of prostitution, specifically) in exchange for money.  The money isn’t technically for sex, it’s for “companionship.”  If sex happens, that’s simply a result of the young woman hitting it off with the wrinkly old dentist she met on the internet who is paying for her car.  You know, like it always happens in non-prostitution situations.  If this fiction sounds familiar it’s because it is exactly the line put out by “escort services.”  You might remember escort services from the one that was frequently patronized by New York Attorney Eliot Spitzer.  Did he resign because of all that companionship?  Noooope, it was the money-sex thing. Continue reading