Friday, October 21, 2011

He's a Pepper, She's Not a Pepper

My tireless quest to point out examples of grievous food related gender discrimination turns today to the recently released new variation of Dr. Pepper: Dr. Pepper Ten, which is controversially marketed exclusively to men.

The position and marketing of Dr. Pepper Ten is the obvious parallel to my previous criticism about how Special K cereal is positioned and marketed heavily towards women. Both instances demonstrate the ignorance and ridiculousness of trying to apply gender specific labels to something as neutral as food (which we call know is clearly based on class distinctions). Dr. Pepper Ten is even more flagrant than Special K since it unambiguously states in their marketing, as driven home by their supposedly hyper masculine national commercial (so the ultimate guy movie is some sort of low budget mash up of GI Joe and Congo?), that their product is "Not For Women".

Now I know a lot of this is exaggerated as satire and to generate some buzz about the drink, but I would be less offended by the campaign if it wasn't so completely based on the outdated and reductive idea that men associate anything low calorie or healthy in general with femininity. It was my main issue with Special K; just because it happened to be marginally healthier than a box of Captain Crunch or Coco Puffs, it gradually morphed into this jean size dropping, body shape loving, breast cancer ribbon laden, monstrosity that was about as guy friendly as a box of tampons.

Now I know Dr Pepper must have done its market research homework for Ten but are we still at that point in this country where diet sodas are still a turn off for guys? I've long since become a regular diet drinker and with all the public knowledge about how fattening soda is and the supposed horrors of high fructose corn syrup (with some dissenting opinions by the corn lobby) I'd think both men and women in larger numbers would be looking to cut down on the calories (I mean, diet soda has its obvious share of problems and ideally we should just cut back on the soda all together, but I know I'm not made of stone). Does adding 10 calories worth of flavor really turn good old regular Diet Dr. Pepper into canned liquid testosterone (although I know some Pepper drinkers out there that would consider it blasphemy, I think Diet Dr. Pepper is one of the more faithful diet soda variations of the real stuff on the market, so I find any gains in flavor to be marginal)?

Hopefully in time all this silly sexist soda nonsense will pass, Dr. Pepper Ten will end up joining the rest of its not quite diet peers, Pepsi One, Pepsi Max, and Coke Zero, in comfortable soft drink semi-obscurity, and the company can go back to addressing more pressing issues: mainly bringing back Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper (or D.C.V.D.P. as us fans call it). As David Naughton so eloquently expressed in the old commercial, in the end we are all Peppers.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Earlier this week, Dan unfortunately used this blog as his personal political mouthpiece. Listen, Dan, nerds come from many different political backgrounds and we can’t afford to insult or split up our already meager fanbase. It’s the same reason we don’t talk about sports. People care way too much about these things and like yelling about them, even if it doesn’t change the fact that your team sucks (Hello Philadelphia!) or that your political party is full of idiots (Hello all of them!) That’s not to say that I don’t support the Occupy Wall Street movement. Any group of people that wants promote social revolution is fine by me. I just wish they were more openly hostile about it. Go Robespierre on these motherfuckers! I say that, not as a socialist mind you, but as a huge fan of the guillotine.

Anyway, I think it’s important that we bring the discussion back to what we do best here. Rehashing already popular internet memes! Of course, I assume everyone here is familiar with Occupy Sesame Street. Pretty funny in concept, and that picture of Cookie Monster wearing a monocle is priceless. But perhaps not everyone is familiar with the much cooler, and also much more terrifying OCTOPI WALL STREET.

This meme is easily the best one floating around the internet at the moment. First of all, as any fan of HP Lovecraft can tell you, tentacled beasts are always more terrifying. Tentacled beasts that want to destroy the American capitalistic way of life are all the more so. Here are some facts you may not know about cephalopods:

1) Native Hawaiians believed that octopi are actually the lone survivor from a different alien universe.
2) They squirt motherfucking ink. Then I put it on my motherfucking pasta and I motherfucking eat it.
3) Korean folks eat em raw.
4) Japanese women’s like to have sex with them.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Video of the Fackin' Week

So, it's not technically a music video, but it does feature an appearance by Marky Mark's cousin, and that totally counts, right? That's what I thought. It's also absolutely hilarious, whether you like sports or not. Making fun of Boston is always in season. Enjoy!

Video reblogged from Kissing Suzy Kolber, which is a much, much better blog than this one.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Michelle Rhee is a Misguided Fool

First off, allow me to apologize for talking about something of actual consequence to American society within this space. Here at Nerd Outrage we have done our best to establish a tradition of reviewing and/or complaining about frivolous, trivial shit in the grand scheme of things. That tradition will not stop, but as an education major and son of a teacher, I feel the need to bring this to light:

America is fucked up economically. This is a surprise to no one at this point. And I'll be the first to admit that I have had some shitty, old, experienced teachers in my day. But they were in the minority. Most of the teachers I had over the years were decent, hard working, dedicated individuals that helped me become the well educated, well spoken, dissenting asshole I am today. Without them, this blog that 14 of you read would not exist. And the idea that the current economic crisis can be even remotely rectified by taking money out the pockets of people that are already notoriously underpaid is absolutely ludicrous. Michelle Rhee, misguided as she is, is only part of the problem. The whole idea that this country's economy is broken because middle class people in unions have too many benefits is truly absurd.

Are some unions too powerful, leading to sub-par worker performance? Absolutely. I wish every fuckhead employed by the MTA was shitcanned and replaced with their non-union Mexican equivalent. Then maybe the G train would run for more than 14 hours a week. But again, they are the exception, not the rule. The people bankrupting this country are the ones that make 100 or more times what the average teacher makes in a year. I'm not going to go further down this road and start spouting off my stupid, over-privileged white kid views on how to fix the country because ultimately, I don't know jack fucking shit. But I do know that experienced teachers aren't the problem. If you agree, you can take a minute and sign the petition here. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go not occupy Wall Street because I'm lazy, and the system is way too fucking broken to be fixed anyway.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pilot Season (Week 2)

I've finally caught up to the second week of new shows. These are the unfortunate results. . .

2 Broke Girls (CBS)

Though this is definitely the better of the two shows that Whitney Cummings is guilty of producing this season, it's still a pretty terrible show. And since it's scheduled right before Two and a Half Men, it's probably gonna get amazing ratings and get renewed for a million seasons and the terrorists will have won. Which is unfortunate if for no other reason than that I do like Kat Dennings and would prefer to see her delivering sassy zingers in a much funnier show. Also the misrepresentation of New York (and Williamsburg in particular) is nothing short of pathetic. I mean, there hasn't been graffiti on New York subways since at least the 80s, and if the point of the show is that these girls have no money, at least set it in a neighborhood where you could credibly buy a studio apartment for less than half a million dollars. And what's with the ridiculous straw-man portrayal of hipsters? Hipsters are perfectly obnoxious on their own merits. There's no need to dumb them down to make jokes at their expense, and they DO NOT LISTEN TO COLDPLAY! Plus, if you're gonna start getting all self-righteous about how annoying hipsters are, why are you using a fucking Peter Bjorn and John song for your opening credits?
Projected lifespan: 3 Seasons

Unforgettable (CBS)

If I can give one piece of advice to anyone creating a lame network police procedural, it's probably best not to give your show a title that will seem ironically hubristic when it is inevitably cancelled after half a season. On a related note, I'm not sure I realized how good Monk, Psych, and Lie to Me really were until I sat down to watch this crap (though The Mentalist is still shit). I mean, if you're writing a hacky cop drama about a detective with a superhuman memory, do you really have to give her mother alzheimer's? Seriously?? The only positive thing I have to say about this show is that it did motivate me to research some research into hyperthymesia (it's a real thing!), which is actually pretty interesting, and contrary to its portrayal in this show, does not involve having a CSI computer in your head that allows you zoom in and enhance all of your memories.
Projected lifespan: half a season

Prime Suspect (NBC)

With the loss of vanilla Law & Order and the exit of Chris Meloni form SVU, I'm glad that NBC is maintaining its quota of salty New York City cops in primetime. I generally enjoyed this show, though I don't think every other line needs to be some overstated crap about how the NYPD is a boy's club. Also, I kind of wish they moved it up the dial to FX so we could get the sorts of colorful language that a show like this so clearly demands.
Projected lifespan: 2 Seasons

Whitney (NBC)

With her second contribution to the world of primetime network sitcoms, Whitney Cummings is looking to cash in on a broad audience of bitter, misanthropic women and dudes who thought Shelly Duvall was hot in the Shining. If this show gets cancelled tomorrow it will not be soon enough.
Projected lifespan: I was gonna say 2 episodes, but this has apparently already been picked up for at least a full season, so what the fuck do I know?

New Girl (FOX)

For the record, I have no interest in jumping on the Zooey Deschenal backlash bandwagon, but this show definitely makes it difficult. I mean, I've always been a fan of her music, but do we really need to see her singing in every scene. I also find her much more plausible in the 500 Days of Summer world, where every man she meets is inexplicably infatuated with her, rather than this bizarro universe where loser hippie boyfriends will just cheat on and dump her at will.
Projected lifespan: half a season

Revenge (ABC)

This is actually one of the better shows I've seen this year, and the only one in which Alexander Dumas gets a writing credit. In a lot of ways, it's not much more than an update of Dallas or Dynasty with hedge funds instead of oil, but if I have to watch a show about rich assholes in the Hamptons, I appreciate that I also get to watch their lives being systematically ruined by a hot blonde girl. I assume that there will be some grand lesson about the moral costs of getting vengeance or something, though if I recall The Count of Monte Cristo correctly (and I don't), it's really more about how awesome it is to watch terrible people get tortured in creative ways.
Projected lifespan: 2 Seasons

Person of Interest (CBS)

Considering this show was created by Jonathan Nolan, produced by JJ Abrams, stars Ben Linus and Jesus, and is pretty much a combination of Enemy of the State and Minority Report, this show really should be a lot better. Now don't get me wrong, the Jason Bourne action stuff is pretty solid, but any show invoking 9-11 for its premise needs to be a hell of a lot less ridiculous than this to prevent any eye-rolling from me. It's also probably the most egregious example yet of television writers vastly overstating the effectiveness of security camera technology.
Projected lifespan: one season

The Playboy Club (NBC)

Somehow this show manages to be neither as smart nor as trashy as Mad Men, though in all other ways it's pretty much identical, to the point where they literally have Naturi Naughton playing the same character in both shows. And considering how heavily the Parents Television Council railed against this show, I was completely underwhelmed with the level of indecency.
Projected lifespan: (not surprisingly) already cancelled

Charlie's Angels (ABC)

This show is pretty much as bad as I was expecting. The only thing I found amusing about the pilot is that, instead of the original series, where the three girls are former cops that are working for Charlie as a day job, they're all ex-cons that and are forced to go into this weird indentured servitude situation in lieu of prison. Of course, by the end of the episode everyone totally forgets that they're all criminals when they're sipping Cristal on Charlie's yacht that he purchased from Biggie Smalls' estate sale.
Projected lifespan: half a season

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Special Discrimination

As anyone who has ever known me would attest to, the two overwhelming character attributes that define who I am are that: (1) I am a big fan of breakfast cereals and (2) I am an ardent champion of gender equality. This is why I take particular exception to the overtly sexist, female only bias that Kellogg's Special K cereal has gradually taken over the last decade.

I have been a long time fan of Special K cereal growing up. I found its mildly sweetened rice flakes to be an agreeable median between the oppressively bland austerity of Corn Flakes and the sickeningly sugary decadence of Frosted Flakes. All through my childhood I do not recall any particular gender bias by the cereal. In fact I found the the minimalist white box with its lack of marketing copy or pictures of anything other than the cereal to be the paradigm (along side the even more severely bare bones Product 19) for neutral cereal packaging.

However, somewhere along the line, the marketing wizards at Kellogg's started focusing the brand at women, particularly women looking to lose weight, and it has been nothing but copy about dropping jean sizes, female empowerment, and pink upon pink upon pink. Suddenly eating a bowl of Special K felt like smoking Virginia Slims (also what's up that? Why is it "a woman's thing" anyway? Is it laced with estrogen or something?) You want a Special K challenge? Try to find one male face on the entire Special K product website. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not going off on some chauvinist Tim Allen "Last Man Standing" rant. Healthy diets and girl power and breast cancer awareness are all positive things but why is Special K exclusively about them. I think some women would raise eyebrows if Raisin Bran suddenly started putting Maxim-esque cover models on their boxes and carried coupons for men's watches and promoted increased prostate cancer awareness.

Additionally when did eating healthy become the near exclusive purview of women? Lord knows I could stand to lose a a jean size or two. Sure there's the whole unfair pressure of society on women's body sizes and all but at the very least they're eating things that are relatively good for them like Special K, poop inducing Activia yogurt, and anything with the word "low fat/low carb". Men are generally marketed things like Hungry Man Dinner, which seem intentionally designed to kill us.

This really goes to my main point that, while things like fashion and medicine and certain types of art maybe be gender specific, food most definitely should not (especially delicious lightly sweetened corn cereal with weird unholy bits of freeze dried strawberries in them). There is enough conflict between the genders already in this day in age, the least we can do it keep it out of the breakfast table.