I don’t think anything has ever appeared in my Facebook feed as many times in such a short period as the video of the woman walking the streets of Manhattan, stonefaced and in plain clothes, while a hidden camera records all the dudes she passes who call out to her.
What’s been particularly odd to me, as with so many other Internet controversies, is what has unfolded in the various comment sections where this video is being discussed: so many guys seem to feel a need to defend their Constitutional right to start unprompted conversations with female passersby on the street, to insist that their intentions are noble and their hearts are pure, that all they want is to “brighten someone’s day” and that they are “just men being men” and that the “feminazis” spreading this “deceptively edited” video apparently want to make “being friendly illegal” because most of the interactions “aren’t even that bad” and “not all men do this.”
Not only was this video eye-opening in terms of the extent to which women have to deal with this — I knew it happened but had never considered how frequently — I had no idea how many guys out there felt so strongly about preserving their right to continue doing it. Maybe I’m just a coward, but when I was single way back in the 20th century, I never once, not ever, approached a female on the street, much less yelled something out at someone walking by, because it seems so face-slappingly obvious that it would never, ever get me anywhere. Does it ever work for anyone, ever?
I am not trying to pretend that I am above such base impulses. I live in New York City, the world capital of beautiful women walking around on the street. It’s one of the greatest things about living here. I’ve been happily and faithfully married for 14 years, but I still have eyes, and I can hardly walk two blocks without noticing someone whom I’d enjoy the opportunity to notice longer. I am a neanderthal scumbag between my ears just like everyone else.
As the worldwide scandal of an actress appearing in public with a slightly different appearance than what the public remembered moved into its third electrifying day, the Internet was ablaze with speculation. What, specifically, had the actress done to herself to change her look so noticeably? How are we, as a society, responsible and complicit for moving her to commit such an atrocity?
The actress, Renee Zellweger, hasn’t been in any movies for a few years, or any good ones for even longer, and she does indeed look a little different than most of us remember: Her squinty little eyes are not so squinty anymore, her round, baby-fat cheeks are not so round, and her skin tone is not so flushed. Since the world demanded answers to this most baffling and important of mysteries, a host of plastic surgeons weighed in on various websites to opine about exactly what procedures she’d had done. Brow lift? Chemical Peel? Botox? Cheek injections? All of the above?
No one seemed to believe Zellweger’s own explanation, given to People Magazine in response to the outcry:
This week a curious piece of video went viral: a real time dispute, shot on a cell phone, over the use of a soccer field in San Francisco. It seems that some dudes from Dropbox wanted to play some dudes from Airbnb so they went online and paid $34 to reserve a field. When they got there they were told by the local teenagers using the field that their permit was meaningless; The field had its own longstanding system, where if you want to play you challenge the team on the field, and if you win you get the field and take on the next challenger.
I clicked on this video because of the headline: “Dropbox Dudes Tried To Kick Kids Off A Soccer Field.” Those Dropbox Dudes sound like assholes, I thought to myself. I lived in San Francisco for six years, I still have a lot of friends there, and I left at least part of my heart there back in 2001. I care about the city and I’m interested in what happens to it. So I clicked and read on:
Tech bros will stop at nothing to get what they perceive to be theirs. In the latest example of unchecked hubris, we witness as a squad of adults in Dropbox jerseys argue with and cuss at children over a San Francisco soccer field.
The post concludes, “You couldn’t cast a more symbolic display of tech-fueled gentrification in San Francisco.”
Sad news in the rock and roll world last week: Australian powerhouse AC/DC announced that rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, older brother to band mascot Angus Young, is suffering from dementia and has left the band, and will be replaced by his nephew.
Word is that the band plans to continue its 40-year career with a big anniversary tour to support its new album, “Rock Or Bust.” I am sure that this tour will be very lucrative — AC/DC’s last tour was the most successful of their career, raking in $441 million, the fourth highest-grossing rock tour of all time.
They should quit while they’re ahead.
It’s hard to think of a public figure more inexplicably reviled than Lena Dunham, the young actress/filmmaker/author whose every thought, word, and deed seems to stir up digital vitriol on par with that enjoyed by Kim-Jong Un, Saddam Hussein or Gwyneth Paltrow.
It seems that Ms. Dunham is doing an 11-city tour to promote her new book, and rather than just read a chapter and then sign copies, as is the norm for book tours, she decided to make it more of an event, and through her website solicited audition videos from performers to join the bill and perform, presumably as opening acts.
But as Gawker was quick to point out, the performers chosen were not going to be paid for their performances, thus setting off the biggest wave of online finger-pointing since the last time Lena Dunham did something in public.