Monthly Archives: September 2009

Queer As Folk: UK v. US


Yeah, I know I’m a big dork for watching Queer as Folk. Yes, I even admit to it on my Facebook page.

Today I decided that I was going to try to watch the UK version–found out a few things. One, it’s fairly easy to find the videos online. Two, there were only ten episodes. And last but not least, the actor who plays the bitchiest character has already played the villain in a movie I’ve seen, so he set himself up perfectly.

U.K. v. U.S. (Links are to actor’s IMDB page)

Stuart Alan Jones=Brian Kinney
Vince Tyler=Michael Novotny
Nathan Maloney=Justin Taylor
Hazel Tyler (Vince’s mom)=Debbie Novotny (Michael’s mom)
Bernard Thomas (Hazel’s gay boarder)=Vic Grassi (Debbie’s gay brother)
Romey Sullivan (Stuart’s babymama)=Lindsay Peterson (Brian’s babymama)
Rosalie Cotter (Romey’s partner)=Melanie Marcus (Lindsay’s partner)
Phil Delaney=Ted Schmidt
Alexander Perry=Emmett Honeycutt
Donna Clark (Nathan’s friend)=Daphne Chambers (Justin’s friend)
Cameron Roberts (long-term bf of Vince) [=] Ben Bruckner (long-term bf of Michael)

Differences:
1. Location, obviously. Along with that, accents.
2. Number of episodes. UK has ten–US has eighty-two.
3. Bitchiness/moodiness of main character. Stuart is more subtle about his manipulations than Brian is.
4. Timing of different events. Stuart’s child (Alfred) is born the first episode–Brian’s child (Gus) isn’t born until the third season. Things in general, move in the same order, but a lot faster in the UK version–maybe they knew they had more time for the US version so they could afford to spread things out that time.
5. HIV/AIDS. It is discussed in the US version, but not in the UK version.
6. Degree of pornography. The US version’s sex is a lot more explicit–not that the sex in the UK version isn’t explicit, it just blacks out/moves on to the next scene just when it’s about to get real good.
7. Sidekick’s mother’s hair color and occupation. Hazel has reddish-brown hair and works from home. Debbie has bright red hair and works in a diner.
8. Death/Life of friend. Phil dies of a drug overdose. Ted lives.
9. Stuart will and does bottom. Brian bottoms maybe once or twice in the whole show and there is definitely some heavy persuasion/coercion going on in those cases.
10. The guys work out at a gym regularly in the U.S. version–in the UK version they mock guys who do that.

Similarities
1. Hair color. They seem to keep it pretty consistent–one exception is #7 in differences.
2. Character types. Pretty much the same–minor tweaks of course, to keep it interesting.
3. Main character serves as sperm donor for lesbian couple. Yet he wants to play some role in his child’s life.
4. Main club. The wild club in both is called Babylon.

I haven’t finished the UK version yet, so I’m sure they’ll end differently, but we’ll see I guess.

Linguistic Oddities: Part Vier


Otherwise known as: on the four-letter (swear) word.

These are the words that our society deems verbotten–we cover the ears of children when they are uttered in a movie and do not dare to say them around our grandmothers for fear of a stern look. There are at least seven that cannot be uttered on the air or the FCC has a shit fit.

What they are: shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits. With the exception of cocksucker and motherfucker they are all four-letter, one syllable words. To that list I’d like to add two more–bitch and ass(hole).

My theory why most of the basic cuss words are one-syllable words is simple: they are words that can be spit at someone. They don’t require forethought or any other kind of complex thinking. Just something one can say in anger or frustration–emotions that generally do not coexist alongside rational forethought. Insults are scatological and/or sexual in almost every language

As for the longer words, well, the only reason I can think of for their existence is that they are combinations of shorter words–cock and suck, mother and fuck and are therefore easier than non-combined words (can’t think of the linguistic term right now) to say. Anybody have an alternative suggestion?

On children


Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of kids. They’re necessary for the continuation of the human species. But at this point in time, they’re just not for me. I have gone back and forth over the last five or so years about whether I’ll ever have them–at this point in time, the answer is maybe, which will be fairly well reflected in my list. Some of the reasons I don’t see changing with time–others are simply a matter of the point I’m at in my life at this very moment. Reasons are only in the order I think of them, and not in order of importance.

  1. I’m not financially stable enough.  I have an income at this point in time which is not technically enough to support me completely, much less anyone else.  And that’s going to change for the worse in the next week, as I will be going back to school and my state of joblessness.  My spending habits are not stable enough to be able to predict where I will be financially in five years.
  2. I don’t have a stable enough support system.  I believe that it takes a village to raise a child well (not just two parents) and I simply do not have a network available to do that at this point in time.  This is pretty much a necessity for me to even think about having kids.
  3. I’m a little vain.  I like the way my body looks/is now–high firm breasts, intact piercings, and overweight but not terribly so.  Pregnancy would change those.  Looking at my female family members I know these would change; my mother gained most of the weight she has now after my sister’s birth–she lost most of what she gained when she was pregnant with me.  I know very many women say this: I love my mother, but I do not want to look like her (well, at least any more than pure genetics dictated at my conception).   Now, this is just if I were to be a biological mother; none of this would really matter with adoption, if my partner was to be the biological mother, or with step-children.
  4. Tied into number three is the fact that I do not have good enough exercise habits to be able to maintain my figure (so cliched, I hate that phrase) through a pregnancy.  Will this change?  I hope so.  But at this point that is simply the case.
  5. I’m not patient enough to be a good mother.  I’m getting better at this, I’ve noticed.  Screaming children don’t bother me as much as they used to and I’m learning to be more patient with myself and my abilities.
  6. I have a very distinct opinion of people having more children than the replacement rate–two kids per every two people.  With every additional child they are decreasing available resources–if they work to counteract that by using less resources overall or contribute to efforts to fairly distribute resources around the globe then it is forgivable.  Overpopulation is a big enough problem already and I see no need to contribute to it, really.
  7. However, in spite of all of this, I find myself talking and thinking as if I will have children–how I would educate them, what I would do in certain circumstances, where I would like for them to grow up (more of an environment thing, rather than a specific geographic location), and how I would raise them differently than I’ve been raised.  I don’t know if this is just because I’m getting older or whether I am simply being exposed to people who want/have children, but it is not something I am resisting.

Ideally I would like to adopt–I see no reason to add my genes to the world gene pool and just increase overpopulation and decrease available resources.  I do not know whether I’d be okay with just having an only child–if I had one, I would probably have another–not for the reason that the first will have someone to play with growing up but because it teaches kids to share and important socialization skills.  I would like to someday have the opportunity to be an influence on kids’ lives–I think I have some very valuable experiences and skills to share.

But these are just my theories on child-raising as a childless person.

Linguistic Oddities: Part Tre


Why do both genius and ingenious mean the same thing? Yes, I know they are spelled differently, but there is no difference verbally between the opposite of genius and ingenious. You think the people designing the language would differentiate a little more between the two.

Linguistic Oddities: Part Deux


This is a bit of a pet peeve of mine, mostly that it is so common in the vernacular.

Polyamory: many loves
Monogamy: one partner*

Why are these always used as opposites? They may be almost mutually exclusive (not going to go into when they aren’t because that’s just semantics) but they are not logically linguistic opposites. If one looks at roots (both Greek and Roman in the case of polyamory) the opposites are as follows:

Opposite of many loves, is one love–monoamory
Opposite of one partner is many partners*–polygamy

I propose the increased usage of the word monoamory–despite its plethora of vowels, it is the technically correct word to use opposite polyamory.

*: I simplified the terms incredibly. The ending -gamy usually refers to marriages, but is often used to also refer to non-married relationships as well.

Medical issues


In the last five or six months I have been experiencing pains that are consistent with a diagnosis of endometriosis. I am, as I have said before, a bit of a hypochondriac, but this pain is consistent enough to worry me. The most common treatment for it is to put the person on hormonal birth control, which I’m on anyway, so I don’t really intend on seriously pursuing an actual medical diagnosis, just treating it with painkillers which is what is recommended anyway. If it comes up during a doctor’s appointment I’ll be sure to mention it.

Class


They say there’s three things a lady should never bring up in conversation: politics, money, or religion. I say, why not? I’ve taken on politics–heck, that’s my major.

First and foremost I will say this: I have middle class privilege. My family has never had to live paycheck to paycheck. Anything I needed (not wanted, but needed) I have gotten. My parents are paying for my college education from money they have been able to save up since my birth for exactly that. I have never needed to work to pay for anything–I chose to work to further myself and my real-life education.

However, this is not something I am very proud of, whatsoever. Would I prefer to have a life where I cannot afford to go to college and my paychecks went toward the family income? No. I do feel a sense of guilt for being born into the family I was and having the luxuries I’ve had when I meet so many wonderful people who have not had any such luxuries and have had to work for every thing they needed.

I have a few case studies to illustrate this–incidents recently where I catch myself with my privilege showing.

The first one, the incident that really inspired this post in the first place, took place at Wal-Mart a couple weeks back. I was in the area, so I decided to pop my head in, take a look around. Within five minutes I felt uncomfortable–uncomfortable with supporting a big business that oppresses its workers, not allowing them to unionize or even provide a decent wage. Then I realized how silly I was being. Yes, those things are still true, but there are people who cannot afford to shop elsewhere, whatever their personal beliefs on the business politics of Wal-Mart. There are also people who work there to feed their families, maybe put a little extra something in their kids’ backpacks as they go off to school–whether or not they agree with what Wal-Mart Inc. has to say about the state of the world. I can, quite literally, afford to care about the politics and policies of this corporation and to vote with my dollar.

The second incident came about a week later when I was in Portland with my mother and sister. The fact that we can afford to travel, even just by train with the economy the way it is–privilege right there. That we can afford to pay for a hotel–not just any hotel, but a fairly nice one in the middle of the city–obscenely privileged. I felt out of place there–this is not a place where the kind of people I prefer to associate myself with would hang out. Even when we were waiting for the bus we were the ones that were asked for spare change–our clothes gave us away as possibly having some to spare. The shopping bags were even more conspicuous. The fact that my traveling companions seemed grossly unaware of just how much our class was buying us–disappointing. The fact that we could prefer to save money by taking public transportation rather than require it–well, we could have done worse.

The third incident took place about three years ago–my family took a river cruise in Europe over the Christmas season–mostly to visit the Christmas markets in the cities we stopped in. I do not often mention the specifics of this trip to people–it makes me look like a little rich girl. In fact, it was the first cruise I’d ever taken, but how is anyone else supposed to know that without hearing an explanation that sounds like an excuse. We were probably the poorest people on the cruise–our clothes and our talk of experiences gave us away as middle class. It was a bit of a humbling experience to be the poor ones, but it was only a very small experience–there are times I do wish that feeling to be mine again.

I may depend on my parents to pay for my college education, but everything else, that’s mine to pay for. I feel like I can commiserate better with my friends if it is my own money on the line for my buying experiences and mistakes. It makes me feel like a better person I guess–puts me temporarily in a place where I am more comfortable being–more solidly middle class, rather than verging on upper-middle class. I think as long as I can realize what my privilege brings me in this society–little worry about debts and where the next meal will be coming from, this is an okay thing to do.

I worry though, about my sister, who has little to no knowledge of her class privilege. Mommy and daddy have been paying for everything for her and she has not held a job until this summer and that only because my folks told her she should. She depends on them and their money to be able to dress and associate with people who are fairly firmly upper-middle to upper class. I don’t think she quite realizes that she won’t always be able to live like that and that there’s a certain amount of pride being able to, even if just in some small way, live on your own money, earned by your own merits, not hanging off the coattails of one’s parents. I think it’s also part of growing up–learning how to be financially independent.

Class is a touchy subject because it is attached to the idea of money–but not just because of that. It shapes our growing up years, our education, our politics. It is hard to detach one’s experiences in life from one’s class, unless you know/realize that the best experiences in life have little to do with money and much more to do with intellectual, emotional, spiritual, mental, and sexual happiness.