16 December 2010

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,
I’ve been a very good girl this year. But I still have several things to ask for, well, if possible. I know we haven’t talked since I’ve been seven, but if I remember well you don’t work like that gold fish cheapo, granting only three wishes. Here I can make as many as I want, that’s how it works, right?
First, is it possible for shops and radio stations to stop drilling my brain with Christmas music from the eighties? Seriously. Thank you very much. (Oh dear, still humming “last Christmas I gave you my heart...”)

Now, let me tell you, it’s been a wonderful year. I’ve been a very very good girl. I have been incredibly nice to my friends, I made one man the luckiest man on earth, I made some magnificent changes to my style, which made me so proud of myself, I have been pointing people in the right fashion directions and I have even brought my supermodels dishing to a minimum. I swear, I have!
So, don’t I deserve a thing or two?
You need to know Santa, Christmas gift shopping and receiving dreads me.
Overcrowded stores filled with clueless people who don’t want to be there in the first place and cranky sales people who act like they’ve just pulled you out of a burning car when they actually manage to find the right size and colour for you. Pas pour moi, merci.
All everyone is talking about is Christmas shopping. It simply seems too evasive to me. It’s like that annoying girl you keep running into and keep lying to how you don’t live here anymore or you’re awfully busy, even though the only thing you really need to do in a month’s time is write one article... But seriously, I refuse to hang out with anyone who has about as much style as a tapeworm.
And a very special thorn in my eye are those articles about perfect gifts “for him”, “for her”, “for mother in law”, “for great great grandmother” and for “that distant cousin whose name you no longer remember”.
The chances are if I am not nice to them during year, I don’t call, I don’t hang out often, I never buy them anything, I don’t really fancy them. So, my Christmas gift will be under their tree only because I was raised nicely.
 Christmas gifts always end up being things you would never buy for yourself, things you really didn’t want, and most of the time things you don’t even like. If we would all just stop buying gifts to each other and instead buy gift for ourselves that would have been a much better deal, but I am aware that will not happen, because then you wouldn’t get to pretend you’re nice.
More often than not I am really disappointed with things I get for Christmas. Or other gift – giving occasions, like birthdays. But I do know birthdays are not your responsibility Santa. Though, it’s always the same scenario. I see a nicely wrapped package, get all overly excited, thinking, this is something I’m gonna love. I rip the paper of the package and there it is... biggest disappointment ever. It’s like that moment when you enter a van and the old guy has no candy. You’re thinking wt*? You know the feeling.
So Santa, this time, I want to avoid the awkwardness and that’s why I’m writing with several requests.
Of course the first thing I would wish for is world peace or for people to be nicer to each other, but I am keeping that one for when I enter a beauty contest, so pass.
Other thing is, you could tell people to dress up more. That would be nice. That way I could have much broader circle of friends. Or at least people to go have drinks with.
You could also send me lottery numbers, so that way I could spend the rest of my life shopping. I know people would say, nah, that wouldn’t make anyone happy long term, but they are wrong. Trust me Santa, it would make me happy long term. I am that shallow, and I know all the right places to shop. Do we have a deal?
And please dear Santa, encourage everyone to buy a gift for themselves this year, wrapping it up and putting it under a tree would be a step too far, however.
Oh, and do you also make new year’s decision come true? Or someone else is in charge of that? Well, since I am already writing, if that’s your job or if you know a guy for that, please just tell him to make the next year even more awesome and stylish.

Thank you dear Santa.
Sincerely yours,
            Miss Opinionated
P.S. Please, please don’t forget the lottery numbers!

8 October 2010

I want to be a supermodel ! ! !

It was January 2006 when ProSieben blessed my long and cold Austrian evenings with “Germany's Next Topmodel” and annoyingly giggling Heidi Klum.
Aside Heidi being oh so loud and unconvincingly überhappy, the show was still watchable, that is if you have stomach for realities. The sociologist in me has always had something for it; it’s like completely free research. You get to peek deep into group’s life but without the entire ethical dilemma; someone else does the dirty job for you.
Germany’s Next Topmodel wasn’t nearly that deep that a sociologist part of me would have any reason to watch it, it was just a guilty pleasure... then why did I watch it? It was laughable! And I never miss an opportunity for a good mock.
Show could have as well been called “Clueless”. No, I won’t go on wasting precious internet space writing about model’s intelligence, which is an oxymoron in itself, in fact. I will be quite nice this time. Germany’s Next Topmodel is a joke.
Where do they find those kids? (In Germany, right?). Oh my, it just strike me why Germany’s Supermodel starts with 100 contestants and American starts with 30! Can you guess? Well, duh, it’s impossible to find more than 30 non – obese girls in America these days. If they’re below hudred kilos they’ve already been hired by one of MTV’s reality shows!
But back to Germany. Why do those girls come so unprepared? It’s like a tradition that every season at least two girls leave the show on their own “because they miss mommy and daddy oh so much”, then there is all the drama when it comes to wearing nothing but undies “because we are not hookers, we are models”, you’re hangers my dear child, you wear what you’re told to wear. Then the problem of sleeping here or there or travelling like this or like that. Boo hoo, get overyourself!
Why oh why don’t you check a bit what being a model is all about before you decide that that is what you’ve really really always wanted to be!! Oh so much!
There are maybe fifty models all in all who make their own conditions, the rest are used to wear clothes. Before you become Alessandra the Great, you’ll have to be doing shampoo commercials and local European runaways.
Seriously, they get there so clueless it’s not even funny, joking, of course it’s funny, it’s fucking hilarious.

So, at one episode they were a bit de – motivated because they were abroad and missing the great country of Germany so much, their parrots, cats, monkeys, boyfriends and other pets... So to lift the spirits Heidi said let’s see who wants this the most. Let’s shout as loud as we can “I want to be a supermodel!”. And after the shouting therapy she told them every time they doubt themselves and it gets hard you just say to yourself “I want to be a supermodel”. She didn’t know back then, but in that moment she made history. “I want to be a supermodel” started as a local joke at my dance academy every time things would get too hard but it has spread through many universities... back then I had about hundred friends who all knew the “I want to be a supermodel” thing.
Things those girls were doing in a show were so ridiculously easy compared to what we were going through every day that we just had to use their pep talk. So many times I wished to be stupid and released of my own ambitions. Wishing to be a supermodel was like saying “I want to go to Maldives and do nothing for three months”. The funniest thing was hearing my tough friend from military academy working on his terrorism masters saying from time to time “I want to be a supermodel”.
The show also had an educational role, for all those future models. I highly recommend you watch this or any franchise of this show just to get familiar with what you might be facing one day. Oh and a warning, all the ugly parts were edited out!
The only thing that’s worse than reality shows are those local sleazy so called modelling agencies. You know the type when you see photos from the “shooting”. The very cheap clothes, unprofessional make up... you know, it reeks of Ukraine in the 90ties. So if you’re wanna be model, it’s better to try a reality show than one of those. Just because there is a white screen behind you while someone takes your photos honey, doesn’t mean you’re a model. But suit yourself.

After the first season we didn’t continue watching the Supermodel, later we graduated, we finished masters, doctoral and other degrees, but we never ever became supermodels...

15 September 2010

Show me your meat

It’s gonna be very difficult for me writing this post, simply because there are so many punchlines that can be derived here, I could just list them one by one and have enough material for entire post, and yet I’m supposed to say something meaningful, or at least express my opnion... at your expense of course.

First the bitch is back, both of us, Gaga and Miss Opinionated. I must give it to her, she made a better comeback. She looked just plain delicious in that dress.
Before you judge Gaga as a bitch in a meat dress you need to be corrected, she is a FREE bitch in a meat dress.

I have no idea what point she was trying to prove wearing nothing but protein, but I sure was amused with everyone’s reaction. Vegeterians, vegans... I mean, why are they even allowed to talk? “She offended us”, oh boo hoo. Go raid animal experimentation lab or something. Eat some protein, man up.
I wear dead animals every day, I also eat dead animals every day and I don’t feel bad about it, not for a minute. I think vegetarians are being prejudiced one here. Live and let live, no? If animals could stand up for themselves they would, but they can’t, it’s a matter of survival. We fought our way to the top of the food chain, we were once the pray.
I just think that vegans are people with way too much free time on their hands. Let Gaga wear meat. No, maybe I don’t respect animals enough, you’re completely right. I believe that cows were put on earth to serve as dinner to the rest of us, okay?

And if I ever have so much time on my hand as to go pick a cause to fight for, I would start with saving underprivileged human beings! There are plenty of them who need meat and all other kinds of goods, like clean water and medical supplies. So no, I won’t be protecting cows, while there are children starving.
And no, I do not believe in organizations who exist to help them because they’ve been around for decades. Decades! And haven’t done a shit (forgive my french).
I do not believe in collective guilt, but I do believe in collective responsibility. And I do believe we are responsible. One of us can do little, all of us, we could do a lot.
I would suggest we all stop using diamonds as jewelery. It’s just shiny stones, and imagine if there were no demand, there’d be no production. And that would mean less children with guns in africa.
Oh, but you don’t care about children in Africa? Do you now? No, of course not, why would you. No one cares about that anymore. It’s way more important to talk about LG’s meat dress (which was btw prettier than most other dresses on MTV awards, yes, Ciara, I’m talking about you).

Or we can all collectively start hunger strike as of tomorrow, all of, entire civilized world until our leaders do something to help starving children in Africa. And I really mean do something, not just pretend to do something like they usually do.
But you wouldn’t want that either, now would you? Again it takes to much effort and it involves actually doing something on your side! Damn, we need some kind of hypocritical cause to fight for. Let’s bake cakes for underprivileged children and single mothers, and sell them to our other overprivileged friends and neighbours so they can get just a bit fatter, that will sure help.

So, seriously, get over yourselves and over Gaga, if eating (wearing) meat was the worst thing that’s wrong with the world, I’d consider us lucky.

16 July 2010

How do you feel about marzipan?

I am sure you’ve watched Forest Gump, it’s such a lovely and inspirational movie. Even an evil sarcastic maniac like myself loves Forest <3. And his moma was right - life really is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get. Well except if you go to one of those fancy chocolatier shops and pick the pralines you like. Still most of us just put up with what we get.
But what if you keep getting truffles with marzipan and you really hate marzipan? Do you spit it out or keep on chewing? Do you swallow? Good girls swallow you know, but I really hate marzipan, even when it’s covered with chocolate.
How did Forest Gump stand against the marzipan truffles? Against the world, against the bad odds and chances? Simply, I believe – Forest didn’t know he doesn’t like marzipan.
Forest was born mentally and physically challenged, with an IQ of an average model (75), and that considered, rethinking the world we live in, you would have thought that all odds were against him. But no! Think again. Dumbness pays today.

According to genius professor Anthony Giddens we live in a “runaway” world. To put it simply for the Forest - like minds, that means that the world is constantly running away from us (thank you captian Obvious!), the moment you think you have it all under the control, you have absorbed everything – information, inventions, technologies, (fashion trends) – the world takes a step forward. Something new (and big) happens! Such world can easily drive us mad because it’s constantly out of reach, which apparently is bad for our mental health; people like to have things under control. When the world gets neurotic, we get neurotic.
Forest was too stupid to realize how big the things that were happening around him really are. Most people would take significant amount of time to ponder on any of those events if they had happened to them, and while doing that, they would lose all the other chances that Forest took, while they would be still calculating the risks – Forest would already be finished with the whole thing.
Only when you don’t know things, you can go beyond them. If you are aware of significance and risks, if you are aware of what you might lose, the chances are your fears will leave you in one place your entire life. When you can’t see the broad picture on the other hand, you go for whatever you want. There is incredible freedom in having nothing to lose. Not that any of us have anything to lose, we just think we do, again, because we’ve been convinced so, again, because we’re oh so much smarter than Forest.

Out of every marzipan truffle Forest ate, he only tasted chocolate. An average citizen of civilized world today would have to be slightly mentally retarded to undergo everything the runaway world serves him and stay “normal”. Forest went through life unbelievably calm, taking things as they are, we on the other hand, over-analyze everything.
The best thing about Forest is that he was too dumb to know that he can not make it in life, so he made it. I can only wish to be that stupid.

4 July 2010

Mirror, mirror...

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of them all? Is it Giselle? Heidi? Adriana? Monica or Sharon? Who? Who? How do you tell oh wise mirror?

The mirror that was in evil stepmother’s possession must have in fact been a sociologist. A one with a very good knowledge of theories of taste and socio – economical conditions in the kingdom. Because, it is in fact possible to scientifically say what is and what isn’t beautiful. Biology aside, as social conditions change, so does the perception of aesthetics. But not to go into theories of taste, because it would take too much time, think where did you first hear about magical mirror (aka sociologist in disguise)? In a fairy tale. You see, now this may come as a surprise to some of you (I recommend models to skip this entire chapter), but fairy tales are not true.

Just like images in the mirror. What you see when you look into a mirror is a combination of fears and desires implanted right under your skin by media and commercials.

Isn’t your nose too big? Your eyes are too much apart? Your skin has lost that beautiful healthy glow? Wrinkles around your eyes are starting to show despite all the time and money invested in beauty products? Face lifts last for only so long, and they can not really hide the truth. The neck and the hands are real tale tellers. Year after year you are losing the battle with gravity… You’re stretching and pumping and lifting, but the time shows no mercy. Is that what you see? Did they get to you?

How far would you go to stay younger and more beautiful? It is important in life, beauty and youth. Let's put aside lies we tell ourselves about inner beauty, I usually like to say - it's not that beauty makes me especially interesting, but it does help people to get interested in my personality. It is a statistical fact that beautiful (symmetrical) people get more and better opportunities in life. It doesn't apply to every single person of course, but it does to majority. What do you think why did I develop such an awesome personality and charisma? I'm butt ugly!

So what is your youth drug of choice? Supplements? Cosmetics? Botox? Plastic surgery? Aborted fetuses perhaps? Because you see, in China, apparently they eat aborted human fetuses. I'm dead serious. Now, I'm not very picky when it comes to food, I always say "if it had a mom I will eat it", and somehow, deep inside, I always knew that statement will one day come back and punch me in the face. I would not eat an aborted human fetus or any other kind of fetus or anything human, despite it having a mom.

And they don't eat them because they are a gourmet specialty, they eat them because they believe it keeps them younger. Yes, they do. Hospitals collect aborted fetuses and sell them or give them away. They say it is best to make a soup. If you don’t believe me, you should know that there is a law in china which forbids the eating of human fetuses. There is no such law in my country, and you know why? Because no one was ever sick enough to even think of eating a human fetus. I am sure that people do many other sick things in my country though.

Sometimes I am under impression that I am very naive, because no matter what I see and hear, what I learn, it always surprises me when I see how far people are going only to satisfy their vanity. Someone needs therapy. Lots of therapy.

If you take a moment and think, Dorian Gray didn't end so well, despite his glorious beauty, superficiality and stupidity. "Your mysterious young friend, whose name you have never told me, but whose picture really fascinates me, never thinks. I feel quite sure of that. He is some brainless, beautiful creature, who should be always here in winter when we have no flowers to look at, and always here in summer when we want something to chill our intelligence". How lovely, and it proves I'm not the first one who noted the obvious connection between beauty and sketchiness.

Physical beauty is most often wasted on the young and dumb. If you don't like what you see in the mirror, perhaps you should simply stop looking in the mirror?

19 June 2010

Why I don’t wish you all the best in life…

There is one thing in life that I hate as much as I hate money – the tactful kindness. Don’t say things that you don’t really mean. Not only do I find it incredibly stupid, but also rude. If you don’t respect me enough to tell me what’s really on your mind then we’re really up for a bad start.

It most often happens on two specific occasions. One is when you send a job application and they don’t like you for the position, but they are nice enough to actually let you know that you didn’t make it. At the end of such letter, which is supposedly bringing you bad news, they will usually say something like “we wish you all the best in your further career”. They are? Seriously? Then why the hell they didn’t give you the job?
The other one happens a lot on the internet, when you’re discussing something and then someone disagrees. They make their point, but try not to look as a complete bad guy, so they will say something “I wish you all the best in life”. Come on, don’t be a pussy, I mean French, speak your mind, we all have the blessing of anonymity on internet, you can send me to hell, and you tell me you wish me all the best in life? I don’t buy the “turn the other cheek” philosophy, mine is “an eye for a lie”, so don’t lie to me.
Like they will say “you stupid motherfucking bastard you have no idea what you’re talking about. Who let you even speak about it you dumb fuck!?!?! I completely disagree with you, but I wish you all the best in your life.” Maybe I’m overdoing it just a little bit, but you get the point.

So, politically correct as I am, I will tell you now so I don’t have to repeat it over and over again in every conversation – I do not wish you all the best, neither in your life, nor your career. I am less than virtuous, but one thing I’ll never do – deceive you about how I feel about you.
Why on earth would I wish all the best in life to a complete stranger? Why? How do I put it? Oh yes, I know – I couldn’t care less! Really, I couldn’t care less.
I will refuse your job application if I don’t find you suitable, or if I just plain don’t like you. I will argue with you over the dumbest things over internet or face to face, just because someone cut me off on my way to work today or because I find your lack of intelligence amusing… but still after I’m done with you, I will not wish you all the best in life.
I do not care if you get another job. I honestly don’t. The chances are I will never hear your name again. And I do not care if you get offended by what I say, the chances are – I don’t care.
We don’t care about people we don’t know. Okay, some out there don’t wanna go around hurting others feelings or whatever, but no one, I repeat no one in the world could sincerely wish all the best in life to a complete stranger. Do you even realize the meaning of those words?

For example if you wished me all the best in life this is what would happen – first I would win at least 100 million Euros in lottery, then I would have several books published, then suddenly my books would be so good that no book would ever be sold again, unless it was written by me. Then I would take over the Oprah show, then HBO, I would be filthy rich, and I would have mind control over the world’s leaders and citizens. I would also have Jesus, Dalai Lama and aliens on speed dial. I would destroy Apple, just because. Then one day there would be zombie invasion and I would fight them off and become the leader of the brave new world. Oh, and I would have several countries and languages made illegal, just because I think they suck.
So, do you still really wish me all the best in life?

I mean, if you get hit by a car tomorrow morning, I probably won’t even twitch. I wish the best in life to people I care about, complete strangers or people I’ve just met and only said hello to, I really don’t care about.
It’s mutual I know. For all I care you can get kidnapped by werewolves and then be sacrificed to southern American bats… actually, that would be a really cool conversation starter – hey have you heard about that guy who got kidnapped by werewolves and…?

And there is one more lovely usage of this phrase. When you’re breaking up with someone and you tell them all that you hate about them and all that you kept silent about all that time while you were together, and then you finish with a strong and properly accented “I wish you all the best in life”, which really means “I hope you die and rot in hell together with whoever will be your next girlfriend, and I hope Saddam Hussein rapes you there, daily.”

I wish myself all the best in life, the rest of you can live with being mediocre.

12 June 2010

If you liked it then you should have put a ring on it… or he had it coming?

Carrie on… yes I watched Sex and the City 2. It was a very painful experience, but at least now I know that nothing worse can happen for the rest of the year.
Put aside my utmost disappointment with direction, screenplay, bad acting, I wasn’t expecting much there anyway, but I was expecting the film to be bubbly pink champagne, you know, funny and witty and fashionable, but I got none of that. Unfortunately, there are only few bubbles left in this champagne, and they are not worth drinking the bottle.

Let’s start from the beginning. Does anyone remember the series? It was supposed to be about four liberated and strong, successful women living in the capital of the world. When really we spent six seasons watching and listening four women whine about not being able to get a man. Dating in New York is nasty, but it’s not nearly as bad as they have portrayed it in SATC. Especially when you take into consideration the choice of the name for the show – Sex? What sex? If Samantha didn’t fuck half of New York, there’d be neither sex nor the city in that show.
Yet, there are entire generations of women who found themselves to just like Carrie! Or Miranda or Charlote, or Samantha even! Which one are you? Which one are you?
I am the one green with envy in the background, wondering how can Carrie afford all that clothes on a columnist’s pay check? What am I doing wrong?

Carrie has spent six seasons chasing Mr. Husband. No, they were nothing like strong, successful, liberated women having fun in expensive shoes. Most of the time they were just four whiny single neurotic girls chasing the ring, because apparently, even in the 21st century, besides very expensive shoes and bags, the only true value a woman can achieve is having a diamond on her finger. The show was not about women, it was about the worst of them. Writers took four character flaws, assigned them to four women and made caricatures of them. Not only have they dedicated every second of their free time to analyzing men and trying to trap them, but they’ve also narcissistic as hell! Damn, they’re always dressed up. Carrie is so faking the writer thing. Writers are neurotic, crazy drunkards, I would know. No, really, they were always top of the class, come on, everyone makes mistakes, oh well, not if you have 20 stylists per show.

So now that Miss Bradshaw has finally become Mrs. Preston, she has a problem with being called – Mrs. Preston. Oh my, her husband doesn’t wanna go out every night; he is a guy who actually enjoys spending an evening on the couch watching TV!!!! Can you believe that? A man who likes to watch TV? Outrageous! And she didn’t know it for six years? Wow! And later on it only gets better, so why not consider cheating on your husband with your ex boyfriend? Yes, that’s what real women do. Because showing a guy cheating would be cliché, why not have a Carrie do it. Give me a break.

The film has no plot whatsoever. The plot is them going to Abu Dhabi, but nothing happens there (or anywhere else), despite the film being unforgivably long (149 minutes).

Basically it’s a two and a half hour long parade of new designer collections, superficiality, greed and youth obsession. I will be the first one to admit that I am not very fond of Islamic culture and especially the way it treats women, but our four heroines have shown such an ugly and unintelligent racism towards it, it was not funny one bit.
When in Abu Dhabi – act like an average stereotype of an American – completely dumb.
Talking about dumb… Carrie is now a 45 year old woman and it just made me vomit every time she puts on her little girl act, eyelashes batting, mincing and hair tossing – it just becomes inappropriate at certain age, and slightly preposterous.
The characters were simply unbearable!

And fashion? Was the omission of style in this sequel deliberate? I know you have to advertise the red soles, but wearing strappy heels on a desert sand is just somehow – unfortunate. Read: silly.
Wearing haute couture with pumps for a night of watching a TV on couch with your husband – well, I must say I suddenly felt ridiculously underdressed because the evenings I spend with my bf at home I am wearing yoga pants and a t shirt. I will see to it and repel my fashion sins.
The entire movie is overdressed and it’s all just too much. Carrie looks like a Gosh Spice! I’ve completely misunderstood the genre, I thought it was a comedy, but really, it’s a fantasy. Glittery and a bad one. Liza Minnelli and gay wedding. Why do vain girls treat their gay friends as a fashion accessory? Every girl needs one! Have you got yours? “My gay friend is marrying her gay friend”. I guess saying “my friend is marrying her friend” just wouldn’t suffice. These girls’ shallowness goes even beyond Bergdorf Blondes.

And just to prove that they are not as racist, somewhere by the end of the movie they discover that under burkas even the Muslim women wear new Louis Vuitton spring collection! Ah, women are all the same everywhere, and they can all afford 20 000 $ outfits for every day of the year.
Just carrie on…

6 June 2010

Stupidity sells?

For long now I’ve had difficulty finding art in fashion. Fashion has become advertising. Since the eighties it was sex that was selling, but we have apparently entered entirely new era or marketing. In sex saturated society it is now stupidity that sells. No kidding, welcome to the stupidest campaign I’ve ever seen.

A month ago while walking around town with my (not so stupid) boyfriend we ran across the Diesel billboard that said “Be Stupid!”, the moment I saw it I knew I have an article. Oh God, they are starting to breed. Never underestimate stupidity of people in large groups.
I never thought highly of Diesel or their products, but this was the final blow they gave themselves. I just don’t feel stupid enough to ever buy Diesel. Not that I find Diesel to sell fashion, they are making jeans, there is only so much you can design when it comes to jeans. You need to aim at stupidity to renew your brand every now and then when in fact you’re producing confection.

If the attempt of campaign was to equalize stupidity with boldness it failed miserably. Stupid does something new, brave, outrageous, groundbreaking. Only not really. In their adds girls are taking photos of their vaginas (so old – Britney did it, Paris Hilton did it, Lindsey Lohan did it), flashing their boobs, riding bike on a steering wheel, carrying paper bag over your head… Indeed stupid. “Smart may have the brains, but stupid has the balls”. It really does take brainless head to do things that people on their adds are doing, but it don’t take no balls. It takes balls to act smart. Most people already ARE stupid. They don’t need additional encouragement! Everyone can flash their boobs, get drunk or whatever it is those brave new things the stupid are doing.

The campaign I would find new and refreshing would be one that would invite people to actually be smart. But that is difficult. In 21st century and the society that we live in, it actually takes balls to be smart. To believe in something and stick to it no matter what. Being stupid is in fact the easy way around life.
Whoever did this campaign for Diesel in fact shares my opinion on the young people today, 98% of them are just plain stupid. They were not aiming at encouraging people to be bold or creative, they were aiming at those who already are stupid to identify themselves as Diesel people. Stupid campaign is a smart move indeed, since the stupid population is just vast. I predict huge increase in sales profit this year for Diesel. If they had a dollar for every stupid person on this planet, oh my!
Sad truth is that they nowadays make you feel bad for being smart. For long now, smart is not cool. Stupid is. Smart is boring, stupid is fun. Though at least smart doesn’t get you STD.

I like it how a friend of mine compared this campaign to a stupid girl he was once dating. At first she seemed cute and he confused her stupidity for carefree optimism. Only to later realize that she indeed is completely empty shell, shallow, and her optimism was based simply on ignorance. It gets boring very quickly, he told me, and embarrassing.

Stupid campaign reminded me of Zoolander, ultimate mocking of the fashion world. Only difference was that Zoolander was actually done with a surprisingly intelligent approach. At Diesel they didn’t even try. It’s in a way advertising imitating life. When you take a closer look at their adds you’ll realize you’ve met those people, most of them. If you have no talents, if you’re too lazy to work and contribute, just flash your boobs, get drunk and wear Diesel jeans.
Being stupid in fact is not daring, being stupid is being mainstream. The campaign therefore failed at being different and daring, it’s mediocre at best.

In a culture that is oversaturated with youth obsession, superficiality and irresponsible living this campaign isn’t bringing anything new, it is merely stupid.

9 May 2010

Lolita – “the only convincing love story of our century”

What is rotten in our society that we can refer to confessions of a pedophile as a love story? Aside our personal moral compasses that most of the time aren’t aligned with each other, but there are certain universal moral values that we should all agree on, no questions asked. One, if the only such thing is child abuse, it’s a no, no matter the circumstances.

“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul.” Humbert Humbert writes a story about his love for a certain nymph, as he refers to her, a child, really. Morally wrong, tainted in his very core, unsettling, this character still manages to get under our skin. Humbert is an ultimate anti – hero, a child molester and yet he even makes us feel compassion for his strange obsession.
Humbert is showing us how easy it is to overlook that which we swear we would stop if only we knew about it.

Lolita never gets old. I have read Lolita so many times that I know most parts by heart. It is one of those novels you can keep coming back to year after year and every time you read it, you find new things in it. It will not take you to a pleasant world of imagination, or teach you valuable lessons; it is confusing and somewhat difficult to read. It is claustrophobic at most, and tense, queasy and very discomforting, yet you can not put it down. You keep reading hoping for a solution, hoping for something that would finally make characters conform to moral social norms, hoping for a simple resolution, but it never arrives.
Rather, it leaves you mangled in disturbing emotions and questions, the biggest being that one of love. What, indeed, is love?
Nabokov wrote a comedy – tragedy novel, and subtly mocked our idea of love and our bourgeois virtues. He is constantly teasing our sense of morale and our own perversions and dark desires. Lolita is the funniest and the saddest book you will ever read.

It takes you entire novel to realize that the main heroine is dead at the very beginning, just like her child. Nabokov has been playing a game with us, we realize that we know his characters, they live just down the block.
So it’s love? Only because he let her go to school and occasional visits from a friend? Only because he is an elegant sadist? Very classy, well mannered, cultured. Humbert is subtle and sophisticated. He is good with words, and let’s not forget it is he who is telling the story. Why should we even trust him?
Only because this girl hasn’t been locked in a basement for ten years, he must have loved her? What if Joseph Fritzl was so good with words? What if he wrote a novel? Yet another great love story of our time.
Even when Humbert describes killing Lolita’s mother he does it with such poise, you start to believe the babbling woman deserved it.
After all, he did it for love…

So often we confuse all kinds of strange feelings for love, and someone usually pays for it. We like to comfort ourselves with the idea that love is something mysterious and magical, but I like Fromm’s down to earth approach to the whole idea. Love is not magic, we live in alienated society, therefore we seek refuge in romantic love. I would add, that, as our civilization developed we started exchanging more and more security for more and more freedom – most were not ready for the high jump. From quite a prude society of “right” values to sharp left. With no adaptation period, people were left alienated in society where everything is allowed and each man is for himself. Not in the sense of survival anymore, but emotional one.
Monogamy is not in human nature, it’s evolutionary and nowadays cultural norm. A shelter.
Fromm also states that love is something that not everyone can achieve, it doesn’t come naturally, it’s a skill and needs to be developed. True love, for him, is represented through humility, courage, discipline and faith. But to be able to love another, one must first love oneself. Loving self has nothing to do with being egocentric as most of us today are. Loving yourself is according to Fromm caring, respecting, knowing and taking care of yourself.
I wonder why Fromm never married? Love requires work but it is highly rewarding, he stated in the end.

Nabokov explained us the exact same thing, but in a different way. We undeservingly refer to a range of other emotions as love. The joke is on us.
Not only did Humbert not love Lolita, but he denied her of possibility of loving. “My immortal, dead love”. But really, what’s love got to do with it?

2 May 2010

Second life is worse than first life!

“Real” gamers hate it, everyone else loves it – it’s the Sims. I myself love ‘em. It’s not even that I don’t have a life so I have to spend 18 hours a day playing life simulation games, no, I play very irregularly, but when I do I am really enjoying it. The fun thing about the Sims is that even though their creators have developed a very good algorithm that imitates real human needs and behaviours they are still not quite human. They can do things you can’t do in real life, silly things, fun things, sim things, simply it’s fun. It is also easy to use. Interface is very user friendly and so is modifying the objects. Sims are a family game so I find some things to be highly amusing, for example, Sims can not woo hoo if they are not in love, so forget about one night stands, but when they are in love they can do it almost anywhere – in the closet, in the car, in bed, in pool… It’s all over very quickly, but hey maybe that’s how they like it!

Over past couple of years I kept hearing about Second Life and how awesome it is. Everyone absolutely loves it; they brag how you can completely personalize it, you character, the objects, you can even work and earn real money.
And the best thing is that you’re communicating with other real people. I mean don’t you just love the idea – why go out and hang out with your friends when you can sit in front of your computer the entire day and hang out with people. Imagine, socializing without having to leave your room. You don’t have to worry about your breath or non – existing six pack, you don’t have to worry about any flaws you might have or money… Second life was meant to be the first life only without any downsides to it.

But, unfortunately, once you try it, you realize that except technical problems (horrible interface, buggy software that keeps crushing) it has far more problems than first life. You may think that most people in first life are jerks, I know I do, I also think that most people are just plain stupid, but take an average person and add anonymity of the internet and customization of an avatar and you get an entirely new species “super jerk”. Graphics are bad, the world somewhat confusing and quite messy. When you just enter the game you’re supposed to go find a job to earn some linden dollars and meet people. The best thing you can do is work as a gogo dancer in a night club. Seriously. After you advance a bit you can be a host/ess or event organizer. People get overly cocky, because even an obese 50 year old can be a suga’ daddy in second life if he played his cards well.
The second world doesn’t look really pretty either, bad graphics and the entire world is user made, so not to everyone’s liking, it simply lacks consistency.

Which all brings me to one question – why do people want to have surrogates or avatars living their lives? Familiar with the idea of surrogates? You have a surrogate who looks like you (only better), can do all the things you can do and more and is indestructible, it makes you immortal in a way that it can be replaced should something happen to it, while you’re “safely” lying in your bed your entire life.
So why? Why would you want to spend your life in bed / in front of computer / insert necessary here – when you can actually live it?
Not happy with yourself? Think you deserve to be better than you were made? Want to be immortal? Are too lazy to get your ass out of the house and actually be with people? Want to get rich and beautiful very quickly without any effort? Yeah, go get therapy. Seriously.

When it comes to second life being presented as a video game, that idea doesn’t quite work, video games are supposed to be entertaining wastes of time, not as engaging as second life, where you actually have to spend several hours a day if you don’t wanna get behind. I mean if you get a job, you have to show up at that job every day, second life acts like real life in some instances.
So if you want an online game go play WOW, it’s highly entertaining. And it doesn’t consist of meaningless roaming around trying to make friends with other super hot avatars. It gives you purpose and goals to achieve, objectives.

Second life is not an online game, it’s not a highly advanced chat, it’s not a dating service, second life is really trying to be a second life, but it sucks. I don’t want a surrogate or an avatar, I want to be an active participant in my life, even if I’ll never make it to be leader of the free world like I am in Sims.

25 April 2010

Get your fill

Every now and then our world gets swayed by a media vampire mania. I bet that must be a real pain in the ass for real vampires (and not the good kind). But what is it about vampires that we find so appealing? Why do we need them, why do we keep creating and recreating them in books and movies? Vampires are the ultimate tragic anti-heroes, so it is somewhat hard to believe that we can actually identify ourselves with such characters, or is it?

Vampires and their image in literature and popular culture has been constantly changing and evolving with every new author. We can say that it was John Polidori who first brought Vampires to the light of the day, but without any doubt it was Bram Stoker who made them immortal.
Vampire legends have spread across the Europe from Balkans, where, even today, you can find villages with very much vibrant vampire legends. Whether that’s only a symptom of lack of civilization norms or something more I can’t tell… Not to go into mythology and folklore, let's examine what’s happened to our pop culture vampires as our society has evolved.

Vampire (anti) heroes seem to emerge in crucial times in our history and in a way they depict the current state of society.
Back in the days of Bram Stoker vampires brought sexual liberation and strange passions to the public eye. There was something kinky and deviant about them, they had the freedom everyone else wanted. Beginning of the twentieth century is called by historians the Great Binge, referring to excessive use of newly developed drugs and alcohol. Thus the need for bizarre passions and exploring them. Simply, vampires where there to infect people with the new intriguing ideas of sexuality.
Not to mention the vast population of those who’ve always felt out of this world, tragic heroes of destiny, those who’ve felt the world has done them wrong; life has done them wrong… what better than to look up to a vampire. A creature that has defeated death itself and yet remains living misunderstood and often full of sorrow. When you get tired of Russian suicidal poets, you can always turn to vampires for some consolidation. We may grow fond of them, but we know that they will end tragically, that is the destiny of freaks in our world.

From the greatest vampire of the past Dracula to Anne Rice’s vampires, they’ve kept their role of highly intelligent, magnetic outcasts.
Rice’s Vampires emerge when the world is facing AIDS as a real, unbeatable threat. Her Vampires are clever, outstanding individuals, slightly bizarre, unordinary, and despite their intellect and superiority, they end tragically. Those were the exact people who were facing the AIDS, the unknown disease was killing them simply for being different… or so it seemed.

Until the 21st century the world was “normal”, prude and simple. Vampires were weird and unusual, freakish. Thus, both feared and loved.
Then in new times the roles changed somewhat. Nothing is unusual anymore. Remember how twenty years ago it was unusual to see gay couple in public; to admit watching porn, to have transgendered neighbours, entire country of pregnant 15 year olds… need I go on? Reality TV has made everyone a star, the more bizzare you are, the longer you shall shine in the showbiz.
 Family values that some right winged politicians are still preaching about are at the very least corrupted or distorted. Nothing is weird anymore.
And in that kind of surrounding we get a new big vampire sensations – True Blood.
True Blood is a black comedy that in fact reveals oh so much truth about our own vampire – free society. Vampires are no longer freaks. We are.
Humans are freaks, they desire sexual encounters with vampires, they abuse drugs, they are not even humans, but shape-shifters or wolves! Humans want to drink vampire blood, they want to experience the higher spheres of existence, the world is no longer enough (to put it in James Bond's words, who I'm sure would be outraged at the reality society). The obvious message here is – everyone is a freak, even those who pretend not to be. Post racial and post gay America has produced this new breed of Vampires. They are no longer out of this world, they now fit in perfectly. The roles have changed. In society where everyone is a freak . no one is freak. Yes, we are the vampires of our society. Vampires are far more normal and less freakish than the rest of us. Finally, we show that we accept what was once abnormal and strange, or do we?

Vampire mania will pass away, everything does, until some new peak in our history. But before that happens, advertisers will make sure to suck us out good.

18 April 2010


American mom returns her adoptive son to Russia with a note „I don’t want him anymore“. I am sorry but that’s tragic comic, if it weren’t heartbreaking, it would have been hilarious. I don’t want him anymore. Jeez, I have to say it – only in America! Americans are used to being able to return everything, and I mean literary everything, you buy it, you use it, for some reason you don’t like / want it, and simply you return it, no questions asked. If there weren’t for this ash cloud messing up the air traffic now maybe I would return my dog, family, friends… but no I am stuck to deal with them, even on those days when they are not all sunshine and rainbows… and they’re stuck with me, but I am always sunshine and rainbows.

The kid may really have certain psychological or mental problems, but that’s no way of dealing with a problem. Kid may be a complete sociopath, but I am still on his side. Yes, I am taking sides. He is seven; he grew up in an orphanage, which alone is enough to traumatize you. Maybe she imagined getting one of those kids like you see them in the movies – adorable, cute little creatures who learn the language in an instant and become overachievers. Life is somewhat unfair, so if you want something good, you have to work for it. I am surprised at how easy it is to adopt. Shouldn’t there at least be some kind of “parenting school”, a course that people who want to adopt would attend. I know that parenting can not be learned in school, but certain techniques can. For example: “Acceptable ways of getting rid of your kid”, because Americans seem to be killing or returning their unwanted kids. Sad as it is, this kid may be lucky to be alive. Do you remember that poor little Russian girl Nina, her adoptive mother “was not able to handle her”, and she reported Nina was out of control, raging kid. Her father tells a completely different story. Not to go into analyzing family relations, I am always on a child’s side. Always! You’re a grown up, you need to make a right decision. And killing your child can really be considered a bad parenting technique.

If there were a parenting school, someone could at least teach adoptive parents what “reactive attachment disorder” is and what other disorders those kids may have, since being an orphan most likely isn’t a dreamy experience. Those kids do not come from loving families, they come from orphanages, and they most likely suffer at least a post traumatic stress disorder. You will most likely not get a happy playful well-mannered kid, that you will have to work on. I’ve never met a happy and non-traumatized grown up Russian, let alone a kid!

Russia has now stopped all adoptions to Americans, of course, I would do the same, I would even go one step further and prevent Americans of buying mail ordered brides. Hell yes!
So, to summarize it for Americans, kids are non – returnable, and you are also not allowed to kill them, if you do so, it will result in you going to prison, hopefully for life.

There is another interesting service now offered in Europe. Renting a kid. I am not kidding. You can rent a kid. They say some things are just better with kids, like going to a parade (khm, it’s a European service, so I am thinking besides St. Patrick’s, there’s only techno and gay parades, go figure), or going to birthday party, or picnic at a park. And of course, by having a kid with you, you can get the feel of it and figure if you would want one of your own or not.
Pretentious assumption indeed, my favourite. If having kids was only about their physical presence in your house things would have been so much simpler. There may have not been “return – a – kid case” at all.
An hour with a rented kid will cost you 89 pounds, which is a lot, but imagine this; they come with supplies and manual instructions. Again, I am dead serious. I would like to rent a kid for a couple of hours just to read the manual instructions and take a look at “supplies”, because I am just dying to know what it is all about. And I don’t agree that going to a parade would be more interesting with a kid, they always have to pee when there is no bathroom around, they are hungry and thirsty in all the wrong times and they need lots of attention. So, I’ve heard.
I would like to rent a puppy, for like couple of months while it’s all cute and fluffy, and then return it when it grows a bit, and take another puppy. So I would only have a puppy my entire life, a dream come true. I hope you can see where I’m going with this example.

As I previously said, I am always on children’s side, so I do not approve, renting them, selling them, exchanging them. People forget this, but we were all children once. Was it not traumatic enough visiting distant family members? Then imagine what it must feel like to be rented to a couple of complete strangers. I beg unto the authorities to spend less money on weaponry and more money on kids, especially those who have no families. There is a solution to every problem, you just need a little will.

So, next time you want to order something from Russia with love, think twice can you handle it? And light a candle for Nina, at least a virtual one.

10 April 2010

French men are so gay, it's not even funny

All French men are gay. ‘nuff said. Seriously. Okay, okay, let me elaborate, French love that, long meaningless “deep” discussions.
But first, let me begin with a joke, just to put you in a good mood, better safe than sorry, or something like that. So, why does every army, except Israel, need to have a French flag on them at all times? In case they want to surrender of course.

Now, the serious stuff. Let me tell you, France is a pretty decent country. On the “Quality of life index” France is a regular number one, as the best country to live in. France indeed has everything, well, except three things: 1. Winter, 2. Summer and sadly… 3. Straight men.

So what’s wrong with French men? They are gay, scared, feminine sissies. Very submissive and quiet, yet so full of themselves. And even though most of my opinionated opinions are based on nothing else but plain subjective biased prejudice, this one I didn’t just make up. And I haven’t been horribly hurt or dumped by a French man, so this is not revenge either.

First, let’s debunk some myths. French are great lovers. Right. LOL
Seems that the only people who think that the French are great lovers… are French. Go figure. In a Dailymail poll of sexual satisfaction the French came second from bottom. How sad. But how do you expect those sissies to be good lovers anyway?

Now doing a research for this elaborate article, I’ve come across several articles about all French men being gay, all written by I would say angry women. If it were angry women making scientific conclusions, it would be a very well known proven fact, that as it turns out all men are assholes. But they are not. Probably. Now saying all French men are gay is like saying all priests are pedophiles, ah, that gives you something to think of! Well, are they?
Problem with French men (yes, it is a fucking problem, and not to be taken lightly) is their femininity. Yes, it’s good to be somewhat in touch with your feminine side, but for god’s sake leave the undying love for new female couture and spa visits to real gay guys, or women?!?

Let’s review some facts about the French men:
1. French men know if your shoes match your dress. Other men just see you’re wearing something and you’re not barefoot.
2. French men recognize your perfume the moment you enter the room. Other men think you smell good.
3. French men only make love, they never have sex. Other men can do both.
4. French men groom more than you do. Other men will now have to look up the word groom in a dictionary.
5. French men read philosophers so they can pretend to engage in meaningful discussions with you. Other men think Kant is a new Bayern München sweeper (French men will now have to google sweeper).
6. French men think sports like squash or chanbara are actual men sports. Other man LOL at them.
7. French men are as skinny as their girlfriends, probably so they can borrow a pair of skinny jeans now and then. Other men know you’re not a man if you don’t weight 100 kilos at least.
8. French men think proteins are endangered birds. Other men eat them.
9. French men melt in the sun and break apart in the winter. Other men don’t respond to weather conditions.
10. French men will never survive the zombie invasion. Other men won’t either.

Truth be told, besides my boyfriend, I only know one other French man who is not gay, and hearing his voice alone will make you cream your panties in less than 10 seconds. And girls, I am selling his phone number, for 100 Euros per digit, feel free to contact me any time.

3 April 2010

The importance of being Apple

iPad is out today, did you get yours? No doubt iPad will sell well, only not that well…
What surprised me when they announced iPad and started advertising it, was all the fuss and excitement they got as a public feedback. I mean, tablets have been around for a long time now, iPad is nothing new. If you want a proper tablet, go buy Archos. Of course the big difference is that one of the two is produced by Apple. So if you’re an Apple fan, chances are you haven’t even heard of Archos, or any other tablets (and there are quite a few).

I don’t think iPad is bad, I just don’t think it’s a bit of a perversion. If you already have a (i)phone, and a computer, what’s really the use of iPad? Maybe you have fetish for reading books on a touch-screen, or you just have to have any new übercool product Apple produces because you yourself are übercool? Of course, I am just plain jealous, duuuh.

But why I think it won’t sell well? Even though it’s a perfectly fine quite useless product like so many other that we all possess? Two main reasons:

1.    Recession. Yes, really. Do you know which two companies made best profits last year? (talking companies that sell things we don’t really need) – Hermes and H&M! Can you think of a reason why? I mean last year was really bad, so bad that even the previously mentioned Hermes held their first sale ever in history of the company. That’s how bad last year was.
So how come? Well, the rich have stayed rich and the middle class got poorer. The rich can still afford Hermes and alike, and the middle class had to downgrade to H&M.
H&M works on principles of IKEA, they offer merchandise that is good enough and reasonably priced for the quality it offers – read: cheap.
When you’re buying Hermes, you’re not just buying a silk scarf, you’re buying a lifestyle. When you’re buying H&M, you’re buying something that is “good enough” and will last a “certain period of time”, it’s not forever. H&M, IKEA and alike have brought unto us a “good enough revolution”. When faced with a lack of money, you go for best value at the offered price. Ever heard of Pure Digital camera? Yes you have. Why? Because it sells better than Sonny, Canon or any other camera? Why? It came in the right time with the right price and it’s good enough. It only took Pure Digital two years to get hold of 17% of US camcorder market.
iPad is expensive. It is good, beyond good, but Apple products are not “good enough”, they belong to the category that lost the most during recession, higher middle class, and that is a huge market. That’s why I think people will think twice before spending another 500 dollars for something that in only two years will become nothing but e – junk. Or maybe iJunk.

2.    It’s glued. Allow me to elaborate. Literary, it is glued, it has no screws, and you can not open it. I mean you can, but you would only destroy it by doing so.
Is that a problem? Yes! Why? Because there is a whole bunch of computer freaks out there who would pay the price, but they wanna open it, explore it, upgrade it, change it… they love new technologies, especially if they can meddle with them. ‘nuff said.

So, does anyone remember Microsoft surface and the whole “soon every home will have one” bullshit? Yeah… the big ass table computer. I’m afraid iPad may just end up like that – being the big ass iPhone tablet. Meaning there will be fans, but it’s not exactly a second coming. Technologies come and go, but my opinions are forever, they are like Apple, better than others.
Opinionated: supporting the myth of quality since 1984.

28 March 2010

Gisele Bündchen is saving rainforests.... aaaaaawwww!

So, I’ve read this a couple of days ago and figured, jeez this is something I simply must ridicule! After I’ve read the entire article on how is Giselesaving rainforests I still don’t know what exactly is she doing to save them, since the article focused much more on her, her baby and her family. Seriously, rainforests were mentioned in only one sentence. So, I feel obliged to address the problem.
I still very vividly remember that scene from Brüno when he visits the agency and asks the consultants, what’s in right now, what kind of charity. Should I be saving forests or adopting kids… in order to get some free (and positive) media exposure.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s very nice that Giselle or whoever is saving forests, but I am not quite under impression that she just woke up one day thinking, damn those rainforests need to be saved.

When you’re celebrity and you have ton of money it is in fact easy to pick a cause and fight for it. My point being, all of them can do so much more. Yes, I know, they don’t have to do anything at all… but I am just saying they have quite the power to do. And besides, doing charity always transfers you from a cool celebrity to übercool celebrity, like Giselle.
The sad truth is that it’s easy to have ideals when you have money. No, really. Let’s be honest. Lots of people on our overcrowded planet have more or less money problems. I am not talking about the extremely poor; I am talking about western middle class. Most of those are in some kind of debt. People live in debt. So when you’re thinking how to pay off your mortgage, rainforests kinda get lost in the whole story. Or regular forest or desert flowers or some god forsaken bugs or three headed pandas or whatever it is those celebrities are saving.

So, you got no money, you don’t give a shit about rainforests or that Giselle whoever-she-is is saving them. It’s abc’s of psychology, I am not discovering America here (thank God), it’s Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, first you satisfy basic needs, and on top of pyramid is self – actualization, in which charity belongs also.

One thought always haunted me… most celebrities are saving flora and fauna, not humans. There are zillions of people who need help, hungry children, children soldiers, slaves, this or that… but no, they are saving rainforests. Amazon, bugs, tigers…
Saving other human beings would be too much involvement? It’s kinda dirty, filthy, you know perverse… you don’t wanna get involved. People kill people, so what?
Besides, we also don’t really care. A great dictator once said “Death of one person is a tragedy, death of thousand is a statistic”, not to go into analysis how this conveniently suited his rule, he was basically right.
We do not care. Of course, we shouldn’t care. Not caring about people who are not close to us is an evolutionary imperative; we couldn’t survive if we cared about everyone. Or do we now have enough resources not to put so much emphasis on evolution?
Are we beyond that? Should we care? I am not saying we should fall under collective guilt, but I do believe in collective responsibility.

Like, I’m thinking we should just start a collective hunger strike all over the world until world leaders stop all the wars, fix all the injustice, provide resources to those who need them… and you know, I am afraid, we’d starve to death. Still, all the major changes ever made in the world were accomplished because of an individual and his fight. So maybe Giselle has a point in saving rainforests.
But what can you do if you’re not Giselle or Angie or whoever? Maybe we can start by paying forward or forgiving people. Ah, I am being all mellow today, doesn’t matter, most people would rather die than do something nice, like forgive. I suggest we all collectively read Harry Potter, there is a part about this really powerful kind of magic, it’s called love. And it’s good for the soul.