Soap Box: 5 things that I took issue with during July

Man, what a month. For me, July kind of sucked. It was an asshole of a month. Not completely, though, there were moments of real bliss (an awesome interview with German alternative heroes that you will get to know in August) but most moments made me google crazy Britney pictures of the time when she had her nervous breakdown, so I could calm down to the image of her rage-smashing a paparazzo’s car with an umbrella.

I have a nice collection of depressing topics, including old musicians on high horses, my usual feminist babble, silly monarchy, things that are worse than the “stand your ground”-law and Amanda Bynes, yes, THE Amanda Bynes that recently was committed to a mental facility. The whole thing just bugs me and I will tell you why after a few words from my sponsors.

Sorry, it doesn’t fit anything in this entry but I needed you to see this. It’s like the fake parody-commercials of SNL, only that it’s real.

1.It’s bad enough that there is a certain hate-culture by mostly not even elitist music-nazis that bash people and bands like Justin Bieber, Nickelback and Miley Cyrus. I get it, you’re cool, pop is the worst and should be burned on the market place and everyone who listens to the Billboard Charts obviously is stupid and can’t possible know about “real” music. But can famous musicians please stop bashing fellow musicians they don’t even know and furthermore complain about stuff that isn’t even real?

Alice Cooper recently said that Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers are not rock. Well, no shit, Sherlock, Mumford & Sons are folk and the Lumineers are probably somewhere along indiepop. He also says, real rockers eat steak and don’t sing shmusy-stuff like they do, you know, like real rockers are real man and all that bullshit. This bashing of an un-manly, non-aggressive culture is horrifying, seriously, Alice, you think that you make good Rock’n Roll because you are eating steak? Oh wait, Cooper has a BBQ-restaurant? That’s a fun coincidence and probably has nothing to do with that statement*. He sounds like a really sad old man who is angry at new things because he doesn’t understand them. I can see him shaking his fist at the clouds because they annoy him.

Then again, Cooper also thinks that political songs are treason against Rock’n Roll (Yup, he said that). Did you hear that The Beatles, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, Metallica, Black Sabbath, Jefferson Airplane, Cream – You are killing Rock’n Roll!!!

Disclaimer: I like Alice Cooper as a musician but stuff like this always makes me sad.

*Funnily enough, the menu consists of stuff that is named after famous Rock-musicians (including Nickelback…oh, this is awesome) because it is very Rock’n Roll, aggressive and against the establishment to name Zucchini after Frank Zappa who would have loved it, I am so sure of it, who would have loved his name on a Zucchini-dish so much that he would have written a song about it and called it “Stop this, Alice Cooper, you are a hypocrite and should just shut up and serve me some fries that are not named after some famous musician to make people buy them!”

2. According to the Forbes-list of highest paid actors and actresses, we can skip the formality of the “actresses” because in the top 5, there are none (Angelina Jolie – who hasn’t been in a movie since ages, has actually earned more than female colleagues that worked their asses of, e.g. Jennifer Lawrence – is #10, only 1 Mill. apart from Liam Neeson). “Why, weird”, you might think,” weren’t there tons of movies with women in the last years?” Yes, you might feel that way but you’re wrong. According to studies, the number of female main roles, let alone female speaking roles (that’s one word minimum), is decreasing. Why do we think otherwise? I read a study (and for the love of it can’t find the link) where people saw pictures of groups of people that contained either 50/50 of both sexes or 30/70 (roughly). When they saw 50/50, they thought that women were in the majority and when they saw the 30/70 pictures, they actually thought that it was quite balanced. Now, the reasons for that are up to speculation (were the women in those pictures more charismatic?) but given that one third of all speaking roles are females and the rest are male, there is a small chance that movies, tv and else might have a little “role” in it…haha, get it?

And now everyone: “Sisters, are doing it in alarmingly decreasing numbers!”

3. Boy, oh boy. Kate Middleton can be lucky that David Cameron exists. Because if he wouldn’t have changed the olden rules of yonderyears to make way for royal girls to be nearly as equal as royal boys, then the hypothetical royal she-baby would have been given to the wildlings as a peace-offering. The fact that she birthed a boy is wonderful, though and we all sighed in relief, because we all know how horrible a she-king can be but still, in case Kate…oh sorry…in case the British want Kate to have another baby, Cameron’s modern and forward-thinking law might come in handy after all…or not, who cares, it’s a freaking monarchy pretty much every rule and law concerning monarchies that doesn’t involve the abolition of the monarchy is useless anyways.

4. The US of A can be insane. So, in California, the “Stand Your Ground”-Law is pretty sinister but it’s not even close to the Texan law that says that you can use deadly force to protect your fucking property. Sorry for my French but how sick and hopeless does a society have to be to let property be more important than a human life? And then I realize that most societies have laws like that and think, ‘Oh yeah, I forgot that humanity is a cesspit of gunk and dirt, nevermind.’ I am glad that I know enough great people to know that the individual itself usually is a lot better than the society it lives in.

5. It’s gossip time! Ok, a short overview, this is mainly about Amanda Bynes who once was a beloved Nickelodeon star, then retired from acting in 2010, behaved more and more erratically and had a very entertaining twitter-account until she accidentally set herself on fire a few weeks ago and was committed with a rumored case of schizophrenia. Yeah, what started pretty funny ended up quite disturbing and sad but that’s the way of the soap box.

NOW! All I am talking about is whatever hit the tabloids and online mags and for my actual soap-box-moment, it doesn’t matter whether it is true or not but I wanted to point out that I am well aware that we are dealing with a serious gossip-topic and therefore have no idea what is actually true. Ok, let’s go.

Now, because Bynes’ Twitter account was so entertaining and bizarre at the same time, she never really left the tabloids, so the news that she got committed to a mental facility hit pretty hard. I have to say, if I would have bet money on it, I would have lost it because till the news I actually thought that she pulled a Joaquin Phoenix and did all this as a pretty awesome media-gag. Alas, that was not the case.

There have been a lot of people, writers and tv-personas talking about Bynes and weirdly enough, Britney Spears comes up quite often in those discussions. Why? Because Bynes’ parents filed for conservatorship, meaning that they basically can decide what she has to do, have control over her money and her business- and life-decisions (e.g., a further treatment). Britney’s father did the same when she had her nervous breakdown a couple of years ago (the one I mentioned in the intro) and a lot of people in comment sections, Kris Jenner’s talkshow (don’t watch it, it’s bad) and gossip articles are saying that they hope that Bynes can work this out just as Britney did back then. So, that’s the story, now let’s get to my issues:

a.) Is Britney fine? Sure, she has a damn fine deal with Vegas, earns a lot of money and hasn’t shaved her head for ages. But every picture I see of her (and I work at a photo- and news agency, I see a lot) looks like she is completely stressed out, a deer in the headlights, a frozen smile and somewhat panic in her eyes. Seriously, I used to crack up whenever I looked at new press-photos because she looks like she was frozen mid-scream (like the people in the “Black Hole Sun”-video). Now, it’s only sad.

(By the way, that happy marriage was called off right after her “X Factor”-gig…oh showbiz, if you had a mascot, it would be a frozen smile with a lie stuck in its teeth)

Her “X Factor”-gig was equally awkward and showed that – yes, she returned successfully to the showbiz but – she might not be as happy as people make her out to be. It’s like they rebooted her but now force her to go through the same grueling shit that made her lose herself in the first place. So, wishing for Bynes that she can get as well as Britney is not really well-wishing and more like, ‘at least not horrible’-wishing.

b.) This is my main issue, though: These are two completely different cases. Here I need to state again, that I am going by the measly and probably inaccurate information but all these people that compare Bynes with Spears go by the same info, so my issue stays strong.

You can’t compare a nervous breakdown with schizophrenia, guys. I know that society and especially America has a really bad relationship with acknowledging mental disorders which is why way too many homeless people are also suffering from a wide array of mental disorders without any help. Sure, depression and bipolar-disorders have reached the public consciousness because quite a few celebrities have talked about it, so that even a nervous breakdown seems like an understandable thing for someone like Britney.

But schizophrenia is a whole other level and it bugs me that people don’t seem to get that. It’s not an episode or something that happened due to a little bit of stress. You can’t cure schizophrenia with some down-time and yoga. Once it set in, it is pretty much there to stay and can only be subdued via ongoing therapy and medication. After I realized that Bynes’s case – sadly – was not a clever marketing ploy, I kind of became obsessed with the whole story because it is so seldom that disorders like this reach the news, let alone the entertainment news. It’s so foreign to us, it’s scary because it’s hard to understand how someone can act so crazy even if they have money, fame and good looks. I mean, it’s not like Amanda was homeless or is a war veteran, so what the heck is she doing with schizophrenia? I think, people in the gossip-business keep on telling themselves that this is just like Britney’s breakdown, because it is somewhat scary to have witnessed no mental breakdown, but a mental slide into a disorder that might stay with Bynes for the rest of her life (if she indeed is schizophrenic, I can’t mention that often enough, I am going by floozy gossip news here!).

It doesn’t mean that she can’t get back to a somewhat normal life but she will stay schizophrenic and that is both sad and scary because this is nothing we can really understand. We can’t say, ‘well, if I was hounded by paparazzi each day, I would have acted like that as well’, because with schizophrenia you don’t act like a mentally healthy person (even under severe stress) would, you act out of ideas, viewpoints and convictions that are beyond understanding. If I am honest, it’s one of the scariest things I can think of.

What would be very much appreciated but obviously is naïve, is a blunt approach to this illness by the media, so that people realize that this is quite common, affects many people and is nothing to “get over” but rather something to deal with. Oh, and hopefully, no one picks up on the urban myth that Schizophrenics are totally all serial killers. That’s statistically a load of bullshit as big as Kanye West’s ego.

This song is about the singer’s brother who suffered from Schizophrenia and ended up committing suicide and with this song, he is trying to come to terms with the loss and hurt. It’s easy to forget the individual under the gossip-headlines but there’s always a human being underneath, as much as the tabloids try to dehumanize them.


4 thoughts on “Soap Box: 5 things that I took issue with during July

  1. Such an awesome rant!

    I see one of my favorite themes running throughout: gender roles (a subdivision of feminism?). I hate gender role stereotypes. I hate them more when they fit me and even more when they trap others. Even stand-your-ground has a masculine connotation but the real problem here in the US is gun laws where even science showing lead bullet fragments poisoning birds are ‘shot’ down by gun advocates. Standing your ground with a firm lecture is much less problematic (still foolish).

    Amanda Bynes? I hope she takes a less painful version of Roky Erickson’s path and returns to something creative. I’m not really a fan of hers but schizophrenia beats all the petty things I could ever say.

    I hope your rant was as cathartic as it was excellent!


    1. Now that you mention it, there is a certain focus on gender roles in these things, I guess, they just “grind my gears” because they can be so fatalistic (especially when it comes to violence). Personally, I think you can’t look at feminist issues without looking at gender roles because they usually explain the background of many problems. It also helps not to become one of those mythical “feminazis”, the internet loves to talk about.
      Glad, you enjoyed it, at work everyone just holds their breath and rolls their eyes as soon as I start.


      1. It was definitely good. When a passionate belief is funneled through writing talent, the result just rocks!

        Gender roles are my trigger issue (please pardon gun terminology) so I’m willing to believe every rant is secretly about them. I’m good at denial, too.


  2. The US wants to get back to the wild, wild west. It’s pathetic. There’s just so many ill-informed people agreeing to hateful talk and rhetoric because someone is waving a flag in their face and saying things like “terror threat” “God”, “Jesus”, and “freedom”. They never stop to think that this person screaming in their face has an agenda, and that the unemployment, Medicaid, and social security checks they rely on to feed their kids, get them medical attention, and put Kitten Chow in Mr. Kitty Meow’s food bowl is what those same “patriots” consider welfare and want it stopped.

    Amanda Bynes, mentally ill or not, should not be discussed on television. She should be helped. That’s it.

    I feel your pain, and I second your motion.


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