Ake's Pains debuted in the University of Akron Buchtelite in September of 1977. The school's reputation as an institute of higher learning has still not recovered. Ake's Pains returns after a brief 32 year hiatus. It's back, baby!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I've Still Got "It"!

But I would not be convicted
By a jury of my peers
Still crazy after all these years
--- Paul Simon

Years ago when I wrote Ake’s Pains for the Buchtelite, occasionally someone would read it, take it seriously and respond negatively.

In starting to write humor again after such a long time, of course I wondered if I still “had it”.  Fortunately, it didn’t take very long to find out.

After only my second post on what I thought was a harmless piece involving what problems could occur if we ever have a promiscuous First Lady, this appeared on the Linked In group page under the discussion where I had posted the blog link:

This is blog post is offensive, sexist, and very upsetting to me. The way this article is portrayed, the president (obviously male in a heterosexual relationship, leaving absolutely no room for a same-sex relationship), must have complete "control" over his wife (who apparently must not be attractive or have so much as an ounce of sexual drive) so that he doesn't have to "worry" about his marital relationship while managing the rest of the country.

As someone who practices in family law, with a focus on divorces and domestic violence, I believe that articles precisely like this perpetuate the objectification and dehumanization of women, which in turn enables the atmosphere that domestic violence continues to occur and flourish in.

Oh yes, I still got it.

So how did I respond?  I immediately deleted the link and discussion before someone defended me with the same intensity that I was criticized.  If the comment were sent on my actual blog page, I would have posted it. Because let’s face it, sometimes the reaction to the post are more entertaining than the post itself.

If you read the post “No First Cougars Need Apply” (June 2) you do not need to reread it, you didn’t miss anything the first time through.  If you are new to the blog, you probably do need to read the post so that you will know that I am not a domestic terrorist intent on destroying the nation from my computer.

And there will be no response to the comments now.  They say more than enough on their own.  I will say that if after reading the piece you were motivated to beat your spouse:  Bad reader.  Bad, bad, reader.  Stop it right now.

This incident reminded me of a column that I wrote for the Buchtelite back in 1977.  A student programming board accidentally ordered a porno film to show on “movie night” and a big controversy erupted.  Here is an Ake’s Pains “classic” and a letter to the editor that was written in response:

 Variety of students slighted ….RHPB vetoes porno flick

Last week in a landmark decision, the Residence Hall Programming Board (RHPB) cancelled the movie scheduled to run on campus last Thursday and Friday nights. The movie, entitled Every Inch a Lady, was cancelled by a unanimous 10-0 vote because, in the board’s opinion, the movie contained “extreme pornographic material.”

It’s hard to believe that out of 10 students on the board, everyone voted against showing the film.  RHPB president Lois Di Vencenzo added, “Any girl who would have gone to the film would have been very offended.”  But, do girls who are offended go to X-rated movies?  I know a couple girls on campus that would not have been offended by any movie; however the statement can be defended.

Suppose you go to see an X-rated flick entitled The Adventures of Little Bo Peep.  You would expect Bo Peep to “get it on” with Little Boy Blue in the corn field, but as soon as something started happening with the sheep most people would be offended.

The decision to cancel the movie was not influenced by administration or University personnel although one campus organization, Students for Metric Conversion (SMC) was strongly against the film.  SMC protested because the word “inch” was used in the title.  They thought that the title should be Every Centimeter a Lady.

When RHPB ordered the film they did not know it was hardcore pornography.  The title Every Inch a Lady was no clue to the content of the film.  For example, when I heard the title I thought the movie was about a tall lady basketball player.

 I was so puzzled by the decision that I decided to talk to some students about the movie’s cancellation.

  “Do you think your first amendment rights have been violated?” I asked a political science major.

 “Yes, but it doesn’t violate the first amendment as much as it does the second,” he said.    

 “What does the second amendment have to do with the film?” I asked.

“It gives a person the right to bare arms, legs and whatever.” he said.
Next I talked to biology major, “I think the film should have been shown.” She said.  It would have been a great way to learn about anatomy.”

A business major thought the film should not have been cancelled, but for a different reason.  “Can you imagine how much money that RHPB could have made?”  After the word got around the film was hard-core, it would have sold out both nights.”

One nursing student thought the movie should have been cancelled.  She also thought Star Wars should have been rated R.

RHPB has received much criticism from students for cancelling the movie, but the board is not totally to blame.  They did not want to show that type of film to start with, and were not obligated to show it.  The company that sent the film to RHPB should get most of the blame.  Contrary to campus rumors RHPB did not watch the film four straight times before stating it was obscene.

According to Di Vencenzo, the movie was cancelled not only because it was hard-core, but also because it was not entertaining. But what is entertainment?  Maybe RHPB should show the movie That’s Entertainment and see how many people show up to watch it.

No rights violated

To the Editor:

I am writing in reference to Don Ake’s story on November 4 about the cancellation of the Residence Hall Program Board movie Every Inch a Lady.  The Program Board received some advance publicity on the movie, and decided to order the film on this publicity alone.  Unfortunately, the publicity said nothing about how sexually explicit the movie was.  Upon previewing only 10 minutes of the 70-minute film, the Board decided that we had seen enough of the film to determine that it was not the kind of film that we, The Program Board, would be proud to sponsor as one of our events.

We resent Ake’s statement that he found it “hard to believe that out of ten students on the board, everyone voted against showing the film,”   We are sorry, but we are not smut peddlers.  Ake wrote an article a week earlier condemning Start Wars, saying it was hard to find the plot.  Every Inch a Lady had no plot, and was not entertaining, yet Ake seemed to want us to show it.

In conclusion, we do not feel that we violated anyone’s rights to see a pornographic movie.  Anyone can go to several places in Akron to see this type of movie.  We chose not to lower ourselves to this level.  And yes, we would be proud to show That’s Entertainment, even if no one came.  That doesn’t reflect us, only those who would rather see Every Inch a Lady.

Media Chairman, for the 197X Residence Hall Program Board

Saturday, July 9, 2011

What Not To Wear: Office Version

They come runnin' just as fast as they can
Coz' every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man.
 - ZZ Top
Ever since my post on the man rules for wearing pink, I have been inundated with guys asking me the question:  “How do I dress for success in the office?”  Well I have never been Mr. GQ, but I do have some examples on what not to wear in business situations.

Not on the Golf Course, Not Anywhere

Years ago Engineer Mike and I made an early morning sales call on a truck service dealer in Pennsylvania.  We were wrapping up a very successful meeting when disaster almost struck.  That’s when Engineer Mike asked “So you guys are going golfing?”  He said this because one of the men was wearing one of the most hideous pairs of pants I have ever seen.  They were plaid and the most dominant color, was yes, pink. But the guy looked at Mike and said very seriously, “No we’re not going golfing.”   He obviously was confused and offended by the question and wanted an explanation why it was asked.  The true answer was that those pants you are wearing should not ever have been made, should never have been sold, should never have been bought and obviously should never have been worn by you today.

I blurted out, “We’ll it’s such a beautiful morning, we just thought you might be golfing.”  Mike then quickly changed the subject and the sale was saved.   We laughed about it for about five minutes after leaving.

(And by the way, the man rules still apply even on the golf course.  You can dress, wild, you can dress crazy, but you can’t dress pretty.  Hey Alice! Unless you are planning to hit off the ladies tees, no pink below the belt).

Plaid Is Bad

Pink plaid is wrong anywhere, but plaid is just plain bad in the office.  A co-worker named Ezra had two pairs of plaid pants (one red, one green) that were part of his office wardrobe.  He looked absurd and took a great deal of ridicule from his co-workers.  It is never a good thing when ladies are looking at your crotch area and laughing, especially when your pants are still on. 

These plaid pants are only appropriate when you are smoking a pipe and drinking wine in your study at home.  However they are still not acceptable if they in any way decrease your chances of having sex later that day. 

A man who wears plaid pants in the office.  I know what you are thinking, but you are wrong.  Ezra is caucasian, very caucasian.  He would return from a Florida vacation whiter than before he left.  Also, he is very heterosexual.  I know this because he would frequent strip clubs and brag about it.  I never got to ask him if he ever wore his plaid pants to the club.  I can’t imagine that the strippers would enjoy performing a plaid lap dance.  Of course if the stripper was wearing a plaid skirt, it would give a whole new meaning to “scotch doubles”.

Solids Aren’t “Safe” Either

One day intern Steve decided to wear his orange pants to the office.  You are probably thinking they were a dark, burnt, orange, but you would be wrong.  He looked like a freakin’ walking traffic cone.  It is the only time I have laughed out loud at someone’s pants.  Again, it should be illegal to sell pants that outrageous, but Intern Steve made the decision to buy these things and to wear them to work.  Understandably, Intern Steve did not make the cut allowing him to take his talents and his orange pants to another company. (The geekyhood of the traveling orange pants)

No Yakking

Intern Earl decided to wear a very unique, brown, furry, jacket to the company Christmas party.  When asked about his jacket, Earl proudly proclaimed that his jacket was made of “pubic hair from yaks” (I am not making this up).  I didn’t really believe him.  I reasoned that you might be able to shave a yak there once and get away with it.  The next time you touch him in that area, I think he bites your hand off.  Still, I made sure that I went through the buffet line before Earl, just in case his jacket shedded in the beef stroganoff.   Not much later, Earl and his amazing, yakkyhairy, screamcoat were sent packing.

But She’s Not Chinese

I can’t finish this post about men’s clothes without mentioning Trisha the H.R. representative.   She was kind of a “plain Jane”, but she caused quite a stir in the office because she wore men’s shoes.  I swear you could find her footwear on page four of the Thom McCann catalogue or maybe page one of the Butch McCann version.  The women in the office hated her shoes.  It was very disconcerting for them to be in the restroom and look down and see a pair of man shoes in the next stall.  That’s just too creepy.  In a Hitchcock movie the man shoes would have grown eyes to stare at the squatting victim.  Trisha’s office nickname was “manshoes” and her tenure at the company was known as The Manshoe Dynasty.

Pink Shirt, Plaid Pants
But I can’t get no one to even dance
Yak Suit, Odd Shoes
I am dressed to really lose

They go runnin' just as fast as they can
Coz' no girl's crazy 'bout a dork dressed man