Saturday, August 20, 2011

Categorically Speaking

"First of all, we don't like to be referred to as 'normal'. We're 'able-bodies', not normal. That's like from the eighties" - Larry David, in "Curb Your Enthusiasm" to a disabled man who has just referred to a stall for "normal" people.

"Sweatpants were so submerging, so suburban, so Upper West Side. 'We live in the West Village,' Gerhard said ... 'solely to escape sweatpants'" - From A Day at the Beach, Helen Schulman

Upper West Side - Where Have All the Sweatpants Gone?
I've always been into categories. They fascinate me. How things can be sorted, categorized, named, labeled ...

I like the inherent humor of categories. For example, a while ago I read that there were once Neanderthal-like people in Asia, much the same as the European variety, except they had slanty-eyes. Why I find this amusing I can't explain. It just seems so weird that geographical location could have such a bearing on eyelids. And at the same times, it's sort of cute. There we were in our Western insularity and arrogance, imagining Neanderthals as being universal, when in reality, our Western Neanderthals were just one of a kind. I wonder what else was different about the Asian variety. Their caves, for example ...

And then there's the soft porn categories. Now I'm no aficionado of porn. It doesn't turn me on. But if I ever thought about it, I suppose I'd just imagined there'd be porn for different sexual orientations. But after moving into my apartment in New York and I discovered, on putting out trash in the compactor room, that the Chinese guy down the corridor, had thrown out for recycling - recycling porn? - Chinese porn. It had never occurred to me that porn was related to race. Bizzaro!

Medical categories. Vet categories. There's a "Curb Your Enthusiasm" episode where Larry David questions the wife of a veterinary surgeon at a dinner parties. Are there categories of vets? he asks her. As with human doctors where we have orthopedic surgeons, gastoentorologists, urologists and so on. Are the vets for horses, kittens, hens?

The vet's wife correctly follows this on with the absurdity of something along the lines of, do you mean then that there should be vets specializing in like, feathers?

As well as finding categories amusing, I also find amusing people who are obsessed with which categories that they would belong to, if they weren't themselves. People who find themselves so interesting that they will post on FaceBook what sort of movie star they would have been, had they been a movie star. Or what sort of vegetable. Amazing. ASIF by imagining which category they would have belonged to had the belonged to a superset of that category, somehow magically confers upon them the glory that the genuine article possesses.

Back to the porn. On reflection I knew there was more than sexual orientation categories of porn. I knew for example, that men were either breast men, leg men, bum men. But that also there was something in common for ALL men.

All men don't like women wearing sweatpants.

But that's another story.


Anonymous said...

Yer right, girl. Don't like women in sweat pants. Don't even like 'em myself

Vanessa said...

so that means there will be no Sweat Pants Porn?


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