Brain Before Blab #1: Buns and Weiners August 15, 2011 – Posted in: A Picture's Worth, Blog, Featured Columns – Tags: ,

This is the first in an off- and ongoing series titled, “Brain Before Blab”™. It’s about folks in the media whose filters between mind and mouth may be missing.

We all say some things that we might not have if we’d taken a moment to think about or research them. That’s why God created “Edit” buttons on posts. (Although I really wish Facebook would allow editing of posts, and that LinkedIn would change their edit limit to at least 24 hours from a lousy 15 minutes. Who came up with that brainstorm? How many times have you posted something and wanted to change it an hour or day later as opposed to just 15 minutes?)

The problem is that in this ADD-riddled society and up-to-the-microsecond media, speaking or posting without thinking can either get you in a heap of career-changing trouble (cough-AnthonyWeiner-cough), make you look reeeeeeeally dumb (cough-ParisHilton-cough) or just plain crazy (cough-CharlieSheen-cough).

Since I’ve had my share of stupid posts and such, I know what to look for. Here’s a perfect example, garnered from an article in the Chicago Tribune:

 

That’s a lot of Marilyn! J. Seward Johnson’s gorgeous, masterfully-crafted, 26 ft. tall symbol of beauty, Americana, film history, humor, femininity, pulchritude, and/or sexism…depending on your POV (literally).

An incredible statue of Marilyn Monroe created by J. Seward Johnson was recently erected (stop giggling) in downtown Chicago. As you can see from the photos, it’s based on her iconic pose from the classic film, The Seven Year Itch. As you can also see from the photos, there are some angles of the statue that appeal (a lot) more to some and (a lot) less to others. Such things are bound to create controversy. Some parents, feminists, and others may be offended. I get that. They’re entitled to their opinions.

But what I can’t stand is criticism that has no basis in fact or logic.

Hence today’s entry:

Someone named Bren Ortega Murphy, associate professor at Loyola University Chicago’s School of Communication, is considered by some (at least Rex Hupkke, Tribune writer) to be an expert in mass media and “gender construction”, whatever that is. (Guessing she’s good at building men and women, not so good at hermaphrodites.) Her objection to the Marilyn statue is the usual: sending a message that women are nothing more than sex objects. (Apparently she hasn’t seen the film.)

Okay, fine, I can live with that presumption, even if I don’t agree with it. But what’s her logic and defense? It’s hard for her to imagine anyone putting up a provocative male statue. Her quote: “Tom Cruise when he comes out [in Risky Business] wearing no shirt and his underwear. That’s an iconic figure too, but would we do that? I don’t think so.”

Good grief.

Two things, professor Bren: First, that’s not an iconic image. Classic movie bit, maybe. Iconic? Hardly. That Marilyn image has sold millions  of posters, prints, magnets, artworks, T-shirts, statues, calendars, cards, knick-knacks and bric-a-brac since 1955 when the film came out. How many Tom Cruise Risky Business (which didn’t come out till 1983!) products based on that image have you seen lately? In the last twenty years, even?

No comparison.

Second, we don’t put up provocative male statues? Really?

Let me think about that one for a sec…

 

Familiar?

Somewhere in London

near Athletic Club in San Francisco

 

Yeah, Bren, I guess you’re right. I’ve never seen any provocative male statues in public. At least not in their underwear.

 

Best,

Mike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S.: If YOU would like a provocative figure drawing–male OR female, in their undies or a cool costume, just ask Craig here. Or even something not so provocative–I aim to please!

 

 

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