Tag Archives: Taylor Lautner

For Your Entertainment

It’s been four days since the 2010 Oscars premiered at the Kodak Theater on a cold rain-filled Hollywood night. Yet, we’re still talking about it. We saw history being made, we saw dresses being judged, and we also make jokes about the whole event. That’s Hollywood for you.

When Kate Winslet walked on to the TV screen wearing a silver strapless gown by Yves Saint Laurent, I’m sure the damp red carpet was quickly evaporating. She radiated with beauty, looking like she stepped out of a time machine. She brought that old Hollywood glamor that only those starlets back then possessed.

When Taylor Lautner and Kristin Stewart introduced a tribute to horror films, I was horrified. What were they doing there? They weren’t accomplished actors–they didn’t do any movies that were Oscar-worthy. I’m not a big fan of their acting chops either, particularly Stewart. And why was “Twilight” part of the Horror genre? Then it hit me when I saw a parade of other young stars like Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, and Miley Cyrus, who haven’t quite established Oscar-worthy performances either. This was Hollywood’s ploy to gain younger viewers. They got to catch us when we’re young, right?

When Sandra Bullock won the award for Best Actress, I was ecstatic. I absolutely love her and her other funny movies, so to see her win an award for a dramatic one–that’s huge! However, I would’ve liked to see the award go to Merryl Streep for her role as Julia Child in “Julie and Julia” mainly because mimicking Julia Child is no easy task. But I’m fine with Bullock winning.

When Katherine Bigelow became the first woman to win “Best Director,” I wasn’t shocked. But I’m sure it was definitely an F-U moment for her ex-husband, James Cameron, who was also in the category for his movie, “Avatar.” I mean, come on, Cameron helped create an entirely different way to shoot a movie using a special camera invented just for the movie, as well as hired a USC linguistics professor to create a working language too. And need I mention that Cameron’s “Avatar” placed some people in depression? Surely, he should have won for creating such powerful movie, especially since his movie made billions compared to Bigelow’s movie, right? Wrong. And as Jimmy Fallon put it best last night:

“Did you watch the Oscar’s, or as I like to call it, James Cameron’s own personal ‘Hurt Locker.'”

Why do we obsess over celebrities? Don’t we have enough stress to keep us occupied–the economy, the job market, our own lives? It surely can’t be healthy, right? Maybe it’s our defense mechanism–escapism. We don’t like how our own lives are going so we fantasize about a better one, or as Fergie Ferg puts it, “by the glamorous, ooh the flossy, flossy.” She reminds us that, “If you ain’t got no money, take your broke self home.” Yah, I’m broke. I think I will.

Maybe we obsess over celebrities because it’s a way to connect to others, or as Professor Nicholas DiFonzo calls it, “The Water-Cooler Effect.” The term comes from a study of office behavior. In a large company, workers would have informal gatherings around the water cooler, chatting, gossiping, and talking about current events. If one doesn’t participate in the conversation or have some kind of opinion or have the latest news about someone, then one was left out of the group. Rejection can be a cruel thing, especially when you see that person for 8 hours of your life of every single work day.

Professor Alex Pentland, in an article for a November 2009 issue of Psychology Today, puts it best when he writes:

…it underscores that we are all social animals and that our connection with others at a local level – our tribe – is vitally important. Second, with increased cohesion likely comes an increase in things such as shared tacit knowledge, shared attitudes and work habits, and social support.

But whatever the case, the celebrities remain present in your life for your entertainment. And they get rich entertaining you. Check out this NY Times graph in which we spend $1000 to $5000 for our entertainment.

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Too Fat to Fly? Then Lose The Fat And You’ll Soar.

I LOVE to eat as much as the next guy. I am always munching on something. I am a huge fan of tofu and because it’s such a versatile substance–I love eating it in various ways: Mapo style, fried, soup. I also enjoy my steak medium rare. Meat. I LOVE meat. Don’t get me started on Korean BBQ. And dessert? There’s an extra “s” in the word for a reason–dessert is extra scrumptious! But at some point, I have to wonder: am I eating to live or am I living to eat? I’m very fortunate–it’s not like I’m living in parts of Africa where McDonald’s is seen as a luxury. I have choices–I just don’t always make the right ones.

Don’t let the Winter Olympics and the image of healthy American athletes fool you America–you are getting  FAT!  Or maybe I need to be politically correct and more sensitive–you are getting obese–morbidly obese. According to the American Medical Association (AMA):

The researchers found that in 2007-2008, the prevalence of obesity was 33.8 percent overall. Among men, prevalence was 32.2 percent overall and within racial and ethnic groups ranged from 31.9 percent among non-Hispanic white men to 37.3 percent among non-Hispanic black men. For women, the prevalence was 35.5 percent overall, and ranged from 33.0 percent among non-Hispanic white women to 49.6 percent among non-Hispanic black women. The prevalence of overweight and obesity combined was 68.0 percent overall, 72.3 percent among men, and 64.1 percent among women.

Wake up and smell the Starbucks coffee. Okay, don’t because even too much of that can be bad for you. But you really need to get out of your seats and do something active. Currently, obesity is in the media once again as a result of “Clerks” and “Jay and Silent Bob” director Kevin Smith. He was kicked off a Southwest airplane for pretty much being fat. Now, as much as I don’t agree with how Southwest treated Smith, I do hope it’s a wake up call for Smith.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not hating on fat people. I think I’m fat myself. I’m fighting my own weight-loss battles, and so far I’m winning slowly. Very slowly. But I’m on the way if I can keep up all this activity I do. I just hate it when we fat people make excuses. We are the first to blame genetics–you know, the classic case in Psychology: nature versus nurture. It’s in my nature to be fat. After all, we can’t all have Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt as our mom and dad. And children who have obese parents are more likely to be obese themselves because it’s in their genetic make-up. But we can’t just excuse ourselves because of genetics. There’s also your environment. Your lifestyle choices also play a role. Whether you choose to head to the gym and undergo intense workouts or to pick up that red velvet vanilla frosted cupcake or to go out running a mile or two or to stay at home at watch 6 hours of TV–those choices are yours and yours alone. Unless you have some major health problem that doesn’t allow you mobility, you have no one to blame but yourself–the choices you made.

Writer William Saletan in his 2008 article, “Fat Chance:Obesity, genetics, and responsibility.” :

How do we know the modern environment is a factor? Because the obesity rate has soared in less than a generation. As the authors point out, “The dramatic rise in childhood obesity in the past 15 years is clearly due to changes in the environment, because genes have not altered.” But this implies a paradox: “Obesity is both predominantly environmental … and predominantly genetic.”

How can this be? Because genetic and environmental influences are measured differently. What’s genetic is the weight variation within a population, such as the kids in your neighborhood. What’s environmental is the weight variation between populations: kids in your neighborhood today, compared with kids in your neighborhood 15 years ago.

So that’s it then. My fatness is partly due to my genetics, but it’s mainly on me. If I want ripped abs like Taylor Lautner or a mighty chest like Gerard Butler (who reportedly gained a few pounds last year, but is back in shape in recent photos). I can’t just wish it into existence. I have to act on it. It starts with me and the choices I make. The English poet, William Ernest Henley said it best: “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” And so goes my obese identity revealed–I need to drop that donut and go on that mile run now. Oooh…donut. No…bad donut. Run fool, run.

And while I run, I’m going to be thinking a lot about this fat war:

1. Regarding airplane seating: should obese people pay extra if they take up an extra seat or is that discrimination?

2. Why aren’t we making good choices in our eating habits? Is it because healthy food just isn’t affordable?

3. Do we make up lots of excuses so we can stay comfortable being fat?

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She’s the Beauty, and I’m…Okay, I’m the Beast

My girlfriend, Nicole, is gorgeous! Okay, maybe all boyfriends say that of their girlfriends. But what first attracted me to Nicole was her voice. When I hear her sing, a voice of an angel leaves those red lips and my heart skips a beat. At times, I have to pinch myself–maybe I’ve died and gone to heaven? Maybe I’m dreaming. Maybe. But when I look into her brown eyes, I can’t help but feel at peace. My worries and all the stresses of life seem to not matter, as if they’ve evaporated whenever I meet her gaze. Nicole has long brown hair with a tint of red and her hair drops down just below her shoulders. When the sun shines on it, it only enhances her bright smile. Yes, she’s the sunshine that brightens up my day. Nicole is gorgeous! She’s the Beauty, and standing next to her…I’m…okay, I’m the Beast. That’s fine by me.

I just have one problem. Okay, maybe several come to think of it.  First, she hasn’t met me yet. Perhaps, she doesn’t even know I exist. Which leads me to the cold hard truth: she’s not really my girlfriend–I just wish she was. A guy can dream, right? But before you go on thinking she’s some imaginary beauty–she’s not. Nicole is really Britt Nicole, the singer. And I’d like to imagine that I would meet someone like her. Maybe even marry her. Yah, maybe some day.

As more of my friends are getting married at a young age, I can’t help but think of my own prospects. Am I setting my standards to high? Should I settle? Maybe I’m just too darn picky. And as much as I’d like to think that I’m not shallow, I admit that a woman’s beauty reels me in. Yet beauty can be a deception. I’ve met many beautiful girls who turned out to be…how do I put this nicely? Um, some beautiful girls turn out to be the Wicked Witch of the West–deep down they’re horrible. Beauty gets me in, but it’s her personality, her love for others, and her willingness to put others before herself–that’s what would keep me there.

So as I was reading up on one of my favorite blogs, Bakadesuyo (a blog that contains snippets from various research journals that the author of the site found interesting), I came across an entertaining entry. In a way, it’s a “tip” for marriage, but really, it’s a study on the role of physical attractiveness on marriage:

Physical appearance plays a crucial role in shaping new relationships, but does it continue to affect established relationships, such as marriage? In the current study, the authors examined how observer ratings of each spouse’s facial attractiveness and the difference between those ratings were associated with (a) observations of social support behavior and (b) reports of marital satisfaction. In contrast to the robust and almost universally positive effects of levels of attractiveness on new relationships, the only association between levels of attractiveness and the outcomes of these marriages was that attractive husbands were less satisfied. Further, in contrast to the importance of matched attractiveness to new relationships, similarity in attractiveness was unrelated to spouses’ satisfaction and behavior. Instead, the relative difference between partners’ levels of attractiveness appeared to be most important in predicting marital behavior, such that both spouses behaved more positively in relationships in which wives were more attractive than their husbands, but they behaved more negatively in relationships in which husbands were more attractive than their wives. These results highlight the importance of dyadic examinations of the effects of spouses’ qualities on their marriages. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved

It makes sense to me. If the guy is the beauty in the relationship, the girl would feel insecure with her beauty. But if the girl is the beauty, it’s a win-win situation for the guy and the girl.

Anyway, I may not have Brad Pitt’s smile or Taylor Lautner’s body or whatever it is and whoever it is that girls find attractive nowadays. According to the article, that may be a good thing. Now, the real challenge is finding a woman who would settle for this Beast.

However, I do think I look way better than Jack Black. Okay…back to working out.

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Live Free or Twi-Hard: A Guy’s Perspective On Women’s Perspective of the Twilight Series

C.S. Lewis's book looks strangely like "Twilight." Photo courtesy of W.K.

We’re a culture of story-tellers. We’ve been doing it for so long. Homer. Shakespeare. Fitzgerald. And with any good story comes a moral to that story. Stories teach us about ourselves–they teach us about our fears, what we value, lessons we need to learn. And stories, if they are good enough, will pass the test of time. They will be passed on from one generation to the next to teach the next generation where they come from and warn them of what they have the potential to be. Stories reveal our identities.

Like most guys, I find the female world mysterious and complicated. I think Relient K puts it best in their song, “Mood Ring.” They suggest that girls should get mood rings to warn guys of what mood they currently are in: “Mood ring oh mood ring/Oh tell me will you bring/The key to unlock this mystery/Of girls and their emotions/Play it back in slow motion/So I may understand the complex infrastructure known as the female mind.” Now okay, guys are somewhat mysterious too–we don’t like talking about our feelings. However, there are times that we are allowed to show our emotions. The BBC reveals some and Tremendous News reveals a hilarious set. Women often see our true emotion when (and this is some of my own thoughts) 1. Something happens to our genitals. 2. We lost a lot of money. 3. Someone we truly love dies. 4. Our favorite sports team loses. See, guys are simple.

If stories do reveal identities than perhaps those romance novels that women often like to read also reveals their identities. Perhaps it reveals a woman’s fantasy–what he should look like, how he should talk, what she believes a man must do to win her heart.

Books like "Twilight" and "Harry Potter" get kids to read again. Photo Credit: Children Book Blogs

Being a guy and knowing “Guy Land” because I live it and have researched it, I asked myself an age-old question better men than me have asked: what do women want? If stories do reveal identities than perhaps those romance novels that women often like to read also reveals their identities. Perhaps it reveals a woman’s fantasy–what he should look like, how he should talk, what she believes a man must do to win her heart. Enter Stephanie Meyer, author of the “Twilight” Series. Her 4 books have made the New York Bestseller list, and like J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series it inspired children and teenagers to stop playing video games or shopping for clothes and go to a bookstore and pick up a book. The “Twilight” series reveals a certain type of heroine in the main character, Isabella “Bella” Swan, but feminists believe she’s a “villain” (more on that in other posts). So why write anything about Meyer’s “Twilight” series? They aren’t important; they aren’t a special work of literary genius? I could care less about the series, but when a book like that spawns a movie (“New Moon”) that the Los Angeles Times reports as breaking two-box office records in one day, as well as create a pre-teen and teen frenzy during its premiere, or how book publishers have started to change the covers of their book to mimic “Twilight”–to say that the books can or doesn’t influence the next generation is to say that the moon doesn’t influence the ocean waves. I can still hear the screaming and crying girls. I shudder thinking about it.

After 2 hours of reading the first book, I’m on page 212. And what I’m learning so far…well, it’s terrifying.

A couple days ago, I wrote about the double standard with Taylor Lautner being “jailbait” I realized that before I could make more judgments, I should really be an informed reader. I’ve never read the books, but I was introduced to the first movie back in June by my friend, Jillian. She loves the movie, and loves the book even more.  To see her and other girls light up when Edward or Jacob walks into the room–it was interesting. So in order for me to understand what the “Twilight” books were revealing and how they could affect the next generation, I needed to know what the fuss was about–I needed to read the books myself. And the bet was made for me to read the books before the New Year. So I picked up the phone, called my friend Victoria, and borrowed her books. Oh, and if you’re reading this Victoria, I was quite secure in my masculinity to be walking around UCLA with the books in hand. Okay, I was a little embarrassed when I walked by the gym. I wanted to approach the book differently. Other reviews and other websites gave a woman’s perspective on the books. I wanted to give a guy’s perspective on the woman’s perspective of the books. Like I said earlier, we can learn a lot from the stories we tell, and the “Twilight” books aren’t an exception. I want to learn what it is that girls and women want in a man–or at least what they think they want in a man. I want to learn what they want a man to do. After 2 hours of reading the first book, I’m on page 212. And what I’m learning so far…well, it’s terrifying. So you’ll have to wait for the next post–I’ve got to continue reading.

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Jailbait

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Taylor Lautner on GQ. Photo Credit: Gossip Teen

I woke up to a horrendous display of advertisement–or really, it was a rerun clip of Access Hollywood‘s Shaun Robinson interviewing Taylor Lautner in the “New Moon” premiere in Westwood a couple weeks ago. Robinson is seen showing off a shirtless Mattel doll version of Lautner’s character, Jacob Black, and asking him of his opinion. Lautner was embarrassed–seemed uncomfortable. The whole thing was sort of awkward. You could see it for yourself at the end of the entry. Over at Twitter, a female friend of mine joked about how she was counting down the day that Lautner turns legal. He is only 17, but in the words of Jacob Black, “Age is just a number, baby.”

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Britney Spears was 17 on April 1999 cover of Rolling Stone, Photo Credit: Dolly Mix

I have to admit, I am interested in this Taylor Lautner phenomena, mainly because of the ramifications that who he is and what he’s done is steering the change of how we view masculinity and femininity today. Don’t quite follow me yet? Take for example this countdown that a fan made to countdown the days that Lautner turns 18. Now let’s go backwards in time–countdowns like this have been used to celebrate past “jail-baits” as Britney Spears, the Olsen Twins, and Lindsay Lohan. Grown men that counted down the days were seen as perverted and disgusting. Now, fast forward to 2009. It’s the women’s turn. Now, I’m all about equal opportunity, but are women getting as much flak ove their comments on Lautner and the fact that he is “jailbait?”

I don’t think so–and definitely not at the same degree as men. Actually, there isn’t much clatter about cougars eyeing the shirtless Lautner, except on sites like Just Mommies, a message board for moms. So apparently, it’s okay that a shirtless seventeen-year-old boy can pose provocatively, but when a seventeen-year-old girl (and she doesn’t have to be shirtless, i.e., Britney Spears) poses provocatively, it turns heads. Double standard?

And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I discovered that they made a more realistic Taylor Lautner-Jacob Black action figure. And yep, you guessed it, he’s shirtless. I have to agree with fellow blogger,  Nobody Puts Baby in a Horner, when the blogger writes:

“I’m not saying that you can’t have him as your object of lust-eyes because you can do whatever you want, but I am saying it’s difficult to forget how, unless you’re another teenager, those lust-eyes are technically statuatory-rape-eyes.  Sure, the thought police aren’t throwing anyone in jail over the a few idle thoughts, but still: He’s only seventeen, so YIKES!!!”

Yes, big YIKES!!! With 3 exclamation marks means extreme warning. I don’t know whose bright idea it was to create such an action figure. Apparently, it was revealed in Comic Con for the Twihards (a term for die-hard Twilight fans). Poor Taylor Lautner. Poor Tay-Tay. Will he ever escape his identity of just being eye-candy instead of being an actor? I mean, that is what he wants–to be recognized for his acting talent. A Showbiz Spy article reveals Lautner’s ultimate desire:

“I worked hard to get in shape for this role,” Lautner explains. “My motivation was the movie and the fans, but I don’t want to become known as just a body. If I had to choose, I would never take my shirt off again in a movie, but I guess that’s not very realistic. I certainly won’t be asking to do it, though.”

Well, that’s a start. I’m no fortune teller, but I predict that the next few roles you’re going to get will continue to exploit you. Sex sells, eh?

Now you may be thinking, what’s the big deal? Am I advocating that it’s okay for older people–men and women–to lust over underage teens as long as there is equal flak on both sides? No. I’m just quite concerned that people forget that Lautner is still a boy with a man’s body–well, at least until February 11, 2010. People should stop and take a look at themselves. Let me repeat again, he’s 17!

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Jacob Black action figure. Photo Credit: Twilight Book Addicts

Now, you might be saying for me to take a look at myself, that I’m just jealous that I don’t look like him. Heck ya I’m jealous–me and every guy that doesn’t look like him gets jealous. And the men of the world felt the same way when 300 came out. But that’s exactly how Lautner is changing, or rather, adding to masculinity. Men are running to the gym again, and cougars are on the prowl. Now, women are the ones with the “lustful eyes” and men are the ones “lusted after.” As 2009 comes to a close, we find ourselves at a changing landscape: the image of “jailbait” isn’t a girl; it’s a boy…a really buff boy at that.

What do you think?

“Do not get me upset. Things are gonna get very ugly!” – Jacob Black in “New Moon”

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