Russell Brand on How Pornography Has Affected His Life

“I feel like if I had total dominion over myself, I would never look at pornography again. One day at a time I would kick it out of my life” -Russell Brand.

Yesterday I posted about how sexuality in media, romance novels, and soft-core pornography has affected my life. This was actually sparked by the following video in which comedian Russell Brand talks about the ‘mainstreaming’ of soft-core pornography (such as Fifty Shades of Grey), and how it affects people. He is candid about his own pornography use, and how it influenced him. Thought provoking stuff.

Sexiest Man Dead?

People Magazine recently crowned Chris Hemsworth the “Sexiest Man Alive.” I can’t deny that the magazine is hitting nearer the mark than usual.  But ‘sexiest alive’?  That’s a pretty sweeping statement.

He was alive last year, right?  What was wrong with him then?

Adam Levine was last years Sexiest Man Alive, and though he was rumoured to be dead, he is still alive and making generic pop music.  What’s wrong with him now?

In fact, if you peruse the list of Sexiest Men Alive from 1985 to 2013, you’ll see that darn near all of them are still alive.  What happened?  Did they gain weight?  Get a bad haircut?  Publicly announce that they hate kittens?  It doesn’t matter.  They’ve lost their mojo.  They’ve lost their crown.  What a demotion that must be.  One day you are the sexiest man in the world, the next… pfft.  You’re just a guy on the street.

Exactly how do they decide anyway?  Do they fill out questionnaires?  Have a swimsuit contest?  Compare bank statements?  I don’t follow their logic.

I propose a sensible solution to both quandaries.  Kill the old sexiest man and instate a new one.  Decide by good, old fashioned duel.  The winner takes the title, and the loser is the Sexiest Man Dead.  Imagine the spectacle, the press coverage, the wailing of women.

Oh wait!  I have a better plan. The newly crowned Sexiest Man Alive goes into hiding, and all eligible candidates have a year to hunt him down and assassinate him.  Winner takes all.

That sounds like the Hunger Games, you say?

We’ll call it… the Handsome Games.

 

 

What’s the Deal With Celebrity Crushes?

Summer camp is the scene of much stupidity, and preteen girls will argue, but no argument perplexed me as much as the one over who was ‘hotter’—Chad Michael Murray or Paul Walker.

It was the early 2000’s, we were in the spring of our youth, and were just discovering boys—my cabin mates more so than I. I had no idea who Paul Walker was, and had only seen Chad Michael Murray in Freaky Friday (not a high point of his career, or his looks). I didn’t think either was hot, so I sat on my bunk bed and kept my mouth shut.

At about the same time, Brad Pitt was in his ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ days, and my companions were equally goggle-eyed over him. “Disgusting,” I thought. “He’s old enough to be my father.”

I don’t understand celebrity crushes. I mean, what’s the point?

I’ve seen footage of the Beatles performing live, while all around young women are screaming and weeping at the very sight of them–not unlike the mania that surrounds any of Justin Bieber’s shows.

Do any of those young girls, screaming and flailing about in the crowd, think that Bieber will give them a second glance? Yet they’d defend his reputation to the death when he’s caught coming out of a brothel. That isn’t the kind of guy they should be with. Fortunately, they won’t be.

Then there was this episode of the Graham Norton Show, in which Chris Pine’s and Benedict Cumberbatch’s fan clubs compared who had travelled the farthest to see their idol. One chick had travelled from Hong Kong to England to see Benedict Cumberbatch. Hong Kong!

Why?

Did she just want to breath the same air as him? Gaze upon his face? What could she possibly hope for? I’m damn sure Mr. Cumberbatch didn’t think to himself ‘Oh, how touching. From Hong Kong? I must sweep her off her feet. She must be mine!’

I admit that, of all celebrities, the closest thing to a crush I have right now is on Benedict Cumberbatch. I think it may be the accent, because other than his fine blue eyes, I’m not much for his looks. He reminds me of my grandfather.

Not that celebrities don’t fascinate me. I watch the Graham Norton Show, read fashion magazines, and catch the Oscars. I’ve seen all the production videos for The Hobbit. I like to hear celebrities talk about their craft, see what they’re wearing, and hear their funny stories about filming. I enjoy seeing the people behind the characters.

But they’re just people—albeit successful, famous ones.

If I boil it down, what I find appealing about famous men is how they handle themselves in public—suave, gentlemanly. And which woman doesn’t like a man who knows how to behave? They’re well groomed, well dressed, and mannerly and that goes very, very far.

Ah!  That’s probably why people think Benedict Cumberbatch is sexy. He looks good in a suit.  There, solved that one.

But what if it’s all a façade? What if these men are just stuffed silk shirts, while inside they’re full of rot and decay? Time eventually tattles and tells us what they’re made of. Many lead lives worth admiring—excellence in their craft, philanthropy, a healthy family life. But others end up collapsing under the weight of their fame. Like a ketchup bottle, what is inside will come out when squeezed.

And that is a problem we all bear. After all, famous men aren’t gods, but mortals.

Just a thought.

What about you? Have you had a celebrity crush?

Channing Tatum and Living While We’re Young

Channing Tatum, when asked about stripping as an 18-year-old, said “If you’re gonna do something stupid… do it when you’re young, don’t do it later in life. I went ahead and made sure I did every stupid thing from the time that I was born until about like twenty-three years old and then I started dialing it back” (1).

When I heard this, my gut reaction was “wrong!”

Perhaps I’m just bitter because I’m a boring person who’s done nothing exciting all my twenty-three years and now, according to the esteemed Mr. Tatum, must start dialing it back.

Darn.

The extent of my crazy exploits is taking a Mini Cooper S down a busy highway at 100 miles an hour. That’s it. I hit my rebellious stage really late—about twenty. I had my first drink at twenty (For American readers, legal drinking age in Canada is 18). Thereabouts I started cussing and I had an epistemological crisis in which I questioned everything I believed and if my parents may have led me astray. I’m kinda still in that rebellious stage, but it’s the tamest rebellious stage you’ve ever seen. I have not one drunk party story or crazy ex-boyfriend to my name. Heck, I’m kinda a ‘good girl’.

So I might not be qualified to have an opinion here, but after giving it some thought, I decided that Channing’s got a point. When we’re young, the stakes aren’t quite as high. We can recover faster. We don’t have the same family responsibilities, and we have less to lose (like money, houses and status).

Youth is the time to take risks, have adventures, and explore our identity and purpose in life.

To his credit, Channing used his ‘humble’ beginning as a launching point for a very successful acting career. All disagreements about morality aside, that’s admirable.

Here’s where I challenge his theory:

Youth is too precious to waste. Think about it. It’s the prime of life. Your energy levels are higher than they’ll ever be. Your mental faculties are as sharp as they’ll ever be. Young people can adapt faster and learn faster. Young people love to innovate, and try new things. They’re less jaded and beaten down by life’s hardships. And, like I said, with lower responsibilities, if what you try fails, you’ve lost far less.

This is the perfect opportunity to attempt great things. This is the time to devote yourself to a mission: whether it’s a business, a non-profit, a church, a project, art or education, even starting a family.

We’ve already wasted so much time—on Facebook, on shopping, on sleeping, on pure hedonism. And me too! I’m preaching to me, here!

In the last couple years I’ve tried to take more chances, work harder and discipline myself more because I don’t want to look back and say “I wish I’d done that”. I’ve had some great experiences already, and I’ve made headway in finding a path for my life. I hope that as I become braver, less selfish, and gain wisdom, I can do great things with my life.

No age is too late to begin on a path of significance, but I believe its best to start when you’re young.

Note: Neither young people shouldn’t rush forward in arrogance, but should take council from people older and wiser (more on that in “The Art of Mess-making”). I know myself, and I tend to go to extremes with my ideas, which my older friends have been kind enough to temper before I could do too much damage. Books and audios have also been very helpful for me.

Anyone care to agree or disagree on this one? Older readers, I’d love to hear what you think.

(1). “’Magic Mike’ Unscripted: Matthew McConaughey and Channing Tatum.”
September 16, 2012. Moviefone. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcpaTGGrdX8&gt;.