Culture

Ups and Downs: If They Find a 600 Year-Old Jock Strap, Can I Wear It?

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Up: It’s the Headline of The Week! This week’s headline comes from HealthDay, which publishes the industry-leading magazine Well, Fuck, You Really Think So?? The headline:

“Health Tip: Protect Kids From Lead Exposure.”

Simply put, it’s a compelling and necessary reminder not to poison your children with lead. Why? Well, I think we already know the answer to that. Lead poisoning is a dangerous increase in heavy lead material in the body that causes symptoms ranging from headaches and seizures to coma and death. The article is part of a larger series of health tips for the general public, which also include “Don’t Hit the Elderly in the Head With an Aluminum Bat,” “You Shouldn’t Put Old Trash in Your Mouth or Underpants,” and “Protect Children From Landmines.”

To be honest, I have a number of health-related questions that wellness professionals never really seem to answer:

1. If I force my eyelids open while I sneeze, will my retinas dislocate from my body?
2. I once ate Panda Express for three consecutive meals; why am I not dead?
3. How real are the links between digital devices and the occurrence of tumors? Right now I use my iPad as a pillow and sleep with four cell phones hidden in my pants.
4. Theoretically speaking, if a pandemic strikes the United States, how long would it take to mobilize Dustin Hoffman and Cuba Gooding Jr. to steal a helicopter and prevent Donald Sutherland from bombing us all?
5. Why do Donald Sutherland’s lips always look so moist? Is he eating a Jolly Rancher in every movie?

If I don’t get some answers soon, I’ll be canceling my subscription. You’re on notice, HealthDay.

Down: Yes, but is it Velcro or a hook in the back? The Associated Press reported this week that archaeologists from the University of Innsbrook made a “revolutionary” discovery in an Austrian castle: four 600 year-old linen bras. As the story notes, “Fashion experts describe the find as surprising because the bra had commonly been thought to be only little more than 100 years old as women abandoned the tight corset. Instead, it appears the bra came first, followed by the corset, followed by the reinvented bra.”

Actually, that’s only a simplified version of the longer history of support garments, as you will see in this helpful Bra Flow Chart I have put together:

Beatrice Nutz, the archaeologist who discovered the linen bras and who possesses a hilariously appropriate name, noted that it was thought that women did not wear undergarments until the early 20th Century, as underwear was considered a symbol of paternal dominance and authority — a trend which continues today.

Up: The Non-Traditional Emmy Snub List! The nominations for the 64th annual Emmys were announced yesterday, and a predictable flood of “Who Was Snubbed?” articles and blog posts rapidly followed all across the interwebs. Why? Well, for one, we live in a golden age for television, where we have not only seen an outgrowth in the quality and variety of programming (The six shows nominated for best drama deal with terrorism prevention, advertising executives in the pre-Civil Rights 1960s, booze smugglers in the Prohibition era, a Medieval-themed period fantasy involving war, politics and snow zombies, aristocratic families during the reign of King George V, and a chemistry teacher who becomes a meth kingpin) but in the sheer quantity of shows and channels. There’s no way to reconcile the volume of programming with the five or six spaces available to nominees in each category. More to the point, we all want the emotional satisfaction of having our favorite shows recognized, and therefore our personal tastes validated.

This year’s Emmy nominations are largely great, despite the big snubs for Parks and Recreation and Community in the Best Comedy category. The thing is, those shows at least had a chance to be nominated; one could reasonably expect they might wake up to find Community or House with a fancy new Emmy nod. But there’s another category of shows that might never receive a nomination, no matter their quality, because Emmy voters don’t think they have the tone or seriousness for Emmy prestige, if such a thing exists (which it doesn’t).

The show most emblematic of this pattern is Sons of Anarchy, which has all the pathos, dramatic uniqueness and talented cast of the shows nominated for Best Drama, but features a lot of violence and sex which, according to Emmy voter logic, is only acceptable for a show on HBO, not FX. The same is true for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which has declined in recent seasons, but is still miles better than network garbage like The Big Bang Theory. But It’s Always Sunny takes the amoralism of Seinfeld to a new degree, and thus will never be recognized, no matter how great cast members Caitlin Olsen, Charlie Day and Danny DeVito have been. Did we really need to nominate all four male supporting actors from Modern Family?

The Best Animated Program category gets some props from me for recognizing American Dad, which has been one of the funniest comedies on television for at least three years (and far better than its more popular sibling, Family Guy). But what about Archer, which features the most talented voice cast on television? H. Jon Benjamin has the best comedic timing of anyone outside Amy Poehler and Alec Baldwin.

The most frustrating aspect of these perennial snubs is the randomness of it. I don’t understand what makes Sons of Anarchy inappropriate for even a single Emmy nomination that wouldn’t also be true of Breaking Bad. As I said, the Emmys are always going to slight someone or some program by design, and the 2012 nominations are largely excellent. But let me know which of your favorite shows fall into the Non-Traditional Emmy Snub list below.