If You Can’t Make it Straight, Make it Up

That’s what a lot of Game advice is: Made up. Cobbled together from sticks, rocks, and the other bits of debris where parts of civilization once stood. They’re not the only ones.

Continuing his series on the poor results of game (from his perspective), Zippy says:

There weren’t many cultural advantages to growing up in the 1970′s, I have to say.  But one that I rather wryly appreciate now is that at least we knew a low value dirt bag loser when we saw one, and the fact that he’d slept with enough women (of one sort or another) to contract gonorrhea didn’t change the evaluation.

Let’s all reflect on the blessings of uncelebrated dirt-bags from the 70s: Burt Reynolds, Rick James, John Travolta, David Bowie; Lynyrd Skynyrd, Led Zeppelin…

That was my off-the-top-of-my-head list. Here are the top 10 Google Image search results for “70s icons male” (that returned actual icons, and not costumes):

  1. Danny Zuko (John Travolta)
  2. Arthur Fonzerelli (Henry Winkler)
  3. Ziggy Stardust (David Bowie)
  4. Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone)
  5. J.J. Evans (Jimmy Walker)
  6. John Travolta (as himself)
  7. Robert Plant (of Led Zeppelin)
  8. Evel Knievel
  9. The Fonz, again
  10. Steve McQueen

Burt Reynolds didn’t make the top ten, but this top twenty result was published in 1972:

burt reynolds

The pic was taken from this BBC article celebrating its publication. According to the article, it turned him from a movie star into a celebrity. In other words: He was loved for it. Who loved him? Well, we did. Not “me” we, but “we” as in the generation of the 70s (again: not me. I just missed the blessings)–those who knew how to value a dirt-bag loser when they saw one…by buying a crapload of their albums and movies in amounts inversely proportional to how low they scored on the clear-headed 70s value scale. Who can gaze on that and not recall the quiet blessings of the that bygone cultural milieu?

If you’re going to reflect on the sensible old days: Stop.

Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof:
and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry:
for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.
1Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these?
for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.

11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance:
and by it there is profit to them that see the sun.
12 For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence:
but the excellency of knowledge is,
that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.
13 Consider the work of God:
for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?

If I merely wanted to pick on Zippy I would have stopped at verse 10, but the fact is that there are a lot of well-meaning and knowledgeable men out there who are of the conservative bent, and they are not-quite aware of how they hoard respect for others while imagining their own past glories, innocence, and cunning. They give neither inheritances of knowledge nor wealth to the sons they did not go to the trouble to have[1], and they are quick to reflect on their own imagined genius. It’s reflexive of conservatives, and it’s a big part of the culture of miserliness; the bust-to-bust cycle of the modern Economy of Respect.

You can tell that’s the sort of dismal market you’re in when no one has anything to offer, yet they ruthlessly protect what it is they don’t have.

[1] To be read in the same spirit as this statement: “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.” ~B. Baggins

[edit: Somehow, I forgot to post a whole sentence at the beginning. Fixed.]

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30 thoughts on “If You Can’t Make it Straight, Make it Up

  1. Oh sweet baby Jesus, my eyes, my eyes! That was cruel, sir!

    Anyway, can I see if I’ve got the gist of that first bit? The idea is that men could teach each other moral masculinity but they don’t, so tricksters have filled in the gap, teaching men a poor facsimile of real manliness. Something like that?

  2. I listened to the audio version of Neil Strauss’ Game over the holidays — mostly on a long trip. Given how game turned out for the original PUAs (hint: not good for any of them), it’s a bit disconcerting to see all the “Christian” and married game guys spout off ad infinitum about negs, IOIs, etc.

    Perhaps the most interesting part was when Strauss met Tom Cruise. He was much more alpha than any of the PUAs, yet he reviled the idea of game. To him, it took bits and pieces of Scientology but left out the parts about being responsible and treating others with respect.

    I’m not against all the principles of game, but it’s definitely not a neutral set of tools that are completely consistent with Christianity (as some in the Christian manosphere seem to think).

  3. I actually like the picture. He has, well, hair. This is a correction that I’ll take over Bieber madness. Good? No. But aren’t we all. He is at least masculine.

    John, there’s a good article that Cane posted titled something along the lines of “doing it wrong” that refers to negs. Well worth the read if you have time. It is light and fun as it should be with plenty of punch in the back.

  4. @SSM

    First of all: How is that not taking the Lord’s name in vain?

    You have the gist. When I look at earlier Game gurus (Mystery, Strauss, even pre-2011 Roissy) there is very little conflation of Game and the pursuit of manliness. Game is about getting the attention of women, then the interest of women, then the relationship with women. It was former sexless nerds telling other sexless nerds what they changed about their behavior and thinking to reliably repeat those those feats. (See Zippy for what is meant by “reliably”*.)

    As more people read and commented, and more people made the charge of Game being full of effeminate behavior (of which I think it is often guilty), the PUAs started to respond with evo-psych nonsense about Game being a covert, esoteric, and ancient manliness. Covert so as not to upset PC sensibilities during the performance of Game; esoteric so as to explain why their “knowledge’ about such tactics aren’t common (When they are by all accounts procreationally necessary, and even genetic! How did all those Alphas spawn all these Betas?) ; ancient so as to cast a glamour over those susceptible to the trappings of tradition.

    This confused the topic massively. The “old” Game was more honest, and I think worked better. Now it’s just a lot of guys cherry-picking traits and cobbling them together in an attempt at self-justification, e.g., “This is how I’m Alpha…”

    *Now, they obviously can only get some women, but they’re in sales, so it’s left to hang as all women…yet there’s so many women who are subject to the lure of these narcissistic mirrors that the opportunities are endless for one man; especially compared to a former sexless existence that is viewed as a problem. I think he’s right on the math according to the numbers provided to him, but I think those numbers are questionable at best. They’re hardly rigorous as the PUAs are not trying to prove themselves, but sell themselves. I think the number is probably higher over the long term…right before they kill themselves.

    To me it’s all beside the point. The arguments against the tools of Game that are evil shouldn’t rest on whether it works or not. I’ve heard it said that gays make the best lovers because they know how their opponents partners bodies’ work, but I ain’t doing that either.

    Let’s hear Jules on the value of objective good over what feels good. (cussing ahead)

  5. @GKC

    He is at least masculine.

    You’re literally looking at that picture wrong. That is the photo that launched PlayGirl, according to that BBC article. For crying out loud, he’s tucked his junk between his legs! Posing like that is not manly. That picture is the launch of the metrosexual era. The only difference between him and today’s metrosexual is one of small degrees in advancement of depilatory technology.

  6. Here’s how I’ve come to think about Game. Cane’s posts have influenced this greatly.

    Game is one set of tools available to teach (or mimic, if you prefer) masculine behavior. The obsession with bedding bar sluts is, of course, not a defining feature of masculinity, but Game does present one path to replacing some effeminate behaviors. However, Christianity is another set of tools for acquiring masculine behavior. The Bible itself doesn’t lend advice on finding a mate, but there are lessons to be learned from the Bible that foster masculinity (I believe Cane’s example was Roissy’s “Ignore her beauty” vs. learning from scripture that beauty is vain and to avoid lust, or at least something along those lines).

    Therefore, you have two sets of tools that present two separate paths that overlap to some degree. What tools you select are important because the tools work on the tool user.

  7. Burt Reynold’s launched Playgirl? Huh. Didn’t know that. By the way, Playgirl’s readership is largely gay men, not women.

    For what it’s worth, I think men have always to some degree admired men who enjoyed success with women. The idea that the 70’s or 60’s or 50’s or whenever was a time when the human heart was less degenerate always leaves me cold.

    The difference is and always has been one of incentives.

  8. Here is what I was getting at, Elspeth:

    The stereotype of cads that I grew up with was a greasy, perverted guy with a combover; smelling of bad cologne, cigarrettes, and alcohol; man-jewelry and a rug of chest hair that looks like it needs to spend some serious time at a carpet cleaner; all dressed up in his leisure suit to troll for slutty or damaged women.

    That stereotype has changed, and not in the direction of greater accuracy.

    When I hear about a guy who (claims to have) bedded a few hundred bar skanks over his multi-decade career tending bar, my first thought isn’t “here is a guy who knows something profound about the psychology of women, lets gather at his feet and let him teach”. My first thought is “Hey pal, would you mix me up a mai-tai?”

  9. @Zippy

    For the record, I wasn’t talking about celebrities.

    You should have been because they’re celebrities. They are literally the embodiment of what is celebrated within their particular culture. You see a greasy guy with a rug and a cigarette. Women who follow pop culture see Burt Reynolds with a cigarette and a rug.

    An important note here: It’s men who decide what and who should be celebrated, yet it’s women who reveal and proclaim what and who that is. Burt Reynolds was asked to be featured in that pictorial when he guest-hosted Johnny Carson’s show. Carson would never had done that spread, but because Carson celebrated Reynolds by giving him an honored place, all America watched and celebrated along with Carson. Ironic, and tragic, given Carson was famous for being divorced, and it was recently revealed in a biography that one of his wives carried on with Frank Gifford.

    It was also revealed that the night Carson confirmed his wife was banging Gifford, he went to a bar, got drunk, and went home with another female celebrity. And the next day, we all turned on our televisions and laughed and worshiped.

    This was in 1970; back in the good old days when men and women were properly valued.

  10. Cane:
    You should have been …

    I talk about what I talk about, and you are welcome to read it or not. But adopting a schoolmarm pose and lecturing me about what I should talk about is not a productive way to approach discussion with me. It is just an attempt to change the subject.

  11. I get what you’re saying Zippy. I think what often gets lost here is that a significant portion of men who do well with women are not and have never been greasy cad types.

    They’re not even necessarily on the prowl, deliberately working game on women for the express purpose of racking up notches. And they don’t date the kinds of women that the gamers go after. They date what appears to be the other clovers. I lost track of whether they are 3-leaf or 4-leaf. LOL.

    They haven’t slept with hundreds of women because they have never had such a desire. But they’re just as immoral as the cads and they receive no small amount of respect from other men who see them with attractive women on their arms.

    This is the problem with zeroing in on the self-proclaimed gamesters. They are for the most part a parody of themselves. Your analysis correctly compares taking gamers’ advice about women from taking a hooker’s advice about men.

    I just think it’s important to note that the vast majority of fornicating men are not traditional cads as you described any more than most fornicating women are what is traditionally thought of as sluts (outside of the manosphere I mean).

  12. @Zippy

    adopting a schoolmarm pose and lecturing me

    I gather the irony is lost on you.

    It is just an attempt to change the subject.

    No, it’s an attempt to get you recognize that saying:

    There weren’t many cultural advantages to growing up in the 1970′s, I have to say. But one that I rather wryly appreciate now is that at least we knew a low value dirt bag loser when we saw one, and the fact that he’d slept with enough women (of one sort or another) to contract gonorrhea didn’t change the evaluation.”

    is another way of saying, “Back in the old days we were wiser.” No, you (as a collective) weren’t. The evidence of who the people of the 70s valued–celebrated–is found in the archive of celebrities. You are the one trying to frame-shift as if those people didn’t actually celebrate Leisure Suit Larrys of the world when Leisure Suit Larrys existed because the 70s celebrated Saturday Night Fever.

    In addition to refutation, what I’m doing is not changing the subject away from the original subject, but broadening it so as to get a better and comprehensible picture; so as to be useful to someone besides the person of whom you are preoccupied: Zippy.

    In a response to Dalrock you said:

    Because I am addressing what men are teaching each other in the manosphere, and was specifically addressing a fallacy that sprung up in my own comboxes.

    What the PUAs are teaching is how to mimic various forms of celebrities. How they go about it is by reflecting and preaching their own success at that mimicry. Celebrity is at the heart of why PUAs succeed at selling themselves to women and men.

    You are trying to make a point that PUAs aren’t actually good at securing attempts at fornication because they only succeed at 2.7% of the attempts. What you’re ignoring is 2.7% is a high percentage in the fornication market. It’s like saying the 4% of millionaires aren’t actually rich because their money is a very small part of the economy, and they didn’t become billionaires. From both angles the problem is the fornication market itself, and the fornication market trades in pop culture and celebrity.

  13. Pingback: That Ol’ Time Game | Things that We have Heard and Known

  14. Cane:
    “Back in the old days we were wiser.” No, you (as a collective) weren’t.

    Yes we were.

    We, boots on the ground ordinary people growing up in the midwest, were in fact wiser in this one very specific respect than people are now. Not much wiser and not broadly wiser, but specifically wiser in the sense of having specific prejudices about cads which were closer to the truth, we definitely were.

    That the manufacturers of culture were in a full on onslaught mode to break ordinary commonsense midwest morality – which correctly stereotyped cads to be bottom-feeding perverts – does not change the fact that we, boots-on-the-ground ordinary people, were, in fact, wiser in this specific respect then than the manosphere idiots who praise cads are now.

    Conservatives frequently make the error of idealizing the past. Here you make the opposite error in refusing to concede that in some specific respects things now are a lot worse.

    It’s like saying the 4% of millionaires aren’t actually rich …

    No it isn’t like that at all. You are making precisely the reasoning error I was pointing out in two of my recent posts. The contention is most definitely NOT that that cads aren’t actually getting lots of sex, and if that is what you think you still haven’t gotten the point.

  15. Elspeth:
    This is the problem with zeroing in on the self-proclaimed gamesters. They are for the most part a parody of themselves. Your analysis correctly compares taking gamers’ advice about women from taking a hooker’s advice about men.

    It isn’t so much a problem as just the subject matter I’ve been addressing recently. We can’t talk about all things all the time, and recently my subject matter has been PUA and the “tools” specific to PUA (Game).

    I just think it’s important to note that the vast majority of fornicating men are not traditional cads as you described any more than most fornicating women are what is traditionally thought of as sluts (outside of the manosphere I mean).

    No objection to that. I repeated a number of times in the discussion that I was NOT saying “three leaf clovers are virtuous”. My point was just that Game appears only to “work” on a very small percentage of the population of women, and that manosphere types who claim that PUA success shows that most women will have sex with any man who exhibits Game — as one did in my combox — are making a mathematically illiterate contention.

  16. My point was just that Game appears only to “work” on a very small percentage of the population of women, and that manosphere types who claim that PUA success shows that most women will have sex with any man who exhibits Game — as one did in my combox — are making a mathematically illiterate contention.

    I agree completely.

  17. @Zippy

    We, boots on the ground ordinary people growing up in the midwest, were in fact wiser in this one very specific respect than people are now. Not much wiser and not broadly wiser, but specifically wiser in the sense of having specific prejudices about cads which were closer to the truth, we definitely were.

    My family are Nebraskans and Kansans going back several generations. Both my parents grew up in the 70s, and had me in the latter half of them. I myself have lived in the mid-west as a child; had friends in the mid-west; have family in the mid-west. By anyone’s measure all those people were boots on the ground ordinary people. I know of where I speak. They’re all divorced. They all love pop culture (particularly of the Country and Western variety.) They all protect their little household idols. They all call themselves Christians, or did last I checked.

    That the manufacturers of culture were in a full on onslaught mode to break ordinary commonsense midwest morality – which correctly stereotyped cads to be bottom-feeding perverts – does not change the fact that we, boots-on-the-ground ordinary people, were, in fact, wiser in this specific respect then than the manosphere idiots who praise cads are now.

    In one sense that is true, but in another sense–in the only sense by which we can each make a difference in our own lives–this is no different than Adam’s justification for eating the fruit.

    Anyone with an ordinary commonsense morality that would be worth mentioning ought to know better than to listen to Foreigner and Conway Twitty, take their girlfriends “parking”, and turn on Johnny Carson every night. They had not and they did so.

    John 8:34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. 37 I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. 38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. 39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.

    Adam also made the argument that he at least did not pick the fruit, but merely ate it because it was given to him. The spiritual war over mankind–midwesterners and coasters alike–is one of temptation, not rape.

    Here you make the opposite error in refusing to concede that in some specific respects things now are a lot worse.

    Appears worse; in the sense that things hidden in the 70s (and before) are now manifest? Yes, it appears so. Worse in the sense that the uncovering–the flowering–of shame is worse than well-concealed tares of shame? No.

    You are making precisely the reasoning error I was pointing out in two of my recent posts. […] My point was just that Game appears only to “work” on a very small percentage of the population of women

    You’re calculating the efficacy of all Game based off one particular PUAs poorly attributed (and even more poorly understood!) numbers. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have said (paraphrased) “Game is about as effective as a placebo. It’s not actually successful.”, but rather “This man’s Game is about as effective as a placebo. He isn’t really worth listening to.”

    It works on whatever percentage of women are in thrall to pop culture, and to whatever degree they are enthralled, and to what degree Game (as performed by a man upon himself) has molded–confirmed–him towards a particular woman’s degree of thrall-ness.

    Romans 6:20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.

    It’s a high percentage when we compare the concept of Game to the whole pool of women, but you’re comparing one man’s particular practice of Game to the pool. Furthermore, you do so by a standard which no one would or should use to judge the truth of any philosophy or religion: Whether it worked for him as he practiced it. If that is the measure, Karl Marx gave it too much credit, and Christianity is no better than a placebo. Yet even though I see and hear of very few people physically healed by the laying on of hands, I believe that the laying on of hands is real, and that there are no people on whom it does not work.

    You look around and see death and destruction now in fuller bloom, but the seeds of them were already growing; even among the ordinary people of the midwest; for whom I have affection, and towards whom I have always written my blog.

  18. Cane:
    They’re all divorced. They all love pop culture (particularly of the Country and Western variety.) They all protect their little household idols. They all call themselves Christians, or did last I checked.

    That’s all very nice but it doesn’t address what I said at all. (You have a habit of saying interesting things in their own right that don’t address what I said at all, and then mistaking the things you say as addressing what I said.)

    Is it your impression that (whatever else may be said about the cesspool that was the seventies) they had a stereotype of cads specifically that was more accurate – that ranked the cad more appropriately in the social order – than the one held by present-day Roissy worshippers? Or did you have an entirely different (though somewhat later) experience than me?

  19. @Zippy

    Is it your impression that (whatever else may be said about the cesspool that was the seventies) they had a stereotype of cads specifically that was more accurate – that ranked the cad more appropriately in the social order – than the one held by present-day Roissy worshippers? Or did you have an entirely different (though somewhat later) experience than me?

    No, I do not have the impression that the stereotype of cads in the 70s, specifically, was more accurate.

    The discussion or open pursuit of picking up women–being a cad–is still something people are uncomfortable with, and their response is to disparage and vilify a self-identifying cad. But even in the 70s as long as a guy wearing a leisure suit with chest hair hanging out was cool (whatever cool meant to the people judging him): He would not be appropriately ranked as a bottom-feeder. Among the guys in the high school locker-room, the guy who was most successful at getting girls to go parking was not reviled, or ranked at the bottom, but celebrated as long as he didn’t mention he was trying to get laid.

    A few years ago there was a pick-up guy names Paul Janka on Dr. Phil. Everyone dutifully hissed and tsked at him. People at the church, or grocery store would, I believe, do the same; today and then. It’s also the same that as long as the specific subject of picking up women does not arise, Paul Janka is free to bed as many women as he can without recrimination from anyone; provided he was cool enough. That would be true then as now.

    Paul Janka’s treatment is repeated whenever Game guys go on TV. On Conan O’Brien, Conan made fun of Mystery. Most of the time, Conan is usually self-deprecating to boost his guests. Roosh has been pilloried on talks shows in other countries; never celebrated. In a clip where Neil Strauss is on Kimmel’s show, Jessica Alba initially gets into Strauss’ vibe, but the more they talk about picking up women, and all the uncool stuff that a PUA thinks, you can see her tense up.

    The tuft-chested wearers of polyester who were derided in the 70s were derided not because they were cads, but because 1) They weren’t cool, and 2) because they were cads out loud. I think the same is true today.

    Let me reiterate that I’m a long-time and staunch supporter of shaming those who display caddish behavior.

  20. Cane:

    OK. Every man has his own experience, and I won’t argue with yours – either then or now. It doesn’t track mine (and I notice that you are still appealing to media appearances and such, so we may still be talking about completely different things). “Womanizer” used to be more epithet / less compliment and has been becoming more complement / less epithet as time goes on and our self-respect has deteriorated. And the manosphere is leading the way in that regard.

  21. @Zippy

    OK. Every man has his own experience, and I won’t argue with yours – either then or now. It doesn’t track mine.

    Fair enough.

    (and I notice that you are still appealing to media appearances and such, so we may still be talking about completely different things)

    Just to clarify, the talk show references were provided not to emphasize celebrity, but more something that you could actually go and see for yourself. Additionally, I know you’re not a fan of divulging of personal stories, and I’m not excited to talk about my family members.

    “Womanizer” used to be more epithet / less compliment and has been becoming more complement / less epithet as time goes on and our self-respect has deteriorated.

    Agreed.

    And the manosphere is leading the way in that regard.

    Do not agree. Whoever is responsible for divorce leads the way, I think. The destabilizing effect is massive, and so the punishment for marriage in fornication culture and deterrence against marriage is massive. These Beta men who idolize PUAs and Game are certainly enamored with the idea of fornication and self-pleasure, but they come here after their lives have been riven by divorce; either their parents or their own. As far as I know, every PUA of note in the Manosphere was once a Beta.

    After that, I would say media: movies, pop music, TV, advertising, etc.

  22. I was actually born in the early 70’s, too young to actually remember the movie Shaff but even when I came of age in the 80’s I recall that his treatment of women was viewed as “cool.” Shaft and Vinnie Barbarino are the names that spring to mind when I think of cads from that era.

    The 80’s offered fewer occasions than the 70’s as I recall to celebrate such things in the larger popular culture. Of course, I was never one to follow the lives of my favorite music artists the way girls do today. I could have missed something.

    Obviously my experience is quite different from both of yours in many respects, but it’s true that what’s cool is most often what women go for. It just so happens that most women are in large part turned off by greasy hair, polyester leisure suits, and tufts of chest hair hanging out the top of a shirt.

    Those guys? They were the image we had of a pimp, not a cad. Potato, po-tah-to you might say, but there is a slight difference.

  23. Cane:
    As far as I know, every PUA of note in the Manosphere was once a Beta.

    That probably explains the current generation’s hatred of PUAs: it isn’t the former view (again in my own experience, if nobody else’s — maybe I am just old enough, since I seem to be ahead of y’all by five or ten years) that he is a low life pervert qua cad; it is that he is a lying beta pretending to be alpha – and the one thing modern men and women agree on unanimously is that sexually betas are icky, icky, icky. Pretending to be alpha when you are beta is like failing to disclose that you have herpes.

  24. @Zippy

    That probably explains the current generation’s hatred of PUAs

    Perhaps, but I don’t think people change that much. I think they’ll always hate cadding done and gloated in their faces, and that suggests the reason–whatever it is–is permanent as well. Even the reason that is given for not shaming PUAs (that the other PUAs would prefer less PUAs anyways) shows no one wants them around.

  25. I’ll argue that the picture of Burt is oozing more masculinity than Justin Bieber as I originally stated. That it was the begining of the fall of man (this phase) I think only reinforces the point. I do think Zippy is being a bit cavalier about the 70’s though. There’s been the 90’s swing rightward since then. We’re probably roughly where the 70’s were and a little bit less in overall morality right now.

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  27. GKC:
    I do think Zippy is being a bit cavalier about the 70′s though.

    I was damning my own experience of the 70’s with faint praise. Frankly it was a throwaway remark, a flourish on the end of the post that (despite being true to my own experience) added nothing to the substance of the post.

    I don’t agree that there has been a rightward swing since then though. People – conservatives especially – always misinterpret the “hey, isn’t this going a bit too far?” stage of the Hegelian Mambo as actual conservation.

  28. Oh it was entirely self-serving which is why Madonna whined so much about it in the late 80’s when it began.

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