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Jun. 29 2010 — 3:54 pm | 230 views | 0 recommendations | 5 comments

Good-bye, True/Slant

In the year and a half since I signed on with True/Slant, I’ve logged 255 posts. You’re reading my last.

I posted most frequently on my signature topic: women and race in media. I scowled when black women reporters took flak for covering Michelle Obama; I pondered why we women love trashing John Edwards’ paramour, Rielle Hunter; I hated on David Letterman for having affairs with underlings and then for making us feel sorry … for David Letterman.

Because the timing coincided with my career switch from paid hack to unpaid scribe, many of the posts tracked my adventures in unemployment: my first trip to the unemployment office, how healthcare reform affects me, and five things I did before I quit my job.

As I pursued novel- and TV writing, I blogged about the dearth of women in the pilots for the 2010 season, the job loophole for minority TV writers, and my unaccountable sense of failure at being deservedly left off the New Yorker’s 20 under 40 list.

I remain most proud of a post I wrote a year ago, after my father died, titled “What not to say when someone dies.” It still gets hits every day; apparently, a lot of people don’t know what the hell to say when someone dies.

As you may have read, T/S recently announced a sale to Forbes. I believe in True/Slant founder Lewis Dvorkin’s talent and vision, and I trust he and his team of friendly brainiacs will have great fun storming the castle.

Me? I plan to spend the rest of the summer fending off my children as I scramble to complete my second book and develop my second TV series pitch. Which is to say I plan to remain flagrantly unemployed. Please check in at my own website or follow me on Twitter (@lisacullen) for profoundly meaningless updates. If you’re a regular reader or a creditor who also buys books, I’d be grateful if you’d drop me a note at lisa dot cullen at gmail dot com so I might add you to my e-mail list (you can spam me if I can spam you).

Have a great summer, everyone. Remember the sunscreen. You’ll see me again sooner than you wish.



Jun. 22 2010 — 12:06 pm | 155 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Why housewives love vampires

MUNICH, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 14:  A female fan k...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Something mysterious is afoot in my New Jersey suburb. Around the town pool, at the local library, along the climbing wall at the playground — pasty-faced, sharp-fanged creatures of the night lurk to prey on innocent housewives.

Or maybe not so innocent. Let’s face it: it’s not as if any of us are virgins.

I could take or leave vampires, myself. But I am very much in the minority among the stretch-mark set. Moms are abuzz about Edward Cullen and Bill Compton. Stephenie Meyer, not Stieg Larsson, is the name I see on book spines cradled by women in skirted momsuits patrolling the baby pool. Even my Ivy-educated, mother-of-three sister-in-law is a fan. My sister got her an Edward body pillow.

And Hollywood is cashing in. “The Gates” on ABC is basically “Twilight” for the Tide-buying demographic. Here’s how the New York Times describes it:

“The Gates” is a satire — a cheaply enjoyable one — of suburban lust and maternal anxiety, psycho-social forces that delivered previous generations of women to the pages of Betty Friedan (or Redbook) but that today send a certain kind of young matron to the perverse romance of vampire media.

Why do housewives love vampires? I’m calling it now: the question will launch a hundred doctoral theses over the coming years. In this 2009 article, Newsweek interviews a scholar who teaches a college class (holy elective!) on vampires in pop culture:

It may be an excellent balm for bigger issues, says Donovan Gwinner, assistant professor of English at Aurora University. In Gwinner’s class “Got Blood? Vampires in Literature, Film and Popular Culture,” students were required to read several vampire-related books, including Stoker’s Dracula and popular literature by Rice, Harris, and Stephenie Meyer. “We talked a lot about how things suck,” jokes Gwinner. “But in times of economic contraction, fear of job loss, and war, the vampire myth really speaks to people. What’s so bad about being powerful, almost immortal, always in control, and incredibly desirable?”

Nah. It’s not that. I’d agree more with John Devore on The Frisky, who muses:

Women love bad boys – they’re exciting, and the chance to change him, to break him like a horse, must be an irresistible challenge. If self-destruction weren’t seductive on some superficial level, then no one would ever need rehab.

As for us housewives, the formula’s pretty simple. You take an intelligent, capable woman in her prime years performing an endlessly repetitive cycle of maddening and exhausting chores with the huge yet unrecognized goal of raising citizens who will stay out of jail.  Add the escape of a world in which the woman’s top concerns involve a hot man’s very sharp teeth. We want the blood and the danger and the sex without having to Clorox up the mess. Simply put, vampire stories are porn for housewives.



Jun. 22 2010 — 11:09 am | 34 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

AP’s weird headline on SC politics

From my friend Gerry, here’s the AP’s strangely old-fashioned headline about the political races in South Carolina:

Wow! A woman, and a black! Now all we need is a gay.



Jun. 16 2010 — 10:19 pm | 278 views | 1 recommendations | 2 comments

Female Viagra fails in clinical trials, or so male partners claim

viagra is a commercial produced medicine conta...

Not yet, ladies. Not yet. (Image via Wikipedia)

Flibberson. Fulibansirdoo. Flubberdashery.

Never mind. We’ll just do as we do with college sports teams and call it Lady Viagra.

The Food and Drug Administration today posted results of clinical trials finding that Lady Viagra doesn’t work.

U.S. News reports,

Although there was a slight increase in the number of sexually satisfying events flibanserin users had each month, the FDA staff who reviewed the results said the so-called response rate isn’t “particularly compelling.”

Stay with me. It gets better.

In an apparent counterpoint, the maker of the drug, Boehringer Ingelheim, posted its own 248-page findings. It concluded

…flibanserin 100 mg q.h.s. was associated with significant improvements in the number of SSE, sexual desire (measured by FSFI desire), distress associated with sexual dysfunction (measured by FSDS-R and Item 13) and sexual function (measured by FSFI) but did not significantly improve eDiary desire score, compared with placebo.

See, female desire is harder to measure (get it, get it?) than male desire. So the pharma had its subjects keep a diary — or an eDiary, because we’re all cool like that — to record their horniness.

Here’s how I’m imagining an entry might read:

Dear eDiary, tonight Bob and I went to bed at 11:30, which is a half hour later than I wanted, because he had to watch Betty White on “The Daily Show.” I was already pissed because he took a business call while I bathed the kids and then let Joey go to bed without flossing. He didn’t even notice my new Victoria’s Secret peekaboo bra. Needless to say, the sex sucked. You can take your flibberflubbershit and shove it.

Stay with me. It gets better. U.S. News adds,

About 15 percent of flibanserin users in the experimental trial stopped taking the drug because of bad reactions like dizziness, nausea, anxiety and insomnia, compared to 7 percent of the placebo users. Side effects were heightened in those who used the drug at the same time they were taking other medications, such as anti-fungal treatments, hormonal contraceptives, and antidepressants. Flibanserin itself was originally designed to be an antidepressant, but past clinical trials found that it didn’t alleviate depression.

So let me get this straight. Lady Viagra not only doesn’t arouse, it makes you vomit. But let’s go back. Boehringer developed it as an anti-depressant, and it didn’t work. Pharma execs fished it out of the reject pile and said, Hmm. It makes depressed people feel queasy. That’s kinda the same as a female orgasm, right?!

Back to the drawing board, boys. Start with the name.



Jun. 14 2010 — 4:01 pm | 191 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Trump plays yenta to Omarosa. This ought to go well.

Since when is finding a boyfriend a corporate assignment?

Omarosa is back. Since debuting on the first season of “The Apprentice” as the show-stealing, OMFG-she-did-not-just-say-that terror in stilettos, she’s slipped off the public radar. Her poorly functioning and bizarrely written web site acknowledges as much:

You may know her by just one name… [Omarosa] and one show [Donald Trump's hit show, The Apprentice], but there is much more to this “Washington Insider” than meets the eye.

With all the accomplishments listed on her site (“Omarosa quickly emerged as a pack leader while negotiating tasks with such companies as…” WTF?), the greatest reality show villain of all time has failed in one arena: love. I know. Shocking.

So Trump, her — what, her boss? business acquaintance? pouffy-haired yenta? — sent her to Vegas to hook up. Seriously. And there’s a show. Seriously. In the trailer alone, she accuses one suitor of being a liar and another of trying to kill her. It’s going to air on a network called TV One, wherever the hell that resides on my remote. Oh, I’ll find it. Believe me, I’ll find it.


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    Read Wasabi Mama for your daily dose of sinus-clearing rant on parenting, work, media and entertainment. If you like a fresh nasal passage, please click below my photo to "follow me." For more on me, please visit www.lisacullen.com.

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