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Tit for tat 

I have a vision. Or at least, I had one last weekend while snorting lines of Kool Aid powder off my kitchen counter while watching synchronized swimming on NBC. I dreamed of a world in which scantily-clad women are free to drop it like it’s hot in front of crowd of horny men who rate them according to their attractiveness. Then I remembered that my vision was simply a flashback to SLO Brew’s Rock the Runway Bikini and Lingerie Contest.

Is there a case to be made for the idea that dozens of young women working a stripper pole in lingerie and bikinis should pass as a legitimate artistic or cultural event? It probably depends on who you talk to. Personally, I don’t feel comfortable in a room unless it comes equipped with a stripper pole. And what woman in her right mind wouldn’t want to throw on a bikini and strut along a stage while four men and a token woman—none of whom would look very good in a bikini—rate them on how well they fill out a swimsuit?

I know that there’s a law that any red-blooded American who has the audacity to question the correctness of throwing hot women in skimpy clothing onto a stage while men drink beer and openly judge them—hell, that’s the premise of the event, right?—is automatically deported to Mexico. And I’m willing to accept those consequences.

I know what you’re thinking. A few of those women got paid and look at the number of women who turned out to drool over Magic Mike. Of course, one woman making $1,000 isn’t really all that comparable to Channing Tatum making what I can only assume was millions of dollars. Also, Channing gets to pretend to be an actor now. The girls on stage, well, I’m not sure what they’d call themselves for spinning around a stripper pole on a stage, but I don’t think it’s actor. Or maybe it is.

Now, the recent competition was hardly the first opportunity to see some skin on the Central Coast this summer. God knows I certainly saw enough cleavage to float the Titanic at the Renaissance Festival, but the bosoms aren’t the main event. I would argue that turkey legs, jousting, buying wicked weapons, and geek watching all take precedence over cleavage. And I’m pretty sure that if some obese drunk guy stumbled by and slapped a “6” on a woman’s exposed flesh, the reaction probably wouldn’t be all that friendly. It might, in fact, involve one of those wicked weapons and/or a turkey leg tucked up a dark crevice.

Am I going to argue such events shouldn’t be allowed to happen? No. Fortunately, we’re guaranteed certain freedoms in this country, and the freedom to objectify women and create a culture in which women are happy to be judged by the content of their cups rather than the quality of their character is one of those freedoms. Am I perturbed that so many people, women and a New Times writer included (see his alternate take on page 42), bought into that kind of display? Obviously.

What am I going to do about it? Well, I’m going to do exactly what Paso Robles’ very vocal detractors have done after more than a year of bitching about the city government: nothing.

But Shredder, how do you know the people who have been whining about the city manager, the mayor, the City Council, the length of the grass at the city parks, the local law enforcement, and the ratio of marshmallows to cereal in their Lucky Charms aren’t actually getting off their computers and putting their whining to good use? Well, there’s an election approaching, which is usually a good opportunity to turn things around at the local level. The only problem is that the deadline to file to run for one of five available positions is Aug. 10, and only two contenders tossed their proverbial hats into the proverbial ring.

Kudos to Steve Martin and Jim Reed for translating dissatisfaction into action, though my Magic 8-Ball turned hazy when I queried whether their bids for the City Council will be successful. And to all the people who filled local comment boards with vile and downright bizarre attacks on the city government: Where were you when it came time to file the paperwork? Flipping through your rhyming dictionary for a way to make a limerick about city leaders that included the word whore?

Don’t get me wrong: It’s great to have an opinion. And limericks are awesome. But if you’re going to spend months whining and beating the drums of war and clogging websites in an effort to raise your voice and change Paso, at some point people are actually going to expect you to do something. To actively initiate that change. Otherwise, you’re just another foul-mouthed online troll nobody takes very seriously in the long run. But again, don’t get me wrong. I’m perfectly happy pegging someone as yet another innuendo-slinging commenter who somehow doesn’t know the difference between “you’re” and “your.” I love it when people confirm my initial assessment of them.

Of course, some of the people complaining about Paso Robles might not actually live in Paso Robles, but that opens a whole new can of trolls.

Shredder out-trolls the trolliest troll. Send comments to the troll beneath the bridge at shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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