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Michael Moore, A Former Stripper, and A Guilt Trip

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader

2006-06-20


I love horses, but watching The Preakness Stakes a few weeks ago made me hate myself a little bit for being so gaga over the Triple Crown races. I hardly ever watch horse racing. Occasionally, I’ll go to Trackside and place a wager (usually on a Triple Crown race) but it’s been years since I’ve done that. May 20 made me realize that horse racing may be a little over-romanticized, and downright cruel. These are not quite fully-grown animals racing at top speed on legs that haven’t quite reached adulthood. The only equivalent I can think of is forcing a teenage kid to throw curve balls for a few hours once every five days. You think some damage might be done? I think so.

While looking for updates on Barbaro, I came across a column by Joe Gergen of Newsday. He summed up his article with some sobering truths: “They (racehorses) became stars almost overnight and, just when the general public—not the cigar-stub regulars in the grandstand but those who enter the Derby office pool—is enticed to take a closer look, the window shuts.

“Although the sport no longer enjoys the popularity it once did, a lot of people invest a lot of money every day in horse racing. They will be back because their interest is financial.

“It's those—young and old—who invest their hearts in a Barbaro who may never return.”

He noted that for most horses with an injury like Barbaro’s, they don’t get the elite surgeons and the excellent care. And there are probably hundreds of them all across the country, nameless to the millions of people who tune in for the Triple Crown races. They shoot horses, don’t they? Well, maybe not with a gun, but whatever method is used, their brief lives are over. It’s an ending to a life in which they couldn’t make choices.

* * *
Michael Moore is supposedly working on a film about the health care crisis in the United States, and I’m wondering what it will look like. A friend of mine predicted there will be a phenomenon known as “insurance brides.” Instead of mail-order brides, she’s predicting women without insurance will get hitched to men who have health insurance. It could happen, and I’m eagerly waiting for the made-for-television movie to come out. But I really hope Lifetime doesn’t do it, because I don’t have cable.

* * *

If you’re looking for light summer reading, I highly recommend “Candy Girl,” by Diablo Cody. A nice Catholic girl who was raised right, Cody was curious about what it would be like to be a stripper, and descends into the “gentleman’s clubs” of Minneapolis to satisfy her desire to perform. She finds out that strip clubs have a similarity to them, regardless of how the owners try to present the images of their businesses. Cody also explains why lots of men wear sweat pants to these establishments, and that blonde hair and white stripper shoes bring in the cash. How well did she do? Not spectacular, but not bad either. She did well enough to buy a car and a house in a small Minnesota town. Her year as a stripper is told with humor and sass. Far from slipping into a nightmare of drugs and prostitution, Cody had moral support from her boyfriend who was enthusiastic about her part-time job, but kept her dancing a secret from most people—until now. If you’ve ever been curious about the world of strippers, Cody’s book is an amusing and educational read. Don’t be surprised if after reading her book you feel the urge to put on some Warrant and grind away in your living room—or sign up for a cardio strip class. Who knows? It could lead to a whole new career!

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