Stoya, Glee, and Steroids: Or I should really stick to fiction

Posted: 11 November, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

I’ve been shit about keeping up with the numbers mostly because I have been writing things before hand and just queuing them up so the numbers weren’t around when I write the post, but today at least Descent Into Madness is at $587 and the nano count is somewhere around 5k.


So I’ve only ever watched one episode of the show Glee. Well, I didn’t watch it really, I over heard it from two rooms away while my housemate and his girlfriend (back at the treehouse) watched an episode and in between the godsaweful autotuned singing, it sparked a rather fevered debate I didn’t expect.

In the episode, the students got in trouble for taking cold medicine (pseudoephedrine) to say up all night and study or rehearse dance number or some shit, I don’t remember. the reason is not relevant.

In the living room, the debate got really passionate [one woman saying that all drugs are terrible and should be illegal and she knew this because of the devastating effects they had on the people in her family. To which I responded, do you think your relatives would have been better off if they had gone to jail? No? good you just made the case for decriminalization – Ugh! I’m way off topic. This is why I am terrible at writing essay type stuff.], but the question at the heart of it was, were the characters in the show ‘cheating’?

Let’s put aside the fact that these kids are under 18 (I know that may be relevant to the show’s talk, but I want to look at it in a larger context).

First, we have to ask what cheating is. In academics, we largely accept that cheating is either (in the case of submitted work like a paper) plagiarizing with the intent of passing off someone else’s work as your own; or, in the case of taking some form of exam, using duplicitous means to give a false indication of your knowledge on a subject. By doing so, in either case, advancing one’s career.

In sports or games, cheating may take the form of keeping a card up your sleeve, palm-switching loaded dice, or replacing the opposing teams Gatorade with cyanide juice.

Something that all these situations has in common though, is a loser. In poker for instance, your opponents loses their money to you. In sportsball your team goes on to the finals. In school, you have a higher ranking or have a better shot at applying for stuff, which means other people have a worse chance.

The other thing, these situations all have in common is that the ‘winner’ has falsely represented their skill in some way.

but that’s not what happened in Glee.

In the show, they used the drugs as a tool, the same way many students do today. They used them to learn. If the Glee kids actually came up with a superior routine or passed their exams because they were using, does that mean their work should be invalidated? If you use adderall to get through writing a paper, those words are still yours, you still did that research, you still possess that knowledge you are claiming to have and if that keeps you on the dean’s list at someone else’s expense, that sounds legitimate to me.

Does using study drugs mean you’re cheating? What if you have a perscription?

If I am diagnosed with ADD (what you believe about ADD aside, that’s not the conversation we’re having, but only to say that there I could legitimately acquire a prescription), I am allowed to take drugs to help me work.  What about the students don’t have such liberal doctors? Does some medication overcompensate for a supposed disability?

This is where I start bringing in some bizarre connections.

A while back Stoya wrote a piece for Vice about so-called ‘natural’ beauty. In it Stoya seems to actually resent the term that is often used to market her. She points out that, while she hasn’t had breast implants (which is what the term really means), there is plenty about here that is not natural. Hair dye, hair removal (sometimes surgical), piercings, photoshop, even professional lighting and camera work make people look way better on screen than they do in real life. This doesn’t even take into account the vast amount of time she spends every day outside of ‘work’ to keep her appearance in top form (as she points out, even regular showers aren’t all that ‘natural’).

So is Stoya and every other professional model, actor, news anchor, and politician ‘cheating’ when they sell themselves every day to a national audience?

Steve Jobs once famously said that if Bill Gates had done acid just once in his life Windows would be ten times the system it is today. Should we drop all apple products from the market because the founder wrote part of the original technology while tripping balls??

what about our artists or our scholars? Should we get rid of all art that was done under the influence of drugs? Is their work, their art, or their learning invalid because they were under the influence?

These questions all sound pretty silly, because we don’t think about those correlations and we don’t make those comparisons from art and pretty people to students and athletes.

As for sports, I honestly could not be coerced into giving a shit what drugs professional athletes take. They are paid very well, they know the risks, and WE as an audience continually expect them to perform at a certain level, to break records and win medals. It’s only cheating if everyone agrees to play by the same rules and then does so, but the performance enhancing drugs/techniques seem to come in batches. Tons of pro athletes do these things on the sly because they assume everyone else is doing it too. I don’t think it’s fair to then expect them to live up to some arbitrary moral standard in addition to their results. For Crissake, asprin is a performance enhancer.

I don’t do the things Stoya does because I am a writer and my audience doesn’t see me so my income is not directly tied to being pretty. but I have no moral qualms with me or other artists doing whatever helps them in order to produce work. In other words, if there were a steroids for writing, I’d be all up on that shit. I will readily admit that much of my writing is done under the influence of various chemicals, as I sit here writing this I’m drinking a recently refilled mason of trader joes box red. is all my work invalid?

Like many real life students, the students in Glee used chemicals to give them an edge. And like many other real life students, I took way worse things when I was in high school and I did not do it for something as noble as getting straight a’s and I turned out… ok… ish

I’m not sure where I’m going with this. and this is why I should stick to fiction. art asks questions ,essays try to answer them.



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