Monday, May 30, 2005

It's Akademik

Some of you may remember hip-hop clothiers Akedemiks' saucy ad campaign from this past holiday season. For those of you who don't, here's a little refresher:

study hard!

Read books, get sex: That's what racy advertisements on hundreds of city buses are suggesting to teens - and red-faced transit bosses are outraged.

The salacious ads by hip-hop clothing line Akademiks declare: "Read Books, Get Brain."

But kids say "get brain" does not mean smarts. It's slang for oral sex. And the company behind the ads told the Daily News the slogan choice was no mistake.

"We knew this," fessed up Anthony Harrison, Akademiks' ad designer. "It's coded language, city slang. Teens know what it means but the general public doesn't."

The above comes from a November article in the NY Daily News. We really liked this ad campaign, especially since it used slang within a slogan (Note to P.H.: that's an example of ingenuity). It also illustrates the magnetic dynamism of slang that we were talking about in our catchphrase post from yesterday. Plus, it had lots of books; we like those (and think their use here is much more interesting than their one-trick appearance in the ads for Pamela Anderson's Stacked. Like, omigod -- someone with blonde hair and boobs reads books -- what a concept!!!)

Anyway, we just came across Akedemics' new ad campaign, and we love this one too! The new ads feature a multiple choice "quiz" -- an "Akademiks Aptitude Test" -- to test your "jeanius." The idea is to match a word to what you see -- pictures of really cool looking peopple in really cool looking clothes.

Well, that's what we see at least. But what are the chances everyone sees the same thing?

Akademiks' new ads, like their old ones, play with multiple-meanings, and are effective this time because they explore the slippery semiotics of appearance. What makes them particularly potent is their exposure of the prejudices potentially/certainly embedded within these codes.

One ad features a picture of a tall and lean black man wearing a hoodie and a defiant stare. One hand is in his pockets and the other holds a duffle bag. The copy asks: Terrorist? Patriot? Activist? Scapegoat? Civilian?

an Akedemiks' ad from the May issue of Essence

At the bottom of the page, in tiny upside down letters, it says : "A: Labels are for clothes, not for people." The ad essentially works by asking the viewer to recognize other people's labels (and prejudices), and then asks them to confront their own. It also works because it offers up some unexpected labels. And there is no denying that these labels also force one to reconsider the way race affects society's perception of how and when these labels are assigned.

But it has also been awhile since we saw the word "FEMINISTS" -- in big bold letters -- inside a women's magazine. So we were really happy when we came across the above panel in the latest issue of Essence. Despite realizing that the whole point of the ad is that labels are not for people, we still really like that that this "label" is there. In fact, all the panels have words that we both love and hate -- and that's really interesting. In fact, we really did learn something from taking this "quiz": we became more aware of how these labels work, both for good and for bad.

And oh yeah, we like the clothes too!!!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

click me

Slang, Paris Hilton, and the Economics of a Trademarked Lexicon

Catch that phrase! Another way for rich people to get richer.

People who know us, know we like words. We like to lick them, taste them, and play with them. We *LOVE* letters and sounds, and are super happy about any trend that involves language (new and old) and text. Monograms: yes. Text messaging: yes. T-shirts with tarty maxims: yes. Snoop dog inspired inflections: fo' shizzle.

One of the main reasons we like slang is that it is inherently subversive and innovative. It challenges the pre-existing, authoriatrian rules around speech and writing, and it invents new ways to say new things. It's incredibly imaginative and fun, and radical.

And since language has long been part of the "branding" process, it doesn't shock us at all that Paris has filed to trademark the phrase, "That's Hot." And whie we are willing to admit that P.H. has made this into a real catchphrase, we were a little annoyed when she tried to claim that it was part of her own "language." Despite the fact that the whole question around what makes a "language" is too big of a nut for us to crack in this little post, we do feel that we can challenge Paris on this claim. I mean, is really so different from You're Fired??

Increasing the popularity of a phrase (that has long been in use) is not the same thing as inventing a phrase or creating a language. "Off the chain" is an invention; " "You're fired" is not. Snoop's shizzolator generates a new language; saying "that's hot" ????? How is that even remotely like making up a language? "

"You're Fired" and "That's hot" are marketing and brand slogans, sort of like "good to the last drop" or "double your pleasure" or "trix are for kids." But even these are examples of slogans that were actually invented by someone. Donald and Paris are trying to brand slogans that people have been saying for quite awhile. And while it might make some people feel rich and glamorous simply by saying "that's hot," the money they spend on pencils and purses bearing this slogan will only make them poorer and Paris richer.

Interestingly, the catchphrase -- what both Paris and Donald are trying to "own" -- is the thing that can be "branded" and thus used to make more money(and you know, they need it) while phrases that non-marketers (re: regular folks) invent like "off the chain" seem to resist ownership -- or rather, their ownership is shared. Sure, we can trace a phrase or word's origins and etymology, monitor its rise and fall in popularity, but we usually don't treat these words or phrases as being "owned" as much as we treat them as being "used" or "shared." In fact language -- technically -- has to be shared because its value is vested in its ability to communicate. Sure, these phrases and words simultaneously operate to include and exclude, and to do all sorts of other things. Their dynamism is a key component of their desireability and consequential popularity. But this doesn't stop. And it isn't static (like a slogan). Slang constantly renews itself. And this is one of the reasons it's so good. And so fun.

Newspeak, however, is not fun. As far as we know, Bush hasn't filed to patent any of his confusing phrases, but you can check out why people are worried about euphenmisms like "War on Terror" here and here. Now that's NOT hot.

Check out , UrbanDictionary, for the real skinny on the freshest words and phrases. And while you're at it -- make some up!!!

*** for our most favoritest type of ne0logisms and phrases go here.
We also like this.


UPDATE (6/2): Trademark denied!!!

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Our Ears Like M.I.A.

Listen to M.I. A.

This is the hottest shit since "shake it like a polaroid picture"!!!!

And the first track is about BANANAS!!!!

read an article about MIA from The New Yorker here.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Feel Like a Big Delicious

where'd you get them jeans?

Apple Bottoms by Nelly.

Nelly designs jeans?

Yup, the rapper-singer who only a few years ago urged you to "take off all your clothes" is now making some for you to wear.

Apple Bottoms, said to "celebrate and liberate the natural curves of a woman's body," appear to be more that just another musician's forray into the world of fashion design. These jeans not only promise to be bootylicious, but radical. Though this message is more palpable in the feel of the website and its ad copy than it is in the look of the jeans, we'll take what we can get. After all, we don''t really get the sense that normal sized women make frequent appearances in the imaginations of most fashion designers.

Jeans, once the clothes of the working man, have become genuine luxury items. With the influx of brands like Seven, Citizens for Humanity, and Paper, Denim + Cloth, more people are dropping between $100 and $200 for that "perfect" pair. Most of these jeans do promise something vaguely progressive : they claim to be "hand finished" or (my favorite) "hand whiskered," and most of them are also sweatshop-labor free. But many of these brands have gained popularity due to their reputed ability to minimize a woman's flaws. And then there's Nelly, telling us to "liberate and celebrate" what so many of us are usually trying to hide.

The Apple Bottoms models make it clear that it is *all about* the hips and booty. We like that instead of back pockets, many of the styles are festooned with pink rhinestone apples (yum!).

But what we are really curious about is how Nelly came to embark on this venture. Was he sick of listening to friends and girlfriends and sisters complain about shopping for that perfect pair? Did he notice women looking uncomfortable in ill-fitting denim as they were shaking their tail feathers? Was he jealous of J. Lo (whose jeans, I can personally attest, are *not* designed for particularly curvy women -- how ironic) ? Or has he always had a yen to design clothing for women. Really, we wonder.

As of now, Apple Bottoms are not available in Texas unless you order from the website. Perhaps we'll be the first person in Austin to wear them. We really like those rhinestones! They'd look sweet with pink sandals. And we also really like the name "Apple Bottoms." It's cute!

Longoria... ENIGMA!!!

Eva Longoria

Who is Longoria? Does she fascinate? Repulse? What kind of being is she?

We don't watch the "Desperate Housewives," so we are depriving ourselves, no doubt, of some crucial information about Longoria... But we do read "In Touch" a lot, and we feel that this should be enough...

She looks like a startled child... or a nonplussed budgie... or like a Madam Toussaud's sculpture of Samantha Micelli...

She dated some of the most odious people in the history of celebrity... JC Chasez? She weighs 28 pounds... like Kelly Ripa, her claim to being beautiful seems to derive from the new standards promulgated by the Gnostic body haters in the dark satanic mills of celebrity hypemongering--if we must have bodies attached to our perky little faces, then at least let them be emaciated sunken-chest little boy bodies like the flexing rapscallions from Norman Rockwell magazine covers...

Longoria!!! What kind of beast are you? Longoria!!!

Though we take issue with the term "major," we do like us some Romantic Poetry

S. T. Coleridge
You are Samuel Taylor Coleridge! The infamous
"archangel a little damaged!" You
took drugs and talked for hours, it's true, but
you also made a conscious choice to cultivate
the image of the deranged poet in a frenzy of
genius. You claimed you wrote "Kubla
Khan" in an afternoon after a laudanum,
when you pretty manifestly did no such thing.
You and your flashing eyes and floating hair.
And your brilliant scholarship and obvious

Which Major Romantic Poet Would You Be (if You Were a Major Romantic Poet)?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thursday, May 26, 2005

You Should Watch HBO's THE WIRE

Check out our girl, Detective "Kima"

Watch seasons 1 and 2 of this incredibly addictive show on DVD. Then count the days until they release season 3. Then check the website compulsively to find out when season 4 will premiere (sometime in 2006).

Easily the best show on HBO since The Sopranos, The Wire is dense, compelling, and intense. Comparable to Shakespeare in its intricacy (I'm serious) and deftly un-self conscious in its delivery, The Wire makes Law and Order and CSI look like after-school special versions of TV cop drama. Set in Baltimore, The Wire probes the honeycombed depths of the troubled post-industrial city: the economics of the drug trade, the entanglement of well-meaning labor unions with organized smuggling operations, and a renegade police major's doomed attempt to reduce drug war casualties by partially leaglizing drugs. Each season follows a single case, and though the stories move much more slowly than is typical for this type of show, the depth and nature of the storytelling is so nuanced that every move and detail of every scence is luminous and compelling. Plus, the show is chock full of characters you will care about, and the stories linger in the grayest areas of "law" and "justice," often offering up sharp critiques of a society that is just barely held together by its own bundle of contradictions.

So, um, yeah . . .we like this show.

Pretty Pretty Princess

Read about the Shih Tzu and the Buddha here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Texas Playboy Mansion

The late, great John Hartford.

"Pumpkin Center Barn Dance": Bob Wills and the Dialectics of Hope, Part One

Sad Billionaire, back again, reporting for duty.

First things first, here is an incredibly sublime blend of honky tonk kitsch and Sanrio/anime aesthtetics:

This is the world in which I want to live!

Why the jump in this article's title from Bob Wills (the pioneer of Western Swing music, whose band cavorts merrily in the film clip linked above) to the classic title of Marxist theorist Ernst Bloch's multivolume work on utopia and popular literature? Because living in Texas has taught the Sad Billionaire a thing or two about the contradictory nature (and confusing politics) of imaginary perfect worlds. Many Texans consider the Lone Star State to be a kind of utopia-- superimposing a filter that blurs out disturbing reminders of the state's brutal and racist past. Marxists call this kind of wishful thinking "Panglossian" after a bufoonishly optimistic character in Voltaire's hilarious novel "Candide." These same Marxists have had occassion to wear this term of opprobrium out in the years since one famous Texan started transforming various hurting sectors of the globe into shining examples of the best that can be acheived in this, "the best of all possible worlds."

I started thinking about this topic when I heard the classic hobo utopian anthem, "Big Rock Candy Mountain" pastiched in a commercial for a new Wendy's beef sandwich. Those who care for this song, and especially those who have witnessed its awesomely beautiful, tear-inducing interpretation by frail and ailing John Hartford in the "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" music documentary "Down From The Mountain" undoubtedly share my sense that this appropriation is kind of vomitacious.

Here are most of the lyrics to "Mac" MacLintock's paean to the anti-work anti-ethic:

On a summer day
In the month of May
A burly bum came hiking
Down a shady lane
Through the sugar cane
He was looking for his liking
As he roamed along
He sang a song
Of the land of milk and honey
Where a bum can stay
For many a day
And he won't need any money


Oh the buzzin' of the bees
In the cigarette trees
Near the soda water fountain
At the lemonade springs
Where the bluebird sings
On the big rock candy mountain

There's a lake of gin
We can both jump in
And the handouts grow on bushes
In the new-mown hay
We can sleep all day
And the bars all have free lunches
Where the mail train stops
And there ain't no cops
And the folks are tender-hearted
Where you never change your socks
And you never throw rocks
And your hair is never parted


In the Big Rock Candy Mountain,
The jails are made of tin.
You can slip right out again,
As soon as they put you in.
There ain't no short-handled shovels,
No axes, saws nor picks,
I'm bound to stay
Where you sleep all day,
Where they hung the jerk
That invented work
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain.

In "Down From the Mountain," when Hartford gets to the line about "hanging the jerk who invented work," one apprehends (imagines? wishes for?) the whole audience's collective assent. The same audience, one might add, would no doubt identify with totally contradictory sentiments: songs that celebrate the purifiying virtues of honest toil, say, or to take some non-musical examples, the columns of Thomas Friedman or the domestic labor policies of the Bush Administration.

Clearly, the effects of this kind of utopian dreaming in music-- the non-Wendy's "Big Rock Candy Mountain" or the gleeful carousing of the Texas Playboys in the film clip-- are, at best, partial and temporary. But no less real or meaningful for that reason. There is thus an alternative way to think about utopian fantasies, even the dreary romanticizations of Texas found in Ford truck commercials and the Hitler-youth -oid big-hat/new country tributes to the land of the two-step and the chicken-fried steak and mostly only white people and the old-fashioned not gay missionary-position Aryan sex. Even the worst and least imaginative of these fantasies registers the dissonance between the world as it is today-- unhappy, unfair, intensely brutal and unremittingly idiotic-- and the world as we might like it.

It's a start, no?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Meet the Bam-Bams

Bam Bam, the world's strongest baby

Okay, we don't mean to diss Bam Bam, the tow headed wunderkind from The Flintsones, but we do feel compelled to invoke his name every time we hear about yet another man-sized baby.

Sure, flailing a giant club (re: disembodied phallus) around is pretty cute and hilarious when you're an animated pre-verbal toddler in Hanna Barbera land, but when your a real-live man involved in so-called "adult" relationships, acting like a baby when you don't get your way is pretty tiresome.

How many waves of feminsim does this culture have to go through in order to turn the tide of the Bam-Bams? There's been a respite or two, but we're getting ready to build a fucking sea wall over here. After all, W is just another Bam-Bam.

Bam-Bams are big man sized babies. They are the boys who are racist, sexist, and homophobic. The boys who lie and cheat, and then have the audacity to whine about wearing condoms or getting screened for STDs. The boys who make their dates pay for everything while hoarding their own money for video games and dvds and drunken nights out with their buds. The boys who manipulate and scowl and pout. The boys who succomb easily to group think (i.e. those loathsome bam bams in Swingers: "that's so money!" Puke.) and are overly concerned with being "cool." The boys whose view of gender roles and relations are decidedly stone age. The vain and aggressive and selfish boys. The passive-aggressive emo boys. The misogynist rapper boys. The smarmy so pleased-with-themselves intellectual boys. Ugh. WE ARE SO SICK OF YOU.

We don't know what it is, but lately Bam-Bams are EVERYWHERE. A rap hit with a chorus of "I hate my baby momma" ??!!?? Are you fucking kidding me??

Momus (who I fondly think of as Eminem's antithesis) sings: Boys are just like babies / they do things that babies do / they go Bam! Bam! / and bring the house down.

You said it, Momus.

But don't get us wrong: we know that there are lots of sensitive, enlightened men out there. But the bam-bams blend in! Bam-Bams should have to identify themselves or something. Perhaps they could wear a scarlet letter "B," or a perhaps a diaper.

Anyway, now you have an idea on what we mean when we refer to someone as a bam-bam. The definition is a work in progress, and we invite you to help us clarify and refine the term.

the fluff puffs

MO'NIQUE is Fantastique

The uber-gorgeous and talented Monique Imes-Jackson

We reluctantly gave in to the nagging feeling that we ought to watch -- or at least peek -- at the season finale of SNL this past Saturday (the sad billionaire still really likes the weekend update). We could only watch with one eye, and we tuned in late, so we don't have much to say except that I still hate Coldplay and that all that swirling chatter about Lindsay's dwindling form is pretty accurate. All in all, we found the show to be a big downer. We felt fatigued and empty. ho-hum. We didn't expect anything to knock us out of our stupor, but we kept the TV on anyway. And THEN . . .something amazing happened: Mo'Nique.

We've always liked
Showtime at the Apollo. The performances are often firey and sort of rough around the edges, and most shows are a really good mix of established and emerging artists. The fact that it follows SNL is both a blessing and a curse; while "the captive audience" factor likely works in its favor, the fact that it has a later time slot and also a different audience from SNL means that people who might otherwise watch the show regularly might also miss the show regularly. But we digress.

MO'NIQUE, the current host of Showtime, is AMAZING. Seriously, she is one smart and sassy cookie. Not only is she hilarious, but she never ever apologizes for who or how she is. One of the things that makes her so fun to watch is that Monique challenges and critiques the values and aesthetics of the culture in which she performs. In the larger venue of "entertainment," where thinness is increasingly treted as a legitimate commodity and sexist rap lyrics are making a comeback, Monique creates a space that is not only hospitable to women, but also empowering . Honestly, we don't know how any performer could utter a misogynistic lyric in her presence or how any woman -- on stage or in the audiece -- could doubt her own personal wonderfulness for even a second. Here's an excerpt from Mo'Nique's book Skinny Women are Evil:

I really wish I didn't have to write this book, but it appears I have no choice. Especially when BIG girls are still subjected to ridicule simply because we've been blessed with a few extra pounds. It's no secret that I am a BIG girl. Always have been. Always will be. Hell, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder could see that. Which means that the only way I'll ever wear a size six, or even a sixteen, is if you add them together. That's right. I wear a size twenty-two. And I'm proud, because I wear it extremely well. I've never had a problem with my doubles -- double chin and double belly. I've also never had a battle with the bulge. Oh, we may have had a few choice
words every now and then, but it was always after some stupid he say/she say bullshit. What I've enjoyed is a lifelong love affair with every roll, every lump, and every curve. And because I love me, I've never felt the need to apologize for being my BIG, BEAUTIFUL self.

Do you see what we mean? Isn't she awesome?! And she's from Baltimore, and we really like that town. AND she's designing a clothing line. If it's anything like the outfits she wears on Showtime, it's gonna be fly. Anyway, we going to go find a copy of Hair Show (a movie that was also written by a team of women). Word.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Back from La La Land

Ooh I have so much to tell you!!! This week should be chock full of posts!

Look for more trend predictions, a post about host Monique from Showtime at the Apollo, a review of the Style channel's Fashion Mix, a definition of the term "bam bam," photos of fluffy *puppies,* a new annoying boy of the week, and an introduction to your new favorite pair of jeans -- Apple Bottoms.

And so much more!

Hope your week is off to a great start!!!


also, I've added some links!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Retail Reviews: Blockbuster is lackluster

It is hard to say why this seems so depressing. Despite the fact the Blockbuster was the premier video rental giant, lately -- no matter what they do -- they just seem sad.

Most of us probably have fond memories from the seminal era of video rental. Personally, I remember the day my father brought a VCR into our house as a real turning point. We used to go to a little shop (next door to a STICKER store) in a strip mall. It was a real outing: sticker store, pizza place, video store. I think it was called ABC video or something. Anyway, I usually wanted to rent
Annie or Benji or Baby(anyone else ever see that one?) or some other movie I'd seen a million times. Then we'd go home and make popcorn and watch. It was a special treat. A favorite of slumber parties, a reward for a making an "A" on our spelling test, a way to spice up an otherwise dull night with a babysitter. Video rental was SO COOL. And when a Blockbuster opened down the street from us sometime in the early nineties, we were really really happy. The little ABC video shop, with its smaller library, higher prices, and lack of a snacks, quietly closed.

In college I discovered the pleasure of renting from a realy cool and artsy local video store, Baltimore's
Video Americain (featured in John Waters' Serial Mom). It had many more titles, of course, and a friendly staff who sympathetically waived late fees. Not to be cheesey here, but it was really a place where discoveries were made. And later, when I was teaching and needed to rent a video to show my students, I was able to use their special educator's discount.

This isn't to say that I never went to Blockbuster. Of course I did! They had snacks! And they were everywhere. Since college, Blockbusters (and sometimes Hollywood Video or some other chain) have always been closer to where I live than any of the "artsy" local video stores.

Fortunately, however, there were also many many
very cool video stores in Austin, where I lived for the past couple of years. But then we moved to Kyle, TX, and though there is a Movie Gallery here, we've never been. Since moving here that whole Netflix thing happened. And we also have HBO and Cinemax on Demand. And for the past few years we've been really into buying series TV (like Buffy, the Sopranos, and the Gilmore Girls) on DVD. I haven't been to a video store in almost a year. And I haven't been to a blockbuster for the past two or three.

Now, just looking at Blockbuster makes me depressed. The same old blue and yellow decor is tired, and the stores are always too bright. The multiple copies of really horrible recent "blockbusters" are simply devastating, and no matter what they say about their stupid late fees, I know they are lying. If I had all the money I've paid in late fees to Blockbuster over the years I could probably buy a Porsche. But even if I put my resentment about late fees aside, I really can't get past the look of those stores and how they make me feel. Purgatory probably looks and feels like the inside of a Blockbuster.

Interestingly, the wave of the future isn't Netflix, but is probably video on demand. I think Netflix is most likely a transitional species. Soon we'll probably just order any video we want with our tv remotes.

And even though retail *as* entertainment will likely remain strong, retail *for* entertainment is increasingly inconsistent. Big chain bookstores (which also sell coffee, cds, and dvds) may be the exception, and a few major music retailers like the Towers and HMVs and Virgin Megastores seem to be doing okay. But the Blockbusters and Sam Goodys really seem like antiques. While major cities will always have at least a few independent retail outlets for movies, music, and books, I'm not sure if the same will always be true for medium sized cities and suburbs.

Palm Trees and Retail

I'm in Westwood, home of UCLA and a bunch of rich people, and I am very very stimulated. No, not in a dirty way -- but the colors here throb. And those coffee drinks from the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf -- y'know, the ones with the purple straws that all the celebutantes are always drinking in the tabloids? -- they are REALLY REALLY good. My sister introduced me to the Black Forest, and well, let's just say walking through all the shiny retail amidst all the shiny young people beneath the shiny floaty palm trees after one of those: very intense.

P.S. You will be the first to know if I see anybody famous!!!

P.P.S Any town that has a MOCA, a Little Tokyo , AND a beach is RAD.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

We love the Radish Spirit!!! Posted by Hello

Chaotically in Denial, But Still a Star

Well, we watched Britney's show -- and don't ever expect us to call it Britney and Kevin's show because, well, we just refuse to even go along with the whole Britney and Kevin business. That guy is as dumb as a bag of hammers, but we won't get into that just now.

Anyway, we watched the show, and even coerced Chris and Julia into watching it with us. During commercial breaks we fell into this sort of stunned silence because, well, Chaotic is really really chaotic.

The show's footage -- which appears to have been shot entired on Britney's little camcorder -- is jangly and fleeting, much like Britney herself. Don't get us wrong, we really like the girl, but she's a total spazz!!! And we have a hunch that she's not the type of person who craves "alone time."

As far as we can tell, aside from doing the show, alot of being on tour is like being at camp. Fun bunk beds, junk food, girl talk. Of course, there's also that whole being on TRL, having multiple body guards (who seem really cool -- I want a show about them!), and getting your make-up done and -- oh yeah -- having all the "ectsasy! ecstasy! ecstasy!" sex with some guy who can't put a sentence together.

Our friend Julia astutely drew comparisons to Pamela and Tommy Lee's video, and she also observed that Chaotic is Britney's Truth or Dare.

As to our read of Britney's "narrative intent" -- either she is in total denial about the depth and nature of her relationship with K. Fed (really, I've met rocks who seem more responsive), or this is all part of her master plan to "rise from the ashes" of this ridiculous relationship once she kicks K.Fed to the curb.

I mean, Britney may going through her "trashtastic" phase, but she's only 23!!! By the time she's 27 she'll be fierce fierce fierce all over again.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Britney Spears, Writer

Can you handle my truth?

Called "video therapy" by Britney Spears, the footage you'll see in tonight's premier episode of Chaotic wasn't shot by a team of reality tv photographers, but by the subjects themselves.

Does that sound radical to you?

Britney, who dissed the "false tabloids" on her
website, reportedly hopes the series will dispel rumors about the nature of her relationship with K. Fed. In other words, she's hoping to use the series to effectively "rewrite" her story simply by telling it herself.

Most reality stars and their on-camera exploits are simply treated as raw material by the writers and editors who shape the footage into a "story" -- you know, something with a season-long "arc" that can be narrated episode by episode, with each episode having its own mini-arc.

Ever since the "Real World" debuted, we've been hearing stories about how what we see in an episode of reality television only vaguely resembles what really happened. And while we're sure whatever we see in Chaotic will be in its own way a "fiction," we're interested to see how Britney ( whos clearly the creative force in this project) tells the story. And besides, does anyone even care how "real" reality shows are anymore? What we are really curious about is how visible Britney's "narrative intent" will be in tonight's program.

Some may ask, why did Britney have that camera with her all the time?

Because the girl ain't stupid.

And others may insiste that everything we'll see is staged, and therefore isn't "reality." To that we say, so what??? The real question will be how effective the series wiil be at increasing Britney and her parasitic huzband's capital.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Notes Towards a Marxist Analysis of Fake Bling

Get your very own Pimp Cup (on sale for 19.99) at

I discovered recently that not everybody shares my love of "fake bling"... So I thought I would write a few words about this awesome category of consumer goods...

First of all, I should specify that I am not talking about "real" fake bling, but the advertisements in the back of hip-hop magazines like "The Source." These feature watches and pendants so jewel-encrusted that they can only properly be described as barnacled. Decades of "fantasy art" airbrush techniques (e.g."Heavy Metal" magazine) have reached their apotheosis in the blinding glare emanating from every surface of these wonder-charms.

The effect of these ads on me? I am literally reduced to a gelatinous, infantile state of polymorphous wanting. This is an experience that I find is more and more common these days. The Nordstrom's junior department... The title sequence for MTV's "Sweet Sixteen"... Even the signature music technology of our day, the MP3, is forced away from its communitarian roots in "peer-to-peer sharing" (didn't Napster express perfectly the dream of revolutionary socialism-- more naps!) and finds its natural home in the iPOD, a device that is fetish-worthy because it promises virtually unlimited capacity for entertainment. Desire with no limit.

On the other hand, there is the nightmare mirror-image of this fantasy funland of superabundance-- the Home Depots and Bed Bath and Beyonds the Wal-Marts, and alas, even the Targets. These hellish suburban retail abattoirs induce the opposite effect of fake bling-- not euphoria, but nausea and revulsion.

So what does animus towards the evil twin of the fake bling-- the mega-retailers-- teach us about the virtues of faux diamond trinkets? We hate the Big Boxes because they encourage a sense of shopping as entertainment, but then punish the consumer with a booshwa protestant guilttrip. They say to you, in effect: yes, you are driven to shop (partially because we have chased away anything resembling local culture or non-retail space in our victory march through the USA) but you should repent of your cupidity and covetousness by coming to what feels like a gulag airplane hangar, and buying products that emanate utlity and practicality-- 500 feet of garden hose, coleman stoves... frankly, who the hell knows what else they sell in these dens of despair?

Witness Nick Lachey on Season One of "Newlyweds," the ultimate Bush-era suburbanite, desperately trying to wring pleasure out of his swimming pool and fix-it projects. But he is chronically frustrated, and as we all know, is driven to constantly seek out all sorts of avenues for the satisfaction of juvenile desires (begging Jesica to let him go to the Playboy mansion, whining for more oral sex, etc.).

Now, far be it from me to endorse, on the other hand, the wanton self-indulgence of the J.Lo's and their worship of sparkly accessories. The millions thrown around by these celebrity plonkers on jewlery is pathetic. And paid for with the blood of the working man and woman, to boot.

But-- the fake bling, on the other hand, is the perfect short-circuit of the pernicious logic of capitalism. By de-linking desirability and price, rarity, exclusivity, etc., the fake bling coveter manages to separate the shiny effervescence of consumer lust objects from the hidden core of exploitation and misery that drives the whole system. No less consequential an outcome is delivered in these tacky baubles than the freeing of desire from its fetters.

So, to summarize: Let (fake) freedom (fake) bling!

It's Happening Already!!!

SEE -- we told you poetry was hip.

Wish List Item: More Dogs on TV Please!!!!

NG's Dogs With Jobs

Ever since we heard about The Puppy Channel on This American Life, we've had a hankering for quality television about dogs.

Unfortunately, much of what is out there doesn't really do it for us. There's the insipid Pet Star hosted by cheater-face Mario Lopez. Of course the pets are cute, but Mario's painfully stiff commentary is really awful. And the "celebrity" judges??? Please. They only make the show worse! In fact, it ain't even funny that the pets have to sit through that shit. I mean, I've seen a cockatiel with more talent in one of her little feathers! And I swear I've seen ponies and puppies roll their eyes. Stupid humans!

Then there's That's My Baby. Dogs sometimes have puppies on this show, and while most of the "people parents" are totally respectful of the whole birthing process, some people mommies are just a little too cuckoo for our taste. My sister, who adamantly believes people should stay out of it and let the mamma dogs do their things, threw her flip-flop at the TV during an episode in which this extremely annoying woman was clearly traumatizing her pet chihuahua. As soon as even a speck of the puppie was visible, this woman was pulling them out of the poor mom chihuahuah, leaving the little shaking mother to look really confused and lonely. It wasn't very kind. I don't think my sister would watch that show again.

There are some newer shows too: AP's Who Gets the Dog, NG's The Dog Whisperer, and Bravo's Showdog Moms and Dads. The Dog Whisperer is *by far* our favorite of the bunch. It's the best thing since Pet Psychic

And then there's the grand dames of dogs on TV, The Eukenuba Tournament of Champions and The Westminster Dog Show.

But none of these shows fulfill the promise offered by The Puppy Channel. The puppy channel promised to be all puppies all the time. *All* of the aforementioned shows have humans in them. And all too often the humans are B-O-R-I-N-G. I mean *SNOOZE*. I don't mind the commentary during the dog shows (and I even have a few "favorite" handlers) , but I *love* watching the videos on the Westminster website (set to generic elevator music) much more.

The closest anyone has gotten to our dream show is AP's The Puppy Bowl. For once, we were actually looking forward to superbowl weekend. This show, which aired at the same time as the SuperBowl, simply featured a bunch of puppies playing in a mini astro-turffed stadium. It was really cute.

Why doesn't someone hurry up and capitalize on this??!!! I mean, c'mon!!! This is a goldmine!!!

Paris and George

this shit is funny.

Oprah reads Poetry

the big O

I just sent an e-mail to Oprah asking her to please include a book of poetry as a selection for her book club. If anyone can turn people on to poetry, it's Oprah!

The thing is, Oprah reads poetry. She loves Maya Angelou, who in addition to writing fiction, writes poerty. In fact Angelou might be the closest thing America has to a "public poet" these days. She did read a poem at an inauguration and she's probably the only living poet many Americans could name. Oprah also lists the bible as one of her favorite books, and of course much of the bible is poetry.

After the attacks of September 11, the media momentarily included poetry in its commentary. W.H. Auden's poem "September 1, 1939" was read and re-read. And then there was the boycott and consequential uproar stoked by Sam Hammill. The anthology of poetry that he edited, Poets Against the War (also a website), is one of the few recent books of poetry to have decent shelf sales outside of a university book store.

I know many cultured, intelligent people who keep up with the latest trends in movies and music and literature, and even among them there isn't a whole lot of poetry reading. At times I've wondered if people are intimidated by poetry, or have this idea that there is a "right" and "wrong" way to read poetry -- that the whole point of poetry is to unlock some "hidden meaning."

The thing is that most of us enjoy poetry in song lyrics and would be unable deny the obvious pleasure most children take in nursery rhymes. And poetry seems like the perfect genre of literature for the MTV generation. I should point out here that I'm not talking about performance (i.e. "Def Jam") poetry. This type of poetry has grown in popularity. I guess I'm wondering why this hasn't gotten more Americans to read poetry.

Many poems are short, but really really pack a punch. Here are two of my favorite little poems.

For example:

"You Fit Into Me"
by Margaret Atwood

You fit into me
like a hook into an eye
A fish hook
An open eye


"In the Desert"
by Stephen Crane

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, "Is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter--bitter," he answered;"
But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart."

To her credit, Oprah had Jewel on many moons ago when she was promoting her book of poetry. We just don't care for Jewel's poetry.

Anyway, do you have a favorite little (1o lines or less) poem? Let's develop a poetry anthology for Oprah! And while we're at it, let's send a copy to Jessica, Britney (a poet!), Beyonce, and Madonna!

Remember, poetry is the new kabbalah!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Annoying Boy of the Week: Adam Levine

smug mug. ugh!!!

Omigod, this guy is such a putz that his irritatingness exceeds even the generous bounds of this category. Out of the public eye for now, we know that it is only a matter of time before Levine resurfaces. When he does, we will be ready. Levine is going down.

First of all, the band name with the "poetic" juxtaposition of a "random" word and an "arbitrary" number... I mean how played out does this maneuver have to get before we pass a Constitutional Amendment against it. Maroon 5? It makes me want to cry, it sucks so much.

Second, the guy shows all the signs of rich-kid privelege and advanced self-love. He is creepy. He is not especially attractive, but is constantly having himself groped with his "girlfriend" in his videos. He spoke with a finishing-school fake British accent on "MTV Cribs" during an unwatchable staged gag where he happened on his friend and "girlfriend" in bed together. This was the worst/best "Cribs" moment since prepubescent Aaron Carter strutted around his condo, paused by the entertainment center, and picked up a copy of "Glass Houses," and said something like, "when you romancin' your hos, you gots to be havin the Billy Joel on the stereo!!!"

Adam Levine wears horrible Nordstrom would-be hipster clothes-- terry cloth lacoste shirts? He sings with an excruciating exagerrated reggae lilt, familiar from karaoke versions of "Margaritaville" and boys at Jewish summer camp singing "No Woman, No Cry" while playing hacky sack. Why do fratboys identify so much with Jamaicans? Don't they know that when the global class war happens, they are going to be roasted like plantains in their corporate offices by rastafarians who are tired of picking their fruit and sugar for five cents a year and having their nice country and formerly kind of cool musical style fucked over by fratboy imperialism?

For a while, "In Touch" had him in every issue. Headlines like: "Nick Lachey is a Maroon 5 fan!" Or "Levine Says People Having Sex to Maroon 5 Would Be 'The Ultimate Compliment'!" Every puff piece increased our sense of indignation and rage.

Even now that we don't have to endure that "she said good-bye, too many times before" song quite as much as before, we still hate Adam Levine. Your time is over, buddy.

We've said goodbye exactly the correct number of times before, jack-ass.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Lifestyles of the Rich and Fluffy

not your typical dog house

Will You Marry Me?

Lauren Graham

Tune into The Gilmore Girls season finale on Tuesday. Then flip it real quick to UPN for Chaotic.

Internships 101: Trend Predictors

Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas in 1939's Ninotchka.

We thought this article was really interesting, and when we opened up the Spring Issue of Martha Stewart Weddings and saw *our* wedding theme (that we thought of, like, *months* ago) on page 181, we thought it might just be time for us to give so-called "trend forecasting" a try.

So we got out the Magic 8 ball, our library of random fashion and celebrity magazines from the past year, and plopped ourselves down in front FashionTrance. Here are our preliminary notes.

1. We are sick sick sick of color. No, really! After perusing our magazines for a few hours, our eyes were really hurting! We felt like we needed a good black and white movie, and not just any old b&w movie, but one that featured a plain and structured (re: vaguely military ) wardrobe. It occurs to us that perhaps all that puked-up color on people's clothes is a way to block out the reality of the war in Iraq. Or, perhaps (like the flower children of the 60s) the ubiquity of day-glo prints and asymetrical hemlines are attempts to protest the grim horrors of global politics (somehow, we doubt it). Whatever the current motivation might be, we predict that it will change. We predict that more people will go for understated neutrals -- grays and greens and charcoals -- and cuts that feature long, clean lines. To get a better idea of what we mean, check out Garbo's outfits in the first half of Ninotchka.

2.) Lotsa boobs have been popping out of dresses, and the numbers of camera-phone photos of celebrity penises circulating the internet are rising (no pun intended). We predict that more people will be into covering up.

3.) The nesting trend will continue as people continue spending all their money at home depot and watching countless hours of Trading Spaces .

Home decor will be all about bringing the outdoors in: look for plants, shells, dried flowers and twigs, and furnishings in the colors of mother nature. That library / study look will get bigger too (see #5).

4.) Look for things to dim bling-wise. The minimalist approach we're hearing in the freshest beats will eventually influence more hip-hop fashion.

5.) People will read and buy more books. Especially poetry. Poetry will be the new kabbalah.

6.) At the Mall: The reconstructed-clothing and refurbished vintage look will finally penetrate America's emerald cities of commerce. Anthropologie is planning to open a bunch more stores; look for The Gap to play catch up.

7.) It's trick to walk around: In towns and cities we'll see more mixed-use living areas. Nobody wants to be stranded in suburbia anymore. Look for developments that feature entertainment and retail outlets (i.e. condos with a starbucks and shopping ) nestled within residential spaces.

8.) Boys are on their way out. We're talking about those VICE magazine, trucker hat wearing, annoying Williamsburg boys. Goodbye babies! Sweet dreams little bam bams!!!

**We're interning as trend predictors all summer, so stay tuned. E-mail us if you've got a tip.

Friday, May 13, 2005

What Not to Fear

Listen to Stacy: TLC's What Not to Wear

While the American version of BBC's brilliant The Office may leave much to be desired, the American version of What Not To Wear is really really good. In fact, it's as good as the original, and over the course of the past two seasons it has grown into its own distinctive animal.

Hosts Stacy London and Clinton Kelly are so super-fun. In fact, we often refer to Stacy as our "TV girlfriend." You know how Paige Davis (from Trading Spaces) seems sort of cuckoo? Well, Stacy and Clinton are the opposite: so cool and crush-worthy that we've happily capped off many a friday night by having a glass a wine to the sound of their wisdom. And while they might poke fun at the participants' puzzling wardrobes (and believe us, some of them are utterly baffling ) it's obvious that their mission is not only to help people look better, but literally to help people feel better. Their relationship with clothes is so complex and evolved that it legitimately can be called a philosophy, and we've witnessed its transformative effects. Although the anthropoligists among us may be somewhat cognizant of the multiple roles our wardrobes play, its likely that most of us are not fully aware of what our clothes communicate. And Stacy and Clinton remind people to think critically about what they wear, and that's cool. We love thinking about how clothes relate to identity and politics.

While the participants represent a wide range of backgrounds and ages, our favorites (of course!!!) are the women. Stacy is an advocate of what I like to call "feminist fashion" -- a way of dressing that empowers women by helping them feel confident, expressive, imaginative, and powerful. By developing a new relationship with clothes, these women develop a more positive relationship with themselves. They learn to love their bodies, personalities, and sexuality.

So much of the way fashion is picthed in magazines and retail spaces seems intent on inspiring people to spend money because they feel deficient in some way. They are not thin enough, sexy enough, rich enough, young enough . . .No matter what -- they are not enough. Given these conditions, it shouldn't come as a surprise that so many people hate shopping for clothes. The trick it seems, is to effectively transform the power-dynamics of garment retail by rethinking one's relationship with themselves. Don't let it bring you down -- let it lift you up!

And it's amazing really, how deeply personal What Not to Wear's week-long forray into a fashion-makeover becomes. In fact, Stacy and Clinton help people understand that dressing badly is usually connected to much more than a misplaced affection for acid wash or mixed prints. More often than not, participants are forced to confront issues they've been strategically avoiding or neglecting for years. And while the program usually reveals enough to effectively narrate each participant's transformation, it never does so in a way that seems overly voyeuristic. Throughout the process the guests are treated with sensitivity and dignity. We'd like to see more reality programming follow suit. It just seems to generate better karma.

You may have heard the addage, "Walk a path of love, not fear" and this seems to be the sentiment that most informs the approach of our beloved style gurus.

So hang up those hang ups and wear the love!

You can nominate us for the show here.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

I love Gawker.

Meet the Barkers? No Thanks.

the barkers

It'd be different if we actually liked Blink 182 or something. But c'mon!! They're such cheesy copycats (And it's not like we ever got rid of our Descendents or 7 seconds or Bad Religion or Screeching Weasle records!) And it might be different if the mallification of America hadn't already spread the gospel of Hot Topic to the farthest corners of this country's nether regions ( wear a mohawk! grr!! snarl! Dye your hair purple!! Wear black! Get a tattoo!! Back off suburbia!!!). And it might be different if we didn't already have a show about newlyweds (duh, Newlyweds) or the family of a real badass "prince of darkness rock star" (The Osbournes).

Basically, if alot of things were different we might actually be interested in MTV's Meet the Barkers.

Sure, a baby in a diaper with a little baby mohawk is cute. And the little girl is cute too. But that ain't enough when the two grown-ups are sooooo unlikable!

MTV brags that Travis is "not just a musician but also an entrepreneur" (no shit). And about Shanna, a "working actress" they tell us that she"recently completed a guest starring appearance in the ABC show Jake in Progress starring John Stamos" (Oh wow -- isn't that the gig the Olsens turned down). Wow. They are so. punk. rock. But they are also rich!!! ha ha ha! nudge, nudge. soooo ironic.

We'd give you more reasons why we didn't like this stupid show, but we couldn't even sit through five minutes of it in order to give you a more thorough analysis.

Sorry (not!)

T-minus five days until Chaotic!!!!

We challenge you to find a fluffier dog than THIS.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Bark Magazine = Tasty!

Dog Fancy this is not*. Forget the prissy Glamour Shots of poised purebreds. This is Bark, the coolest rag about pooches ever. Some call it The New Yorker of Dog Magazines, and we can tell you that it is indeed chock full of good writing. In fact, we got a subscription after a certain famous poet recommended it. We're only sorry that it's a quarterly: we wish is was a monthly, or even a weekly!

There are many reasons to love this magazine: abundant pictures of fluffs, sensitively written articles about caring (both physically and emotionally) for your best friend, cool ads for puppy palaces and dog jewelry and organic spa pet products and home baked dog biscuits, and even book reviews about the latest titles of interest to dog lovers. But it's the politics of the magazine that we want to give a big paws up: the eds. are big advocates of adoption, no-kill shelters, and mixed breeds. Moreover, they've exposed the evil practice of puppy mills, and refuse to be sold in pet stores that don't guarantee their dogs come from reputable breeders.

Of course, we also like that Bark keeps us apprised of all the new pup-related trends. In the latest issue, for example, they inrtoduced us to Dogster, the doggie equivalent to Friendster.

Bow Wow!

*don't get us wrong! We love Dog Fancy too! And of course we love *all* dogs. We're just trying to make a point about the magazines' two different aesthetics. Like, Bark : Dog Fancy as Bust: Vogue. Got it?


Tuesday, May 10, 2005

This is soooo cool,,3-1598010,00.html

Our Eyes (and Guys) are Tired

queer eye for the straight guy

We *loved* this show the first few times we saw it. The fab five were so soft and cuddly, even when they had their little claws out. They made hilarious messes of the poor straight guys' houses and did ridiculous things with their ugly clothes, furniture, and underwear. And then there was the shopping! They bought everything! So much fun! Sure, we enjoyed witnessing the transformation of the "straight guy" from "drab" to "fab," but that was always less entertaining than just watching the Fab Five clown around and make jokes. But gradually, over the past year or so, our affections for this program have waned.

It could be that we've just gotten a little bit of makeover show fatigue. It could be that their special guests have become increasingly suspicious
(Suze Orman). And it could be that the recipients of all the attention and free shit seem less deserving (i.e. -- a frat house in Texas??? Don't those guys get enough shit for free already???). And we must admit, before any of this other stuff, we were a little curious about the way people were talking about how cool it was that there was this show where gay and straight guys interact and get along. They were all like, look at all these straight men who aren't homophobes! Never mind that the straight guys get tons of free stuff! See how open-minded America's straight men really are !! Just don't ask us about gay marriage! ha ha!

Don't get us wrong, we still have a soft spot for at least THREE of the fab5: Carson, Ted, and Thom -- we heart you. We always will. We definitely do not blame you for our diminished proclivity. We know that you're just doing your jobs, and trying to make the best of it.

But those other two -- JAI and KYAN, we find you tiresome.

JAI, your role on the show has always seemed a little vague to us. Bravo calls you a "Culture Vulture," and we're still scartching our head over that one. As far as we call tell, all you do is coax the straight guys into saying banal and insincere stuff to the people they care about while the cameras are rolling.

And KYAN, you just seem like such a narcissist. It gets on our nerves when you're mean to people about their grooming habits! stop it! And we think the team would work just fine as a trio. Just let a stylist do all the icky product placement that you do.

Anyway, Carson, the obvious star of the show, has a new children's book: You're Different and That's Super. It looks really cute! It has a little happy unicorn on the cover. Yay for happy unicorns!

Monday, May 09, 2005

We Like Fruit in our Lyrics, Thank You


Despite our aforementioned distaste for Gwen Stefani's fetishization of all things harajuku, we still really like her latest single, "Hollaback Girl." We especially like it when she says "these bananas B-A-N-A-N-A-S." We also like the retro-minimalist "oh Micky you're so fine" vibe of the beat; it makes us want to learn how to do gymnastics.

But Stefani isn't the first person to use our favorite yellow fruit in her lyrics. Satomi Matsuzaki of the uber-brilliant snap crackle avant-pop outfit DEERHOOF was there first. In fact, Satomi even performs with giant pieces of plush, stuffed fruit. You know, like a teddy bear but shaped like a BANANA or a CHERRY. Genius.

They also have *really* good lyrics about animals.

What's even cooler is that DEERHOOF likes to give their songs away for free. That's right. They have four free mp3s on their Kill Rock Stars website, and bootleg / live stuff is available at the
Puzzling Music Archive.

Now that's super-sweet!! Go have yourself a taste!

Is it weird that we sorta like these people?

The Gastineau Girls

Okay, so we haven't really thought about it too much, but we've developed a sudden and inexplicable fondness for Lisa and Brittny. First of all, Lisa is really fun to watch, and she has that husky sort of voice we love. And she's a "cool" mom in a rich-version of Lorelai Gilmore sorta way. Brittny, despite being "spoiled" and not as immediately likeable as Lisa, also really grows on you. She's sort of goofy and oblivious and spoiled and not really grown up yet, but she has this really amazing hair and we think the way she spells "Brittny" is hip.

But besides those things, we think there may be some real substance to our affinity for this show.

1. This show is about women, and we always like that. It's title -- Gastineau Girls -- even sort of sounds like the title of one our very favorite shows, The Gilmore Girls. The focus of the show is the relationship between the two women, which is truly supportive and loving. And, like the Gilmore Girls, it is interesting because even though Lisa and Brittny are mother and daughter, their relationship also resembles that of two sisters or two best friends.

2. These women want things, and they talk about what they want and they go after it. What do they want? Fame, Fortune, and Love. Of course those things are probably much easier to come by when you have truckloads of money to keep yourself impeccably groomed and outfitted, but still.

3. They have dogs.

4. So far, I haven't seen them take one bit of shit from men. In another wildly popular show about single women in new york city, the protagonist of the show perenially ate shit from one man over the entire course of all seven seasons. ugh! It was just gross. Anyway, while the GGs like men, it doesn't appear that either of these two is going to settle for some yuppie asshole prick. Well, at least that is what we hope.

Of course the jury is still out; we are very fickle, and we've no doubt that if we were to spend much more time thinking about it we'd have a hard time celebrating the amount of money these two drop on fur (ick) and diamonds (ick) when, well, you know, half the kids in nyc probably don't have schoolbooks. But for now we're willing to put those thoughts aside and appreciate the genuine entertainment we get from wathcing these women sashay through the "reality" that is The Gastineau Girls.

look at this fluff! this face! these paws!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Making Us Confused


We really liked watching this show. At the end of each episode we discussed who we would pick if we were making the band. It was fun to watch the girls dance. And we especially liked it when they had to get into groups and put lyrics and choreography to a track of generic bubble-gum beats. It was almost as fun watching them kick that mean Jayson guy (who made them throw away all their carbs!) out of their mtv- twinkle palace apartment house.

But a few things had us furrowing our brows. On several occassions, P.Diddy used the term "black" to mean good at dancing. He scolded the women of color on the show for "not being true to your people" when they struggled with some of the steps. When Aubrey, a blonde Californian who quickly became one of the standouts on the show, nailed the moves, Puffy asked her is she had "some black in her." Later, when the girls went to a karaoke bar, Puffy breathed into his microphone "Aubrey is now officially black" after she performed and everyone clapped and hollered. Later, in a pow -wow with his team back at the studio, Puffy dissed the dancing of one of the African-American contestants and said that he wanted to "revoke her blackness." Although it appeared that these references to "blackness" were made rather lightly, we couldn't help feeling a little irked by Diddy's breezily racist remarks. And of course no one questioned or challenged his use of the term. After all, he's P. Diddy. Do we actually expect anyone to talk back to him? (Well, yeah, a little bit . . .though in this case that would probably mean losing your job). And even though we enjoyed Triumph's dig at Diddy when he says "I didn't know wearing a suit was a talent," we were still surprised and dissappointed by Diddy's comments. We were like, remind us again what's so great about him.

We were less surprised by the show's creepy emphasis on the girl's bodies. This is MTV. But despite the fact that these girls are all young and thin and beautiful (this is MTV), there was plenty of talk about getting the girls to loose weight and pushing them to get "cut" abs. But we were * totally* disgusted when, on the season finale, Diddy asked one of the girls to stop in the middle of her song because her couldn't stand looking at her stomach while she was dancing. Moments before he mentioned to one of the producers that she "needed to lay off the hamburgers." WTF? Harsh dude. Totally harsh. Her outfit may have been atrocious, but her body was healthy and beautiful. The poor girl slunk off the stage clutching her stomach.

Pretty bad, huh? But this sequence seemed even ickier since it followed a rehearsal scene in which of the women was wearing a shirt that said I Beat Anorexia. At fist we thought that this girl was wearing this shirt because she had in fact beaten anorexia and was hoping to use her time on camera to raise awareness, and if that is the case, then good for her. But after doing some research, it appears that shirt is marketed as a gag gift for someone who is overweight. ha ha. funny, right? because they, like, so DON'T have anorexia. ha ha.

Pretty fucked up if you ask us.

And oh yeah, they *didn't* make a band after all.


More Like This


and this


Saturday, May 07, 2005

Step softly and carry a big bag!

. . .covered with our favorite animal friends!

p.s. we really need to learn how to make our own bags.

Psst! Gwen,

Human accessories are icky.

They Want A Baby!

Is it too simplistic to see parallels to the nightmare worldview of George W Bush in every morsel of pop culture ephemera?

Undoubtedly. But this has become more of a problem for us over the past few months.

First, Ashlee Simpson's totally baseless hauteur seemed to absolutely mirror W's White House modus vivendi. When Ashlee went through the lypsynching imbroglio, and then blamed her drummer, and then sent out a lame e-mail about "acid refux," I thought that her MTV show might finally start paying off in an "Eyes of Tammy Faye" sort of way. You know, a peek behind the mediatic curtain, a healthy dose of humiliation and pathos to make us remember how structurally unsound the apparatus of the spectacle society really is. I thought that Ashlee's ordeal might provide a nice allegorical double of George W's entitled, spoiled-brat, compulsively lying regime.

Instead, we got a clip of Ashlee saying over and over again, "I have worked too hard, and too long for this, and if this one little mistake ruins my career, then THAT'S... JUST... SAD." The implication: (SAD for you impudent morons in TV-land) how dare you music fans out there question my God-given right to sing and be on TV and endorse cosmetics, even after I have proven myself to be an incompetent phony!

So on to Brad and Angelina: I know they are probably registered Democrats and probably own Howard Zinn books or whatever, but they are still filthy-rich narcissistic weasel-people. The coverage in In Touch and US has presented a confusing narrative... but we must conclude hastily that the injured party is poor little Jennifer Aniston. With her Greek ethnic background and history playing poor and/or Jewish characters (The Good Girl, Friends) Aniston stands out as the symbolic representative of the downtrodden masses within the structure of the break-up story. Brad and Angelina, with roles fresh in our minds as roman gladiators and tomb raiders, convey nothing but fascist imperial arrogance. Jolie even has the brood of adopted children from assorted nations of the global periphery-- echoes of the White Man's Burden, no?

What makes this all so appalling is that the tabloids have totally taken the side of Brad and Angelina. "THEY WANT A BABY! Why Jen's Crushed By Their Plans." The not-so-subtle message-- laugh at poor Jennifer. She doesn't want a baby! What a psycho!

VH1's "Super Breakups 04" had a whole segment on Brad's pain because he had designed his and Jen's dream-mansion. But, stoically, he was moving on. He was already on to his next house. Brave, brave man.

The secret message-- even though Brad cheated on Jen, hooked up with his co-star, and is immediately making plans for babies, the general public should applaud HIS strength in moving on and keeping a brave face.

Isn't this identical to the way the news media invites us to sympathize with Bush as he tries to bravely ignore the consequences of his rash and impetuous mistakes?

In the words of the wise Canadian proletarian poet Shania Twain:"so you're Brad Pitt... that don't impress me much."

No, Brad. Not much at all.