Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Fluffy Dollars Holiday Drinking Game: Part 2

So our week of toasting mad dads and kids with candy is up. Now on to part 2.
Raise your glasses to:

Pointless Consumerism

This week, take a swig of your soothing totty every time you see one of those horrifying television ads for Wal-Mart. Now Jesse McCart-whatever, we knew he sucked. But Queen Latifa? Holiday commercials usually bum me out, but that shit makes me wanna cry.

Persisting Patriarchy

Um, did anyone catch the season finale of the Real World? If you're like us, you probably didn't make a point to watch it, but since I can't grade without the TV on, it sort of seeped into our living room. Anyway, one of the male roommates hits a female roommate during a stupid drunken argument. I honestly don't even know what it was about. But, what is up with women getting hit by their male roommates on this show? I mean, it's not like it's the first time it happened. WTF? Isn't there some macho code about never hitting a girl? If there is, it seems like the macho assholes on this show don't care. As far as I can tell, the male members of the Austin cast basically harassed and abused the women they lived with all season...which says something pretty creepy since these people KNEW they were being filmed. Now I'm not saying the girls on the show were anything other than awful, but physical violence against women is always deeply, deeply disturbing.

Anyway, this week we're going to drink every time we see some reality show argument or brawl that involves gross macho-bullshit. We realize that both of this week's items are tv-related, and thus completely avoidable if you don't worship the pretty picture box like we do. Although we usually watch dvds, we often tune in for Best Week Ever, Veronica Mars, and Making the Band, so I'm pretty sure we'll be exposed to the aforementioned items. *sigh*...bottoms up!

Make-up, Raccoons, Pandas, and a few notes of no import

I love all
the new holiday make-up sets. Stilla and Benefit and Urban Decay still make me drool the most. I also really like the Bobbi Brown shimmer brick. (I'm such a sucker for the aesthetics of make-up and candy)

I'm reading a book by
CD Wright. It is really good. I'm starting to write prose chunks. Poems? Micro fiction?

The video of the baby panda makes me really happy. (thanks paula!) I only wish there were more baby pandas rolling around in the wild. Humans are so greedy.

We watched a very chubby raccoon make her/him self right at home out on our porch last night. s/he was shucking pecans and just cold chillin'. Then s/he waddle-slipped under the porch. We've been hearing lots of loud, furry noises in the wall. I know I should be trying to get the raccoon to relocate, but now I think s/he's cute.

In related raccoon news, I really want to see
Pom Poko -- a studio Ghibli movie about raccoons. But check out this bit from one of the customer reviews:
Aside from this, the biggest controversy about POM POKO seems to be centered on several scenes where the raccoons can inflate and/or transform their testicles(!) for multiple purposes. One particular scene involves a raccoon flattening his testicles against a truck, causing its driver to crash. Such moments may be alarming to children, but it is important to remember that while we see the testicles at times, the movie is, after all, animated. Even still, while a Japanese audience may take such scenes naturally, squeamish viewers in America could react differently. In fact, as a solution to handling this kind of translation issue, the English language version (produced once again by Disney) refers to the testicles as "pouches". That's a somewhat awkward decision, but it sure beats digitally removing the testicles from the scenes they're in.
Hmmm . . .

It is the end of the semester, and I feel all mushy toward my students.

I have been craving ceasar salad. I can't get enough.

My ms. now has the word "haruspex" in it. But still no "skein." Working on that.

I tried a gingerbread latte at St*$$. It was super yummy.

Stayed tuned for the next installment of the Fluffy $$$ drinking game!!! Booyakasha!!!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Marriage Schmarriage; Down the Aisle to So What

In case you haven't heard the latest news, Kimberly Stewart and Talan Torrie-something are no longer engaged. I know. I know. Chances are you didn't even know they were a couple, and if you did, well you're probably wise enough to know that this latest hook-up wasn't going to last the week. And of course everyone is probably still crying into their hankies about poor Nick and Jessica. And Paris and Paris. And Brad and Jen. Oh, all the fractured, broken unions! Sad isn't, it? Or not.

Now I know there are people out there who think marriage is the cornerstone of our society. That without marriage there is no love, family, or commitment. And of course everyone is entitled to their opinion. But let's be honest -- one would have to be living in a cave to think that marriage in contemporary America is always some honorable, sacred (say what?) institution. In many cases, marriage is treated as an accessory, a fix-all, or a rite of passage entered into as reverently and as blindly as one enters their local Wal-Mart.

As we rot, Joe Simpson is probably trying to ink a deal for his new reality show -- the NewlySplits, George Bush is probably trying to figure out a way to encourage poor, single mothers to marry their abusive baby daddies, and a bunch of bigoted Texas churchgoers are probably congratulating themselves for passing that proposition 2 bullshit.

Sure, celebs often use marriage and engagements as publicity stunts. And why not? It totally works. It gives everyone something to talk about for a few days. And it pays back double since the breaking-up part generates publicity too.
I know some people think it's sad -- that the way celebs treat marriage as disposable defiles the whole institution. . .blah blah blah. But who the fuck are we kidding? More often than not, marriage is a fat sexist, classist, religious bullshit sandwich. At least that's what it's been for most of history. I'd rather see celebs capriciously couple and uncouple than see two dudes arrange for the marriage of their children because it benefits them economically or politically. Talk about gross.

I don't mean to sound like a hater, but all the mainstream hypocrisy around modern marriage really bugs me. Have you seen
Whose Wedding is it Anyway or Bridezilla or A Wedding Story? Or the grosser than gross Wife Swap? You don't need to look much further for evidence of racism, classism, and sexism. And if the thought of these shows doesn't revolt you, check out this site. And while we're on the subject -- psst . .memo to Star Jones: getting married doesn't make you better than everybody else.* In fact, in your case it made you worse.

Now I want to be clear that I'm not anti-marriage, I'm just anti-bullshit, and it seems like there is a lot of bullshit bound up with marriage these days. More and more people I know are deciding not to marry -- even if they're in what they consider to be life-long monogamous relationships -- because they consider marriage a discriminatory institution. And they're not wrong.

Interestingly, gay marriage is one of the areas where conservative "values" and capitalism are at odds. After all,
there is lots of money to be made anytime a couple decides to get married -- it doesn't matter whether they are gay or straight.

I know there are plenty of "happily married" couples out there. Good for them. I want everybody to be happy. Including Talan. In fact, I know that when Talan and Clay finally find each other that they're going to be sooooo happy. And their cover of "Girl U know it's true" will top the charts. And their wedding will make Star and Al's look like a kiddie party. C'mon boyzzz! Bring out the dancing lobsters!!!

*Full disclosure: I'm married. Yeah, I got married this summer. Now I love my honey, but lots of people have said "congratulations" to me like I found the cure for cancer. I mean, I got married, so what?** I certainly don't consider it an accomplishment. And I certainly don't think I'm entitled to any benefits just because I'm married. I mean, that would be totally whack. (I did, however, really like eating all that cake).

**ADDED FOR CLARIFICATION: This doesn't mean that I don't appreciate the warm wishes or that I didn't enjoy celebrating something happy with my friends. I just mean that getting married isn't an achievement. That's all. If anyone reading this said congratulations to me, please know that it made me happy. I didn't mean to get all ranty there.

Incredible Edible Codex

check out more edible books here


Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.

The librarian does not believe what she sees.
Her eyes are sad
and she walks with her hands in her dress.

The poems are gone.
The light is dim.
The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up.

Their eyeballs roll,
their blond legs burn like brush.
The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep.

She does not understand.
When I get on my knees and lick her hand,
she screams.

I am a new man,
I snarl at her and bark,
I romp with joy in the bookish dark.


Thursday, November 24, 2005

I have the face of a vampire but the heart of a feminist

You are Greta Garbo, the mysterious silver screen goddess herself! You probably keep a lot of people guessing about the real you, but it's all good because you're better than them anyways.
You are Greta Garbo, the mysterious silver screen
goddess herself! You probably keep a lot of
people guessing about the real you, but it's
all good because you're too good for them

Which Silent Actress are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

thank you for shih tzus

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Triplets*

Sometimes we notice pop culture clusters of three:

3 blondes who sing:

1.Christina gets married
2. Pics of Brit, Baby, and K-Fed (aka "daddy") splashed on the cover of People
3. Nick and Jessica officially call it quits

3 blondes who do, er, other stuff:

1. Paris (I really really hate her!!!) abuses a monkey
2. Kim Stewart does Talan
3. Ashlee Simpson "almost" burns down her house

(Sorry that this post is so nauseating. Happy Thanksgiving!)

*and why isn't there an all-girl three-piece punk band called "The Triplets" already????

Look Alikes

guess which one I'm reading.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

found: those books with records

Pointless Consumerism and Persisting Patriarchy: A Holiday Tradition and a New Fluffy Dollars Drinking Game

Rode a plane last night, and besides seeing our lives flash before our eyes as we bobbed and weaved through the rough peaks of a cold front, we also became extremely annoyed with a tow-headed, home depot-style family across the aisle. From the moment we noticed them at the gate, we knew they were going to be trouble. First of all, the dad was this annoying loud talker who kept bossing his wife around -- asking her to hold his coat, then his bags from sharper image and pottery barn, and then his laptop. Around our feet, their two kids were playing on the lounge furniture and cackling like glue-sniffing hyenas. They were also sucking on lollipops and drooling everywhere. Meanwhile, the poor mother was buried under all her husband's crap, and the king dunce himself just strutted around like a peacock and shouted into his cell phone.
Now I like kids. I usually like them better then grown-ups. But for the love of Madonna, don't let them slobber and step on strangers.
Things didn't get any better when we boarded the plane. We were flying southwest, so it was of one of those seat yourself situations. As luck would have it, we found ourselves across the aisle from this odious family. It was a full flight; we had no choice. But I was shocked to see this family of four defiantly claim two whole rows -- six seats. Now usually I don't give a shit what other people do, but for some reason this family really bothered me. Their whole vibe was so entitled. The kids were drooling neon pink spit and flinging cheerios, and the father was emitting the most obvious fuck-you-I'm-better-than-you vibes. I swear he glared at every poor person who dared to consider taking one of the empty seats between them.
This man spent the remainder of his time on the plane ignoring his family and drinking little bottles of wild turkey. The wife listened to her i-pod, probably hoping to drown out the sounds of her wailing children. For some reason, she kept opening bag after bag and handing things over to the kids -- game boys, coloring books, barbies, and more candy. She didn't really talk to them or even take off her headphones -- she just handed them shit. It was very disturbing.
Anyway . . .why am I telling you this? In part it's to vent, sure. But I'm also using it to illustrate the rules of the new Fluffy Dollars Drinking Game.* On the Wed of each week from now until the new year we'll post about two items: one will be an item which reflects pointless consumerism and the other will be one which reflects persisting patriarchy. Each time we see one of these items, we're going to take a drink. This week we're looking for mad dads and kids with candy, so last night we basically got tanked. And you know what? It really did make us feel much better!*
Now we're not really the type to carry a flask in our pocket (at least not any more), so we'll probably just keep a mental tally or -- if the numbers really get up there -- jot down the incidents on a pad of paper and load up when we get home so we can comfortably pass out in front of some VH1 celebreality offering. We know, we know. We are incredibly immature. If you don't like it, then you can just put a lump of coal in our stocking. But we hope you'll consider playing.
*If you prefer a non-alcoholic version of the game, we'd like to suggest eating cookies as an alternative to drinking. After all, this game is all about the holiday spirit.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Good Ideas: Books with a Soundtrack

Remember those books that came with a little colored vinyl 7-inch in the back flap? Remember that little bell that would chime when it was time to turn the page? I loved that little bell. And I loved all the sounds and music that went with the words. I used to hang in my room and listen / read
Peter Pan and The Rescuers over and over again. I had a little orange fisher-price record player. The world of the book filled up that little room; the walls fell away.

This item from Gawker has me wondering why more books for grown-ups don't come with soundtracks. In case you haven't heard, besides being an author himself, 50 cent has launched an imprint for gangsta fiction. Some of the books are supposed to come out with an accompanying CD. Pretty hip, right? This reminds me of a feature over at Bookslut a few months ago about the rock novel. Soundtracks and stories just seem to go together. Just look at how many people buy the soundtracks for their favorite movies. Garden State anyone? Almost Famous? Lost in Translation? (mind you, I'm not saying I liked any of these movies-- just that the people who did seemed to also like the soundtrack). Anyway, I know we have books on tape, and that's great for car rides, but I like the idea of cd you can listen to while you read.

I'm not saying every book should come with a CD. Some books are best read in silence. But I have to admit, now that I'm writing this teen novel, I have this little dream of including a soundtrack. I hear the songs in my head when I write, and I'm including lyrics as I go along. Here's who is on my soundtrack so far: Bikini Kill, Tribe Called Quest, Sonic Youth, The Sex Pistols, Sebadoh, Heavenly, Missy, The Smiths, Jawbreaker, the Clash, Minor Threat, and Bratmobile. That's just who is mentioned in the book so far -- I'm sure that there will be more. The genre of teen fiction especially seems to go well with music. For so many teens, music is an elixir to the tedium of school, home, etc. Why not include that with the book?

As a thought experiment, who would you put on the soundtrack for your book? Have you ever read a book that you wished had come with a soundtrack? Have you ever made a soundtrack to go with a book?


A quickie bulletin from the SB.
Femme Feral got nominated for one of

Famous But Not Boring

Per your request, a list of celebs who we actually like.

In the tabloids:

Reese Witherspoon
Kate Winslet
Sarah Michelle Gellar (duh!)
Michelle Trachtenberg
Kristen Bell
Lauren Graham
and those Harry Potter kids

Not in the tabloids:

Sacha Baron Cohen
Sarah Silverman
Larry David
Ricky Gervais
Colin Firth

hmmm . . .thinking.

Jenny Has a New Blog

Check out bloglisted. It's super sassy. Yum.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Celebrutality Vol. 4: Famous But Boring

In the past we've asked -- "what in the sam hill makes so-and-so famous?" And while this line of inquiry is entertaining and somewhat productive, it doesn't allow us to get our hate on re: those celebrities who are really annoying but are also famous for fairly obvious reasons.

Take Hillary Duff, for example. Sure, I get why she is sorta famous. Lizzie Mcguire and all that. But boy is she annoying. Her voice has the texture of velveeta, and she went from sorta normal and cute looking to all bobble-headed and fakey-bakey. People also say her teeth are fake. I don't really care about that. I just think she puts the most boring, mediocre shit into the world.

And Keira Knightly. She is no Elizabeth Bennett. Grrr.

And Kelly Ripa. So what?

Others: Jude Law, Demi Moore, Aneglina Jolie

Others? Anyone?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Girl in the Flammable Skirt

Isn't that a great title for a book? It's the title of Aimee Bender's first. She's here in town to do a reading and workshop at the house.

And check out the cover of her newest:

This is a fiction writer with a poet's sensibility. Here are some snippets from interviews.

from powell's:

It feels like a texture to me. The texture would go a little wrong if the character was named, if the story wants to be more mythic. As soon as someone is named, the story enters the world of reality a little more. As soon as a capital letter comes into play, it looks different and it feels different.

and from Beatrice:


To learn more about the reading click

To visit Aimee Bender's website (it's really cool) click here

I Miss Them

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Celebrity "Authors": Nicole Richie, 50 cent, et al

Ooooh. FF is cranky. I feel like doing one million karate chops. I feel like Keropi with fangs.* I taste venom in every vowel.

And y'know, it's just that time of year. The weather shifts. The days are short. My birthday looms like a strange balloon. Culture -- anything human -- is alienating. Who
are these people and what are they talking about?

Burrow. Burrow. Burrow. Line the den with chocolate. Retire.

And yet even in the dark of my blackest mood, the culture of "celebrity" glows like a radioactive virus. It spreads and flexes and mutates, spills and oozes like a wound.
"Money! Money! Money!" it calls out. "There's always more to buy!" And now they've got books. They've got 'em by the spine.

I resent celebrity "authors." No, resent is too sanitary a term. I despise them. I think them vile. And I'm pea green. Yup, I've got the penvy.

First of all, they don't even write their books. Second of all, their stories are predictable and boring. Third of all, whoever they get to write their books doesn't really do a good job. I know. I know. These books are trash. They'd do more good thrown on the pyre! (I'm kidding of course).

But I hate every word that has ever comes out of Paris Hilton's mouth. Enough already.

And this post has already gone on long enough. growl. snarl. boo. and hiss. But the customer review's are sorta funny:

50 Cent's Book
Pamela Anderson's book
Paris Hilton's book
Nicole Richie's book

And I will prolly read fiddy's book anyway.

Go ahead -- call me a hypocrite. My claws are out.

*more halloween keropi here.

tv quizzes

You match Jess. Your tastes are similiar to Rory's,
with greater emphasis on punk and metal. You
also seem to enjoy making showtunes references.
'Fess up -- you really went back to New York to
star in a Broadway show, right?

Gilmore Girls: Whose musical taste do you have?
brought to you by Quizilla

and . . .

We Are Amazed!

How Big of a Buffy Fan Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

and . . .

You are Angela Chase. You blend in to everything
and you're sick of it. You distance yourself
from the old ways in order to find your
"new" identity. You want to be
noticed, especially by a certain someone. Hey,
we all struggle during adolescence...

Which My So-Called Life character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

No Veronica Mars quiz. Bummer.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

This is my Confession re: Madonna's Confession on a Dancefloor

I love it.

I didn't think I would. After watching the dull and egomaniacal I Will Tell You a Secret, I thought that I was officially done with Madonna. And she wasn't doing too hot before that. Rhyming "pilates" with "soy latte" with "body" in that wretched "American Life" song, the faux British accent, that whole kabbalah / call me "Esther" thing, and her supposedly mommy dearest like antics around the house. I was over her.

Then I saw the video for "hung up." Wow. First of all, she's wearing a pink leotard. Second of all, there is mad crazy krunk-style dancing. Third of all, it has the classic 80's story arc that moves from dance studio to dance club. And the video reimagines the 80's in a way that is makedly different from what we've gotten from Interpol, Franz Ferdinand, and Urban Outfitters. In Madonna's 80's there are boom boxes and knee socks and satin jackets and feathered hair. There is dancing at the bus stop and the sushi shop and on the subway. It's cheesy and campy, but it also has some grit around the edges. The frames are darkly lit, and the scene of Madonna walking through the streets to the disco simultaneously evokes "Papa Don't Preach," "Beat It" and The Outsiders. And of course the song itself : vitamin beats thrumming in the gut, and then, bubbling up to the surface, a spindly, trilling electro-flute threading across the top. Thrilling.

click here to watch the video.

Friday, November 11, 2005

We Are Magnetic -- Feminist Magnetic Poetry

Feministing is a daily read 'round here, and yet somehow I missed this:

Cool, eh?

Thursday, November 10, 2005


Gertude Stein, A.B. Toklas, and fluffy dog*

Some good music comin' through the ATX soon. Hope we'll be about.

METRIC 11/11 @ the Parish
BROADCAST 11/17 (my dad's b-day) @ the Parish
DEERHOOF 11/19 @ Emo's (outside)

Now if only Lady Sovereign and Talib Kwelli would pay us a visit . . .

*the title of Broadcast's new junk is "Tender Buttons," hence the Stein.

In other news, noises in the walls suggest that we have either mice or ghosts.

image source

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Jess and Joss

Gilmore Girls: Word on the street says that Jess will be the one to shake Rory out of her DAR-sniffing haze.

Veronica Mars: And Joss Whedon plays a car salesman on Veronica Mars.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Annoying Boys of the Week: The Drooling Dunces of Laguna Beach

I hate the boys on MTV's Laguna Beach. Shocker, eh. It's a given really, that most people hate them. When I asked the SB, "if you had to get stuck in an elevator with one of the boys from Laguna Beach, who would you pick?" He simply looked at me in terror and replied flatly, "I cannot answer that question." The only reason ANYBODY watches the show is for the girls. At least a few of them seem to possess more than two brain cells. Plus, the women are way more photogenic and interesting.

But I digress. the boys. I hate them. The two "studs," Stephen and Jason, hardly seem worth fighting over. Especially doltish Jason. What does he do? Play basketball? Grow a beard? Drive around in his dad's fugly car? I just don't get it.

And then there are the other boys -- the ones who aren't really studly enough to be involved in any love triangles but who still hang around and expect things. Like Talan and Dieter. And I hate them the most.

Talan thinks he can sing. He wants to start a music career and sing "about politics." Is he serious? This is a kid who claims he wants to stay in high school forever. Last week we got a little taste of Talan's singing. Wow, it stinks. I was surprised nobody threw rotten veggies at him. He is so smug and entitled and unselfconscious. And he sounded like a crooning, smarmy seagull.

And then there's the perpetually scowling Dieter. First of all, Dieter isn't even one of the principals. He's friends with the other boys, and he used to go out with Jessica, so he shows up. Usually to smirk and mock. He uses lots of hair gel. And he's a meddler. Last week, when Jason and Jessica kissed, Dieter took it upon himself to get the story straight by gathering a huddle of boys (including Jason) and calling Jessica on speaker phone (this from a group of kids who claim to "hate drama"). Anyway, when she answers, he shushs Jason and immediately begins interrogating her: "Why would you kiss Jason when you know he and LC are hooking up?" He smacks his gum and glowers when Jessica denies it, then calls her a bitch and snaps his phone shut. And there you have it my friends -- conflict resolution, Laguna style.

This article further illustrates the ways in which Dieter has insinuated himself into the other cast members' circle of fame. He says stuff like "we've been hanging at clubs with Paris [Hilton]," and"I don't know where I'd be without the show" as if narrating the grand story of his rise into the hallowed hell-halls of Hollywood.* He is so full of shit.

*It seems Dieter does try to do some good stuff. you can find out about his charity work by visiting his myspace.

image source

Orchid Mantis

Read one of my poems by clicking here.

Image source

Friday, November 04, 2005

What's a Woman w/o Jimmy Choos and Google to Do?

Maureen Dowd's suddenly infamous
"What's A Modern Girl To Do?" has sparked quite a bit of debate from on-line women and feminists. The piece, which ran in the New York Times Magazine, is an excerpt from Dowd's forthcoming book Are Men Necessary? (I have to say that I really like this title -- much better than the stupid Doris Day-type title used for the excerpt). Anyway, the responses range from reluctant agreement to straight up vitriolic, with almost everyone weighing in noting that Dowd's, er, research methods seem limited and questionable.

Now, I have to admit that it took me awhile to read the article -- I found it sort of boring and tedious. I was never a fan of Sex and the City. I will never have enough money to buy a pair of Jimmy Choos (and even if I did I don't think I'd spend it on something like a pair of heels that were probably made in a sweat shop). And I've never ever for one second wondered if being smart made me less attractive (if anything, I've wasted time worrying that I am not smart enough). In short, I don't really identify with the women depicted in Dowd's article even though I recognize them from TV shows and magazine articles and so-called "chick-lit" novels. Now don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't care about these women -- when I say I'm a feminist I mean that I care about everybody -- but rather that I feel their trials and tribulations are very visible. Nothing in Dowd's article was "news" to me, even though it was annoyingly presented as such.

Dowd's article focused on the issues that affect upper-class, educated women, and this (to me) made it less interesting -- not only because it covered familiar territory, but also because Dowd's questions and concerns can seem trivial and silly when compared to the feminist issues she ignores -- namely those issues that affect poor and working class women. For example, why not discuss the ways in which a feminist agenda could help single mothers who have been displaced by hurricane Katrina, or the poor, working women who clock in at more than one forty-hour-a-week job? These are the women who need to be written about. These are the women whose lives are virtually invisible in the MSM.

The fact that Dowd's excerpt doesn't address issues that affect women outside her own demographic seems more than an oversight; rather, it seems as though she purposely avoids dealing with any details that might complicate her thesis -- that life as a woman when you're educated, economically secure, and heterosexual is still hard, even with feminism. Certainly any difficulties women who fit this profile face certainly must affect those women who live outside metropolitan areas, those without an education, and those without a white-collar job. Feminism's efficacy and influence can't be assessed without considering the lives of all women (including girls) -- not just those who google and do yoga.

That said, Dowd's piece highlights (in its omissions) those areas where feminism could and should be doing more. This can seem difficult, especially when anxiety about the meaning of "the f word" is complicated (and likely to arouse suspicion) outside the hallowed realms of academia , the DIY world of riot grrrls, and organizations like NOW and Planned Parenthood. Certainly much important work happens and continues to happen in these places. But still more needs to happen.

Dowd's article suggests that feminism has failed -- as if feminism is something that is over. Rather than a movement that is linear and terminal, feminism might be better described as rhizomatic and ongoing. In this sense, we can ask what feminism needs to do next -- not how feminism has "failed."

Just because Dowd doesn't discuss the needs of poor and working class women doesn't mean that nobody does. Here are some links to people who are asking good questions.

Jennifer Gordon
Naila Kabeer
Bertha Lewis
Cynthia Enloe
Hilary Wainwright
Barbara Ehrenreich

Thursday, November 03, 2005


As we tunnel through culture like a mole, we sometimes encounter items that have a strange synergy.

K-Fed Spends Britney's Money

Maureen Dowd asks "What's A Modern Girl to Do?"

Now dating etiquette has reverted. Young women no longer care about using the check to assert their equality. They care about using it to assess their sexuality. Going Dutch is an archaic feminist relic. Young women talk about it with disbelief and disdain. "It's a scuzzy 70's thing, like platform shoes on men," one told me.

"Feminists in the 70's went overboard," Anne Schroeder, a 26-year-old magazine editor in Washington, agrees. "Paying is like opening a car door. It's nice. I appreciate it. But he doesn't have to."

Unless he wants another date.

Women in their 20's think old-school feminists looked for equality in all the wrong places, that instead of fighting battles about whether women should pay for dinner or wear padded bras they should have focused only on big economic issues.

After Googling and Bikramming to get ready for a first dinner date, a modern girl will end the evening with the Offering, an insincere bid to help pay the check. "They make like they are heading into their bag after a meal, but it is a dodge," Marc Santora, a 30-year-old Metro reporter for The Times, says. "They know you will stop them before a credit card can be drawn. If you don't, they hold it against you."

One of my girlfriends, a TV producer in New York, told me much the same thing: "If you offer, and they accept, then it's over."

Jurassic feminists shudder at the retro implication of a quid profiterole. But it doesn't matter if the woman is making as much money as the man, or more, she expects him to pay, both to prove her desirability and as a way of signaling romance - something that's more confusing in a dating culture rife with casual hookups and group activities. (Once beyond the initial testing phase and settled in a relationship, of course, she can pony up more.)

"There are plenty of ways for me to find out if he's going to see me as an equal without disturbing the dating ritual," one young woman says. "Disturbing the dating ritual leads to chaos. Everybody knows that."

When I asked a young man at my gym how he and his lawyer girlfriend were going to divide the costs on a California vacation, he looked askance. "She never offers," he replied. "And I like paying for her." It is, as one guy said, "one of the few remaining ways we can demonstrate our manhood."

And Kanye West's hit "Golddigger" is gauranteed to be on at least one station in every listening area at any given time.

a bit of the lyrics:

(She give me money)
Now I aint sayin she a gold digger (Well I'm in Need)
But she aint messin wit no broke niggaz(She give me money)
Now I aint sayin she a gold digger (When I'm in Need)
but she aint messin wit no broke niggaz(i gotta leave)
get down girl go head get down (I gotta leave)
get down girl go head get down (I gotta leave)
get down girl go head get down (I gotta leave)
get down girl go head

[Verse 1:]
Cutie the bomb
Met her at a beauty salon
With a baby louis vuitton
Under her underarm
She said I can tell you rock
I can tell by ya charm
Far as girls you got a flock
I can tell by ya charm and ya arm
but I'm lookin for the one
have you seen her
My psychic told me she'll have a ass like Serena
Trina, Jennifer Lopez, four kids
An I gotta take all they bad ass to show-biz
Ok get ya kids but then they got their friends
I Pulled up in the Benz, they all got up in
We all went to din and then I had to pay
If you fuckin with this girl then you betta be paid
You know why
It take too much to touch her
From what I heard she got a baby by Busta
My best friend say she use to fuck wit Usher
I dont care what none of ya'll say I still love her

Hmmmm . . .

You can check out the video for the song
And you can read thoughtful responses to the Dowd article here, here, here, and here.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

My New TV Girlfriend

My new TV Girlfriend is Dominique from MTV's Making The Band 3, Season 2!!! She is so talented and charismatic that even if she doesn't make the band (which will only prove that Diddy is a complete idiot) I'm sure that we'll be seeing more of her. Dominique is def star material. One of my favorite Dominique moments is when, after being asked to run six miles -- a sort of making the band challenge -- she remarks sassily "I don't usually run unless I'm being chased." In her interviews she's down to earth, driven, and smart. And she has one of those cool, husky voices (sort of like Fantasia's) and everything she says or sings sounds awesome. And she dances in this way that is really cute and sort of bouncy but also sort of badass. I want her to be my friend.

In somewhat related news, Salon has an article (humorously titled "Laguna Biatch") on "real life mean girl" Kristin Cavellari from MTV's Laguna Beach. Suzy Hansen writes:

and later:

This article is pretty on target, though I disagree with the notion that Kristin is unique. Kristin is clearly a product of affluent republicans (and it's rumored that of all the "rich kids" on Laguna Beach, she and LC are the only ones who are truly loaded). But she doesn't seem all that different to me than all the rich kids I used to babysit. These kids basically dominated their parents. They could do whatever they wanted, even if it meant someone else had to make a sacrifice. Kristin just sort of seems like that to me -- someone who basically has figured out how to rule and doesn't like thinking about how her actions might affect others. Trust me, this girl is swimming in the shallow end. I'll admit that I think it's cool that she doesn't get too caught up in all the high school bullshit (though I have hunch that she's one of those people who would pull hair on the playground or terrorize a classmate for something like playing the tuba) , but I think that has more to do with the fact that she's very very used to enjoying her privelege (and of course that little fact that she's on a hit reality show that's allowed her to go from high school student to celebrity overnight. I mean -- for chrissakes people -- she was probably doing lines with Paris at some hot club the night before her prom. Like she's gonna give a shit about high school after that!). Anyway . . . the fact that Kristin comes off as "unique" simply because she doesn't let a bunch of narcissistic boys who can't put sentences together walk all over her also suggests something pretty frightening about what we consider "normal." Yikes.

Anyway, Dominique is my girl. You can check her out on MTV Overdrive by clicking here.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Celebrity Feminism Fantasy Camp: Fall 2005

My little thought experiment / day dream*: I recruit a handful of down-in-the-mouth celebs, get them away from their icky boyfriends, overbearing fathers, and bad habits, and give them copious doses of
bell hooks, Sylvia Plath, and bikini kill.

Who do you want to see rise from the ashes? Here's my short list:

Britney Spears
Jessica Simpson

Mary-Kate Olsen

Mischa Barton

Kate Moss

Sienna Miller

most of the girls on Laguna Beach

Katie Holmes (too far gone?)

*This goes well with my plan to write a feminist alternative to He's Just Not That Into You.