Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Monday, January 30, 2006
the four meme, from El
four movies you could watch over and over
It Happened One Night
Bringing Up Baby
HM: Pride and Prejudice (the A&E/ BBC one, not that Keira Knightly shit)
four tv shows you love to watch:
Gilmore Girls (seasons 1-3)
Freaks and Geeks
HM: Angel, The Sopranos
four websites you visit daily
tiny lucky genius
four of your favorite foods:
four places you'd rather be right now:
Royal Festival Hall, London
MOCA, Los Angeles
The Strand, New York City
Studio Ghibli Museum, Tokyo
what about you , reader?
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Madonna did it. Diddy did it. Now you do it. And we're supposed to care?
People will likely disagree with me, but Eminem did a much better job rocking the boat than Kanye has. I'm not talking about the music now; I'm just talking about the image.
I haven't read The Tipping Point, and I probably won't, but I've heard the book is about these moments where something "tips." I'm not sure if that's exactly applicable here, but my sense is that the Jesus/ Angel Wings / gaudy-jangly crucifixes and burning crosses have lost their potency. Kanye isn't an iconoclast, he's just a poser. And his posing seems to cross paths with a set of images that appear more cartoonish and more garish everyday.
Controversy isn't just a Jesus-shaped puppet you can stick your hand into any old time you want people to pay attention to you. In an age in which the Christian Right is gaining more momentum, believers like Kanye could really problematize and complicate Christian imagery. But it just falls flat. Why?
Theological issues aside, what's going on with these signs and symbols? It's like Christianity has become branded or a corporatized. Does this make anyone else feel a little queasy?
Read an interesting article on Kanye here. And fill me in if I'm missing something. I wanna know what other people think about this.
So this article says that poetry can make you less depressed. In between the Cutie Crack and the poems, it seems I might be catching a little buzz. Does anyone know if listening to punk rock or hip hop produces serotonin? What about watching Buffy? Do I just wanna get stoned?
This list is notable for a number of reasons: 1) 160 is a non-standard number, suggesting that the list is somehow comprehensive (obviously a farcical proposition); 2) not all of the included vocalists are crap; 3) some of the included vocalists are totally crap, and their proximity to non-crap make them seem even more execrable; 4) R & B singers are given lots of coverage, but Nashville crooners ignored. So wrong!
The first point made above needs no elaboration. As regards point number two, here is my selection of non-crap vocalists who made the list, with some commentary where appropriate: Obviously 1-4 (Aretha, Etta, Ruth and Janis) need no support. Nevertheless, anyone who can hear the opening bars of "At Last" or "Piece of My Heart" and not feel fatigued is stronger of constitution than me. Dusty Springfield "Son of a Preacher Man" fits into the "great, but never needs be heard again" category. Grace Slick is one of the true unsung geniuses of modern music, and ranks with Buffy Sainte-Marie as one of the true originals of psychedelia, so I was happy to see her given props. Emmylou Harris at 20 is, of course, a welcome sight.
Now, to get to anything about which I have strong positive feelings, we must skip to Bjork at number 50. I adore Chrissie Hynde at number 52, but "I'll Stand By You" makes me think of reading 6-years-out-of-date issues of the Canadian news journal "Maclean's" while waiting to have cavities filled. Yeccch. I am no "Pretenders" freak, so perhaps there are more deserving choices, but I have always liked the touching insousiance of "Chain Gang." Cyndi Lauper's "Time after Time" at 62 is no doubt a masterpiece, but "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" is the ne plus ultra of the Lauper canon. Also in the 60s are Patti Smith and Sandy Denny, though neither song is the right one-- "Gloria" of course should be the Smith choice, and as regards Denny, either Fairport Convention's "Meet on the Ledge" or "Matty Groves."
The 70s have some power hitters: Mary Wells's "My Guy," Ronnie Spector's "Be My Baby" (should be in the top 10), and Nico's "Chelsea Girls," which is a great choice, far superior to anything off the banana album, even the sublime "All Tomorrow's Parties." Guilty pleasure time here: I think Dolores O'riordan's vocal performance on "Zombie" (92) is fantastic, and therefore deserving of inclusion.
We must skip to 111, Belinda Carlisle's "Vacation" for anything really worthy (I have been trying to avoid comments regarding the craziness of certain ass-horrible songs beating out great ones, but the idea that Allanah Myles's "Black Velvet" appears prior to the Go-Gos is a fucking travesty). Kelly Clarkson at 125 with "Since U Been Gone" is a truly brilliant performance, probably the best of the last few years. The nice cluster in the 130s, PJ Harvey's "Down By The Water" (should be "50 Ft. Queenie," no doubt?), Beyonce at 135 (though "Crazy In Love" is the deserving title), numero 136 Fontella Bass's "Rescue Me," Madonna at 137 (horrible selection with "This Used To Be My Neighborhood," really ought to be "Ray of Light," methinks), and Liz Phair at 138 ("The Divorce Song" is not a bad choice) warms the heart. Joan Jett and Kim Deal in the final decile round out my list of notably good choices.
More thoughts on this list to come. I will hold my tongue on the brain-boiling exclusions and omissions in the hopes that readers will chime in. Nope, cannot resist the brutal stupidity of no Missy, Loretta Lynn, or Satomi. What's wrong with these people?
Saturday, January 28, 2006
Honestly, she was more interesting when she wore a vial of blood around her neck and made out with her brother. I mean, that was pretty gross, but it's better than being all self-satisfied and preggers like everyone else in Hollywood. And Brad is dumb. He's just like this big, dumb golden retriever.
I'm preparing for a longer post on feminism and celebrity gossip. Thanks to TLG for pointing out the super-hot new Pink video. And Re: my earlier post on tough girls, I think Pink is one. Good for her.
This has nothing to do with Zulema's designs, which I'll admit had their own problems. Rather, this simply seems like a case of Tim Gunn et al playing favorites. The shit they've tolerated from Santino doesn't even compare to Zulema's decision to take advantage of one of the privileges afforded her by winning the previous week's challenge. It's like they skewed this very fair, reasonable thing Zulema did just to make viewers feel more satisfied when she got cut. And I think that's stupid.
Friday, January 27, 2006
For one, I've been listening to these really great podcasts from Buffycast.com. They're really focused and thoughtful, and I can't wait for them to make more. I've also enjoyed combing through the BTVS related-links over at Whedonesque. And I've found some interesting quotes that seem to confirm my theories that Joss-Sarah relations weren't always so peachy (thanks, in part, to Noxon).
First, here's a tidbit from a recent interview with Joss:
Q: What do you have to say to the people who complain about the final seasons of Buffy, who don't get season 6?
Whedon: Sorry. We do the best we can. We do what we think is right. Sometimes we sway too far one way, sometimes too far another. Season 6 was incredibly dark and that happens. I know that people said that Sarah complained; there were times where she said. "I feel lost." That's what we were going for, and eventually we realized that we had taken Buffy away from people, and they're not going to accept it. There were some members of the audience who had trouble with it and that I understand and that I respect, but that's where I thought the story had to go. When I started to feel it, I brought her back. The funny thing was that Sarah asked to talk to Marti [Noxon] and had a conversation with her at the end of the season and said, Now I feel like we're starting to miss the point, we're starting to miss the idea of the strong girl going to the dark side of what power is. I was astonished because I had the exact same conversation with her the day before.
And check out what writer David Fury said when asked why SMG didn't make an appearance on the final season of Angel.
FURY: We had approached her about doing the 100th episode. Buffy was going to appear in my episode, the episode that I directed, so we put out the offer to Sarah and she politely declined which, I will say, she had her reasons. I think there might have been a death of an aunt or something that she was dealing with but, regardless, I guess Joss kind of felt a little bit put off about the way it was done. There was a perceived notion, on both sides, I can say, between Sarah and Joss of ingratitude for both parties. Joss doesn't feel like Sarah's ever shown the proper amount of gratitude for what he's done for her and her career, and I think she feels the same way. That she feels she was never afforded the credit for Buffy's success and the gratitude from Joss.
And lastly, here's something Sarah said when asked why she decided to stop doing Buffy:
"I really didn't have any [input]. Maybe I should have, 'cause then we wouldn't have got so lost. It took me a while to work up the nerve to say something.
"It didn't feel like Buffy. But it's easy to be vocal now, because Joss isn't going to be yelling at me tomorrow."
As much as I'm grateful to Joss Whedon for creating Buffy, I side with Sarah on this one. She was Buffy. And I miss her.
It is not the moon, I tell you.
It is these flowers
lighting the yard.
I hate them.
I hate them as I hate sex,
the man's mouth
sealing my mouth, the man's
and the cry that always escapes,
the low, humiliating
premise of union--
In my mind tonight
I hear the question and pursuing answer
fused in one sound
that mounts and mounts and then
is split into the old selves,
the tired antagonisms. Do you see?
We were made fools of.
And the scent of mock orange
drifts through the window.
How can I rest?
How can I be content
while there is still
that odor in the world?
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Monday, January 23, 2006
Isaac Mizrahi won everybody over in the mid-nineties with the movie Unzipped. He was neurotic, chubby, and adorable. Sure, he might have seemed somewhat narcissistic and obnoxious, but isn't that what we expect from everyone in the fashion industry? His me! me! me! was part of the charm.
But those days are long gone. Now he's neurotic, skinny, and annoying. According to his bio "Mizrahi's interests lie in the entertainment industry as well as in fashion and he dreams one day of merging the two fields, functioning as the first entertainer/designer." Good luck with that "first" thing, mister. I'm pretty sure the Olsens beat you to it, and they were like ten.
Anyway, he landed the red carpet gig at the Golden Globes (I personally think this job should have gone to Kathy Griffin. Others disagree). So there he is, all decked out in his tux with his little microphone, ready to quiz the stars as they file into theater. And what does he do but ask Eva Longoria about the state of her pubic hair, look down Terri Hatcher's dress, and feel up -- yes, feel up with his hands -- Scarlett Johansson. He even squeezed. Twice.
What. An. Absolute. Asshole.
Color me confused, but when did it become okay for people to randomly feel up others on national television? And this isn't the first time I've seen it. Andy Dick played with Pamela Anderson's breasts on Comedy Central's Roast of Pamela Anderson. I guess some people thought that was really funny, but it gave me the creeps.
Since Mizrahi's antics at the Golden Globes, he's been both applauded and scolded, but mostly applauded. This take on the incident suggests that Mizrahi simply acted on a desire everyone who saw ScarJo that night must have experienced. At an event celebrating the very industry that precipitated the first critical discussion of "the male gaze," Isaac Mizrahi gave it hands.
I don't know how the women in Hollywood stand it. Sure being rich helps, but being groped on the red carpet ??? Yuck. And those fools who are saying she must have liked it because she's smiling??? Give me a break. You must be like five years old, because everyone knows it's easiest to smile and laugh off an embarrassing situation. And all those headlines about S.J.'s "golden globes"??? Tired, buster.
Interestingly, many -- including Ms. Johanson herself -- are ready to excuse the designer's antics simply because he is gay. Check out this bit of copy from the Guardian:
There are certain things you can only get away with if you are a very camp, gay fashion designer. It's probably safe to say that having a quick feel of Scarlett Johansson's breasts is one of them. So all credit to Isaac Mizrahi, making his debut appearance as a red carpet interviewer for the American cable channel E! at the Golden Globes last week, for not passing up the opportunity.
"We'll be seeing him at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Grammys,' said a spokesman for E!. 'And yes, he's always pretty flamboyant.' Celebrities, you have been warned.Warned??? Fuck you E!!
I know the nineties seem like a million years ago, but am I the only one who remembers all that buzz around sexual harassment seminars and campaigns against domestic violence and rallies to take back the night??? Why are we seeing macho guys on the Real World slap their female roommates around? And why is okay for anyone -- gay or not -- to feel up a woman in front of a rolling camera???
Friday, January 20, 2006
Is Jabba the Hut cute?*
Here in the manse of fluffy dollars, the SB and I have been consuming mass quantities of pizza and quaffing copious amounts "frothy amber goodness" and musing on the question "what makes something cute?" Over at m.n.f.b. (my new favorite blog) Cute Overload, proprietor Meg has been compiling / developing something she calls "the rules of cuteness." And her timing seems just right.
You see, we're not really so interested in beauty anymore. I mean, we like it and all, but the question of cuteness -- Cuteness Studies, if you will -- seems somehow more relevant. I'm not sure why this is so. Perhaps is the post-Thomas Kinkaid, post-museum, post-mall, post-nature age that's made extra room in our imaginations for the cute. And, I'm working only on hunches here, but I suspect our interest in the cute will overlap with my interest feminist politics and the SB's fondness for all things Marxist.
Areas of interest:
--"cuteness" and capitalism. The whole point of fluffy dollars has been to investigate the connectedness between the fluffy and the dollar, so this question is particularly compelling. From the sheer delight elicited by seeing windows full of mass produced Totoros in Little Tokyo to the sheer horror of reading about the puppy mills that stock mall pet stores.
-- "cuteness" and sexuality. "cuteness" are a non-gendered category, despite it's associations with femininity and "girlie-ness."
-- "cuteness" and feminism. Riot grrl ("huggy bear" et al)
-- areas where the membrane between the cute and the grotesque seems incredibly thin or where the cute and grotesque actually overlap (i.e. Jabba the hut?)
-- the semiotics of cuteness, cross-pollination, and cooptation. Paris Hilton and Hello Kitty, Hello Kitty vibrators, ect.
-- "cuteness" and the categories of "human," "animal," and "other"
-- "cuteness" and youth, "cuteness" and wisdom
--"cuteness" and aggression or the transformation / perversion of something cute into something aggressive and evil (i.e. gremlins, Willow, Hillary Duff)
--"cuteness" and class
-- "cuteness" and propriety. Check out the comment thread from this post over at CO. I HATE it when people tell other people what to do! Yuck.
--"cuteness" as an elicitor of both euphoria and empathy (Awwww....)
This little investigation should pair nicely with our "cutie crack" feature. What do you think? Does cute make you high?
*for the record, I do not think Jabba the Hut is cute. He reminds me of snot or a flaccid penis. This is, I believe, a popular opinion. So then why did/do people think Ectoplasm (he has similar qualities), the little ghost from Ghostbusters, was/is cute?
Thursday, January 19, 2006
No doubt, you have alls been wondering about the Sad Billionaire's take on K-Fed's latest musical offering, "PopoZao." To be perfectly honest, I have not really known what to make of "PopoZao"... on the one hand, I like the Shaw Brothers style chop-socky aesthetic, and the spooky little "mondo cane" exotica flourishes, although the whole piece pales in comparison to its obvious inspiration, the "Indian Flute" hip-hop trope that was all over urban radio a few seasons ago... On the other hand, K-Fed's vocal performance fails to live up to the promise of "Y'All Ain't Ready." Instead of pursuing the tantalizing "line of flight" from musical conventions latent in "Y'All Ain't Ready," K-Fed lingers in the back, lurking in the beat's periphery. Here, K-Fed's monstrous and risible overconfidence leads not to heroic heights of idiocy but merely to atmospheric posturing and ambient braggadocio. Thoroughly creepy... which is nevertheless an accomplishment in itself, given how totally uncreepy the would-be creeps of Nu-Metal are, despite their best intentions...
Saaya Irie, the name synonymous with the Japanese underground culture, may never put on a bathing suit again. The 11-year old Japanese girl best known for her scandalous F-cups vaulted into world-wide fame through an article printed in the Japan Times which stated her presence may ease tension between China and Japan. The article mentions the busty Saaya’s picture posted on a popular Chinese Internet forum with a slogan reading: “"An 11-year-old Japanese girl with large breasts has a proclamation for all Chinese people! Dear elder brothers, a beautiful young Japanese girl is beseeching you.
"Please stop these anti-Japanese hijinks. If you don't, I won't like you anymore."
To make the entire ordeal more sordid, the slogan continues that her breasts would "rise up" if the people "unite for the sake of China's democracy."
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
This title scorer is really nifty, although it's a tad inscrutable. In case you're wondering, Fluffy Dollars has about a 60% chance of being a best seller. Hmm...
And what's up with all the cute stuff? Turns out that cute things stimulate the same part of the brain as drugs, leading us to start a new feature -- "Cute Crack." This week's dose of cute crack is pictured above. Those are baby porcupines. The one on the end looks sleepy. Image source
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Screen star Kate Beckinsale was shocked by her Pearl Harbour co-star Ben Affleck's negative stance on English women - and made it her "mission" to smash his prejudices.
Affleck insisted girls from across the Atlantic didn't match up to the image-conscious Los Angeles ladies he was used to.
She recalls, "Ben Affleck used to say, 'English girls are really bad at doing their bikini waxes, and smell.'
"I thought, 'I will make it my mission to prove you wrong.'"
Like the removal of hair from other body parts, the Brazilian wax is being promoted by consumer capitalism particularly through beauty salons, popular magazines, and Web sites as a way for women to increase their attractiveness and sexuality. Notably absent from media coverage are critical views of this practice and its potential repercussions, including its contribution to the sexual objectification of girls and women and to the social construction of women as childlike.
This salon article
Let Waxing Wane
13 year olds waxing
Ben Affleck likes his nuts
Friday, January 13, 2006
Reasons I like Mac:
1. Blue hair is cool
2. She calls her bedroom "the cave."
3. She's smart
4. She brings some subtle lesbian-undertones to her interactions with Veronica
5. She rips off all the idiot rich kids with a "purity test" so she can finance the purchase of a shiny new car.
There's a Veronica Mars panel at the Alamo tomorrow. Creator Rob Tomas along with Kristen Bell (Veronica) and Jason Dohnring (Logan) will be there. Unfortunately, the show is SOLD OUT ( >sniff< ) but we might go just to get a peek anyway.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
I read the first few pages of the third installment of the Gossip Girl series at the bookstore the other day. These books are the Laguna Beach / Sex in the City of Teen Lit, and they read much like an issue of Teen People or Cosmo Girl, only with less heart. Those who compare the series to Cruel Intentions do so in order to flatter it. Sure, there's intrigue and drugs and bulimia and blow jobs, but there's not really a psychological or moral conflict at it's core. It's a slick and superficial world, and -- I think -- a rather perfect articulation of capitalism.
The tenuous nature of gossip's connection to truth is reflected in it's etymology.
O.E. godsibb "godparent," from God + sibb "relative" (see sibling). Extended in M.E. to "any familiar acquaintance" (1362), especially to woman friends invited to attend a birth, later to "anyone engaging in familiar or idle talk" (1566). Sense extended 1811 to "trifling talk, groundless rumor." The verb meaning "to talk idly about the affairs of others" is from 1627.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
"Is it just me, or does the whole world suck?" -- Lindsay Weir, Freaks and Geeks
- High school is flawed. Puberty, the fascist caste systems and intricate social hierarchies, and the limits on one's freedom and time combined with increased freedoms is a big toxic cupcake. And the social pressures more than make up the difference for those immune to ones of an academic nature. High school does little to make any of this better. The buildings are ugly and smelly, the teachers are often unhappy and underpaid, and the students either do their homework or don't. Yuck.
- High School is full of teenagers. Somehow, even before we are teens and after we are teens, we find it easy to identify with teens. Something about the psychological struggle of figuring out one's identity -- the psychic locus of high school -- remains familiar to us.
- High school is ironic. Parents believe it to be good and safe and educational, but it's often little more than a sesspool of weird sexual harassment, drugs, and boredom.
- High school is often a critique of society at large. The problems within the halls of high school mirror those of the culture beyond it.
- In high school, the future is indeterminate. Who knows where these people will end up? Something about the openness of the high school student's future is appealing.
Friday, January 06, 2006
I KNOW that ozzie is a feminist, but I'm not sure if she's a Marxist. My hunch is that most dogs are Marxists, but I'm not a pet psychic, so that's just idle speculation.*
*BTW, I love that commercial in which Fat Joe plays a pet pyschic. It's for some phone company. It's tight.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
I'm not sure why this is so. Unlike the "mean girl," the "tough girl" isn't necessarily dripping with femininity (though there is "bad gal" make-up). And though Buffy is TOTALLY "tough," Kim Kelly's toughness is of a different sort. And though Paris Gellar's tongue is just a sharp, she's way more square. It seems as though the tough girls without a calling or a type-a personality have gone underground.
So this is one of my current projects. I'm looking for tough girls on TV. I think I might start by checking out this new ROLLERGIRLS show from A&E. And I'd like to take a look at this book and this book.
And speaking of books, I'd like to end this post with a bit from one of Kim Kelly's book reviews. This is from her review of Deenie by Judy Blume.
Girls get tested for scoliosis all the time in gym class and it sucks. How'd you like to take your top off, stand around in your bra, and bend over in front of a doctor? So don't complain about that "turn your head and cough" crap. Anyway, Deenie has to wear a scoliosis brace. That's got to be pretty rough. But she's so conceited you want to slap her. It's like, "Boo hoo, now I can't wear my cute new school outfits!" And her mom's a real piece of work. All she cares about is forcing Deenie to be a model, so she can mooch off her daughter's paychecks. If I were Deenie, I'd make her mom wear the brace for a day or two. Then maybe she'd leave her alone. The one cool thing about Deenie is that she tells people the truth about her brace, instead of making up some lie. Eventually, everyone gets used to the idea. And this cute guy still wants to make out with her.
Read more about Kim Kelly and her book reviews here. And give me a shout if you know any tough girls.