Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It May Not Be Cold Enough to Freeze Your Winebago

But I still hope all five of my readers are somewhere safe, warm and loving today.

This year I was quite excited to find out that A Muppet Family Christmas, the special that pretty much makes Christmas Christmas for me, is on youtube in five parts. If you've never seen it, you are missing out. Here's part the first:

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Double Shot at Love: I Feel a Rant Coming On

Ok, so I was really excited today, because I found out that a person I used to work with is on Double Shot at Love, which gives me a legitimate excuse to both watch the trash and blog about it! But as it turns out, I can't stomach blogging about this shit. I'll still root for the guy I know and all, but the first episode seriously made me physically ill. During the "big reveal" in which Rikki tells the contestants they've been meeting both her and her twin Vikki, Rikki leads with "I was born with another part." Cut to shocked contestants, guys saying things like "I can't believe I kissed her!" and "Please don't have a penis!" and girls saying things like "This happened to me before... twice in a lifetime is too much."

Most of the negative stereotypes this show plays with, I can take because I naively imagine that people, you know, KNOW better. They know that this is MTV and if a bisexual woman is slutty and petty and fake, well, that's not saying much because everyone is slutty and petty and fake on MTV. But using severe and apparent transphobia for drama and laughs is nothing short of appalling. Because one month ago, there was little known day called the Transgender Day of Rememberence. Because for some people, and I want to stress that world - we are talking about people, not a concept, people with families and friends and lovers and jobs and childhoods and hopes - for some people, "twice in a lifetime" might represent too many times they found out someone they cared for was disgusted by their body. "Twice in a lifetime" might represent too many times they were harassed for trying to use a restroom. "Twice in a lifetime" might represent too many times they've had to face discrimination from teachers, employers, doctors and other officials that made life more difficult to navigate. "Twice in a lifetime" might represent too many times they felt threatened just for existing. "Twice in a lifetime" might represent too many times they were a victim of violence. "Twice in a lifetime" might represent too many times they read about a person like them being killed for being a person like them. But probably not, you know. It was probably a lot more than twice.

Don't tell me I'm overreacting when I say: according to MTV, transgender people don't deserve a shot at love.

You see, sometimes things are said or done, and I can hear the average person twenty years from now saying sternly, "I would have never let something like that happen." You know, how we say now, "If I was around when the Native Americans were being slaughtered, I wouldn't have contributed," or "If I was alive during segregation, I wouldn't have just sat back". But here's the thing: you most likely would, and that doesn't mean you're evil. Everything around you would encourage you to be oppressive or apathetic. This retroactive denouncement bothers me to no end. It accomplishes nothing except covering one's ass from being called prejudiced. Listen: it's much more impressive to own up to your prejudice and privilege, to acknowledge that the world around us still encourages us to treat some people as "normal" and others as deviations from that norm, and therefore less worthwhile. White does not mean normal, male does not mean normal, able-bodied does not mean normal, straight does not mean normal and cis-gendered (born with a biological sex that matches one's identity) does not mean normal. When a kid asks you twenty years from now if you tolerated prejudice, fear and violence, what are you going to be able to say to them?

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Reason to Love Jeffrey Rowland #46

So, I've expressed Overcompensating love here before, but my admiration reached new heights tonight. This just showed up on my friend list:



First glance, no big reaction. I knew he was mocking the internet's penchant for thinking rape jokes are the most edgy hilarity evar, not embracing the notion, but still. Then I read the accompanying blurb, and had one of those oh-so-satisfying "THANK YOU" moments:

"Let's talk about rape for a moment. Rape is not what George Lucas did to your childhood. Rape is not what happens when a sports team beats another sports team by a wide margin. Rape is not what happens when your electric bill is higher this month than it was last month. Rape is when a person violates another person in the most despicable, degrading way imaginable and among the myriad of terrible things humans can do to one another, rape is among the worst. I think the casual misappropriation of the concept of rape extending all the way to its widespread comical usage is disgusting even by Internet standards. Off my chest."

LOVE.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Shocker: Frank Miller Sexist

I admittedly know little about Frank Miller's work. I cracked the graphic novel versions of Sin City and 300 in the bookstore, was not charmed, and moved on. I saw 300, and I saw the sped-up no-special-effects version of Sin City on the DVD (then decided that was all I wanted to see). That's all.

Yet, I'm entirely confident in saying: I don't like Frank Miller. I could tell you my full thoughts about 300, which I was coerced to attend, which I laughed through, which is in fact The Second Least Enjoyable Movie I Have Ever Seen (the first, for the curious, is Urban Legend, either because of or despite the fact that I ate up books about urban legends as a kid), but I'll spare you, because 300 sucking is old news. I don't know much about Alan Moore, either, but I do like him, mostly because he called 300 "racist, homophobic and sublimely stupid", which about sums it up. If you saw 300 and don't see how I could get political shudders out of a harmless action movie, maybe you should watch it again keeping in mind that the creator once said of those we're at war with (linking 9/11 to Iraq, of course, and treating other cultures as monolithic and savage):
"For some reason, nobody seems to be talking about who we’re up against, and the sixth century barbarism that they actually represent. These people saw people’s heads off. They enslave women, they genitally mutilate their daughters, they do not behave by any cultural norms that are sensible to us. I’m speaking into a microphone that never could have been a product of their culture, and I’m living in a city where three thousand of my neighbors were killed by thieves of airplanes they never could have built."
So, yes, I saw some symbolism in 300.

Anyway! I've written more than I intended.
I'm posting because, via io9, turns out the women in the new movie based on Miller's The Spirit are stupid stereotypes that completely revolve around the male character.



Not surprised. A woman with whom I work was telling me about how she saw Sin City, and how it's a feminist movie because there's Good Guy Heroes saving poor women for Bad Guy Rapists, and I gently explained that this idea wasn't quite empowering.
I'm thinking this one will fail the Bechdel test.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Clinton

Which person do you think of when you read that name? Hillary, Bill or both? Apparently we can't think about Sen. Clinton without thinking about her husband, too, as evidenced by every political cartoon I've seen since Hillary Clinton was rumored to be the next Secretary of State. If that link stops working, here's just a few examples:





(Ok, I do kind of like that last one, but...)
I seriously sometimes forget that they're married. During the primaries, Sen. Clinton became such a huge public personality in her own right that when people brought up Bill without referencing his wife's campaign specifically, I took pause to remember how he might fit in. Not joking, an anchor would say "Bill Clinton is on the road" and my brain at least once reacted "I wonder why?"
Maybe I'm young or naive, but it can't just be me that is at least a little bothered like this. A very successful and famous woman is married to a very successful and famous man, so he must have some part to play in every professional happening of her life. Excuse the weak metaphor, but it's like... if Angelina was working on a new project, and all anyone could write about was what it's like having Brad on the set. That actually might be more apt than I give it credit for, as part of the problem is that we treat political news like gossip column material - Hillary's Hubby's Hijinks, and of course The Clinton-Obama Faux-Rivalry Drama.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I Understand Now

Today, I feel constantly on the verge of tears.
Some people are telling me that this doesn't matter. That this won't change anything. That tomorrow we will wake up and the world will be no different. But I am personally in awe of how important this is to me.

My twenty-first birthday is on Saturday. I have never voted in a presidential election before. This is important, but not why I feel so frantic today. I've been following the race closely and have some firm opinions. This is important, but not why I feel so frantic right now.

I'm overcome today because I realize I have no recollection of any president other than George Bush. I was twelve when he was elected, and the idea that politics had something to do with my life had just barely wafted into my consciousness. I'm overcome today because I have no idea what it is like to have faith in my government. I'm overcome today because I think that tomorrow, my world will be different. It certainly won't be perfect. Obama was not my first choice in the primaries, as you know if you've been here before. But I'm overcome because tomorrow, I have hope for the first time that I will not be struggling against the person with power over my country, I will be struggling with him. I'm overcome because I think for the first time a person with respect for my intelligence and my rights will be in charge of many public aspects of my life.

I've been overcome with anger today. Not at those who oppose my candidate, really; but at those who show no preference, who don't want to vote, that they are forced to choose 'the lesser of two evils', who don't claim they can't see the goddamn difference. The difference for me is between continuing the uphill battle which I have been engaged in my entire politically aware life, or having the relief of knowing that at the very least two men who care about human rights are in the white house. Maybe someone else sees the difference differently. But there is a difference, and to claim you don't care or it doesn't matter strikes me as either ignorant or spoiled. I do have to accept that everyone doesn't care about politics as much as I do, but I don't accept that politics don't affect every single life. The personal is political, and all. I don't say "ignorant" as an insult; I sincerely hope these people realize how these issues and how which guy is sitting in the big chair affects them directly. Because it does.

I'm overcome today with gratitude, because nothing is closer to my heart than social justice, and so I'm acutely aware of how I got this right to vote. Who gave their life for me to have it. People complain about the electoral college (though they're entitled to do) without pausing to realize how corrupt this system was before. What this meant to those who had to fight for it. I don't think I understood before today, thinking about what it would be like to watch this process and have no power in it. When you think of that possibility, which was reality less than one hundred years ago, voting is not a pointless endeavor, even if no candidate is your ideal.

I don't use the word "empowered" often.
I usually don't understand it.
I understand now.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Needed Noting...

I'm not 'back' yet, or maybe ever, but I have a story concerning the last episode of Project Runway (which Korto should have won, in my little opinion- I think she or Leanne would be my favorite, were I actually watching on a regular basis). Let me say first that I've been waiting for a drag queen challenge since season one. I predicted RuPaul as a judge way back when I started blogging about this show. I was incredibly excited about this. But it occurs to me that this challenge was a bit strange to some folks. My mom brought home this heart-warming story from work the other day:

A woman she works with always watches Project Runway with her five-year-old daughter. When the models entered out of drag, the young girl asked her mother,
"Mom- why are they putting boys in dresses??"
"Well, some boys just like to wear dresses."
"They do?" The girl said with shock, then asked: "Is that ok?"
"As long as they're open and honest about it," The mother, a psychiatrist, replied, "It's perfectly ok."
"Oh. Ok."

One small step for a man, one giant leap for a man in high heels, eh?

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Youtube Favorite Friday: Cuteness (and apologies)

Yep, can't get enough of going "aw" at this one:


I love Sesame Street, so much.

So, sorry I've been totally neglecting this thing. Taize was good, but also hard, I still don't know how to convey the spiritual experience in words, but some more concrete highlights:
- Chocolate and butter sandwiches, for breakfast, everyday.
- Being humbled by people who walked there... from Italy.
- Picking up a slew of dirty ASL signs (prooobably just our group).
- The catchy tune stuck in your head is sung by monks (well, and everyone else).
- Sobbing with people you just met, and some of whom do not share a language with you.

So. That's that. I start work at camp tomorrow, so yeah, blogging is not my priority right now. I may stop in occasionally to link somewhere else, but don't expect too much original content until September.

Speaking of linking other places, here's a few of my favorite stories. I'm limiting myself to ones I found this morning, or else I'd just go on and on:
-Feministe: Latina teacher fired for not regurgitating the same old crap. Oh social justice, how you need to be a requirement- for students, and apparently school administrators. It's fucking scary that challenging Eurocentrism is so dangerous.
-Queerty: "Can’t I Just Have Mayonnaise?" Whines O’Reilly Over "Gay" Commercial O'Reilly's homophobia and glaringly obvious straight privilege here is endlessly amusing/distressing to me. He totally can't grasp the concept that the loving housewife being replaced by a New York deli man is "gender play". Because he totally can't see past two guys kissing. Because if it was a man and woman, it would be normal. Because straight people are normal and gay people are a disturbing and political affront to all straight people. I just feel bad for him at this point. Could someone educate him, please?
-Bitch Magazine: Factory Girl: Dora the Explorer and the Dirty Secrets of the Global Industrial Economy I'm kind of envious of how many issues the writer managed to neatly packed in this one article. I tried to sum it up, but please, just go read it.
-Fourfour: She just doesn't get it Oh, how I hoped- or perhaps rationalized- that Tila Tequila was at least slightly positive for bisexual visibility. But, alas- she's gone and spouted another old bisexual stereotype, and to make matters worse, still thinks she's helping.

Ok, I found another video of the kid, so today you're lucky enough to get two youtube favorites:

I wonder where she is now?

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Youtube Favorite Friday: New Crush!

Yep, I'm totally fucking girl-crushing on Julia Nunes.



Besides being magic on the ukulele - an instrument that evokes awe in me because I usually see it as a toy instead of, well, an instrument (maybe because I bought my own at a toy store?) - she's also just so sweet and goofy and sincere and cute. She's got all of this confidence I never have when I'm performing. Maybe I should try putting music on the youtubes sometime.

Well, I'm going to Europe tomorrow, so I might post something about France of Switzerland when I get back. This'll be the last post 'til June, though. Sorry to deprive you again, you five readers, you.

In conclusion: Julia Nunes! Come to Rhode Island and play a show with me!

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Facebook Ad Hilarity

So I've posted here before about ads on facebook, and other bigger blogs have also picked up on the fucked-up ads targeted at women. Here's the latest on my sidebar:



That's right - the ipod of shaving. Facebook aims at the wrong target, again.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Back on Track, Reality TV Style

Here be ANTM spoilers!

Phew! Finals are over, and I am free to blog regularly again. Until I go to France. And then to camp. So, enjoy the increase of posts while it lasts!

What moves me to write tonight is really a great source of shame for me. You see, I watch America's Next Top Model. I watch: 5% out of true interest, 20% because my housemate watches it, 35% to understand Rich's recaps (but I'd read them anyway, the reading predated the watching), and 40% to feel weekly as if I am in some trippy alternate reality in which Tyra Banks makes sense.

Anyway, tonight was the finale and plus-sized model Whitney took it. I was excited, though I liked all the girls in the final three, Whitney would be the best "spokes model", if you rule out the theory that Anya is so damn cute you'd buy anything she was holding. Whitney's also the first plus-sized model to ever win, which is something. It was feeling like they just always cast a token fat girl for no reason. She went into a speech at the end of the show about how hard growing up not super-thin has been, and the judges had a generally fat-positive (though cheesy, always cheesy) message, saying instead of "plus-sized" or "full-figured" all she should be called is "beautiful". Sweet.

But! An anonymous source told Rich, that Whitney may have been a plant (funny enough, a theory he put forth about the full-figured model last season), and photos on livejournal's ohnotheydidnt of a much slimmer Whitney support. I shouldn't be surprised. Reality TV and ethics don't mix.
However, I'm downright bothered, not because Whitney got the prize- plant or not, she's a good model, and like I said, the best spokes model, and putting to rest the idea that fat girls can't win on this show was a fine gesture. But, if it was truly fixed (in the always-planned-that-this-girl-is-going-to-win way, not the gain-some-weight-and you'll-be-a-good-plus-sized-girl way), I'm bothered that the other top two, specifically, didn't get the prize, and by extension that chance at being the "inspiration" that Whitney is (maybe?) for big girls. If you don't follow the show, both Fatima and Anya, the other finalists, were born outside of the United States. Anya was born in Russia and raised in Hawaii, and Fatima is a refugee from Somalia who currently resides in Massachusetts. So, if this was a fixed win, the message to me reads as kind of "Fat girls CAN make it! But not too fat! And with help! Help that immigrant/refugee women don't get!"
Buuuuut if it's not fixed at all, yay Whitney and everything!

I also post because that ONTD entry features a lot of other models, including my second favorite girl from Cycle 10, Lauren! My first favorite is Kimberly by default, because she's a local girl and because she went all "oh wait I have ethics" in the first episode (though they were more "buying expensive stuff is stupid" ethics than "this industry is wasteful and demeaning and capitalism is evil" ethics, I take what I can get), something I expected Lauren to do when I first saw her punk ass. Alas, no, she stuck with it, but was too delightfully awkward to make it all the way. This photo further captured my heart, of course.
Lauren rocks the pit hair:


Oh, the very vision of beauty.
My secret sources (message boards) tell me that Kimya Dawson has written a song about hairy armpits, avaliable very soon on her album for kids, Alphabutt, which I'm so stoked for. If you're down with hairy armpits, you're pretty much down with me.

Tyra Banks = not down with me.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Youtube Favorite... Saturday

Hey. Sorry I'm late again. Finals are cracking down. (Aaaaaand Season 4 of Buffy arrived in the mail.)

So, some lighter fare today:

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Worry

Hey, all. I was going to blog about Toaster Strudel today. I even wrote "not paid to say this" in frosting on a toaster strudel and took a picture. They're delicious, was what the point was going to be. But I got an email from The Boy this morning, and now something else is totally occupying my brain.

The Boy, as I affectionately refer to my significant other of over three years on this blog, is studying in Buenos Aires right now. He mentioned to me last night that the city has been covered in smoke for a few days, but seemed to be clearing up last night. This morning, he emailed me to say the smoke wasn't over. So I looked into what the news had to say about it. And I saw this video:



And that's some mind-occupyingly-frightening stuff.
I keep reading that this is farmers burning residue from crops, and that they do it annually- so has this happened before? Or did something just go wrong this year? The Boy told me, with what seemed like a fair amount of certainty, that this was connected to the dispute Argentinian farmers have been having with the government. That could just be his perspective or what the people in Buenos Aires are saying, but no new sources I've seen have mentioned it. I clearly don't know what the truth is. It's just another question to occupy my brain today.



(pictures from here)

The Boy was told it's not dangerous. That certainly sounds familiar. Obviously there's a difference, but how can breathing in smoke this dense every moment not do any damage?

"They say that it's okay, but I say don't breathe that shit in."
Anthrax, Kimya Dawson. song, lyrics.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Youtube Favorite Friday: Buffy

The Saint-Marie, not the slayer.
This video hasn't been working for me. If it doesn't work for you either, let me know and another song of hers up. If it does work for you, lucky, you get to enjoy the voice of Buffy Saint-Marie.



I first found her when Kimya Dawson posted the same video in her livejournal. She went on to talk about how inspiring and strong Buffy is, how brave, and gives Wal-Mart a great big fuck you. I really enjoyed the latter part at the time, but for whatever reason didn't pay the former so much mind.
Then I started writing an article for the Women's Center newsletter (I'll post it when it goes online) about progressive female artists, and I put Buffy on my list of people to check out, because I certainly trust Kimya's tastes. I ended up listening to Buffy Saint-Marie constantly for a solid week. She's amazing.

At the same time, a lot of things corresponded- my housemate went to a conference about women in politics, and the last speaker talked about how women often don't get politically involved because they don't think they understand every facet of the issue(s), but men don't have that same political inhibition. And in an essay class, we had to write about an experience with an animal, and I wrote about an injured pigeon that some kids were tormenting in kindergarten, and the essay ended up being about how baffling cruelty and a lack of sympathy has always been to me, and how powerless I feel every time I think about the fact that I'm in a country whose government condones torture. Then the Yoo memos were released. And none of my friends knew about it, and the TV didn't talk about it, and at this point everyone is watching Obama and Clinton and thanking their lucky stars that there's less than a year left of Bush, but there's still torture and we should still be talking about it. Fuck, we should be yelling in the streets about it! And I spent my days at work reading and writing about Buffy Saint-Marie and Billie Holiday and Patti Smith and Sweet Honey in the Rock and Ani DiFranco, and I one day I finished the piece on Buffy, and I went home, and I wrote my first protest song.

I ended up going back to that livejournal entry of Kimya's because, of course, I wrote about her, too, and wanted to work in some quotes displaying her feminist and anti-corporate sensibilities. So I read it again, I read this again: "All the strong women, who helped make me who I am, are on my mind. Maybe because of all the messages I have gotten from those of you who have said that I have changed or empowered you. Let's keep it going."
Kimya Dawson is the whole reason I picked up a guitar for the first time in eight years, and why I started teaching myself and writing songs. When I read those words, it just felt like magic, like the universe made sense for just a few minutes. It felt powerful.
Maybe that's all incomprehensible to you. It might be beyond words.
I guess, all I can say is, thank you, brave women. Thank you, Kimya. Thank you, Buffy.

More Buffy
More Kimya
More Me (including the protest song, "Inexcusable", uploaded for the occasion- it has some mistakes because it's new and quite fast, making it hard to play over and over. Be forgiving.)

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Nice Try, Facebook

There's a new ad being targeted at me on Facebook. They seem to be trying to make up for their recent offense.


Awfully suspicious, eh? Alas, I know that they never try to appeal to my feminist sensibilities, just playing to my gender. And often to the fact that I have a Buffy the Vampire Slayer application? They advertise Buffy DVDs a whole lot.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Youtube Favorite Fridays: Calpernia Addams Chaps Your Ass (or, Hitting the Brick Wall)

For this week, I chose Calpernia Addams's long list of Bad Questions to Ask a Transsexual.



Her smiling rage is so lovely and righteous. There can only be so many polite, even-toned education moments (usually met with confusion, skepticism or flat-out offense) before a person either stops bothering or starts screaming. I live a relatively comfortable and privileged life, and still, I know I've run out of steam (or, less often, had steam build up to the point of explosion) when trying to engage others in real conversation about sexism, racism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia and so forth from time to time. Sometimes it just feels like there's no progress, not even that seed of enlightenment planted, and you just want to shout some sense into some eardrums. That, of course, gets you labeled as over-sensitive (or a feminazi, or a reverse racist, or selfish, or a plain old bitch) and others use it to undercut your credibility. Sometimes it's a brick wall that you no longer have the strength to dismantle.

That devastating discouragement has hit progressive bloggers hard in the past, and right now it seems to be particularly affecting women of color. Brownfemipower is down, and the permanence is unclear. Holly at Feministe covers that better than I could. Reappropriate also went on hiatus late last month, and Jenn, the blogger there, posted a comprehensive explanation. You should really go read it, and I'll end with an excerpt:

I’m tired of discussions of sexism being misconstrued as male-bashing, I’m tired of people who don’t know feminism thinking they can define it, and above all, I am tired of the suspicion of my racial solidarity and my pride in the Asian American community because of my identification as a feminist and the choices in my personal life. I’m tired of constantly talking and not being heard, and having to defend who I am to the men in my community. I’m saddened by the countless emails from feminists who write to me to tell me that the hoarde of anti-feminist commentors on this blog have chased them from commenting. I feel like I’ve been banging my head against a brick wall, and all I have to show for it is ostracization, derision, and occasionally ridicule from some Asian American men. I feel like the adage “working twice as hard to get half as far” is poignantly relevant to how hard I’ve struggled for the same acceptance in the APIA online community that some of my male colleagues enjoy almost innately.
...
It’s telling to me that this kind of hiatus occurs so frequently in the feminism of colour blogosphere. Something about having to fight the tides of racism in the feminist community and the sexism within our racialized communities makes us more susceptible to weariness. We are fighting a war on two fronts; perhaps this is why so few feminists of colour blog, and our blogosphere community remains so small. Perhaps this periodic need to rejuvenate is all the evidence needed to demonstrate how difficult it is to exist at the political intersection of race and gender.

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Whoops! Late Youtube Favorite

I was away this weekend, so I missed my one steady feature. Sorry about that.
I'll give you the Youtube Favorite, and a bonus: the March newsletter of the Women's Center at which I work. Our year's theme is Stereotypes, and that month's theme was stereotypes about mothers. Enjoy! (pdf)

To compliment that, here's one of my favorite lady Kimya's songs about motherhood:

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Youtube Favorite Fridays

This has been making the rounds on some of my favorite blogs. Enjoy, hopefully I'll get to something besides the regular feature this week... or perhaps I should just start making more regular features.

The original of this is down for whatever reason, but some smarty pants put it up on a different name. Check out the man's website, and enjoy!

EDIT: The original is up! Is youtube being weird for anyone else? A lot of videos have been mysteriously "unavailable" to me lately, and this has confirmed my suspicion that it might only be on my end.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Youtube Favorite Fridays

I think the lists we compile on the internet say a lot about us- our amazon wishlists (I've got a lot of comic books, documentaries and GLBT-themed everything), our recent wikipedia searches (I've got a lot of superheroes, dinosaurs and different schools of feminism), and of course, our favorite youtube videos.

I favorite things on youtube mostly because I want more people to watch them, but I obviously realize that nobody real cares to check my favorites on youtube regularly. So, I thought I'd make them an installment here. Enjoy the first of many Friday Youtube Favorites:



This is a brief video about Jennifer Miller and Circus Amok. She comes to my institution of higher learning every so often, so I've met her in person, and let me tell you, she is one amazing woman with a beard. Yes, it grows there naturally; no, she's not transitioning; yes, she eats fire; yes, she if pretty friggin' hot. Look her up, and don't miss the show if it comes near you.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

What the hell is this, facebook?

Listen, I know facebook isn't exactly a great place for social responsibility, and this one may not even be their fault. It just irked me.

Facebook has specialized advertisements, which means I usually get to see an ad for Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVDs when I'm checking my friends' notes. Today, however, I was looking at some Harry Potter application, and I get this shit:



What the hell? Who measures themselves? Furthermore, does the kind of person who measures themselves really need to see a picture of measuring tape and the word "fat" when they're checking their facebook? I have a pretty good self-image and this still had me somewhat unsettled. I'm wondering, since a lot of ads are specifically targeted, is this? How would they target this? Women? Hufflepuffs? (Geek tangent: why in the first book are Hufflepuffs loyal, just and fair, but by the fifth book they're "the rest"? Hufflepuffs got fuckin' Mary-Anned.)

Anyway, Facebook isn't exactly proving itself to be a great place for women. Besides this, there's the breastfeeding photo ban, and, well:


Thank you, facebook, for reminding me of my slowly dying faith in humanity. It's great that so many said yes, and it's horrifying so many people said no, and it's downright despicable that this is a serious question.
If you want real horror, though, scroll down a nudge. After some people are having the right reaction, we get to the colorful message boards:


I won't expand on what these delightful threads contain. Let me just reiterate a point I've made before: social justice courses should be a college requirement.
Also, someone let me know if there's a better umbrella term for the wonderful word of gender studies, ethnic studies, queer studies, disability studies and so on. I'd like to know it.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Fuck You, Guinness.

I haven't finished the candidate series. I haven't posted about the Project Runway finale. I'll probably do the former but not the latter. Let me just give you the words running through my head about Christian's collection: isosceles, fungal growth, top-heavy, dirty (dirty-dirty not sexy-dirty), and why-the-fuck-will-puffed-
sleeves-tight-pants-and-ruffles-never-cease-to-amaze-these-
people. The thought "he needs the money" almost soothed me except I remembered he's twenty-one, he's not SUPPOSED to have a nice apartment, especially in New York.

For now, though, I've got ventin' to do.
Fuck. You. Guinness.


Guinness is sponsoring the oh-so-cleverly titled Proposition 3-17, which would affectively turn a religious and cultural holiday into a nationally recognized day for Guinness to make a few extra bucks. Don't even try to tell me that Guinness is doing this for Irish pride- the write up of 3-17 includes some bullshitting about "allow[ing] people to express their Irishness" but ends, predictably, with the suggestion of enjoying "a pint of Guinness stout or two". I know appropriation happens all the time, but alcohol companies are particularly fond of perverting holidays founded by people who stereotypically drink into excuses for drinking, and nothing, nothing else. I'm sure Corona will be all over a petition to officially recognize Cinco De Mayo soon enough.
The text of Proposition 3-17 states that on St. Patrick's Day, "everyone reveals a little bit of their Irish side". Translation: On St. Patrick's day, everyone reveals a bit of their drunken side. There is absolutely no indication on their site of how we're supposed to commemorate St. Patty's Day except through drinking, and the occasional plastic shamrock, the meaning of which is surely a mystery to them. This is not about pride. This is about pushing beer.
Irking me further, Guinness posted people stating "why they signed the petition" on their website:


I think this is the only Saint's day that has ever been described this way. You know, St. Joseph's day, celebrated by and associated with Italians, is two days after St. Patrick's, and I never see anyone on the streets celebrating that one. Nobody drinks themselves stupid or throws big parties on Easter, either, and that seems like it should be a happy occasion. I wonder why?


Again, I'm reading this as being Irish as directly related to one's intake of alcohol, unless she cooks corned beef and cabbage and listens to Celtic music in inordinate amounts every March the seventeenth. Considering the video going along with this quote was filmed in a bar, I doubt it.

Saint Patrick's Day came up in one of my classes a few days ago, and half the people there didn't know who Saint Patrick was, or even if he was a real guy. But on March 17th, I wager, they'll have a headband adorned with glittering shamrocks on springs resting upon their heads and a cool, refreshing Guinness in hand. I'm not saying that we understand the other holidays we do officially recognize (we don't, none of them), I'm just saying, why continue the fucked-up trend? Especially when we understand this holiday through a stereotype.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Does this happen to big name bloggers?

My mom read my love letter to Dennis Kucinich.
She loved it, so she forwarded it.
To Dennis Kucinich.

And the boy wonders why I don't like to tell my parents what I do.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

In Which I Realize Deadlines Are The Reason I'm Not A Journalism Major

I know, I know. I set a deadline on the presidential candidates series and didn't meet it. I'm sorry, you five loyal fans, I've been busy. You can check out some of my work over at my school's blog here, the wonderful MCLA webmaster Amy has put up a slide show I made for an event we were both involved in about language and stereotypes. She was also kind enough to let me have a mini-blurb on my feelings about the subject, as well as a plug for the WMST/social justice courses I love oh, so much.
I'm in a course on Stigma and Disability right now (I highly suggest our requied reading, My Body Politic by Simi Linton), and I'm starting to think that social justice courses need to be a requirement instead of elective, or we should at least learn what being transgender is during college orientation. I've heard plenty of people my age that just don't know. Sure, one could argue that an understanding of racism, sexism, ableism, classism, homophobia, transphobia and so on is not essential to creative writing (though I could/would certainly counter-argue that), but it's essential to understanding human experience (a.k.a. essential to existence).
Rep. Sally Kern, of course would disagree with me on that one. Speaking of language mattering:


via Feministing, that lists the Representative's contact information for the convenience of the outraged.

And here's a direct link to the slide show, in which I draw from Ellen, Dennis, and Mikhaela Reid, amongst others.

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Friday, February 29, 2008

Presedential Pick-Me-Up: Part 1

Happy Leap Day! Or is it Leap Year Day? Whatever.

In case you live in a cave or forest, and your hobby of choice is poking yourself in the eyes and ears with rocks, you know (as the existence of February 29th indicates) it's an election year. And if you know me, you know I am a Kucinich person, in a big way. Please see my livejournal icon to your right. I'm devoted, y'all.

So, I was understandably disheartened by- well- I was going to say "Dennis dropping out", but also Dennis being excluded before he dropped out, the array of Dennis-bashing before he dropped out, and so on. I am frankly disenchanted with both Hillary and Barack, and while I always considered McCain the least evil of the republicans, I realize more and more how fucking crazy he is and (considering the past few elections) how much more electable that makes him. I've said it during election years before, and I'll said it again: we're doomed!

So it's nice, during these dark times, to remember that while whoever is going to end up in the White House isn't going to be exactly ideal, at least there are some people who are totally never going to end up in the White House. People who, say, want to reinstate stoning for gays and loose women, or think their cosmic destiny as president of the universe is written in the stars- the same stars that they wish to bomb as president. Vote-smart dot org has a list of just such people, and it's called the "Other" party list of presidential candidates. Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking all third-party candidates, and I did pull a few bizarre candidates from the Republican and Democrat lists, too, but that Other list lets you get straight to the crazy. That's because on the Other list, people make up their own parties. I don't want to spoil any of the surprises, so I present for you, the first installment of a list of people whose asses Dennis Kucinich could- and, really, has thoroughly kicked in a presidential election:

Da Vid
The Light Party
You are going to notice a theme of the religion category being a source of confusion with these candidates, as apparently strange people running for president are really into strange religions, or using way too many words to explain their religion. Vid- or should I call him Da? I'm really postulating that his name is David and he either thought his last name wasn't interesting enough or he was too paranoid to post it on Vote-Smart. Anyway, Vid lists his religion as Rosicrucian, Hermetic Qabalist. I looked these words up on Wikipedia, and as far as I can tell it's New Age for history majors. They're very into stars and mysticism and really dense concepts that I'm sure all have some ancient basis that I don't understand. Also, this thing:


And here we're think a Mormon would be hard to market.
Anyway, now that I've ripped on the poor guy's religion, let me say honestly, his organizations list is kind of astounding. Vid has been part no less than 36 nice-sounding groups, including Green Peace and Doctors Without Borders. I'm really interested in the Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance. What kind of work exactly would that entail? Forgiving people, or pressuring people to forgive other people? Forgiveness conventions?
His three presidential priorities are what really seals the deal on never becoming president for him. The first is disarming all nukes, which is admirable enough. The second is "Project Health", which appears to be universal health care with some "eco-agriculture" thrown in, nothing really extreme there. His third priority, however, is "Project Light, the catchy tag line being "All The Power That Ever Was Or Will Be Is Here Now." Got a ring to it, eh? Project Light basically aims for "a sustainable global solar hydrogen/hemp based economy". How will we acheive this? Why, "The Gaia/Solaris Consortium", of course. If this vote-smart survey was graded, the professor would write a big red please explain your answer next to this one.

Gene Amondson
Prohibition Party

Seriously, guy? You're running on prohibition? You do know how that went over the last time, right? He's not totally out of touch with the youth, though: he has a myspace. And two whole friends. Maybe he'd attract more if he had any information on the page besides his name, age, marital status and astrological sign. Why those last two specifically? Possibly... for the ladies?

Terry Lee "Tee" Barkdull
The America Party

As a blogger, I have to say about this guy: JACKPOT. The first two were easy to find, but I took a chance on this guy, as he was only listed as "Unknown". However, if you follow the trail to his website, you will see quite clearly that Tee here belongs to THE AMERICA PARTY. You will also see clearly that he loves FREEDOM, CAPSLOCK, FORMATTING and "PICTURES OF EAGLES". Can you guess what the mascot of the America Party is? Hint: It's a motherfucking eagle!
I seriously don't know where to begin with this guy- I suppose the easiest jab is at the layout- eagles, soldiers and America flags fuckin' abound. He's also a big fan of weird, unnecessary formating choices and "QUOTATIONS", even in places where they make his "argument" seem "meaningless". For example, instead of promising what he'd do as your President, he tells you what he'll do AS YOUR "PRESIDENT". Don't be fooled by the seeming lack of intelligence he displays with constant misused commas ("We, can win together!"), his complete misunderstanding of how things like disability benefits, immigration and racism (holy shit is this guy swamped in privilege- did you know the very existence of BET is racist?) work, and his typos ("I am sick of Politically Correction") that result in saying something completely different ("No free bees for immigrants!"- I'm with him on this, I mean, we are short on bees). He considers himself to be a very "INTELLIGENT" individual.
Tee is very big on speaking English. Did you know over 2/3 of the world's native language is English? Tee does. He also thinks being given the option of pressing 1 for English or 2 for Spanish is discrimination. That's right- the fact that you are even offering a language besides English is impeding Tee's rights.
He wants sex, along with race, age, and eye color to be eliminated from job applications (goodness knows how sick I am of writing out my eye color every time I apply for a job). However, the Boy Scouts are for boys, the Girl Scouts are for girls- "The way it should be!". Also, he apparently feels that "homosexuality is WRONG! It's not a phobia, it's my OPINION!!! I have the right to 'NOT' to be tolerant of others because they are different, wired or they just PISS ME OFF!!" Sure, you have the right to be intolerant- unless, whoops, you're the fucking president. I'm pretty sure he meant weird instead of wired, but it wouldn't be a big stretch to see this guy going on a tirade against cyborgs.
Man, I could go on for days about this guy. He surely spent at least a few days on his website- besides the insane amount of formatting variations, he has at least a dozen rants that just go on and fucking on. The sheer volume of his angry babblings would be commendable, if only they weren't so ignorant, repetitious and completely lacking in self-awareness. The motto that sits atop his front page, "WE THE PEOPLE. THAT MEANS ALL AMERICANS", seems to be looking down at the rest of his ranting in scorn.
Let me just end with one more quote:
"TO MANY PEOPLE DIE ON OUR NATIONS HIGHWAYS AND FREEWAYS BECAUSE OF THE AGGRESSIVE DRIVER THAT THINK THEY OWN THE ROADS, AND THE LAW DOESN'T APPLY TO THEM.
AS A NATION, THIS MUST STOP NOW. I WANT THIS CHANGE ALSO, IT'S TOO BAD, CONGRESS IS TOO PRE-OCCUPIED WITH THESE 'DEADLY SAMURAI SWORDS'"
He makes no other reference to samurai swords anywhere on the page. Tee: What "THE FUCK" are you talking about?


If people like Tee- or heck, if people like Da Vid- get you riled up, just take a deep breath now, and remember that the chance of them fulfilling their dream of becoming President is about the same as the chance of Tee knowing what "sesquipedalian" means.
Hopefully this has restored your faith in our mainstream presidential candidates as much as it did mine. I'll have two more installments, on Sunday and Tuesday- and who knows, if more people announce their candidacy, this could go on until November.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Duh.

The entertainment industry has double standards for men and women. Duh.
Everybody knows that, and if you don't, please start bringing it up in conversation as often as possible, so all the sane people around you can inform you otherwise face-to-face. The process would be simply exhausting over the internet. If everyone around you agrees with you, quietly and cautiously leave the area as soon as possible: you may, unknowingly, be part of a cult.
That's out of the way.

So, I watched the Oscars tonight, and- another duh- Juno won for Best Original Screenplay. I'm not sure how the internet is going to take this, because it seems as much as there's a critical orgy going on over the film, there's a good amount of venom being spewed at Diablo Cody. I wasn't sure how I felt about it all, since I've only heard second hand (or third hand, or perhaps even fourth hand- blogger gets opinion of Cody from blogger who got opinion of Cody through article about Cody somewhere) accounts of her personality. The consensus seems to be that she's full of herself, or she's trying too hard, or she does not deserve all the attention she's getting. So I watched her Oscar acceptance speech with this in mind, and I call bullshit on the Cody-hate. She was perfectly humbled by the experience, and spoke of herself as a writer in terms of a process, not an achievement. And, shock of all shocks, not one cute quotable included!

Also, I thought this was kind of rad, and indicative of substance. I think those that call Cody a phony/without substance don't understand what I talked about in my post on Juno and anti-folk: the ability to simultaneously be silly and sincere. The most interesting sentence: "He blames the stripper-turned-screenwriter's behind-the-scenes team for not fully communicating the value of the shoes to Cody."
One, why do they have to mention she was a stripper? Is there a subtle implication there that she's stupid or low-class? Maybe it was just an interesting tidbit they wanted to throw in. But why? It's irrelevant, isn't it? So that's a little suspicious. The amusing part, of course, is that the maker of the shoes assumes the Cody would be happy to wear them if only she knew they cost two million fucking dollars. It doesn't occur to some people that maybe some other people do not desire diamond-studded shoes that cost two million fucking dollars, and when you go ahead and assume they will peddle your hunk of rocks (obtained from an oppressive industry, the cost of which could feed a small nation) and tell media outlets they're doing so without their permission- duh!- they will not be happy with you.
So, maybe the "former stripper" label Cody is stuck with is indicative of a lower-class mindset, and maybe that's a good thing: maybe that means she has the ability to see through bullshit. Kimya Dawson, who I do not feel foolish describing as My Hero, has retained this ability during her rise to fame: you can read about her bewilderment with celebrity giftbags here, and her fuck-you to Walmart here.

Bitch Magazine's blog did a piece on Cody and the weird backlash against her, and the sexist motivation behind some of it, and (duh) the double standard women face in the industry. I remember reading an article in Bitch a while back, too, that was really enlightening at the time, about how much flak a woman would get if she acted as self-important as, oh, say, Sean Combs. I can't articulate the point quite as well as they did, but I think the problematic thing is while women are allowed to be successful more so now than ever, they are seen as bitchy attention whores if they celebrate their success.

Oh man, the Oscars are so long. I'm so fucking tired. But determined!
Here's another article about double-standards. Every news item about Britney Spears makes me feel sick. I gotta say, I'm with Chris Crocker. Can we leave her the fuck alone already? Also, have we stopped playing that clip of Chris Crocker yet? I haven't been paying much attention lately, but damn, that shit has been pervasive.
I was sick of the Britney bashing back when she shaved her head. Are we still at the point where a chick can't shave her head without it being a symptom?

Oh, my links are getting crazy. Time for bed.

P.S. Why does my text get squished after a quote? Help me, Professor Internets.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Surprisingly didn't think to post this for Valentine's

I joined a writer's group on my campus, and our very first prompt (oh, how I do prefer writing groups that give prompts instead of writing groups where I sit there reading something I wrote six months ago and listen to people tell me they liked it) was to write a love letter to make the recipient swoon. You may remember that I've been swooning (for over three years now) over a wonderful boy, but I thought it would be awfully cheesey to write to him, and I didn't want to be too personal for the first prompt of our first meeting. He's off to Argentina until July very soon, and I might tear up if I tried to put words to how that feels. So I wrote it to my other main man, and thought you would enjoy the results.

My beautiful and dear Dennis Kucinich,
You have never met me, and I have never met you, yet I feel our connection. It is as if you are the wind, all around me, gently pushing my turbine to create a raw, hot, renewable energy source. I know you are a married man, but I can’t help myself. You get my blood pumping, like a life-saving transfusion made available to me by universal health care. Forget your wife- but value her equality and preserve her reproduction rights- spend just one night with me, let me take you to places you’ve never been- like vegan restaurants. You know as well as I that they’re hard to come by, but oh, so enticing- and so worth the danger.
You broke my heart when you dropped out of the race, Dennis, but I forgive you. Come away with me, let us escape this humdrum two-party system and do something really radical. We could protest for troop withdrawal... or if you’re feeling really naughty, impeachment. After we get a Department of Peace established, you and I can work on a special project- the Department of Love. Let me be your vegetable-eating vixen, your granola-crunching girl, your sexy leftist. Is that a copy of The Constitution in your pocket, or is this love?
My heart (and vote) will always be yours,
Raechel


Also in Dennis-related news: I had the brilliant thought today to seek out Dennis 08' merchandise, because, duh, the prices must be cute way back! Sure enough, everything at his official store is 50% off! As much as I hate to encourage unchecked consumerism, I'll say again what I said on V-Day- GET SHOPPING!

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Dying of Fierceness

Seriously?

This won the last challenge?


Again with the triangle thing. Here's hoping the judges realize the errors of their ways when, at fashion week, one of Christian's models fall over from a combination of top-heaviness and no circulation in their legs.

Disclosure: I DON'T GET PUFFY SLEEVES. Not at all. Not one bit. Not just when Christian does it, either- I never understand puffy sleeves. Even the tiny poof of the sleeve on Victorya and Kevin's dress in the Bitten challenge was enough to prevent me from buying it. How am I supposed to wear a jacket over that without feeling awkward? Won't the layers of material make me look like (as grieved as I am to quote Michael Kors as we usually disagree on everything) a Power Bitch? What normal person gets away with puffy sleeves off of a runway? Are giant, swollen arms suddenly attractive?
Enough about the sleeves. Sorry. They drive me crazy.

I'm glad Jillian's in, because, you know, I guess she's my favorite now, dammit. I never saw this coming. The twist I thought was- worthwhile, but not particularly suspenseful. It's really irrelevant to me if Rami or Chris are in, because Jillian is the one I want to win and Christian is the one I think is going to win. I am madly sick of Christian. I don't feel bad talking smack about him at this point because his self-confidence should really be donated to science for further study; if it can be harnessed it may be the solution to the energy crisis.
My number one peeve (though they're hard to rank, really):
HE TOTALLY KILLED THE WORD "FIERCE".


When you look at a word that much, it's just an amalgamation of letters, now isn't it? When I hear it now, alas, due to Christian's intense over-use, it is only a noise. What is Tyra gonna tell her girls to be now?

Anyway. On to the one I care about.
Sweet P. If I made a farewell video for that darling, I think I'd use Joni's "Big Yellow Taxi". See, I watched the whole season with the possibility that she could be aufed in the back of my mind- I didn't want to get too attached- so I never fully appreciated what a gentle, lovely little person she is, and how much I am really, really going to miss watching her.
Also, I loved her peacock dress.


I want one. I don't think I've ever wanted a dress on PR this much. What can I say? I'm a sucker for bright colors and big pockets.

I know someone had to go (they couldn't pull that "everyone wins!" gimmick two years in a row), but how unfortunate. Her style was so... the opposite of Christian's. Which I love! And how shitty that she was the only one who was officially out. Way to say "we have faith in everyone but you". Meanies.

I don't know that I'll have much to say next week, I'll probably keep my girlish squealing about Steven, Elisa, Kit, Kevin, Ricky and of course Sweet P's last appearances to myself. I have some other less TV-y posts planned, however. Though I could post about Lost, since it's back on- and of course, so fucking intriguing. But I wouldn't have much to say beyond "Fuck, eh?". And perhaps to mention that Daniel Faraday is my favorite TV character in- well- memory.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Day Before Discount Candy Day!

Otherwise known as V-Day, of course.
I have one story of love and passion for you, and one story of loss and heartache.

Love and passion:
Sex toys are legal in Texas! If you didn't know that selling sex toys was a felony in Texas, here's a hilarious run-down for you on the former law:

So a VERY happy V-Day to all of you Texans. Get shopping!

Loss and heartache:
A young transwoman of color from the Bronx is brutally murdered by a friend, and the media coverage is devastatingly ignorant. They claim she is a prostitute without any proof, call her a "man dressed as a woman", quote a seventeen-year-old neighbor describing her masculine attributes, and refer to her legal name as a "feminine nickname"- and all of this is AFTER glaad got them to re-write it. This sort of thing really blows my mind. Please go read the coverage at Feministe, all of it.

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Tackiest Thing I May Have Ever Done Out of Fandom

I should have seen it coming, what with no immunity for the winner last challenge. I almost think it was planned that way- because Ricky's wrestling outfit, while not a traditional one, pleased his customer and was clearly not the worst on that runway. Of course, Rami has Golden Boy Syndrome and can't be voted out- mrah.

So in lieu of a big long entry, I prepared a little farewell for my boy Ricky. There's so much Ricky hate going around; I wanted to bring in some big-type love. While this is kind of a hate song, I thought it was, you know, appropriate, and expressed the heartache I feel.



I love a man who's not afraid to cry.
Though- as I'm sure many bloggers have already pointed out- no tears in his exit interview. He's clearly grown (or at least gotten more sleep). That's my boy.
Sorry for the jumpy or choppy bits of this video- apparently one of the features of Windows Movie Maker is shutting down every twenty seconds. Not exaggerating.
Edit: tweaked the video a bit, should be at least a little smoother now. Also, I forgot to mention that the cover of Cry Me A River is done by The Cliks.

So, who am I rooting for now? Well, Sweet P is still my underdog. However- and this surprising, since I've been so hard on her for so long- I think I want to see Jillian take the whole thing. Her wrestling outfit really charmed me.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I've Heard of Them but I Haven't Heard Them, aka an indie music post.

I'm not going to write a long review of Juno, for a lot of reasons. Someone spoiled some key scenes for me, which really took a lot out of my first viewing (I've seen it twice, and will probably see it at least once more, thank you student discount). Please, if you see a good movie, don't try to tell other people what parts made it such a good movie. You are ruining a good movie. This shit should be right after "turn off your cellphones" and "visit our concession stand". "The exits are in the front to the left, and also, don't describe the best scenes to people who would rather watch them."

I'm also not writing a long review because it's been reviewed to death, with either crazy high praise or great irritation. I think most of the irritation comes from the unbelievable sharp-tonguedness and cheesey slang packed into the first thirty minutes, which was not my favorite part of the film by far, but I accept as important to the overall arch. I've come to learn that the more witty things a character has to say in the beginning, the more meaningful does their silence become. Juno's speechlessness would not be important if she wasn't such a vocal smartass.

I'm also not writing a long review because watching it get this famous- and of course, watching the soundtrack get this famous- has been a completely bizarre experience for me, and I think that's more interesting than anything I could say about anything that happened on the screen.

I've been a fan of Kimya Dawson for three years. That's an understatement: I've been totally stupid for Kimya for three years, one month and twenty three days(ish). Now she's on The View, and in Entertainment Weekly, and it's a little freaky. I knew if Juno got wide release then KD would get some more recognition, but it's a phenomenon. It's up for an Oscar (Jennifer Garner, however, totally snubbed for best supporting actress). Kimya Dawson is number one on the charts. I've read some articles questioning just what the heck is so appealing about her. I think a lot of people don't understand the possibility of being silly and sincere at the same time- "I Will Never Forget" starts with the line I sat in the swamp with the little pink piggy who loved roller skating and playing pretend, but the song is about death, suicide and bullying. Listen to it sometime, it is one of those songs that invariably makes me cry.

This got me upset- I read someone somewhere criticizing the lines if you want to kill yourself, remember that I love you, call me up before you're dead, we can make some plans instead, send me an IM I'll be your friend, and the writer said that this is mocking of suicide or something, that this is a display that Kimya doesn't really understand the youths as much as she pretends she does. (This is also a common criticism of Juno, and a stupid one, because- duh- just because you're a middle-aged journalist or critic that knows some teens does not mean you understand all teens or the experience of teendom, and young Kimya/Juno fans would likely beg to differ.) It's really upsetting because Kimya Dawson's music changed my life, and changed a lot of lives, and probably saved a lot of lives, too. That song, Loose Lips, was the first song I ever heard from her, and call me sentimental or tell me I'm "mocking depression" or whatever, but those words made me feel like I wasn't alone. They're not empty promises, either- she really will talk to you, hug you, play a show at your house- being a Kimya fan is being a friend of Kimya, which is why her sudden fame is, to me, so bizarre. She's got millions of friends now, but they don't know that, and the media doesn't really understand that.

Anyway, that needed to get off my chest, but this was really intended to be me suggesting music to the masses, since the nation seems so strangely in tune to my sensibilities at the moment. Sort of. While it's totally outside my scope that people don't like Kimya's lyrics, I can understand not liking the lo-fi folk-punk aesthetic. (I can also understand being in love with it, because I am.) Since KD is so darned famous, my suggestions are in "You like Kimya Dawson, but you don't get..." format. Or maybe it should be "You don't really get Kimya, but you do like..." Oh well, here goes.

If you like Kimya Dawson's folky-punky sound and rapid-fire lyrics but wish the sound was a little more polished and the lyrics a little less cryptic, you might like:

Jeffrey Lewis.
Check out the "I spooned Kiyma Dawson" hat around 57 seconds in. Jeff and Kimya have collaborated, which produced one of my favorite songs ever, "A Common Chorus". He's really brilliant, and not in an overused brilliant-is-the-new-awesome kind of way.

If you like Kimya Dawson's absurdness and the lo-fi vibe, but wish it was less cutesy and folksy (or, if you like The Moldy Peaches but not Kimya Dawson) you might like:

Adam Green.
He was the other major component of The Moldy Peaches, and now has a solo career also. I prefer Kimya by far far far, but if you're not the pink kitties and yellow doggies kind of person, Adam might be more your style.

If you like Kimya Dawson's delightful weirdness but would like the whole sound to be more elegant and professional (or, if you like Kimya Dawson but want to be able to find your CDs in mainstream stores), you might like:

Regina Spektor.
Ok, so everyone knows who Regina Spektor is by now. I think. I can't keep up with the kids these days. I hate the radio. However, I don't think people know she's classified as anti-folk, the genre of which Kimya Dawson is currently the poster child. Also, if you've only heard "Fidelty" and don't see the delightful weirdness I attribute to her, I advise you to delve into "Reading Time with Pickle".

If you like Kimya's quirky sweetness (or just like K Records) but want something a little more pop, you might like:

Mirah,
or:

The Blow.
I guess I automatically associate these two because I saw them play together. Oh well. I'm running out of steam, here. These are not the best recordings, obviously. They're surely worth looking into further.

If you like Kimya Dawson but wish she was like eleven or twelve people and sounded slightly more unhinged you might like (or, if you don't get Kimya, you seriously will not get):

Dufus.
I saw them play with Kimya once, and the experience was sort of amazing. It's like they create their own universe on stage. Of course, it was different people when I saw them. They morph a lot. I like to describe them as "orchestrated chaos".

If you like Kimya's... um... people she's played with, but uh... oh shit, I don't even know how to describe:

Daniel Johnston.
Just go rent The Devil and Daniel Johnston, for goodness' sake.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Episode 9: Nyah nyah!

I love, love, love challenges in which all of the designers have to use the same materials. Their technical skill and their ability to innovate is much more apparent when they're all working from the same starting point. How perfect is it that my favorite won, and my least favorite got aufed? This episode was so validating for me.


I'll admit it- at first I thought Ricky's win was highly producer-influenced- that while his dress was great, it probably didn't hurt that there was pressure to justify his presence. But the more I look at the above image, the more I am certain that Ricky won this one on talent alone. It's stellar. The seams are beautiful, the fit is great, it looks like jeans (while I loved Sweet P's and wanted her to win, it did not look like a pair of jeans- which you would think would be good, but this is of course Project Illogicalway), it's polished, and very wearable. Sweet P and Ricky's pieces were the only instantly wearable ones on that runway, which was apparently important in this challenge because they secretly planned to sell the winner online, but didn't think to tell the designers that, at least on camera.


Christian's biker look, for example, was a good concept, but certainly couldn't be worn straight off the runway and would be incredibly difficult to reproduce. I admired his idea of making a pant out of a sleeve. However, I also thought it was kind of tacky and not helping to change his emo kid image, which he must change if I or anyone over the age of 19 is ever to take him seriously. Also: if he makes another puffy sleeve I am going to die of barfness. Also: what the fuck does dying of barfness entail? Also: if Lisa put her feet together, she would be a isosceles triangle.


The main thing Rami's dress had going for it was the zippers. And I know a million bloggers are going to say it, but come on: been there, Jeffrey done that.


I liked Chris' look more than the judges did, but I did not get the boob armor. It's my only remaining question about Ricky's dress, too. What is with the chest flaps? Did I miss a fad or something? They're bizarre.

I don't have anything specific to say about Jillian or Victorya's pieces, since they were the same idea taken to different extremes- Jillian did too much, Victoria didn't do enough. I'm glad Victorya went. She seemed to be sleepwalking through this episode. Maybe she was- that would explain why she confused Sweet P with Kit twice.

Victorya was also one of three people I felt were in danger this episode, based entirely on the fact that she shared some personal details about her life, as did Rami and Sweet P. It was smart of whoever made the call to include a slew of personal stories. In the candy episode, I knew right away that it was Elisa's time- she told a long and moving story about her past, and no one else got nearly that much interview time. They had milked her; she was doomed. Shame, however, on the person who made the call (probably the same call-making person, eh?) to keep stating how fabulous Ricky's outfit was and how he was doing this for himself and everything but never showing us the dress until the end. A little obvious on that one.

These call-making people also love filming the designers running:


Seriously, is this a subtle message that they need to lose weight, or just suffering for suffering's sake? Can't they stroll jovially to their materials sometime? Or skip merrily? Even a relaxed jog would be a nice break.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

GIRRRRRRL


BAM, RICKY HATERS

(more to come)

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Sporadic Project Runway Coverage!


I could not agree with Elisa's face more. Smirking disappointment all around!
Actually, I took a lot of screen caps of Elisa's face before her departure, and this one was my favorite. All of her expressions are stunning, however, and will be missed:


I call this one "How Elisa Stole Winter Solstice".


This one is of course "OH MY FUCK CANDY FUCKING CANDY!"

Of course, I want to honor Kevin and Kit too, especially considering they were the two people I considered most likely to make it to the final four- seriously, screwed my predictions right up. If Victorya and Jillian make it I will be pissed. I prefer to be awake during the finale, thank you.
That's a bit harsh, I suppose- their avant-garde look was pretty good, though the post-apocalyptic punk thing I think was a bit obvious, it was well-executed. And Jillian has been growing on me. Not as a designer, but a person.


Good thing she wore her rainbow suspenders that day, right? I love me some rainbow suspenders. I also loved how she was all, "We were in Times Square, so we thought we were costuming a musical". That was her first thought. Not clothes stores- theaters. She's adorable, if a bit pouty for my taste.

Anyway, yeah, I really had Kit and Kevin picked for the final four, and when I saw this:


I had Kevin picked to win. I'm not so sad, though- his prom dress was not ok. The taste level was just not there. Period. I was shocked to discover that people overwhelmingly voted for Ricky to be aufed over at BPR- sure it was a bit boring, but it was pretty, and made his model look pretty. Kevin's was not flattering, at all. I'm not exaggerating: there was nothing I liked about Kevin's dress that episode, which was staggering considering his consistent skill.
Unfortunately I don't have any screen caps from that episode, so my tribute to Kevin is from the candy episode, as all these screen caps are:


Alas, no more shirtless Kevin.
My only picture of Kit is also not very flattering:


I felt so bad for her. White tank tops are a bad scene- she had to do that stealthy nipple coverage the whole time.

The only underdogs I have left (I did consider K&K underdogs, though they were well-liked, they were always just under the radar. The front runners are obviously Rami and Christian, and to a lesser extent Jillian and Victorya. Chris is in a state of constant limbo) are Sweet P and Ricky, whom I love, but who have a much smaller chance of winning the whole thing than Kit or Kevin did. Sweet P did give me some hope on the prom dress challenge. I'm sorry, Victorya's dress was great, but not prom, not at all. They judging panel really should have had someone high school age on it, or at least someone who's been to a prom in the past ten years- a high school principal or a design teacher or something. Prom dresses are supposed look ludicrously fancy. They were afraid Sweet P's was too Hollywood glamor and not enough high school, but Victorya's short, funky dress was the one, to me, that looked more at home on a red carpet. Sweet P's dress for the avant-garde challenge was good, too. All the problems were on Rami's side, but I think his head is so big it's affecting his eyesight. That insult sort of makes sense, right?

Ricky is still my love, and I thought his prom dress was adorable, but he needs to step it up. Isn't that right, Elisa?


Oh Scarecrow, I will miss you most of all.



Sorry the coverage is not so comprehensive, but my semester is already crazy- I've had three days of classes and I've already written two papers. I have four readings, two papers and a presentation all before next Wednesday. I'm working ten hours at my office job, where I just got a promotion, and the RA job can be better described as a constant gnawing pain instead of broken down into hours. To top it all, I have to wake up at or before 9 every. single. morning. I'm praying my boss will eventually learn the true extent of my not-morning-personhood, most likely when she comes in to find I have passed out over my laptop, and my drool has rendered it completely unusable.

That said, I like my classes and I like my jobs, unfortunately for you five faithful readers, more than I like Project Runway. I get to talk about the portrayal of gender in Frankenstein, rip on how douchey the New Critics were, write newsletter articles about the ordination of women or Margaret Cho or breastfeeding, and watch documentaries about the portrayal of disability in art. I mean, I love pretty clothes and all those wacky designers and everything, but they don't give me the same sort of satisfaction. I'm pretty enthralled with my work right now, so expect more content with political themes than pop culture coverage. The best scenario is when pop and politics intersect, as they often do in advertising, and have before on Project Runway. I also enjoy when I get to flaunt my geekiness in my work, as I got to in my Women's Center article on female superheroes, I will for the LOST season premiere party I'm hosting for my residents, and I did on this poster advertising the RA position:



P.S. I didn't know where to squeeze this in, but it made me so mad: I think having four people in the bottom on the prom challenge was not only unnecessary, but a slap in the face for the "safe" designers: sure, one of you got a top three score, but you were not good enough to be considered for a win. My anger with the judges/producers (since they have a hand in judging, too), week after week, knows no fucking bounds. I would seriously suggest at least setting some new guidelines for judging for season 5, and following them. They don't have to be too constrictive- just things like, you know, always have a top 3 and bottom 3, and maybe, if you don't follow the rules of the challenge you shouldn't win the challenge. It's a bit ridiculous.

P.P.S. Also ridiculous: how Project Runway, before the season started, touted some of their designers (Simone and Elisa, to memory) as "green", but some of the most ridiculously wasteful challenges have been featured this season. Season 3's recycling center challenge was green- this:

Is the damn opposite of green. I guess on the color wheel that would be purple. 45 yards of fabric on one dress (while really cool looking) is damn purple.

P.P.P.S. I guess depending on the shade of green, it could be purple, but is really more likely red. Purple, however, is more fun to say. Go on, say it a few times.

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