29 March, 2007

Keep in Mind That This Crap Got a Pass From the CW, yet Veronica Mars is on the Verge of Cancellation

I can't seem to get the video to embed properly, but: Go watch the Showbiz Show's take on the ridiculous new Pussycat Dolls "reality" series.

While I don't think calling these women "skanks" is too feminist itself (they just dance like skanks, and might not actually be skanks--there is a difference), the rest of the piece is pretty much right on. Don't you love it when corporate America sells eensy bits of an actual political movement back to you using something that actually has nothing to do with that movement, despite their insistence that it totally does? Yes, dancing around in lingerie in a glass cage is SO EMPOWERING! It's a way to gain confidence! It's a way to get in touch with your femininity! Or something. God forbid that you focus on ways to gain confidence that don't involve whatever "empowering" and yet still uber-feminine acts/dance moves/clothing/what have you that the powers that be have decided to shove down our bulging throats this month.

I think a quote from Mystery Science Theater 3000's Crow is particularly appropos here: "Yes, girls, this is the ONLY way to make potential boyfriends like you!" (In case anyone is wondering, it's from the episode Hobgoblins--Crow says this during a scene in which one of the female characters--who is established as a "prude" at the film's beginning--strips at a nightclub).

Hell, why not co-opt other movements besides feminism for similar purposes? Gay and lesbian rights movement? Interior decorating kits for straight people with (supposedly) no taste! Black Power? At-home perms to make "problem" hair magically smooth! The Revolution May Not Be Televised, But Horrible Stereotypes Used to Sell Shit Will! Wheee.

27 March, 2007

No Actual Post Today, But...

Over at Feministe, Zuzu has an excellent post up about some of the hateful misogyny that, unfortunately, swirls around the blogosphere. Perhaps not "around," actually, but "within." Go read it.

And before anyone accuses anyone else of "whining" or "taking things too seriously," consider this: Would such attacks be leveled at a male blogger? (If such a thing has happened, please feel free to provide examples.) Additionally, why is it okay, even somewhat acceptable, to email death threats or threats of sexual assault to someone who expresses an opinion online? Certainly, emailing someone or commenting on their blog to express a disagreement with what they have said in a post is valid, but it's when said emails/comments get into threat territory that it becomes downright frightening.

As GOB Bluth might say, "Come ON."

21 March, 2007

Salon.com Once Again Jumps Shark, Surprises No One

Joan Walsh would like you to know that she and Anne Lamott are totally BBF for life.

I'm having a bit of a hard time figuring out why I dislike this article so much. I mean, Anne Lamott is a pretty good writer, though I could do without all of the I-Am-More-Spiritual-Than-You subtext which seems to have been an underlying theme of some of her recent work. Maybe it's Walsh's anecdote at the beginning of the piece, wherein she selflessly gives a copy of Lamott's latest book (BEFORE IT'S EVEN OUT, OH MY GOD U GUYZ) to a fellow patron at the nail salon that she frequents. Perhaps it's because her "disclosure" of her friendship with Lamott rings a bit strange. Perhaps it's that Walsh just had to mention that Lamott was instrumental in her (Walsh) obtaining a nice pay raise. [Note: I'm not sure if this bit is in the article any more, but it was in there this morning.] I don't know.

I rarely read Salon any more, because so much of what made it great in the first place (fascinating investigative journalism, excellent film reviews, et al.) is now overlooked in favor of Camille "I am My Own BFF" Paglia's column and other tripe. The one reason I keep going back?** Heather Havrilesky. I absolutely think she's the most talented writer they've got at this point--she has a gift for phrasing, and is one of the best TV writers I've ever read, in that she can make you laugh and make you think even if you haven't seen whatever show she's ripping apart this week. I also enjoy reading Rebecca Traister's work--her piece on the return of the "bimbo" in American popular culture, in particular, is worth a read.

Most of all, however, I am a bit sad that Salon has turned into something that more closely resembles a parody of itself: lots of articles about why Bush should be impeached (like we've never heard that before; and, of course he should be), Camille Paglia saying shocking, eye-rollingly silly things simply for the thrill of saying them, Neal Pollack, Salon writers patting other Salon writers on the back for their "important" work, freaked-out potential MFA students writing to the ever-worsening Cary Tennis about their "creative crises," and shoddy investigative reporting masquerading as paradigm-shifting journalism. I am glad that I decided not to spring for a paid subscription--I was considering purchasing one back when Salon was only starting to encroach upon such a death-rattle phase.

**Besides to read Cary Tennis's column, which I find hilarious because of his inability to do his job, ie: JUST ANSWER THE DAMN QUESTIONS THAT PEOPLE SEND YOU!

17 March, 2007

MST3K Saturday: A Date With Your Family

One of the very best Mystery Science Theater 3000 shorts.

[Young man opens the oven door upon entering the kitchen]
Mike: Sylvia?

16 March, 2007

Possibly a Cliche by Now, But...


I'm not!

And it is all about me here, because it's my blog. Don't like it? You, too, can make your own and spew your opinions, thoughts on yaoi, and life experiences fourth!

Trust me, it's fun, and sometimes you even get trolls!

PS: You think I'm "hateful"? Then bloggers like Twisty will make your head explode. Think Scanners. Heh.

15 March, 2007

Garrison Keillor Can Suck It

And I mean that in the worst way possible. As in, he can suck on a bog full of bile and scum, like the pitiful wastrel that he is.

I've detested Keillor's "dry" (read: not funny) humor for a while now, which has infested NPR like fruit flies on an otherwise lovely, juicy piece of fruit [excuse the language] but this piece--what he probably thinks of as "pointed satire" or an equally shitty descriptor--absolutely takes the proverbial cake:

The country has come to accept stereotypical gay men—sardonic fellows with fussy hair who live in over-decorated apartments with a striped sofa and a small weird dog and who worship campy performers and go in for flamboyance now and then themselves. If they want to be accepted as couples and daddies, however, the flamboyance may have to be brought under control. Parents are supposed to stand in back and not wear chartreuse pants and black polka-dot shirts. That’s for the kids. It’s their show.

GEE WHIZ, BEAV! The ever-present '50s nostalgia, the tired stereotypes, the whining OH MY GOD THE FUCKING WHINING. I wonder what he has to say about lesbians.

What sort of ancient crust-laden dried-up applefacedoll of a man thinks this is hilarious? No progressive person--male, female or in between--finds this funny. As I sit here listening to Placebo and reading's Keillor's word vomit over and over again, like the faghag bitch that I so totally am, I am angry. I am angry that gays and lesbians, and bisexuals and transpeople and whomever else I am forgetting to include--as categories at this point in history are nearly obsolete--STILL have to put up with harmful bigotry, even as some of us pat ourselves on the back for the "advancements" we've made in tolerating (read: not killing) others who somehow differ from our perfect, "normal" selves. Any form of bigotry, really--and that includes pretentious, "nostalgic" wordbarf that masquerades as humor, like GK's little schpiel (sic?) here.

On a more personal note, I can tell you with absolute certainty that I would not be who I am today, were it not for the many wonderful people--many of "different" sexualities--whose presence I was blessed with in my formative years. You see, when I was growing up, we (my family and I) had three gay couples as neighbors. My younger brother, at age 5, asked one day [about two of our neighbors], "Mom, why do John and Bill live together?" My mom's response: "They're the best of friends, honey." Even an oddball straight girl like me, as I later found out, could learn some important things about respect, acceptance and--most importantly--friendship from "these" people.

Also: Take away the male pronouns in the above passage, and GK could be talking about me. I have an over-decorated apartment; I love Campy stuff and Campy people with a passion; and I have not one, but two "small weird dogs", Frank and Winston, whom I love dearly. I don't have kids, but still--the similarities are difficult to ignore. Suck on that, Mister "Stating the Obvious" [the article should be titled, "Stating the Obvious: I Am an Entitled, Unfunny Windbag Who Loves My White, Straight, Middle-Aged Male Privilege Very, Very Much"].

Garrison Keillor, it seems, could learn some things as well. GK, you may want to try learning things about people other than your precious Lake Woebegonites sometime. It's fun, trust me.

For more, please refer to Dan Savage's most excellent takedown of the guy, located here.

14 March, 2007

And now for something completely frivolous!

Steve has a great post up about a company that sells miniature figurines of different characters (is there a better term for this? Maybe?) from the works of artists such as Klimt, Bosch, Dali, et cetera. Pretty neat stuff, though I am a bit concerned about the lack of female artists represented.

I can't be the only one who would love to have a miniature reproduction of Judy Chicago's "The Dinner Party," or Frida Kahlo's "My Dress Hangs There" in my apartment. Come on.

Anyway, I was browsing the website and several of the Bosch figures tapped my primitive consumerist brain-bits/neurons/what have you. I have narrowed down the "possible purchase" to two figures (of which I shall pick one):

Are these not utterly cool and kind of creepytastic? (Both are from Bosch's The Triptych of Saint Anthony, which you can view here.)

10 March, 2007

As Blame-y As They Wanna Be.

I just watched the latest and supposedly "greatest" in the self-help/marketing peoples' insecurities back to them market, The Secret.

I sort of want that 90 minutes back. Now, before people start jumping on me and calling me negative, skeptical, bitchy, et cetera, let me assure you: I am, indeed, all three of those things. I tried to watch The Secret with an open mind. I really, truly did. But, I have to say, besides some of the stuff about visualization--which I have thought of as a powerful tool for a while, and, at times, it has absolutely worked for me--I simply was unable to get on The Secret bandwagon.

I don't know what it was that made me so hostile to the entire thing. Was it the overproduced "dramatic" re-enactments, some of which look very familiar to even a casual viewer of the History Channel? Was it "Dr." Joe Vitale, Metaphysician,** who contends that ALL of the bad circumstances in your life come to you because of, well, you and your horrible, horrible negative thoughts? Was it Lisa Nichols, who was one of four women interviewed (out of 16-17 people) and one of two people of color interviewed? (She seemed to be the most sincere out of all of the "Teachers" interviewed, which endeared her to me quite a bit.) Was it the many shots of people from Other Lands, smiling and laughing, and getting fawned over by the "Teachers" due to their "natural" ability to Make Do With What They Have? Was it the completely oxymoronic focus on using The Secret to gain material things, money and houses (focused on after the many shots of our friends from other lands)? Was it the bizarre assumption that everyone watching the video wants the same damn things? Eeeek!

Then I reread this fantastic article, which outlines some of the problems with The Secret, and how Oprah, unfortunately, has basically adopted it as her child and is trying to get her viewers to do the same. If it works for her, great. However, one thing that has bothered me about Oprah's unquestioning acceptance of The Secret is this: It reinforces the great American trope of pulling oneself up by one's bootstraps. AKA: If Oprah/some disadvantaged person has become successful, then you can, too! All you have to do is think positive thoughts!

There is, of course, a lot more to it than that. I'm all for thinking good thoughts, but it is the denial of reality and various systems of oppression that make this position worse. Racism, for example, is one thing that is consistently denied as to its very existence. I have news for you, folks: Racism still very much exists. I can certainly create a non-racist America in my own mind (and let me tell you, it is awesome), but to see it in front of me is going to take some major societal changes. And it's the same with sexism. And homophobia. And able-ism, and classism, and all of that other fun stuff. "Creating your own reality" only goes so far--eventually, you will run into a structure that is bigger than you, and oftentimes, these structures are oppressive and hurtful to many people. I'm sorry if that sounds "negative," but it is true for a lot of us. Not many people can conveniently "ignore" these structures.

Bad things are going to happen. Bad feelings happen. That is part of life. One of the Noble Truths of Buddhism, after all, says that Life is Full of Suffering. Of course it is, even though it is also full of Great Things. To deny this is to deny an actual, authentic life. And I have to say, I feel sorry for anyone who shies away from feeling the full spectrum of emotions because they think that "negative thoughts will attract bad things," (one of the claims espoused in The Secret). Yes, negative thoughts suck. They make us feel bad. But trying to be aggressively "happy" is not only potentially dangerous, it's Pollyanna-esque and annoying.

[Visualization, however, is one tool that I really, really like, mostly because it forces me to use my imagination and is quite fun. It's nothing new, however; various self-help gurus have been promoting this tool for years. Even if it doesn't work, it's still fun, and, unlike some of the professional bullies who harangue you for an hour and a half in The Secret, it (most likely) won't make you feel bad about yourself.]

**I kid you not; this was listed as his actual professional title during the video. When I grow up, I wanna be a Metaphysician!

04 March, 2007

Blatant Advertisement Sunday: GRADUATION

I, like, worked on this movie, you guys. As a Production Assistant, which sounds like more fun than it actually is.

I've already seen the film, but the trailer made me want to see it again--which is an odd reaction for me to have (considering that I usually detest movie trailers).