Thursday, February 26, 2009

Jocular Jaunt Overs: When Life Hands You Lemons Make Internet Memes Edition

After my most hardcore day of blogging/defending myself ever, all I want to do is put on some Rilo Kiley, kick back, and participate in some innocent internet memes. I some how missed this make-your-own-album-cover one, even though BlogHer is all "dudette, c'mon old news!" about it. So jaunt on over to The Meme That Ate The Internet's Brain to learn more, or check out the rules here, and start getting crafty:
  1. Go to “Wikipedia.” Hit “random” and the first article you get is the name of your band.
  2. Then go to “Random Quotations” and the last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.
  3. Then, go to Flickr and click on “Explore the Last Seven Days” and the third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
  4. Go use the free online image editor Picnik to add text & spiffify.
Here's mine:


You should totally do it (because, duh! everyone is)! It's funtown USA and took like 10 minutes. Also share yours if you do it, as I'd love to see what you come up with. It reminds me of when my BFF and I used to make up fake band names and talk about them at parties to see if mega hipsters would pretend to know the band so they could keep their scene points. Favorite fake band names (and our most creative): Odds Are Aardvarks, and Door Frame Duck Fame (patent pending).

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

And You Thought She was Ridiculed for the Babies...

So Octomom is kinda a weird freakshowesque name, right? It makes Nadya Suleman, her babies, her body, and her life seem othered and creepy to the max. In trying to come up with a more palatable, yet media-clever name did Octopussy ever come to your mind? No? Only Vivid Entertainment? Well, kudos to you Vivid. When Us Weekly got all in my face with Octomom's 8 sexless years, I was thinking that the exploitation train had run its course, but then, choo! choo! Here I find out you, Vivid Entertainment, are all set to pay her a million bucks if she stars in a porno taking on 8 guys! You may be clever, but you'll still have to pay TMZ (Too Much Zomg-assholeness) for your even sweeter tagline: "Octomom is used to having multiple people inside of her at once."

If you're done gagging on your utter disgust let's move on to some finer points about this new chapter, eh? If you read the comments on TMZ (because why be satisfied with only boiling rage when you could totz escalate to white hot) many interneters are already calling for the state to come repo her kids 'cause being in porn makes you an "unfit" parent. Let's first ignore the fact that she has yet to even reply to Vivid, much less make a video. Also of note, the idea that being involved in sex work or porno makes you an unfit parent is, uh, not legally accurate, nor real fucking life accurate. (To aid in learning what child abuse actually is and how someone can for real get their kids taken from them, I'm including this link to DC's Child Protective Services page. And let me add that "exposure to" means making them watch/look at it, not family involvement.)

So people already hate Nadya Suleman for a variety of reasons (drain on society! crazy! bad mother! unnatural! poor! and the list goes on...). Most upsetting to me is the feminist backlash, seen most grotesquely over at Bitch, where many commenters were playing fast and loose with what reproductive choice meant to them:
I want to just scream it: just because you can have babies doesn't mean you should! It's a grave thing. There's a whole lot you can fuck up here. And yeah, poor women having children have been bullied by the media way too much and have been judged unfairly. So it's hard to come right out and say, Listen lady, what you are doing is asinine and irresponsible. But I can't support this kind of behavior. It's stupid.
That's right, pro-choice is all about choosing abortion, not the choice to decide the size of your family, psssh. So I'm thinking that if some feminists are willing to throw their values under a bus at the sight of 14 kids (!!!) and join all the other aforementioned haters the response to this will-she-won't-she porno debacle is going to be ugly. Keeping in mind of course, that unlike being pro-choice, being for or against the sex work industry divides us feminists like nothin' else. (Sweet how we do it to ourselves, huh? Who even needs republicans at this point?)

Personal opinions about how responsible she is aside, let's pop on our feminist lens and examine how she was persecuted for her choice to expand her family and think about how her choice to be in porno will be treated. Please note my astute use of italics for the word "choice," because I think this entire ordeal perfectly illustrates a major problem with how people view women's involvement in sex work and what kinds of choices women have for lucrative work. Let's assume that "Octopussy" is the only offer she has right now to make gobs of money. With everyone bitching left and right about her irresponsible broke-ass sucking money from the taxpayers (right from your hardworking Joe-the-Plumber pockets!) this million dollar venture would look like a great idea to get the bucks she needs to support her family for life and perhaps quiet the death threats for a bit. Nope! Everyone hates porn too, so now she's a huge child abusing whore, even though this was her best opportunity to make money like everyone wanted.

I think there are women who choose different kinds of sex work for their own pleasure or interest, but often it's a monetary fueled decision, a decision they technically chose, but from what list of options? I make about 35k a year and I've had my BA for years. I'm not entry level, but it's hard to make a lot more in non-profit work. If I was faced with 1 million dollars upfront for one sex video and 30k spread over a year...totally tempting even though I don't reeeaally want to do something like that. But with the stakes so high, it's no longer a balanced choice, especially if I'm in debt, or trying to get car repairs, or catch up on rent, and even less balanced if I had 14 babies. When the options are limited to little or no money and heaps and heaps of money, what options are there really?

Honestly, I don't think Ms. Suleman would take Vivid's offer anyways, the outcry would be deafening, and she's in a unique position to make some dough with other non-gangbang projects (though probably not millions, + health care, dental, etc). Though, I think it's important to pay attention to the angry mob that is being created. Tearing this woman down for her reproductive choice because it was deemed that she is too broke for kids, and now furthering the cry to arms by blaming her involvement in a porno that she doesn't technically have anything to do with as of yet - even though it would make her plenty of money to take care of her family and no longer be the dreaded "drain on the system." Seriously, what do we want from this woman?

Most importantly, if everyone is going to get so damn mad, why don't we direct our anger at the fact that women can make 1 million bucks fucking for 88 minutes but have no other ways to make that much money that fast. We could even take it down a notch since a million is kind of a ridiculous sum, but what about a thousand? A friend of mine dances, and she makes almost a thousand dollars a night. At the end of the week she could pay off my credit card that I've been struggling to make minimum payments on forever. In no other profession can women make such large sums money as quickly. So get frustrated not at the women making their living, but at the society that allows this money monopoly to happen even as they condemn it.

And everything else aside, I just want to reiterate my sentiment from the first paragraph again. Vivid Entertainment, and TMZ you are disgusting fucking asshats.

Jocular Jaunt Overs: Life Imitating Art and Vice Versa Edition

The awesomeness of Obama's State of the Nation address last night is really threefold. Not only did we get to see a positive, excited, fresh, can do attitude from the US president, we also got to bask in the warmth of VP Joe Biden's ear to ear smile (as a friend of mine said "I need a piece of currency with his face on it!"). However, though both of these things are undeniably awesome, the the sweetest cherry of them all was the GOP response from Louisiana Gov. Bobby "Castrate 'Em!" Jindal. We learned so much from Jindal last night. Mainly that Americans can do anything (sweet! take that laws!) and that Kenneth the Page from 30 Rock isn't really the exaggerated character we all thought him to be. So for those of you who have not had the pleasure of comparing Gov. Jindal to Kenneth the Page in the last 24 hours, here's your chance! Just jaunt on over to The Huffington Post and check out Jindal's white, spindly doppelganger in action.

But wait! I've got something else up my sleeve...I know you hunger for more hilarity so jaunt on over to Geekologie and enjoy some Obama sushi.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fad-tastic: Missing the Point of Vaggie Tales

On Valentine's Day I wrote about how my involvement with The Vagina Monologues throughout college helped shaped my perspective on violence against women, sexuality, feminism, and my own body. I also touched on how a lot of people don't embrace the show in the same way, sometimes with thoughtful feminist criticisms, but most of the time the negative reviews have the cultural analysis of an old sweat sock,"OMG! VAGINAS! LESBIANS! TAMPONS! SEX! This play is motherfucking crazzzzy!!1111!!!" Well add "WTF? DOUCHING IS AWESOME!!!" to the pile of poor arguments against the play. Writen this time by a California State University student, a self-professed feminist who at least admitted to liking the play, but not as much as she loves smelling good.
Instead of joining in with the many approving “Yeahs” coming from different women in the audience, I sat in troubled silence while thinking of my liking of products that would fall in the vagina-hating category. In contrast to the woman in the monologue that exclaims she wants to “taste the fish, that’s why I ordered it,” I firmly believe that if you smell anything fishy, you’re more than likely past due for a shower. Not finding myself agreeing with much in the monologue, I quickly became terrified by the shock that maybe this meant I wasn’t the progressive feminist I had felt myself evolving into. Does my love for smelling good, constantly indulging in Victoria’s Secret Love Spell lotion and Chanel Chance perfume, make me another woman cheated to live a life of incessantly buying into constraints set by a patriarchal society?
This commentary is one "I couldn't help but wonder" away from being the cheesiest most surface level assessment on the planet. To base a review of the play not on the larger message, but on one's picking at a single line of dialouge, unraveling it like an old sweater, is unfocused and bad analysis. Especially since the writer's only point is that she wants the feminist freedom to wear perfume no shame strings attached, missing the orginal context of the line which is about how douching is lame-o.

Which brings us to what a young, and unseasoned feminist/writer this girl is. I can only hope this rambling viewpoint is her first foray into both. Perhaps with more years of education under her belt, she'll be able to see the "My Angry Vagina" monologue for its true purpose: an outlet for women to healthily show their frustration at products and expectations that are required of us and our vaginas, yet never have either in mind. It is not an attack on one's choices or preferences.

For example, everyone is entitled to smell of whatever fragrance they desire guilt-free, be it Chanel or "rain." The voice of "Angry Vagina" is not enraged over picking out your signature scent, but rather the fact that douches are created too make women feel bad, embarrassed, and secretive about their vaginas. They are not created with women in mind. Douche products are made with chemicals that can harm your vagina, robbing it of it's natural chemistry and lubricant, all the while ensuring your MALE partner doesn't have to suffer through eating out your supposed garbage hole. It's the companies marketing these products that are attacking femininty, not this monologue. As a "progressive feminist," I wish this girl would also be enraged that some agency is making money by telling her that her twat stinks. Besides, her neck area might be Chanel-tastic, but unless she's aiming the sprayer between those lower lips, I bet her vagina still smells well, vagina-y...and I hope someday she comes to learn and appreciate how that is 100% okay.

Monday, February 16, 2009

There's a Lot More to Life Than Being Really, Really, Ridiculously Good Looking - Part 4

Lunachicks. Rilo Kiley. The Distillers. M.I.A. We drove and we sang. Gut splitting yells of strength. Howls of anger and love. We recounted their nights of sex along with them, and we shook out our perfectly primped hairdos to their playful lyrics. We were all girls on a joyride to laugh in the face of mediocrity, mainstream beauty, and material bullshit. Self-assured that we were pumped with enough self-esteem to wipe out our less lionhearted competition, we chattered on about our new not-so-secret hope to become a finalist for America's Next Top Model. This did start out as a joke. A way to kill the afternoon. But after hours of survey questions, practiced runway struts, and searches for outfits that best defined us while still looking fashionable, this day had turned this into something more. Something needlessly serious.

We drove on. The ride was long and our tenacity started wearing off. Was this beginning to be more trouble than it was worth? But as we sped around a corner and through a yellow light flashing to red, it finally came into view. The mall that would be packed full of wannabes, hopefuls, and die hards. The brown bricked, faceless building housing the haute couture cattle call loomed over the road ahead of us. It was surprisingly harmless looking. Mundane, really. And in it's opulent normalcy, we were comforted. That comfort then fueled us with more confidence. And that confidence gave way to a feeling of 'why not us?'

We cruised through the parking lot with the windows down. 'Hey, other try-out girls walking in, hear our music? We are bad asses.' Passive aggressive intimidation. I nudged my old Buick into a tight spot only 50 feet from the doors. Flipping down the visor mirrors we smoothed our hair. I ran a finger under my eye to fix where the liner had smudged. As I wiped the black soot from my eye carelessly on the dark fabric of my car seat, our there-for-moral-support friend flashed us a beaming I-believe-in-you-smile, "It's time!"

The three of us started to walk to the double glass doors, stained with the hand prints of shoppers, and their children. The moral supporter had pulled a few feet ahead and was closest to the door. I tugged the dress of my other friend. Let's catch up. She threw me a panicked glance. I shook it off. We're already here, nothing is stopping us now. What was there to be worried about? There's nothing scary about this building, if anything it was dull. It wasn't intimidating, so it's contents couldn't be intimidating. We pushed through the doors, and despite my intransigence, my stomach lurched. Why was I nervous? Didn't my guts remember this wasn't a big deal?

Hello Kitty Ups the Ante

Just when I thought Hello Kitty couldn't possibly do anything to market to me any harder, I find this advertisement for her new MAC make-up line:

ZOMG! Also, I would like to wear that dress 24/7...and have my hair done like that, I don't see how either would go against the work dress code (seriously, it says nothing about tulle or pigtails). Also with eyeshadow called "Too Dolly," lipgloss named "Big Bow," and glittereyeliner with the moniker "Glittlerpuss," it's a wonder I'm still sitting here writting this and not out selling some bone marrow so I can get my paws on all this glitz. Check out the whole line here. It's always fun to see new and creative make-up lines, and I appreciate that MAC isn't letting the recession keep them from producing redonkulously priced specialty items. In unrelated news, is anyone out there willing to buy me a 40 dollar eyeshadow quad with a picture of a cartoon cat on it? Anyone?

Utahans and World Shocked: Gov. Huntsman Supports Civil Unions

How did I just hear about this today?! So Friday the governor of one of the most conservative states in the country was like, "Fuck y'all, I'm not running here again, and the truth is I'm all about the gays. Gotcha!" And according to Atlantic Monthly, he's also supporting "a bill to allow two unmarried, co-cohabiting adults to sign a joint-support declaration to gain inheritance rights and medical-decision making for one another, as well as a bill to outlaw employment and housing discrimination for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people." Despite his change of heart, he's still dealing with a mostly homophobic/heteronormitive legislature, so perhaps not much will Utah.

No one can be sure who slipped Huntsman the LSD/Ecstasy combo that would be required to get the governor, who ran on a staunch anti-gay platform in '04, to make all of this progressive noise, and it's too early to tell what will come of this. Most are thinking presidential bid for 2012, though, and to me that spells out Republican Splinter harder than any action of a GOP politician yet. My hopes are that the next general election will be the official Repub Civil War and the Dems will go chuckling right back into the White House, and Congress.

Who knows what exactly is rattling around in Huntsman's brain, but whether it's legitimate support for the GLBT community, or it's a political stunt trying to match what he views as an upcoming change in the tides, this is a win-win for everyone (that's not a jerk). We're either looking at a future of Republican supported gay rights legislation, or gay rights legislation by way of the Republican party collapsing in on itself. Either way, I like where this is going, and I can't wait to hear more.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Jocular Jaunt Overs: Presidential Audiobook Edition

For those of you who haven't listened to the Dreams of my Father audiobook and would be amused at hearing President Obama using the best swears around, jaunt on over to April Winchell's blog and read/listen to her article, "Obama is Tired of Your Motherfucking Shit."

*Thanks to John for the link

Looking Back at VDays Past: I Am Not a Beautiful, Angelic Being of Purity and Limitless Love

Things I like about Valentine's Day:

*Retro Victorian valentines that are bright and ornate

* Candy Conversation Hearts

* The cheesetastic puns found on the cartoon valentines that come 30 per a box

* Giant tacky velvet boxes of chocolates adorned with elaborate lace, bows, and flowers

* The extra love, adoration, and presents one recieves from family, friends, co-workers, and partners

In general I love holidays and the themed apparel that comes with those holidays. Though, there is one thing about Valentines Day that makes it extra special for me, and that is The Vagina Monologues. I acted and directed for it all throughout college, and it stands as one of my proudest accomplishments. In the years that I did it, I helped raise over $15,000 for programs in my town that provided support and safety for victims of intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and rape. In addition it helped me and many other girls/women I worked with become more open and talkative about our bodies, sexuality, and life experiences.

The dialogue it created year after year just between the performers alone was hilarious, exciting, eye-opening, titillating, wrenching, thought-provoking, and sometimes just outrageous. Each time I worked with it I learned more about myself, and the women of my campus. Also, it quickly became clear that a portion of the campus totally disagreed with us, our experience, and our expression. I'm not talking about some of the more legit arguments against the play, I'm more speaking to how conservatives think this play is making women synonymous only with their vaginas, ignoring their precious jewel like quality.

There's lots of muck one could get into about this, but just for fun I'm going to let my previous work speak for me. Upon shamelessly Google searching my name recently (you know you do it too), I found this opinion piece I wrote for my college paper two years ago in response to some misogynist asshole masquerading as God's Duke of Protecting Oversexed Women. I've read lots of college republican bs when it comes to the VagMons, but this article in particular really tops the cake. So for posterity's sake, let's jump in the way back machine and check out why The Vagina Monologues Do More Harm Than Good for Women and don't forget to read my response. Yeah they have a couple years on them, but the arguments in both are timeless.

I hope everyone enjoys their holiday however they like, and I encourage you to find a V-Day show to support near you! Remember all proceeds go to benefit victims of violence in your neighborhood!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

David Vitter to be Haunted by the Ghost of Asshole Deeds Past

As a staunch right-winger, Senator David Vitter of Louisana is super for guns and abstinence only education; he's hardcore against the GLBT community, abortion, and funding for education. He loves family values so he also is anti sex work, unless of course he gets to be included, "Hot sex and no consequences for me?!?! I'm in!"

Hoping all interest in his prostitution scandal died along with the DC Madam, he's been looking forward to probably getting to win his seat again in the 2010 election without much fuss. I can only imagine his delight when he found out about his new possible opponent, Stormy Daniels, porno actress, director, and screenwriter extraordinaire. Vitter is quite possibly her best choice of opponent (Larry Craig is a close #2), as she won't have to deal with any pesky discussions of the obvious #1 republican complaint aimed at sex workers (yet not those benefiting from their work), "family values." His hands are tied, as he won't be able to make too many objections about her line of work if he wants to keep pretending he's not a grade-A shitbag. Another less loaded argument against her might be that she doesn't have much political experience. Now, I know that she's not running for governor so experience is a little more important, but she is articulate, cares about supporting women in business, and we're all rooting for Stuart Smally up in Minnesota, so why not give her a legit shot?

Below you can watch CNN super genius interview Ms. Daniels and insult her by asking if being drafted to run against Vitter was some sort of plan to humiliate the senator. Y'know because sex work is grody, taboo, and totz shameful. She pointed out his fail by quipping, "I don't see how I could possibly embarrass him more than he's already embarrassed himself." Also not to be missed is when she turns the legitimacy questions around and puts Vitters appropriateness on the spot by pointing out that she is open and honest about her sexual activity and also doesn't do anything illegal. Sweet! Low Point? She has an off-handed way of putting herself and her profession down, although, during other moments she seems totally proud...wavering under the tittering of her moronic interviewer no doubt.

If I were a Louisianan I'd consider voting for her. I'd need to see a stronger stance on issues, but I'd bet dollars to donuts that she's all about k-12 age appropriate sex education, funding family planning, and supporting a women's right to choose. Plus anti-censorship. All wins in my book. What about youse?

Jocular Jaunt Overs: Family is Ruining Facebook Edition

Sick of having to explain to mom that your sexually suggestive status updates are song lyrics? Really wishing your aunt and uncle weren't leaving concerned comments on your photo album from that booze infused weekend in Chicago? Just jaunt on over to Oh Crap My Parents Joined Facebook and replace that frustration with hilarious screenshots of family facebooking faux pas.

* Thanks to John for the link!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

MTV is Still Helpful Sometimes...Kinda

Hey MTV, by now you've probably figured out that the generation that made you thrive is now too fed up with your shenanigans to even hate your guts, they're just over you entirely. At best you're kitsch, and at worst you provide a super unhealthy view of relationships and reward old gender stereotypes. So you can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was to see your website highlight domestic and dating violence as a response to Chris Brown abusing his girlfriend, Rihanna, this past Sunday. It takes me back to the days when you were all about being on our side, and you always had hip little public service announcements for us to learn and grow from.

So thanks for speaking up and spreading some awareness about an issue that is often kept hush hush. You cater to the youth, MTV, it's nice to see you taking some responsibility for that once in awhile. I like how you address the pattern of violence by looking back to a 2007 interview with Chris speaking openly about growing up in an abusive household. DV is a learned behavior that can be curbed with awareness, education, and speaking out, and you do a good job of illustrating that. But, you should have been more clear about how dating and domestic violence specifically is about power and control, and is part of a larger cycle of violence. Also, and perhaps most importantly,when you title your articles "What To Do If You're A Victim Of Domestic Violence," you should probably think of some, y'know, things to left that part out and mostly just talked about some other things. Close though. If nothing else, MTV, just give out a hotline # it's quick, easy, and totz effective. Like this: If you or anyone you know is dealing with intimate partner violence and you wanna talk about it call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

Monday, February 9, 2009

The News Finally Calls It What It Is: R&B Star Chris Brown Faces Felony Charges for DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Either the news media felt my stink eye, or this case is a lot more cut and dry for their taste. But whatever the reason CNN, People Magazine, The New York Times, and others are reporting that Chris Brown was arrested and being investigated for domestic violence battery, most likely (though not yet confirmed) against his girlfriend Rihanna. Both were scheduled to perform at the Grammys last night, but both canceled. Her reps blame a car accident for what some are saying are bruises on her face, though that isn't fooling FOX News. FOX gets a special shout out today for covering this attack in the most obscene way possible for mainstream news. Their aptly "clever" title for this story, "Grammy Night: Hits and Hitting" really sums up the way in which their lack of tact is not just reserved for talking about liberal whiny pants. They go onto describe the "brutal altercation" as one that "possibly" caused "a broken nose and/or jaw." Then they later call it a "domestic dispute." How can one source be equally minimizing and sensationalizing at the same time? Perhaps the bigger question here is why did I even think that looking at FOX News was legitimate? I'd also like to point out that MSNBC was pretty into hemming and hawing around using the term domestic violence as well. So the "mainstream cable news award for accurately and unapologetically reporting on domestic violence" goes to CNN! Congrats for not being entirely worthless sometimes!

*Related story: Domestic Dispute My Ass!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

She'll Steal Your Eyes and Eat Your Soul: Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Drop Everything and Go See Coraline NOW!

Coraline (released this past weekend) is quite possibly one of the best movies I've ever seen. I recommend you see it immediately, if for no other reason then to shun He's Just Not That Into You. Need some more convincing? Check it out:

1. The lead and title action adventure hero in this story is a spunky, tough, interesting young girl. She likes to get muddy, go exploring, chase after mice, and she doesn't scare easy. Coraline doesn't just let things happen to her, or wander around helpless, nor does she unknowingly and accidentally defeat or narrowly escape the villain. Armed with her wits, determination, strong spirit, and kick ass I-mean-business hat she fights her way out of a bad situation that keeps getting worse, and saves some souls while she's at it.
2. Coraline has a couple of sidekicks that provide some key backup once in awhile, but she has plenty of scenes of autonomous badassery. Sidekicks include a cat who speaks on occasion (so rad!) and a boy who's wimpy, mumbly, and never becomes a love interest (sweet!), though he does come through in the end. I like to think he was inspired by Coraline's tuffness.

3. This movie is absolutely terrifying and equally as beautiful. The original story (by Neil Gaiman) is clever, haunting, and relentless. The stop motion animation makes one long for more films with such art and talent lovingly displayed in them. I would also say that the stop motion is so much a part of the creepiness in this film that it serves as another character. Though many of the images in this film are based on those found in Gaimen's graphic novel, they are their own, cooked up in a new way by the animators, and none of them are anything like you've ever seen or imagined. They have danced in my head for the past few days, and if I never saw this movie again, I doubt the memory of them could ever dim.

4. I did note the terrifying aspect just moments ago, but special attention should be paid to the fact that this movie is really downright scary. I imagine there are some over-stimulated-by-torture-porn cynics who would argue with me, but this story is scary because it's new and there are no conventions to base it on. You can't see what's around the next corner because this movie is not limited by reality or budget (stop animation is amazingly cheaper than computer animation). Just the idea that in your house somewhere there could be a door leading to a more exciting world not totally unlike your own, but by the time you get there you learn your eyes are going to be stolen, button replacements will be sown on, and your soul will get eaten?! That's the scariest plot in the world. Also this movie is really into never letting up. Each time I thought she had escaped, something even more suspenseful, and insane would happen...I was gasping for breath though a lot of this film.

5. You can see it in 3-motherfuckin-D!!! So very cool.

Go see Coraline, but be careful what you wish for!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Get Active: Teen Dating Speak Out in DC

If you're in the DC metro region this weekend, you should totally use a couple hours on Saturday afternoon to get involved with Women Empowered Against Violence, Inc. (WEAVE). One of my nearest and dearest friends has been involved with this agency for about a year and loves it. So join WEAVE for their second annual Teen Speak Out Against Dating Violence Saturday, February 7th from 1:30 - 3:00 at Bell Multicultural High School 3101 16th Street NW - only a couple blocks from the Columbia Heights Metro. If you've never been to a speak-out it's a chance for victims, survivors, and/or supporters to raise their voices and tell their stories. These events not only spread awareness about an under-reported and rarely talked about crime, it also gives power and a voice to those who have been made to feel like they have neither. Please come to show your support, or share your story. As an added bonus, there will be food, prizes, and other performances as well. Also, did I mention this will not be straining your wallet? That's right all free! Hope you can make it, I'd love to see you there!

Thank the Universe for Peter Travers

Near the top on my "creepy crushes on older men" list right under Joe Biden, is Peter Travers, the hippest, funniest, most thoughtful and analytical movie critic I've ever read. I can always depend on this Rolling Stone reviewer, mostly because we tend to agree, but better than that is that he looks not just at film devices and nuances when he writes, but he often delves into deeper cultural analysis, the way someone writing for a more specialized magazine would.

This weekend, he was the only mainstream critic I could depend on to review the mind numbingly awful "He's Just Not That Into You" as "misogynist" and "women-bashing." Other critics mainly focused on the "young, spoiled, self-involved women in various stages of self-deception," and how their problem is "that they are interested in only (a) the opposite sex, (b) dating and (c) marriage."

The New York Times gets credit for lamenting strong women characters such as those from "Thema and Louise, " and also for noting this is a movie about straight, upper class, white dating packaged to look one size fits all. In the end, though, this review loses it's strength too, as it whimsically describes the films "better" points.

So let's drop the "it's just a movie (review)" mentality and think about how shitty it is that most critics complained the about the stupid, vapid, annoying women in this film, really letting themselves get disgusted at the women themselves. They didn't complain about portrayal of the women characters thanks to the if-it-wasn't-for-stereotypes-we'd-be-jobless screenwriters, or the lack of an imaginative director. I didn't read any bitching about the gull of the original writer of the book this tripe was based on. They're just pissed at these dumb women adding to what I can only assume will be a "yeah I hate women like that" backlash against the film.

Yeah, this movie sucks; it's a tired plot, with unfunny jokes, and it boasts an only mildly likable cast of actors and actresses. But mostly this movie sucks because it was based on an offensive, stereotypical book that sucks, and was made by people who suck (anyone seen Licensed to Wed recently...). It's not because women suck. Some of us like to shop, some like to decorate, some like to date, but all of us have a million other things we're interested in, too. It's not us or our preferences that are annoying and stupid and sucky, it's this worthless film and the equally worthless criticism of this film.

When Boys in Cardigans and Neon Collide

Whether your day is bananas (b-a-n-a-n-a-s), or you've always dreamed of naming your child Usher Jennifer Hudson Kapoor, your life will be made better by checking out the blog Things I Bought That I Love. It's written by the brilliant, the chatty, the lovable, Mindy Kaling. Mindy (named after the television show "Mork and Mindy"- awesome) not only plays Kelly Kapoor on The Office, but she is also one of the main writers and producers, and the massive talent doesn't stop there. On Things I Bought That I Love, she discusses the following in hilarious detail:

*Outwear - "...Every girl should have one coat in a bright color, preferably yellow. Why? Because people will think you’re a balls-out badass, or like some cool Parisian teenager."

*Snacks - "...When I finish a regular sized bag of Sour Patch Kids, my eyes gleam red and I’m like: “WHY HAS THIS BAG EMPTIED!! SOMEONE GIVE ME FIVE MORE BAGS OR EVERYONE’S DEAD!!!”

*Shoping for children - "...I went to the Discovery Channel Store...everything looked really boring or choke-tastic..."

*Trifting - "...You will find gems like a large, amateur (prison?) portrait of Bo Derek, nude in cornrows with giant, asymmetrical breasts."

So basically, if you're into Beyonce, pink the color, Pink the person, hot dogs, snow cones and anything that's awesome you'll totally love Things I Bought That I Love.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Toys for Tots and Photo Ops

After reading Ann's post, Race, Barbie, and the Obama Girls over at Feministing today, I tried to dig out some memories of my doll years. After struggling with my parents for a very long time about getting Barbies, they finally allowed me to own them after I turned eight, not because they approved, as much as they didn't want to take them away after I received three at my birthday party that year (Malibu Skipper, Bath Time Fun Barbie, and All American Barbie - more on ludicrous Barbie names later). I loved them intensely, but mostly because all my friends had them. Now with my new Barbies in hand, we could trade them, talk about them, dress them in each others clothes, and cut and destroy their hair together. It was Barbie networking, and it was essential for getting ahead in the second grade. My parents, though now allowing Barbie gifts, were still not purchasing them for me so I only ever ended up with about a dozen, but they were all just different styles of blonde haired Barbies. No guys, no other tweens for Skipper to hang out in Malibu with, and none of Barbies friends who were Latina, African American, and a few other white gals with other hair types.

While not a good argument for having a diverse look at other images of beautiful women, it did help me have a more diverse look on sexuality. Not having any Kens in my Barbies' lives opened the door for them to explore other options. Many of my Barbies hooked up with each other, some married, and others had babies together. One or two of them opted for single motherhood, happily raising children on their own (while working!). All of this cooked up in my imagination before being made aware of any relationships, sexualities, or family structures different from the heteronormitive images on television or in my own family.

Barbies aside, I did have these other dolls when I was even younger than Barbie age that I can barely remember the name of...maybe you can help? I think they were like "Pop 'Ems" or "Poppy Dolls" or something. The main attraction was that they were easy to dress. They were about hand size, and had the long hair you could brush and style, but they were made out of that soft plastic and molded in a kneeling position with no moveable arms or legs- that way you could "pop" their different Velcro attaching outfits on with ease, no silly appendages to deal with. The interchangeable outfits were already equipped with stuffed scarecrow like arms and legs so once dressed they were set to go. There were four different girls. Three white girls (a red head, a blonde, a brunette) and one black girl. I loved them all so very much, I played with them - popping their many outfits on and off - incessantly. The major drawback to this clever toy, was that they made a gazillion little outfits with white hands, but we could never find more outfits (than the ones she came with) for the black doll. I was constantly irritated and confused by this. Not wanting her to have to wear the same clothes while the white girls got to have new outfits all the time, I often just put the white-handed outfits on the black doll even though it was bizarre and sat poorly with me even at 5 years old. I didn't get the deeper cultural implications then, and not having thought about those dolls very often since, this outfit problem really struck me again, twenty years later, after reading Danielle Belton's On Little Black Girls, Beauty and Barbie Dolls on her blog The Black Snob.

Her experience, detailed in that post, really highlights the gap in American culture and what it means to have privilege. Also, when she speaks about modeling agencies making excuses for why the Obama girls are attractive - “It’s a very specific age and a very specific ethnicity, so there aren’t that many girls that would necessarily fit the bill" - it reminds you that no matter how many cable news shows claim it, the new first family does not prove that racism is over. Mostly though, I love her"Cute Black Girls Are Everywhere, You Idiots" photo campaign, and want anyone who can to enter it! There's only two days left though, so don't delay! Also, what kind of dolls or toys did you play with that had similar racial or gendered implications?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Fad-tastic: Money for Nothing Edition

Forget pillbox hats and dark stockings, this season is all about not paying your taxes! This is the new (for this administration) fad sweeping Washington this season, and boy-oh-boy has it got people's heads a-turnin'. And as of this week, tax evasion is not just for stuffed shirts and anarchists's for the douchey elite, too!

So not paying your taxes, or letting them slip by you unknowingly is pretty ridiculous, and yes Tim Geithner, Tom Daschle, Nancy Killefer we expect better from you (not you though, Joe Francis, this smacks of your special brand of asshat-ness). More than the taxes, I wish these politicians would have thought ahead, as in how their lack of keeping up with these things can reflect poorly on an administration, and even a whole party. It didn't take more than a few minutes after Daschle stepped down for the squawkboxes to gear up against Obama and his so-called ethics. Even the The NYTimes had this to say:
Every four or eight years a new president arrives in town, declares his determination to cleanse a dirty process and invariably winds up trying to reconcile the clear ideals of electioneering with the muddy business of governing. Mr. Obama on his first day in office imposed perhaps the toughest ethics rules of any president in modern times, and since then he and his advisers have been trying to explain why they do not cover this case or that case.
Yeah, the new President sucks on ethical policy, nothing like the Ned Flanders-esque ethics of the last guy. It's a shame that people he thought he could trust turned out to be hoarding some extra cash, and that he didn't know about it right off the bat. Perhaps, though, we should cut him a little slack considering all he has accomplished in his first two weeks (Global Gag Rule gone, Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act signed, etc). I'm not of the belief that we should just be happy with anything that is remotely better than the last administration. We should always expect and demand higher of our leaders, especially one as determined and dedicated as Obama.

Though, anyone who has ever worked in an office (hell, anyone who has ever watched "The Office") should know that getting in and fixing everything that is wrong with a broken system on the first try is near impossible. Mostly because you often work with people who are used to doing things the shittier way b/c it's easier than learning something new (the new way usually includes more work also, and no one cottons to that). Obama can only control so much, he's trying to surround himself with honest, intelligent, dedicated people, but as it's his responsibilty to vet, dig and learn about them, it's also their responsibility to not fuck him over once he gives them a chance. These couple of people (all respected politcal figures mind you) shouldn't be represenitive of Obama breaking his promise of new ethics in Washington. We've got time for this to suss out. Just give him a hot minute.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Hypocritic Oafs

Because my life needs more dramatic escapism, I like read the celebrity rags while in the break room at work, or when I'm waiting in line at the supermarket. For the most part, I'm pretty meh about all the glossy lifestyles, as it's a time passer more than anything. Sure I wanna see what the Simpson-Wentz wedding looked like while I'm waiting for the middle of my frozen burrito to thaw out, but by the time I'm ready to burn my tongue on the overly microwaved insides of my lunch, I'm over it. One thing that I can't get over, though? The pseudo political noise that comes from these dbags:
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Seen here before the general election. Can't read their insightful tees? Here's some close-ups...
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So Gods, Guns, and Glory? Sounds like you're pretty committed...
<span class= attention. Looks like certain somebodys just realized what demographic they were supposed to be catering to. Change of heart? Probably, I doubt these two would ever risk their integrity.

Inauguration Day: the Sights, the Sounds, the Salesmanship

After what is the longest break I ever intend to take from writing I'm gonna dive back in with a topic you most likely haven't heard very much about, the Inauguration of Barack Obama. While I was on a writing hiatus he got elected President and now he actually is President and as it turns out this is the greatest thing to ever happen to America. Ever. So for those of you who only get news from this blog, you're all caught up now.

So if you watched CNN at all on Inauguration Day, you may have seen them slobbering over this new robot camera that's the latest and greatest in Hi-Def capability. Intended for FBI surveillance, it takes lots and lots of pictures that can all be crammed together for an interactive smorgasbord of zooming in and out, as well as 'round and 'round. Now that the events have ended and everyone is safe, sound, and as presidential as ever, the internet has brought us this tool so we can try and see what Oprah's "It's too fucking cold out here" face looks like. I actually wasn't able to find her, but I did enjoy trying to find where I was standing only to realize I was clearly behind a tree trunk, thus not visible at all. Ha - tricked you, FBI. Maybe instead of Hi-Def you should have been working on X-ray.

It's fun to play with for a few minutes if you don't mind waiting a good 30 seconds each time you zoom for the image to reload. Hey, it's Hi-Def, not magic. If you want to try to find yourself, your congressperson, a celebrity, and/or your friends, you can here. If you're curious what kind of seats you get if you work for the campaign as a field organizer I will describe where the boyfriend and I were standing. You're dying to know, you say? Well then, we are on the far right side of the original panorama between the botanical gardens and the congressional reflective pool. So click on the far left side of the pool and just keep clicking until your the screen is centered on the closest left corner of the pool. There's a section of the pool that peeks through a sparse patch of tree branches, then to the left side of that there is a section of people pushed up against a barricade and some yellow police tape. We're like 10 - 15 people back from the front of the barricade, most likely behind the trunk of that tree. That was the very front of the silver section (aka, the least best tickets). We were as close as our tickets allowed us to be really, we were lucky to get there early and elbow around for a good position. The silver section stretched back to where the big white screen (jumbo tron) is behind the pool and the guy-riding-a-horse monument.

As for the actual Inauguration, there's not a lot to say that hasn't already been said. Seeing Obama and Biden get sworn in was like when Harry Potter killed finally Voldemort, and having said that, it took about as long to defeat the Dark Lord as it did to defeat the Republicans...connections? Duh. All in all, it was a fun effing day. It was cold, but as I predicted to the boyfriend when the freezing temps were tempting him to stay home, I don't really remember how painful the cold was now, I only remember the excitement of the crowd. There were chants, tears, screams, and boos (mainly for Bush, Cheney, and a few police officers who were trying to corral some of the more pushy participants), and all day, every where you went, everyone was doing at least one of these. The chanting was really the best, sure it reeked of mob mentality, but you don't realize how awesome it is to be packed into the Metro with 1 million rabid democrats until they start a call and response at 6am.

Then after Obama spoke, we hopped the barrier and ran off towards the nearest open metro (5+ blocks) escaping the dreaded crowds for the most part. I'm glad I live here, because the whole thing would have been impossible to navigate as a touron. Luckily, I've spent a good amount of time milling around the mall, so even though it was packed to the hilt, we did much better than the people with neon "Akron for Obama" t-shirts on who were trying desperately, but hopelessly to keep their large group from breaking apart and getting lost forever.

Better than anything, though, were the Obama vendors. Scattered throughout the city for the entire week, you could not walk two feet without an overly pumped up street salesman offering something for the low low once in a lifetime historical price of ___. Of course there were the usual suspects: sweatshirts, t-shirts, baseball hats, knit ski caps, stickers, buttons. Then a few more items that I wouldn't usually count on, nor have ever planed to buy from a card table on U St, included: "silk" ties with various probama slogans, leather jackets with "Obama" and "Hope" stamped on the sleeves and breast, Barack bookmarks, even glossy photo calendars of the first family looking adorable month after month. But my absolute favorite of the paraphernalia were the wild cards - things you would only expect to win at a parking lot carnival or find in a dusty forgotten basket at a dimly lit dollar store. These treasures ranged from useless (novelty coins with Barack's face painted on them), to titillating (Obama condoms!), to downright ridiculous/awesome (Obama light up watches, or glow in the dark sneakers adorned with a "picture" of Barack's face - that for accuracy's sake, looked a lot more like Slimer). I didn't buy any of these wares, as at the time it seemed like a ludicrous waste of money...yeah, I'm totally regretting that now.

More than that though, I regret not taking more pictures. It's really hard to further describe an energy that millions of people around the world from bloggers to newscasters have been trying to hit upon for the last week and a half. Pictures, though, they always do the trick. When words have become trite and redundant, there's nothing like a good photograph of a bright yellow condom stamped with an outline Barack's face to really capture the spirit of the moment. U-S-A! U-S-A!


What Noteworthy Thing Could Have Possibly Happened in the Last 3 Months?

I know I haven't written anything since October, and the reason is...nothing's really happened since then. I did have a birthday, and some holidays, but other than that, it just doesn't seem like there has been a lot to write about lately. But I did stand outside in the cold for like 6 hours last week...and I'm working on a post about that now.

Sorry about the long break, I'm back for realz this time, I promise.