Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I Only Just Realized That People Were Kind of Terrified by Supermodels in the 90s

Okay, not like I sit around all day watching Third Eye Blind videos and hoping there is some way to pretend I am doing it for social analysis reasons (LIE! That is exactly how I occupy up to 7 hours that I will never get back, every day of my rapidly-ending youth).

BUT I was just watching this and just realized something I never realized when I was an actual tween/ teen in the 90s, during the big "supermodel" heydey: in addition to worshipping them for their attractive facial moles or whatever, people were at the same time fucking TERRIFIED of supermodels.

As a background note, the only ways I really interfaced with models in the actual 90s were watching "House of Style" and, when I got older, writing stuff like "Real women reject plastic perfection!" on copies of Glamour that I found in the school library. I was, like, 16, and not very good at seeing multiple points of view, so I was pretty sure that "mainstream" was obsessed with how models were perfect, and I had to fight the power, as the minority, and show how models/ the culture of modeling sucked and was negative for women. Yes, my heart was in the right place, but I mostly ended up shifting the blame onto other women who looked modelly or loved modeling culture.

A nuance that was lost on me at the time was this thread of models/ supermodels/ beautiful women/ powerful being viewed in some pop culture (mostly grunge) media of the time as...I don't know, ghouls? Like in the video above. The second I started watching it, suddenly my brain flashed through a billion other 90s music videos and fashion spreads and other things, where these model faces are kind of distorted and grimacey and made to look monstrous. And one of the things I think going on with that was fear of these women, fear of these models.

I think since the 90s contained a moment when supermodels began being perceived as ultra-savvy, powerful, in-control millionaires, there was an urge to take them down a peg. And I think this micro-trend towards shooting models like they're kind of horrifying had just as much to do as taking powerful women down a peg (look, you're not so pretty! You're a monster, in fact!) as it did with taking mainstream culture (you think you're great, but really, you're cheesy and lame!/ You're rich but you still suck) and unrealistic beauty standards down a peg.

I know nowadays everyone (including me, more often than not!) is into remembering the 90s as a feminist nirvana, where President Liz Phair and Co-Vice Presidents Louise Post and Polly Jean Harvey ruled us with tough-but-fair legislations that required everyone to watch "Xena." But really, while there was certainly more embrace of "girl power" and whatnot in the mainstream media than there is right now, the 90s were still twisted and confused with regards to a lot of things concerning women, and a lot of that confusion/ twistedness was just not reflected in media that really lasted, and so we've kind of forgotten about it. or maybe I'm wrong! If you have any recall of the pop culture of the mid to late 90s, watch part of the above video, check out the weird, grimace-y monster models, and let me know if any of this rings any bells for you. I could be wrong!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

What Happens When the Laughter Dies? (or something)

What happens when a piece of parody outlasts the thing it was meant to parody? Does it exist in a cultural (and some would even say, spiritual) void, where it represents nothing and has no meaning, because the meaning originally ascribed to it has withered away and, by its very nature, no new meaning can grow in its place? Does it show itself, because it lasted longer than the thing it originally parodied, to have greater meaning than originally thought, a core of significance unrecognized when it was first created? Or does it explode?

I don't know the answers to these questions, because I am merely a blogger who is trying to create a smart-sounding reason to post an absolutely ass-mazing (that is "asinine" + "amazing") Primus video from 1995.

(To jog your memory/ if you were born after 1989, these are the commercials this video is parodying:

I learned this morning both that the family in these ads are called "the Puttermans," and that the commercials were directed by Barry Sonnenfeld)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I am sure I would kind of make a face about this if I read it on someone else's blog (the same way I am still making faces about that time Zooey Deschanel went on "Top Chef" like nine years ago and said she was allergic to all foods with calories or whatever), but I joined a CSA this year, and, holy shit, I just cannot get enough of their fucking wild lettuce. I will just eat a big bowl of that shit straight every single day. I am craving the fuck out of it right now! It is insane! I am someone who, in the past, has only ever craved foods with the word "krispy" in their names, so this is kind of a health breakthrough for me. Don't worry, I didn't sell out completely, I still eat total garbage constantly, but this was just so unlike any food experience I've ever had, I am kind of flipping out. I know this news is not interesting to anyone else, but you know, if you want news items instead of fevered odes to wild lettuce, go listen to NPR.

I know everyone self-googles constantly, except I don't, because I know there's never anything new there, because not only is my name more common than you'd expect, but also like nothing I have written in like the past two years ever seems to come up on a general google search on my name, like, ever.

But every few months, I have one of these things where I'm like "Am I missing out on something here? Is everyone getting a huge great thing out of self-googling and I'm totally missing it because I don't 'get' it? IS THIS THE ARCADE FIRE ALL OVER AGAIN?" and I self-google, with disappointing results. It also helps to have something really pressing to do, something really important where putting it off means total disaster, so of course you have to come up with something really insane to procrastinate with after you've alphabetized your forks or whatever.

Today was just such a perfect storm, and I engaged in the typical lackluster self-googling. But because I had just seen the trailer for that "Another Earth" movie, which is all about having an exact double on another planet, and also because I wanted to avoid another necessary activity THAT BADLY, I just read the entirety of one of my googleganger's wedding registry.

"What might alternate reality me like, in a wedding registry?" I thought. "She has a wedding registry, so there's a difference right off the bat. But perhaps, scrolling through this stranger's wedding registry, you will see something and it will be a weird filament that will connect you, a glimmer of something that only you recognize unites you."

But I guess that was the heat stroke, because her wedding registry looked exactly like every other wedding registry on the planet (shiny polished silver things). Hell, even my college best friend's wedding registry looked like that, and she and I have a lot more in common than me and an absolute stranger with whom I share a name. I mean, I guess we live in households with salad spinners now, but that wasn't the mystical connection I was hoping for.

And that is how I decided to spend an hour of my life that I'll never get back. And then I decided to spend the next hour watching True Blood. On a related note, does anyone know of a place where I could set up a registry where I could list all the shiny silver things I want in the world, and people could buy them for me when they're feeling flush with cash/ looking to beg my forgiveness/ looking to spend money before the end of the fiscal year? I'm asking for a friend.

Monday, May 23, 2011

I'm a frequent Ke$ha enthusiast, occassional Ke$ha apologist, and this is the article I wrote about it for Bitch Magazine.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Phrases and Subjects I Would Rap About If I Were a Rapper

* Jurassic Park

* "Leaving on a Jet Plane" by Peter, Paul, and Mary

*How much I hate the New Yorker

*Parker Lewis Can't Lose
Ideally the Jurassic Park one would be a whole song where I used velociraptors as a metaphor for my lyrical prowess. Also, ideally, the song would name-check Wayne Knight.

Friday, April 8, 2011

No Commentary, This Picture Was Just Like the Funniest Thing I Have Ever Seen

I Know It is Really Hard to Say That Anything is Definitively the Worst of Any Particular Kind of Thing, But...

About once a year, I find myself sexually attracted to Anthony Kiedis. I know, I know, I'm not happy about it either. I was like 10 when Blood Sugar Sex Magik came out and it fused some of my neural pathways into shapes beyond my control (these are the same neural pathways I believe to be responsible for my semi-annual Billy Corgan-Tom Morello three-way nightmare). Luckily, whenever I feel myself compelled by his meatheaded charms, I can watch this video, which makes my vagina wince so hard, it is like I sat in a bucket of lemon juice. And if that doesn't work, there is always this picture, where he is dressed like Avril Lavigne.

And then it's time to wait it out til next year!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Things I Learned at the Thao and The Get Down Stay Down Show: Mostly Things About Getting Dumped, Some Things About Chunky Knitwear

So I went to see Thao and the Get Down Stay Down tonight at Bowery Ballroom, and: I have not seen that many chunky knit cardigans and cats eye glasses since I accepted my bachelor's degree and moved out of Amherst, Massachusetts (and I say this as someone who has attended the Bust Craftacular twice).

First thought: this is like a Smith College radio station show pushed ten years into the future. Second thought: I am wrong about the ten years part, because, upon closer inspection, everyone else here is actually a college senior.

Which is always a bit embarrassing, but tonight, it was also comforting: I sometimes get very old fuddy-duddy scared about how I am going to interact as adults and peers with people who were born in years that I actually remember (what up, 1991)--but tonight made it clear, no matter how much sexting and ebooks and mobisodes and edutainment they have absorbed, college girls will still go through a period where they wear an enormous chunky knit zip-up cardigan and hairdos with a zillion bobby pins and volunteer for abortion rights, and thus, we will always have common ground. Also, Thao is just the Mirah of 2011, right? Let the circle be unbroken, etc etc.

Most of the shows I go to these days are peopled with either hollow-cheeked cocaine pixies, or dads with tattoos, so it was nice to know I am not a completely obsolete model...just a relatively obsolete model!

Speaking of Thao & the ...: I think it took them a little while to get warmed up, or maybe it took me a little while to get warmed up, but either way, it was fun once the show got underway. However, I sort of couldn't figure out why I was there--there wasn't a particular song I was waiting for, I wasn't desperate to hear some new song for the first time, I did not have any of the urges or feelings I usually have at a show.

I got really, really into the last Thao album after my last (hopefully ever?) horrible breakup (read: ridic dumping), and I listened to that album so many times that it is basically a part of my brain-space now so of course I bought a ticket to go see them the second I saw that such tickets existed--zombie style!--but really, there was no way they could live up to what I expected. Because what I expected was an album-exact rendition of every song, just in a louder, more brutal arrangement, so I could go immerse my brain in some total time-travel sensory overload. Um, no wonder that didn't happen! But seriously, they got it very very right on that album, and so, I don't know, seeing them live did not scratch this particular itch for me.

But anyway, since you're so eager to know, I'm sure, I present: Some Break-Up Albums, Organized by Some Ex-Boyfriends, in Reverse Chronological Order:

1. Thao, "Know Better Learn Faster" : This was the breakup (read: ridic dumping) of basically my first non-insane, "adult" relationship, and even though of course I was wailing and renting my garments and all the usual dumpee activities, it was kind of a relief to just be sad for regular dumping reasons (i.e. I thought this was all going so well!) and not crazy-relationship reason (i.e. I am actually literally convinced I will die alone now because I am such a terrible person). Common thoughts in this time period included: "Maybe this is character-building and just part of Becoming a Woman?"

This record fits into this new experience I was having--it is a collection lot of regular breakup feelings, appropriate for persons in the 20s who have little to no inclination to cut the name of their ex into their calf with their housekeys. While I was sobbing to this record, I was, on some level, relieved to be sobbing to something so regular.

But for serious, this is the best breakup record in the world for girls (I am not sure if it is the same for boys because I have not field tested it, but it might be--why not check for yourself?) (fun fact: the linked video was directed by someone who is on "Glee," which shows exactly how hip and underground I am these days)(though in a certain way, doesn't it make sense? Don't Thao & the seem like they should be playing at the Peach Pit After Dark?)

2. Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, s/t : When your life has taken so many wrong turns that a guy cheats on you by boning a maid while on vacation and then he is still the one to dump you, you might as well get as melodramatic as a suicidal teenage drug addict.

This was also a point in my life where I began regretting not having been skankier when I was younger, and whatever "grittiness" I read into this album fit in well with my plotting an out-of-control promiscuity phase that totally never materialized.

3. Joanna Newsom, "Peach Plum Pear" on repeat for 72 hours straight : I only dated this guy for like a month, but all my romances beforehand had been like these super-epic drawn-out love-junkie nightmares, so I didn't realize someone could just dump you after a month, and I was, as you can imagine, quite shocked.

4. drank my way through this one for about six months; only sound available was the echo of my own dry-heaving

5. Elliott Smith, "XO" : that fact that this would be my breakup album in my early 20s is as good a proof as any that your early 20s are seriously just the fucking worst time you will ever have in your entire life.

6. just curled into a ball for a week and then everything was fine!

7. my high school-cum-college boyfriend dumped me over the phone while Weezer were playing "Island in the Sun" on SNL. I spent all of summer break in bed, and then at school immediately jumped into eyeliner and cigarettes and attempted promiscuity. I didn't even know you got to have breakup albums, and use then as a sort of transition state, a bridge back to life (fun fact! also the name of a rehab center in Bay Ridge that an ex-boyfriend of mine attended!) between the feeling that the world has ended and you're a zombie with your brain falling out of your eyeballs, and the next phase; a place to kind of regain some equilibrium and reconnect with the land of the living, so that your life doesn't just feel like a record that skipped.

If I had known about breakup albums at this point, I assume there would have been a lot of weeping to "Violator" (don't judge).

8. When my elementary school boyfriend dumped me, I obsessively listened to a tape of Snow's "Girl I Been Hurt" that I taped off the radio. I thought it not only nicely summed up what I was feeling (note: I did not know what the word "lover" meant), but also reflected a love triangle going on in "X-Men" that was deeply effecting me at the time. Cyclops, how could you!

I guess the point of all this is, when the show was over, I left as soon as the show was over because I was tired, and decided to drop fifteen dollars on a cab, instead of spend an hour on the train, because that's one of the pleasures of adult life. Right?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sound of Corporate-Casual

It makes a lot of sense that LCD Soundsystem is so popular with corporate-creative types, I think. The overpowering weariness of James Murphy's voice, lyrics, etc. seems like it almost designed to make people who work in cubicles go, "If that guy is as miserable after DJ-ing in Ibiza as I am after spending a 72-hour work-week designing a direct mail flier for Friskies, maybe I did not make the wrong life choices after all." I mean, who knows. Maybe you didn't.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I sort of like the new Kanye album so much I want to, like, meld spiritually with it, kind of? Like I want to get it all tattooed on my face or something, and then those tattoos would glow and play all the songs directly into people's heads when they touched them and we would both fly around in the sky, hearing the songs? It's kind of an embarrassing feeling.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Only The New York Times Dares to Ask And Answer the Tough Questions! (About Why Women Are Kind of Not Actually, You Know, People)


Q: How much rape is too much rape?
A: Oh, I dunno, a medium amount of rape seems like the right amount, don't you think?

Q: Who gets to decide what counts as rape or date rape?
A: A bunch of people you have never met!

Q: Are they lawyers and judges?
A: Nope! They are women in their 30s, mostly "in steady, heterosexual relationships," unlike you, you nasty single girl. With your multiple sexual partners and your appletinis and your mani-pedis! You're driving me nuts!

Q: I didn't know that people in "steady, heterosexual relationships" had so much moral domain over people who aren't that they actually get to define legal concepts for everyone else in the universe.
A: They don't. They only get to decide things for women. Duh.

Q: Do you feel like these same women who feel like reporting a date rape is waste of a police officer's time would TOTALLY call the police on a bar or party that they thought was making too much noise at night?
A: You said it, not me.

Q: I don't think there's anything wrong with contacting the police with noise complaints, actually. I always thought that the police and legal system were supposedly there to deal with a variety of issues, from noise problems all the way to stopping someone from murdering you. Why do you think we have such a hard time agreeing, as a society, that any kind of unwanted sexual contact, EVEN IF YOU ARE UNCOMFORTABLE USING THE WORD RAPE TO DESCRIBE IT, would fall on that spectrum?
A: ?

Q: Finally, what is up with the token guy in all of these kind of articles who complains about how obtaining meaningful consent is like "filling out a form"? In this article, the exact quote is:
“'So in future we need a written contract every time before we close our bedroom doors?' an exasperated male journalist colleague of mine asked. "
Whenever I hear someone say this, I just think, "Why are you so fucking scared by the idea of a 'form'? I know that you, Theoretical Guy Talking About This Contract, are speaking in hyberbole to show how unreasonable and awful feminists are, but why are you so scared of this theoretical imaginary form? Do you think it would say stuff you might not like to see? Are you, you know, afraid that if you had to--actually legally had to--obtain meaningful consent from each of your partners, you'd find out that some of them weren't that enthused about sexual encounters with you?

That's kind of all I can imagine when I hear something like this. This comment, deep down, says to me that the person who speaks it, fears that they are someone who is so tragically undesirable, that if 'yes' became the standard of consent, they would never have a partner again, because on some level, their sexuality is about bullying, and if we as a culture stop legitimizing that bullying as, uh, 'seduction' or whatever, they they will be stuck up some kind of (sex) creek without some kind of (sex) paddle. Because, you know, if there were forms for sex with my boyfriend, for example, I would write "Yes" with ten thousand exclamation points and then have sex with him.
A: ?

Q: I think the implication here is that, if theoretically one could drastically reduce date rape in the world through using some kind of form, this guy wouldn't do it, anyway, because it wouldn't be worth it, because...?
A: See the title of this post.

Q: How come the research standards of the NY Times are fairly rigorous, except when it's an article about women's lives, and then you can just ask your college friends on Facebook or watch half an episode of "Sex and the City" and, like, call it a day?