Thursday, September 28, 2006

Well, shit, I'm crying again.

Video of Terri Irwin talking to Barbara Walters.

Friday, September 22, 2006

How about some GOOD television

Judge Judy case from Thursday

Ah, it's so beautiful when those scales of justice balance...

The funniest thing about this case for me is how she utilizes the gallery, because normally she HATES them. All she usually does with the gallery is yell at them to be quiet or have Byrd eject them. Maybe this marks the beginning of a new understanding.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Top Model Hits Bottom

I've confessed myself a viewer of America's Next Top Model in the past. I have never tried to hide this particular stain on my character.

So last night I showed up for the premiere of the new season, ready to sacrifice a few more brain cells to the insipid cause. And what do I find?


And this:

And this:

The photo shoot, you see, involved dramatizing "common model stereotypes." Some of them were somewhat amusing, like the one who played the "dumb blonde" by holding a book upside down. Others were nonsensical in that special Top Model way, such as the "black girl trying to look white" shot, which confused me because a) I did not know that was a "common model stereotype" and b) the photo looked like nothing but a black model with blonde streaks in her hair.

The three shots above represent, respectively, the "druggie model," the "anorexic model," and, for good measure, the "bulimic model."

That foolish orange little Jay Manuel, grinning like the fucking Cheshire cat, pronounced the shoot "the most controversial in Top Model history." No, Jay, this is not controversial; this is reprehensible. Controversial challenges status quo. It does not simultaneously glorify and trivialize suffering and death.

At judging, Crazy Tyra lectured the models on the concept of "ugly/pretty"--presenting a beautiful face even in an ugly shot. I get that as a model/fashion idea. I do NOT, however, understand the desire to align beauty with DYING.

Most of the time this show is essentially harmless. Goofy and juvenile, certainly, but no worse. I don't see it as sexist. It's probably the least sexy show on television, and there's nothing inherently wrong with being a model. It's a perfectly legitimate career. But this? Is irresponsible and repulsive. Very, very disappointing.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Best wishes, Terri

Sigh. Poor Terri Irwin. Steve's public memorial today appropriately included video of his television appearances as well as outtakes of Steve falling from boats, being bitten by critters, forgetting lines, etc. No doubt he would've encouraged laughter over tears. Terri just looks devastated though, and who can blame her.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Girl power! Or, you know, not.

I'm sorry, but this just strikes me as horribly inappropriate.

How old is this child? Ten, eleven, tops? When I first saw the picture I thought she really was sporting the criss-cross leather, which is the purpose of the "flesh"-toned backdrop, no? Could we maybe agree, as a people, that sexualizing children is, like, bad? I know, different strokes and all, but it just...doesn't seem like that much to ask.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Oh, please, can I be fashionable too?

Think sexism and glorified violence against women are part of the Past? Check out this fashion slideshow from Italian Vogue that I brought over from Twisty at I Blame the Patriarchy.

On a cheerier note, the new season of our favorite family show, The Amazing Race, premieres tonight. Take us away, Phil!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Mad Mel Game

Now THIS is funny.

Play the new GSN game "So You Think You Can Drive, Mel?" You have to maneuver Mel's Lexus around highway patrol officers while avoiding rabbi-flung stars of David and picking up extra tequila bottles. The more tequila you win, the harder it becomes to steer the car.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Colbert Interviews Richard Sexton

Honestly, part of me wishes our elected officials had more dignity than to subject themselves to ridicule just to get more TV face time...but this is pretty damn funny.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Oh Noes! Survivor Plays To Stereotypes?!

Sponsors Abandon Survivor

This article discusses GM's scarpering, but Coca Cola and Home Depot have bailed as well. I find the whole business hilarious. Alanis Morissette, please call your office--this really IS ironic!

I have now read four articles on the subject of Survivor's latest insipid gimmick--dividing the four tribes by race in case you've been living on a deserted island yourself--and heard endless radio commentary, but not one of these outraged pearl clutchers has addressed the show's past scheme of dividing tribes by sex.

How is it different? No, really. How?

What a testimony this kerfluffle is to the lousy sexist culture we still are. Did any sponsors take their toys and go home during the seasons when that preening jackass Jeff Probst took every opportunity to suggest that men who lost to women were a bunch of worthless pussies?

Will we see Jeff gleefully querying, say, White team members on their feelings about losing a swimming challenge to the Black team? Or the Asian participants on losing a puzzle challenge to a bunch of Hispanics?

Will he encourage Black contestants to stand on blocks and strip naked for food like the women contestants have?

Shall I go on? Perhaps not. The point is that sexism remains so normalized, so invisible in its ubiquitousness, that our eyes pass right over it. We react viscerally to the idea of turning racial tension into game show fodder, and rightfully so, because the legacy of racial hatred is violent and horrible, but what about the stain of gender violence? Why should "the battle of the sexes" be harmless and cute while "battle of the races" offends, particularly when rape and domestic violence still threaten us?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

New episodes! Woo!

I still love Judge Judy.

Yes, season 11 has arrived. And she still rules.

Today my husband and I got the giggles and had to pause the DVR (ah, glorious, life giving technology) because the defendant in one of Judge Judy's cases was titled by the announcer simply (and portentiously) as "bar patron." Litigants are generally identified by Mr. Official Judge Judy Show Announcer according to profession, as in "dog groomer Jane Jones," or through something related to the case, such as "car owner Bob Schnitzer."

This dude gets "bar patron Joe Blow," which we effortlessly translated as "Drunkass Motherfucker Who Is Going To Lose This Case."

We were right.

Terri and Steve Irwin photo

A shot of the biceps (and the companionship) I admired earlier.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Crank or Crap: I Make the Call

Are they kidding me with this ?

I need to go read Faludi's Backlash again.

I fully admit to not having seen this film and never intending to see this film in the future. However, I was subjected to a trailer for Crank while watching tv last night, and I did look it up on today, so I will speak to what information I possess.

It looks like ten pounds of shit in a five-pound bag.

The entire premise reeks of hyper-(fake)masculine, sophomoric, Grand Theft Auto glorification of unmitigated violence and misogyny, all in the name of the ultimate stimulus high.

Exhibit A: Excerpt from the review:

With Crank, at least writers/directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor got the title right. Crank takes on multiple meanings, as it refers to the warp speed that fuels this adrenaline-pumped action thriller from its first frame, as if everyone involved was bouncing off the ceiling, high on crystal meth. Or it could point to doomed L.A. hit man Chev Chelios' (Jason Statham) increasingly erratic behavior. Or perhaps the title is purely descriptive of the minds that dreamt up this thing. At times, Crank is loads of fun and threatens to enter that golden territory of so-bad-it's-good, but the violence grows far too ugly and is so unrelenting that it becomes tiresome.

Chelios wakes up one morning to discover that he's been injected with the "Beijing cocktail," a poison that interferes with the adrenal gland and should shut down his heart within the hour. He knows this because his killer, Verona (Jose Pablo Cantillo), thoughtfully leaves a DVD where he describes exactly how he is a "f**king genius of sick" for having come up this fiendish way of destroying an enemy. Of course, considering that he took the coward's way out in attacking Chelios while he slept, it would have been more efficient to simply to put a couple of bullets in his brain. But Verona is a clever boy, to his ultimate peril.

Like a Dylan Thomas poem brought to large and bloody life, Chelios is not about to go gentle into that good night. If he's going down, he's taking as many of his enemies as he can with him. Advised by his physician, Doc Miles (Dwight Yoakam, who after years of presenting himself as a stud muffin on his album covers, seems to take a perverse delight in playing paunchy, balding middle-aged guys), that if he can keep the adrenalin flowing he'll be able to cheat death at least for a little while, Chelios turns to all kinds of stimulants: energy drinks, cocaine, epinephrine. And then there's defibrillation, car chases, running from the police, and demanding sex in the middle of a Chinatown plaza from his befuddled girlfriend, Eve (Amy Smart, an ironic name considering what a dumb bunny she's playing). And when Chelios isn't somehow doping himself up to stay alive, he's in the middle of ending someone else's time on the planet.

Racism: check. Asians are always killers in the movies. "Beijing cocktail" indeed.

Sexism: check. Dumb blonde sex doll "girlfriend." In the trailer I saw her only screen time involved bending over toward the camera and being spanked by our hero, Speedy McPriapism. And loving it, of course, because that's what we all truly want, a Real Man, a jumped up thrill seeker who will FORCE us to abandon our inhibitions and embrace our deep desire to blow him in public, preferably while he pops a cap in a few pedestrians.

Exhibit B: What the fuck is THIS ?

(I would post the photo here, but sometimes Blogger refuses, inexplicably, to let me upload images. Maybe when it deems them too loathsome? In this case I would have to agree.)

And now I'll sit back and wait for the inevitable comments about how I have no sense of humor and am a dried up dyke who clearly just needs a proper banging or whatever, even though I totally pulled off a Rousseau joke JUST YESTERDAY and have never been attracted to other women and even have a husband AND a kid, but none of that matters because only morose dried up bangless dykes are unable to find patriarchy as hilarious as it supposedly is. *yawn*

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Public school is a prison for our widdle lambs

Public school is like a PRISON

What a steaming pile of rubbish. If your kids don't like school you should let them stay home? Dude, even Jean-Jacques Rousseau thinks you're an asshole right now.

Friday, September 08, 2006


I totally feel for this guy. I don't have many fears. I'm cool with spiders, almost any bugs really, no issue with snakes, etc. But I have been utterly repulsed by roaches for as long as I can remember. I mean, I really, really hate roaches.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

This is hard!

So The Atheist Mama tagged me with my first meme. Wish me luck:

A book that changed my life

Hmmm. Probably something feminist. Maybe The Beauty Myth?

A book I’ve read more than once

Too many to list. I read most of my books over and over.

A book I would take with me if I were stuck on a desert island

The Lord of the Rings. Maybe Harry Potter if I could have them all in one book.

A book that made me laugh

Catcher in the Rye, Pride and Prejudice, Harry Potter, Notes from Underground, Shoveling Smoke, Letters from a Nut, Me Talk Pretty One Day, etc., etc., etc.

A book that made me cry

An embarrassingly long list, but a few samples: Watership Down, Of Mice and Men, Where the Red Fern Grows, The Kite Runner, A Tale of Two Cities, Silas Marner

A book that I wish had been written

I'm looking for a good historical fiction novel written from Delilah's perspective

A book that I wish had never been written

I'm not sure I could erase even a shitty book from existence...

A book I’ve been meaning to read

I'm so instant gratification driven--when I want to read something I go get it!

I’m currently reading

The Club Dumas, Kingdom Coming

I'm adding one:

Book so disturbing I couldn't read it twice

Clockwork Orange and A Handmaid's Tale

Monday, September 04, 2006

Now cracks a noble heart. Thank you, Steve Irwin.

We drove to Chicago this weekend to visit my brother-in-law and sister-in-law-to-be. Heading back toward home early this morning I began feeling anxious about the fact that I had heard no news, no talk radio, for two days, so I started scanning the AM band. And the first snippet I heard: Steve Irwin dead at age 44.

Sure I had misheard, or that it was a horrible joke (April Fools' moved to Labor Day?) I fished my cell phone out of my bag and pulled up CNN. No joke. He's dead, his heart pierced by a bull stingray near the Great Barrier Reef, a freak accident.

I spent the next several hours examining my own feelings about his death, which surprised even me with their intensity. Why was I choking back tears over the passing of a stranger?

Several reasons, I decided. For one, the Crocodile Hunter and his television shows simply carry associations of my son's childhood. He always referred to him as "Steve," like he was a family friend or an uncle, which always amused us. And how could a child not love him? His work and his persona were so unique and captivating our entire family would watch "Steve" for hours, and his enthusiasm was so infectious you would forget that the creatures that so enraptured him were hideous. Which was, of course, his entire mission: making people see animals we've traditionally hated and feared through his eyes--as beautiful and fascinating and special.

And this is another reason his death grieves me: I love animals, and Irwin was a passionate and devoted conservationist. We may never see his like again in that regard. I remember taking our son to see that goofy movie, "Collision Course," the second it hit the theater. The place was by no means full, and we felt like precisely the dorks we were, but there's nothing more wonderful than viewing a film with a handful of other people who also showed up for the very first screening, because you all know why you're there, all laughing at the same moments for the same reasons, all getting the little shoutouts to fans. We loved it. And, no surprise if you knew anything about Steve Irwin, all profit from that film went directly to crocodile conservation.

Speaking of the movie, something else I loved? His partnership with wife Terri Irwin. For someone who ran around picking up cobras and leaping onto feral crocodiles before millions of fans, Steve apparently suffered from no machismo. I never felt like he was waving his dick around--he showed no reluctance to admit when he was afraid, and I've seen him cry twice, once at the death of his beloved dog and again over the body of one of his zoo crocs--and I never, ever saw him treat Terri as anything but a trusted, competent equal. She was out there at their zoo jumping on the backs of crocs just like the men, and we never saw him checking her work. There's a great scene in the film where we see Terri in a tank top, and sister has some serious GUNS, and the camera makes sure you see that this is no trophy wife; Terri Irwin could snap you in half and pick her teeth with your splintered bones. I LOVED that, because you know there was someone in Hollywood who thought about glamming her up for the big screen, especially since she is undeniably a gorgeous woman, but no way. Terri's closeup? Rock solid biceps. Goddamn right.

Oh, how I pity her today. I'm ready to weep again typing it. I remember her pregnant with both their children and I remember how thrilled they both were about the babies. Steve was working on a kids' show with daughter Bindi when he was killed. How will she bear it? And the little boy--Bob--probably won't even remember his bouncy happy Daddy. It breaks my heart. Those poor children, to have a father like that and lose him.

I know people are saying that Irwin lived more in 44 years than most of us would in twice that, but that doesn't make me feel better. I know people die every day--people die too young every day--but so many of Earth's tenants merely take up space that it really hurts to lose one who was actually paying his rent. Steve Irwin earned his keep; he had credit. He deserved the rest of his life. It's not fair.

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