Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Earworm of the Day - The Most "90s" 90s song

Ambiguous lyrics? Check. Title that occurs nowhere in the chorus? Check. Chopping chording? Check. Flannel? Check. Pig humping? Er...

Monday, August 18, 2014

Quoted: Sarah Shulman on Patti Smith

I hated Just Kids. I felt it was very disingenuous. She made herself very clean. She's a good person because she was understanding that her boyfriend was gay. Yet he ended up being pimped by a rich guy, whom she kind of pimped off also. She doesn't like women at all. Every man she hates ends up being incredibly connected and powerful, and propels her professionally. She also has a high ick factor around lesbians. The only woman she mentions is Sandy Daly, and experimental filmmaker who made the film Robert Get His Nipple Pierced, which we showed at MIX. She seems to have instinctively stayed away from women who don't have any power, and gone with men who had enormous amounts of power. I was shocked to discover that, because Patti Smith was my hero. -- Sarah Schulman in an interview with Zoe Whittall from Believer mag's Always Apprentices
Later in the interview, Schulman says, "[Patti Smith] write all that great lesbian stuff in her songs, apparently none of which is real." I thought this was pretty common knowledge. (If she's talking about "Gloria," I'm pretty sure Patti Smith has made it clear in various interviews that she's singing from a man's point of view.)

I like Sarah Schulman, but I don't entirely agree with her, or, at least, I don't think Patti Smith has committed some great offense aside from some pretty blatant (but clueless) homophobia. Using the N-word in a title of a song is inexcusable, but she doesn't mention that.

I don't know. I always thought of Patti Smith as proto-genderqueer, or gender nonconforming before it became the topic of thousands of Tumblr blogs, and I've always appreciated her for it. She never claimed to be a lesbian, so it's not as if she appropriated an identity that wasn't hers. I think what bothers me the most is that we hold female celebrities to certain standards of correctness -- political or otherwise -- but not male ones. Smith's misogyny is well-documented, pretty shitty, and baffling given her status as a feminist icon, but given the misogyny in pop music in general, is it all that surprising?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

I'm ashamed too

I'm ashamed that the bigotry highlighted in this article* is not at all uncommon. I'm ashamed that I can't count on my local media to report on the protests without criminalizing the protesters. But mostly I'm ashamed that once Mike Brown's death is pushed to the second page that things probably won't have changed that much.

*linked from Colorlines

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Wetlands is now movie. Let's celebrate?

From Vulture:
Wetlands, based on Charlotte Roche’s debut novel, Feuchtgebiete — which was derided as porn while also becoming one of the world’s best-selling novels in 2008 — had gained instant notoriety as soon as the Sundance catalogue came out. “Oh, is that the one with the picture of the girl with the finger up her butt?” is the usual response when I tell people I’ve seen it. The catalogue description (it’s in the World Dramatic Competition) begins: “Meet Helen Memel. She likes to experiment with vegetables while masturbating and thinks that bodily hygiene is greatly overrated.” Something about it reminded me of Wish You Were Here, the 1987 explicit British comedy about a girl who curses like a sailor and sleeps with every man in sight. My parents took me to see it when I was 9 and the movie left me traumatized for years, though I’d probably love it now. I actually rearranged my schedule to fit a screening in after interviewing Aubrey Plaza and having her ask me, “Have you seen that one Wetlands? I just keep hearing the craziest things.”
I read Wetlands when the English edition was published five years ago. I can't say it's great art. (/sarcasm), but as a fan of grosser-than-gross novels, and it's um, quite an achievement. (Can you see how diplomatic I'm being here.) There's no real narrative to speak of save for girl explores various orifices and in an odd, after school special turn of events, tries to get her mismatched parents back together. But it's nasty in a spectacularly unladylike way, and that I appreciate. Movie? We'll see.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Links: Ferguson Protests

(written 8/14/14)

I have a lot of links to get to this week, -- the protests in Ferguson after the shooting of Michael Brown, and Robin Williams's suicide and mental illness in general (and in particular, mental illness in men) -- but as a lifetime St. Louisan, the former is of primary importance right now. And as a lifetime St. Louisan I'm disheartened, disgusted, and ashamed by the police response, but ultimately not surprised. St. Louis and its surrounding suburbs are some of the most racially divided in the country. The mostly white Ferguson police serves an area that is 70% black; only three of its officers is black.

But tanks, swat gear, tear gas, the arrests of two reporters and one elected official -- it's still pretty fucking surreal. If one positive could come out of this, it's that the militarization of the police force, even in small towns, has been made known.

The local media coverage has been disappointing, too. One of things that's bothered me the most -- and I don't get that from some of the national coverage, or some of the things I've read online -- is the consistent othering. It's clear who the around-the-clock coverage, the sensationalism is for, and it's not the people in Ferguson. In fairness, I tried to cobble together a list of links that I think puts everything in proper perspective:

Two from Chauncey Devega: A Grotesque Portrait of Power in Ferguson, Missouri: A Heavily Armed S.W.A.T. Team is "Threatened" by an Unarmed Black Man Walking Down the Street and 10 Ways that Racism Killed Michael Brown and Eric Gardner

Fellow St. Lousian Pamela Merritt: Meanwhile in Missouri

Mother Jones breakdown of the racial disparity in Ferguson

Roxanne Gay: Silence in Not the Option (She makes the very salient point that I think a lot of people are missing: whether Brown was just starting college or not shouldn't determine the value of his life.)

Landon Jones: Echoes of Michael Brown's Death in St. Louis' Racially Charged Past 

Arturo Garcia: ‘They said, let’s take him’: WaPo reporter Lowery describes being seized by cops in Ferguson

An excellent Twitter timeline courtesy of Mikki Kendall

And Antonio French, the alderman who was arrested

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Video of the Day: Boy George talking gender with Leslis Stahl

... and a bunch of other people (including the always horrible Jerry Falwell.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

One more thing

Kara's article, This Is Why We're Mad About the Shooting of Mike Brown, is one of the best, most explicitly laid out, things I've read since Mike Brown's shooting over the weekend:
Can you explain why Mike Brown was gunned down in the street while James Eagan Holmes, who killed twelve people and injured 70 others after opening fire in a movie theater, was escorted into a squad car? Can you explain why Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is still alive but Mike Brown isn't? What about Jared Lee Loughner?
Can you explain why Mike Brown's body was left uncovered in the middle of the street for hours for any reason other than to send a message to his community?
Can you explain why a black man is killed by the police every 28 hours in this country?