Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Reads

On Location: Central Park’s Alice in Wonderland Statue
by Anna
This statue is pretty gorgeous in real life, with some parts being shone into a bright golden hue after being climbed on for such a long time. No wonder it was chosen to be one of the locations for the amazing dance film slash film-length music video, Girl Walk // All Day (2011). In the film, the Girl (played/danced by Anne Marsen) wants the whole city to dance with her, and the statue crops up towards the end in a really uplifting scene.
Read More at Film Grimoire

New Gainful Regs: For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?
by Tressie McMillan Cottom
The Gainful Employment Rule “requires schools to provide their students with an education adequate enough for them to pay their college loans back” so that they will be gainfully employed after they graduate from college. That’s from the Education Department website. The Rule is a procedural thicket that has gained ideological significance only because its viewed as the first (or last?) line of defense for (or against?) predatory (or democratic?) enrollments at for-profit colleges.

‘Dear White People’ and What Makes A Revolutionary Movie?
By Ari Laurel
We touch on this issue in our “Is It Feminist?” series, but most of the time when a film is written around sociopolitical commentary, it almost always falls short. It’s hard to cover all your blind spots. And the majority of the time, media doesn’t push political consciousness. Often, the relationship is the other way around. So to those upset that Dear White People is not a revolutionary movie, let me just say this: Of COURSE it’s not a revolutionary movie, and here’s why.

On Using #GoneGirl As An Excuse For Misogynistic "Fear"
By Batty Mamzelle
Recently I decided to break my standing rule about going to see movie adaptations blind, and went to see the Gone Girl move without having read the book. I had a vague idea of the plot from the book's reputation, but for the most part, I didn't know the story going in. Ever since then, I've spent a lot of time thinking about the way that people in my circles (both online and off) have been reacting to it. It struck me as telling that nearly all the men I know have come away from the movie with a conclusion somewhere in the range of "ZOMG BITCHES BE CRAZY." And yes, Amy is "crazy" and manipulative and narcissistic and pathological, but it occurred to me that she is also just the inverse of all the men that women fear in real life.

Last Wednesday, a massive feminist strike paralyzed the streets of Barcelona, with thousands of women and their allies shutting down traffic and the subways, spray-painting feminist slogans all over city walls and occupying the offices of powerful political and economic institutions.
What massive feminist strike, you say? Maybe you didn't hear about the thousands of Spanish feminists taking over Barcelona because not a single major English-language news source reported on it.  
According to the website for Vaga De Totes, Spain has seen many labor-related general strikes in recent years, but rarely do those acknowledge women's issues. The list of problems left out of the conversation, according to the site, includes (roughly translated from Catalan) "compulsory maternity," violence against women, "labor reforms that deepen inequality already faced by women" and the cuts to social welfare and utilities that "increase the hours women devote to the care and attention of people."

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Thursday Morning Reading

Could Someone Please Explain Febreeze to Me?
by Elizabeth Scalia
Would someone please explain Febreeze to me? Why does it have a scent? If it’s supposed to take odors from the air, shouldn’t it smell like nothing? That’s what I want. I want the smell of nothing.

The Republican Party has also successfully used the courts, interest groups, and other means to subvert democracy by working to overturn the gains of the Civil Rights Movement. Moreover, the symbolism of the Republican Party's embrace of the Confederate Flag--what I and others call the "American Swastika"--and their adoption of antebellum language such as "nullification" cannot be separated from their virulent hatred of Barack Obama as a proxy for the White Right's animus and disdain for black Americans, more generally.

Black people in this country are brutalized by police on a daily basis. That has always been true but thanks to modern technology there is a steady stream of proof caught on video. Accessing the internet means inevitably being confronted with awful imagery such as Marlene Pinnock being beaten by a highway patrolman in California. We see Eric Garner murdered by the NYPD, pleading that he couldn’t breathe.

Once they know about my religious and family background, people generally want to know how my family relationships are now. They’re not so bad these days, thank you. After 8 years, even such a dramatic revelation as apostasy loses its ability to shock and agitate. Filial love can, in some situations, overcome anger and pain.
More difficult to overcome than my family members’s distaste for apostasy are their feelings about bodies.
Indeed, for a year after I publicly left Islam, I still wore headscarves and long-sleeved, long clothing to family gatherings. It didn’t matter that most people knew what was going on with me and that most of the women in my family don’t cover their heads. Appearances had to be kept up, I suppose.

Trinidadian-born photographer Gerard Gaskin’s images in Legendary: Inside the House Ballroom Scene (Duke University Press, 2013) are a conversation with the Black and Latino transsexual subcultures, where those who are often marginalised and ejected from their homes and communities examine and perform gender and sex in the safe spaces provided by the Ballroom Scene in Harlem, New York. Frank Roberts, from his essay “The Queer Undercommons”, writes, “For members of New York City’s underground house ball community, being photographed by Gerard H. Gaskin is a rite of passage: All of the legendary children appear in front of his lens at some point or another.”

Dog vs. Coconut Crab

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesday Morning Reads

‘Twin Peaks’ Mysticism Won’t Save You From the Patriarchy
by Rhianna Shaheen
I have a Twin Peaks problem. I love Twin Peaks (1990-1991). In college, I was so obsessed with the show that I animated a Saul Bass-inspired titles sequence and wrote a spec script for my screenwriting class. However, as I became a better feminist, I awoke from my stupor of admiration for the show. I began to question the dead girl trope and ask myself, what is so funny about the sexual abuse and torture of an adolescent girl? I’ll admit I was thrilled about its announced return in 2016, but I wonder if a continued story will do more harm than good. Will the show continue to pull the demonic possession card when it comes to violence against women?
Read More at Bitch Flicks

The war against taxes (and the unmarried)
by Cathy (mathbabe)
The American Enterprise Institute, conservative think-tank, is releasing a report today. It’s called For richer, for poorer: How family structures economic success in America... It uses a technique called the “fixed-effects model,”... What I’m worried about is that this report will be cleverly marketed, using the phrase “fixed effects,” to make it seem like they have indeed proven “mathematically” that individuals, yet again, are to be blamed for the structural failure of our nation’s work problems.
Read More at MathBabe

Hey Girl, Don’t Call Me That
by Amelia Shroyer
Where do people get off calling grown women “girls”? Because I’m pretty sure it’s not Equality Town. I’m not talking about the affectionate, cooing, “Hey girl, heyyyy!” so common between friends. Scratch that out of the equation, because it’s a whole different set of numbers. Instead, I’m talking about people using the world “girl” or even, at its worst, “little girl” to refer to – and ultimately belittle – grown women.
Read More at The Vagenda

Mapping the End of Slavery
by Keir Clarke
Visualizing Emancipation is an interactive map exploring the emancipation of four million slaves during the American Civil War. The map allows users to explore and discover patterns in the end of southern slavery through the use of contemporary documents and primary sources.
The map calls these patterns of emancipation 'event types' and Visualizing Emancipation allows you to view these patterns in any combination or on their own. The patterns include emancipation event types leading from the destruction of slavery in law, through military action and through the impetus and actions of enslaved people throughout the U.S. South.
Read More at GoogleMapsMania

Missing the point on the Red Mesa Redsk*ns
by Adrienne K.
A few weeks ago, Washington Post reporter Ian Shapira covered the “controversy” around the Daily Show’s segment on the Washington Racial Slurs. I, as you may remember, was not a fan of the way the story was covered. To Shapira’s credit, he reached out to me, and several other of my Native friends involved in the Daily Show debate or conversations afterward, and offered to chat. I declined, but from what I hear, he got an earful about theways Natives are represented in the media and how and why these seemingly innocuous “angles” in reporting are very harmful. I’m being nice here. He got some angry Indians on the phone.
So after Shapira’s period of learning, he decides to delve deeper into the mascot fight, by publishing this:
In Arizona, a Navajo high school emerges as a defender of the Washington Redskins
This piece makes me angry for a number of reasons. But I want to focus on a major, huge, glaring, omission from Shapira’s piece: CONTEXT.
Read More at NativeAppropriations

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Blogs to Read on Tuesday Morning

Feminist scholars to Obama: End prosecution of Palestinian survivor of sexual torture

Between 1969-1979, Rasmea Odeh served ten years in an Israeli prison. Her sentence was based on a confession she made in the midst of 45 days of sexual and physical torture while in detention. Following her release, she was exiled from her Palestinian homeland and eventually immigrated to the United States from Jordan in 1994 as a legal resident where she tried to put her memories of torture behind her. She later became a naturalized citizen... On 22 October 2013, the US Department of Justice arrested Rasmea Odeh at her home in the Chicago Suburbs. The Department of Justice alleges that Odeh failed to disclose on her naturalization application that she had served time in Israeli jail – even though her sentence was based on a confession she made in the midst of weeks of torture. Rasmea faces up to ten years in US prison, fines up to $250,000 and potential deportation and de-naturalization.

Read More at INCITE!

ISIS and the Myth of Maps
by Jonathan D. Fitzgerald

A paradigm shift occurred in the early modern period with regards to maps. In his essay “Cartography and the Renaissance: Continuity and Change,” David Woodward described it thusly, “by creating maps people saw, perhaps for the first time, that they could influence events and create worlds, that they could have the freedom to do things, rather than accept passively whatever God had ordained.” Though there had been maps long before the early modern period, they lacked the authority we recognize today. That is, until “the inclusion of a formal legend or map key that makes explicit the relationship between a sign and what it signifies,” as Woodward describes it.

Read More at Patrol Magazine

I Really Don’t Care if You Think I Look Pretty When I Run
by Caitlin

Because here’s the shocking thing – and I know this will blow your hair back, so hold on to your butts – but not all of us care about looking pretty all the time.  (A lot of us don’t even care at all!)  Sometimes we just want to go out in public and do our thing and not have to be reminded that there is still a segment of society that looks at us primarily as decorative objects meant to pretty up the place.

Read More at FitAndFeminist

Holland Street
by Erik Lindstrom

Holland Street is the only remaining cobblestone street in The Heights, and one of only five in Jersey City. It is located right next to Riverview-Fisk Park. The old stone staircase, at left, which used to make Holland Street accessible to pedestrians, is not in use anymore.

Her Body, Himself: Gender in the Slasher Film
by Carol J. Clover

On the face of it, the relation between the sexes in slasher films could hardly be clearer. The
killer is with few exceptions recognizably human and distinctly male; his fury is unmistakably
sexual in both roots and expression; his victims are mostly women, often sexually free and
always young and beautiful ones. Just how essential this victim is to horror is suggested by
her historical durability. If the killer has over time been variously figured as shark, fog, gorilla,
birds, and slime, the victim is eternally and prototypically the damsel. Cinema hardly invented
the pattern. It has simply given visual expression to the abiding proposition that, in Poe’s
famous formulation, the death of a beautiful woman is the “most poetical topic in the world.”


Eric Hovind: What's the Difference Between God & Santa?
by Rebecca Watson

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Morning YouTube

Pooping on the Beach in India

Police Shooting in Eleuthera

Army base stew (Budae-jjigae: 부대찌개)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Afternoon TV Reviews

Best Episode of the Week

Black Jesus, because if the god was real and a messiah DID show up in the United States, the people most likely to identify as Christians would definitely institutionalize her or him.

Most Exciting/Disappointing Return

QI is back for a new season, but after promising to reform the panel format to include more women, the first two episodes of the new series, like many other British chat shows, have featured only a single female guest each.

Instead of a clip from the show, here are 44 minutes of the first two week's female gusts running the show instead of politely laughing at Johnny Vegas.

Most Looking Forward To Next Week

Scandal. Because I want to see Mya Pope burn down the White House with Fitz inside while she and Olivia fly away in a helicopter, laughing over suitcases full of money.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Saturday Afternoon Matinee

Jimmy James and the Vagabonds - Red, Red Wine

Psychobitches - Mary Pickford
Chantal Kelly - Notre Prof' D'Anglais [Live] (1966)
Dear White People
Sailor Moon Crystal - Act 7 Mamoru Chiba - Tuxedo Mask

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Reading

Please Don’t Forget That American Classic The Godfather Had An Important Subplot About A Big Vagina
by Mallory Ortberg, The Toast
I’m worried that not enough people are aware that Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, bestselling classic and source material for beloved films The Godfather, parts I and II, features a significant subplot about a woman named Lucy Mancini, who is friendly with the Corleone family and whose biggest problem is her roomy vagina.
Read More at The Toast

My Husband Emotionally Abused Me
by Nora, The Vagenda
Three weeks ago I came to the realisation that I have been emotionally abused by my husband.  It wasn’t such a smack-in-the-face realisation – I guess I have known something pretty fucked-up was going on all along, if I’m completely honest.
Read More at The Vagenda

Asking the right questions
Interview with Dr Nina Burrowes, The F Word

Nina's first online video Why are sex offenders able to get away with it? heralds the beginning of an accessible and organic campaign that addresses the reality of sexual abuse, along with society's attitudes and preconceptions - and most importantly, invites our response.
Read More at The F Word

Thoughts on a Theory: New Media and Representation
by Tressie McMillan Cottom,
Traditionally, when the decision-makers and news-makers go home for the weekend “breaking” news doesn’t get broke. It’s such a truism, that Very Important People & Co. do Friday “news dumps” of news they are obligated to release but would prefer not get reported on.

New episode of Flat 3:

Mathew Klickstein, Nickelodeon, and Menophobia

The book Slimed: An Oral History of Nickelodeon's Golden Age by Mathew Klickstein has drawn some criticism because of the author's remarks to the FlavorWire.
"I think it’s worse when they shove [diversity] in there... [Nickelodeon President] Cyma Zarghami and the women who run Nickelodeon now are very obsessed with diversity... To just shove it in there because, “Uh-oh, we need diversity,” is silly and a little disgusting. It needs to be the best people working on the best shows. They happen to be white, that’s a shame. They happen to be all guys, that’s a shame. No one says this about sports — they do sometimes, the owners — but sorry, that most basketball, football players happen to be black. That’s just the way that it is. Publishing, too! You might not like this or care, but it’s very hard to be a man in the publishing world. No one talks about that. My agent: woman. My editor: woman. My publicist: woman. The most successful genre is young adult novels — 85% of which are written by women. That discussion doesn’t really come up when it’s the other way around.  It is 2014 now. It’s not 1995. Political correctness needs to change."
On a recent walk around town, I found a copy of Klickstein's book in the trash (along with the much better Command and Control by Eric Schlosser).

I haven't read Klickstein's book yet, but on the night I found it I turned to a random page and found this passage quoting Clarissa Explains it All director Chuck Vinson: [emphasis not added]
"Melissa, she was not a young girl anymore. Her body started to change. I mean, her breasts were growing. She started her period, and you don't want to get in a woman's way when she's having her period!" (Klickstein, p. 43)
In addition, Klickstein quotes Joe O'Connor (Clarissa's father, Marshall Darling) on Melissa Joan Hart's pictorial in Maxim magazine:
"I don't think she should have done it, myself. But there's this thing in LA where they make decisions based on this kind of stuff: initial sexual reactions. Most of the actresses in LA, while they're still young, try to do this. If a girl hasn't made it out here, in terms of movies, and hasn't gotten that image by the time she's twenty-five, twenty-six, twenty-seven, she's finished and they move on to younger girls. Pretty terrible. Actually, they do it with young guys now, too. Still, I think Melissa should have gone and tried to do it a little different. Is that way too much? I had too much coffee." (Klickstein, p. 44-45)
On the same page, Klickstein quotes Justin Cammy, who describes Alanis Morissette saying:
"[She] prematurely mature for her age. In a scary way." (Klickstein, p. 45)
A quote from Adam Reid follows he says of Morissette:
"She was definitely singing about "adult" concepts. That was the first thing that really struck me: Wow, she's really mature." (Klickstein, p. 45)
The culture at Nickelodeon in the 1990s seems to have been toxic at best, an attitude echoed by its informal oral historian.


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