Archive for the 'Gossip Girl' Category

Fortuitous Reading

From The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1 by Michel Foucault, trans. Robert Hurley, pub. Vintage Books, pp. 71-72

Little J’s Public Disgrace
Dating a gay guy is one thing, but lying to your friends about sex is unforgivable.

Perhaps this production of the truth, intimidated though it was by the scientific model, multiplied, intensified, and even created its own intrinsic pleasures. It is often said that we have been incapable of imagining any new pleasures.

Blair Burlesquing It Up

We have at least invented a new kind of pleasure: pleasure in the truth of pleasure, the pleasure of knowing the truth, of discovering and exposing it, the fascination of seeing it and telling it, of captivating and capturing others by it, of confiding it in secret, of luring it out in the open–the specific pleasure of the true discourse on pleasure.

Blair Confesses

The most important elements of an erotic art linked to our knowledge about sexuality are no to be sought in the ideal, promised to us by medicine, of a healthy sexuality, nor in the humanist dream of a complete and flourishing, and certainly not in the lyricism of orgasm and the good feelings of bio-energy (these are but aspects of its normalizing utilization), but in this multiplication and intensification of pleasures connected to the production of the truth about sex.

Blair and Chuck

The learned volumes, written and read; the consultations and examinations; the anguish of answering questions and the delights of having one’s words interpreted; all the stories told to oneself and others, so much curiosity, so much scandal, so many confidences offered in the face of scandal, sustained–but not without trembling a little–by the obligation of truth; the profusion of secret fantasies and the dearly paid right to whisper them to whoever is able to hear them; in short, the formidable “pleasure of analysis” (in the widest sense of the latter term) which the West has been cleverly fostering for several centuries: all this constitutes something like the errant fragments of an erotic art that is secretly transmitted by confession and the science of sex.

Masked Ball

Must we conclude that our scientia sexualis is but an extraordinarily subtle form of ars erotica, and that it is Western, sublimated version of that seemingly lost tradition? Or must we suppose that all these pleasures are only the by-products of a sexual science, a bonus that compensates for its many stresses and strains?

Revealing

In any case, the hypothesis of a power of repression exerted on our society on sex for economic reasons appears to me quite inadequate if we are to explain this whole series of reinforcements and intensifications that our preliminary inquiry has discovered: a proliferation of discourses, carefully tailored to the requirements of power; the solidification of the sexual mosaic and the construction of devices capable not only of isolating it but of stimulating and provoking it, of forming it into focuses of attention, discourse, and pleasure; the mandatory production of confessions and the subsequent establishment of a system of legitimate knowledge and of an economy of manifold pleasures.

Chuck and a statue

We are dealing not nearly so much with a negative mechanism of an exclusion as with the operation of a subtle network of discourses, special knowledges, pleasures, and powers.

Truth or Dare

At issue is not a movement bent on pushing rude sex back into some obscure and inaccessible region, but on the contrary, a process that spreads it over the surface of things and bodies, arouses it, draws it out and bids it to speak, implants it in reality and enjoins it to tell the truth: an entire glittering sexual array, reflected in a myriad of discourses, the obstination of powers, and the interplay of knowledge and pleasure.

OMFG

XOXO

Even you should know that jealousy clashes with LL Bean pants

Okay, I’m not even a little embarrassed about liking Gossip Girl anymore after the hour of wonder that was last night’s show. There’s still all the amazing catty campiness (“And to think, I almost asked you to wear a matching dress tonight”) but it was actually really fantastic asterisk-free gripping drama all the way tonight. (I am behind-the-folding this because I talk about the big! revelation! and it’s really not the kind of thing I want to spoil for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet!)

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Stuff and junk

  1. I like Gossip Girl now. Initially, I did not like it because I thought it was “joyless” and it was impossible to root for Dan and Jenny. Now, the show’s less centred on Dan and Jenny, plus Jenny’s all bad now, and it’s really…fun. It’s also more clever than I first gave it credit for, less “joyless” than “enjoyably bitchy.” It’s like Douglas Sirk for the 21st century: fun and beautiful, but also sort of exposing all the cracks and contradictions and anxieties around sex and class and family and so on. Jacob (who I love) from TWOP explains the appeal:
    Honestly, I think it characterizes why I’m so mad about this show: it’s easy to say, “Rich people, meh. You don’t have to worry about it, because rich people suck and their lives are secretly horrible behind the mask.” Because that’s true. But the show takes the next step, which is that behind every mask is an actual life, so you’re dumb for just getting off on the fact that their lives are weird and sucky, or for thinking that people deserve misery for having more money than you do. You can take it at that level, and enjoy it, but the real truth is that behind the money and the mask, these people are still people, and dealing with shit that makes the money unimportant. My dear friend Karen was talking a while back about how of course I love this show, because it chops off most of Maszlow’s hierarchy and says, “And then what?” I’m comfortable in a world where the usual tragedies and wars and fights and terrors happen in a place where survival, food, shelter, are not the issue, but the pain and fear and ugliness are exactly the same. If you had no material worries in this world, you’d still feel fucked up and weird and wild the majority of the time, because people fuck each other up regardless.
  2. So tonight was Andrew Lloyd Weber night on Idol, which had me really excited because the trainwreck potential was so high. It was disappointingly…not that bad. Some of them were even legitimately good: Carly got back in my good books by doing “Jesus Christ Superstar” from one of the two ALW shows I actually like (the other is Evita which has sex and cynicism and political intrigue). I didn’t hurt that half the top 6 are apparently musical theatre nerds (Syesha, Carly, and resident “rocker” David Cook, who sang pretty well but totally lost any “cred” he had). It’s such a weird, weird choice when it comes to selling people stuff. If your narrative is David Cook: raw, authentic rock dude, having him sing “Music of the Night” completely straight is…maybe not the best strategy.
  3. My new discovery wordie.org. It’s neat, because you can use it to make lists of words. Mine are here.

Now that TV premiere week is over

Despite the fact that I wasn’t going to watch half these shows, I managed to sample some or all of a bunch of the new shows. Here are my feelings on them (like anyone cares, this mostly an excuse to bitch about Big Shots):

Gossip Girl: Was like a joyless O.C., a fact that is really brought home by them running the first season of The O.C. on MuchMusic right now and it genuinely was funny and charming and clever. There were hardly any prime time soaps on when it started (now there are like 80) and it did this thing where the characters kind of acknowledged the craziness of the storylines, even though they were totally ridiculous. So they seemed like real people in an unreal place. Gossip Girl doesn’t really have that though: it seems so dour and lifeless. None of the actors really have much personality. I can see why people like it — it’s really pretty and there is hilarious fashion and, uh, lots of weirdly unexplained underage drinking — but it’s not my thing.

Chuck: Seemed okay; the lead guy is reasonably charming, it’s funny, and “Captain Awesome” made me laugh. Also, the ludricous “Chuck is the computer” premise is actually kind of theoretically fascinating if you’ve just been reading about the development of sound technology and film technology and the ways that they were discursively related to the body.

Bionic Woman: This also had a healthy dose of interesting cyborg body stuff, plus some gender politics hanging around (why are only women bionic?). Katee Sackhoff was good, and I’m okay with the classic “villain is more interesting than the hero” thing, but Michelle Ryan was very, very flat. I feel like there was tons of potential there, but I’m not sure if such a flat, grey, self-consciously artsy show will make it on network TV. Also, I kept having weird geography suspension of disbelief issues, because it uses real Vancouver places for sets, and I kept thinking, like, “Why would she drive all the way over to the University just to say hi?” I haven’t had the issue with BSG even when I recognize places, because it tends to be more fictional future buildings, not just random alleys, or like, where I catch the bus.

Dirty Sexy Money: I think this was my favourite pilot so far. It’s funny, it has Peter Krause, it has Donald Sutherland (who sells some pretty cringe-y dialogue), and it has Anna (she has lots of shirts that look like doilies). It is actually probably less hard on the rich than Gossip Girl, but it is actually kind of fun to watch, unlike Gossip Girl.

Cane: Was okay. Alex wasn’t into because of its basically being “Sugar Dynasty,” (and I totally made a “First you get the sugar, then you get the money, then you get the women” joke before the first commercial) but I kind of thought that was the point. I don’t think I’m going to keep watching, but it had some stuff in it. And most of the Cuban characters were played by actual Hispanic people, so that’s nice.

Big Shots: Is seriously a harbinger of the apocalypse. It was mostly described as “Sex and the City, with men”; but unlike Sex and the City, it shows nothing but contempt for women. It sort of has this “edgy” tone, but there is nothing remotely subversive about how hard it is to be a rich white CEO. Seriously, I like all the actors on it less because they chose to associate with this garbage. I can’t remember the last time I was so actively offended by a fictional filmed entertainment. (Actually, it was probably the end of the last Pirates of the Caribbean movie. I was at Zellers looking at Halloween costumes and bitching about how lame the girl ones were when I noticed that Elizabeth costume was an old-timey dress — which in the movies was treated as basically a metaphor for how restrictive life was for women — and it brought back all my rage.)

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