Archive for the 'NaBloPoMo' Category

So press record, I’ll let you film me

I have a post in my head about how amazing Gossip Girl was tonight, and a Glee post I have been trying and failing to write for months now, but I am not in a position to write anything coherent right now for reasons that should stay off the internet.

I am basically just watching this video on repeat to comfort myself:

I tumblr’d this already with a different YouTube embed, but I am pretty much dying of awesome over here. I love almost everything Beyonce does, but this is maybe my favourite video of hers. It is basically her shooting dayglo guns at men with cameras for heads and adjusting her gold bra/breastplate, with Lady Gaga. It’s so amazing because on the one hand all this stuff makes it seem like this really straightforward commentary on Beyonce’s role as subject of the male gaze and her aggressive response to same – -again, she shoots bullets and arrows at dudes with giant video cameras for heads — but she still is not wearing pants. Lady Gaga always does self-aware, but it’s usually like “Look, I’m being self-aware, enjoy me!” (which I do). When B does self-aware, it’s this weird complex thing where she’s self-aware, and she’s badass, but she’s also still somehow presenting herself very carefully as a brand, and she still brings this incredible sense of passion and abandon to everything she does. But in a way that seems calculated. It’s like a faucet of abandon she turns on and off. Look at her and Gaga dancing side by side. Gaga does all the steps, but Beyonce does them with fervor. She hits it harder, she pushes it further, she snaps back faster. That’s what I’ll always love about Beyonce, no matter who else comes along; she lives in this weird dichotomy of, like, crazy passionate fire and total self-control and self-packaging.

This is my 2012 post

NB: This will have spoilers.


So 2012 has a metacritic score of 5.1 and a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 39%, but I would not let that dissuade you if you like things that blow up and incredible cinematic distillations of the postmodern world. This is not a movie for critics. This is a movie that takes the apocalypse movie to its logical, incredible, landmass-shifting conclusion. It is almost avant-garde in its total disregard for explaining how neutrinos destablize the earth’s crust, and its full-on repetition of the same dazzling sequence (and it is really dazzling, every time!) of racing to get a plane to take off before the runway crumbles away beneath it. This happens not twice, but three times. Every time, our embattled family that has been broken up by modernity and technology (Dad’s always at his laptop) is left to hold each other as they fly over another destroyed city. It would be cleverly meta if this movie were in any way capable of irony.


The grand political stuff rings sort of depressingly true if you get past all the silliness and bluster and the fact that Oliver Platt is the only evil politician in the entire world and the fact that they save humanity by building arks and that they manage to keep the end of the world a secret for years. (Also, why would they assassinate the director of the Louvre in the same tunnel where Princess Di was killed? And why would the newscast in the movie mention this?) They sell seats on the arks to the richest people in the world, and then they outsource the building to China, where they can just load cheap labour into trucks. So some small proportion of the first world weathers the earthquakes and tsunamis long enough to set a course for the land of the future, the new world — now the highest elevation on earth (because the tectonic plates all shifted?), and probably the only continent to avoid flooding: Africa. We’ll get it right this time!


I’m not arguing that all this genius was in any way intentional — not that the movie is made without skill, the effects are incredible and the action sequences are well-paced and easy to follow, all the actors don’t get in the way of all this (except Danny Glover, who is trying a little hard for gravitas), and it is in general adrenaline-tastic — but oh man, it is, in so many ways, the ultimate.

Teardrops on my guitar

I am just having a…bad day. Nothing actually bad, just like annoying first world problems. A Taylor Swift bad day, not a Bob Dylan bad day. Plans falling through, misunderstandings, going to like 4th choice restaurant for dinner and having it be kind of overpriced and slow, and the whole day being generally less awesome than I’d hoped when I woke up this morning.

I tried to write a post about Glee, but I wasn’t really in the right mood. I think I will just sit next to my amp and smudge my mascara for awhile.

Taylor Swift – White Horse
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Big boy rides, big boy ice


If I was going to have a threesome with a movie star, I would probably want to do it to this white girl cover of this hip hop song.

Whatever You Like – Anya Marina

I prefer brunettes

Jane Russell, winning at life. The boys? All in the naked shorts? Their bodies turned into nothing but props like the ladies in a Busby Berkley? Awesome.

I spent my afternoon watching musicals; I always forget how much I love Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

People always remember Marilyn in the pink dress, but “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” is such a weird, creepy number. It starts with the girls in the chandelier. Then there are all the ballerinas in pink, which totally clashes with the orange-red background. Then you realize the ballerinas all have these weird black netting veils on their faces. I don’t really think this bit necessarily has a “meaning” in a sort of obvious metaphorical sense (though the veils look like cages and they also look a little like the veils that Marilyn and Jane wear to get married in their double wedding at the end of the movie if you want to get all feminist about it), but the whole thing is so dystopian and clashing and amazing.

Pop Fashion Robot

So Lady Gaga is my favourite, I don’t care what anybody says. I love how she tries to sum up her whole persona in every video: this one’s weird and creepy and kind of sexy and also pretty funny all at once. She even wears my favourite outfit from the last Alexander McQueen show, with the crazy gold studs everywhere.

Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (Campbell?)


Oh, Mad Men! What a happy, satisfying, the-gang’s-all-back-together kind of an episode! I love how Trudy shows up with sandwiches for everyone, and there’s this warm familial sense that we’re all in this together etc etc. It was almost like watching a different show! Except for the part where Don of all people, who apparently has no self-awareness at all, or was just really angry and upset because his life was falling apart, I guess, called Betty a whore.

Is it weird that I feel weird about that? I have been thinking a lot about how people watch Mad Men lately, and I keep coming back to being surprised that a show like Mad Men — slow-moving, full of unlikable characters (the only exception being maybe Joan, and even then she is still kind of a bitch) whose unlikability you’re constantly being confronted with, about social issues and politics — is as popular and beloved as it is. I know people generally like things that are awesome, and if Mad Men is challenging it’s also compelling and funny and emotionally absorbing, but it still consistently surprises me that some people seem to love it despite apparently not having any idea what’s going on. (I.e. I don’t think the producers meant us to read Don molesting Bobbie Barrett as even a little bit of a proud moment, and I still read forum comments like “Woo! Don’s got his mojo back!” after that episode aired. Then I stopped reading forums about Mad Men.)

So, I watched, I laughed, I totally cheered “Joan!” along with everyone else in the room when Roger said “Let me make a call.” It was seriously satisfying to see Don tell Roger how much he meant to him, tell Pete how actually prescient he is, tell Peggy how much he values and understands her talent, to see Harry get the credit he deserves; but at the same time I feel weirdly guilty about it. I’m supposed to get this feeling from, like, Buffy, the show where love saves the world, not Mad Men, the show about how love is just something guys like Don invented to sell stockings. It’s not that I expect Mad Men to be real, even, it’s more like I expect it not to satisfy my cheeseball desires. I expect to be carefully constructed to totally break my heart. I know NY Mag thinks that it “somehow didn’t feel like some ridiculous holodeck of phony caper-ness,” 1 but I still feel kind of wrong about it. The whole gang just working out of this one hotel room, starting everything anew in some kind of Utopian American Dream blank slate thing — it just seems so much like they were trying to throw me a bone. It feels nefarious; it’s the kind of happy capitalist ending that makes me want to go all Frankfurt school on the whole thing.

Why can’t I just let TV make people happy? I am not usually this weird grad school person who is suspicious of entertainment products that give people good feelings!

  1. Also this has been bugging me, the article claims that Joan has “been with fewer men than Peggy, so far as we know.” I think this is false. We know Joan has been with Kinsey, Roger, that random old dude she picked up when she and Carol went out that one night after Carol told Joan to pretend she was a boy, and her husband; in the pilot she also implies that she boned that creepy birth control doctor she sent Peggy to. Based on what we know, Peggy has been with Pete, that college kid she picks up, and Duck. And that could very well be the entire list of men Peggy’s been with. 

Being a cave painting

So we finally caught up on Mad Men in time for the season finale — which we’re supposed to watch with friends tonight, hence the hurry — and I’m so excited because I’ve been badly avoiding plot twist news for weeks now (I basically knew about most of the major developments, but Mad Men isn’t really that kind of show, so it didn’t really miss out on the experience).

I still have a lot to digest before I do a real post about this season, but I’m excited I can finally read all the posts in my feed reader I have been saving up. If you’re not already reading it, I recommend the consistently rewarding Footnotes of Mad Men, both on the Awl and on Tumblr, which is going to be a book I will buy! It does a lot of work making connections and unpacking a lot of the historical context.

Also, Rachel pointed out this Pandagon post on Facebook, and it is probably the best thing I have read about Betty maybe ever:

The conservative reaction to the Draper marriage shows exactly how effective that storyline is in making its point. A lot of liberals, I’ve found, are bored with Betty for another reason entirely. They can’t understand why she doesn’t just pick up and leave already, if she’s so unhappy. We’re on the other side of it—so feminist that it’s hard to wrap our minds around the psychology of someone who isn’t. But conservatives flip the fuck out, get defensive and start scapegoating January Jones, going so far as to argue that her dull affect is evidence that she can’t act, when in fact it’s evidence that the actress is being fearless in her portrayal of someone whose entire personality has been flattened out by boredom. That isn’t easy for an actress, you know. Most actresses have an urge to be sparkling and charming in every role they play, even those that don’t call for it. It’s because Hollywood is run by men, and you can get a lot farther being eye-catching and charming and making men think that they want to be around you. That Jones, who is very beautiful, is willing to be off-putting onscreen is brave. That she spends a lot of time onscreen making you wish she was far away is the fucking point. She’s supposed to make you uncomfortable.

Betty’s always one of the most controversial characters because she’s so unpleasant to be around, and that’s because she is so, so mired in this world that’s almost completely foreign to viewers now. One of the most persistent critiques you read of Mad Men from people who don’t like it (who are pretty few and far between) is that it constantly reminds you you’re in the 1960s and that takes you out of the story. This is pretty obviously the point of the show, and Betty’s Exhibit A in this argument because as much as you feel for her (or not, as the case so frequently seems to be), it is really hard to put yourself in her place or to understand her. It’s frustrating because she’s speaking English and living in a pretty similar world to the one we are now, but she doesn’t really give you any points of common ground. Betty’s the one who makes it the most clear that the past is emotionally incomprehensible; we can see cave paintings and we can read what they represent, but we can’t really ever know what they meant to people.

Dressed smart like a London bloke, before he speak his suit bespoke

So today is one of my days where I have Things To Do, that I’m not even really focusing on. Last night I had a dream that I was in London walking around taking pictures, so in honour, I am posting some of my favourite British lady music videos.

Lily Allen:


M.I.A. – Boyz
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Amy Winehouse:

Dancing vampires are still scarier than Twilight

So remember how I used to post regularly to my blog? And then I graduated grad school and basically stopped blogging, because having a full time job makes it hard to devote an hour or two a day to blogging and to keeping up with a full TV schedule? (And as I write I am weeks behind on Mad Men.) I do miss regular posting, but once you get out of the habit it’s hard to get back in. So I will be doing the National Blog Posting Month thing for November. I have some stuff going on this month, so I can’t promise that some of the posts won’t just be YouTube videos and exclamation points as opposed to thoughtful cultural critique, but I will do my best to make sure something goes up every day.

I hope everyone reading this had a good Halloween. I didn’t really do anything this year (which is lame, but I am Old and have been very Tired lately) except watch the Guy Maddin Dracula Ballet. It was pretty amazing, in that it was shot in classic silent film style (intertitles, coloured filters to set the mood, irises everywhere), but was also Guy Maddin so it was an adaptation that was subtly funny and self-aware in terms of the issues of scary foreigners and the threat of female sexuality in the original. (The ship arrives to intertitles saying “Immigrants!” “Others! From Other Lands!” I love Guy Maddin so hard.) Also, it had dancing.

Dracula ballet!

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