Friday, March 17, 2006

v for verdict

Anthony Kaufman at Alternet says, Above all, "Vendetta" should be enjoyed as the first true anarchist movie Hollywood has ever made.

While at the Times, Manohla D spits, The more valid question is how anyone who isn't 14 or under could possibly mistake a corporate bread-and-circus entertainment like this for something subversive. You want radical? Wait for the next Claire Denis film.


Plaintive punk has become the soundtrack of white adolescence... Kill me. Kelefah Sanneh hearts emo, ponders gender at the Times:

A genre that was once mocked for its supposed earnestness is now home to some of the most flamboyant boys in rock 'n' roll....emo bands are doing something unlikely: they're reviving the fierce, fey spirit of glam rock, complete (sometimes) with eyeliner and lipstick.

He eventually concludes: one can claim that these emo boys aren't putting on an enormously entertaining show. Here's hoping that, somewhere in America, a budding pop star is watching it all, and taking all of it much too seriously.

I don't know about K Sanneh's take on emo being somehow subversive, or "exciting." Flamboyance and theatricality are not inherently interesting, especially when paired with boy-as-victim love songs, and they are still whiny straight boys underneath all that eyeliner. At least he mentioned Jessica Hopper's genius emo-is-sexist essay.

Hey, here's my boyfriend talking about people talking about DIY abortion. How much fun is that to say? DIY abortion. (I didn't know The Stranger had a blog! Fuck.)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Sure, Naomi and I were asking for it when we went to see the universally panned Failure To Launch last night. We knew it. The nice thing about going to a movie and expecting that it will make you violently ill is that it's hard for it to be as bad as you think it will be. Yes, it can happen. But this one was more a case of sitting there marveling at the insipid plot, two unlikeable characters, SJP's digitally enhanced scary blue eyes and constant piercing shrieks, and Matthew "Douche" McConaughey's sweaty, orange face. Coulda been worse. Sort of.

The much worse part were the previews: apparently, the anticipated audience for this movie can also be expected to shell out $10 for a tween melodrama. We can look forward to Akeela And The Bee, yet another inspirational spelling bee movie, this time produced by Starbucks Entertainment. When that logo flashed across the screen it might have finally been enough to pry the cinammon dolce latte out of my hand. (You can read the press release about Starbucks' latest move towards world domination here, but you should do it on an empty stomach.) Offense #2 was a preview for some shitty gymnastics movie a la Bring It On, with lots of skinny girls running around in leotards, incorporating craaaaazy moves into their routines and luring boys to gymnastics meets through the enduring power of lycra and dance music. Jeff Bridges plays the coach - a sacrilege - and the main girl character, who starts off a bad-ass (signaled by her Black Flag t-shirt and skateboard), is very obviously at least 5 years older than the other shiny blondes on her high school team (who are not exactly high school age themselves). On top of this, there was a prolonged commercial for some new energy drink from Coke, which ended with the tagline "Let Your Man Out." The design on the can looks like the tribal tattoo on the arm of every dude you hate. And this was all before the brilliant film even started.

For balance... two good movies I just saw are The Beat That My Heart Skipped, and My Summer Of Love, which was probably the most beautifully shot movie I've ever seen. It was like a Justine Kurland photograph come to life. I wanted to lick the screen.

Claudia Goldin tries to set the record straight on the "opt out" revolution. Are women giving up their careers to stay at home with their kids? Totally. No way. Yes. No. All the time. Never. Blah blah blah. Let's go write another book about the mommy wars!

Monday, March 13, 2006

girls, grrrls.

Here's Naomi Wolf writing about Young Adult fiction for girls in the Sunday Book Review:

But teenagers, or their parents, do buy the bad-girls books — the "Clique," "Gossip Girl" and "A-List" series have all sold more than a million copies. And while the tacky sex scenes in them are annoying, they aren't really the problem. The problem is a value system in which meanness rules, parents check out, conformity is everything and stressed-out adult values are presumed to be meaningful to teenagers.

It's not such a new thing to be disappointed by Naomi Wolf, but this article doesn't say a whole lot. Yes, these stupid books are bad for girls - I don't even think there's much redeeming value to kids reading about the junior high A-list instead of watching it on TV. Yes, they reproduce double standards about sex that girls have to deal with off the page, too (and not helpfully). They make girls grow up "too fast," and they're obsessed with shopping. It's true that these books are far from Little Women. And?

I'm really glad this shit wasn't around when I was a kid (there were the craptastic Babysitter's Club books, and the Sleepover Friends series, but at least the girls in those books weren't constantly trying to undermine each other). I was obsessed with Norma Klein, who I was just telling Emily about. She wrote a ton of stuff that was totally genius and full of unrepentant sex. At least that's how I remember them (the genius part, I mean. There's no question that they were smutty). And they were meant for teenagers. Which meant a lot of us read them when we were 13. I remember hoping my mom wouldn't look at them too closely in the giant pile of stuff I was checking out from the library.

Speaking of books that don't suck, here's my review in this month's Bookslut of Michelle Tea's new book Rose of No Man's Land, which may or may not be a YA book, but is fucking great either way. Michelle will be reading at Bluestockings on April 13th (with Katia Noyes, who's book Crashing America also looks awesome), and also at the Happy Ending Reading Series on the 12th (with Heather McGowan and Yannick Murphy). You should come.

Also: next Thursday 3/23, Jennifer Baumgardner and Gillian Aldrich are screening their documentary Speak Out: I Had An Abortion at Bluestockings. This is connected to Jennifer's "I Had An Abortion" t-shirt project (which she wrote more about here), and should be cool. My fellow volunteer Dee will also be showing her film Pink Minute, an experimental narrative about a woman having an abortion. She rocks.


Waiting to find out is funny. There's all this energy that goes into trying not to think about what it would be like if I got the outcome I wanted, convincing myself that I don't really want it anyway, all these stern attempts to be realistic. All these ways I try to get control. There's all sorts of energy that goes into not talking about it, keeping semi-secrets, postponing sending certain emails until I have an answer. There is the idea that if I acknowledge it, I might create some kind of crazy cosmic coincidence and thereby protect myself from news I don't want to hear. Then I wonder if I might be risking something by even writing about it in the abstract. But it doesn't matter how hard I try to make this all scientific, how hard I try to avoid admitting what I might want. Sometimes I like to let my oh-so-vigilant guard down and imagine the answer being yes.

Friday, March 03, 2006


Now, I love Nikki McClure, but the March illustration of this year's calendar is just... I don't know. I can't say I don't like it, even though, well, I really don't. It's raining down on some big tree, that I guess is maybe kale (does kale grown on trees?), since the inspirational saying for the month is "eat more kale," which I thought was funny for a minute, but now, when it's hanging here above my desk, it just makes March seem like a bleak month. It seems like for 2006 Nikki's gotten more demanding in general. April says "make a run for it." That will be very very tempting.