Thursday, June 22, 2006

Kelefa Sanneh continues to dote on Chris Carraba in the Times, while Nerve is, predictably, interested in better things.

With the Replacements on in the background, plenty of not-so-smart things seem like wonderful ideas....Westerberg's sensitivity worked because, as much as he was a nice guy, he was also a bad boy: always drunk, falling down, unreliable. He wouldn't have been a good boyfriend. For starters, he would never remember your address ("Can't Hardly Wait"). But from afar, he would watch you walk through a city in winter ("Skyway") and would not be shy about mauling you on public transportation ("Kiss Me On The Bus").

Awww. Then there's this assessment:

And if Paul Westerberg hadn't been such a smoldering antihero, he still would have owned the '80s alternative world by default. The stars of the college rock scene were about as asexual a crowd as have ever made music. Billy Bragg and the Johns from They Might Be Giants? Hardly sex gods. Michael Stipe? Too shiny and happy. The Spin Doctors' Chris Barron? Too boorish-pothead. Pavement's Stephen Malkmus? Too damp-handshake pretentious. The Violent Femmes' Gordon Gano? Too hippie-neighbor sleazy. Guided By Voices' Robert Pollard? Too sleepy-sloppy. Jonathan Richman? Too neurotic (and word was he only went for suicidal strippers, anyway.) And if you don't retch imagining yourself in bed with Evan Dando, I don't want to know you.

Danielle Teplitsky, newly graduated from high school in Port Washington, N.Y., is the owner of about 150 [lip] glosses, she said. Last Sunday, she stopped at Macy's in Herald Square to slick on the new Pink Lollipop gloss from LancĂ´me.

"It needs to be shiny and it needs to taste good," said Ms. Teplitsky, 17, who likes to reapply gloss about every 20 minutes. "But most of all it needs to make my lips look pouty so my boyfriend will look at me."

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Bath and Body Works is having a sale and I just went there and tried out about 10 different kinds of lotion and body spray, and now I'm greasy and reek so strongly of lemon-berry-butter-cream-sage-coconut-mango-basil-creme brulee-pear-mint that Betsy might make me shower before we can hang out and be writerly.

solstice is a nice word

-- The Mermaid Parade is on Saturday... but it is going to rain.

-- Ever try the Wikipedia "random article" function? It takes "learn something new everyday" to new levels of excellent-ness.

-- On the front page of the Observer, Sara Vilkomerson investigates the rising acceptance of male "flabbiness," a la Vince Vaughn and Jack Black, and some people wandering around Union Square.

Jill and Michael, a trendyish-looking couple strolling through the Greenmarket last Friday, seemed to embody, literally, the whole man-flab acceptance movement. “He’s my ideal,” said Jill. “He’s big and strong and has something to grab onto. It’s the whole being-protected thing—not that I think about that consciously. You want to be with someone who can protect you.”

“I like to work out. I like to eat. I work for a living, so I don’t have a lot of time to think about those things,” said Michael, who sported a beard and chin-length long hair in addition to a bit of a belly. “I’d rather eat and drink a beer than starve myself to look like some Chelsea boy.”


Hollywood starlets, on the other hand, shouldn’t hold their breath for a reversal in body image. “It’s never going to stop for women,” said Ms. Stern.

-- And also at the Observer, a piece arguing that The Break Up was actually smart and perceptive about modern relationships and their superficiality.

In their final fight, Ms. Aniston cries so hard she can’t speak—and when she does, it’s not about how much she loved him. “I’ve gone above and beyond for you, for us, I’ve cooked, picked your shit up. I don’t feel like you appreciate any of it.” The absence of personalized affection suggests that modern relationships are often built on these fantasies of roles. But, even then, they’re obsolete fantasies when everyone knows they can move on and find someone who fits into their idea of a relationship just a little more cozily. What terribly banal disappointments! How familiar it sounds.

It still wasn't a great movie, but I kind of agree. Naomi was annoyed because it didn't leave her with the sugary magic of usual crap romantic comedy, but the lack of a fairy tale ending made me a lot happier than a "happy ending." This one left me wondering why movies don't focus on break ups more often... on the break up itself instead of characters' success at finding true love afterwards. The actual break up, with all the addendant drama and nastiness, is much more interesting than watching pretty people frolick through their cute n' temporary misunderstandings.

-- Maybe I was just really bored today, but I was totally entertained by New York magazine's feature on NYC etiquette. Especially the pieces by Amy Poehler and David Cross.

-- Tricia Romano reports in the Voice:

It's doubly hard to square the frequency of gay bashings with the public perception that it's OK to be gay. "Just because we have gay TV shows and all that, these things are just a fantasy," [DJ Honey] Dijon says. "It's like two different realities. It's like The Matrix. There's the virtual reality and what's happening in the real world. And what's happening on the street is a reflection of what our larger government and religious institutions are doing. What's the difference between what the government did in Iraq and what they did to Kevin Aviance? One is sanctioned and the other is not?"

-- Also, yesterday Salon had a article about straight girls who make out with each other. Omigod, this is breaking news!!!

These women say it's no big deal to kiss another woman -- especially if alcohol has loosened inhibitions all around. Same-sex behavior is more accepted, particularly on campus, and proving that you're "cool enough" to kiss another girl without worrying that your peers will question your sexuality is an example of how open our sexual culture has become. But is this staged bisexuality really a testament to a type of hypersexualized girl power -- or a statement on how far gals will go to please a generation of guys weaned on online porn? And what does it mean to girls who are actually coming out as queer to see straight girls playing bi for male pleasure?

Ummmm....Girl power!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Kitchen Sink has a new blog.

If you're procrastinating and looking for something to read, how bout spending some time on Fresh Yarn? I just found this essay by Elise Miller, about how she slept with the lead singer of Depeche Mode when she was 15, and it is hilarious and wonderful. I love stories about smart women's groupie pasts...

I think I have eye contact with David at least three times but I'm not one hundred percent sure. I do, however, feel a connection with him, as if it's me up there on stage, as if we're interchangeable, as if I'm the famous one everyone envies, which they would, if I could tell them I met the band and have a backstage pass. That, however, would be tacky. David swivels and gyrates to the point where I'm practically drooling with heavy duty lust. I lean in and shout to Karen, "I'll bet he's great in bed!" Karen nods and grins like, we are so fucking cool, which we are.

By the way - and this is old-ish news - Steve Almond resigned from his teaching post at Boston College because of their decision to have Condaleeza Rice speak at graduation. You can read the open letter he wrote about it that was published in the Boston Globe here. Choice quote:

I cannot, in good conscience, exhort my students to pursue truth and knowledge, then collect a paycheck from an institution that displays such flagrant disregard for both.

And then there's Steven Colbert speaking at Knox College's commencement. Reading the transcript makes the world seem like a better place, even if only for a moment.

A wall...across the entire southern border. That's the answer. That may not be enough -- maybe a moat in front of it, or a fire-pit. Maybe a flaming moat, filled with fire-proof crocodiles. And we should probably wall off the northern border as well. Keep those Canadians with their socialized medicine and their skunky beer out. And because immigrants can swim, we'll probably want to wall off the coasts as well. And while we're at it, we need to put up a dome, in case they have catapults. And we'll punch some holes in it so we can breathe. Breathe free. It's time for illegal immigrants to go -- right after they finish building those walls. Yes, yes, I agree with me.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Bitch magazine has a sweet new Web site! And their anthology comes out in August. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.

Caryn James spends more than 1,000 words picking at Jennifer Aniston in the Times. It's a seriously weird sort of tirade, kind of catty (and I hate that word) disguised as critical:

The relationship with Mr. Vaughn itself may have cost Ms. Aniston sympathy. In terms of her image it doesn't even matter if that relationship exists; the public believes it does. And while replacing Mr. Pitt with a new trophy guy would have seemed like vindication for the wounded princess, instead she has reached beneath her on the celebrity food chain. Mr. Vaughn seems smarter than his on-screen persona, and his mega-hit "Wedding Crashers" gave him some Hollywood clout. Still, nobody says, How did she get him? Just the opposite.

Speaking of Jennifer Aniston, I love what the av club has to say about The Break Up:

It's like watching the "we were on a break" episode of Friends stretched to feature length, and without the blessed relief of commercial breaks or the promise of Seinfeld around the corner.

Gwynne Watkins has a cool take on that movie Hard Candy, which looked like it could be good, if not for... well, some of what she points out.

Recently, a Dateline special got parents up in arms about the dangers of MySpace. The fear: those suggestive photos teenage girls may be noticed by, well, men looking for suggestive photos of teenage girls. Yet considering how badly they want to protect these girls, neither the MySpace protestors nor the producers of Dateline nor the makers of Hard Candy seem interested in what the teenage girls are thinking. And that seems to me to be a crucial oversight. Why is a fourteen-year-old girl's totally normal sexuality more frightening to look at than the stunted deviance of a pedophile?

The fancy new issue of Bookslut has interviews with Anthony Bourdain, Hal Niedzviecki, Hillary Carlip, Salvador Plascencia, Charles De Lint and George Saunders, and the column I wrote wherein I help prolong the debate about that stupid "best work of fiction in the last 25 years" list (Mike Schaub calls it "the New York Times' most regrettable decision since hiring Judy Miller").

I just finally filed my FAFSA and paid my electric bill! And my apartment is so clean and verging on organized that it's freaking me out how much I resemble a productive member of society. I got rid of 2 huge garbage bags of clothing this weekend (this after letting various people pick over the piles, the contents of which ranged from awesome-but-does-not-fit-and-maybe-never-did, to who-even-knows-what-this-is-and-what-kind-of-psycho-would-willingly-buy-it), plus another 2 huge bags full of papers I'm finally managing to part with. This included a not insignificant stack of administrative shit related to the Review - budget papers and office contracts etc. It felt pretty amazing to kick this stuff to the curb (or to the clothing donation bin). Not that I didn't manage to keep a lot of crap, too. But enough is gone now that it makes a real difference, both to the space of my apartment and the space of my brain.

I saw An Inconvenient Truth last night. It was really well done and pretty excellent overall. I don't really know what to think of all this noise about Gore running in 2008. The movie is definitely worth seeing... at the very least, it's gratifying to see Gore spin the climate crisis issue so convincingly (ie, positioning it as a moral issue), since that kind of strategy is so seriously lacking on the left. But it does a lot more than that, too. It's powerful and scary and fascinating, and also dorky in a way that I like. The fact that Gore keeps refering to his presentation as a "slide show" despite the fact that it's animated and on a computer (and the guy knows something about computers) is pretty cute.