Sunday, April 26, 2009

"What's up, vaginas?"

I've been watching Rockville CA on over the past few days, and the commercial above is accurate. The commercial is also almost as long as each episode.

My thoughts on the series so far:

  • How could Aiden play a dumber role than he did on South of Nowhere? I didn't think that was humanly possible.

  • When did Dan move to California? Oh, that's not Dan? Is that Adam Brody? No, I was mistaken: in this show, the self-referential, adorkable, dark-haired, pale-skinned gentleman who bears a remarkable resemblance to creator Josh Schwartz is named "Hunter." He is completely different that the other two doppelgängers.

  • Just because you can use salty language (at 1:30) on the interwebs that you cannot use on network television does not mean that it will add to your program's humor or quality. For advice on including cursing in jokes, please see Jim Gaffigan.

  • The only nonwhite person in the show is the well-read bouncer? Really,


She will Bea missed.

'Golden Girls' star Bea Arthur dies at 86, AP via omg! news on Yahoo!.

I am totally a Dorothy, though I do have my Sophia moments.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

This is one reason I like Free Radio:

the characters look like and act like relatively normal people, including the two women on the show. Though, this is not the normal situation in mainstream media:

Fat Actors vs Skinny Actresses, by Melissa Silverstein, Women & Hollywood.

What’s the Skinny on the Heftier Stars?
, by Michael Cieply, The New York Times.

A scene from the new journalistic thriller “State of Play” says it all.

Jeff Daniels, as the politician George Fergus, squares off with Russell Crowe, as the pen-wielding journalist Cal McAffrey.

Two men. One notebook. Four chins.

Hollywood’s pool of leading men is getting larger — and not necessarily in a good way.

Based on a close look at trailers, still photos and some films already released, at least a dozen male stars in some of the year’s most prominent movies have been adding on the pounds of late.

In “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3,” a subway heist movie due from Columbia Pictures and MGM in June, Denzel Washington, 54, goes cheek-to-jowl with the bulky John Travolta, 55 — and they are beginning to look like a matched set. Mr. Washington is no longer the lean, mean boxing machine he portrayed in “The Hurricane,” 10 years ago.

[. . . ]

Even Leonardo DiCaprio, the young heartthrob from “Titanic,” is better padded these days, at 34. Photos from the set of “Shutter Island,” a thriller on tap from Paramount Pictures and the director Martin Scorsese in October, show a little bit more to love.

Hollywood’s women may have weight issues of their own. But it is somehow less noticeable, possibly because actresses who expand do not often get roles to showcase that growth. Kathleen Turner, 54 and the onetime seductress of “Body Heat,” last December put in a rare film performance as Ms. Kornblut, the plus-size dog trainer in “Marley & Me.”

[ . . . ]

Appearing on the “Today” show on Tuesday, Mr. Crowe, 45, said he was working his way down to fighting trim for his current role as Robin Hood in a new film for Universal, but he confessed that pounds were dropping more slowly than he had hoped.

He might want to get some diet advice from Jason Segel.

Mr. Segel, 29, was fairly hefty in “I Love You, Man,” a comedy released by Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks in March. But his face looked surprisingly thin on billboards advertising the film.

The advertising photos were done some weeks after the film shoot, with a slimmer Mr. Segel, said Katie Martin Kelley, a publicity executive with Paramount. “There was no retouching done,” Ms. Kelley said.

I had not noticed Russell Crowe's increased "insulation" in the State of Play trailer. Though I did notice Jason Segel's in I Love You, Man; Jason had even more cushioning than he did in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Yet the women allowed to appear in all three of these movies are painfully thin, completely overshadowed--literally and figuratively--by their male counterparts.

I would like to have couple friends like these:

Jennie and Peter look like so much fun. I loved Can't Hardly Wait and Dancer, Texas Pop. 81. Fastlane not so much, but Peter does have children to feed.

Chelsea seems like a entertaining pretty entertaining person, too. Good for her being the only lady with a late-night talk show in the US.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

I'm in LA this weekend. Why?

Ask Professor Foxy: Was I Assaulted?, by Professor Foxy, Feministing. Emphases mine.

. . . A few months ago me and a few friends went on a road trip. it was supposed to be a fun weekend at the beach etc etc, but something happened between me and a (now former) male friend that ruined it.

I never drink (can't control myself when i do), but this "friend" _always_ harassed me about it. He made me feel like i was no fun, or whatever, and just would not shut up about my not drinking. we ended up at a party and he badgered me all night about not drinking, so, i did. a lot.

i thought i was safe around my friends and that nothing could happen. big mistake . . .

Some things just aren't my bag, man. I hope everyone else stays safe. Because in a male-dominated, testosterone-fueled atmosphere, where the true name of the game is "fitting in at almost any cost", the story above is horrifically commonplace and underreported.


Whenever I think to myself,

"Is it just me, or . . .", it is never just me. Janeane Garofalo, who recently played a caricature of a women's studies professor on Greek, crystallizes the TEA party movement for me:

"Let's be honest about what this is about. It's not about bashing Democrats. It's not about taxes. They have no idea what the Boston Tea Party was about. They don't know their history at all. This is about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism, straight up. That is nothing but a bunch of teabagging rednecks."

For additional coverage, here are some articles:

appreciate opportunities to release their repressed racism in public, by Macon D, stuff white people do.

10 Most Offensive Tea Party Signs
, by Nico Pitney, The Huffington Post.


A Separate Peace

I recently had a conversation with someone about coming-of-age novels, like the above mentioned book by John Knowles. I expressed to him that during middle school and upper school, I was required to read my fill of said novels, which, I lamented, were almost always about boys. Specifically, white, American or British, heterosexual boys. He innocently replied that coming-of-age novels have universal stories about growing up, implying that these stories should be relatable to anyone who reads them.

Oh really?

What I wanted to do then was give him a two to five-minute presentation on white heterosexual male privilege, including references to the exclusively-male cast of Lord of the Flies, the misogyny present in The Chocolate War and in its sequel, and everything Superbad, along with an appendix on contemporary gender studies and Reviving Ophelia.

What I did was say, "Hmm."

Why didn't I say something more scathing, or at least more verbose? In the words of Avril Lavigne, he was a boy, I was a girl; can I make it anymore obvious? I wanted to be likeable, instead of being my usual "too much".

Additionally, a month ago I had a conversation with an entirely different gentleman about an entirely different subject. Specifically, this second person thought that it had been an unwise move for a certain Fortune 500 company to purchase a certain television network. I disagreed, stating that it was a overdue power move that the company needed to make to control distribution. He then said that I was picking on him. I said that I was sharing my opinion. Later, another gentleman applauded my words . . . by saying that he was glad that I had been "combative".


I know none of those gentlemen was trying to confuzzle me or hurt my feelings. Yet as a black woman, I walk this tightrope of misconceptions and expectations from all sides that few people I know can understand. This balancing act fosters personal fear, doubt and anxiety.

Today I spent my part of my afternoon listening to a panel about being a multiple minority, or more precisely, about being in multiple oppressed groups. For instance, being a black lady like myself. Or being a gay Filipino individual like Alec Mapa or the animated Rick Brocka. The message to take away from the panelists was a positive one: let other people get to know you as a person, and they will stop seeing you a simply a minority. Just be the best you that you can be. No, my mother was not on the panel.

That sentiment is easy to say and difficult to practice. It also doesn't provide you with any solace when you know that expressing an opinion can get you labeled as angry witch. Whereas that same opinion expressed by a (paler) gentleman gets him labeled as an assertive leader. The sentiment "it is was it is" does not make you feel any less isolated when you experience a situations that no one you know is going through because you are literally the only one currently going through it at the moment.

This why I watched Girlfriends before it was canceled. This is why I listen to Frangela on the radio (when they are not preempted by sports) and why I ask that they write a book about their career. This is why I want the new Wanda Sykes talk show on Fox to succeed. I need role models. There are events and issues and humor and pain that are specific to being an overeducated black woman in business, in comedy (Hey, I think I'm funny), in life that other people don't completely get. It helps to know that someone else has been there before, or is still there now.

You know what would help? More coming-of-age stories about girls. It would be a start.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Clever comedians selling frozen "healthy" food:

It's good to see two funny women over forty still working on the TV.


"What about fetuses with guns?"

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Better Know a District - Illinois' 18th - Aaron Schock
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorNASA Name Contest

It's so cute when they try to answer grown-up questions. And by "they", I mean Republicans like Aaron Schock, the current US Representative for the 18th district of Illinois.

Stephen Colbert: Tell me about the Fightin' 18th.

Aaron Schock: Tell you about what?

Colbert: The Fightin' 18th.

Schock: The Fightin' 18th? What's the Fightin' 18th?

Colbert: Do you not represent the 18th district of Illinois?

Schock: Yes?

Colbert: Tell me about the Fightin' 18th.

Schock: You mean like tell you about my district?

[Has Aaron never watched The Colbert Report, including the segment on which he is appearing, called "Better Know a District"?]

Colbert: It sounds better to say the Fightin' 18th.

Oy vey. If Representative Schock is truly "the new face of the Republican party" (what happened to Bobby Jindal?), then we can all sleep easy.

There were also few quotes which, when taken out of context, can sound dirty, especially if you were already objectifying Representative Schock, as I was. Is he more than "just a pretty face, hair and body"? Readers, I suggest you watch the video and decide for yourselves.

Either way, I don't do Republicans; they are weird. I envision Republicans on a spectrum of, at best, misguided, and at worse, evil/Dick Cheney. He shot an old man in the face!

Colbert: Is there a spanking machine.

Schock: No spanking machine in Congress.

If only there were.

Colbert: It's a simple question. I think your constituents deserve to know. Do you or do you not have six-pack abs?

Schock: Well, you know, as soon as I say that, and then I get out of shape, you're going to use it against me. So, you know.

Colbert: You're implying that I am so taken with you right now. You're just implying that I am going to stay obsessed with your abs, sir. And yes. I'm not saying there's no chemistry here. But I'm saying I'm keeping this professional. All right? And I'd wish you do the same.

I wish he wouldn't.

Colbert: Congressman, thank you for taking the time to shock and awe me.

Thank you, indeed.


A little to the left, please.

Those dogs look so happy. Maybe I need some Pup-peroni.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Seriously? Do people not get what taxes are for?

Today, Wednesday, April 15, 2009, is National TEA Party Day, which I just learned about, and which I am now mocking.

From the site:

On April 15, be part of the Taxed Enough Already (TEA) party rally in your community

On the day you pay your taxes, Wednesday, April 15, join others across the country and in your hometown who will be participating in TAX Day TEA party rallies in front of their city halls. The TAX Day TEA party rally will begin at 12 noon. See this video - the momentum is growing!

Are you fed up with a Congress and a president who:

  • vote for a $500 billion tax bill without even reading it?
  • are spending trillions of borrowed dollars, leaving a debt our great-grandchildren will be paying?
  • consistently give special interest groups billions of dollars in earmarks to help get themselves re-elected?
  • want to take your wealth and redistribute it to others?
  • punish those who practice responsible financial behavior and reward those who do not?
  • admit to using the financial hurt of millions as an opportunity to push their political agenda?
  • run up trillions of dollars of debt and then sell that debt to countries such as China?
  • want government controlled health care?
  • want to take away the right to vote with a secret ballot in union elections?
  • refuse to stop the flow of millions of illegal immigrants into our country?
  • appoint a defender of child pornography to the Number 2 position in the Justice Department?
  • want to force doctors and other medical workers to perform abortions against their will?
  • want to impose a carbon tax on your electricity, gas and home heating fuels?
  • want to reduce your tax deductibility for charitable gifts?
  • take money from your family budget to pay for their federal budget?

If so, participate in the TAX Day TEA party rally, the Taxed Enough Already (TEA) party.

Bring your cell phone and call Congress and the president while attending the TAX Day TEA party rally (Representative and Senators, 202-224-3121; President, 202-456-1414). Tell Every American about this effort by forwarding this invitation to your friends. Together we can make a difference.

How are government controlled health care (which millions of people already have, including those employed by the government), secret ballots in union elections, illegal immigration, child pornography and abortions related to taxes? Who are these people? Do they not drive on government-funded roads or appreciate the government-funded police and fire departments?

Readers, if you or someone you know is attending a TEA party today unironically, please leave a comment!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"Hey, I know you. Lance Armstrong!"

Thank goodness I do not have an Uncle Hank. Though I would like to hang out with Lance Bass.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

I cannot process this animal feces anymore.

[Big angry baby head!]

Is Date Rape Funny? Seth Rogen Explains It All For You, by Margaret, Jezebel.

You wouldn't know it from watching the commercials playing constantly on TV, but in Observe & Report Ronnie (Seth Rogen) date rapes Brandi (Anna Faris) after taking her out to dinner, and today, bloggers are talking about it.

It surprises me how many posts I have generated on Seth Rogen, and that most of those posts are about the misogyny of his projects. This is the same Seth Rogen whom I was first introduced to in the beloved Freaks and Geeks. I now refer to Mr. Rogen in my head as "that f-ing f-er who can eat bleep and go bleep himself. Bleephole."

Sady at Tiger Beatdown does the research and says it all so I don't have to, emphases mine: Um.

Anyway, I could spend a little while talking about how even though this comedy is going to be intentionally dark and edgy and scary and weird, and even though I know representation is not the same as perpetuation, and even though as a lady I am somehow always supposed to be a "good sport" and "understanding," because it's not as if women could look back on the history of the world and note that it has been pretty much exclusively male-dominated, and the history of art and note that it too has been pretty much exclusively male-dominated, and note when looking at art produced by men within a male-dominated culture that a whole lot of it reflects and perpetuates male domination, because that would mean they are just terrible people who cannot hear the Music of the Spheres nor hear the Eternal Human Verities within this canon that kind of perpetually excludes or insults or misrepresents them, this is fucked up. I could talk about how I am a person who routinely makes jokes about her own experience of sexual assault, and has maybe the least mature or gentle sense of humor in the world, and I still feel that the whole "dumb bitch gets raped by comic hero" thing is indescribably foul, and yeah, maybe I could "give it a chance," maybe I could try to be "fair" about this, but maybe I just have better things to do than watch a movie that might be about a woman who gets a deserved raping, maybe I've reached the precise point at which I cannot be a "good sport" any longer and that is the point at which I am asked to pay ten fucking dollars plus however much a soda is these days for a movie that may very well insult me and every woman who's ever had an unwanted dick shoved into her body. I could talk about how, even though I got warned in advance, even though I won't be seeing the movie, the incredible frequency of rape and sexual assault in our society means that many, many victims of rape will see it, and the PTSD that often accompanies rape will mean that, for a joke, for some dipshit filmmaker's attempt at being edgy, they are going to experience all of the pain and psychological trauma associated with that experience, they are going to feel that rape all over again, there, in their seats, in the theater, and they are going to pay for the experience, and if they try to talk about what that filmmaker did to them it's probably going to get sidetracked into some conversation about the Sanctity of Art which is invariably given more consideration than their actual lives.

I could talk about all of that, but I won't. These conversations last so long and always seem to involve some guy calling me "oversensitive" or accusing me of making shit up or otherwise calling my perceptions invalid because they conflict with his own or just saying that I'm pissy and not funny and mean, and all of it makes me so tired, you guys, so unbelievably tired of stating basic facts that pretty much everyone with a shred of decency should comprehend but most people and/or movie studios and/or acclaimed Artists of Our Times just fucking don't. So, nope, not getting into it. I'm just going to enjoy the fact that I am, apparently, psychic. Because, of all the many things this is, it is not even remotely surprising.


AmazonFail, or, Dirty!

[Yes, that is Tom Everett Scott, best known as Zack Morris's sidekick in Dead Man on Campus. And that movie where he played a young Tom Hanks.]

Amazon Follies, by Mark R. Probst.

Amazon under fire for perceived anti-gay policy, by Andrea James, Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

AmazonFail: A Twitter movement in action, by C. A. Bridges, Daytona Beach News-Journal Online.

Online censorship? Amazon strips ranking of Gay and Lesbian books, by Mari Kurisato, Denver Internet Examiner. Emphases mine.

One of the most powerful indicators of how a book is doing sales wise and can be a leading factor for generating or killing interest in a book. Though many factors go into the sales ranking system, the primary driving factor has been sales-number of books sold. Using that method, a shopper could look at similar titles within a genre and see which books were generating sales. The method however, now seems altered, in a manner that feels similar to the unsavory practice of banning books.

Amazon isn't actually no longer selling the books, of course, but it is delisting “adult” titles from the sales ranking system. Which would seem like a fine policy, if it were applied equally. But as an online petition points out the following publications remain on the sales ranking system:

-Playboy: The Complete Centerfolds by Chronicle Books (pictures of over 600 naked women)
--Rosemary Rogers' Sweet Savage Love" (explicit heterosexual romance);
--Kathleen Woodiwiss' The Wolf and the Dove (explicit heterosexual romance);
--Bertrice Smal's Skye o'Malley which are all explicit heterosexual romances
--and Alan Moore's Lost Girls (which is a very explicit sexual graphic novel)

while the following LGBT books have been removed:

--Radclyffe Hill's classic novel about lesbians in Victorian times, The Well of Loneliness, and which contains not one sentence of sexual description;
--Mark R Probst's YA novel The Filly about a young man in the wild West discovering that he's gay (gay romance, no sex);
--Charlie Cochrane's Lessons in Love (gay romance with no sex);
--The Dictionary of Homophobia: A Global History of Gay & Lesbian Experience, edited by Louis-George Tin (non-fiction, history and social issues);
--and Homophobia: A History by Bryan Fone (non-fiction, focus on history and the forms prejudice against homosexuality has taken over the years).

Overall, the sales rank delisting may seem like a minor issue, but it can have a very serious impact for publishers and authors of lesser known works which depend on the sales ranking to get noticed and help spread the word. Amazon pulls unranked books from search results.

Do not worry, hetero Amazon users: 9 1/2 Weeks, Wild Orchid, SuicideGirls: Beauty Redefined, How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale and XXX: 30 Porn-Star Portraits are still available on Amazon for purchase and rating.


Thursday, April 09, 2009

"Well, there's not a lot of elections in China."

Texas lawmaker suggests Asians adopt easier names, by R.G. Ratcliffe, Houston & Texas News.

A North Texas legislator during House testimony on voter identification legislation said Asian-descent voters should adopt names that are "easier for Americans to deal with."

The comments caused the Texas Democratic Party on Wednesday to demand an apology from state Rep. Betty Brown, R-Terrell. But a spokesman for Brown said her comments were only an attempt to overcome problems with identifying Asian names for voting purposes.

The exchange occurred late Tuesday as the House Elections Committee heard testimony from Ramey Ko, a representative of the Organization of Chinese Americans.

Ko told the committee that people of Chinese, Japanese and Korean descent often have problems voting and other forms of identification because they may have a legal transliterated name and then a common English name that is used on their driver’s license on school registrations.

Brown suggested that Asian-Americans should find a way to make their names more accessible.

"Rather than everyone here having to learn Chinese — I understand it’s a rather difficult language — do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here?" Brown said.

Brown later told Ko: "Can't you see that this is something that would make it a lot easier for you and the people who are poll workers if you could adopt a name just for identification purposes that's easier for Americans to deal with?"

Well my peace. "You and your citizens"? Isn't she talking about Americans? Whose citizens does she think these people are?

Here are two comments that explain some of my thoughts on the situation, sic implied:

By suggesting that Asian-Americans adopt names that are easier for "Americans" to deal with, she implies that Asian-Americans are not "American" by separating the terms. While that may not have been her intent, it was the consequence she should have expected, assuming she is adequately educated of course.

- danieln92000

[ . . . ] that women is keep saying, "You and your people", "easier for us". so it's You vs. US? that woman has already set her mind that Asian-Americans are not part of Americans.

- sangjai90

Also, Toby is an easy-to-pronounce American name, dating back to the good old colonial days of the United States. I'd bet Representative Brown finds it much easier to deal with than Kunta Kinte.


She doesn't get paid?

Mad About Michelle, by Katha Pollitt, The Nation. Emphases mine.

Just after the election Rebecca Traister wrote a terrific piece in Salon lamenting the "momification" of Michelle Obama. Probably it was inevitable: "In part because of the legacy left her by Hillary and her detractors," Traister observed, "powerful couples must now tread as far as possible from the 'two for one' talk, lest the female half get smacked with a nutcracker." Besides, there was that Angry Black Woman image to banish. It might have been politically necessary, and for all I know Michelle Obama is having the time of her life--unlike most professional women who take (let's hope) eight years off, she doesn't have to worry about the cost to her career. Some days I think just being a highly visible admirable black woman is a social cause all by itself, given how little of that side of black life most white Americans see. Still, there's something depressing about the joy and relief with which the high-end media have greeted Michelle's makeover from accomplished professional and outspoken social critic to new-traditionalist homebody. They're not only not ready for Hillary Clinton, they're apparently not even ready for Eleanor Roosevelt.

In the American Prospect, Dana Goldstein recently argued that being first lady should be treated like the job it is and awarded a salary. Michelle is "a public face of the Obama administration," working behind the scenes to rally support for her husband's programs--and she endures a schedule of ceremonial duties and photo ops that would put most women on Prozac and that are not optional. She can't decide to skip dinner with the Democratic chairmen of Congressional committees and watch TV with the girls instead. If first ladies were paid--Goldstein suggests that the money could come from lowering the president's $400,000 salary--we might respect them more.

Meanwhile, we should be counting ourselves lucky that Michelle Obama is working for free and let her wear whatever she wants.

I don't think the First Lady's salary should come from cutting the President's salary. I'm sure our national budget could do with a few less $400 ashtrays. Michelle Obama's salary from her last job as head of community affairs for the University of Chicago Hospitals was $273,618. That is equivalent to 685 ashtrays. Or half the cost of a Tomahawk missile.

It would be a bargain, considering that the First Lady probably does the jobs of at least ten people combined. At an average Washington, DC, salary of $72,000 (as of April 9 2009), the position of First Lady would be worth $720,000. That's new math for you. Plus, everyone at the White House--excluding the children, the dog, and Grandma--is on salary except for Michelle Obama. Yet she has one of the biggest jobs there. How far we have come.


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

But who will teach Professor Modi's classes?

Oh my God they killed Kutner. Bastards!, by abhi at Sepia Mutiny.

Kal Penn goes from 'House' to the White House, by Thomas Conner, Chicago Sun-Times.

I don't even watch House, but instead of killing off Kal's character, couldn't the writers have had him get a job at the White House? Less morbid, yet cheeky.


My six-word memoir:

Underappreciating myself, yet amazing everyone else.

(Present tense since I'm still here.)

You can read it here, too.


Sean Maguire is working again!

Krod MandoonThurs, 10p / 9c
Krod Mandoon Series Preview
Matt LucasKevin HartSean Mcguire

Is that an American accent? I thought Sean Maguire always played British.

John Cho is working. Eddie Kaye Thomas is working. Jason George is working? I did not know that. Is Eli Stone still on? And Lauren Stamile is still working, too.

Good for you, cast of Off Centre. Like so many shows on The WB, it left too soon. I'm looking at you, Grosse Pointe.


Thursday, April 02, 2009

"I'm sorry. I just love my country."

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The 10/31 Project
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorNASA Name Contest

"And I love the musical Rent." But not the movie version. Chris Columbus never fails to disappoint me with his schmaltz.

Sign me up for the 10/31 Project. Though I can never figure out a clever costume to wear.