The Natatorium

An emporium of oddities from around the world, complete with somewhat informative plaques that almost never match the item they are meant to be describing.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Young, Intelligent Blonde Seeks Time Lord w/TARDIS for Friendship, Travel, and Maybe More


I seem to want to be a writer, which I think means I ought to write now and again. I had this idea that I could practice by taking the dull day-to-day goings-on of my life and writing them in an interesting way. However, my life is so extraordinarily dull that I am quite sure that this experiment is doomed to fail. This serves as a lovely excuse for me to give up before I begin and go back to lazily watching Doctor Who.

Well, no more! You are now to be subjected to the dull events of my life whether you like it or not, providing you're too lazy/entranced/horrified to drag your cursor up to your address bar and type in a more exciting destination.

Wait a tick... something in my brain... something about Firefox being like a TARDIS.... nevermind. Not worth it.

*Yes, I'm stealing the whole all-caps subsection method from my blog idol, because it works for me and my scattered brain, and is better than saying "Anyhoo" all the time, and gives me more opportunities to be cheeky. I am also apparently stealing the asterisk (*) footnotes. Now I totally understand why she does this. It's AWESOME.


Anyhoo. Whilst I'm typing apparently non-existent words such as "nevermind" and "anyhoo," I think it's only right to tell you that, in case you hadn't noticed from my goodreads (another fake word according to Blogger!) feed, I'm in the process of reading a bit of Dickens. I expect this has made me a good deal more verbose in my writing and seems even to have infected me with the linguistic disease commonly referred to as "long-windedness." I shall make every effort to cease this irksome impersonation of Wilkins Micawber, but I cannot be put upon to make any sort of promise or prediction in regards to the nature of any future correspondences.

By the way, I want Dora to die, immediately. Is that wrong?


I got up. I went to work. I received things. I sorted things. I shelved things. I saw the new releases! Jessica dug through one of the new release boxes before I got to it and made it all messy because she wanted to recover her reserved copy of the Liz Phair Re-Release, which, by the way, looks AWESOME. I saw the Persepolis DVD, which I'm considering buying because I can justify it as a study aid.


While on my breaks today I read part of an issue of The Atlantic Monthly. I read the article on rapidly escalating crime in mid-size cities, namely Memphis. The author takes the well-supported angle that the crime dispersement and explosion can be traced to the recent demolition of inner-city housing projects and the resulting diaspora of their inhabitants. Rosy, eh? I then read the piece on modern feminism and the whole "choice feminism" schtick of opt-out generation (that is, super-intelligent women with Harvard degrees "choosing" to stay at home with their children and play with finger paints all day). I thought the article was well-balanced and well-reasoned, which of course meant that in the end it had no real solution/prescription for the conundrum. Though the author gave a lot of face time to Hirshman, she also admitted to the circular "which work?" conundrum... that is, someone has to take care of the house/kids, so if the mother goes to work, she'll probably make just enough (thanks to the $0.70 on the $1 rule) to cover the expenses for childcare and home maintenance. Unless of course she's a hoity-toity professor or rocket scientist or something like that, which seems to be the "opt-out" woman Hirshman is aiming at, in which case she's ignoring the realities of class and opportunity that exist in America and EVERYWHERE and prevent most women from becoming the fantasy superhero geniuses that Hirshman all apparently thinks we are! She believes in me (because I'm white and upper-middle class and went to college and have the resources to pursue upper-level education)! I feel empowered! I think I'll go be President! Oh... wait... :: taps :: oh yeah, turns out there's still a glass ceiling there even for the most elite of us superchicks.

I digress. But let me not leave the subject of this article without saying BONUS POINTS to Sandra Tsing-Loh for incorporating Sex and the City references. Which, by the way, serves as an excellent segue into my next section...


(what did I tell you about being cheeky?)

I've been reading Entertainment Weekly religiously for the past few months now, mostly because it is my only defense against the complete and total insanity that is imminent when one is placed in the event-vacuum that is my section of the store, but also, as I've discovered, because it's rather bloody good most of the time. The Sex and the City movie has been a hot topic in the magazine for at least the last four issues, and in the last issue they pissed me off a little bit with a feature that basically snarkily edited the movie to make it "safe for guys." Now, I have no problem with EW criticizing the movie. It was okay, but not great, and I can see how some people would find it boring and/or annoying. My issue is, as always, with the gendering of the subject. More specifically, I got pissed that instead of writing up a snarky feature on how they could improve the movie, they wrote up a snarky feature on how they could improve the movie to make it more palatable to males. Because anything that might appeal *only* to females (as if men and women always like/hate the same things based on their gender) is in inherent need of correction in order to fit the male standard. This might seem like an overreaction, but really, how many crap shoot-'em up action movies come out that get the same treatment. I'm not saying EW doesn't (rightfully) rip all bad movies a new one, it does. The point is that it would probably never occur to the author of the feature, the magazine's editorial staff, or for that matter our culture at large, to jokingly correct said testosterone-driven crapfest so that it suits *women's* tastes. The author of the feature cites his duty to "beleaguered" husbands and boyfriends as his reason for cutting a large portion of the film. Does anyone care when exasperated wives and girlfriends have to sit through crap action film after crap action film over and over again? No. Granted this is anecdotal evidence, but I know that in my life I've heard the same story over and over again on the topic of movies from women in relationships: "We always end up going to see/renting Action Film of the Week because he refuses to see anything else." As usual, women take the crap because they'll compromise and men won't. I know that this is how it works with my mom and dad. Even if he's finally backed into a corner and *has* to watch something that doesn't have explosions in it, he'll complain about it enough (if he doesn't fall asleep) that the whole thing becomes pointless.

I have been so impressed with EW's interesting and, compared with mainstream entertainment culture, profound articles on gender in entertainment that I was sorely disappointed when I read the feature. Their writing is usually so good, and I was rather grieved to see them going the way of every other glossy in the universe. I almost wrote them an angry letter.

(Also: directly after the aforementioned feminism article I read today was a review of Salman Rushdie's new novel, "The Enchantress of Florence." I have been super-excited about this book since I heard his interview on NPR a few weeks ago and immediately bought it--it's on my short list for books that will soon be consumed. However, my interest in the novel and the author notwithstanding, I REFUSED to read the review because it was written be Christopher Fucking Hitchens, who I really, really don't like. How many magazines does that douchehat write for, anyway?)

But this is a happy story! I brought this up because the following week EW redeemed itself with this lovely editorial in the back. Much of the Sex and the City talk I'd heard in the broader realm of culture was annoying peppered with words like "surprising" and "niche," which only served to (once again) erroneous peg women as some kind of mysterious minority (who happen to comprise around 51% of the population). This piece, coupled with a large article in the same issue about racial disparities on TV (namely, the fact, that almost all the actors/actresses are white) restored my faith in EW and even the world! Yay! Hooray Mark Harris! Hooray EW! And God Bless America!


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