Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Madison!

This is my dog, Madison.  He's got some intense behavior problems.  He's cost me literally thousands and thousands of dollars, caused several grey hairs to prematurely sprout and has almost given me heart attacks numerous times.  But get a load of this face.

I mean, really.  Ugh.

Friday, September 17, 2010


New work from Erin M. Riley - textile art + sociological explorations of young women on the internets = awesome. - Hipster took a stand!  Go, hipster, go! - Ah, the joys of gender polarization. - "There's also a misconception among many commenters that when I say "acceptance" I mean "approval" or even "support." I'm not asking you to approve of fat people's choices or fat itself. [...] I'm telling you that you need to accept fat people as human beings, treat us with respect, respect our personal choices (and by respect I don't mean "admiration") and keep your judgments to yourself while not allowing your personal biases to distort how you treat fat people. It's pretty simple."  I ♥ Tasha Fierce. - "“If Rep. Kern and her allies spent as much time focusing on Oklahoma’s future as they seem to spend worrying about my past, maybe we could keep teachers in the classroom and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure,” Novotny said." Brittany Novotny is a transwoman (among many other things) who is running against bigot Sally Kern. - A few key findings:
• LGBQ Respondents of Color were more likely than their LGBQ White counterparts to indicate race as the basis for harassment, and were significantly less likely than LGBQ White respondents to feel very comfortable or comfortable in their classes (60%, 65%, respectively).
• [...]those who identified as transmasculine, transfeminine, and gender non-conforming (GNC) experienced significantly higher rates of harassment than men and women - C'mon Obama - how hard is it to put a few damn solar panels on the White House?  Crikey. - "The official probe of her death would later note that earlier she had been "reprimanded" for showing "empathy" for the prisoners. One of the most moving parts of the report, in fact, is this: "She said that she did not know how to be two people; she…could not be one person in the cage and another outside the wire."  (Don't miss part 2 as well - linked at the bottom of the post)

After that last link, I feel that we need to end on a happyfuntimes note.

My friend Alicia turned me on to this and I was all "oh, cool!"  And then I visited their site: - turns out they are takin' traditional Irish dance to a whole new level.  I am so in love with this.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Trouble with Gaga

I'm not a fan of Lady Gaga.  There, I said it.  I know that every gay and their sister thinks she's brilliant and amazing and I just. don't. get it.  In fact, I didn't even realize I'd already been hearing her music because those songs sound just like every other song I heard in my gay club-going youth in the 90's (in fact, at The Gay 90's.  Yep, she has wacky outfits.  She's down with the gays.  She can deliver a catchy pop dance hook.  But...

The wacky, avant-garde costumes and performances?  She's got a predecessor in Grace Jones (and many others, I'm sure - I'm just not well-versed enough to know them off the top of my head).  The meat dress?  Please.  Feminist artists like Jana Sterbak did that years ago and with a lot more thought and intent.  Fetishizing disability and using folks as props?  Not. Cool. Choosing to make the repeal of DADT her statement when millions of eyes are on her?  Well, that's nice and all, I guess, but there are so many other issues she could have chosen.

And y'know, one could make the argument that there's nothing new under the sun and that everyone's work is derivative in some way.  My point here is that she makes absolutely no acknowledgment of her predecessors (to my knowledge) and I find that problematic and privileged.  She could be using her fame to at least acknowledge these trailblazers that came before her and introduce their work to her fans.  It's her choice not to do so and it's my choice to find that irksome.

Jack Halberstam over at Bully Bloggers did a scathing takedown of Camille Paglia's recent ridiculous piece on Gaga.  I am definitely a fan of Halberstam's work and Halberstam is definitely a fan of Gaga.  And personally, I loathe Paglia and agree with many of Halberstam's points.  Paglia's main method of making an argument appears to rest on tired old pop psychology tropes (men r awesome and created the world cuz they pee standing up?  Freud much?  Ew.)

But (and I fully recognize that I've got nothing on Halberstam's academical prowess, but here I go anyway), while I think Paglia's obsession with framing Gaga as a Madonna-stealer misses the mark, I am wondering why Halberstam's analysis of Gaga doesn't touch on things like Grace Jones and Jana Sterbak?  Especially when one considers the long history of white artists appropriating music from people of color while simultaneously ignoring or denying said appropriation Elvis, anyone?).  And while I think Paglia is grasping at straws, the one thing I do agree with is that yeah, I do think it's good to give some props to the people who came before you, who inspired you, who paved the way.  Otherwise, it just feels too much like appropriation and almost plagiarism to me.

(The video is Grace Jones' Slave to the Rhythm, a dance song.  It features many stills and video shots of Grace Jones in various artistic and experimental ways, including: a car driving out of her mouth, avant-garde fashion, black latex outfits, etc.)

Monday, September 13, 2010


I really wanted to post a clip of Jerri Blank and her infamous "I've got something to say!" by way of introduction, but the copyright gods are not smiling upon me.

I decided to start this blog because I realized that I was basically using Facebook as a blog.  This way, I get to have my rants and other people get to read them if they're actually interested, not just because it showed up in their friend feed.

I expect I will rant on topics including, but not limited to, politics and theory pertaining to:
  • race
  • gender
  • feminism
  • queers
  • transgender
  • adoptee/adoption
  • fat activism/health at every size
  • ability
  • femmes
  • class
  • privilege
  • passing
  • pop culture
  • being a "nontraditional" student
  • my dog (because I'm totally one of those people)
  • and anything else that strikes my fancy/makes me ranty
Now let's get this party started with a video that I was just introduced to yesterday:

(the video for El Tigeraso features Dominican-American artist Maluca.  the music is fast-paced, she raps melodically, she walks down the street wearing a red leather bustier and curlers in her hair, encountering various people; men watch her and she scoffs at them.  she ends up performing in a club with two other female musicians.)

Can we PLEASE talk about how awesome this is?  I mean, besides the music.  Firstly, it is femmetastic!  I covet those fringed backseam tights like whoa.  Bronx-born Dominican artist Maluca is full of smart hotness. I love the way she rocks the black leather jacket near the end, with her all-lady backing band, no less!

But secondly, the explicit depiction of objectification theory in action is fabulous.  What stands out for me is the calling of attention to it:  At first, it seems almost like your basic sexy thin lady getting ready, being looked at on the street, in the salon, etc.  Where it takes the interesting turn is right at the 2:45 mark.  Before, the men were regarding her in passing - now they are in a circle around her.  She is in the middle of their objectification, she sees it, and spits it right back at them, full of contempt and dismissal.

Also, notice the way the gazes differ:  the women on the street are usually smiling and laughing with her; the men are uniformly rather stone-faced and appraising, and in some cases, almost menacing (if you've experienced street harassment, you know what I'm sayin'.).

I want to know more about this Maluca Mala person, from her own mouth.  Often artists (especially ones involved with any sort of pop-ish music) won't talk much about their artistic intention, but I hope to hear more from her.

In conclusion:  YES, YES, and oh btw, YES.