Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A Harmless Woman

Louise Bourgeois

There are oh-so many reasons to love Louise Bourgeois' work: it is good to look at AND wickedly funny & insightful. I just ran across this in a Christie's catalog, a Harmless Woman.

Why harmless? She has neither legs to walk on, nor arms to fight, nor a mouth to speak, eyes to see, nor a brain to think. She is a fuckbot, pure and simple.

Of course, she's not a woman, either. She's just a mound of acquiescent flesh.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

She leg-presses 400 pounds!

State of the Secretary - New York Times

Now, I don't know much about Madeline Albright, but any 69-year-old woman who can leg-press 400 lbs is a badass.


saturday's smarm definition, paraphrased

Boy: Wait, wait, when does "flirting" turn into "smarming"?

Girl: When it becomes clear that the flirting male is doing so to get into your pants, not just to be charming. It is particularly smarmy when said male has a wife or partner and therefore has no business trying to get into your pants.

Boy: Okay, thanks. I wasn't clear on that

Girl: That's today's definition. Don't expect the same answer twice.

new favorite bumper sticker

"I'll be a post-feminist in the post-patriarchy."

Pretty much says it all, I think.

(thanks to KA in NOLA who notified me of this gem)

Saturday, April 22, 2006

democracy & despotism: Redneck Mother unearths a gem

Redneck Mother: But they have so many letters in common!

Watch the whole thing, and tremble. We are on the slippery slope to despotism, and if anyone showed this in a public school today they'd get stomped by the godbags. If anyone showed it on TV, they'd get hassled by the godbags and righties. If, bog forbid, PBS showed it, it'd be more fuel for the "PBS is commie" fire.

Except for the free exchange of information on the internet, the US is on the downside of each of the scales that help assess where a country is on the democracy-despotism spectrum. The categories: power, respect, wealth, and freedom of information. It's a blunt instrument, to be sure, but still pertinent today.

We don't seem to have made a lot of progress towards democracy in the last 60 years, looking at it this way. I have to qualify that, though, because women and people of color and children do have more power & respect than they did sixty years ago, at least legislatively speaking, but then again, in 1946, they were starting at zero on those scales.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The doll people

The doll people kind of scary. Through no fault of my own, I have been assigned the task of having an antique doll restored and cleaned up for display. So I Googled "doll repair" and now the word "doll" has no meaning to me. Firstly, they don't just do "doll repair": they have "doll hospitals." Also, the doll people NAME their dolls: Lucy sits by the fireplace in her rocker; Charlie needs a new pair of shoes; and so on. So that's kind of creepy.

And then there are the total doll restoration people, with before & after pics on their websites.

Before: a dingy pile of limbs and a hard-to-recognize head with some ratty strands of fiber attached. Maybe a chunk of lace.

After: totally repainted, restuffed, restrung, redressed, new eyes, new teeth, new hair... when does an antique doll stop being an antique doll? And if you're going to go ahead and totally repaint - re-invent - the whole doll, why bother with the original limbs? I don't get it.

It's just kind of creepy, you know? With the glassy eyes and the strange puffy little hands and their weird accessories, I don't know how anyone can live in a houseful of them.

I had a few dolls when I was a kid - they had a rubbery plastic smell emanating from their pink skin, as I recall - I was fond of them but they weren't cuddly at all. I preferred a stuffed animal for toting around. I'd probably stop in my tracks if that smell wafted towards my nostrils again. Sorta like when I smell my grandfather's pipe tobacco and am taken back twenty years or more. He died ten years ago, quit smoking a pipe years before that, but I know that smell anywhere, any time. They say smell is the strongest memory trigger there is. I bet newly refurbished dolls don't smell like themselves any more.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

much has happened this last few weeks

1. I passed my dissertation defense. That would be DR. Jezebella to you.

2. Threw a wedding shower. It involved cooking for two days but was worth every moment. I think it was the honoree's public debut as bride-to-be and she enjoyed doing the Fun Bride Stuff without having to do any of the planning.

3. Slept for about a day and a half.

now, to much more serious business, I wish to make a few comments regarding the movie "Mystic River." Yes, it is dark and complex and beautifully acted, and tragic. It should've ended about 10 minutes earlier, however. Until the last two scenes, I hadn't really noticed the female characters. They were minor supporting roles, as the story was really about the male leads. Okay, fine. But then, when it comes time for them to step up, it's revolting. First Sean Penn's wife, Laura Linney, tells him that even though he has done a horrible thing - several of them - it's okay with her because, gah, I can hardly even think of it without gagging, "You're the King! You could rule this town!" "you are the king"?? Bog, who says that? "Honey, you just killed an innocent man but it's okay that you did it because you're the king. Let's fuck!" Revolting. As background noise, she was fine, but holy crap, this is not how women talk.

Second, the character played by Marcia Gay Harden. Her husband, a profoundly damaged man, has just been murdered by his childhood friend. First, Laura Linney dismisses her with a put-down about "what kind of woman thinks that about her own husband?" Well, everybody ELSE thought he killed the girl, why not her? And then there's the closing scene: a parade. Happy family one (Sean Penn's) is on the street. Happy Family Two (Kevin Bacon's), freshly reunited, also on the street. Then there's that pathetic widow, weakly Marcia Gay Harden, skulking around, embarrassed to exist, and the Happy Families ignore her, act like SHE is the embarrassment, not the murderer and his family. Not the cop who has chosen to cover up the murder, and his family. No, the widow, she's the one who shouldn't be there. It's revolting, it really is.

I have to wonder how Marcia Gay Harden could tolerate such a shit role - well, Laura Linney, too - how did they have the stomach to be so patently unlike actual women?

And so this is how the movie ends. Happy families, widow who obviously ought to disappear... all on a nice spring day. Because, really, wouldn't the neighborhood be nicer if that widow, who reminds us of, you know, icky things, would have the decency to just disappear? Nobody wants to see a woman without a man.

Then the credits roll, I see "Written by Clint Eastwood" and I figure it out: he's never actually listened to a woman in his life. He knows how men talk - and he's good at writing them - but he only knows how to write what he wants women to say. As in, "You're the king." Who says that shit, for reals? Go figure, a 70 year old guy never heard a woman speak - not really - in all his life. It shows in his writing.

So anyway what these last two scenes do is completely wreck and ruin what had been a really good, powerful, complex movie. Sure, it was about men (what isn't?) but until then the female characters were at least inoffensive.

In conclusion: anyone wishing to rent this movie is advised to TURN IT OFF as soon as Laura Linney starts smarming all over Sean Penn in the bedroom after he confesses to her. No good will come of watching the rest.

Monday, April 10, 2006

redonk Britney sculpture

Okay, so, I go to the official announcement website on this alarming sculpture of Britney Spears giving birth, and I'm gonna go out on a limb and say the art critic quotes are spurious. There is no Colin Moynahan at the New York Times, and Cheryl Bowes of the Chicago Trib compiles the personal ads. The gallery "capla kesting" can easily be rewritten "caplake sting". The artist, while having actually produced the thing, is having us on in order to get attention. The last group show he was in was called Fountain - after the Duchamp sculpture - and so the whole "pro-life" press release, combined with fabricated quotes from major news sources - tells me he's having a laugh. Smart, really: anything to do with abortion or pro-life gets extra attention. And naked women get attention. As do pop stars. The thing itself is revolting, but he's no Jeff Koons, who tops pretty much everbody in the revolting excess/starfucking department.

here's your linky:
VERY NOT SAFE FOR WORK Britney Spears thingy

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The City without the Sex

I've been catching occasional episodes of the PG-rated Sex and the City on WGN lately. I never got caught up in it as must-see TV, since I don't have HBO and haven't for years. I just can't bring myself to spend that much money on TV. Anyway, I'm finding that the City without the Sex is just fine with me. I don't feel like I'm missing anything. On the whole the show is pretty entertaining, with a few flaws typical of all TV shows: the women are unnaturally thin, they never seem to go to work, they have lifestyles that far outstrip their probable salaries, and they're obsessed with Finding the Right Man. On the other hand, every so often a totally perfect moment occurs, that I love.

To wit: the episode in which Charlotte announces that she is going to quit working. Why? Because she is married, and Trey suggested it. The response from all three friends is unanimously negative, but nuanced.

Carrie keeps looking at her sideways as if she's announced a plan to do something unsavory (purchase a Nigerian child to keep as a maid? Wear shoes from Payless? Something undeniably unacceptable in Manhattan-world). She clearly is appalled but doesn't want to hurt Charlotte's feelings.

The redheaded lawyer looks shocked. Speechless. Can't even spit out what's wrong with it.

And Samantha says that she better be damn sure this is what she wants, because the women who will want her job are "22, perky, and ruthless." Which is true.

Charlotte says it'd be nice to spend more time reading, working for charity, and, ohmigod, taking pottery classes. It's clear that she knows she's being ridiculous, and none of her friends approve but they don't want to be unsupportive. And it's clear it's because her husband wants her to be a pretty pet, not a career woman.

Granted, this is a bourgeois problem to have - how many women have this choice? How many have satisfying lucrative careers? But once they have the career, why give it up to loll around painting coffee mugs? I've never quite grokked Charlotte as a gallerista; she's too sweet and indecisive and immature. Real gallerists have to be aggressive salespeople with strong visions and lots of bank. I think she manages a gallery, which means she's not responsible for the bank, but that means she has to be a badass administrator and people-wrangler. Charlotte doesn't appear to be any of these things. But, in the imaginary world of Sex and the City, it's her job, she's good at it, and she's going to give it up for... what?? Nothing, really. I haven't seen enough of the show to know what happens when she & Trey divorce and she has to support herself again. I hope at some point the difficulty of hopping back on the job market after a break is addressed.

What I loved, though, is the entirely negative response to the notion that a woman would give up a successful, lucrative career for no good reason. Being married to a rich man is not a good reason. And that is why, despite the flaws, I dig Sex and the City. They want to Find Mr. Right but that doesn't mean they would give up everything else once they find him.

Now if only those women would look as if they actually ate the lunches they are eternally lingering over.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Panda Cam!

Giant Pandas - National Zoo| FONZ

When the patriarchy gets me down, and Mississippi God Damn gets on a roll, and I need a little smile on my face: PANDA CAM. It's like Prozac for your eyeballs.