On the Net: The Problem with Pop Music.

From The Quietus“Givin’ It to the Homegirl: The Trouble with Kelis” by Neil Kulkarni:

“I hear no shattered women on the radio right now, no one swallowing men like air or devouring worlds or commanding the cosmos or even telling the truth. Only empty-headed little girls skweeming and squeaking about what rockstars they are. Well we get the pop we deserve, the pop Fearne Cotton likes, but even if I were white skinny and pretty I’d feel lagged behind, let down, and I’d be wondering why the fuck these drippy bitches like Flo & Ke$h think they deserve to be famous. Good taste? Where’s the fucking bravery? Where’s girls like I know, rather than the girls & guys I’d cross streets, change clubs, emigrate, to avoid. If pop is a club right now, I find myself walking past all the tables packed full of braying twats and simpering saps and desperate to recognise a friendly face, a real face, smart people who are a laugh, rather than all these desperately needy, charmless loudmouth ignoramuses and fucking students.

“Look at what pop’s women are wearing. Even in Gaga’s orbit of influence, it’s so fucking dull out there. It’s as if Girl pop looks at 30s Vogue, 70s Cosmo, 80s Face/ID, looks at the dress-up-games the high-street makes easy & search-free, throws shit on and waits for those old spirits to reinhabit the body beneath and the mind behind such carelessness… Those old moments of beauty, those looks so steely, timed and timeless were animated and arranged by folk who worshipped new gods, the camera and the motorcar and the mirrorball and the MDMA and that spirit cannot be conjured off-the-peg, cribbed from an idiot’s guide or splattered on with a sequin gun. [Early Bird note: Or a love glue gun, as Gaga would say?]

“Which does beg the question—what real female figureheads are there for girls to idolise, aspire to, learn from in music right now? In a pop world in which female ‘presence’ is in glut/spreadthin, it’s startling how little of femme-import is being given, how so many of the supposed ‘divas’ in modern pop have now to offer young minds bar money-hunger, man-dependence and just-dumped aggravation… make the colossal strategic error of listening to the charts, and you’ll see girls talk about themselves, sure, but always ONLY in relation to their relationships, only in relation to how near/far they are from love, only in relation to how much they can lose/claw back of themselves in the permanent night-out that is pop’s sole focus and context in 2010. Crucially, whilst you’ll see lots of girls, you won’t hear a single word that dares to antagonise you, that really addresses how scarily fast and furious with innovative invective girls can be. Obvious why girls are so ill-served at the moment, why none of pop’s chat and cattiness (exceptions: Gaga, Britney & Beyonce on their good days; Shakira—all of whom crucially don’t try and talk to/for their young fans, just luxuriate in their own supra-identities) actually matches up to the way girls talk/live/think—somewhere along the line middle-aged fanboys started whispering to pop that if it wants to cut deep it must only thieve from the past the fanboys curate, that it can’t do politics, that being a poetess is less important than simply being a witty conduit for the babble of what’s contemporary, a simpering squeaker of lad-mag-friendly spunkiness. ‘I really like your beard.’ Jesus. They’re being catered for.”

[The Quietus] Givin’ It to the Homegirl: The Trouble with Kelis.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

The latest Teen Vogue with Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale on the cover worryingly espouses using dieting to achieve “Your Best Body”.

Minnie Mouse meets beatnik meets Gala Darling is the latest “blog girl” trend.

A superb 2004 Andrew Denton interview with media darling/mogul Ita Buttrose.

Charlie Glickman on the perils of alternative male and female sexuality.

Pop music=guilty pleasure no more. (However, stay tuned next week for an alternative view on this subject.)

Girl with a Satchel laments the unattractive “View from the Glossip Stand” in Zoo’s UnAustralians of the Year feature.

“Stereotyping is a fun and useful tool… to categorise interests and make harmful blanket statements” about your favourite magazines. For example, Lula is for those who “never spend money on U.S. fashion magazines because they just don’t ‘get it’; they’re so dull”, while Details has “a strong Patrick Bateman vibe”.

More on Gwyneth Paltrow’s unlikability, this time from New York Magazine:

“Gwyneth is also kind of a jerk. Her perfection is judgment on the rest of us, and she makes this known in interviews and on her lifestyle website, Goop, the tone of which suggests a domestic personality just one degree shy of Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest.”

The Freudian nature of the vampire.

How women are reclaiming “bitch” as their own.

New research indicates that women’s bodies may protect themselves from rape. And so opens a whole other can of consent worms…

“Are Music Video Girls Exploited?”

This article puts to the rest the “you can’t be both beautiful and smart” way of thinking.

On the Net: The Internet is for Porn, Porn, Porn.

From “Hard Core” by Natasha Vargas-Cooper on The Atlantic:

“… Debby Herbenick, believes that Internet porn now ‘plays a role in how many Americans perceive and become educated about sex.’ How this influence actually works is speculative—no one can ever really know what other people do in their bedrooms or why. Some experts postulate a sort of monkey-see, monkey-do explanation, whereby both men and women are conforming to behaviors they witness on their browser media players. But in many ways this explanation doesn’t account for the subtle relationship between now-ubiquitous pornography and sexuality. To take anal sex again, porn doesn’t plant that idea in men’s minds; instead, porn puts the power of a mass medium behind ancient male desires. Anal sex as a run-of-the-mill practice, de rigueur pubic waxing for girls—and their mothers—and first-date doggy-style encounters (this is but a small sampling of rapidly shifting sexual mores) have been popularized and legitimized by porn. Which means that men now have a far easier time broaching subjects once considered off- putting—for instance, suburban dads can offhandedly suggest anal sex to their bethonged, waxed wives.

“It seems like almost every teenager in America—and hardly just the teenagers—has heard of or taken a dip into sites like RedTube and YouPorn, which alone account for roughly 2 percent of all daily Internet traffic. These are free, open, enormous sites, in which anybody can upload, distribute, and view whatever porn they please; even porn in which they star. It’s amateur hour—and like all amateur hours, it’s an honest, if often not-pretty, catalog of the desires and insecurities of regular folk.

“And it’s largely a grim parade of what women will do to satisfy men: young wives fingering themselves on the family couch, older wives offering themselves to their hubby’s Army buddies, aging moms in shabby corsets shoving their sagging rear ends into the camera. When it comes to contemporary porn, you don’t have to look like a porn star to be sexually desired. Indeed, porn stars no longer look like porn stars. The image of Jenna Jameson, America’s most famous professional porn star (and a best-selling author)—with her comically huge breasts, overextended blond extensions, and artificially tanned skin—has been supplanted by the new face of pornography: a pale, naughty, 19-year-old with A-cups and a bad haircut, her face illuminated only by the bluish glow of her Mac.”

[The Atlantic] Hard Core.

Early Bird Hiatus.

Okay, so maybe I’m not going away on a yacht per se, but I am going away with some friends on a houseboat for a few days, so I will be revelling in my new-found vacation status.

However, blue-green algae has been forecast for the lake we’re houseboating on, so I’d better stock up on reading material and movies in case my lovely summer holiday resembles something more like Lake Placid.

I’ll be back later in the week with more blogging goodness.

Until then, Early Birds…

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Rachel Hills discusses Naomi Wolf’s response to WikiGate here, whilst also doing a fine job of unpacking the fun for twenty-somethings = lots of casual sex myth.

On that, “How to Be A 20-Something”:

“Be really attractive. Your acne is gone, your face has matured without having wrinkles and everything on your body is lifted naturally. Eat bagels seven days a week, binge-drink and do drugs: you’ll still look like a babe. When you turn thirty, it’ll become a different story but that’s, like, not for a really long time.

“Reestablish a relationship with your parents. You don’t live with them anymore (hopefully) so start to appreciate them as human beings with thoughts, flaws and feelings rather than soulless life ruiners who won’t let you borrow their car.”

What Would Phoebe Do? on the pretentiousness of Francophilia:

“Gratuitously adding French words to conversation is a time-honoured way of signalling pretentiousness.”

Next year’s Halloween costume sorted!

“How to Be A Complete Douche” has a certain Patrick Bateman feel to it.

Hugh Hefner defends his May-December engagement to Crystal Harris to The Daily Beast.

“How to Live in New York City”:

“Certain moments of living in the city will always stick out to you. Buying plums from a fruit vendor on 34th street and eating three of them on a long walk, the day you spent in bed with your best friend watching Tyra Banks, the amazing rooftop party you attended on a sweltering hot day in July. These memories might seem insignificant but they were all moments when you looked around the city and felt like you were a part of it all.”

Sarah at Feministe recalls “How I Learned to Stop Caring and Admit I Love Pop”.

Jezebel chronicles “The Evolution of Moms” from Soccer Mom (Mater Adidas) to a future robot-mom who encompasses all the admirable features of stage and helicopter mothers alike, with a special focus on the parent Sarah Palin made famous, the Mama Grizzly.

Memo to Lady Gaga: leggings are not pants. Nor, more to the point, are leotards.

Magazines: Independent Zine Zinm Preview.

Last week I was lucky enough to be featured in a friend of a friend’s Melbourne-based zine, Zinm by Marc Bonnici.

Our mutual friend Anthony had been urging me to check out his self-titled blog for the better part of a year, until I happened upon last month’s copy of Zinm that he’d brought to a get-together.

I was instantly drawn in as I briefly flicked through the pages, a picture from Mean Girls staying most clearly in my mind. (“Burn Book” is a regular feature of Zinm.)

Try as I might, I was never able to get my mitts on a copy of last month’s edition, but better still, I was able to be featured in this month.

As Australia Day rolls around again, guest contributors Anita Calavetta, Marc Bergmann, Dodie Smith, and Muriel Barbery, as well as Marc himself, muse about what Australia means to us. Yours truly continues on her plight to get the safety net for footballers behaving badly removed, as I feel that is a strong part of Aussie culture.

Unfortunately there are not any copies of the latest edition available, as there is a limited print run. But the title has doubled in demand since its inception three issues ago. If you are interested in bagging a copy, I suggest you check out Marc’s blog and drop him a line.

Us independent writers have got to stick together.

[Marc Bonnici] Homepage.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Beauty & the Bestiality.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Why Are Famous Men Forgiven for Their Wrongdoings, While Women Are Vilified for Much Less?

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Bad Boys, Whatcha Gonna Do? Host a Seven Family Show.