The Problem with Glee.

 

From Jezebel’s Comment of the Day “The Troubling Dichotomy That is Glee by A Small Turnip/Margaret Hartmann:

Glee is the ultimate pop-cultural hate-fuck for me. It gets so much right, champions the unloved and unlovely, produces some genuinely sublime, can’t-stop-smiling coups de theatre, and is, when all’s said and done, one of the most heart-felt, funny and truly progressive shows on television today. Or ever.

“But FUCK ME if it isn’t also skull-poundingly awful, misogynistic, bi-phobic, atrociously plotted, bloated with its own sense of moral superiority and forever teetering on the edge of eye-clawing insanity. It drives me berzerk that I cannot stop watching it, even as I’m throwing things at the television and screaming ‘What the fuck do you mean “I’m relatively sane, for a girl”?! You’re just fucking with me now, aren’t you Murphy?’

“RM and Glee‘s Powers-That-Be have so far to go to make the show into a consistent, cohesive whole, but they keep falling back into dropped plots and contemptibly lazy characterisation. I keep waiting and waiting for them to pull it together, even for a single episode, and it never quite happens.

“And yet. And yet. I love it. I do. It’s so frustrating to hear Ryan Murphy’s hacky bloviations on his own self-importance, and his overweening sense of creative pomposity…Every time I think I’m out, they just keep pulling me back in. So if you’ll excuse me, I need to go lie down and think about Darren Criss’s dreamy, dreamy eyes for a little while.”

Related: The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Original Song” Episode.

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Comment of the Day: The Troubling Dichotomy That is Glee.

Images via BoobTube, YouTube, Megavideo.

On the (Rest of the) Net Comes a Day Early.

As tomorrow is Good Friday (Friday, gotta get down on Good Friday), the international day of mourning sleeping in, On the (Rest of the) Net is arriving a day early. Enjoy, and happy Easter!

If you read only one thing this Easter weekend, make it Hadley Freeman’s “Rape is Not a Compliment” on The Guardian.

Rick Morton with “6 Arguments Against Women Serving in Combat Roles (And Why They’re Dodgy)”.

The pros and cons of trash reality TV and its treatment of women.

MamaMia has picked up Airiel Clark’s “Slut-Shaming on the Playground”, as well.

The view from the other side of the burqa is not one I agree with, but it’s a valid one nonetheless:

“Before you scream your disagreement, which many of you may do as a knee-jerk reaction to being told you’re also oppressed, stop and think. Look around you; contemplate society today, and its values, its aspirations, its goals, its direction, its past-times, its hobbies….

“What good has it done for images of uncovered made-up women to be plastered on every billboard and magazine, on the TV, in the movies, and on the net?

“The women in the images may aptly feel good about themselves for a while, but what does it mean for every other women?

“Women who look upon these images usually become anxious, jealous, unsure and critical of themselves, or all of these things. Many men who view them will become aroused, or even unhappy, less satisfied with the partners they already have. What can, and does this lead to?

“Cheating, dumping, chastisement, and even harassment of other women, and even children, by men who cannot find a legitimate outlet for their constant arousal.

“And yes, I can hear some of you; ‘then the men must control themselves!’ Frankly speaking that argument is well spent, not to mention futile, as most men are, inherently, only able to react to that, the same way a hungry lion would react if thrown a juicy piece of steak, and told not to eat it…”

Shades of Sheik El-Hilaly’s “uncovered meat” statement, don’t you think?

Gemma Ward makes her return to the newsstand.

“What to Wear for SlutWalk”:

“Wear anything you like, the organisers told me when I emailed them…

“SlutWalk will feature people in all sorts of garments and gear, dressed for the office, clubbing, yoga, walking the dog, whatever it is that people wear as they go about their lives not asking to be raped.”

A behind-the-scenes look at how Mia Freedman’s Sunday Life profile pictures go down.

Also at MamaMia, Freedman writes on Paper Giants (more on that to come next week; oh, the perils of not yet being digital TV-ready!), Park St, and the relevance and demise of magazines in 2011.

Nina Funnell on the “appalling” and “exploitative” nature of child beauty pageants.

“Gym. Tan. Laundry. Discuss.” The social politics of Jersey Shore.

She-Ra gets a fashionable makeover for a good cause.

“Chains & Whips Excite Me” Take 2.

So I’ve already blogged (and reblogged) multiple times about Rihanna’s “S&M”, but the other night my friend attempted to make this joke about it:

“So if whips and chains excite Rihanna, is what Chris Brown did to her just foreplay?”

Obviously the remnants of some sick Facebook joke, but worryingly, I believe this is what some people actually think.

As I wrote originally, “the video does deal with sexual violence… which Rihanna is no stranger to, but this time around it’s consensual violence.

Jezebel explains:

“‘It’s notable, though, following her assault by Chris Brown, that in the video for “S&M,” she’s interested in exploring consensual acts of violence and aggression, and finding pleasure in pain. Although she does appear bound in the video (as well as literally restrained by the media), mostly she plays the role of a dominant, perhaps to prove (or remind us) that she’s the one in control. Is this the desire of one who’s been called a victim? To recast oneself as authoritative and commanding?’”

She also speaks of the Brown incident in Rolling Stone:

“I put my guard up so hard… I didn’t want people to see me cry. I didn’t want people to feel bad for me. It was a very vulnerable time in my life, and I refused to let that be the image. I wanted them to see me as, ‘I’m fine, I’m tough.’ I put that up until it felt real.”

And her real-life love of S&M:

“Being submissive in the bedroom is really fun… You get to be a little lady, to have somebody be macho and in charge of your shit. That’s fun to me…I like to be spanked. Being tied up is fun. I like to keep it spontaneous. Sometimes whips and chains can be overly planned—you gotta stop, get the whip from the drawer downstairs. I’d rather have him use his hands.”

Admittedly, I do think it is a tad odd that sadomasochism seems to be dominating her current public persona but, as above, it’s consensual sadomasochism. Rihanna is well within her rights to take back the power Brown took from her by assaulting her, and this just seems to be the way she wants to do it.

And no matter how a woman acts, it is never a reason to hit her.

Related: “Chains & Whips Excite Me…”: The Underlying Message in Music Videos.

Rihanna’s “S&M”: Is It Really So Much Worse Than Her Other Stuff?

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Rihanna’s New Video Celebrates Ball-Gags, Whips & Latex.

[Rolling Stone] Rihanna Opens Up Like Never Before in Rolling Stone Cover Story.

Images via YouTube.

Bendigo Art Gallery: Giving the Metro Museums a Run for Their Money.

As past posts this week would indicate, I spent the weekend in Bendigo, in country Victoria. I visited some old friends, went secondhand book shopping, got my hair did, and attended the opening of the Bendigo Art Gallery’s American Dreams exhibition.

There were some stunning portraits by some of America’s most gifted and famous photographers, like Walker Evans, Cindy Sherman and Richard Avedon.

While this exhibition isn’t the greatest I’ve seen (FYI, that was The Golden Age of Couture, also hosted by the Bendigo Art Gallery, which displayed gorgeous garments from the likes of Christian Dior and his 1940s “New Look”, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Hubert de Givenchy and Pierre Balmain), it is one in a long line of coups for the country gallery.

Last year I saw Frederick McCubbin’s Last Impressions and Looking for Faeries, in addition to 2009’s Golden Age of Couture, and this year the gallery has The White Wedding Dress display in store for us. But the exhibition I’m most looking forward to won’t be opening until 2012, but it’s well worth the wait: Grace Kelly—Style Icon, featuring costumes from her most famous films (Rear Window, I’m looking at you) and couture gowns from her reign as Her Serene Highness, Princess Grace of Monaco.

With stellar exhibitions like these, Melbourne’s galleries and museums had better watch out!

Related: Book Shop: Book Now, Bendigo.

Loving… Grace Kelly as Lisa Fremont in Rear Window.

Gustave Moreau’s The Eternal Feminine Exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria.

Elsewhere: [Bendigo Art Gallery] Homepage.

[Bendigo Art Gallery] American Dreams: 20th Century Photography from George Eastman House.

[Bendigo Art Gallery] The Golden Age of Couture: Paris & London, 1947–1957.

[Bendigo Art Gallery] McCubbin Last Impressions: 1907–1917.

[Bendigo Art Gallery] Looking for Faeries: The Victorian Tradition.

[Bendigo Art Gallery] The White Wedding Dress: 200 Years of Wedding Fashions.

[Bendigo Art Gallery] Grace Kelly: Style Icon.

Images via Bendigo Art Gallery, Ethical Style.

Book Shop: Book Now, Bendigo.

So this review was originally going to be about Bendigo’s Book Mark, which still remains the best secondhand book store I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting.

Such gems I’ve managed to find there are Mick Foley’s rare first novel, Tietam Brown, and a $7 copy of Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk. I scoured the shelves for over an hour looking for that one. When I took it to the counter, the man who served me marveled at it being left on the shelves; he’d put all Jackson-related literature on their website to be sold at an elevated price after his sudden death.

But perhaps my friend Hannah and I left it too late on a Saturday afternoon to visit the shop: they close at 4pm and we got there at 4:05!

So we decided instead to venture over to Book Now, located at 1 Farmers Lane, opposite Rosiland Park. There’s no denying I’ve gotten some good titles there before—a first edition of The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving springs to mind—but I find it a bit stuffy and overpriced for a secondhand book store.

However, this weekend’s trip yielded some fantastic finds for both me and Hannah. Hannah is studying to be a doctor in Russian history and social sciences, so she took home a book on Nicholas II of Russia, and his wife Alexandra Fyodorovna, parents of Anastasia of Russia, and Atonement by Ian McEwan.

I knew Book Now has a large collection of Joyce Carol Oates books, so I rummaged through them in the vain hope of finding My Sister, My Love, a recent novel based on the JonBenet Ramsey murder. And low and behold, I did find it resting on a shelf right up the back of the shop.

My Book Now trip was pretty much complete after that, however I did spot some Armistead Maupin titles, and picked up a few of those. (To be honest, I own so many of his books I wasn’t 100% sure that I don’t already own The Night Listener and Maybe the Moon. But at $6 a pop, who am I to complain if I do?!) Finally, I stumbled across Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth and decided to add that to my ever-growing pile.

So what began as a somewhat disappointing afternoon when Book Mark wasn’t open, ended as a surprisingly great one, with four new additions to my bookshelf.

Bendigo only has a few really good bookstores, so if you’re ever up in Central Victoria, visiting the Bendigo Art Gallery (stay tuned for more this afternoon) or the Golden Dragon Chinese Museum, pop on over to Book Now or Book Mark.

I know I will on my next visit.

Related: Evolution of the Bookshop at the Wheeler Centre.

In Appreciation of Mick Foley.

The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving Review.

Is There Really a Beauty Myth?

Armistead Maupin in Conversation with Noni Hazlehurst.

Elsewhere: [Book Now] Homepage.

[Bendigo Book Mark] Homepage.

Image via Book Now.

Pretty Girl Bullshit.

 

White Girl Problems is the latest Twitter phenomenon to sweep the pop culture world, with such gems as “Fine, if that’s the way you’re going to act, then you’re uninvited to my Elizabeth Taylor memorial cocktails” and “I’m sorry you think I’m being a bitch”; the passive-aggressive “apology” heard in relationships the world over.

While the Twitter profile is poignantly taking the piss out of the problems of the privileged, there is the issue of race there, also.

Like, why is it called White Girl Problems? Why not Privileged Girl Problems? Or Rich Girl Problems? But even with that, it would be feeding into the classism debate. Whichever way you look at it, White Girl Problems is a double entrendre of racism and classism.

It also highlights the body image battle a lot of young girls face, be they white, black, rich, poor, or whatever. Here are a couple of examples:

While I’m not personally offended by the Twitter feed (I am a white girl with [first world] problems, after all), I can understand why some might be.

Racialicious, actually writing about the Alexandra Wallace/“Asians in the Library” scandal, says that it all comes down to “white female privilege”, meaning “you can say more outrageous shit because you’re a pretty white lady”.

That may be so (I have been known to voice my opinion on all manner of topics that may be deemed controversial: the baptism of babies being bullshit, pretentious parenting, and abortion [more to come on that last one in coming weeks]), but how long have men—of all races but, yes, particularly Caucasian ones—been getting away with it? And still are. Charlie Sheen and Chris Brown are two names that spring to mind…

Related: First World Problems.

Rihanna’s “S&M”: Is It Really So Much Worse Than Her Other Stuff?

Guilty Until Proven Innocent: Charlie Sheen’s Witness.

Why Are Famous Men Forgiven for Their Wrongdoings, While Women Are Vilified for Much Less?

Elsewhere: [Twitter] White Girl Problems.

[Racialicious] Go After the Privilege, Not the Tits: Afterthoughts on Alexandra Wallace & White Female Privilege.

Images via TV.IGN, Anu News, Film Junk.

Magazines: Who Condemns Baby-Body Bullying…

 

… But when the celebs in question aren’t actually pregnant, it raises the skinny- vs. fat-shaming debate, and whether people in the public eye’s bodies should be public property, too.

Kudos to Nicole Richie, who has come out with this statement:

“To publicly point out a change in anyone’s body is mean-spirited and cruel.”

God knows Richie’s had her fair share of body-bashing in the media. You go, girl!

Khloe Kardashian is another celeb who’s wrestled with both her weight (being perceived as the “fat”, “ugly” sister in comparison to siblings Kim and Kourtney probably doesn’t help) and her struggle to get pregnant:

“The media makes me feel like I’m barren and why can’t you get pregnant? I am 26 years old… When it happens, it’s going to happen.”

American Idol winner Carrie Underwood goes on to say that, “When I wear something a little baggier, I’m like, nope, people are going to think I’m hiding something.”

I’d better stop going out in public in baggy jumpers and layered shirts, then! But thankfully, I’m not a celebrity whose body, actions and shopping list is scrutinised by all manner of media.

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Who Says There Has To Be An “Ugly Sister”?