On the (Rest of the) Net.

While I’ve done as much reading as normal this week, it’s not reflected here. Maybe it’s been a slow news week… Anyway, here are the articles that jumped out at me.

Who run the world? White girls. Dodai Stewart asks if Girls is too whitewashed. [Jezebel]

Finally, a fast food outlet that’s making the change to animal cruelty-free products. Now, if only it was a chain that’s available in Australia… [Slate]

Street harassment on MamaMia.

Housekeeping and childrearing are still classified as women’s work, that’s why no one values them as “proper” work. [Clutch Magazine]

I’ve never been an Oprah fan, but apparently she might be losing relevance. Quick, give away a car or stage a stunt-wedding! [Jezebel]

Image via Très Sugar.

Magazines: A Farewell to Feminism.

 

Ahh, Nicole Kidman. You either love her or you hate her.

In her most recent magazine interview, for W, in which she is featured alongside her co-star in Hemingway & Gellhorn, Clive Owen, she discusses the HBO movie about the tumultuous love life of two of America’s greatest writers. Kidman also had this to say about her marriage to Keith Urban:

“He says I’m raw… He thinks the world is not a great place for me because he fears that I’ll be hurt. He says, ‘That’s my job: I’ll protect you’.”

Yes, because one of the most lauded and famous actresses of our time, who was married to the basket case that is Tom Cruise and played such tortured souls as Virginia Woolf, a war activist (Vietnam) and a mother who has lost her son in a car accident needs to be sheltered from the world. And let me guess? She needs her husband’s approval before she buys anything with her millions and must always have dinner on the table for him (which is a bit hard when he’s currently in Australia for The Voice while she’s fiming Grace of Monaco). Because we’re still living in the time Hemingway & Gellhorn is set, didn’t you know?

Image via Pop Sugar.

TV: Glee “Dance with Somebody” Review.

 

This was one of the best Glee episodes I’ve seen in a long time.

I’ve never been a big Whitney Houston fan, so I was a bit iffy about how they’d integrate her songs into the show’s storyline (or lack thereof. Did you notice Quinn was only in one scene last week? Maybe she wasn’t coping physically with her newfound paralysis, but they could have at least mentioned it.), but it was done perfectly. Glee managed to address the issue of holding troubled stars up as idols (Michael Jackson, anyone?), the changing relationships of the Glee kids as they near graduation, and Quinn’s disability, and sew Whitney’s songs seamlessly into the story.

Part of the reason I’ve never liked Whitney is because her music seemed to bypass me. “I Will Always Love You” was getting airplay when I was young and I discovered “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” on the club scene in my later years, but other than that I never got what all the fuss was about. Glee’s versions of “I Have Nothing”, “So Emotional”, “Saving All My Love for You” and “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay” gave me a new appreciation for Whitney’s music. Who knew she had so many songs?

My favourite aspect of the episode, though, was Quinn being brought back into the fold, this time with a new love interest.

Quinn’s paralysis is something that has the potential to go horribly wrong. I was disappointed that in the first episode after her accident, she was all optimistic and grateful to be alive. From the dismal tidbits we’ve been given about Quinn as a character (her obsession with being prom queen, her former life as Lucy, and her scheme to win back her adopted daughter), it wasn’t realistic. Now that Quinn’s struggling with her physical therapy and dealing with feelings of worthless- and hopelessness, I’m starting to get behind this plotline a bit more.

Could there be an unlikely romance brewing between the dreadlocked Christian homeschooler Joe (I always thought his name was actually Jesus!) and  Quinn?

Related: Glee “Michael” Review: Oh My God Can’t Believe What I Saw When I Turned On the TV This Evening.

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

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Born This Way” Episode.

Images via PutLocker.

Magazines: Unfortunately, Rihanna IS an Influential Person, That’s What Makes the Whole Chris Brown Situation That Much Worse.

 

When I first heard Rihanna made Time’s annual list of 100 most influential people, I wondered why. Maybe when she was a Good Girl Gone Bad and “Umbrella” and her short-back-and-sides haircut were sweeping the globe. Or even last year, with “S&M”, “Only Girl in the World” and her plagiarism lawsuits making headlines. But what has she done recently? (Okay, recently, she either snorted cocaine or rolled a joint off a bald man’s head and tweeted that she couldn’t give a shit, but I’m guessing Time’s list was finalised much earlier than those Coachella shenanigans.)

Whether I would have put her on the list or not is irrelevant: to many people she is extremely influential. And that’s a problem because of her public refusal to condemn Chris Brown for what he did to her. Not only that, but that she is actively collaborating with him on music. God only knows what they’re collaborating on in their personal lives.

Stella McCartney writes the blurb for Rihanna’s entry on the list (huh? Has Rihanna even worn a McCartney design recently?), saying she “goes out of her way to support the people she believes in… She’ll give a real part of herself…” I’m sure Brown would agree. McCartney goes on to write that “[s]he’s one of the coolest… most liked, most listened to, most followed… artists at work today… She gives to her fans, friends and foundation not just herself by her energy and spirit.” Indeed.

Rihanna’s always maintained that she’s not a role model and she’s not willing to be the spokesperson against domestic violence. That’s not something we, the public, should force on her, but working together on two tracks, calling Brown “the hottest R&B artist out right now”, and mouthing off to fans about how she doesn’t give a fuck about what they think of her is the polar opposite. Whether she likes it or not, people are looking to her to see what’s in and how to act.

Add to that the blatant drug use that she’s been flaunting all over Instagram and it’s very troublesome that Rihanna is so influential.

Related: Rihanna & Domestic Violence.

My Thoughts on Chris Brown.

Rihanna Upholds Traditional Gender Roles.

Rihanna’s “Man Down”: Revenge is a Dish Best Served in Cold Blood.

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

Elsewhere: [Time] Time 100: The List—Rihanna.

TV: The Problem with Smash.

 

Smash, the Steven Spielberg-produced musical-serial about a Marilyn Monroe Broadway show, debuted with promise. I quite enjoyed the first few episodes, with Debra Messing as one of the musical’s writers, Angelica Huston as its producer, and Broadway star Megan Hilty as the number one contender for the role of Marilyn. But then Smash kind of plateaued.

Clem Bastow, writing for TheVine, seems to think it’s because of Katharine McPhee’s inclusion as the other competitor vying for the lead, and I have to agree. Bastow writes:

“The trouble with McPhee’s performance in Smash is that it jolts me out of my suspension of disbelief… [B]ut whenever Karen/Katharine opens her mouth, the fourth wall comes crashing down around me. Her voice is thin, her performance mannered, she acts with her chin like a young Gwyneth Paltrow, and self-consciously holds her mouth in such a way to suggest a very pretty female version of Jack Nicholson’s Joker.”

I’m all for Hilty’s Ivy Lynn, who’s spent ten years in the chorus and lives and breathes Marilyn through and through. But I just can’t get behind McPhee’s Karen Cartwright who, as Ivy rightfully observes, got to New York five minutes ago, hasn’t paid her dues and is already getting callbacks for lead roles. She can’t act (McPhee as Karen nor Karen as Marilyn), complains about everything and is an ineffable dolt.

But in the last few weeks, Smash has been looking up. I immensely enjoyed the episode when Ivy lost the plot after being replaced as Marilyn by Uma Thurman’s major movie star, Rebecca Duvall, and had to go back to being an angel in the chorus line of Bombshell’s (the name they’ve settled on for the fictional—but very well could be a real Broadway show if Smash’s commercial success continues—musical) writers’ other Broadway show, Heaven on Earth. Ivy loses it, mixes her throat medication with alcohol, goes on stage high, and ends up singing Rihanna’s “Cheers (Drink to That)” with Karen in Times Square (video above. Please excuse the horrid quality, but I wanted a clip that actually showed the scene rather than just the audio).

I still can’t stand Karen and Ellis, the sneaky assistant to Huston’s Eileen and, formerly, Bombshell writer Tom Levitt but, if it’s about Marilyn Monroe, I’m willing to let Smash go out with a bang.

Are you watching Smash? What do you think of it?

Elsewhere: [The Vine] You Ain’t Gettin’ 88 Cents From Me, Smash.

Image via IMDb.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

How Hillary Clinton got cool. [Think Progress]

The Hunger Games and blonde, innocent girls. [New Yorker]

What Lady Gaga’s #PopStarsDon’tEat tweet says about body-policing. [Jezebel]

All you men out there who don’t like risking pregnancy every time you have sex: take the male birth control pledge. Go on, I dare ya. [How About We]

To borrow a line from this post’s author, Lindy West, “… I was just saying the other day that my misogyny didn’t have enough racism in it”, now yours can, too, with Clean & Dry Intimate Wash, an Indian douching and vaginal bleaching product. [Jezebel]

The hen or the egg? Sweden introduces a new, gender-neutral word in place of “she” and “he”. [The Age]

Who needs feminism? I do, because that’s my choice. [ShoutOut! JMU]

Are breast reductions as “superficial” as breast enhancements? [MamaMia]

Do pedophiles deserve privacy? Um, no! [MamaMia]

Will all the pearl clutchers please stop getting so worked up about the response One Direction elicits in teenage girls. [Daily Life]

Image via Texts from Hillary.

Movie Review: I Went to See American Reunion & I Didn’t Hate It…*

 

The American Pie franchise is not my idea of a good movie quartet (not including the spin offs that didn’t feature the original cast. American Pie: Band Camp, anyone?). The only real reason I went to see American Reunion last night was because I thought it would make for good blog fodder. On that front, I was sorely disappointed. It was not the outrageously sexist toilet-humour fest I thought it would be.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there were still plenty of shit, penis and “vag” jokes, but compared to last week’s cinema outing, American Pie ain’t got nothin’ on Mirror Mirror’s underhanded sexism.

A couple of gripes I did have about the movie’s portrayal of women were the utter debasement of the actress—who played Jim’s ex-babysitting client, Cara—Ali Cobrin, and the fact that Loni Lipstien, purveyor of Stifler’s high school blowjob heaven, is now a “fatty”, unworthy of sucking Steve’s dick.

Gratuitous nudity is an American Pie staple, but an unknown actress whose character, conveniently, just turned 18 getting drunk out of her mind, stripping, and passing out, leaving Jim to lug her unconscious, topless body out of the teen’s car, through her garden and into her bed was just too much.

On the other hand, there’s the gorgeous Loni who, thirteen years later, got fat (played by the beautiful actress Rebecca Field) and demanded Stifler get her off in a secluded bathroom of his house before she went anywhere near his penis. After she comes and, to paraphrase Sex & the City’s Miranda, ends up all over Stifler’s face (including, distastefully and unrealistically, her pubic hairs), she rejects him like he has done many a time to many a woman.

I liked the way Stifler was portrayed as a thirty-something man-child in a temp job who still lives at home with his mum, as opposed to the brash professional kingpin of some entrepreneurial venture who specialises in sexual harassment (although that last part is still true) that I envisioned him to be going into the movie. It just goes to show that nice guys don’t always finish last. Sometimes the douchebags do, too.

Speaking of douchebags, I’ve never been a fan of Chris Klein. I always thought he was too perfect-looking, with his perfect hair, perfect suits, perfect-sounding voice, and perfect, identical-looking girlfriends (Katie Holmes and Ginnifer Goodwin). And that sickly sweet way he half-whispered, “… like warm apple pie,” creeped me out to no end. However, I loved him in this! Klein, and by extension, Oz, got hot! New favourite American Pie character: Chris Ostreicher (in a world where “favourite” means having your arm twisted behind your back until you have to make a choice).

While American Reunion won’t be winning any awards (do the Razzie’s count?), at least I can say I gave it a chance and I didn’t get burned.

*Blanket spoiler alert.

Related: Mirror Mirror Review.

Image via IMDb.