Bryce Corbett in defence of Nicole Kidman:
“… it seems to me that Nicole Kidman is engaged in what must be a most dissatisfying unrequited love affair with her homeland. She flies to Australia to pimp her country on Oprah. She makes a film with Baz Luhrmann which (whatever you may have thought of the final product) was a massive shot in the arm for the local film industry and a two-hour love-song to her country of birth. She fronts up to G’Day USA every year to flog the myriad wonders of Down Under. And following the Victorian bushfires, she donated half-a-million dollars of her own money to the Red Cross relief fund. What a cow.”
Anna Chong, a designer from the London College of Fashion, has re-imagined Lady Gaga’s most popular get-ups into Barbie-sized outfits. But she’s not the first to do it…
Seinfeld’s Elaine Benes as modern-day hipster fashion icon.
The New York Times profiles “nice-guy blogger” Jared Eng on his “cheery, quotidian, Britney-goes-to-Starbucks” blog, JustJared.com.
Also at The New York Times, The Catcher in the Rye’s Holden Caulfield is un-relatable.
Jacob Lambert on “The Paper-Reader’s Dilemma”:
“No longer are books being pitted against pixels; pointing out that paper isn’t reflective either seems very 2007. The war is now between tablets, as if the book never existed at all.”
Yet more dispelling of the Nicole Kidman vitriol, this time in a vintage (2008) article on Girl with a Satchel.
In the same vein of “17 Arguments Against Gay Marriage & Why They’re Bollocks” and “10 Things You Need to Understand About Asylum Seekers”, comes John Birmingham’s defence of Sandra Reynolds, via MamaMia.
I’d been searching for this article for awhile to reference in a few Lady Gaga musings, and finally came across it again last week and re-read it in the bath. Bliss. A fine example of quality journalism.
Reblogged from Fuck Yeah, Gender Studies, Rachel Hills runs a post on the question of “Who Sexualises Children?”:
“God, it doesn’t even make sense—HOW can a child be sex vixen? When I look at a child, I see a child. Regardless of costume. Dressed like Mary Poppins or dressed like Britney Spears, a kid is a kid! If you see something sexual, the problem is with you.”
I haven’t been shy about my hatred of Charlie Sheen (I know hate is a strong word, but honestly, he is a despicable human being), especially when he gets a free pass because he happens to be the star of TV’s most successful show, while Lindsay Lohan’s career is in ruins. Jezebel reiterates this:
“In recent years no stars (with the possible exception of the oddly lovable Celebrity Rehab cast members) have had their problems with addiction more publicized than Charlie and Lindsay. However, the way these stars are treated by the media and the public is vastly different, mainly due to the double standard for female celebrities.
“The scorn for Lindsay is particularly strange because compared to Charlie, she’s only hurting herself. Let’s review some of Lindsay’s biggest tabloid scandals: Two DUI arrests, four stays in rehab, missing numerous court hearings, going to jail for failing a drug test, battling bulimia, battling her father, and breaking up with her girlfriend. As for Charlie, he’s been in and out of rehab for years, he “accidentally” shot fiancee Kelly Preston in the arm, he was named as a frequent visitor to brothels owned by Heidi Fleiss, he’s dated numerous porn stars, he ODed on cocaine, allegedly shoved Denise Richards and verbally abused her during their marriage, and was arrested for domestic violence against Brooke Mueller, but avoided jail time due to a plea deal. Lindsay has never been married and has no children. Charlie has been married three times and has five kids, four of whom are under the age of 10.”
“Orphans are adored by their peers, but tormented by evil guardians, stay cool under pressure and abuse, and rarely fail to win true familial love and affection in the end.”
Also at Millennials Mag, the awesomeness of The O.C. was that “it was just fucking dramatic”:
“Kirsten’s an alcoholic. Marissa almost dies in an alley in Tijuana. Luke’s dad turns out to be gay. Luke and Julie Cooper hook up, grossly. Seth, who’s supposed to be this huge nerd, nabs the most popular girl in school. Summer gets into Brown, which is actually kind of realistic considering her money, but that’s another story. Obviously some lesbian stuff happens. Marissa shoots Trey. Marissa dies. Ryan and Taylor go into a parallel universe while in a coma. And yet everyone keeps on being rich and impossibly well dressed and extremely easy on the eyes.”
Continuing with the “Why Don’t You Love Me?” theme, Tiger Beatdown discusses the cultural relevance of Beyonce’s anthem, in relation to buying access to a stripper’s body via a $10 lap dance:
“I was able to buy access to this woman’s body and (very convincing) pretend affections for less than I would spend picking up a couple of last-minute things at the grocery store. It was worth almost nothing. Less than an oil change. Less than someone cutting my hair. Less than getting a decent tailor to hem a pair of pants. Less than a bouquet of roses.
“And that’s the day that I realized we were all the victims of a sick joke. A despicable charade where so much is demanded of women, so much compliance and poking and prodding, so much effort to make ourselves beautiful and radiant and perfect, so much forcing of square pegs into round holes, just so we could meet it all, do it all, get close to the apex of perfection and still be worth nothing. We would be left with alienation from our own bodies, our bodies that we squeezed into stilettos and shaved and waxed and whittled into tiny silhouettes at the gym, always striving for more perfect, thinner, prettier, more alluring. Working so hard to satisfy the cultural imperative toward female perfection—how could we have time for our own desires except to be desired?
“Latoya Peterson writes about the video that ‘Once again, Beyoncé’s lyrics define her positive attributes in the context of why she should be desirable to some fool that doesn’t appreciate her. The video, however, is a lot more interesting since, with Beyoncé playing the role of “B.B. Homemaker”, it is openly mocking a lot of the ideals and tenets of womanhood’. I’d go much further than that. I’d say that the song and the video together form a radical critique of femininity, full stop. Because this is what femininity is about: making yourself appealing to men by adhering as closely possible to cultural ideals of perfect womanhood. Her lyric is not ‘when I am so damn easy to love’, but ‘when I make me so damn easy to love’. It’s effort, it’s a construct, it is something she does and not something that she is. It is performative.”
“Man up” seems to be a fairly frequently used phrase in my vernacular, and The New York Times ponders its true meaning:
“But man up isn’t just being used to package machismo as a commodity. Its spectrum of meanings runs from ‘Don’t be a sissy; toughen up’ all the way to ‘Do the right thing; be a mensch,’ to use the Yiddishism for an honourable or upright person. The Man Up Campaign, for instance, is a new global initiative that engages youth to stop gender-based violence: ‘Our call to action challenges each of us to “man up” and declare that violence against women and girls must end,’ its mission statement reads.”
Now that is something we can all certainly man up stand up for.
“Many books are screwy, a great many are dull, some are irredeemable, and there are way too many of them, probably, in the world. I hate all the fetishistic twaddle about books promoted by the chain stores and the book clubs, which make books seem as cozy and unthreatening as teacups, instead of the often disputatious and sometimes frightening things they are. I recognize that we now have many ways to convey, store, and reproduce the sorts of matter that formerly were monopolized by books. I like to think that I’m no bookworm, egghead, four-eyed paleface library rat. I often engage in activities that have no reference to the printed words. I realize that books are not the entire world, even if they sometimes seem to contain it. But I need the stupid things.”
The perils of HalloSlut-o-Ween, at Rabbit White.
Meet Me at Mike’s Pip Lincolne writes about what makes a successful blog.
Recently, Mia Freedman posted a list of the ten things she needs for work/life balance, based off a speech she did on the topic.
So I thought I’d shoot off my ten must-haves for staying sane. What are yours?
1. Reading. Without something to read—books, magazines, blogs—I would go crazy. Most days of the week I try to set a good chunk of the evening aside for reading, in addition to whatever reading I manage to get done throughout the day. It simultaneously calms and inspires me.
2. Television. When I’m really spent, I love nothing more than lapsing into a coma, carving out a me-shaped groove, Homer-style, in the bed and getting my Grey’s Anatomy/Glee/Gossip Girl (the three G’s) on.
3. Writing. While I’m not getting paid for blogging, I do consider it a job, therefore I usually work six or seven days a week. Sometimes writing can seem like a chore, as I’m sure it does for all bloggers and writers of any kind at some stage. However, my blogging style and schedule are always changing. I’ve always been a morning person, so I try to churn out reviews and longer articles in the morning before I burn out, then work on smaller/easier posts around midday, and usually clock off around 2pm. Learning what works best for me helps keep writing enjoyable for me.
4. Friends. I’m a hermit by nature, so I really have to force myself to get out and see people. Luckily, a lot of my friends are people I’ve met through work, so everyday is like a play date, and any extra time with them (lunch, movies, after-work drinks) is a bonus. Having a balance of work and play makes me value both more.
5. Staying busy. Following on from the previous sentence, the busier I am, the more inspired I become, and the more I value my downtime. But when work dries up, so too does my inspiration and motivation. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle.
6. My day job. As I said above, I love the people I work with, so most days are riotously fun. I won’t lie, though; sometimes I struggle with the mundaneness of my job description, but four paid days a week and two to three blogging days a week makes for a content Scarlett.
7. Exercise. I’ve been a bit slack with the exercise routine lately, but I started back up again on Sunday, and I have to say: I’m feeling good. As Elle Woods said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy”.
8. Write-off days. Sometimes I just feel too tired/sick/insert motivation-affecting emotion here to get up and do the things I need to. In those situations I just write-off the rest of the day and stay in bed with a box-set. I can’t say I don’t struggle with the guilt following one-such-day, but that’s something I’m working on.
9. Fun outings. Dinner/movies/after-work drinks can become a bit monotonous after a while, so I try to shake things up in my friendship group/s by organising fun things like trips to the zoo for friends’ birthdays, dancing all night to ’90s tunes, and indoor rock-climbing. 90% guaranteed to produce lifelong memories… not to mention numerous Facebook profile photo-ops!
10. Me-time/Downtime. Similar to write-off days, but provided I’ve had enough me-time/downtime interspersed between working, blogging and socialising, there is no need for a write-off day. I have been known to pass on social occasions in favour of a good book/magazine/blog/TV show/movie and a bath/block of chocolate/cup of peppermint tea to preserve my long-term sanity and maintain the work/life balance.
I’m not much of a RUSSH fan; I find it a bit too pretentious for it’s own good. Vogue, however, can afford to be pretentious because it backs itself up with flawless fashion and high quality essays. However, I don’t usually find it to be so.
But this month I swallowed my pride and purchased RUSSH, primarily because of its review on Girl with a Satchel, but also because a small-time Australian magazine landed one of fashion’s (okay, lingerie modelling’s) hottest commodities, Alessandra Ambrosio, for its cover, and because of the “Come Back Kerouac” feature on books and reading.
While nothing beats Alice Cavanagh’s musings on the survival of novels “in the age of the small screen” (worth the $9.95 cover price if only for that), other Vogue-esque long-form essays include “Bohemian Like You” on the gypsy jet-set—the gypset; in an ode to “The Art Issue”, Danielle Top illustrates “The Artist’s Way”, “a practical guide to making your mark” which I don’t necessarily think works for me, but some acquaintances have had success with in the past; a profile on RUSSH’s favourite artists, including Anaïs Nin, Allen Ginsberg and Robert Mapplethorpe in “We Want You To Love Them Like We Do”, as well as “the most ground-breaking and… sought-after artist of our generation”, Ryan McGinley; and finally, in very Vogue-like fashion, Jess Blanch deals with burning the candle at both ends in—what else?—“Both Ends Burning”.
In terms of fashion, there is a small accessories feature in the front of the book, followed by Alessandra Ambrosio’s shoot, which merges “street chic with a ballet-esque fragility”, but it’s got nothing on Vogue in this respect. Cover star Catherine McNeil is rife throughout Vogue, channelling a ’50s sex kitten in Louis Vuitton, Prada and Dolce & Gabbana’s figure-hugging frocks in “A Fine Romance”, and a punk rockabilly meets West Side Story meets Grease charm in “Pretty Baby”.
And article-wise, Vogue takes the cake yet again, with “Is Fashion Art?” (an inadvertent dig at RUSSH, perhaps?), the pros and cons of having close male friends and if it can ever just be platonic, in “The Opposite of Sex” and, my favourite (as I always love a beauty debate), “The Beauty Bubble”, in which beautiful women like Nicole Trunfio and Noa Tishby discuss the perils of being beautiful. Seriously, though, it is a though-provoking essay, and Trunfio comes up with some surprisingly deep insights on being a model: “I do think models get away with a lot, but it’s not necessarily the important things in life… But not for long, because outer beauty does not last…”
And how’s this for a coincidence? Both RUSSH and Vogue feature the same patterned green Louis Vuitton skirt this month. I have to say, I prefer RUSSH‘s take on the garment (left), but the Bible’s version is quintessentially quirky Vogue (right).
The overall winner is, hands down, Vogue, for its flawlessly executed fashion, impeccable features and it’s ability to “feed”, as Carrie Bradshaw would say, but I was surprisingly impressed by RUSSH’s take on art, fashion and knowledge.
So I’ve been a bit behind the eight ball this week, what with moving to my new digs in Richmond and all. But I thought the time had come to stop staring out the window at my fabulous view of the city and catch up on some work.
This last week’s newspaper clipping comes from Sarah Wilson’s Sunday Life column. In it, she discusses the perils of sitting down with a good book and actually reading it, as opposed to skimming, which the internet has taught us, what with emails, blogs and the infinite amount of useless information out in cyberspace.
In the vein of “slow cooking”, “slow reading” doesn’t involve “reading words at a snail’s pace with a ruler”, but “reading fully… and allowing time for dissecting arguments and reflective response”.
This is something I sometimes struggle with, as I feel there is just so much knowledge to be absorbed, and I’m never going to take it all in. Recently, I had so much on my mind (read: moving house) I managed to read the whole of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest without actually comprehending any of it. Dismal review pending.
In other clippings news, I loved The Age’s resident “Bookmarks”compiler Jason Steger’s take on Bret Easton Ellis’ talk in Melbourne recently. Instead of asking about the “inspiration” behind is disturbed characters, which he famously prefers not to divulge, audience members asked such off-beat questions as, “Who… would win in a tag team wrestling match between Christian Bale and Patrick… Bateman [of American Psycho] and Ellis and James van der Beek, the actor who played Patrick’s brother in the film of Ellis’ novel, The Rules of Attraction.”
No wonder tickets sold out in seven minutes!
I love nothing more than a good bookshelf.
Bookshelf Porn takes care of that, with the best shelves in all the land—from vintage magazine prints, to the Shakespeare & Co. bookstore, to everyday bookshelves.
As you can tell from my own bookshelves (the two immediately below), I have a penchant for girlie, colour-coded arrangements with knick knacks galore.
However, I’m not opposed to organised chaos (below), as it gives books and the places they’re read a more cosy vibe.
… and evidently, so do the 490 commenters that replied to Mia Freedman’s post on her blog, MamaMia, about the books that are currently “dwarfing” her bedside table.
I have a similar pile of magazines that are threatening to do the same next to my bed.
However, I seem to be getting through the books nicely.
I just finished reading Freedman’s memoir, Mama Mia: A Memoir of Mistakes, Magazines and Motherhood for the second time, the review of which I posted yesterday, as well as Stephenie Meyer’s new Twilight tome, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, who was introduced in Eclipse, the movie version of which comes out in a little more than two weeks.
After that, I have some Babysitters Club books I want to get back into and review (not suitable for public transport, so will have to set aside some designated home-time reading), Kathy Charles’ murder mystery, Hollywood Ending, which I still need to actually purchase, and American Psycho, which will no doubt take me an eternity to read, but Bret Easton Ellis is coming to Melbourne in August and I would love to tie a review of it in with his visit.
Oh, the perils of being a bookworm, hey?
In other—and final, for this week at least—workaholics news, from The New Yorker’s Book Bench, “there’s no point in worrying about all those books you haven’t gotten to yet, because very often our preconceived idea of what a book will be is just as valid and enlightening as the book itself might be.”
So do bookworms rejoice in the fact that there’s no need to get through our stacks of unread books (personally, I have The Babysitters Club, American Psycho, a second reading of Mia Freedman’s memoir, Mama Mia, and Hollywood Ending by Kathy Charlesto get through—a well balanced literary meal, if a little too heavy on the fluff, don’t you think?); that the very idea of what they’re like will sustain our literary appetites?
I understand what author Kristy Logan’s original hypothesis is attesting to, that sometimes “an unread book is an intoxicating, romantic thing, and the act of reading is, in one sense, destructive” to what could have been, however I don’t agree with it.
Fiercely loyal, I will not put a book down until the very last page, no matter how much of a struggle it was to read. Dr. Zhivago, I’m looking at you. I had great expectations for that book, however I was brutally disappointed. Bret Easton Ellis’ Glamorama is another one that comes to mind. I do feel like by reading these books, my fantastical idea of them before I turned their pages has been knocked out of me.
On the other hand, there’s nothing like being utterly surprised by how good a book is, and how profoundly it affects you. Frequent readers of this blog will know that Another City, Not My Own is that for me. The Lovely Bones is one I was pleasantly surprised about, (at the risk of sounding like a bogan) only reading it because I wanted to see the film. While I think the ending was utter bullshit, the integrity of the rest of the story outweighs the disappointing ending for me.
Logan assures us that she doesn’t encourage leaving “all books unread”, questioning whether she should call them “‘pre-read’ books instead”.
The excitement of a “pre-read book”? Now that I can understand.
Related: Things Bogans Like.
Elsewhere: [The New Yorker] Not Enough Time.