Saturday, December 13, 2008

Britney Spears adds to cultural dialogue

If I want to talk about hook-up culture, do I want this effing lame article from the New York Times, complete with line graphs?

Or do I want the song "Blur" by Britney Spears, which sexily recounts getting blackout drunk and waking up the next morning unsure if you've fucked the guy sleeping next to you. Of course, the song adds vague date rape/personal responsibility through the chorus:
"Can't remember what I did last night
Maybe I shouldn't have given in
But I just couldn't fight
Hope I didn't but I think I might've
Everything, everything is still a blur"

In case the idea of a girl giving drunken consent to sex (...and how to we distinguish this from sheepish shame?) isn't enough, her song "Trouble" has this gem:

"You and I, left alone cannot be trusted
There's a lust we can't control
Slowly undress, chest to chest
And unless I say goodnight,
I know we're only gonna go too far
Please, I'm not quite ready for that next level
One kiss and that spells trouble (Trouble)

But you could talk me in, talk me into it
If you wanted to
You could talk me in, talk me into it
If you only knew"

I hate to horse shit in your parade, but this idea of coy refusal of sex when you really-kinda want it is effed up, and why people get date raped. Seriously, Britney, it's okay to want sex and ask for it, you shouldn't have to hold out until the last moment, get talked into it, or be so wasted you can justify your forwardness by how drunk you are.

I hate to proscribe behavior; Britney's songs reflect reality. There is something hot about being submissive and conforming to the stereotypically feminine role. In each of these songs, there are moments that frame the faux-submission and let us know she's somewhat complicit ("You and I, we can't be trusted" in "Trouble; the irreverent "Turn the lights out/This shit is way too fucking bright /Wanna poke my eyes out/Just let me get my head right /Where the hell am I?" in "Blur")

There's a lot going on in these songs, they're speaking to a lot of discourses going on about female-male relations. Britney gets my credit for lyrics like "I''m into phonography" (What? seriously? Okay, whatever...) and "Touch of My Hand" on her last album or so, her response to the Divinyl's "I Touch Myself."

So I am going to backtrack a bit: I think the songs are shocking, and I think they talk about some pretty effed up stuff, but let's face it, many of us have been there, done that, many of us have also been sexually assaulted (fun fact!), the world is messy, and I think it would be worse for songs to all conform to IDEALS, not REALITY.

This last idea comes courtesy of Miles Forman, who hosted a Q and A yesterday after a screening of his 1960's Czech New Wave film, Fireman's Ball, a comedy banned in the communist country for portraying REAL people, not socialist ideals of how the world will work out. Presenting facts, impressions, etc., leads to discussion (my blog post!) and I'm not going to force Britney into saying something more positive about women.

However, as far as subversive songs go, I still LOVE The Trucks (who I saw a couple years ago at Capitol Hill Block Party) and their song "T*****s" (your guess, this is the song's name from when I got it off iTunes). Oooo, and Peaches!!! Both of these chanteuses have these songs about using men, and the androgyny is soooo refreshing! I heart them so much.

I've had a couple glasses of Cab, so forgive me if this post is a bit crazy. Off to a party (and coming home alone, esp. after getting fired up about this post!)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A collection of random thoughts

1. I was at a party last night where I ran into three of my college Freshman dormmates, all of whom are in stable, living together, one-arm-around-significant-other-while-I-talk-to-you-type relationships. Rather bizarre, given that I am more used to large (crazier?) gatherings of singletons. A flash: "so THIS is what it's like" or: "so this is what it's GOING to be like" (when I am old and still single...) Also, the party petered out kind of early, so at least that is one strike against being a couple.
2. However, the times when I most want to be in a couple is during weekend mornings, when I read the paper online, make veggie bacon egg and cheese sandwiches, and drink lots of tea while trying to recover from the night before and work up the energy to DO something, to GO somewhere. I think I would be more at peace with my lazy, leisurely mornings if I had someone to share it with. Or, I might be more motivated to do something. At least some sexy time, no?
3. I skipped yoga this morning (recovering!) but I can do headstands, as long as I have wall support. I am working on balancing away from the wall, which I can do for a few seconds, but then I usually end up supporting a bit against the wall again. What is so crazy about headstands is how natural and balanced it feels to be standing on your head. I probably have been physicalla able to do headstands for months, but since I had crashed and flipped over before trying I had a lot of fear. Having an instructor spot me my first couple of times really helped, so I knew that even if I kicked up slightly sideways he/she would be able to catch me. Plus, it established muscle memory. Once I knew what it felt like to be in that alignment, it was really easy to find it. Going to do a headstand right after this post...
4. I've been reading a lot of good books lately, along with all the usual movies. I joined goodreads to keep track of what I (and my friends) are reading, so if you read this blog you should join too and friend me.
5. With all the books and movies and ABSORPTION--CONSUMPTION--I do I feel so overwhelmed. Sometimes I feel like I'm not properly digesting all of the works I'm consuming, so eager am I to check it off a list or have that accomplished feeling of having finished. I end up being lackluster, abandoning movies and books quite recklessly.
6. At the same time, I have so much more time now with my new job. Less social engagements after work. Yet I don't really have much to show for it in terms of original writing or even, as of this week, increased gym-going. Ugh, discipline
7. But, bragging time: at a Monday screening of Revolutionary Road, I was privy to a Q and A afterward with Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio (matinee idols!), Kathy Bates, Sam Mendes, Zoe Kazan, and a couple more male actors that supported. Amazing. Also, I sat next to the New Yorker film critic, though I didn't know it was him at the time--but his age, notepad, and toroiseshell glasses suggested my proximity to an established reviewer. I also had to be pushy in front of my boss, which I felt conflicted about: I arrived slightly after twenty minutes before the show (let's say 17) and then felt bad when we were herded into a line outside the theatre. I investigated, saw a few seats left in the reserved section (ours) and went out and told my boss and the other reviewer that we probably could get in, we would just need to be a bit assertive (as I put it). I got my boss and the reviewer into two seats, then waited in the aisle for a few minutes, before some Paramount Vantage people had to give up their seats in order to let the New Yorker critic David Denby sit down. Since two people got up, I was able to snag a seat. The next day my boss commended me for being assertive (he was ready to leave rather than fight the crowds), and I said "well, I felt obligated to get you guys in since I was the last to arrive." I feel like being pushy can be seen negatively but I am glad that it seems this situation worked in my favor.

Monday, December 1, 2008

NY Times strikes again! Dinner party for under $30...per person, with potatoes!!!

Okay, so I'm not the only one who hates the New York Times (see: earlier post, "I had almost forgotten how much I hate the New York Times") for making assumptions that the world round, uniformly wealthy, is v. concerned about incurring excessive dinner party expenses.

Here' Jezebel commenting on a rather ridiculous "budget dinner party" article.

One of many gems:
"Perhaps the most annoying thing to come out of the economic crises are the stupid articles that keep appearing in publications like The New York Times, wherein a fairly well-off person marvels at the deals he or she can find when they shop like the poors at the dollar stores and Kmarts of the world. Even more infuriating is the idea that $238.40 for one dumb party is some sort of economic success, considering that many families in this country can barely afford to put food on the table."

the poors! sound like a lolcat. but it's true!!!