Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Arrrghh. I find Susie Orman so frustrating! Here is her thesis: People who are struggling with money have low self esteem. People who have lots of money have high self esteem. Your personal worth equals your self worth. And there's Oprah nodding along, as Susie O starts making people cry who obviously have low self worth. It's like there's some particular talk-show universe in which grand metaphysical statements which obviously make no sense are let pass without challenge (although I guess comforting metaphysics is Oprah's bread and butter). So the reason for economic polarisation is self-esteem? Some have it, some don't. Those who have it rise to the top, those who don't sink to the bottom, 1890s style. So society must rely on a certain number of people to have low self esteem to do the jobs that people with high self esteem don't want to do. Or can we just use migrant workers who must come from countries with low self esteem to plug the gap? I guess we also don't need welfare or anything like that, since people can just choose to have high self-esteem (which is her subtext). I know that what she's selling is a kind of comfort (if I don't have much money, the only thing holding myself back is myself), but in a way doesn't this just provide one more thing to feel worried about (if I don't have much money, it's my fault). 
Sunday, November 16, 2008

I find this hypnotic for some reason.
Sunday, November 9, 2008

"On a gray day in Paris
, Zoe was having lunch at the Bristol, where she was staying with her husband, Rodger Berman, who was once an investment banker and now produces award shows for television. “I love Paris,” Zoe said as she studied the menu. “If I spoke the language, I’d live here.” She looked up at the waitress, who had appeared at the table. “Can you do crudité?” Zoe said. The waitress looked confused. “You did it yesterday. With cucumber. If not, I guess a salad, no dressing.” The waitress still looked confused. “You see,” Zoe said to me, “there’s just too much of a communication barrier.” Zoe took a sip of her English Breakfast tea. “I wish caffeine had vitamins in it,” she said."
Saturday, November 8, 2008

Ok, election over, back to reality. Lets talk Rachel Zoe, aka 'The Raisin'. I was lucky enough to enjoy an episode of her reality show the other night and was entranced by her emaciated frame, shaky gait, overly-large sunglasses and Starbucks, as well as her critically low levels of self-awareness (bearing in mind that reality shows don't usually like people to be self-aware). It's like she's the gruesome future awaiting her proteges (or 'Zoebots' as they're called), and that's a wonderful thing to watch. I couldn't find any footage on Youtube, but I particularly liked her incessant reference to 'growing her brand'. It's like on-message politicking has bled into the fashion world and reality TV. Frightening.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
My god, I didn't think I could be moved by presidential rhetoric anymore... And so refreshing to have a literate President elect ("the arc of history")... And he mentioned gay Americans (though not marriage, obviously). This has to be a first for an acceptance speech? 
Can't say I'm surprised about an Obama win, but on some level I never thought it could happen. But now I feel all these strange and foreign feelings like, you know, hope. And I'm *particularly* excited by Michelle Obama as First Lady.

The Mac is Back

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Yikes, this one is blunt. Seems to augment McCain insider "whisperings" about the new momentum boosting McCain's chances - momentum "evoked" by a fast-moving camera over water, rock music, snappy editing, and flashing "McCain" on screen to the music. Is that a bit, how does McCain put it, "Commie"? Feels akin to Microsoft trying to do an Apple ad. And so long...

So sad... don't mess with cheeks!



My long weekend with the Prince of Tides

I've always been curious about The Prince of Tides. This is partly because I don't quite get the whole Barbra Streisand thing - maybe I'm too young, but I only know that she *is* admired, rather than having any admiration for her myself. My formative Babs experience was the very back lit and vain The Mirror Has Two Faces, but at the time this was consumed in the knowledge that there was probably some past pinnacle of achievement from which she had slipped...

Which explains my intrigue with The Prince of Tides - was this the past peak? Its 7 Oscar nominations suggests it was, but as far as I can tell, it's actually pretty shite. For example, the back lit lighting and extreme vanity is all still there in abundance - Babs makes being a therapist seem like the vainest thing ever. Prancing around in a mini with the camera tracking up her shapely pins (director: Babs); pouting suggestively after posing therapist-like questions ("what are you feeling?"); sliding off her glasses annoyingly in key moments suggesting the deployment of subversive therapist-smarts. It's all about looking like a therapist (in a mini with luscious lips).

But THEN there's the flagrant disregard for the ethics of therapy: Babs drills the brother of her client for information to aide her client, with no strategies in place to ensure the brother isn't horribly scarred by the therapy process. Then she hooks up with the brother, and even SLEEPS OVER in her client's apartment with her CLIENT'S BROTHER with no regard for how her client may perhaps feel about these FLAGRANT blurring of boundaries. It's kind of like Pretty Woman in the sense that heart-warming strings supplant any exploration of the murkier undercurrents beneath the gloss. Like rape for example - explored for about thirty seconds, but really just a plot device to symbolise the acknowledgement of past trauma, in order to allow enough growth for the Nolte character to HOOK UP WITH THE THERAPIST.

So yes, a very underwhelming experience, although I do feel a little bit more "gay" now. One more comment: I'd always assumed that The Simpsons was stretching it's Prince of Tides parody when Marge mouths the name "Lowenstein" as if it was the most poignant piece of poetry. But this actually happens! The ACTUAL final moment is Nick Nolte driving off into the sunset with his voice over mouthing the name "Lowenstein.... Lowenstein". So unintentionally hilarious.
Monday, October 6, 2008

"Drill baby, Drill"

As much as her politics chill me to the bone, there's a certain magnificence about Palin's ascent, fall and partial rebirth. Yes, some of this is because of the eerie overlap between Palin and Tina Fey. Some it's also because of the weird (or focus-tested?) way McCain and Palin mirror the classic newsreader couple (old man, white hair, youngish woman, glasses, colourful suit).

But I think the most terrifying/wonderful aspect of the whole Palin thing is the extent to which she's pushing the boundaries of content-free politics. She doesn't just steer herself towards soundbites, she is only soundbites. Questions provide an opportunity to talk about hockey-moms, joe six-packs (which I initially thought was a guy with abs) and how she's gonna sweep out Washington. This on-message evasion seemed to find its ultimate expression in the VP debate, in which the most wonderful, perplexing and quite insane comments were uttered. To paraphrase, that she might not answer the question the way the moderator wanted to, but [in not answering the question] she's "straight talking to the American people"... Is this not mad? By being evasive, she's straight talking... It's just about as bold as rebranding the Republicans as mavericks. And then she winks at me! It's all good and well unless they win, and then the joke bleeds into another terrifying 4 years of spin and insanity.

Kylie: a defence

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Another article celebrating a Kylie milestone that ends up painting her as vapid, controlling and talentless, questioning why she hasn't yet *really* revealed herself to the world. The implication is that, because she's "deflecting personal questions and dodging controversy", she either has something to hide, or is hiding the fact she has nothing to hide.

I disagree with this equation! I think that Kylie's reluctance to reveal anything personal actually springs gfrom some kind of deference to the persona she has created. Unlike some people (Madonna!), Kylie has an acute understanding of the mechanics of celebrity, helped along by increasingly man-meat obsessed William Baker. She understands that this "thing" she is created is is something separate to herself, and as much a creation of others (fans included) as her own. This isn't to deny her talent - her talent is in tending this creation, and in
performing. She reveals herself in her theatricality, not through exposes. Give the lady her dues!