Monday, December 14, 2009

Finding a lack in the land of excess


I just returned from in-service (AmeriCorps) training in Las Vegas. I had a great time. But I have one qualm. Equal opportunity please. I had been warned beforehand but, I'm not sure I prepared myself for being accosted by men handing out calling cards. Walking down the strip, every few feet, you run into men passing out trading cards for women, who according to their vests will be available withing 20 minutes. I didn't get any cards because I'm a female and these guys passed me by when handing out the cards. However, there were men in my group, and I noticed that these cards were virtually forced upon my male travel companions. It was rather refreshing to see these guys turn down the cards but I can only imagine how annoyed they were with being harassed.

Not that I enjoy being harassed. But I want to know: where are the cards for the ladies? If prostitution is such big business in Vegas, there must be plenty of gigolos around. Not that I was planning on calling upon one of those call men (and not that I feel like women really need to pay for sex) but, I would have enjoyed collecting some keepsake cards for myself. It's the principle of the matter. Women should have equal access to sexual services. It's kind of like strip clubs: male dancers aren't as big of a turn on to women as female dancers are to men but, I think women should have the access to establishments where they can see men strip if they so desire.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Grammy Whammy

Grammy award nominations were announced yesterday. Beyonce reigned supreme with a total of 10 nominations. But, if were her, I would not be very excited about that announcement. Why? Perhaps that's because one of the ten categories she was nominated in - Best Rap/Sung Collaboration - also features "I'm On a Boat." Yes, that's the song made infamous in the SNL digital short by T-Pain and Andy Samberg's Lonely Island.

Don't get me wrong, I think the song is hilarious. I have jammed to it in the car with my friends and in the club. But, I also know the song was created in the name of comedy. Nominating "I'm On a Boat" for a non-comedy Grammy category somehow de-legitimizes the entire award show and Grammy academy. Following the suck that was the AMAs, I'm really starting to lose faith in the recording industry's weak attempts at grabbing ratings.

Coincidentally, Kanye West has three nominations in that same category (one for his collab with Beyonce on "My Ego"). If "I'm On a Boat" wins, you know Kanye's gonna have something to say about it.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Out vs Out There

It's been close to a week since Adam Lambert's AMA performance and people still won't shut up about it.
When it comes to issues of homosexuality, I really believe there is a generational difference. I watched the AMA's Sunday night and actually loved how far "Glambert" took it. All the other performances were rather blah - including and especially Janet's hyped 8-minute performance - and Adam Lambert was the only singer to go the extra mile and put on a show. I was actually entertained watching it. I did not think the over-the-top sexuality was inappropriate; I've been exposed to that sort of stuff since I was a child.

I saw the Madonna kiss. I've seen footage of Hendrix simulating sex with his guitar. And when it comes down to it, there's a lot of sexual imagery that takes place on stage - involving mics and guitars; think about it. I'm not an idiot. I understand that gay men are more than the stereotypes. They are sexual beings. Why should they be ashamed? When I saw Adam push a dancer's face into his crotch I was surprised, sure but, I also thought it was brave. It was a moment, of ya, I'm gay. I like having sex with men. Get over it.

My parents, on the other hand, were disturbed. They felt uncomfortable. My dad, the intolerant that he is, was absolutely grossed out and had felt the need to voice his sentiments. It was actually distracting to my viewing experience. I spoke to my friends and they expressed undergoing a similar experience. They found that Adam Lambert had given the best performance of the show (not to mention, of his life) but, their parents were offended. I knew that people would be talking about it the next day but, I didn't think there would be so much backlash.

The media pounced on the story. The West Coast broadcast was edited. ABC turned its back on him. Good Morning America cut his performance the next day. The View denounced him for being sexually aggressive. I won't detail all the commentary but, I will say most accounts seemed to judge him for being a sexual deviant.

I really, truly feel the backlash has arisen from our national discomfort with homosexuals. After the AIDS scare of the 80s, we neutered gay men. The homosexual lifestyle was thought to be too decadent. We separated them from their sexuality so that they could be acceptable to the mainstream. Gay male couples on non-pay cable TV shows never get to demonstrate their affections for each other while straight couples pretty much can get it on whenever, wherever.

As my friend Sha'Donna attested, we've grown accustomed to the image of the friendly neighborhood gay. Will from Will and Grace. The safe gay. The one we can go shopping with, who will advice on fashion and relationships. What Adam Lambert did was step outside the comfortable box we had placed him in. He forced us to rethink our assumptions. He stood up for himself and applaud him for that. If we're going to move on as a society, we have to accept the gay man for all that he is.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Nooo-prah!

As you must have heard by now, the most influential woman of the past quarter century announced her resignation last week. That's right, I'm talking about Oprah. That woman is an institution. Oprah's been on TV nearly the whole time the Bitch, please betches have been alive. When she ends her show in 2011 after 25 years on the air, we will in fact be 25-years-old. This could be quite the quarterlife crisis.

Alright, alright. It's not that serious. But the loss of Oprah from network TV is equivalent to losing your fabulous, rich aunt who gives good advice and has awesome connections. This morning, annoying conservative Chicago shock jock Mancow commented that once Oprah leaves the air, "women everywhere will be able to think for themselves again." Haha, very funny. There was a time in high school when I felt all self-superior (imagine that) and thought that I was above all the Oprah hype. I thought that she was just a loud middle-aged woman with an amazing gift of persuasion.

Now that I'm older I have to give the woman props; she is a successful, powerful woman of color. She is a shrewd businesswoman. She's generous. And she's damn smart.

In a matter of years, she became the Empress of the Media. Everything she touches turns to gold. Granted, she's run into some issues with her schools in Africa. She's working on it though; we shouldn't expect perfection from her every time.

And sure, over the years her name dropping got really annoying. But after a quarter century of rolling with movers and shakers, who can blame her for telling stories about her personal life, even if these stories just so happen to mention a lot of famous people.

She still does some of the best interviews out there. With her 'girlfriend' style, she's someone who puts guests and audiences at ease. She was relatable. She went through some shit before she got famous. And she had her struggles with weight. She was human; she didn't look or sound like the other mono-tone afternoon TV personalities.

She's accomplished a lot over the years. After Sesame Street, I'd say the Oprah Show contributed the most to my educational development. She's gotten Americans to expand their minds and expand their frames of reference. Dare I say it, she makes us care about the issues she champions.

And think on this: without Oprah, the next generation of girls will grow up thinking that the ridiculous charade of a talk show that is the Tyra Banks Show is acceptable TV.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I want to break free

In case you missed it:



Those Filipino prisoners are at it again! I'm not sure but, I think they might have a little too much time on their hands. My only qualm: "Mr. Roboto" does not belong in a Queen medley.

Even inmates deserve a dance break, right?

Weave: Not Just For Women


My family essentially has no interest in any sporting events that are broadcast in the U.S., except for one: tennis. So last night, my family and I gathered 'round the TV set to catch the exclusive Katie Couric -Andre Agassi interview. We weren't even five minutes in when Agassi dropped a bombshell: his trademark hair? A Weave! He made some other bold statements as well regarding his meth addiction and his extreme dislike for the sport that made allowed him to accumulate massive wealth but, after he let that secret slip, I stopped listening to the rest of the interview.


Not to make light of whatever was creating his baldness but, I really love that his mane of hair was a weave. I've read so much lately (coinciding with the release of Chris Rock's documentary "Good Hair" ) about women's vanity and extravagance relating to their hair. And here's this man famous for his lustrous locks, which turn out to be tracks. In the interview, Agassi told this traumatic story about how his weave fell out in the shower right before a big match. His brother had to help him bobby pin it back in place. Good stuff!


Just goes to show, this so-called "vanity" is not just a women's thing. It's human nature to care about the way in which one is presented to society.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Insincere Scoldings Just Not Good Enough

I know the whole David Letterman scandal played out a few weeks ago. You might be wondering, the media has moved on, why am I still harping on the topic?
Well, I'll tell ya. While I think it is unfortunate that Dave decided to engage in adulterous behavior, I do believe it's not my business. I don't think it affects his ability to make people laugh (although he stopped making me laugh a long time ago). I do think it's disturbing in the sense that he could have been sexually discriminating in his work place. I don't know what the real deal is because the women in this case haven't stepped forward to totally clear the air. All I know is, he slept with some of his female staff over the years. Kinda gross but, I always pegged him for a dirty old man.
What bothers me is the way that people downplay these incidents. Workplace discrimination is a real, serious matter. It's not just a concern from the 1950s. After the scandal broke, I read a press release on behalf of Dave's staff saying that a number of women at his production office have high-ranking roles. I have also read an interview with a staffer who claims the opposite to be true. I know comedy to be a total boys' club - you only have to watch the Emmys or Golden Globes to see that - so I can see how there could be a lot of barriers to female advancement in his company. That doesn't mean it's OK to trade sex for workplace advancement, however.
I happened upon this EW cover while searching for something else and I pretty much choked on my own spit. The magazine (that yes, I always wanted to work at) seems to be mocking the situation. Hahaha, Dave got caught with his pants down. Oh, no. Well, boys will be boys. That's what they are signally with their whimsical "Oh, Dave" headline. They're trying to make the situation humorous instead of understanding its weight. They're implying that he's a child who needs to be reined in rather that an adult who needs to take responsibility for his actions. Sure, he made the now-infamous announcement about his affair on his show. But, had he not, TMZ would have broken it the next day. He was just saving face. And I don't think he should be applauded for that.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Our Thoughts Go Out to You

Before I go any further, I just want to say on behalf of the Bitch, please team that our hearts go out to those who were affected by the Fort Hood shooting. I hope that the fact that the suspect is still alive means that the victims families (as well as the rest of America) can understand why this happened without the typical media barrage of speculation. The Fort Hood families are in our thoughts and prayers.

Friday, October 30, 2009

I Swear to Bob, Tyra


Will Tyra ever learn? From her social experiments to this, having her models on Top Model take on new racial identities... she's just mucking things up. I know she thinks she's making a difference but, I wish one of her producers would be real with her and let her know that she's just being offensive. In light of all the disturbing highly-publicized blackface incidents of late, you'd have thought she'd nixed this idea for a photo shoot.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

WTF Illinois, No Wonder We Lost the Olympics

Well, it happened again. Another senseless police shooting in the state of Illinois. Another one that hit home for me as it occurred in Champaign, the city I lived in for four years while I attended college.

This time, the crime that provoked the shooting death was even more ludicrous. A 15-year-old boy was allegedly found breaking into a house with his friend. Cops responded and when this child was found to be resisting arrest, he was shot. And he died.

I know this kind of stuff happens everyday. But I'm not so jaded that when this takes place in a community I care about, I don't stop to at least reflect on the injustice. Coming just about a month and a half after the Barmore shooting in Rockford, I'm more than a little disgusted with police behavior in my home state.

Upon investigation, authorities found that the house the boy was supposedly breaking in to was where he lived, as a sort of adoptive son/godson to the resident. Debra Thomas, whose house the teen - Kiwane Carrington - was trying to get into, said Carrington was welcome in her house anytime.

Now, I don't want to have to bring race into the picture. However, I must note that when I searched for the story on the News-Gazette site to link up an article, a fair amount of the results I found were either titled "Race played an issue in teen shooting" or "Race was not an issue in teen shooting." Interesting. Like Rockford, I found Champaign - the parts outside of campus - to be pretty obviously segregated. I'm not saying these cops were prejudiced but, in a way, this story made me think of the Gates fiasco of this summer but, with a horrible twist.

All I can say is, the punishment did not fit the crime. You don't shoot kids. Especially not for breaking into a house. Call for back-up, something.

You can judge for yourselves. Here's an article about the incident: http://www.news-gazette.com/news/courts_crime_fire/2009/10/13/home_renter_15-year-old_who_was_shot_lived_there. You can find more accounts on the Champaign News-Gazette site.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Down? Jay Sean's Star Is Rising Way Up


Today, I bring a totally non-critical announcement.

Indo-Brit R&B artist Jay Sean soared to the top of the charts this week with his single, "Down."

Not only did he cross over from across the pond but, he's also the first South Asian musician to reach the coveted No. 1 spot on Billboard's Hot 100.

The serious ear worm tune knocked the Black Eyed Peas out of position. Probably doesn't hurt to share a label with Lil' Wayne so he can lend his rap style to your song. Still, I think Jay Sean could have gotten to top even without the extra support. Props to my fellow Desi.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Surprise! Snuggie's Back.

And now to lighten the mood. I don't always take myself too seriously.

As someone who takes an interest in fashion, and prides herself on dressing well (some of the time), going over photos of NY's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, I was shocked to realize that my taste has become less discerning. Well, that or those damn Snuggies have grown on me.


I saw this photo and my first thought was, this is a hot outfit. Kinda Cruella de Vil but, I like it. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that no, this is not some sort of floor-length coat/cape thing. And it's not a dress. It's one of those Snuggies, the wearable blanket. I remember when the Snuggie/Slanket/insert silly blanket name phenomenon first started, when people started to mock those campy commercials. And everybody said, "I wouldn't be caught dead wearing one of those outside the house." I for one, despite my propensity for freezing in 50 degree weather, never considered buying one, thinking that I was about that fad. Well, what do you know? Snuggie's catering to the fashionable crowd now.

You can read about the company's runway debut here:

http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/style/59363707.html?elr=KArks7PYDiaK7DUoaK7D_V_eDc87DUiacyKUnciaec8O7EyUr

So, what do you guys think? Would you leave the house in this get up? Or are Snuggies just as ridiculous as ever?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ignorance Heard 'Round the World

Bitch, please news in brief:

There have been so many things in the popular culture stratosphere that I have wanted to comment on but, with Internet connection issues and my (as yet undiagnosed) adult ADD issues, I just haven’t been able to link up to the old Blogger. Sorry about that. So many things to cover. These past few weeks have been crazy.

First of all, I have to address some of the drama my hometown of Rockford, Illinois has been dealing with for the past few weeks, maybe even a month. While I was at training for my new job, a fellow 23-year-old Rockfordian was shot to death at a church daycare center. Mark Anthony Barmore, who was said to be wanted on battery charges, was gunned down by local cops because he allegedly had a weapon in his possession and was resisting arrest. Tell me why this guy was shot mutliple times in the chest and in the back (I wish I knew the exact number, the reports on the local news site no longer contain this information). And wouldn’t you know it? He was found to not have any weapons on him. I don’t claim to know anything about being a cop but, isn’t it unethical to shoot some one who is fleeing? For a domestic disturbance, really? Those of you unfamiliar with Rockford, Illinois must know that it is an extremely divided city. Literally, you drive over the bridge from the east side to the west side and you see different street conditions, different neighborhoods and different colors. In the past few weeks, Reverend Jesse Jackson has been pushing for justice with the Barmore case. There have been talks with city officials, public cries of outrage, and even a march and a counter-march in support of the police. Healing Rockford seems to be Jackson’s new pet project, and really that’s OK with me. This is not the last we will hear of this case; I’ll keep you updated.
Jackson at Barmore's funeral September 3.

Next, Obama delivered his education speech to America’s future and a bunch of ignant people decided it would be harmful for their children to be addressed by the president. I actually heard people complaining about how they didn’t want their kids involved with politics, that it was dangerous for the president to talk directly to children because he might influence them. The speech might be to socialist blah blah blah. Really, is it so terrible for the leader of a nation to encourage future generations to stay in school and become upstanding citizens? Apparently so, which is why President Obama’s speech was actually banned by some school districts, including a few schools in Illinois. Sadly, President Obama is not the first to deliver such a message to the schoolchildren of America; both Ronald Reagan and George H.W. conducted teleconferences with school children during their presidencies.




Obama attempting to con children of America by telling them education is important.

All this talk about president brainwashing kids, and the idea that influencing kids to be responsible, to be communities leaders is bad, well that all just strikes me as veiled racism. For all this talk about “post-racial America,” I knew it was just a hollow phrase. Sure, we have a (half) black man in office. That doesn’t mean that prejudiced people won’t continue to express their prejudices.

Then, Obama spoke in front of Congress about his health care plan. And the Republican Party showed themselves to not just be disagreeable but, flat-out rude. Not every one behaved in such a fashion but, the actions of a few dragged the GOP down even further. Grand Old Party my ass. Somehow, by yelling “you lie” (really? Not even a ‘you lie, sir!’ He may as well have said, “Stop lying, you big liarface.”), Rep. Joe Wilson has turned into some kind of a martyr. I’m not really sure what his cause is. Those tea party people, the ones with all those signs proclaiming his awesomeness haven’t shown themselves to be for much of anything. Just against anything that threatens the status quo. "Liar, liar, pants on fire" might have been too harsh.

And I’m not appreciating those joker signs I’ve seen around town (as much as people made fun of G.W., his face was never pasted on a local telephone pole with some deragotary phrasing underneath). Those pictures of Obama as a witch doctor? Not cool. Quite frankly, when people feel the need to defend themselves so fiercly against being racist, there’s usually something to it, or else they wouldn’t care that much about what people think about them.

Just two example of the signs Tea Party protestors are marching around with. Racism is really not revolutionary, guys.



This has also been a week of people saying exactly what’s on their minds and getting in a shit-ton of trouble for it.

Former President Jimmy Carter had the balls to say what is on every tolerant person’s mind, that people are letting racism get in the way. It’s fine to dissent, to disagree with the president. But when your criticism takes the ugly turn and you start to use hateful, intolerant language, it begs the question, are you against the president’s policies or are you against the man himself?


Old people speak the truth.


And we all know by now what happened with Kanye. He just had to open his big mouth at the VMA’s. The thing about Kanye West is, he says whatever’s on his mind. And a lot of the time, he’s right. At least, he says what everybody’s thinking but won’t say out loud. Because it’s not polite. That can be a great thing if he’s say, standing up for a cause or bringing ignored social issue to the public’s attention (like the now infamous Katrina comment) but, when it comes to say, disagreeing with an award show recipient’s selection and stealing that recipient’s award speech, it’s uncalled for. Basically, it was a dick move. Believe me, I agreed with what he said (I had just shouted in outrage at my friend’s TV set that there was no way Taylor Swift had a better video than Beyonce) but, that does make it right. The most telling thing about the whole incident is that Beyonce’s video was the best of the year but where it received its most heavy rotation is Youtube. It is a freakin Youtube sensation. MTV barely plays videos anymore, so who actually cares what the outcome of the VMAs is? Beyonce sure as hell didn’t seem to care; she has Grammys. It was unexpected and funny when it happened but that was a week ago people, I’m over it. Talk shows, I know this is an easy joke but, come up with some fresh material.

And Serena Williams tried to make some cute joke on the VMA broadcast to get some better press after her big blow up Saturday night. For those of you who didn’t see it, I have to admit it was a surreal experience to watch. Tennis is all stiff-upperlipy and here was this girl who spent part of her childhood in Compton refusing to take a shitty call from a lineswoman. What she yelled at the lineswoman was inappropriate for sure. As with Kanye, it was just uncalled for. But, it got blown way out of proportion. Now the lineswoman was certainly well within her rights to report Serena but I have to wonder, in those high-stakes sporting arenas, aren’t the judges supposed to have thicker skins? Hadn’t she ever been threatened before. As I said, Serena crossed a line with her threat but, the lady didn’t need to be running scared like she was actually going to get a ball stuffed down her throat. Two days later, Roger Federer was cited for using inappropriate language at his match (sure he just swore, didn’t make any threats) and nobody said boo about it. It’s actually more shocking to me that the always nonchalant “reserved,” as the commentators call him, Federer swore than to hear Serena go off. We all know she’s aggressive and ridiculously competitive. I see her outburst as an extension of these two behaviors.

And I’m not trying to condone any of the inappropriate behavior exhibited by these celebrities; I just find it interesting that what they said received so much backlash. And yet, here we have all these narrow-minded people making all sorts of overt racial comments (which I feel are the most harmful to our society) that just fly under the radar.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Gingers: the Ignored Minority?


Admit it, you've probably laughed at a ginger joke or two. Unless, as a natural redhead, you've been totally self-conscious of your hair color since you started grade school.

Even though I feel as though I've always been highly sensitive to minority issues, I've never given much thought to the plight of redheads. Clearly in the spectrum of natural hair colors, red is the least commonly occurring. Hair, for a lot of ethnic groups, has historically been a source of tension. I can definitely see how a young child's self-esteem could be damaged because he or she was excessively made fun of or made to feel different for having a less common hair color.
Too often, I have made light of the situation. Perhaps this is because the word "ginger" is so silly and rolls so nicely off the tongue in a pseudo-British accent. I have to admit: I'm not sure how offensive it would be to be labeled a "ginger." The BBC throws it around like it aint no thang but, I always thought the word carried somewhat of a negative connotation. Perhaps, as red hair is most common in the UK, the term has been re-claimed there, like "queer" but, to a lesser degree.

Regardless of how you feel about the word, check out this article from the BBC. It certainly made me rethink the definition of minority.


I had not realized that anti-ginger sentiment was so severe, or that people could be driven out of their neighborhoods based on the color of their hair. What can I say, humans are shallow creatures. At least, it's nice to see gingers stand up loud and proud.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Are We Still Stuck in the '30s?


Last night, instead of studying for my upcoming GRE, I watched the most vapid film I have seen in a long time. Maybe in this whole year.

That movie: Confessions of a Shopaholic. To be fair, I had really low expectations for the film. I had heard that it had been well received because of its fantasy element.

The movie, which glamorizes shopping, consumerism, hell, even credit card debt, was released squarely in the depths of a recession. Like the musicals of the '30s, it was advertised as a fluff piece, a guilty pleasure that was made to take our minds off of reality and allow us to ride the American Dream train once again. It was hailed for its ability to cure the depressed masses, at least for the hour and a half spent in the theatre and maybe another half an hour of afterglow.

But this picture wasn't all sugar-spun dreamy. If anything, the connection I made to the '30s Technicolor musical masterpieces (the film industry's reaction to the Great Depression), was the rampant sexual stereotyping.

Apparently, the film is based on a best-selling book written by a woman. I haven't read it, so I can't speak to that text. But my god, I have not seen such one-dimensional portrayals of the sexes in a long time. Going back to the screwball comedies/romantic musicals from back in the day, the movie features the archetypal foolish-girl-who-needs-saving and the rational-minded-man-who-does-the-saving.

My number one comment during the movie: this girl is a HOTTTTTTT mess. Seriously, the ditsy, clumsy, completely lala girl is just not funny anymore. I could tell the parts during the movie where I as the audience member was supposed to laugh but, the character just wasn't funny. She was pathetic. She had a disorder, albeit an addiction to shopping, which I feel was never properly addressed. I know credit card debt is a plague on this country. Believe me, after working nearly a year at a bank, I KNOW. I realize people have made some bad choices. This movie wasn't about that. The main character Becky, was driven totally by the irrational. It wasn't even that she only thought about herself, I felt like this character just lacked the ability to think at all. I know that sounds harsh but I just could not care about this girl at all.

And it wasn't just her character. There was a clear gender line. The women in the movie were all loopy, all driven by their id. They behaved like animals in stores. All they cared about was the material, having things they had no need for. They best word to describe these women: frivolous. There was one shopaholic man that stood out but, as usual, he was played for gay.

The men of course, were needed to ground the women. To deliver advice, to save them for themselves. To fix their blunders in social situations because the girls were awkward or clumsy. To be the voice of reason. They knew how to manager their finances. Clearly, the movie was sending the message that men never mismanage their funds, that's something that women do. And that's just not true in real life; men might spend their money on different products but, they are just as guilty of overspending.

Honestly, the whole time I was watching the movie, I couldn't help but wonder, why doesn't she just sell the stuff she doesn't use on Ebay? But then, I guess there wouldn't have been a movie. Then again, what's the point of mindless entertainment if it doesn't actually entertain you?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Way You Make Us Feel


As you may have noticed, Bitch, please has been on something of a summer hiatus.

But we're back and more opinionated than ever!

This being the day of MJ's memorial I thought it was only right that this return post be something of a tribute to Michael.

Say what you will about Michael Jackson (and there really are so many different aspects about him, and hey, please feel free to comment), this performer truly broke racial boundaries. It's as though he saw the line, considered it for a second, and then just moonwalked across it. Without him, I can't help but feel that the musical industry would be completely different.

He was the original boy bander. Not only did the Jackson Five's first four singles climb to the top of the charts but, they also played instruments. And his solo albums were like lightning in a frickin bottle. Thriller topped the charts for well over a year. Every single song from that album (except for his collab with Paul McCartney) struck gold. From that point on, good or bad, he was an icon.

Michael is the undisputed king of music videos. Even the hardest cynics have to got to have a soft spot for at least one of his cinematic masterpieces. Despite constant questioning of his racial identity, MJ took on so many firsts for a Black artist. He was the first African-American to be featured on MTV. When the network demonstrated a reluctance to air videos by people of color, Michael and his team showed it that it would be MTV's loss not to air his 'short films.' Since MTV appears to only play reruns of the Hills and endless Road Rules/Real World Challenges, it might be hard to image a time when they were all about the videos. But back in the day, an MJ video premiere was a major event. I wasn't around in '84 but to this day, I get excited when one of the music channels kicks it old school and plays Thriller or Beat It.

Even though his personal life was a mess at times, professionally, Michael was an innovator. That choreography. The live performances. His fashion. Those lyrics. The over-the-top public persona. The undeniable dance beats. Even the philanthropic work he did. All brilliant.

Michael was a global ambassador of American culture. And even in death, he has somehow managed to influence the world. MJ, we tip our fedoras to you.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Gosselin's Big Announcement..

"Hug me"

As you all must have heard, Jon and Kate Gosselin have a big announcement to reveal on Monday. ahhh! "Life changing decisions," they say...ones that will give them "peace." Most people are guessing that it's a divorce announcement...but I say bahh to that. What reality show couple files for divorce without meeting with Dr. Phil first? So I am here to take a guess as to what the big news is.

A) They are having twins! Babies fix all marital problems!

B) They are kicking Mady out of the family. A decision that will surely give everyone more peace.

C) They are going to take a break from the show and talk it out... No, that's not realistic.

D) They're going to DisneyWorld!!!

Honestly though, I hope they take option C. I guess we'll all have to tune in on Monday to find out. This better not be a ploy by TLC to get higher ratings.

For nostalgia's sake, take a look at their vow renewal just last year. What a difference one year can make. (sorry cannot embed the video, so you must watch it on YouTube)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Life is Short. Have an Affair.



"Life is Short. Have an Affair"

That is the banner that welcomes you to AshleyMadison.com--a married dating and affairs site.

I first heard their infamous slogan when I was listening to the radio one night. The commercial was intentionally spare and intriguing. A dating website for married people?

I had to find out more.

I googled "Ashley Madison" and lo and behold! The site is real! This is not some swingers website where couples look for extramarital adventure together; this is a place where individuals who are either married or are in committed relationships try to find others like them so they can have affairs...yes, the kind of affair that your partner doesn't know about.

Cheating 2.0.



The president of Ashley Madison, Noel Biderman, has gotten alot of media scrutiny over his controversial cheating site. He's been sliced and diced on Tyra, the View, CNN, etc

His justification is that this site doesn't make people cheat. He says people that are going to cheat, will cheat. Why not be smart and discrete about it so that your parter doesn't find out? Translation: The ultimate choice to cheat is yours, America. There will be no blood on Mr. Biderman's hands for families torn apart by infidelity.

What kind of crap of an excuse is that? It's like saying, people are going to kill each other anyway, let's provide easy access to guns.

Mr. Biderman is filth and his website makes me nauseous: it encourages liars and cheats to continue lying and cheating and it glamourizes The Affair-- as popular culture has done since forever.

What about effin' loyalty? Is that no longer sacred? On the heels of the Jon & Kate mess and Elizabeth Edward's new autobiography that touches upon John's affair, the topic of infidelity has been all over the headlines.

A little off topic here but for those following along with the Jon & Kate drama (notice I refuse to say reality), I can speak for most when I say that it is disheartening to watch this show.

There is no joy watching Jon and Kate pretend to be a family on TV. The show isn't even about the adorable kids anymore but their marital problems. He is allegedly having an affair with 23 year old school teacher and she is supposedly hooking up with her body-guard.

Just from the Season Premiere a few weeks ago you can tell that Jon and Kate are not living under the same roof. They admit going through a rough patch although they both claim that they're in it for the family. BULLSHIT.

The way they have been acting is completely selfish. They deliberately act like a family on TV not for the welfare of their eight kids but what seems like their own vanity. Jon's acting like a 20 something bachelor and Kate's being swept away by the glitz and glamour of fame and money.

They need to put fame on hold for the sake of preserving their family.

I'm slowing weaning off this show. I don't think I can watch this trainwreck any longer. Will you continue to watch the Jon & Kate mess?

-C

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Errbody in the corner has swagga like us, swagga swagga like us.


Ladies and Gentlemen, today we would like to comemmorate the death of a word. Swagger...Swagga...Swag...whatever you like to call it is has officially died.


Song after numerous song had tried to insert Swagger somewhere in its lyrics until finally Swagger took its last breath.


The time of death cannot be certain but it could lay anywhere between Soulja Boy's aptly titled, "Swag," T.I., Lil Wayne and JayZ's "Swagger Like Us" ...or quite frankly, anything done by Lil' Wayne.


Swag's short life span in mainstream vernacular has taken a toll on the actual meaning of the word. Before it's exploitation during the PLWE (that is, the Pre- Lil' Wayne Era), Swagger had often times been confused with Stagger, as the two words sound very much alike. However, the crux of Swag's definition is that a person who possesses it "walks boldly, steadily" and "with an air of confidence"-- not like the latter's definition of "tottering" around.

Now apparently everyone in da' corner has swagga like us, swagga swagga like us.


During its heydey, many of Swagger's competitors had gone into hiding. Every word from Confidence to Charisma to Mojo to Gusto had been placed under the umbrella of Swagger. We tried to reach out to some of these antonymns but none were brave enough to respond.... perhaps they had no Swagger themselves?


Someone was kind enough to compile a playlist --a memorial of sorts--so that we can never forget the contribution that Swagger has made to the musical world. The list isn't complete, but nevertheless, it hints at how far and wide Swagger has travelled into our ears and inside hearts and eventually out to the vomit receptacles where overused words eventually end up.


Please, ladies and gents, do not give hope up on Swagger. We pray everyday that its elusiveness and integrity may one day be restored.


Till then....In memoriam, Swagger, in memoriam.




Monday, April 20, 2009

What ignoramus is behind the Burger King ads???

Before I begin, I just wanted to say "Amen" to D's post below! Ughhh nothing's worse than an unwelcomed grinder.

Speaking of grinding, did you happen to catch Burger King's lastest commercial?

I just happened to see it on TV and found it really disturbing.

Instead of dancing to Sir Mixalots' "I like big butts," dancers were booty shaking it to "I like square butts" with square boxes stuck atop their deriere, all the while promoting flame-broiled goodness. Naturally the King was all up on the dancers, grinning like a pervert. First of all, what the H do booty dancers have to do with my hamburger??!??

Second-and here's the kicker-this commercial was for the BK Kid's Meal. Booty dancing and a creepy King for a Kid's meal commercial? This perverseness is not new when talking about BK. They have been putting out a slew of contraversial commercials. Remember when they taste tested the Whopper with people from the most isolated part of the world in order to get their pure, untainted opinion of it? Div wrote a great blog on it a whiles back. I'll post it when I find it. They also promoted their miniburgers, the BK stacker, by using midget actors.

What do you think of BK's line of ads recently? A bit much?

Baby When We're Grinding It's Not Delighting

Remember that 90s jam from Next, “Too Close?” Need a refresher? It goes something like this: “Baby, when we’re grinding/ I get so excited/ Ooh how I like it/ I try but I can’t fight it.”

And then the girl goes: “Step back you’re dancing kinda close/ I feel a little poke coming through/ on you.”

I’ll admit, as an innocent grade schooler at the time, I had no idea what this song was Really about. I just thought it had a nice beat. This song’s been getting a lot of airplay recently on the Rockford station 97ZOK. And as a grown woman, I have to say, this song perfectly describes the awkward experience that is grinding.

I’ve been meaning to write about this for quite a while now but haven’t had enough time to hammer out a post that would do the topic justice.

As a woman, how many times have you been innocently getting down on the dance floor with your girls (or whomever) when all of a sudden, your backside has been assaulted by a desperate male. He might start off just dancing up on you, which at first, I’ll admit can be flattering, in the way that getting hit on can be flattering and (not always) kind of gross at the same time. But then he gets into it (and gets hornier) and next thing you know, he’s grinding you, essentially humping your butt, no longer to any sort of rhythm.

“Dude, step back. You’re dancing kinda close,” might be your reaction. But just like in the song, desperate guy likes the sensation too much and refuses to move. You walk away, dance all up on your girls, try every possible method of diversion you can think of, and he still doesn’t get it. He persists in his awkward humping. What’s a dance-loving girl to do?

I’ll share an experience. When I was in Austin, my girlfriends and I went out to this really fun bar on 6th Street that featured a huge dance floor. Shortly after I got there, a dance partner found me. At first, I was flattered. “Alright, I still have it” I thought. But after a while, this guy turned into a nuisance. He was aggressive, thrusting into me, wandering with his hands, and he kept twirling me around in attempt to kiss me. This guy was the definition of desperate. I pushed him away several times, turned my face away from him many more times, and just plain rejected his lunch date offer. This guy really didn’t get the hint. I rejected him more than I’ve ever rejected anyone in my life but, he just kept coming back and grinding up on me. At some point, I just gave up and allowed him to do this behind me while I danced to the actual beat and focused on having a good time with my friends.

I in no way felt I was leading this guy on. Yet someone later commented that this desperate guy came to dance floor with clear intentions. By dancing with him, I was somehow the guilty party. Or maybe just by dancing provocatively, I was inviting this kind of behavior. I like to booty dance; I won’t apologize for it.

On another occassion, my coworker and I were talking about going out to dance. She mentioned that dancing for single twentysomethings is all about finding a sexual partner at the end of the night. Now that she’s older (and married), dancing’s about having fun with one’s friends. But I take issue with that.

If at the end of the night, I’ve meet a decent guy on the dance floor (is this possible?), I would entertain the idea of going on a date with him or seeing where the night leads us. But when I go out dancing, I have no intentions other than having my desire to dance fulfilled. Generally, I just want to have fun with friends. Honestly, I’ve just got a dance itch that needs to be scratched.

What’s your take on grinding? Does it turn you on? Do you find it annoying? Is it just whatever? Something you’ve gotten used to? When you go out dancing are you just going out dancing? Or is the goal of your night to hook up with a stranger? Is it different for men and women?

As a woman, I’m generally left grossed out by the exchange, based on the type of guy who chooses to grind up on me. Maybe if the guy made himself more attractive to me, I wouldn’t feel so dirty. Maybe it’d turn me on. But I have yet to find a grinder I could be attracted to.

- D

Monday, April 13, 2009

Maybe Texas Should Just Leave the Union

Texas Representative Betty Brown has requested that Asian-Americans change their names so they are "easier for [other] Americans to deal with."

This story offends me on so many levels. First of all, as an Asian-American with a supposedly unpronounceable name, I dare anyone to make me change my name. Not happening. Second, to force people to change their names for voting purposes is a clear civil rights violation. And third, well, I just came back from Austin and had a great time there (though I must note that I observed Austin to be pretty White-washed).

Read about it here: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/tx/6365600.html

Good old Democratic Party (as well as The Organization of Chinese Americans, and I'm sure several other Asian-American groups) demanded an apology. Brown gave one a few days later, and made some other stupid statements about "diversity" and "enrichment." Ya right, if you really appreciated diversity and felt that different ethnic backgrounds enrich a state, you wouldn't have made those comments in the first place, would you?

_ D


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Kumar (Minus Harold) Goes to the White House

If you're a House fanatic, 'scuse me for potentially spoiling last night's episode for you. Relax, I'm not going to tell you what happened. All I will say is that Kal Penn is working for a different House now. The White House! Read about it here: http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2009-04-07-penn-white-house_N.htm.

So apparently Kal Penn and the prez got to be friendly on the campaign trail (you may have noticed their embrace at Obama's inauguration jam). And now Penn's going to be representing Asian-Americans as the associate director in the Office of Public Liaison.

Who would have thought this guy, essentially the only Indian-American actor to get lead roles in somewhat mainstream films, would have ended up helping to running our country? Well, I hope he doesn't muck it up. I'd love to see more Asian-Americans in future administrations.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

How 'Bout a Lump of Racial Dialogue with Your Morning Coffee?

This link sends you to a segment from Good Morning America that played Thursday morning. http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=7237067

It's not that long, so I urge you to watch it. It's not need-to-know news or anything. However, this clips provides some insights into the racial climate of today. Ugh, a conversation about race, that's too heavy for me, you say? Believe it or not, it's actually kind of precious.



Basically, Diane and Robin chat with one panel of White children and one panel of Black children about their thoughts on race and racism.

Again, you can watch it here (sorry, ABC wouldn't let me embed the footage):
http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=7237067

So, what do you think readers? Are kids today less racist than kids from the previous decade? Or rather, have 21st Century kids grown up in more tolerant, liberal times? Have attitudes about race shifted so severely in the last 10 years that kids think of skin color as just a mere afterthought? How have they been influenced by the election of a Black president?

My thing is, how reliable are kids anyway when it comes to measuring attitudes about social constructs, like race? Racism and prejudice are not inherent; nobody's born racist. Intolerance is something you have to be taught - by your parents, society, schools, etc. As a kid, I lived in a large apartment complex and played with a multi-racial crew of children. Save the fact that I spoke a different language from them, I never thought of them as different from me.

So while I think it is awesome that these kids seem unaffected by race (save the fact that they have noticed that there are a rainbow of skin colors in the world), I'm not going to jump to any conclusions. I'd like to see Robin and Diane have another convo with these kids in about 10 years. And if they maintain the attitudes they displayed as children, then I'd say we're on our way to achieving the post-racial America dream.

One thing I will say is that there has been a noticeable change in power dynamics in the last 20 years. Those kids are perceptive; Oprah and Will Smith are two of the most powerful people in the world. And how cool is it that they consider Michelle Obama to be one of the most beautiful women in the world?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Does This Make Me a Hypocrite?


Tonight, I submitted my application to Playboy Industries. Not for a modeling gig, duh! It's for an editorial researcher position at the magazine.


I honestly have no idea what that position would entail. Calling up the Playmate of the Month to verify her sexual history? Fact checking pervy letters? If nothing else this'll be interesting.


In light of last week's feminist rant, this submission may seem a bit hypocritical. Hef might have been a part of the sexual revolution but, he did not give women the power to liberate themselves. Sexuality can be empowering, don't get me wrong. But from what I've seen and read, Playboy also exploits some really dumb women.


I could see that in the long run, spending my whole work week pouring over the misogynistic contents of the magazine could end up somewhat mentally damaging. Not to mention doing a number on my self esteem. But hey, I need the work.


And you know, Gloria Steinem, the face of American feminism, worked for Hef at one time. And she did it wearing a bunny costume. What's good enough for her is good enough for me.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Put Them Women Back in Their Place


As a former journalism student, the more I read about the recession, the more disgusted I am. I realize that in this field we need to report the most topical, current news. My problem isn't with what this news is but, what information is actually considered news.

Recessionomics is the new buzz word. It's all over the Net. And with a few simple tips, we hyperconsumers can learn to be recessionistas (there's no word for men cuz ya know, they always knew how to spend their money wisely). Buy generic! It's cheaper! What a shocker. Skip the Starbucks; brew at home. It's cheaper! Really?!

Well here's a new one. I hope you are as appalled as I am: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/New-job-for-laidoff-moms-apf-14597194.html. The recession allows women to be mommies again. Isn't that great? Being all career-driven obviously prevented women from carrying out their female duties. Having and taking care of babies. Making dinner. Cleaning the house. I just feel like this article takes the most extreme example of a woman who was unable to balance work life with family life. It definitely is a struggle to be a working mom. And there are a lot of sacrifices to be made. But there is such a thing as career satisfaction. And having a life independent of your kids.

So now that so many people are getting laid off, apparently women finally have the chance to focus on the private sphere. What did they think they were doing in the workforce anyway? That should put them in their place. Serves them right for thinking they were equal with men. Maybe they'll like staying at home so much that they'll decide not to re-enter the job pool. And then there will be enough jobs for the men out there. And they can regain their machismo by being the sole breadwinner for the family. No more unemployment! We can return to the post-WWII time, when jobs were ample for men, women were pushed out of the labor force, we weren't so dependent on credit, and things were just peachy keen.
Sorry for the rant guys. It's just, I expect more from my fellow writers.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Wack-est Name Ever


Read this story. It will make you feel good:

http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/40874017.html

Poor woman. This Beloit, Wisc. native (of course) was born with the legal name Marijuana Pepsi. It's like the fates played a cruel, cruel joke on her.

In an earlier posting, Cris posted about how ridiculous some adjective Malu names can come off sounding to those who aren't Malu. And maybe to those who are too. But honestly, in comparison to the name Marijuana, nobody should feel ashamed to wear a name tag that reads Shiny, Pinky, or Gifty.

Now, Marijuana has some balls. I love that she didn't try to make her name appear more proper by changing her name to Mary Jane. I mean, this woman refused to compromise. Because the principle of the matter is, no one should be judged by their name. People with non-typical names are always going to be judged by society but, that doesn't mean it's right.

Now even though this article is all about exploiting her name, there's redemption in the fact that this woman didn't allow her name to hold her back. I can't count the number of times I've had to get into conversations over ethnic names. Or how many times I've been told that ethnic (usually "black") names can hold a person back in life. Keep them from getting jobs, promotions, etc. Because I read this article on the Chicago Tribune site, I was saddened to see that she was black when I got to the original article. I'm not saying that there's a correlation between her name and her race. That's just a coincidence that has resulted in a dual-burden for her advancement.

I know a lot of Indian people in my parents' generation who've taken on Caucasian-sounding names because they don't believe they can succeed in the business world with an unpronounceable name. One couple I know now goes by Ken and Barbie. And also, look about Bobby Jindal. I know he converted but did he really need to get rid of his Indian name?

This woman rose above arguably the worst name ever. She attended institutes of higher learning. She has a respectable job. Tyra Banks had a show a while back on which she asserted that people with over-the-top non-white-sounding names would be unlikely candidates for a job. Way to be stereotypical. All I can say is, in your face Tyra!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Survey: "German twenty-somethings prefer Internet to partner"


I love Gmail because it gives me such entertaining headlines like the one above as check my inboxx.


When asked whether they would give-up internet access and cell phones for their current partner, industry surveyers in Hanover, Germany found that 84% of young adults said hell to the naw to that proposition.


Is it sad that I would choose the same thing too? As revealing as this survey is about the times we live in, I don't necessarily think that this is a shocking piece of news.


Can you imagine your life without internet? Now can you imagine your life without your current partner? Odds are that you snatched that special someone with the help of Facebook/Friendster/MySpace/Shaadi.com (o it's okay to admit this). Real human connections are an important part of our lives but now the computer plays such an integral role forming that connection.


Like the industry president said, "the Web creates real relationships and does not result in autism and dehumanization."


Relationships forged online do not make them less genuine than ones formed the "old-fashioned" way. Technology changes how we interact with our surroundings. It's not that younger people are willing to live without companionship, but we've been brought up in a time where without the Net, we can just become plain ignorant and disconnected from the goings-on in the world.


But can the internet replace an actual partner? Not in terms of physically, but can a computer provide emotional comfort, companionship and acceptance in the place of an actual human being? I think it can to a certain degree. Of course one is connecting with other entities online so it's not all robotic/impersonal. Hmm something to ponder over, I suppose.


The study also noted that those surveyed would still rather make-out with an actual human than their computer anyday. Okay, I may have added that tidbit.



-Cris


Monday, March 2, 2009

Beyonce's new single: I'm a I'm a aaaa-nnoying!

Beyonce wearing an ancient Japanese torture device on the set of the "Diva" music video

I don't enjoy bashing music. I really do love music, truly madly deeply. However, I think Beyonce is one of the most annoying performers of our generation (i.e. Single Ladies, the pink panther song: Check on it).

The girls got pipes and looks and moves BUT she always settles for catchy, highpitched anthems and dances in unflattering unitards.

After her marriage to Jay Hizzle, I really thought she was a changed woman. I was diggin' "If I Were a Boy." It was a refreshing, raw, beautiful, simple...something that I haven't heard from Beyonce yet.

Then "Diva" comes along and changes errthing. Lyrics below

(sung by dwarves)
I'm a I'm a a diva hey
I'm a I'm a a diva hey

diva is a female version of a hustlah
of a of a hustlah
diva is a female version of a hustlah
of a of a hustlah


So profound, Beyonce. Her style has digressed about a decade with this song back to the Destiny's Child days.
A few quibbles, if I may:

A. Beyonce is not a hustlah, is just ridiculously wealthy. She has a pretty clean record tooo...no mugshots, arrests. Pretty wholesome actually.

B. Diva is NOT a female version of a hustla, of a, of a hustla. Diva is more like drama queen while hustlers are pretty much crackheads (thanks, Melvin!). Girls can be hustlas and guys can be divas, too. Mrs. Jay Hizzle, please do not equate the two and miseducate an entire generation into thinking that these words are alike
C. Bring back that classy lady that sung at the Inauguration. Bitch, Puh-lease?

Beyonce being classy and fierce at the Inauguration.

-Cris-izzle


Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Pussycat Dolls? Porque, Mr. Rahman, porque???

So apparently I'm going to run on this Slumdog train for as long as possible.
I was listening to B96 the other day (ya know, the Chicago station that play hits for hiphop and r&b), and I hear the Pussycat Dolls and AH Rahman's remixxed version of the Grammy Winning song from Slumdog Millionaire, "Jai Ho."

Now I heard that Ryan Seacrest just played it on air for the heck of it on Kiss FM but it has caught on with other radio stations and B96 is actually playing it in their lineup right after a Lil' Wayne number. Serious biiiitch please moment right there. I dunno...I find it a little odd. The original is aiiiight but with the flighty vocals of the PCDs, it sounds like the lyrics are just on repeat for the entire song.

I personally can be content never hearing "Jai Ho" in my lifetime again....it's that kind of annoying. O well, for your listening pleasure or displeasure...YOU DECIDE:

Thursday, February 26, 2009

So So Phunny...

For those of us who enjoy some politics along with our shameless MTV reality show.

Please enjoy the lastest spinoff, 'The District.'

No over extended shots of characters sipping on their expressos whilst revealing the depths of their souls here!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Oscars recap, part deux



I know there're probably a million things out there written about the Oscars. But I can't resist; I have to add my two bits.

Unlike Cris, I'm a devout award show watcher. I especially love the Oscars because well, I love movies, inane celebrity banter, and the Red Carpet fashion show.

So here are my notes from the show.

Host Hugh Jackman: Because I have the mentality of a middle schooler, his name makes giggle. In fact, the name Hugh in general just sounds strange to me. My mother put on the Barbwa Walters special before hand, and I have to say, I was traumatized by the lap dance he gave her.

Penelope: I just saw Vicky Christina and was underwhelmed. But I was pleased that with my elementary understanding of Spanish, I could translate her speech to my family.

Dustin Lance Black: Awesome name first off. The winner of the screenwriting award gave the best speech of the night. Lovvved his personal anecdote and his advice to gay and lesbian teens. The fact that he was so young was hopeful as well.

Ben Stiller as Joaquin Phoenix (whoa that is a hard name to spell): Hilarious. I wish the whole event was on that level.

The musical number: was wack. I love a good song and dance but, this was certainly not one. Beyonce usually looks hot but, last night, something was off. I think it was the garish red leotard. The dancing coulda been better. Singing coulda been better. There coulda been better performers. And what's with the hack editing job? As soon as I recognized the song that was playing, it would change.

Presentations by former winners: Not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, we got those heartfelt odes to all the nominees. On the hand, not all of the mini-speeches were so heartfelt. We also got to witness most of the actresses turn to mush during their tributes. But I like watching clips. And some of the people they choose - Cuba Gooding Jr. (one almost forgets he has an Oscar after watching Snow Dogs or Boat Trip) - were questionable.

Heidi Klum and Seal: Why were they there? More importantly, why we're their seats in the front when the techies and the short film people were relegated to the nosebleeds, making for a long and awkward march to the podium.

Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto: At first I was confused. Did the animation short winner just end on an 80s song quote? But now I realize, that phrase truly is all the Japanese we Americans understand.

James Franco: is hot. And so was the Pineapple Express spoof. I especially enjoyed the trippyness of his character watching his Milk character make out with Sean Penn.

Heath Ledger win: Who didn't see this one coming? It was definitely emotional but I had to wonder if those were real tears welling up in Brad and Angie's eyes.

Slumdog: Sunday night was all about the brown invasion. I kept wondering if (in the spirit of the Brangelina cut over during Aniston's speech) the camera would cut over to previous Indian-descent Oscar winner Ben Kingsley. But no such shameless ploys. It was especially gratifying to see the little film that could take the biggest prize of the year. My belief is that the movie banked on the message of hope, which being America's slogan of the year, clinched the win.


Overall, the show was extremely predictable. I'm happy everyone who I thought deserved an award walked away with a statuette but at the same time, I love a good upset. The fashions were OK. A lot of the origami-style dresses went down the Red Carpet. But that's for another discussion.

One thing's for sure, there was a total Asian domination. Which is cool. Last year was all about the Euros with actors from European nations taking all the big awards. Who knows, maybe next year there'll be an African takeover! One can dream.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Jai Ho Indeed!

the cast & a crew of slumdog accepting the award (photo: people.com)

No surprise here. After sweeping practically every major film award prize, Slumdog Millionaire took home the most covetted of them all: the 81st Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science's Best Picture award.

Usually I don't watch award ceremonies from beginning to end, but this year it seemed like the award show was different. It was refreshing to behold a "browner" red carpet. The entire cast, from the child actors who were born into the slums of Mumbai to Bollywood superstars, created this energy everywhere they went.

Since Bitch, Please! has South Indian roots, I think I can speak for both De and I when I say that we are especially proud of A.H. Rahman's nominations and win. This guy, along with every other composer, is a genius. But honestly working in India's film industry which not only puts out more films per year than any other nation in the world and composing original scores which has the greatest impact on the country's musical culture is nothing short of amazing. And the guy sings too! It's great to see how intertwined music and film is in Indian culture...music simply does not provide a backdrop to a plot but is written into the plot. In Slumdog you can tell how the music was part of the story...and I have no doubt in my mind that Rahman's victory was well deserved.

I do wish I live-blogged during the ceremony. You know there are only two reasons to see the Oscars...1) to see the extravagant dresses and 2) to see who won and the reactions of those who lost...in that order exactly. If I did live-blog, this is what I would have taken note of.

Sarah Jessica Parker's, Miley Cyrus' dresses: I wanted to slap both of them. First of all...why are you guys even there? Honestly, I hate these ostentatious dresses, they look ridiculous and out of place. Ya guys should have been on top of a wedding cake.

Hugh Jackman and Beyonce's "Musical" Performance: Musicals are back!....o wait, Beyonce just killed the musical.

Zack Efron pronouncing Rahman as RAHKMAN: Really, Efron I know you thought you sounded cool if you ethnicized his last name but you were wrong the first time and also the fifth time.

James Franco and Seth Rogan: Genius! with the perfect touch of homoerotic awkwardness.

Angelina and Brad's faces when Jen Aniston presented: you could totally tell they were putting on happy faces for the cameras. But seriously if I were Ang, I would be happy too. Brad Pitt versus John Mayer?? O goodness nooo contest!

Danny Boyle: an Oompa Loompa disguised as a tall human?

Slumdog Millionaire: still confused as to why this film isn't considered a foreign film...o well, JAI HO!

-Cris

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Post-racial America?

(courtesy of the http://www.nypost.com/)

For those of who haven't seen the now infamous Post cartoon widely speculated to be caricaturing Obama.

Racist? Harmless? What do you think?

This reminds of the LeBron James/King Kong controversy last year. Need a refresher? Here's a post from my personal blog that touches on it: http://divya-amladi.blogspot.com/search?q=king+kong.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

He's Just Not That Intelligent



Riding in on the coattails of He's Just Not That Into You comes Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man from relationship expert ... Steve Harvey. Steve Harvey of the same-named TV show that's on reruns on TBS? Yes, that's the one.

I caught him promoting his new book on the Today Show as I was getting ready for work this morning. And not only was his segment insulting but, it made me wonder what the deal is with this recent trend of men needing to give women advice for being such failures at pleasing men. Where'd this niche grow from? And what makes Steve Harvey think he understands women? Why is it men are so great at reading women and women so terrible at interpreting men, at least according to all these relationship books?

I'll tell you what, all this guidance really just sounds like reinforcement of patriarchal gender norms. Men telling women how they ought to behave. Harvey went so far as to tell Meredith, host of the Today Show, that women belong at home. Act like a lady, that's how you keep a man, he said. Don't try to be all independent. Well some women enjoy being independent, having a job, making their own money, building a career, Meredith protested. Harvey went so far as to ask her if that's what women really want, wouldn't they rather have a man take care of them? Needless to say, she was annoyed. As was I. Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought we were living in '09, not 1949.

If some men are threatened by an independent woman, that's their drama. Maybe they need to work on their self-confidence. Read a couple self-help books.
-De

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Majority Rules

(Frederick Douglass courtesy pbs.org)


By now, we're squarely in the middle of Black History Month. It's pretty much impossible not to know that it's Black History Month because everywhere you look, this fact is pressed upon us. We've got commercials featuring famous Black people and famous events in African-American history. We're reminded of monumental struggles in the Civil Rights Movement. Certainly every publication out there has published a dozen articles on how far we've come now that Obama's our president.

Classrooms are adorned with posters of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and Frederick Douglass. We learn about the contributions of Black inventors. If George Washington Carver hadn't concocted peanut butter, I'm pretty sure I would have been protein deprived as a child. By far, my favorite thing about this month is the awkward very-special programming on TV all month. Nothing's more educational than an episode of That's So Raven where young Cory learns to appreciate the struggle of his people by favoring a meal of cornbread and collard greens instead of pizza. You may also have noticed that movies featuring actors like Taye Diggs and Morris Chestnut have been added to this month's schedules on Lifetime, TBS, and TNT.


(completely gratuitous photo of Taye Diggs looking fine)

Now, there're two ways to look at this month-long celebration. First there are those who say it's bogus to dedicate just one month to Black History. We should be celebrating it all the time, as a part of our history. Calling it out makes it seem less important than say, the European history of America. I totally get that. But at the same time, without Black History Month, I doubt I would have learned about people like W.E.B. Du Bois until I hit college (and even then, I pretty much only was taught his theories in college).

This country was colonized by Western Europeans. And they're still the majority in this country. I get that most textbooks are written from that point of view. But with such an ethnocentric curriculum, we miss out on so much information. All throughout my RPS 205 education, I remember wanting to discuss the chapters at the end of the textbook about non Western history. And about "modern" history, you know the civil rights of various minority groups in America. But we never got to that far.

This is not a unique dilemma. It's the same with every non-majority group. We get a little bit of Women's History with the suffragettes and whatnot. But it wasn't until college that I learned about Native American History, Asian-American History, and to an extent, Latin-American History. And I felt that I had really missed out.

Honestly, the day we stop hyphenating and America accepts its shared history, things will be awesome. But until then maybe we do need to celebrate the unique history of certain groups in America. We just need to make it seem less awkward and forced and start integrating it into our everyday.
-De

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Lesson on Culture: Malu Names, part 1


Bitch, please! thinks it will be interesting to start a series of "lessons" where we explore cultural nuances not just for our own entertainment, but for the good of the entire population.

Some of you may know an Indian person whose name sounds like two first names or whose moniker is pretty much an adjective (see list below). For all you non-malus (short form for Malayalee people from Kerala, India—a pretty sweet place. You should check it out), I just want to elaborate on a particular phenomena of naming children after adjectives or made-up adjectives.

i.e. Blessy, Gifty, Shiney, Happy, Godly, Jolly, Boney, Lovely and soo much more!

Taking these names seriously can be quite disconcerting for the layperson (a person who is not familiar with Malu behavior/traditions). Imagine a teacher looking at a roll sheet and seeing names such as Thomas John or Godly Philip...they not only won’t be able to figure out where that person originated from but they couldn't even tell what their parents were high on when they decided to procreate. Sure, it’s easy to spot out the children of hippies. They have names like River and Liberty and Moon. Malu parents just sound like a bunch of clergy on happy pills.

I think I may have a partial explanation. Malu people have quite flashy names. In fact we just love flashy things in general: like 22K (14k is for pansies) necklaces and shiny, gold plated Seiko wristwatches. We love adorning our sons’ rooms with floral pink bedsheets; We love braiding our hair only to unbraid it and tease it so that it is more voluminous and frizzy; We love decking out our living rooms with Victorian style sofas (with plastic protective covering). Calling your daughter Shiney seems only natural, no?

When Malu parents discovered the English language, they had a field day. It’s kind of like when Americans found out about yoga or sushi...they went nuts and adopted it into their everyday lives. In our case, Malu parents found words...nouns or adjectives that they thought sounded cool and added Y’s to them. Being the superstitious people they are, these parents probably hoped that their children would assume their names as character traits. Goodness, imagine the pressure that a guy name Godly faces every day.

So the next time you meet an Indian man named Jose (pronounced JOESS) or are introduced to an ugly lady named Lovely, don’t be quick to judge. It isn’t necessarily their fault that they decided to keep their names and not change it the first moment they could. Sure we may show them some pity once in a while or snicker behind their backs. But to all you Boneys and Jollys and Godlys out there, I just wanted to say that we at Bitch, Please! understand.

-Cris