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:

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 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 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!


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Post-racial America?

(courtesy of the

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:

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.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Majority Rules

(Frederick Douglass courtesy

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.

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.


Monday, February 9, 2009

He's Just Not That Into You...Kinda

This past weekend a couple of girlfriends and I watched the latest Romantic Comedy out in theatres. He's Just Not That Into You is based on the namesake self-help book written by Greg Behrendt aimed to help us females understand a bit about the male psyche when it comes to dating and relationships.
Some points of the movie were right on and quite funny. Others had potential but fizzled into
nothingness. The first scene shows a group of young children running about in a playground. While a sweet young girl is playing in the sandbox, a snotty boy comes up to her and says something to the effect of: "You smell like a dead cat!."

Clearly traumatized, the girl runs to her mom, tears running down her cheeks. Her mom simply says that the boy was acting like a jerk to her because he liked her!

That was a tada! moment... Girls are conditioned early on to accept boys' jerkfaceness as a sign that they like them. Do any guys remember acting like a complete a$$ hole to a girl because they liked them? I mean, is this a lie that has spread throughout the generations to makes us girls feel better about ourselves? Is this why we're attracted to guys who are a$$holes...because of some lie that we were told as young girls? Because I remember a guy that asked me out in first grade (i know!) was sweet as a pie to me. (I later felt nausceous and was crying all the way home on the bus after the incident...but that's another story :P ).

Another point made throughout the film was that if a guy is interested in you, he will make it known and act on it. For example, Girls tend to read way to much into the actions and words of the opposite sex. We put all the details togethor and we swear deep in our hearts that the boy must like us. But then why isn't he calling or making a move?? Then girls rationalize the guy's actions with the help of our best friends....maybe he's tooo shy....or he's intimidated by our success....or that he's really busy...yadayadayada. The point is that us girls just can't get to the point. Maybe the reason he didn't call is because, well, he's just not that into us. Instead accepting that idea , we find ways to "skirt" around it.

However, I refuse to accept that boys are as simple as that.

Yet another topic broached in the film is that females like the idea of "changing" a guy and making him a better person. We believe that once he likes us, we have the power to change his habits....that we will be the exception to the rule and be unlike any other girl he has met. However, Justin Long's character, Alex stresses to Ginnifer Goodwin's character Gigi, that we are always always the rule, not the exception....even though we'd like to believe we are otherwise. Jennifer Aniston's character desparately wants to get married to her boyfriend of seven years, but he refuses the idea of marriage even though he's willing to stay committed to her. Although Aniston may know of a couple who finally got hitched after several years of dating, those people are the exception to the rule. Simply put, Aniston shouldn't get her hopes up and try to change her man...because it's never going to happen. How reassuring, no? Although we can save ourselves from a world of hurt if we realized this early on in a relationship...

Of course, there are alot of flaws in the film's noncohesive plot. Goodwin's portrayal as a uberpsychotic, exaggerated, and obsessed female seems to paint all women as neurotic. (Almost) all the characters get a happy ending. And most of the advice that Alex doles out gets thrown out of the window in the end. Nevertheless, I felt that the points mentioned above were interesting enough to share.

Any guys out there willing to share some more "he's just not that into you" words of wisdom to us neurotic, obsessed females?


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Let's Do the Time Warp Again

I don't know what it is about banks but, when it comes to fashion, they seem to be stuck in the 1950s. This memo from the Bank of England's been circulating on the Net:

What's sad is that it is oddly familiar to me. First, one of my coworkers was called out by our customers because her pregnancy has left her rather well endowed in the cleav area. So we were all reprimanded and given a note dictating proper business attire.

We are not to wear casual clothes. In fact, tellers are encouraged to wear suits or blazers and skirts. To which I say, they must be smoking something. If you expect me to dress like a banker, you best pay me like one. Anndd we're required to wear panty hose at all times. Even if we never wear skirts. I never hosed it up til it got cold out. And even then, I'm usually wearing colored tights and knee socks. It's my secret rebellion.

And when we were taken over by PNC, we got a new set of dress guidelines. This one says, no piercings allowed except for one set on the ear. And only for women. I'm sorry, why are you policing double piercings. Whatevs, I'm keeping my nose ring. And if anyone asks, I'm claiming its a religious symbol. Cuz that's the only exception to the guidelines. And I will totally use the fact that no one here knows anything about Hinduism.

We can't dye our hair any unnatural colors (whose to say what those are?), we can't wear heels over a certain height, blah blah, the list goes on.

The way we choose to dress, whether we realize it or not, says something about our personality. Even our lack of creativity is an expression of who we are. So to deem certain things acceptable and others non-acceptable (really, why is is not acceptable to have your hair a certain way or not wear noticeable make-up?) is going a bit too far. Yes, you should dress up when you go to work. But I don't believe women should be made into gender norm robots.

- De

Friday, February 6, 2009

We Can Do Anything Boys Can Do Better

Just a quick complaint.
With the current trend of dance shows, I've noticed an undercurrent of sexism. I don't know if you guys have noticed it too, but it's really getting on my nerves.

Watching America's Best Dance Crew (ABDC) last night, I noticed that the majority of compliments the girl crews received pertained to their looks, not their talent. There's a b-girl crew featured, and that group has received high praise for their ability to mimic boys when dancing. Apparently, the best compliment a girl can receive is to be told she looks like a boy!

I understand that hip-hop dancing is usually associated with men. That women are naturally more soft looking than men because of our curves. But that doesn't mean we can't dance just as good as they can, hit our moves just as hard. The Beat Freaks crew is not an exception, they just provide an example of how well women can perform, popping and breaking, when given the chance.

The other girl group has been constantly criticized for emulating cheerleaders. How can Americans take them seriously when the judges view them as sexual objects? Though they won the dance-off last night, apparently, that had nothing to do with their skill. They were just beautiful to watch. Sexy. Pretty. Talented? Maybe.
And this isn't just a hip-hop thing. This parallel between beauty and talent was constantly emphasized on Superstars of Dance. The female soloists seemed to valued merely for their looks. No matter how well they executed their routines, the panel couldn't past how hot the women were. Sample scoring: "You are gorgeous. 9." That's nice but, if I were a dancer, I'd be insulted. Tell me my showing was stunning instead.

Listen, we know we're hot. Grade us on our dance ability instead.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

And Another Thing

(Because there are no published pics of the octs, here's a photo of the large team that was needed to deliver the babies.)

So, it's a week later and the media buzz around the octuplets has not faded.

I can't help but wonder, would things be different if the mother wasn't a woman of color? I asked my mother this question rhetorically, but she replied of course, media treatment has always differed for minorities.

I know that if all these babies survive it would be a first for octuplets. And that is a media-worthy event.

But, recalling other cases of multiple births, I feel as though the media has always hailed the mothers as some sort of heroes and spoken of the babies' survival as a miracle.

Now all of a sudden, this mother is an over-zealous baby-making machine. I can't exactly sympathize with her, but then I'm not very maternal and I never really can sympathize with mothers with multiples.

There are certainly other factors, the fact that she has no husband (they're going through a divorce and he's not the children's biological father), the fact that she has six other kids under the age of 10, and the fact that her father had to return to Iraq to make some money for the family.

No question this woman would get media attention regardless of her ethnic background but, are perceptions colored by her Iraqi ancestry? Women of color tend to receive more scrutiny in the news, especially Middle Eastern women. This could be a female version of the harem treatment. Opinions anyone?