I kid you not. THIS IS HUGE.
Live Action went undercover recently disguised as a pimp and his prostitute in order to investigate just how “indiscriminate” abortion empire Planned Parenthood could be. My gosh, I guess it really does help poor souls no matter their age/circumstance:
Not only do we have an employee clearly telling the “pimp” how to get his “girls” checked out, but she doesn’t even blink an eye when told the age of these fictional girls. This is proof that not only will Planned Parenthood help pimps run their harmless businesses, but that it will even help out with child prostitution, no questions asked (thank our lucky stars for the absence of parental consent!). And as a bonus, these prostitutes are brought into the U.S. illegally! (Also not a problem, by the way.)
I hear the distant rumble of lame defensive arguments. So I shall address them now: there is no possible way that this video is simply a result of clever editing. The questions are clearly asked. The employee very clearly answers each question. You actually see her very clearly answering each question. Lip movements match the words. There is an almost complete absence of cutaways.
This is simply clear, undeniable proof of this clinic assisting in one of society’s–nay, one of the world’s–greatest evils. Plus helping out with illegal child prostitutes, of course. And this is what approximately $300 million tax dollars go toward every year.
What is unclear is whether the media will pick up on this story or whether it will simply stay silent. Perhaps once the news out of Egypt begins to slow down this it will get the attention it deserves. If not, don’t underestimate the power of the free web.~
A bit of controversy was stirred when a teen from Martinsville, Indiana performed a very Whitney-Houston-ized version of The Star-Spangled Banner before a game at Bloomington High School North. Take a look at the rendition here:
While I don’t think the first half starts out too badly, the second half certainly drowns itself in fancy ’90s pop star-style runs. This seems to be a case of style over substance–which should never be the case when it comes to the national anthem, in my opinion.
After hearing complaints, the school told the girl to start singing the anthem in the traditional way. End of story, right? Well, no. And guess why! Her family has decided to counter-complain, believing that the ruckus was caused by…drumroll please…you guessed it, RACISM!!!1. Take a look at the details here.
You see, it didn’t matter that the girl’s Christina Aguilera version was more distracting than uplifting. People apparently didn’t like it because apparently it was “too black”. At least that’s what her family believes: “The national anthem is a historical symbol for our country for independence. The irony is that Shai is being denied her right of artistic expression as a result of her natural voice and cultural heritage.” I didn’t know that singing lots of runs like pop stars did in the ’90s was considered a part of cultural heritage. Nor did I realize that people’s voices sometimes do that naturally (that must get awkward). Nor did I further realize that only African-Americans sing like that (and here I mentioned Christina Aguilera–what a rogue and peasant slave am I!)
BUT MAYBE THAT’S JUST ME.
Here’s the deal–the national anthem is a solemn, inspiring song that’s meant to be sung with respect. It should be sung to the best of a person’s ability, but not used merely as a vehicle to show off the person’s voice. The national anthem is bigger than that. It is more important than that. And people like Shai and her family should take off their RACISM!!!1 glasses and try to realize that .~
I don’t care what some of those feminists say. I love Barbies.
When I was just a wee youngling I owned about thirty Barbies. I loved them because you could brush and style their hair, change their clothes, and because they were…pretty. That’s right, a little girl thought Barbies were pretty. The heart, it palpitates! According to the leading feminist lore (which seems to have started once the first owners of the dolls grew up and their metabolisms slowed down), this means that by now I should have developed all kinds of self-esteem problems stemming from the first moment I held up a Barbie, noticed its slim little waist and big doe eyes, and thought Gee, this is what I want to look like one day or else I will be sad.
Funny thing is, this never happened to me. At that tender age, the thought of comparing my body to anyone else’s–let alone a doll’s–had never occurred to me. And a Barbie was certainly never an image of “the woman I wanted to grow up to be”–it was a Barbie. Its figure, its proportions, its tippy-toe feet–it looked that way because that’s what Barbie dolls looked like. The line between “reality” and “doll” was quite clear. It was that simple.
Nevertheless, some feminists are positive that their personal insecurities about weight/height/noses/leg length/non-pointed-feet-ness all stemmed from those innocuous dolls that they played with as girls, and they are determined that their own daughters be saved from a similar fate. There’s little doubt that soon they’ll be saying that Bratz dolls are evil because they encourage girls to desire humongous feet and bulbous heads.
One of these women is a talented and well-meaning yet morbidly obsessed artiste, Daena Title, whose latest exhibition is entitled “Drown the Dolls.” It is a series of paintings and photographs depicting smiling Barbies being held underwater, rendered in touchingly realistic detail.
“I remember playing with these Barbies and being very uncomfortable,” Title earnesly explains. “…They were smiling and sleek and smooth and naked, and you could do whatever you wanted to them and they were just silent and submissive.” Good heavens, what sort of imagination did the young Daena have? And didn’t she put clothes on the poor things? “I remember thinking, ‘…is this what’s on the other side of girlhood for me? Am I going to transform into this? Because I really don’t want to.'”
I’m thinking that these memories might have become slightly tainted by Title’s adult outlook, but that could be just me. I understand what it supposed to be the cathartic nature of this exhibit. But in any case, a whole series of artistic pieces devoted entirely to images of drowning Barbies seems less cathartic and more…creepy, wouldn’t you think? Not to mention the strange undertones of serial violence underlying the images. Barbie after Barbie, shown placidly floating below a rippling surface. Blonde hair drifting about frozen smiles. Honestly, Title, they’re only dolls.
This whole “Barbie Must Die” movement is more indicative of the insecurities of the women themselves than of any real threat posed by Barbies. In a very bitter and angry opinion piece published by the New York Times back in ’94 (the arguments haven’t changed much), a woman relates the following conversation between her and her daughter: “‘Mama, why can’t I have Barbie?’ ‘Because I hate Barbie. [Note: Notice how the woman says, "I hate Barbie." This is not about her daughter, it's about her.] She gives little girls the message that the only thing that’s important is being tall and thin and having a big chest and lots of clothes. She’s a terrible role model.’ ‘Oh Mama, don’t be silly. She’s just a toy.'”
From the mouths of babes: “Don’t be silly, she’s just a toy.” Sadly, this is not the moment when the woman realized that she was hoisting her personal insecurities onto a doll and that her young daughter was remarkably clear-headed and unaffected by the message the doll was supposedly giving her. This is not where she decides to rethink her whole animosity toward a piece of molded plastic and thank her lucky stars that her kid was thinking like a real kid should. No, this was the jumping-off point to the rest of the article that essentially blames Barbie for girls’ bad body images. And now for my slow head shake of disbelief.
What women like these and artistes like Title need to realize is when they say that Barbies makes girls feel bad about their bodies, they are only announcing to the world that they themselves feel bad about their bodies. I can’t believe that I was an exception to the rule when, as a young girl, I assumed that Barbies were Barbies, not prototypes of the young bombshell I was supposed to become. The latter idea simply never entered my youthful mind. How many girls have become convinced by bitter adult women that these pretty dolls with brushable hair were, in fact, harming their body images? How many of them would never have come to that conclusion had the bitter adult women not brought them to it?
I suppose we’ll never know. But I do know one thing: Barbie dolls are still one of the most popular toys in the world, and somehow there are still happy, well-adjusted little girls out there who do not pine about “body image.” Rather, they play, as little girls should. I say, keep the pretty dolls with brushable hair. The kids are all right.~
I did not see the televised speech Obama gave at the memorial service for the six people gunned down in Arizona, but my dad did, and the first thing he said to me about it was, “I just don’t get it. Here this memorial service is supposed to be about the shooting victims, and everyone’s making it sound like it’s all about Obama’s speech. I just don’t get it.”
That’s right–what was supposed to be a respectful service in memory of six innocent people got turned into a star turn for Obama. My dad isn’t the only person who noticed. Apparently the media and the White House staff have decided to toss aside sensitivity and–you’ll never guess–focus on making Obama look good (you gotta be kiddin’ me!) Do the people in charge of Obama’s PR really think no one will find this inappropriate?
At least the speech itself was, according to all reports, quite good and appropriate for the occasion. This wasn’t the only time Obama has had to deliver a speech in regards to a shooting disaster, and the last time it went embarassingly awry. Some of you may recall that a few hours after the Ft. Hood shooting Obama also took to the airwaves–and started it by thanking staffers and even giving a “shout-out.” It was jarringly inappropriate.
This prompted an article on nbcchicago.com deploring Obama’s seeming disconnection with the solemnity of the occasion. That’s right, even NBC was able to see that. Why couldn’t Obama? That went far beyond scoring political points. I’m still scratching my head.
This time, at least, he did not give any shout-outs. Still, the memorial service was not supposed to be focused so much on him (and yes, I know he’s the president and all) but on the victims. This is why I think that this spotlight on Obama will probably not become the most praiseworthy thing about his legacy. And yes, the speech was good.~
Is there anything significant about today other than the numbers in its date? Not really. Unless, obviously, you count Theodora being crowned Empress of the Byzantine Empire in 1055 (duh!). But other than that? Not so much. Do we care? Of course not! For today is a day beloved by number geeks and trivia nerds for having one of those rare and cool-looking configurations of matching numbers. The next time we see matching numbers in a date will be on 12/12/12. Savor this, folks, because none of us will be around in 2111 to see this again (not to be a downer, but hey, it’s true!).
So once more, happy 1/11/11!! Make a note in your diary!~
Alright, looks like we finally have it confirmed–the Riddler will NOT be in Nolan’s next Batman movie. This according to his latest interview. And the official title for Batman 3 is…drumroll…
The Dark Knight Rises
This is the title that will be burned into my fangirl memory for all time.
Interestingly, the Riddler will NOT be the next villain (contrary to a great deal of popular rumor). So now I really don’t have a clue who it will be. Hmm…it will be filmed in New Orleans…hmm…uh-oh…please no, not Harley Quinn!!
The thing I don’t like about Harley Quinn is that she was kind of the Joker’s girlfriend. And in the Nolan universe, the Joker has no backstory, which added to the mystery and frightfulness of the character. Having a “girlfriend” come into the picture would screw that up. NO NO Nolan, no Harley Quinn, PLEASE!
What do you think of the title? And who do you think this elusive new villain will be? Disagree with me about Harley Quinn? Let me know!~
While idily browsing music review sites hoping to discover some new indie bands to get hooked on, I noticed some sites have been making lists of their favorite albums from the past decade (I guess they’re starting early). While I enjoyed trying to understand the music review lingo in these lists (please, what are alt-stab-synths?), I found myself being more drawn to the images of the album covers. Some covers are standard–most are just bizarre–and some really stand out. And I thought: there are quite a few album covers that everyone agrees are iconic, like the Abbey Road cover and that darn prism on Dark Side of the Moon. So what recent album covers–released in the past 15 years or so–could become iconic?
Now, I’m not too bad at predictions. When the hype for Glee first began, I remember watching the first commercial and thinking, “That’ll be a cult hit.” Pardon me as I take my bows.
So here is my list of one-day-to-be-iconic album covers, in no particular order. These are covers whose images are destined to be blown up, put in square poster frames and hung on the walls of used record stores in the distant future. Covers that will adorn the retro bookbags of our children’s children. Covers that just might stick around. I’ve tried to make my choices based not just on personal taste but on how much the covers “stand out.”
1. “In The Aeroplane Over The Sea,” Neutral Milk Hotel
To be fair, this album cover is already well on its way to becoming iconic. But I really couldn’t make a list of great covers without it. I’m a sucker for vintage images, and this is a great one–beautiful colors, charmingly rendered turn-of-the-century bathers, original stains from wear, and the surrealistic addition of what appears to be either a slice of potato or a drum in place of the lady’s head (yes, pretty sure it’s a drum). The latter is incorporated into the picture so well that at first glance I thought it was a painting done by a Magritte fan. A fantastic complement to the quirky, carnival-edged rock of Neutral Milk Hotel.
2. “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix,” Phoenix
In all honesty, I don’t think this album is the greatest. “Lisztomania” is a great track, as is “1901,” but the rest of the songs kind of blend into each other, and the two instrumental tracks don’t do much for me at all. But just look at that cover. Three colored silhouettes of falling bombs against a patch of innocent pink. The title in white on the topmost bomb. Simple, slightly retro-style graphics. Is it stunning? Maybe not, but it’s the kind of striking-yet-subtle image that could one day show up as a poster on our kids’ dorm room walls.
3. “Fleet Foxes,’ Fleet Foxes
What could be more awesome than using a 1500s-era painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder as your cover? And what could be more fitting for this folksy baroque band? Its charmingly busy image beats studio poses and carefully timed artsy shots by a mile, in my opinion. It was on the strength of this cover alone that I knew I had to give the Foxes a listen. And I’m sure I’m not the only one.
4. “Contra,” Vampire Weekend
Speaking of carefully times artsy shots…well, this isn’t one. And it’s a good thing. Clear, candid, and slightly bizarre, the image gives little clue as to what we’re supposed to take away from it. Is the young model surprised? Scared? Joyous? Philosophically pessimistic? It’s the viewer’s decision. And for those reasons I will call the “Contra” cover a stand out.
It also doesn’t hurt that the image is right now embroiled in controversy. (Which spawned quite a few headlines playing with the words “contra” and “controversy.” Har har, newsies. Har har.) After all, what could make a picture stick in the public’s consciousness more than a Contra-vers–wait, no, forget it. I won’t lower myself.
5. “Funeral,” Arcade Fire
Ah, Arcade Fire. My beautiful Arcade Fire. How I love thee for thy divine indie-rock, so obviously above most indie-rock and yet so alluringly distant from most of today’s vapid Top 40 pop. I would count the ways that I love thee, but for now I will settle by listing your cover art for “Funeral” as being Soon To Be Iconic. How could it not be, really? The carefully hand-drawn hand and baroque-esque flourishes, the demure band title in a scrapbookish format, the neutral tones…it adds up to a quirkily beautiful piece. Soon to be a little more legendary than it already is, dearest Arcade Fire. Call me.
And that is the first half of my list. What do you guys think? Do you agree with is so far? Disagree? Have any suggestions? Let me know!~