26 July 2009

California's Gold: Huell Howser

Two of my favorites: The beautiful Golden Gate Bridge, and the wonderful Huell Howser. In case you aren't familiar with Huell, he's a Tennessee transplant who has been doing PBS shows in California for over twenty years. He visits and documents out of the way places, famous places, ordinary and extraordinary people, and brings out the best in everyone. Here's a profile of Huell from today's Los Angeles Times.

I love Huell Howser!

25 July 2009

I've said it before . . . he is fucking nuts

Now, really, Glenn Beck, what is your problem? Why on earth are you reading the Americorps pledge, which is a very sincere statement about serving the people of the United States, dressed in lederhosen? Is there any logic to this display? Is it even funny?

Yes, it is funny, but only to establish that this man is truly off the rails.

22 July 2009

Somewhere in my youth or childhood . . .

My fabulous sister and amazing mother told me to watch this incredible video--thanks Mom and Sis! I love The Sound of Music--it was a formative movie of my childhood for some reason.

Anyway, this video is worth a watch, unless you're a crableg!

Final Girls and no talk about boys!

I like movies, and especially horror movies. I actually have an excuse about the horror movies since I teach a class on women and horror film. But recently my brother and sister went to see Hangover, a movie that I would never pay money to see. But I couldn't really articulate why I reject Hangover outright. But really, can't we all agree that most movies suck for women? Are there any feminist movies? Are any mainstream movies fit for feminist consumption? Probably not. But how does one evaluate a movie in this patriarchal culture, you might be thinking. How?

Well, I have two ways for us to consider. One is the sort-of famous Bechdel Test, apparently proposed by Alison Bechdel who is a fabulous feminist author and all-around rabble-rouser. The Bechdel Test goes like this:

There must be more than one female character;
They must talk to each other;
About something other than men.

Another test I like was brought up in a recent thread on I Blame The Patriarchy on why old movies suck. This test goes like this:

Name a movie where the protagonist is an adult woman, and she ends up:

1. Alive and healthy
2. Happy
3. Not in love

I like both of these tests very much--and if you really think about it, most movies do not pass either test. This state of affairs really sucks. Even movies that overtly grapple with feminist issues, such as Thelma and Louise, fail the tests.

So what does this suggest about movies, feminism, patriarchy and popular culture?

21 July 2009

You can't stay away from it . . .

How can you not love a documentary by director David Lynch? I came across this today and I admit I am transfixed. It's called Interview Project. Lynch and his crew have been travelling across the U.S., apparently mostly in the southwest so far, and interviewing random people. I've only watched three interviews, but they are incredible. Each person, each interview, reminds me of the beauty of people and the sheer nakedness of being asked to speak about yourself. What would I say if asked these questions? What would you say?

Watch a few--tell me what you think. Make sure you watch the "about" section where Lynch describes the project-- it's classic David Lynch.

Whenever I watch documentaries it always makes me wish I could have another life as a documentarian. What could be more amazing than documenting real life? Some of my favorite documentaries are Salesman by the Masyles brothers, Heaven's Gate by Errol Morris, and the recent Young At Heart.

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20 July 2009

Holy Patriarchy, Batman!

Some jackass in Ohio is trying to make women obtain written permission from the biological father before they will be "allowed" to get an abortion. Rep. John Adams (R) obviously believes women are incapable of making decisions for themselves.

Columbus, OH (LifeNews.com) -- An Ohio lawmaker has re-introduced legislation that would include a father's rights in the abortion decision-making process. Under Roe v. Wade, fathers are left out of the equation when a woman considers whether or not to have an abortion that would end the life of their child.

Rep. John Adams, a Republican from Sidney, wants to change that and the legislation he introduced today, House Bill 252, would require the biological father's consent before an abortion can be done.

The bill would apply to any abortion and would require written consent before it can be done.

Adams told the Daily Reporter newspaper that abortion centers would "need to get consent from the biological father" before the abortion can proceed and he called the measure a "father's right bill" to protect the interest of fathers who are given no say in the abortion process.

He also said the bill provides for criminal penalties for women seeking abortions who do not obtain consent properly.

I'm not sure what to say about this, except that the wingers/pro-birthers seem to be stepping up their assault on women and reproductive rights. I think their plan is to chip slowly away until at last there is nothing left. Perhaps they should try to undo some of the damage the last 8 years has done to young women in terms of failed abstinence only education--teens are having sex at similar rates to 10 years ago, but un surprisingly, are getting pregnant more often.

Gee--I wonder why?

I also heard a right-wing radio asshole today railing about how the health care reform bill would create "a culture of death" since publicly run plans would cover reproductive services including abortion. Culture of death? What the fuck? What do you assholes promote, with your wars, your murder of abortion providers, your ubiquitous gun ownership? Go fuck yourselves.

P.S. about the Ohio bill, jerkface John Adams told the newspaper that, in cases when the mother does not know the identity of the father, the abortion would be prohibited. Nice touch. Not only can't you have an abortion, but we're punishing you for being a slut.

07 July 2009

Lazy, no. Pathetic, yes.

One thing I have learned in the past few weeks is that when a computer (three-year-old E-Machine) begins to act funny (turning itself off after 15 minutes) the best thing to do is to something. Anything.

Instead, what I did was to decide to wait until my summer classes were done and then deal with the beast--but of course, mister E-machine did it for me by shutting off and refusing to turn back on. Ever. So I went to Best Buy and to the Geek Squad, told my sad and pathetic story to Matt, a very nice geek, and promptly had a mini-meltdown when he told me it could take 3-4 weeks to fix whatever the problem was. So instead, I bought a brand new Compaq (HP) for 400 bucks and now I'm back in shape. Although I have to say it is slightly disturbing that I have a computer with Vista on it.

Also, my friend Jarrett came over to help clean all the crap off of the newbie computer and asked me, among other questions in which he was trying very hard not to seem incredulous, "Don't you ever delete anything from Word?"

Hey! I had no idea you could delete anything from Word! Really! I've been trying to figure that one out since 2000. Anyway, all is now well and up and running and very soon, I will be able to post a few images from my recent road trip to California.

So here I am, back from a brief hiatus, with lots to say about recent happenings in the world. And please, can we all just agree that Sarah Palin is a fucking idiot? I just saw a portion of an Andrea Mitchell interview with the erstwhile Governor of Alaska, and man, what is it with journalists these days? Palin actually makes a comment about how our men and women in uniform "never give up" and praises them for this fortitude--then she talks about why she's QUITTING her fucking job. Sadly, Mitchell was softballing her left and right, with no substantive questions at all. Disturbing.