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Why hate?

A. Whitney Griswold once said, "In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost." Indeed, it is true that, with time, those who have sought to rescind and exterminate have witnessed the amending of their restrictive laws, the abandonment of their causes, the toppling of their partisan governments. In this very century, we have seen the rise and fall of Nazism, the racially-equalizing triumphs of the civil rights movements, and the end of the federal government-sponsored Native American tribe termination policy. It is true that to this day, neo-Nazis and Klan members still congregate, non-Caucasians still face discrimination, and Native Americans still suffer from the atrocities committed by the government against their ancestors. But progress has never ceased; at its worst, the rate of progress has been the proverbial "one step back, two steps forward," but the pace has always recovered. Rights cannot be denied forever. Equality is a distant, yet inevitable goal. The sooner that the masses come to peace with this fact, the sooner and more quickly that it can be realized.

Hatred, in effect, is obsolete.

Yes, this is what I write when I have nothing to do at work.


☜ Remember this photo from last season of ANTM? Remember how I said it reminded me of Madonna for some reason? Now I know why. ☞

Every day that I go to the gym here in town, there always seems to be someone who's using a loud, partly-broken machine or talking at an irritating volume almost nonstop to some sort of compatriot. These people are asshats, and they seem to be completely oblivious to any of the glares that the people around them send in their direction.
So, I propose that this (currently not yet complete) disorder be added to the DSM:
Subjects must exhibit at least two (2) of the following criteria for categorization within one (1) of the following subtypes. Criteria must be exhibited for a minimum of five seconds, where applicable.

1. Speaks at a volume higher than considered normal or appropriate.
2. Displays little or no awareness of obscene volume.
3. Refuses to permanently decrease volume when asked or glared at.
4. Carries on conversation in an inappropriate environment.
5. Disturbs those around him/her with volume.
✰ Further denominations of the subtype include (but are not limited to): TELEPHONIC (wherein a telephone is used), RISIBLE (in which laughter is the means of irritation), CLAMANT (in which shouting or screaming is employed), LACHRYMOSE (in which crying is prominent), and NON-VERBAL (in which whistling or other onomatopoeic activities are employed).

1. Engages in irksome and/or inappropriate nonverbal behaviors in the company of others.
2. Refuses to diminish behaviors even when asked.
3. Is unaware of inappropriate behaviors.
I still have a week left of work, so I'm pretty sure I can expand on this.

The last three episodes of True Blood have been fantastic and near-perfect. Emphasis on the "near." I have thus decided to make a list, as I normally do.
The writers plan ahead and aren't afraid to deviate from their source.
Though the series is based on Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire Mysteries book series, and the writers heavily draw from the books, they aren't afraid to take extreme departures. Which mostly work well. But because of the base that the books provide, the writers have a general game plan, which means that they can easily plan ahead. I mean, they inserted a small clue about one of season three's major plot lines all the way back in the pilot. The pilot! Now that's thinking ahead!

The opening credits are fantastic.
When you came in, the air went out
And every shadow filled up with doubt
I don't know who you think you are
But before the night is through
I want to do bad things with you

As soon as the opening chords of Jace Everett's "Bad Things" start to play over a montage of shots of the environment and society of the southern U.S., we know we're in for a gothic, sensual, morbid treat.

Alan Ball created the show. Yes, Alan Ball.
This is the man who won the Oscar for the screenplay for American Beauty and created Six Feet Under. (And also adapted Towelhead, but we won't dwell on that now.) There are few people in whose hands I would rather leave this series.

The writers withhold secrets from viewers in a way that is not contrived.
Sookie's a telepath, has no blood type, and shoots blue light out of her hands! What is she? Queen Sophie-Anne knows. Eric Northman knows. Anyone who read the books knows. But we don't! The writers deliver information, little by little, so that enough secrecy is maintained. It's enchanting.

There isn't a single weak actor in the bunch.
Self-explanatory. Even when the writing is weak, every damn actor keeps his/her game up. And the amount of eye candy doesn't hurt.

Too. Many. Characters. And. Sub-Plots.
Here's a list of actors who receive top billing this season: Anna Paquin (Sookie), Stephen Moyer (Bill), Sam Trammell (Sam), Ryan Kwanten (Jason), Rutina Wesley (Tara), Kevin Alejandro (Jesús), Marshall Allman (Tommy), Chris Bauer (Andy), Kristin Bauer (Pam), Nelsan Ellis (Lafayette), Mariana Klaveno (Lorena), Todd Lowe (Terry), Denis O'Hare (Russell), Jim Parrack (Hoyt), Carrie Preston (Arlene), Lindsay Pulsipher (Crystal), William Sanderson (Bud), Alexander Skarsgård (Eric), and Deborah Ann Woll (Jessica).
Here's a list of actors who recur this season: Željko Ivanek (Magister), Grant Bowler (Cooter), Joe Manganiello (Alcide), Brit Morgan (Debbie), Tanya Wright (Kenya), Theo Alexander (Talbot), James Frain (Franklin), Gregory Sporleder (Calvin), J. Smith-Cameron (Melinda), Cooper Huckabee (Joe Lee), Allan Hyde (Godric), Natasha Alam (Yvetta), Evan Rachel Wood (Sophie-Anne Leclerq), and Adina Porter (Lettie Mae).
Yeah, that's a huge cast. At least one-third of the regulars don't appear in each episode. And the sub-plots…well, I'll get to that later.

The story lines not taken from the books aren't as well-written.
This season, there's the "What the fuck is Sookie?" and the "Lots of shit going down with vampires and werewolves in Mississippi" story lines, which were both taken from the book, and are very well done.
Then there's also the "Sam's hick family is involved in dog fighting," "Jason's trying to become a cop," "Jason's in love with a werelynx chick who looks heroin chic, minus the chic part," "Tara's not in love with a eerie British vampire," "Lafayette has a new boy toy," "Arlene's pregnant, and not with Terry's seed," and the "Hoyt and Jessica ARE SEEING OTHER PEOPLE, KTHXBAI" story lines. Of these, the Lafayette-Jesús sub-plot is the only one consistently well-written. The Jason-Crystal one is actually taken from the books, but not done well. The Sam-hick-family one started off icky, but then got better. All the other ones…not necessarily done well.

Too much focus on the Bill-Sookie relationship.
Bill and Sookie. Yeah, Alan Ball loves them together, and I kind of do too. But…enough already. I'd like to see Sookie get with someone else for a while. Like Eric. Or Alcide. No offense, Billy Boy.

The majority of the female characters are weaker than their male counterparts.
Sookie screams an awful lot. Tara keeps getting hypnotized, abused, and assaulted. Jessica's rather naïve, though she has an excuse, being a young vampire, and all. Sophie-Anne has to get faux-married to Russell to avoid the IRS. That being said, there's Maryann, Pam, and Lorena, who are all very strong. But they're recurring.

None of the characters ever call each other on the phone.
This would solve a lot of the characters' problems. Think about it for a while.

So, last night at work—which went rather well—we got a group of about 20+ British guys visiting from London, and about an hour later, I served a French family. It was a very international evening. Last week, I got a couple from Lyon, and a twenty-something guy from the Czech Republic. The clientele at this joint is as diverse as the student body up at school.
Anyway, about the Francophone clan from last night: the grandparents were from the area, but their daughter(-in-law?) and grandson were both from France. (Interestingly, they all had the same light eyes. The grandson, though only fourteen-ish, was scarily good-looking; I'll bet he'll have trouble fending off inamorate—or inamorati—when he gets older.) The grandfather asked me about how I knew French, and he made me realize that I miss it a lot. I'm going to see what I can do about possibly signing up for it in the coming semester.
When I'm writing, I find that it often helps to cast actors in the roles in my head in order to see things more clearly. So, just for fun, I actually cast the petit oeuvre I'm writing.
En lire plus...Réduire )

Fuck The Hurt Locker and Up in the Air. If last year's Oscars had been sane, this would have been one of the five nominees…

…And this would've been the other.

Quentin Tarantino is one of my idols.

An interesting ode to B-zombie flicks.

I expected more, but I was satisfied.

David Fincher can do no wrong.

Sorry, but I found it boring and hackneyed.

I liked several shorts very much. Others were okay.

I've been depressed. Not overworked-depressed. Not saudade-depressed. Not burnt-out-depressed. For the first time, I'm under an oppressive amount of Weltschmerz. Work is fine, but for some reason, I feel completely exhausted when I get home after my shifts — too exhausted to do anything other than eat and sleep. Even when I have time off from work, I barely have the willpower to drag myself to the gym, and when I do, I find it impossible to exercise for more than 30 minutes without getting sleepy and giving up. When I'm at home, I don't want to leave my room for anything except food, and I find I'm losing interest in things like television, reading, writing — everything, really. I feel like I have little intellectual stimulation, and I don't have the energy to find the source of some.
Maybe it's just because my job entails seven straight hours of being on my feet, five days per week. Maybe it's because I'm at home instead of school, and my lifestyle can't adapt. Maybe it's because most of my friends live out of state, and I feel too constantly exhausted to get together with those who actually do live nearby.

I think it's my job. Running back and forth, filling and taking orders, and not being allowed to sit down, day after day — it really takes a toll on me and relieves me of my normal joie de vivre. I just have to hold it together for four more weeks. Just four weeks. I hope I can do it.

A Single Man is fucking genius. It's to-the-point, analytical, uncomfortable, well-written, brilliantly acted, life-changing, visionary, and beautiful. Tom Ford's ingenuity is paralyzingly impressive; he uses variations in hue in the middle of shots to enhance the intensity of a given dialogue, employs quick editing and a variety of camera angles (particularly close-ups) to amplify emotion, and adapts the novel so superbly that I felt fondly for every single character. See it.
So, I saw Twilight: Eclipse. And I have to say, . Yup, that's right; I kind of enjoyed it. See, director David Slade did what Catherine Hardwicke attempted and what Chris Weitz utterly failed to do — he made a film that was cinematographically superb, reasonably well-acted, delightfully tense and action-packed, and (surprisingly) multi-layered.

But because I hate Twilight, I will focus on the negatives first. First, here's a list of quotes concerning the Bella/Edward relationship that I disliked. With my commentary in italics.
En lire plus...Réduire )
In a related vein, I reapplied the logic and information that kar3ning used in her brilliant post last year to the Twilight series, but particularly to Eclipse where possible:
You may be in an emotionally abusive relationship if your partner:
  • Calls you names, insults you, or continually criticizes you.
    I think the constant "If you were smart, you'd stay away from me" from the first film applies here…
    En lire plus...Réduire )
    You may be in a physically abusive relationship if your partner has ever:
  • Damaged property when angry (thrown objects, punched walls, kicked doors, etc.).
    Yeah, like her car. (Though this really does apply more to Jacob, with his wrench-throwing.)
    En lire plus...Réduire )
    You may be in a sexually abusive relationship if your partner:
  • Believes in rigid gender roles.
    No sex till marriage? Even though he admitted he's old-fashioned?
    En lire plus...Réduire )
    Now, for the positives. Here's a brief list of the things that worked.
  • Rosalie (Nikki Reed) had hair that looked naturally blond, and her roots weren't showing. She did look eerily beautiful, as the character is supposed to be.
  • The attempts to make the film available to a male audience, particularly via the large number of amazingly choreographed action sequences, were all very successful.
  • We learned about Rosalie and Jasper's pre-vampiric pasts with well-scripted (yet unfortunately incomplete) flashbacks.
  • Jasper and Alice were freaking adorable together. And their hair was great.
  • The majority of abusive aspects from the book were diminished or omitted.
  • Jessica (Oscar nominee Anna Kendrick) had a lovely, informal graduation speech.
  • Loads of attention is given to evil vamp Victoria and her vampire army, especially Riley (the leader) and Bree (the youngest and most reluctant to kill).
  • The vampires, when dismembered, make the sound of breaking ceramic. Their insides resemble ice. A nice touch.

    While we're talking about vampires, I recently realized one minor, irritating problem that permeates True Blood: no one ever uses a cell phone. Half the problems in season two of the show could have been solved in half the time if characters just talked to each other long-distance once in a while. Bill and Sookie could've stopped Maryann, Sookie could've learned where Jason had disappeared to, Tara could've gotten confirmation from Sookie before opening up Sookie's house, etc. It kind of seems like the writers have been stalling, and I don't like that much.

    The original article: http://jezebel.com/5572097/why-shameless-objectification-can-be-a-good-thing

    An excerpt:
    When we drool over soccer players' bodies, are those of us who critique the objectification of women's bodies being hypocrites? No. And here's why.

    Mostly, our #shamelessobjectification posts celebrating soccer players' bodies — the abdominals, the thighs, the man-love, the thighs — are being met in the spirit in which they are intended: a fun, randy way to participate (one of many) in the global collective experience that is the World Cup. But there have been some understandable concerns with which I've got to disagree. Here's the gist:
    "If the World Cup featured women, and Gawker were to post Breast Moments as a way to laud legitimate feats of athleticism, we'd be pissed about the objectification. This is not any different."
    Yeah, we'd be pissed about it. But it's not the same. Here's why:
    1) Context matters.
    2) These guys are healthy and at the peak of fitness.
    3) At the World Cup and elsewhere, ogling knows no borders.
    4) They're having fun doing what they love.
    5) Women also like to look.
    One reader wrote about watching a match at the gym: "The men routinely spend their time ogling (and yes I do mean ogling, they make no bones about it) women in the fitness magazines. However these same men were distinctly uncomfortable and put out that we women were cheering and enjoying the Greek footballers taking off their shirts. Double standards? I think so." I do too.

    My response:
    Objectification: degradation to the status of a mere object. The term doesn't fully apply here, at least not in what the Jezebel bloggers say about the soccer players in the World Cup. Their treatment of these male athletes is ultimately platonic.
    What irks me is best expressed in this comment (courtesy of user P.G.O.A.T.):
    My main issue is with argument number 2. Yes, these men are in their "prime" but it's not as if being super ripped equals being the best example of health. And men DO have body issues just like women. Men DO suffer from eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorders. I know some of them. What can we say about them in relation to us holding men that look a certain way up on a pedestal?

    "And presumably no unhealthy starvation or surgical enhancements were involved." Really? Because male athletes do and eat crazy things to stay in shape, so I'm not so sure this is something we can so easily presume. A boy from my hometown died of a heart attack after running around in plastic bags trying to make weight for wrestling.

    I want this user's genetic material to pass on to my offspring. She's absolutely right! I did a little research on Jezebel.com after reading this article, and found:
  • Other media outlets realize that we're living in "the era of the buffed actor," in which "rippling biceps [and] six-pack abs [are] now the rule, not the exception, in Hollywood."
  • American Apparel is introducing mannequins with 27-inch waists, and yet still, an impressive musculature. As a guy who still can't find jeans in his size (I have a 30/31-inch waist, so with most pants I buy, the waist is too big, or the length too short), I'm glad they're making pants for my body type, but still: TWENTY-SEVEN INCHES? To this, brilliant Jezebel reader sadieclam responded:
    In my anatomy class, we had a 40 minute discussion about who has it worse in puberty, boys or girls.
    The immediate outcry was "GIRLS."
    As the class majority, we began ticking off all the things that we have to go through (bringing us back briefly to the age old 'kicked-in-the-nuts' vs. 'period cramps' debate). One girl said, "We're given unrealistic expectations for our bodies."
    To which a boy replied, "And we aren't?"
    And he's perfectly right. Men are 'supposed' to be big and buff, at least traditionally. Skinny mannequins are a trend in-line with the waif-hipster boy look (notice the hep, ironic, Slingblade haircuts). So maybe "body-shame and lowered self confidence: Now for everyone. " was always for everyone, its just more okay to talk about it with women.
    The same goes for eating disorders. For all the manorexia jokes and documentaries ("I'm A Boy Anorexic" from BBC is time worthy and touching), men have eating disorders, too. I could go off on a long tangent about how eating disorders doesn't just mean something that makes you skinnier, because compulsive eating is as much a disorder as bulimia, but that's not the point.
    The point is as far as I can see, there is no mainstream dialogue about the rehabilitation of male body images.
  • This dissatisfaction affects boys too, and starts in their tween years. (That's nothing. For me, it started around six.)

    Now, take that, Jezebel writers. Your ogling male soccer players is just as much of a double standard, albeit in a slightly different way, of straight men ogling female actresses and models.

    This is more an expansion of what was said above, but I've been collecting issues of Men's Health for two years now, and it seems that the magazine glorifies one body type above all others. These are the slogans used on the covers to do so:
  • "LOSE YOUR GUT!" (Chris Pine, Mark Wahlberg, Gerard Butler, Lance Armstrong, Eric Bana, Matthew McConaughey, Jamie Foxx, & Carl Edwards covers)
  • "SIX-PACK ABS" (Jason Statham, Adrien Brody, Taylor Lautner, Derek Jeter, Aaron Eckhart, & David Wright covers)
  • "FLAT-BELLY" (Jason Bateman, Ewan McGregor, Cam Gigandet, Matthew Fox, John Krasinski, & Brady Quinn covers)
  • "IN SHAPE" (Josh Duhamel, Ryan Reynolds, David Beckham, Mike Vogel, James Marsden, Taylor Kitsch, Dane Cook, & Hugh Jackman covers)
  • "HARD ABS" (LeBron James & Josh Holloway covers)
  • "FIGHT FAT" (Eric Dane cover)
  • "ROCK SOLID" (Dwayne Johnson cover)
  • "LEAN AND SOLID" (Ben Roethlisberger cover)
    It's pretty obvious what body type this magazine values above all others, and it operates under the guise that, each month, it's going to have something new to say. Tsk, tsk. I tell you, reading this magazine, I often feel worse about myself afterward.
  • So, today marks the conclusion of my first day working as a server at Johnny Rockets, and I must say, now that I've mostly learned the menu and can survive on my feet for at least seven hours nonstop, it's pretty fun. I only got paid $82 for my training week, but I've made $254 in tips. (Go, me, if I do say so myself.) I took my mom and my sister out for dinner tonight, and I paid for the first time.
    I've realized that being a waiter, as long as there aren't too many people to serve at once, isn't that difficult or tedious. When I have a maximum of four tables, serving can be somewhat fun. When I have more than that…well, shit gets hard. My second day, I had these two ladies from upstate and this elderly guy outside, a family of four in a booth in the back, an elderly woman with some Christopher Reich book in the middle of the restaurant, and a vaguely dominatrix-looking woman with tangerine hair and a moderately passive boy toy one table over. Suffice it to say, I was able to get everyone his/her food on time, but it was hard, and a customer or two left no tip. Hmpf.
    Today, I got a family from fifteen miles outside of Cleveland who drove all the way to New York to see Wicked for the elder daughter's graduation gift. I enthused with them about the awesomeness that is that show for about thirty seconds, and then went on my way. ~33% tip. :D
    …That's not, of course, to say that I did it just for the money; I like being nice to people and making them happy.
    The only problem that I have with the place is that there's this one server who keeps flirting with me. I'm flattered—don't get me wrong—but…not my type. And having to deal with this server's frequent notes (because that's apparently a more efficient modus loquendi) is really putting a damper on my concentration. I work to make money, to have something to do, and to take my mind off things, and I hate having to deal with yet another thing.
    If it weren't for the fact that I constantly conjugate French verbs in my free time on those note pads used for taking orders, I'd be under a lot more stress.

    I also keep waking up in the middle of the night, thinking I'm in the middle of taking someone's order. Then I realize I'm in my room. And then I realize that I'm in my room. So I fall back asleep.

    En lire plus...Réduire )
    I've realized recently one of the many reasons I like the show so much; it fills the sexual fire gap in me that I was too young for Sex and the City to fill, that Six Feet Under was too dark to fill, and that Glee is too comparatively chaste to fill. Bottom line: WATCH.

    Best commercials I've seen in a long time.


    I wrote something else!

    The Characters

    WILLIAM “WILL” BANCROFT, a nineteen-year-old athlete. His world is presented as a novel with a third-person limited point of view.
    LEONARDO “LEO” SPECTER, an eighteen-year-old writer. His world is shown as a series of journal entries.
    ALIYA HUSSAIN, a nineteen-year-old religion student. Her world is prose with annotations, much like Shakespearean plays.
    RAFAELA “RAFI” SPECTER, an eighteen-year-old playwright. Her world can best be conveyed as a script.
    ISAIAH LAURENTIN, a seventeen-year-old dancer. His world is written as a screenplay.
    JASMINE ÉSTEVES, an eighteen-year-old dancer. Her world is a stream of consciousness, similar to a Virginia Woolf novel.
    En lire plus...Réduire )


    Some movies I've seen recently:
    Hideously underwhelming, with plot holes I could drive a U-Haul trunk through.

    As usual, there's The Wife Who No One Believes and The Husband Who Doesn't Believe Anything Is Amiss and The Evil Demon Child Who Is Not What She Seems. It's far from perfect, but one of the best thrillers I've seen recently.

    It has a strong start, but Ron Eldard's character fucks everything up, and not in a good or even palatable way.

    A glorious reimagining of a trite legend. Tim Burton reigns triumphant.

    One of the best movies ever made.

    A lovely, albeit chliché, story about A Love That Will Never Be.

    Oh, Ricky Gervais. So brilliant. So underwhelming.

    Even better than the book. It's harrowing and haunting, with superb acting and direction.

    I dunno. For a Best Picture nominee, I expected a little something more.

    Martin Scorsese makes up for the inanity of The Departed with this beautiful mystery. I would say it was near-perfect, but it's so similar to Memento that I mostly figured out the major plot twist at the end when I was halfway through.

    One of the better things to emerge from the vampire frenzy overtaking the country.

    Uh…you know, movies are supposed to have an overarching theme. Or at least a point to make. This has the feel of a film made simply to be eaten up by the Oscar voters.

    Really, Peter Jackson? Really? You take one of the best books of the decade and make it into a maudlin charade in which CGI, and not a coherent story line, is the base of the plot? It's a decent adaptation, but still…

    Oh, Christ.

    So, Keeping up with the Kardashians. Before I discuss why it's so bad that it's good, I'll include the Kardashian-Jenner family tree.
    Robert Kardashian (deceased) ≠ Kristen "Kris" Houghton
    ……Kourtney Kardashian = Scott Disick
    ………… ⤷ Mason Dash Disick
    ……Kimberly "Kim" Kardashian ≠ Damon Thomas
    ……Khloé Kardashian = Lamar Odom
    ……Robert "Rob" Kardashian, Jr.
    Bruce Jenner ≠ Chrystie Crownover
    ……⤷ Casey Jenner
    ……⤷ Burt Jenner

    Bruce Jenner ≠ Linda Thompson
    ……⤷ Brandon Jenner
    ……⤷ Brody Jenner
    Kristen "Kris" Houghton = Bruce Jenner
    ……Kendall Jenner
    ……Kylie Jenner

    As you can see, there's a lot to keep up with.

    Each major cast member seems to embody a different aspect of the series. Matriarch Kris is manipulation, Bruce is naïveté, Khloé is humor, Kim is egocentrism, Kourtney is devotion, and Rob is nonchalance. The reason this works is because the members of this family are all extremely impulsive, which leads to several clashes over minutia per episode. Kris is a horrific mother, and frequently uses sex and drugs to get her way. And Bruce, being a push-over, allows this. Likely because of Kris's bad parenting, the Kardashian daughters have no idea how to resolve conflicts, which creates a ton of — dare I say it — drama among the family.
    The reason I watch is because of those rare episodes in which characters are taken out of their comfort zones and have experiences that challenge them. In one episode, a cynophobic Kim finds a stray chihuahua wandering around a strip mall. Unable to find its owner, she takes it in and tries to care for it until she realizes she has no idea how to do so. Upon bringing the dog to the vet, Kim discovers the poor animal has a fever. After more tests are run, it's discovered that the dog's uterus is filled with fluid, and has to have it removed. Ultimately, Kim cannot care for the dog, so she has to give it up. In another episode, Khloé takes an anger management class:
    NOTE: This is not nearly verbatim.
    INSTRUCTOR. Why are you here?
    KHLOÉ. Because my brother-in-law is a douche lord.
    INSTRUCTOR. Okay, now I want you to pretend that Kim is your brother-in-law. Tell him how you feel.
    KHLOÉ. Scott, I think you're a douche lord.
    As funny as this is, Khloé eventually realizes that the major reason she hates Scott so much is that she feels he's taking Kourtney away from her. These plot lines show that these people are actually that — real people. And I lose faith in humanity a little less.

    Sex and the City, the series, was about empowerment, love, sex, and life lessons. It was an homage to sisterhood, romance, drama, and togetherness. It was a celebration of strength, tenderness, risk-taking, and wisdom.
    What Michael Patrick King has done in Sex and the City 2 to the reputation of the television show that defined the early millennium is atrocious. This film is a farce; the characters have little depth, the plot is nonexistent, nothing really happens, and, as David Edelstein says in New York Magazine, "it seems to justify every nasty thing said and written about the series." Even my mom hated it, and she loves Sex and the City. She made my sister and me watch the show instead of giving us the sex talk!
    I now present a list of the inherent problems in this film:

    1. It reinforces hurtful stereotypes about Arabs and Muslims.
    Upon arriving at their Abu Dhabi hotel, Carrie says of niqāb-sporting passersby, "It's like they don't want them to have voices." If they had stopped there, it would have been a little more than enough. But criticism of Middle Eastern culture in this film is rampant, and not in a way that is beneficial, thought-provoking, or even essential to the plot. Samantha's purse rips open in a marketplace, allowing scores of condoms to fall to the sandy ground. A mob of Arab men quickly forms and begins to pursue her in anger. When a burqa-clad citizen leads the foursome to a secret, women-only hideaway, I expected the enclave of Muslim women there to ask Samantha for her condoms, which are forbidden in the culture. This would have made the whole Abu Dhabi part of the film seem somewhat worthwhile, and it would have presented a very probing point about the extravagance of American culture, of which we all take advantage.
    Instead, the women strip away their garments, showing that underneath, they're wearing Alexander McQueen's newest collection. What the shit is this? I want to know where in Michael Patrick King's brain the aneurysm occurred that made him think that this would be appropriate and realistic.

    2. Too much art, not enough matter.
    This film is centered on extravagance. Big and Carrie live in a gigundo apartment and still own Carrie's old studio. Samantha has an office overlooking Times Square. Charlotte and Harry live in a huge apartment and can afford a full-time nanny. Stanford and Anthony (which is the most ridiculous coupling the franchise could have produced) have a lavish wedding ceremony complete with a chorus, a small indoor river, and Liza Minnelli. The foursome fly first-class to Abu Dhabi, and in lieu of seats, each woman practically has a small suite on the airplane. In their hotel, they don't get a room — they get a floor. With four servants. And then there are the ever-changing outfits. I would imagine that upwards of 80% of the film's $95 million budget was funneled into this farcical profligacy.
    Between all these instances of prodigality, which are meant to awe us but just leave us dazed and disgusted, the "plot" somehow happens. Carrie and Big are getting bored with each other. Charlotte can't handle motherhood. Miranda has an asshole boss. Samantha is fighting off menopause. Miranda's story line is resolved in maybe ten minutes, max. Charlotte and Samantha's last a little while longer, but take a backseat because there's pretty stuff to look at. And then Carrie runs into Aidan in a market, and has an affair with him. Out of guilt, she tells Big the news, and comes home to find him in bed with Penélope Cruz's character. Their marriage is over.
    …Okay, I lied. Carrie's story line is nowhere near that interesting. Yes, Penélope Cruz briefly flirts with Big. Yes, Carrie runs into Aidan and later goes out to dinner with him. Yes, they share a kiss, and yes, she tells Big about it. But. That's. It. No consequences. No weakening of relationships. No nothing.
    This is Sex and the City 2: a two-and-a-half-hour-long juggernaut without a plot. But lots of nice things to see.

    3. The film makes the main characters echoes of their former selves and separates them from reality.
    What this film shows us is that even the deepest of characters can be blinded by fistfuls of cash. When the first film (which wasn't perfect, but not nearly as bad as this one) ended, Carrie had her little apartment near Barney's, Charlotte had her two babies, Miranda had her family, and Samantha had her libido. Now, all of them are extremely wealthy and Carrie spends all her time incensed at Big because he doesn't live up to her high expectations. We're in the middle of a recession, and these four (with the exception of Miranda) seem to get wealthier and wealthier and worry more about themselves and less about the real world.

    4. Screenwriter/director Michael Patrick King needs to be lobotomized.
    I could forgive him for the first film. He wrote the series, and it was slightly understandable therefore that the first movie was a melodramatic string of episodes mashed together. I thought he'd get his shit together in time to write the second film. What he did with this one was the polar opposite of what he did with the first; he took something that could have been maybe forty minutes (tops) in length and stretched it into 146 minutes. And instead of pumping it full of drama and life lessons, as he did with the first, he wrote a script that could be summed up in twenty words: Big wants to sit on the couch all day, leaving Carrie peeved, and Samantha brings the girls to Abu Dhabi.

    5. From the very beginning, it was just…weird.
    Five minutes in, we have the Anthony/Stanford wedding (again, a horrific idea). Anthony reveals that he's going to cheat on Stanford in any state in which their marriage isn't legal. Stanford already knows this and tells Carrie he's okay with it.
    At the reception, a couple (who never even say their names) lean over to Carrie and Big and the wife tells Carrie that her life is just. Like. Hers. And they're having kids soon! Are Carrie and Big having kids? No. The couple looks at them strangely, and there's a long, awkward pause.
    That's all I can remember right now, but the list goes on and on, which leaves me thinking…"What the hell?!"

    All in all, this movie was hideously unimpressive. I dread the third installment in the trilogy.

    Positive pop culture ranting

    AfterElton.com recently published an article, "Five

    Reasons Why Glee Matters. I comment on their major points below:

    1) Glee put a non-traditionally masculine gay character front and center.
    En lire plus...Réduire )

    2) Glee was created by a gay man who hired gay people to play straight and gay roles.
    En lire plus...Réduire )

    3) Glee dealt with important themes.
    En lire plus...Réduire )

    4) Glee proved television can be more than just Law & Order and CSI spin-offs.
    En lire plus...Réduire )

    5) Glee showed that uncool things can be very cool. Or that uncool things are worth doing.
    En lire plus...Réduire )


    Une petite poste

    Hey, all. Three things I want to discuss today.

    The latter half of my semester went pretty well. I was busy as hell, but it all worked out in the end. My novice boat won gold at the Liberty League in April (even though there was only one other boat in the race), and we came in third in the petit final at NY State. Our women's varsity eight won gold at Dad Vail, which is the largest regatta in the country, and we were thrilled. Next year, six former seniors have graduated, four ex-juniors are quitting, and three ex-sophomores are going abroad, so our team will be cut in half. But we can recruit new people, so we'll be fine.
    I finally got my grades. Despite the fact that I was crazed half the time this past semester, I did pretty damn well. I passed Stagecraft (which was pass/fail), I got A's in Spanish, Education, and Sources of World Drama, an A-minus in Drafting and Draping, and (much to my surprise) a B-plus in Psych (which I thought I would barely pass). That's a 3.8, which brings my GPA up to a 3.65. :D

    Yes, as you read in my last post, I got a job working as a solicitor for the Human Rights Campaign (as a part of the Fund for the Public Interest). I was fired after three days as per the company's very high expectations of its employees. It's a factory of sorts: they hire just about everyone who applies and give them three days to raise $210 at least once (which is the daily quota per capita). Whoever can't is fired. But I didn't know that going in.
    My first day, I went to Forest Hills, which is a neighborhood in Queens. I stopped thirty-four people (which was good) and raised $135 (which was sub-par). My second day, I went to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which is where my great-grandmother, Bertha, was raised. I stopped eighteen people (which was sub-par), and raised $130 (again, sub-par). My third day, I went to the Upper East Side and stopped twenty-three people. But I didn't raise anything. Suffice it to say, I was cut when I got back to the office. No hard feelings, though my Aunt Fran wants to kill those people. But it was my experiences that third day that inspired the short story I wrote in my previous entry, so something good came out of it.
    As I was taking the bus back to Hoboken the day I was fired, I checked my voicemail. I got a message from Johnny Rockets. I had an interview two weeks earlier, which went well, and I was told I would get a call from them the following Tuesday. That Tuesday, I received no such call, so I accepted my position as a solicitor. Anyway, I went to Johnny Rockets this past Thursday, and I was hired! So I started today. It's a lot of fun, and I'm so glad to be there.

    So, Top Model. This girl won:
    En lire plus...Réduire )
    But while she was a worthy competitor, I still would've preferred this one:
    En lire plus...Réduire )
    Next season, the prizes are different. There's still a contract with CoverGirl, but the winner will get representation with IMG Models, and cover of…wait for it…En lire plus...Réduire ).
    HOT DAMN!!! Tyra really needs to find actual models now.


    Don't Stop Believin'
    Sounds like "chasten"

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