Women can see variations on red better than man can, according to this CNN bit, because women have double hits of a red-seeing gene. People are too casual about the outcome of genetics. The article reports this red-seeing gene as a fait accompli, and never once questions the causal, teleological relationship between a gene and its manifestation or itsexpression. The article even goes so far as to attribute this gene’s presence to CAVEWOMAN days when women foraged for berries. What should we call these trivial assumptions. I find I cannot ignore them. They are like crackerjacks. I hate crackerjacks. I hate peanuts. I like theRead More →

The women on either side of the imaginary moral divide are both gorgeous and potent, both capable of cruel violence, and both dedicated to their own desires. And both understand themselves as victims of masculine oppression. The stakes of their conflict have to do with a derivative, Joker-style gimmick in the toxic makeup (as the deadmeat doctor who cooks up the cream puts it, “I can’t live with turning people into monsters”). Even the final showdown between Laurel and Catwoman is staged so they throw each other through giant images of beautiful models. Got it: the beauty industry is bad. But if it can helpRead More →

Ok. I’m a geek. I really LOVE Merriam-Webster Online especially since I started listening to the little megaphone icons. Words are so COOL. *sigh* And the top ten favorite words. Too cool. I mean, I already know what defenestration and callipygian means and how they sound, but listening to them is just…fun. I did NOT know what causerie is, however. causerie koh-zuh-REE noun 1: an informal conversation : chat 2: a short informal essay Who knew? “Causerie” first appeared in English in the early 19th century, and it can be traced back to the French “causer” (“to chat”) and ultimately to the Latin “causa” (“cause,Read More →

From an interview with Mario van Peebles on the film Badasssss in Campus Circle: [Van Peebles] recalls a dinner party he had about five years ago with director friends, including John Singleton (Higher Learning), F. Gary Gray (The Italian Job) and Reggie Hudlin (House Party), during which they all reached the same conclusion: They were filmmakers who were being heavily persuaded not to make the films that they wanted to make. These were educated men who didn’t get into serious trouble, knew who their fathers were, “and yet we weren’t being allowed to make movies about people like us,” Mario relates. “We were being toldRead More →

Hype around a new summer replacement show called The Days attracted me to the interesting storyline, so I watched the first twenty minutes of the show. Promoted as unique, edge, and unexplored, the show was disturbingly flat. The failure caused me to reflect on hyperbole, and its consequences for contemporary panic culture. Consider this review from Zap2It.com (A Tribune Media Service), “‘The Days’ Gets Chance To Shine”: Booked for a six-week test run, “The Days” is a bold attempt by creator John Scott Shepherd (“Life or Something Like It”) and executive producers Mike Tollin and Brian Robbins (“Smallville,” “One Tree Hill”) to revisit a seriesRead More →

I can’t believe how much money has become a part of my life. Now, that’s a strange statement, and it needs clarification, since money is a part of everyone’s life here in the 21st c. US — money or lack thereof. Growing up poor white trash meant that money, as in the lack thereof, dominated my life. Being one of the “have nots” threaded so essentially through the fabric of everything I did that I can still smell poverty today, even as a “have.” Poverty smells like someone else’s old clothes; like dirty rags used to stop up gasoline tanks on junk pickup trucks, andRead More →

It’s PEACH SEASON. A long time ago (1982 to be precise), I saw The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball,” which had a hysterical standup comic doing a spiel on “1001 things to do with cling peaches.” I remember laughing so hard that I spewed my coke. We’ve been bringing home peaches and nectarines and they are wonderful. July is the peak harvesting season for peaches and nectarines. What’s the difference between peaches and nectarines? The obvious difference is the skin: peaches are fuzzy and nectarines are smooth. Then there’s the size: peaches are smaller. Somewhere in my crazy life I heard that nectarines were peaches bred with tangerines toRead More →

Into the Blogosphere is Laura Gurak’s new edited collection on Blogs. The subtitle is Rhetoric, Culture, and the Community of Weblogs. When blogging first started there was little written about it except to point to it as a new phenomenon. Now, there’s volumes. Check out Scholars Who Blog in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Blogs are supposed to provide a space for free speech. The faculty in this article defend issues of personal tone, free range of topic, etc. My own blogging experience as an academic has been dismal, and I don’t know that I will ever feel free to say what I want, althoughRead More →

CDs are obsolete. By the time I got my first CD player and my first CD, back in 1985, CDs were already obsolete. Now, if you think about that, that’s just about the dumbest lie ever I ever told you. In 1985, however, the third generation of CD players were on the market already, and CD-ROM drives were released. From there, it’s a downhill slide to Napster, Kazaa, and DVDs. It’s inevitable, teleological. My computer is in the shop. I’m getting a DVD write drive installed. That’s already obsolete. I’m moving offices from one room to the other at home…moving into the bigger bedroom, right?Read More →