Mira Nair’s films evoke the feeling of lush reds and yellows. That is such a prevalent visual theme in the four films I’ve seen by her: Mississippi Masala (1992) Kama Sutra (1997) Monsoon Wedding (2002) Vanity Fair (2004) I saw Vanity Fair last night. It was better than expected, and better than the critics rated it. But then, I LOVED Kama Sutra. Of those I’ve seen, Kama Sutra is my favorite, mostly that’s due to the director’s commentary. On the one hand, Kama Sutra is somewhat inaccessible to American audiences. OTOH, I love this film because I do find it most accessible compared to someRead More →

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 help you look like Berry or Stone, or even better, pay you like it pays them, well, its faults might be intermittently overlooked.

– Cynthia Fuchs’ review of Catwoman

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I have half the football team in my class. They greet each other with Sugarbowl-infused respect knuckles. Ten percent of the population is football players, twenty percent is black (which I believe is higher than the college population), and forty percent is male. It’s a difficult demographic for teaching a course topic in a state that denigrates black folk, valorizes football players, and barely acknowledges that women’s destiny can be something other than marriage. As Arsenio said some ten years ago, “hmmmmmm.” Well, this brings up a whole thicket of issues that I don’t know how to address: I wonder how many of them willRead More →

On another note, turning 40 made me reflect once again on grrl stuff disappearing on the web. It’s yet another example of Gen X getting choked out by Boomers on one side of the demographic hump, and Gen Y kids on the other. True, Britney Spears is no longer popular, but that’s just because the 8 year olds of the world are now 13, and buying Pink and Avril Lavigne instead. Consequently, Third Wave feminism, which is not your mother’s feminism, is commodified (like all feminism is, I suppose) into Lara Croftism. What prompted this rant is a dead-end quest for chickclick graphics. Instead, IRead More →

From an email from a guy who is looking to buy a “War is not healthy” poster, which led him to my website: I accidentally found your excellent site, while looking for a poster that I had in my hooch in Viet-Nam. It said, “War is unhealthy for Women, Children & Other Living Things”. It was Psychedellic and really got me a lot of flak from a visiting Inspector-General, (I was a Marine, Fighter/Attack Pilot at Chu-Lai at the time). A couple weeks ago, there weren’t that many hits on Google for “war is not healthy.” Today, there are 500 hits. Another Mother For PeaceRead More →

The Quiet American. deserves the high rating from Rotten Tomatoes. The movie was good: it was disturbing, haunting, and difficult to watch. The movie effortlessly metonymizes Vietnam with the woman character, Phuong, who is the object of both Michael Caine’s and Brenden Fraser’s attention. The best review is from Kamera.com in the UK. They like the film because it pushes us away from the tired “Miramax orientalism.” Excellent phrase! Nobody seems to be talking about what it means to turn Vietnam into a mistress or prostitute in that movie. That’s probably due to our “me so horny, me love you long time” consciousness. Given ourRead More →

I must have wanted simple abundance in my life, otherwise why buy this book, Simple Abundance, by Sarah Ben Breathnach. The Oprah Book Club sticker on the cover was not a selling point. Simple Abundance is a “daybook” diary/journal that teaches readers to “simplify” their lives through consumption. The message is so ironic. On one page, Breathnach tells readers to discard all their glossy women’s magazines because they make us feel bad about ourselves and then on the next, in the very idiom of those glossies, she tells us to go shopping in order to discover our “authentic” selves. For instance, here is a representative

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My church has a Mother (or guardian)/Daughter Book Club that meets once a month to read books of interest to middle school girls. Last month, the kid and I attended the potluck that gets the book club off the ground. Everyone got to suggest one book, and since there were twelve of us (six mother/daughter pairs) we each got to recommend a selection.

The selections were quite amazing. Nearly all of them shared a common theme of

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