In a mandatory certification class, I was assigned to explore one of the generations other than my own, and then discuss how what I learned will impact my teaching. The assignment is well designed and I intend to steal it, but given my  immersion in pop culture studies and interest in the generational divide, I didn’t learn much new about generational differences. Since the topic is relevant to the blog, I’m reposting what I wrote:   Talkin’ bout my generation, sorta (sorry, not sorry)   I am answering the assignment differently. Because Gen-X special snowflake syndrome. I’m quite familiar with generational differences, so I didn’tRead More →

Perhaps it’s because they are hollow that our imaginations can occupy them so easily. That is to say, it is their anti-heroism, their apparent lack of Great Qualities, that make them our size, or even smaller, so that we can stand among them as equals, like Dorothy among the Munchkins.

– Salman Rushdie, Step Across the Line
Referring to the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion of the Oz movie

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In Django Unchained, the “N-Word” occurs 109 times. Occurs? Is used? (Look at how awkward that statement is; it’s an active sentence about a word spoken, but without a speaker doing the action.) I twitch to imagine Tarantino saying the word himself. It just sounds wrong. It sounds like some clumsy white dude trying to sound cool while he hangs with his homies. When Samuel L. Jackson says it, it’s quite cool and melodious. As a director, Tarantino can say the “N-word” one hundred and nine times with whatever accent, register, or inflection he desires. With gusto, in fact. Fortunately, at least for my auditoryRead More →

Here are my top twenty interesting, off-the-beaten-path movies of the decade, in no particular order. Of course, I’m glad this isn’t a job requirement, since a list is too limiting. This  list includes movies that I thought were different and interesting. Not all were critically acclaimed, either. Still, something about each one just stands out. Some of these are action pics, but they are not your standard shoot ’em up style. None on the list are major movies. 1. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006) A strange man with an amazing sense of smell learns how to make perfume and then murders women inRead More →

In Tampa last week, I saw the movie “Food, Inc.” at the Tampa Theatre.  The film made me feel sick to my stomach. After seeing it, I don’t want to eat anything ever again. Sort of like I don’t want to /buy/ anything ever again. Of course, I -will- eat, and I -will- shop, but I’m guilt-ridden about it. Food, Inc., was produced by Eric Schlosser, of Fast Food Nation fame.  The film is about corporate farming, the food industry, and its effects on animals, humans, and then environment. I learned some harrowing things about the food industry by watching this film. For instance, 1.Read More →

Facebook has changed the way I blog. Even election-watching, cabinet appointments, and Obama’s first 100 days brought me to Facebook and not my blog, and instead of participating in the HuffPo–New York Times linkfest, I only liked.  When I occasionally found an interesting, off-the-beaten-path link, I shared. For now, I will post my summer goals. That should be a sufficient sacrifice to satisfy the blogging gods. Summer Goals: 1. Clean out and de-clutter my office, damn it. Especially my desk. 2. Clean out my closets and get rid of old clothes. 3. Read Wendy Brown’s Regulating Aversion, which is about the dark side of tolerance,Read More →

The viral video of Christian the Lion made me sniffle and almost cry. It is about a lion cub who was domesticated and then re-released in the wild. The story reminded me of Born Free, a movie from the 1960s (and it’s quintessential 60s, too). It turns out that the guy who “Born Free” was about helped re-release Christian to the wild. The viral video is a touching reunion between Christian and his caretakers. It made me think of Haraway’s notion of “companion species” and “respecere.” Clearly this animal and his caretakers were in a relationship of respect, communion, and face. There are a coupleRead More →

Thursday night we went to see the Dark Knight at the midnight movie. I have to say that the Rolling Stone review hit the mark. They call the Joker “pure chaos,” which he is in so many ways. Reviewer Peter Travers also approves of the way the movie refuses to explain the joker through “pop psychology.” No oedipal narrative here. He writes: The deft script, by Nolan and his brother Jonathan, taking note of Bob Kane’s original Batman and Frank Miller’s bleak rethink, refuses to explain the Joker with pop psychology. Forget Freudian hints about a dad who carved a smile into his son’s faceRead More →

I liked but didn’t love the movie Wall-E. The message about the environment, consumption, and technology was apparent. It’s a message that a six year old, and maybe even a four year old, would get. But Frank Rich of the NYT waxes rhapsodic about the movie in the context of this year’s political campaign. He writes: One of the great things about art, including popular art, is that it can hit audiences at a profound level beyond words. That includes children. The kids at “Wall-E” were never restless, despite the movie’s often melancholy mood and few belly laughs. They seemed to instinctually understand what “Wall-E”Read More →