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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Beyonce vs Beyonce

The world of feminist theory seems to be split on whether or not Beyonce's latest mark in the world of pop is either the greatest or smuttiest thing since Madonna made out with Brittany Spears for the sake of ratings.  But the entire debate is isolated on her recent videos, when a more revealing stance would look at Beyonce (or any pop star for that matter) as a whole, not individual moments in their careers.

Does her dancing control her sexuality, taking it back from the male establishment, or is she eye candy?

I think a better question would be, can she be normal without feeling  like less?

Beyonce dances and looks like a million bucks, and doing it certainly makes her money and keeps her personal brand value high.  She is playing the game.  In maintaining this image, in acting this way, Beyonce keeps her top spot as a symbol of sex, just as Lady Gaga is a symbol of weird.  And in doing so she also remains the bar at which young women rate themselves.  That's why they buy her perfume, do her dances on Youtube, buy her CD's, and keep posters of her (nearly naked) on their walls.

She is, in fact, playing into the hyper-sexualized, hyper-perfect, masculine fantasy culture that sets women (and men to a degree) up for failure; a tenth grader girl with acne, still growing into her body cannot (will most likely never) live up to the celluloid dream that is Beyonce.

And neither will Beyonce.

It's why celebrity mags like People and all the other tabloids exist in the first place.  They thrive on catching the famous in their embarrassing, ugly normality.  It's so hideous to us, seeing our visual gods so mortal.  They are less than perfect.  They have fat and acne, too.  Look at that ugly sweater she is wearing to walk the dog. Ugh!

Despite the fact that it's normal, and that they really are as average as you and me, the Celebrity cannot own up to it.  They do not buck the system, as Marlon Brando and Barbara Streisand did.

"I'm not twenty.  Why should I pretend to be?"

"Am I not allowed to age?"

There is lay the difference.  These two monsters of their time were fine with getting older.  Old age was not a sin, but a joy.  That is something that Beyonce and the other sex icons of our celebrity aristocracy cannot grasp, and until they do there will be no true feminism in modern teenie-bopper, make the money, super commercialized culture.

Because you are only as good as the boobs everyone is searching for on Google Images.

Because you're brand is not your skills or talent, it is you look, how long you can keep it, and how many types of makeup you can sell before your age shows through.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Saying Goodbye

It's funny:  the day you realize that a hobby is slowly devouring your life.  So it is time to say goodbye to a typewriter or fifteen it would seem.

Saying goodbye to a typewriter is like leaving a girlfriend, for me.  I'm the first to admit that I'm a bit of a polygamist when it comes to these wonderful machines.  Also like a polygamist, no two machines get nearly enough attention from me.  Many of them go neglected.  That's what happens when you have a typewriter commune.

But when it finally comes time to say goodbye, I can't help but ruminate on all those times we had--no matter how few.

"You haven't touched this typewriter since you bought it," my sensible mind would say.

"I know.  But it looks so good in these photos!"  the child in me replies.

But no matter how much I fight over it, there just isn't enough room in one house for this many machines, and some of them have to go.  No matter how pretty.

But we always have the old times.

That's all from Elliott at the Kitchen Table, saying goodbye to the fine SM-4 and ROYAL SAFARI

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Reading and Watching Thompson

I like Hunter S. Thompson.  It always give me hope to see a writer of the modern age who is revered, respected, and (oh, hell) known.  He was an uncompromising idealist, who didn't care about making you like him or being nice about the truth.  If you didn't like him, or couldn't take it, well--any ready of Thompson knows where they can go and what they can do.

But I don't get Thompson.  I don't understand idealism, even though I am an idealist.  At his best, he was a knife to the social fabric of American.  At his worst, Hunter looked like a child, stomping his feet for not getting his way.

All or nothing thinking can drive you mad.  If nothing else, it leaves us gridlocked.

Looking around, I can't see how anyone could look at the USA and maintain a state of belligerent idealism as Hunter did before he died.  The 2000's have been an patent rip off of the 60's and 70's.  Our military is essentially dictating foreign and domestic policy.  We are fighting wars, not out of necessity or moral compulsion, but because we're scared.  

There is an idea we don't understand, lurking in that mysterious place beyond our colorful borders, and we will bankrupt this country searching for the bomb that can finally annihilate thought--kill mind, not state.  Until then, all liberties--except the right to mow down unarmed civilians as fast as you can per second--is up for the chopping block.  It's like being at GM on bailout day.

It's all so eerie just how similar Iraq and Afghanistan are to Korea and Vietnam, apart of how most Americans cannot find them on a map.  They were wars against the idea of Communism.  We were scared that the thought might spread if we didn't shoot as many people as possible.  There was no real goal, then or now.  Stop Communism?  Defeat Terrorism?  You might as well wage war on Osmosis.

Vietnam, like Iraq, was a set up from the beginning.  We were lied to by our leaders, and dragged into a cowboy's wet dream.  It took years to wake up and realize that there were no WMD's--another Tet Offensive.  The end for both has been only negative.  Saigon fell without us to prop it up.  Iraq is always threatening to fall into Civil War...again.

Hunter may have wanted to be the catalyst or fuse in the powder drum, but 30 years and countless wars later the world is much the same.  Things might move a little faster.  Cars burn less fuel.  Facts are still facts, even if leaders are still all about keeping them under wraps.

All that changes are the faces.  Congress got a bit browner.  The White House is a lot blacker.  That doesn't change our policies of undeclared wars, spying on Americans, detention of innocent civilians, war crimes to never be accounted for.

My greatest fear is that out entire political system has gone Gonzo.  It's an easy things to imagine when he you see Tea Party Repulicans wishing to tear down our social safety nets, pour guns out on the streets.  Libertarians, like Ran Paul--a pale shadow compared to his better qualified father--as they try to choke out our economy with shutdowns and sensationalism.  It's as though it is all being filtered through a pill, vodka, and peyote fever dream.

I guess what I really would have liked is for Thompson to have grown more as a writer, so that he could have broke out of his persona--his Gonzo character.  We might have gotten the most insightful work of the 2000's out of him.  Who knows, maybe it could have been the format for the next 30 years of politico in the USA.  The thoughts of a wiser, aged man, whose mind has been form through tumultuous times and an IBM Selectric.