22 July 2009

Weird Advert

Upon returning from work, I've been watching a lot of late-night TV recently (mostly Conan and Jimmy Fallon), and I've frequently been seeing these weird Palm Pre ads:

This girl is extremely creepy. I mean, why is she so pale? Why does she move so stiltedly? What is up with that hair? Why does she speak in that weird subdued voice? And on what distant planet is she?

The commercial really raises more questions than it answers and certainly doesn't make me want to buy a Palm Pre despite the fact that the phone looked pretty sweet when Jimmy Fallon was pimping it on his show.

Also, I was digging this earlier ad campaign (or at least the song, "Doorway" by IO Echo):

I guess I'm just trying to figure out where Sprint's going with albino girl on tranquilizers...

21 July 2009

Brüno ich not funny

I saw Sacha Baren Cohen’s new film Brüno last week, and I was sorely disappointed.

There’s already been a lot of
media/blogger hoopla surrounding the movie, but I wanted to add my take.

Obviously, it was not as good as Borat, for a number of reason, only one of which being that he'd already done the same schtick successfully in that film. I was prepared for Brüno to be less innovatively funny, but I was surprised by a movie that was utterly childish and mostly unfunny.

Sure there are a few laugh-worthy moments (a bit with all-too-eager stage parents and another where a preacher tells us what music not to listen to if we’re trying to be straight – Indigo Girls, the Village People, I’m talking about you!), but the film is horribly uneven and, worse, often offensive.

Watching it was an overall uncomfortable and painful experience more so than a humorous one (Borat, too, had those moments, but Brüno is constructed almost entirely of them).

For me, most of the humor in Borat came from poking fun at the xenophobic/anti-Semitic/generally bigoted people he encountered along the way. Brüno really has less of that than you would expect. Sure there are some homophobes – it’s hard, however, to laugh at them when many of the jokes themselves are founded upon the "gag" of Brüno’s flamboyant homosexuality – but mostly there are just people who end up uncomfortable around Brüno; not because he is gay, but because he decides to talk about (and often act out) sex acts in a very explicit and inappropriate fashion. (I suppose this, in and of itself, is supposed to be funny, but I'm not a 12-year-old so it’s not). It’s hard to blame, or label as homophobic, the people who are weirded out by Brüno and his in-your-face behavior – behavior that would be equally frowned upon from a straight man.

Obviously, one could counter that this pointing out homophobia business wasn’t
Cohen’s goal (although I think it at least partly was), but without that element, the film really falls flat. An endless stream of gross-out jokes and shock-jock humor, that, in the end, isn't very funny (sauf a few aforementioned skits).

And still on that point, if it was at all – anywhere, even a little bit deep down – Cohen’s goal to point out homophobia, I think Brüno is an utter failure and a homophobic film unto itself. I realize there is a certain amount of satire involved, but the Brüno image of a kinky-sex-crazed gay man that will aggressively proposition every male in sight is not something the gay community needs, especially when many already hold that view in their hearts.

Here’s to hoping that Cohen comes up with something better the next time around.

Musique: "Closer to Fine" Indigo Girls

20 July 2009

Daylight and catching air

Very much in love with this song and video:

Also, the end of the clip reminds me of the artwork of Robin Rhode
, (perfect segue) whose first major solo exhibit, Catch Air: Robin Rhode, I just saw and enjoyed at the Wexner Center for the Arts, a really cool music, film and contemporary art venue on OSU's campus.

He's an innovated South African artist who works with photography, video and performance art, to touch on issues of poverty and materialism and mess with perception. The majority of his works involve two-dimensional paintings or chalkings in which he or another subject interacts to create three-dimensional scenes, defying perception and telling a unique story.

Robin Rhode, "Untitled, Dream House," 2005. (Photo courtesy of ICA Boston via flickr)

He's definitely worth checking out – as are Matt and Kim.

Beneath our oaks hast slept

As is always the case, but seems particularly so this year, summer is passing me by all too quickly. I am thoroughly enjoying my internship here at The Dispatch, and I am even beginning to warm to Columbus itself. But all too soon (in about 4 weeks) I will be leaving here for good. And it certainly feels like I only just got here.

I am, however, getting increasingly excited about my return back to Smith. Despite my many complaints about that place, I am looking forward to that beautiful campus, seeing my friends again, great classes and the many responsibilities I will be taking on in the fall. I'm already fulfilling some elements of my roles as Dawes House HC and Sophian editor-in-chief and can't wait to do more.

But I can't help to feel like this summer has passed me by. Combined with my Parisian nostalgia and looks to the future the present has become a bit of a blur. It is great to be working though, and even better to be working in an exciting and challenging position that offers me something new every night. So, no complaints here, just hoping to make the best of the rest of the summer.

Musique: "Le Chemin" Kyo

17 July 2009

More objectification in pop music

I drove home a few days ago. Five hours both each way of driving means a lot of time with the generic, over-produced “pop” music they play on the radio. (Full disclosure: I am lucky enough to have a CD player, but I do find odd satisfaction in putting myself through the self-inflicted torture of seeing what the kids are listening to these days.)

Well along the way, I discovered a somewhat disturbing new song. It appears to be called “Don’t Trust Me.” I assumed it was a new song by Metro Station – that band that sang that obnoxiously catchy song “Shake It” last summer. “Don’t Trust Me” featured the same whiny teenage vocals and the lyrics, the same naughty undertones.

Upon consulting my trusty Internet, however, I have learned that this new song is by a band terrifyingly named 3OH!3. What kind of a name is that? I mean I’m all about the exclamation marks (two of my favorite bands Against Me! and The Go! Team feature them prominently), but this seems to be talking it a bit too far.

Well, the Three-OHHHH-Three song had caught my attention with its insane catchy-ness and mildly electronic/dance beats so I was digging it – until we came around to the bridge. At which point that whiny voice taunted over and over again, “Shush girl, shut your lips/ do the Helen Keller and talk with you hips.”

Not only does the line continue to perpetuate the juvenile demeaning of an honorable woman, but it also seems to support an aggressive silencing of women in favor of objectification and subjectification. Obviously, it’s not the only example of these sorts of things in modern music, but the aggressiveness and forcefulness of this assertion within the context of such a bubbly pop song surprised me.

It really ruined an otherwise intriguing song for me. The good news is, this song and this ridiculously named band will very soon be forgotten never to be seen again…

The video only confirms the immaturity. I guess I shouldn't take these guys seriously: