What can one honestly say about virginity? If you’re a man, it’s something to be ashamed of. If you’re a woman/unmarried Christian, it’s something to be proud of but still keep hush-hush. If you’re a teenager, it’s a festering sore on the face of your reputation no matter what way you look at it. Does having it make you innocent? Childish? Naïve? Prudish? Does letting it go precociously make you a promiscuous embarrassment, but somehow simultaneously mature and admirable?
There is no doubt, virginity is a massively confusing and touchy subject. Maybe it’s because I have about 500 other things to worry about at the present moment (and the fact that I lost mine quite a while ago anyway), but virginity doesn’t really do anything for me either way. The only thing I associated with my virginity was curiosity. Then when I lost it, I noticed my voice was a little deeper (and my head was spinning from the copious amounts of alcohol I’d consumed prior to the event). That’s really it.
I see no reason whatsoever to value virginity. In the ancient and medieval times, it was basically the only way one could be assured that kids born to a wealthy couple were legitimate to inherit the title/cash one day. So many religions are honestly, quite out of date (and out of context) when they insist on virginity as a young person’s (mainly a young woman’s) most prized asset. It’s like all society has left of a bride-price, or dowry. I personally, place zero value on it myself, but the insane (and sometimes high creepy) lengths some microsocieties go to preserve virginity in girls is horrific.
Sure, I could go on about purity rings and how ridiculous they are, or how creepy those father/daughter ceremonies are when the daughter pledges to keep her hymen intact until her wedding night to her father, even though in my humble opinion, a girl’s sexual status has nothing to do with her dad. I could even go ranting about how most of these ‘True Love Waits’ movements actually harm youth in that they don’t present alternatives to prevent STDs and pregnancy in case someone slips into temptation, then demonizes those who do ‘make THE mistake.’
But instead, I’m going to shake my head and sigh woefully at the new TLC show that documents ‘old virgins’ and their plight to lose it as fast as they can…or at their wedding. Yes, TLC, who brought you such wonders as ‘The Rise and Fall of Kate Gosselin’s Priorities,’ and ‘I’m Worthless Unless My Uterus Is Full of Baby,’ and let’s not forget ‘I Steal People’s Newspapers So I Can Use the Coupons to Buy Ungodly Amounts of Antifreeze.’
My personal favorite…’Adventures at Grandma’s House.’
It’s called Virgin Diaries, and basically it just follows around thirtysomethings who, for whatever reason, haven’t done the nasty yet. Some are unwilling, some are EXTREMELY unwilling, and some are Christians. By the end of the show, some will have lost their maidenhoods, some will have realized that perhaps waiting until later isn’t such a bad idea. Hey, Steve Carrell got a movie out of it.
I don’t think I’d have such a problem with this show if it didn’t decide to focus on such stereotypical ‘virgins.’ You know what I mean. Every person in the show was either painfully immature and childlike, or a fat nerd. I also wouldn’t have much to say about it if the focus wasn’t on DESPERATE virgins hoping to lose it instantly. If virginity was a part of their daily life and they weren’t all OBSESSING over it, fine. Who am I to condemn what society values as a whole? If we want to see virgins, fine.
I still fail to see how virginity can be such a goddamned obsession. Honestly, I was more anxious about losing my memories of middle school.
In the end, it’s just another brick in the wall of a societal institution that is sex-crazed. Like everything else. *UGH!* I need to find a different conclusion for half of my media rants.
Anywho, I have a proposal for TLC: live up to your name, and I will actually give a damn about your programming again. You know, TLC stands for The Learning Channel, right? Not The Litter Channel, The Loser Channel, The Little People Channel, or The Lunatic Channel. Lately the only things I’ve learned from TLC are that gypsies in Ireland throw slammin’ epic weddings, and the Italian Mafia has a setup in Hoboken disguised as a specialty cake shop.
It came from an ex-dog of ours who now resides in the Blessed Kennel Club in the Sky, Finn. Finn was a hairy, hairy German Shepherd/Collie mixture, and he shed so often our poor Dyson couldn’t handle it. But the one place we could never seem to get all the hair off of him was the place around his touchas. Finn wouldn’t let us touch his hindquarters, and as a result of neglect, the hair there matted into a giant hair clump just beneath his tail, and it drove my mother insane. However, on his last Christmas on Earth, Finn magically shed the giant hair clod, right beneath the tree, a present for my mother’s sanity. She tied a red ribbon around it and placed it on the tree, dubbing it ‘The Magic Dingleberry of Christmas.’ In subsequent years without our beloved doggy, Mumsie still tears up a little when pulling the blessed wad of butt-fur out of the ornament case.
This is probably the most perfect example of why seemingly stupid traditions to one household may carry emotional memories and lots of love in another. We are probably the only family in the country that worships a hair clump at the holidays. Of course, that is only one of many of our family traditions that are ungodly immature and annoying, but yet we still manage to hold close to our hearts. The Magic Dingleberry might not even be the most profound, but it was the first one that came to mind.
But while I get into the heart of this post, let me relay to you a conversation between my sister and I (verbatim) during a viewing of the Rankin-Bass Holiday Classic ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’:
SISTER: Holy s***! Santa was a ginger?!? Mrs. Claus too??
ME: Yeah? So was Dumbledore.
SISTER: Does that mean all gingers grow giant white beards, get magic powers, and walk around in flamingly flamboyant robes with droves of admirers worldwide?
ME: I guess so.
SISTER: Just wondering.
ME: That evil mayor’s face looks like a hamburger.
Apologies to Rankin-Bass for defiling their beloved masterpiece. And believe me, that was the least random of our commentary.
I do adore this time of year. You really can tell a lot about a household by their holiday traditions and how closely they celebrate, if they celebrate at all. Some people are Scrooges. Their houses are bare of any holiday décor, be it Jewish, Moslem, Kwanzaa-ese (?), Christian, Wiccan, secular, etc. Others spare no expense, and buy up every possible version of a Frosty The Snowman 8-foot blowup for the front lawn (an example of this would be my Aunt Robin). Some people sleep in until 10AM, some people get up at the butt-crack of dawn. Some break out the fancy cocoa, bagels, sausage bread, and some just don’t bother with breakfast at all. Every family is different, and I really get into how many combinations of traditions that can manifest on a single block alone.
This is also why I cannot stand the people who insist that ‘Happy Holidays’ is offensive to Christians, who would prefer ‘Merry Christmas.’ ‘Happy Holidays’ is all-inclusive of what is ultimately a month-long season that contains more religious and secular holidays than any other time of the year. ‘Merry Christmas’ is but one of those many celebrations, and the only reason it is so widespread to begin with is because Christmas is the victim of the most commercialization. ‘Happy Holidays’ is an abbreviation that only takes a moment to say. People need to get over that.
Same goes for ‘Holiday tree’ versus ‘Christmas tree.’ Yes, Jewish people don’t open gifts around a ‘Chanukah bush’ or anything, but do these fundamentalists realize that Christmas trees come from an ancient druidic and Norse pagan rite that involved entire villages of ‘heathens’ dancing around a decorated evergreen in order to ward off the cold and summon daylight? ‘Christmas tree’ has come to be the more typical way of referring to the tree tradition, but it means something different to everyone. To a Bible-believer, it may represent Jesus, while to me it represents years of epic gift-receiving and pre-game poking/peeking while Mum was out shopping. If anything, however, a ‘Holiday tree’ is more accurate a label, as the Bible never insists on celebrating Jesus’ birth with a big old tree in the living room. If anything, Christians should be importing sheep and smoking ‘frankincense’ but that only seems to happen on college campuses anymore.
Those who bring up ‘political correctness’ and ‘the reason for the season’ end up ruining the holidays for everyone else, as opposed to reclaiming it. How do these people not figure that out? Are these people the modern-day Scrooges who insist on having December their way or no way? Perhaps so. At least that’s how I see it.
So, too all of you: Happy/Merry Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Yule, Festivus, ‘Hi, Neighbor!” Month, Boxing Day, Las Posadas, St. Nicholas Day, and Holidays I Probably Forgot! May your season be filled with awesomely random traditions, and don’t shoot your eye out!
I write this, my friends, laboring under the delusion that someone is still interested in what I have to say after a six-month hiatus.
The Presidential Election is only a year away now (give or take a fortnight), and such a thought brings me back to 2008, which will forever live in my memory as a night of victory and celebration. Yes, I’m flashing back now, bear with me. We’ll get to the angry tirades in a moment…
…my school had an Election Night Party in the Student Union. A big screen broadcasting live from CNN took up a wall, couches and pizza were brought in, and practically everyone was there (my campus;’ student body of 500 could easily fit inside the room). You could paint pictures of the evil looks the Republican and Democratic Clubs were giving each other from opposite corners (disappointingly, no fights broke out that night). And when Obama was declared the projected winner, I was the first one, by a fraction of a second, to absorb it.
And let me tell you, my war whoop of excitement was probably the loudest.
The Democratic Club, as well as the portion of the student body who voted Obama (including myself), went berserk. My friends and I went giddy as schoolgirls and skipped around campus. A new era was dawning. We could feel it hanging in the air above our heads.
Ladies and Gentlemen, that air of hope and change has been blown away and diluted. And, (sing it with me now!) I blame the media.
You know how in those old Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul books, you probably skipped through the chapters on friendship, hope, and charity and went right for the ‘Death and Tough Stuff’ section? Yeah, the media does that too. Only replace the ‘tough stuff’ with ‘negative forces, stupidity, and controversy.’ Our culture likes to react to the negative. It’s just America’s way. I suppose it’s meant to be a reflection on the American Cinderella archetype, in that any good American can live in an absolute shithole but still rise up to become President. Dumb as a hammer? No problem! Minority? Who cares?! Surrounded by controversy when you got caught in that gay club after leaving the NOM rally? Good for you! It’s sort of the media’s roundabout way of portraying the everyday man’s problems for the non-everyday man.
And with that said, I give you The 2012 Republican Presidential Candidate Nominees…
The Other Black Guy, TweedleDee, TweedleDum, Token Woman, Tall Man, and That Other Old White Guy
Each one crazier than the next. I won’t go into detail as to why each one of them scares me shitless as they inch closer to the nomination, but I rather want to focus on what they all have in common:
They all want to be seen as The Guy (or Bachmann) Next Door…who somehow still totes Corporate Politics.
What is the GOP’s fascination with being one of the good ol’ fellas, anyway? Meanwhile, being the very same party that supports the expansion and tax-breaks for Big Businesses and trickle-down economics.
Doesn’t that seem like a bit of a contradiction to you? I mean, if you were the party of the people, wouldn’t you want to bring the Big Man down and support the local businesses, farmers, as well as education in poor neighborhoods? In order to be the legitimate People’s Party….YOU NEED TO BE THE PEOPLE’S PARTY!
Talk about your logical mishaps. More so than their circular explanations against marriage equality, women’s reproductive rights, and cutting taxes for the wealthy 1%, this seems to be the big hole in the GOP’s most recent re-imaging. And yeah, they do get re-imaged a lot. But this ‘Hometown Candidate’ theme is a consistency each time…if you can call a contradictory label that doesn’t apply consistent.
Seriously, look at each candidate’s angle, and tell me there aren’t some strange contradictions abound. We have Michelle Bachmann, who mentions no less than three times in a debate that she’s a mother and foster mother to at least 20 children (madness). She represents the ladies, the everyday struggling mother, and she promises she’ll bring the woman’s and the mother’s touch to the white house. Yet, she is a firm toter of overturning abortion and women’s reproductive choices, as well as birth control.
Hermain Cain is ‘the other black guy’ who accuses Democrats of being racist, while constantly hitting at Obama for being ‘the WRONG black guy’ and using his race as his main selling point as ‘the guy YOU can relate to.’
Then there’s Romney and Perry, who I’m convinced don’t give a shit about whether or not they win the White House as long as they beat the other out for the nomination. I really think their constant bitching at each other makes each of them look decreasingly competent and more like rivals for Homecoming Queen.
I think the less said about Ron Paul, the better.
I think all of this just goes to show that not only does the GOP not know what the hell they’re doing in picking nominees, but that the GOP invests so much in the image of a candidate that they have nothing left to invest in the quality of the person representing their party. If anything, that will lead to the destruction of the party. Not their issues, not their funding. Because the most unassuming shell can open up to reveal a rotting inside.
Someone should tell the Republicans that not everyone likes their next door neighbors.
As I’ve said time and time again, the way the Baby Boomers and Gen-X-ers love to portray Gen-Y and Gen-Z royally annoys me. Are we really any more selfish or oblivious to what lies beyond the end of our noses than our elders? Do we really have more sex? Are we obsessed with trivial, mindless dribble like Jersey Shore for the reasons the Boomers think we are?
Let me answer this with my favorite quote from West Side Story (which I love for the Jets/Sharks dance-fights, NOT the Romeo + Juliet plot). An elder character named Doc is scolding the group of Jet kids for harassing a Shark girl:
DOC: “You make this world lousy!”
JET BOY: “We didn’t make it, Doc.”
I think that explains it all. I really believe that every youth generation becomes the product of whatever the generation before it puts in front of them. How else do we learn anything? What sucks is the fact that the same generation that made us also criticizes us for behaving the way we were taught. And then that criticism turns into the bullshit we find on television that supposedly is ‘real’ or at least what we’re expected to be like. I think the Boomers would be surprised as to how many of us Gen-Y folk are disgusted by how we’re portrayed.
Case and point: The Secret Life of the American Teenager.
This show, for me, is the scripted, upper-middle-class version of Jersey Shore. It’s just as shameful, just as embarrassing, just as ridiculous. It’s one of those shows that I sincerely hope doesn’t become the Happy Days of Gen-Y.
The premise started off almost promising to be something of substance. Teen girl gets pregnant. Pretty standard nowadays. She decides to keep it…not surprising seeing as the ‘brilliant’ mind behind the show also brought you 7th Heaven. Life is flipped upside down. Blah blah blah.
Then, things started taking an extremely offensive turn. The show started becoming about the teen cast talking about nothing but sex, sex, losing virginity, sex, sex, and someone ELSE getting pregnant (guess we silly kids can’t learn a damn thing from others’ mistakes) and deciding to keep it (thank you Brenda Hampton). At one point, the Evangelical True-Love-Waits Poster Girl character loses her virginity the night her dad dies in a plane wreck and blames his death on the fact she didn’t choose to wait (I’m not going there, not room on the internet). The adult’s subplots are no better, and just as mindless. The parents, of course, remain oblivious to the fact their kids fuck around more than Mata Hari on Valentine’s Day. These sixteen-year-olds discuss marriage as a legit option at their age, for Christ’s Sake. No college, no prospects for their future other than marriage, kids, sex, and sex. Every season-finale cliffhanger so far has been either ‘is she pregnant?’ or ‘are THEY sleeping together?!’
Oh, and I don’t even need to mention how abortion isn’t an option for ANY of the pregnant teen characters, nor adoption. You make it, you keep it. That’s the way it is. And somehow, after the baby pops out, life is suddenly a bowl of cherries, only with an adorable, seven-month-old bundle of joy fresh out of the pubescent oven.
Oh, and lest I mention the grossly oversimplified teen stereotypes used. It’s almost satirical how many shells and labels are used in this show. You have the ‘Cute Outcast’ female lead, the ‘hipster’ kid sister who’s got more sense than anyone else but constantly is undermined, the slut, the manwhore, the dork, the Asian couple a la Glee, the busybody best friends who in spite of their ‘BFF’ status are hardly heard of, the Bible-thumping cheerleader, and the misguided former Bible-thumper who dates her on and off. Seriously, where’s Molly Ringwald? Oh snap, she’s their too, playing the mom (ironic casting, far out).
So, where to begin?
Should I rant about how the whole show goes out of its way to portray ALL of the characters as dumber than a box of rocks? How they’re all either sex-crazed horn dogs or extreme prudes with no middle-ground? The poor writing? The poor acting? The usage of a cliched scenario for the purposes of preaching the conservative agenda of the head writers?
No. Instead, I’m going to take a deep breath and just hope that the reason this show is so popular is because kids tune in to make fun of it. I know that’s why I did for awhile, before it got too unbearable.
The thing is, look who our parents are. The late Boomers and the Gen-X-ers, the leaders of the Sexual Revolution. Free love, birth control abundance, sexual exploration and curiosity for younger and younger kids. And don’t get me wrong, I’ve very liberal. I believe if you’re smart about it, why not?
What I can’t stand is the fact that when WE do it, they have to scold us and whip out the old Abstinence-Only card. Oh, and write shit fests like Secret Life. Make us, and then insult us. Didn’t Thomas More write about that in Utopia?
You’d think the Boomers would learn from the fact that the Greatest Generation did the EXACT same thing to them. You know, the Boomers were raised by Betty Crocker and GI-Joe Veteran. Why do you think they fought back to create their own identity and started the Sexual Revolution to begin with?
Unfortunately, Gen-Y isn’t as rebellious. We just sit and watch The Situation sleep with his thousandth faux-Guido chick trying to bring back the Beehive.
So really, what does this mean for us, and for our children (God and Goddess forbid we have them)? Will we tell them to suck it up and deal with our shit like the Boomers did (and continue to do) for us? What IS it with every adult generation losing their understanding for the youth? We all were the youth generation at one point? At what point in time to we just throw all of our frustrations to the wind and believe it’s our turn to toss our bullshit on the kids?
It reminds me of this tradition my college has. The first day of every school year, the freshman have to wear signs with their names on it for a week. if they are caught ANYWHERE (bathrooms and bedrooms included) without it on their person, seniors force the poor freshman to sing a kiddie song on top of the senior table. Then, at the end of the same year, the freshman create ’20 Days’ for seniors. The last 20 Days of classes, seniors must comply to the ‘theme’ for each day by wearing what the calendar says (an example may be ‘silly hat day’). If they don’t, a freshman, in vengeance for being subject to the same humiliation none months prior, will force the senior to sing on the table.
Ah….revenge. Maybe that’s the magic word.
Which, really, makes the whole thing even more repulsive. It isn’t about learning or not learning from youth what kids should and shouldn’t have to put up with, but rather taking out hidden frustrations on the new generation. Maybe it’s all just another bit of proof that humans are petty, ugly creatures.
And we all know much I hate people and how incredibly stupid they are.
Only now, it’s physically taking a toll on us. Teenage girls are now actually trying to get pregnant behind K-marts to get onto 16 and Pregnant for the fame it brings to them and their boyfriends. Fake tans and douche-bag haircuts that make you look like trash are more popular then ever. It’s madness, and it’s harming us.
Seriously, guys, this needs to stop. I’m genuinely pleading with the media here. I don’t want my generation to be the ‘Fame-Baby’ generation. The Spoiled Brat Millennials who expect everything to fall into the palm of their hands. The kids who don’t learn anything when their best friend had unprotected sex and end up getting knocked up themselves. That is what you, Baby Boomers, are making us.
But you don’t care, as long as you get your Social Security at 65, right? Yeah, fuck that. And fuck you.
“As much as I hate to admit it, there is a bias against Christianity in this country. [Soul Surfer] A movie about a girl using faith in Jesus to rebuild her self confidence causes controversy but a movie like ‘Easy A’ which portrays Christians as stupid over zealous pricks gets critical acclaim.” –Anonymous On FB
For the record, I believe the person who wrote this to be decent man, and considering I’ve derived this from how little I know him, that’s a pretty hard thing to say with confidence, but I do.
Soul Surfer, which comes out this week, I believe, is an autobiographical story about that girl several years ago who’s arm became a Lean Cuisine meal for a shark, and her journey through recovery, tested faith, and overcoming all to continue her passion, which is surfing.
The ‘faith,’ as you probably have already deduced, is that delightful little acceptable-excuse-for-everything-in-this-country: Christianity.
Now, let me make my peace quickly with Christianity here and now. I have my little gripes about the faith itself, but that is why I do not believe in it. I can let our differences go and move on with my life. What I loathe is not the church, but the choir and their evangelical Song of Hell that’s directed at everyone but the mirror. It’s those who brainwash kids to spread the word and the fundies who will use violence in the name of Jesus who anger me so much. Oh, and the politicians who use it as an excuse to take away my rights and my friends’ rights. They can go to hell.
Back to my point. Yes, I agree, in many, many cases in American media, Christianity is treated like crap. While I DID like ‘Easy A’ I liked it for it’s satirical nature…not it’s antagonistic usage of conservative people. Christianity, for the most part, does not deserve such portrayals in more serious media, which it still sometimes gets.
However, I must interject on behalf of my neopagan breathren and sister-en (?) and say that Christians shouldn’t bitch about films like ‘Easy A’ or ‘Saved!’ These films, at least, are flaming satires and don’t hide it. There are some cases in pop media where Christianity is given a positive spin. Like Soul Surfer, yes. But also in the multitude of openly Christian singers, country and mainstream pop (annoying as they are *coughcoughDISNEYCHANNELcough*) who are portrayed as honest people who trust in Jesus.
Try slapping the old Wiccan label an on honest musician, and what do you get images of? That ‘honest’ just seems to disappear, doesn’t it?
Pagans get SHIT when it comes to media portrayal nowadays. Or…ever…days. The archetypical teenager goth/emo punk who lives at Hot Topic and is borderline-sociopath is all you’re going to see. Ever. Not only is it not an accurate depiction, but it’s consistent across the board and completely embarrassing.
Just look at The Craft, which came out almost twenty years ago. You have a group of…well…teenage goth chicks who are borderline sociopath as the main characters. And they’re Wiccan. Surprise!
Fun fact, the film’s star, Fairuza Balk, who played the Craziest of Them All is, in fact, Wiccan in real life.
See? At least Christianity gets a good fighting chance not to make a negative name for themselves. We neopagans never had the chance. It started way back in the Roman times when Catholics became the kings and pagans became lion food. Thanks, Pope WhatHisNuts XVI, thanks a shit ton.
I guess, historically, that’s a case of turnabout, as the Roman pagans weren’t so nice to the Christians first (yes,again with the lion food). But didn’t Mr. Jesus preach that whole ‘turn the other cheek’ thing?
The whole idea of evil heathens never changed, I guess, because here we are, 2011, and the only good portrayal of pagans I’ve seen is a girl-power version of Morte D’Arthur that didn’t even get a theatrical release. It’s called Mists of Avalon and it remains to this day among my Top 5 Favorite Films Ever Made.
Unfortunately, Mists isn’t even contemporary in terms of time frame.
At the end of it all, the secret word for the whole thing, is discomfort. Religion is not a very graceful topic to bring up in private or public, let alone in popular media. It’s hard to relate to because if you do have common ground with one religion, you may inadvertently be insulting someone of another faith who happens to be in the same room. Hell, just for being neopagan, every citizen of Utah has a genetically inborn thirst for my blood. The only way one can successfully remove the awkward is to insert humor up it’s butt instead. Then at least the uncomfortable laughter can be masked by genuine laughter.
I don’t see why people need to get so defensive over it all. We Wiccans take these dumbass versions of ourselves with a grain of salt for the most part anyway. Why? Because we know it’s all stupid.
My question now is, why are so many Christians so testy? Compared to Wiccans and other minorities, you really don’t have all that much to complain about. So just sit back for once, and enjoy your new pro-Christian movie.
Oh, and the next time you steal one of our holidays, take the sex out of it, and turn it into an excuse to pig out and then pray for forgiveness for it, might I suggest Litha? Lots of bonfires, lots of dancing, lots of food. Funtimes.
I was rather distressed to learn this afternoon that Hollywood, which is one of only two centers for mass media culture this country has (the other being, of course, New York City) finally has reached, in it’s senility, a state of dementia. True dementia.
What do I mean? I mean, of course, that Hollywood is producing two different movies at the same time…THAT ARE THE EXACT SAME THING.
There are currently TWO major re-vamps of the classic fairy-tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in the works. Two separate casts, two separate directors, both boasting the same ‘edgy twist’ and both carrying about as much originality as a musical episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
One, called Snow White and the Huntsman, has Kristen Stewart, who we all know for her exquisite acting ability (for those of you who can’t catch on to the sarcasm there, you can go die now, please) attached to the titular role. No, stupid, as much as I’d be inclined to consider it, I mean, of course the role of the princess as oppose to the role of the huntsman. Directors of this one had been chasing after Stewart for the part for weeks. While I have no doubt they’re directors for a reason, I also have no doubt they AREN’T casting directors for a reason as well. Seriously, I wish I could be offered a Hollywood contract for blinking my eyes and looking like a heroin junkie.
But sadly, my list of infinitive reasons for calling Kristen Stewart the Worst Professional Actress in Cinematic History is worthy of a post of it’s own. Let’s not stray from the topic at hand…
The other, called ‘The Brothers Grimm: Snow White’ has just casts Lily Collins as Snow White, and Julia Roberts has been cast as the Evil Queen since the project was basically conceived. Yeah, same deal. I’m not a Julia Roberts fan aside from Pretty Woman. She dyed her hair red for the part, so I HAD to support her on that one anyway.
The past eight-or-so years, Hollywood has seemed to have this strange obsession with updating/re-vamping classic fairy-tales. Since 2003, we’ve had Cinderella, Snow White (yes, already), Cinderella (again), Hansel and Gretel, Beauty & and the Beast, and most recently, Little Red Riding Hood (shitty, just so you know. Don’t waste ten bucks and wait for the *legal* downloads to flood Pirate Bay). Most of these got the teen melodrama-flick treatment, and those that didn’t got the teen-goth treatment.
All of them sucked. And not just by my standards, but by most. The only movie I sort of approved of was Sydney White, because there’s always been something about that quirky Amanda Bynes that’s charmed me.
Then there’s the sub-genre of fairy tales-gone-awry that thrives on pushy prior-knowledge jokes that makes the skeptics roll their eyes. The only ones of this type that ever worked were Shrek and Shrek 2.
But in all honesty, this has got to stop. Truly, if Hollywood is relying on extremely formulaic re-done-to-death Cinderella stories starring tween stars (yeah, Stewart’s 22, but her fanbase sure ain’t), then frankly, it’s time for Hollywood to lay down and die quietly. Long gone are the days of Casablanca and Citizen Kane.
And if there is a God or Goddess, no one will even CONSIDER touching those.
I also don’t see the appeal of these remakes. We all know the stories. We were fed the spoilers for these movies from our highchairs. How many times must one remake Cinderella before it gets through our thick heads that the shoe fits and the poor waif and the rich prince get married? You can use highly-stylized editing techniques to make the film look impressive, and hell, you can even make clever modern-day conversions for the core details of the fable (i.e. poisoned apple = Apple laptop with a hacker’s virus installed). But at the end of the day, you still have a movie with a shitty, unoriginal concept. Therefore, you still are sub par.
I suppose the point of a movie isn’t necessarily to be given an original story to enjoy. If that were true, books would be obsolete (and yours truly would have committed suicide years ago). At the end of the day, anything goes with the crowd, as long as it’s entertaining and keeping you from cleaning the house for another two hours.
But still, it’s depressing to think that a whole industry has fallen so far as to resorting to the exact same movie being made twice in the same year. What, do they expect people to leave one theater and crave more of Miss White, and be motivated to theater-hop one door over to see the other movie? Is this some sort of conspiracy in an attempt to double-up on the cash intake?
If it is, then it’s stupid as hell.
In all seriousness, this wave of pretentiousness has to end. Hollywood isn’t fooling anyone with this, just like Kristen Stewart isn’t fooling anyone with that oh-so-talented lip-bite she calls ‘method acting.’ At the end of the day, I’d rather spend my $12.50 at Barnes & Noble to get the hardcover version of Grimm’s Fairytales instead. Yeah, I sound like a hipster saying this, but it’s the best bang for my buck and I’m not paying it to look at awful actors turning a classic story into a lame story about werewolf love.
Oy vey, I need to do a review soon. These pop culture-based rants are getting to be the same thing…any ideas?
‘ARK Music Factory’ is an independent record label out in LA (aren’t they all in LA?) that will literally take any tween girl who’s daddy is rich enough to shell out the money, and writer her a song, record it as a purchasable single, and design/film a music video starring her. They call themselves an ‘indie’ music label, yet they seem to be anything but. In the past month alone, nearly ten of these rich-tweens-born-of-rich-daddies have found and exploited ARK for its resources. The music videos are posted to a youtube account.
From what I gather, this company took itself seriously, and never intended for any of these young girls to rocket to stardom with their first single. The song and music video was meant to be the start of a portfolio so the clients could later build a career or get into a good music university like Julliard or the Boston Conservatory. Realistic, yes? I can understand this idea.
Then this little runt came around:
This little girl is Rebecca Black, aged 13. She’s anorexic-thin, has a Lea Michele hairstyle, is a self-proclaimed sufferer of the worst disease since the bubonic plague (aka ‘Bieber Fever‘) and has all the personality of a High School Musical extra. In the past fortnight her single ‘Friday’ produced by ARK went from 400 youtube hits to over 40,000,000.
I think, for once, the hits have it right. Not because this song is catchy, interesting, or that Black has any hint of natural talent. It’s because the song is awful, poorly-conceived all-around, and Black has NO hint of any natural talent. The comments and reviews, professional and not, say it all. It’s official: Black and her ‘Friday’ song is a joke. A joke straight out of hell.
I would link you to the video itself, but it’s easy enough to find, and I will in no way endorse adding more hits to this disaster that cannot possibly be construed as ‘music.’ I also won’t go into the cavity-forming lyrics, which literally go through the days of the week and what order they come in akin to a Barney the Dinosaur number before talking about the TWEEN singer’s longing to ‘party’. I won’t describe the cheesy-as-cheddar music video, complete with classic 90’s MV cliches and mediocre directorial effort (and thirteen-year-olds drivings cars?). I would comment on Black’s god-awful singing voice, but the entire thing is so auto-tuned you can’t even tell what she sounds like. I have to convince myself no one sings like that naturally. It has to be computer synthesizers and tuning. All of it.
So what, may I ask, is the point of begging and crying like a spoiled brat until Daddy shells out 2 grand for an ‘original’ song when it isn’t even your natural voice on the audio track, your original lyrics, or by any means your own design?
Say it with me, people: FAME.
Congratulations, you get a cookie.
Once upon a time, music was an art form unto itself. It was to the ear as painting was to the eye. In the earliest days, musicians literally kept cultures alive through the songs, stories, and dances of their people. Later, musicians were some of the most revered people in society, trained for the sole purpose of entertaining nobility and royalty alike. In the first half of the 20th century, hell, the first three-fourths 0f the 20th century, musicians were celebrities for a reason. Not just any half-wit with a bank account could make it. Talent was key. The art was still art. Lyrics were poems, and melodies were the medium used to convey poetry to people. Songs gave courage to freedom-fighters, identity to lost souls, and voices to entire generations.
Now, they tell us that Sunday follows Saturday, and are tools used to get quasi-attractive, upper-class preteen girls a shot at bringing in more money than they already need.
The meaning of music is dying. And what it’s being replaced with looks more suitable as the DVD cover of an independent teen horror flick.
I am literally insulted and offended just watching the damn music video, then seeing how much fame is following this girl around inside of a month. Because good or bad, fame is fame. Chicago taught us that.
In what warped universe is this monstrosity acceptable? And before you say ‘this one,’ let me just say I’m just as pissed at ARK for letting this happen as I am at Black for existing. This is abuse of the original purpose of ARK’ Music Factory.
No, this is a comedy. An unintentional farce. It has to be, and this is the only way I can see this abomination fitting into the realm of music with a purpose. After all, comedic musicians can be quite big too, and some are even witty, like Weird Al Yankovic or Richard Cheese. But alas, something about this tells me this is 110% serious music video with serious intent. If there were credits after the video, the vocal lessons were provided by Helen Keller.
Music itself changes all the time, and I can accept that. We had Amadeus Mozart, Louis Armstrong, The Beetles, Led Zeppelin, Green Day, Spice Girls, Green Day (again), and Lady Gaga. But what all of the aforementioned have in common is their music has/had a goal, even if it’s just to entertain or shock.
The goal of ‘Friday’ is solely for getting a face out there. That’s it. I see no other reason but to associate Rebecca Black’s face with something, good or bad, so she can get on TV. Oh, and the small satisfaction in getting off a good Helen Keller joke (see above).
And she did all of the above. Mission accomplished, okay? So, to my dear Rebecca Black: I’m sure you’re a spoiled, self-interested, shallow person in real life, but for our sakes, please shut up, stop ripping apart a millenia-old art form, and go back to middle school before lunch period ends.