Monthly Archives: September 2008

Through With Love

They just played this song at the end of tonight’s episode of Mad Men.  For part of the episode, the big news story was Marilyn Monroe’s suicide.  Plus the fact that Sterling is leaving his wife for Jane, and Don is still kicked out of the house.

Anyway, this was pretty brilliant.

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An Informational and Random News/Thoughts Post

1.  There are some big changes about to hit The Greatest Blog Ever Hula’d.  One of the big ones is that we’re going to have more standard (and exciting!) features.  So while Stella and I are still brewing things up, the posts might be a little few and far between until we take back the night, as it were, and REALLY get this party started.  Pump up the volume.  Holla.

2.  I just cracked open this week’s New York Magazine, only to become more depressed (validated?) than I had been feeling lately about life, mostly because of Elizabeth Wurtzel’s essay on David Foster Wallace.  She ended it like this:

So here is the miserable truth that those of us who are given to depression are forced to face when David Foster Wallace commits suicide: It didn’t and turn out well.  There is no happy ending to the story of sorrow if you are born with a predilection for despair.  The world is, after all, a coarse and brutal place.  It’s only a matter of how long you can live with it.

Jesus Christ, lady, I now want to just crumple up on the ground and lay there forever like on that one Radiohead video.  Yeah.

3.  But on the bright side of things, I went to a new yoga studio today with my friend Alli, who goes there regularly.  I felt like after an exhausting day like today, especially after a series of exhausting few days, I just needed to do some emergency yoga.  I usually go to Yoga to the People, which is a pretty nice and incredibly affordable, but this place I went to this time, Dharma Mittra, was kind of more the real deal in terms of being more Hindu-y and meditation-based.  Their classes are longer, and aren’t as ass-in-your-face-hot-and-sweaty.  I haven’t been to yoga in quite a while, and have more been relying on Pilates & running– which honestly, I think may may possibly stress one out even more to a certain extent.  Anyway, after my one and a half hour yoga sesh and a super healthy dinner with Alli, it was amazing how great I felt compared to earlier today.  Though I sort of knew this before, but, I can’t remember a time I didn’t feel absolutely fantastic after yoga.  And especially this time after not going for so long.  it was restorative, fulfilling, emotional, challenging, and kinetic all wrapped into one.  I’m just really glad yoga exists in this “coarse and brutal” world.

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Hopefully not Cliched Thoughts About Fight Club

For some reason, I have been super writer’s blocked lately, and haven’t been able to finish one single goddamn movie to write about.  All I’ve been doing lately is reading (specifically, this GREAT book called Personal Days by Ed Park– which I got him to sign, thankyouverymuch) & going out.  Not too productive!  Anyway, I just read Scott Tobias’s latest “The New Cult Canon” entry about Fight Club.  I don’t think I’ve ever read a review by him that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy reading.  Man, he really is SUCH a GREAT writer when it comes to writing about film.  Anyway, here it goes…

Art and Social Responsibility

Scott Tobias writes, “If Fight Club could be considered ‘dangerous,’ the responsibility for that lies more with the willful obliviousness of some viewers than the moral deficiencies of its creators.”

Hm, really?  Granted, I haven’t seen Fight Club in a very long while.  In fact, what comes to mind the most when I think about that movie is how fucking retardedly hot Brad Pitt looks in that movie, and not really being able to hear what’s going on in the actual movie due to the various bunches of loud guys I’ve watched it with in my life. Perhaps Tobias is right that it’s a movie “by men, for men, and about men” and that “it’s the quintessential Generation X film…[a]t least for men, anyway. Women may respond to it, too, much as an anthropologist might study a foreign species, but its raw appeal is strictly for the XY set.”  Though, I definitely find myself identifying with many of the themes, I guess I can’t ever really know what it IS to be a “man.”  Whatever.

But, here’s the thing, the very ideas & themes in this movie speak to a sort of general (though I guess Gen X and/or Y?) dissatisfaction with the status quo.  And clearly, one of the “answer” options this movie provides is that one should get all “Project Mayhem” on the world:

‘Project Mayhem,’ a complex, militaristic operation that carries out his brand of anarchic mischief. Some early missions are playful, like demagnetizing tapes in a video store or planting alarming safety cards on airplanes. But the grand design is that of a terrorist organization, with independent cells concocting explosives out of household items and conspiring to attack the system at its core.

I think that might be part of the “problem” with why people may not like this movie, or find it excessive, irresponsible, or whatever.  Tobias addresses this:

Fight Club seriously questions the limits of anarchy with the same fervor with which it dismantles the trappings of consumer culture.  The problem is, this tends to be the part that critics of the film (and some viewers, too) usually miss when they dismiss it as nihilist garbage, just like members of Tyler Durden’s ‘Project Mayhem’ choose to ignore their leader when he has a change of heart. It’s easy to accept rebellion, because it’s what we desire, but harder to examine the consequences, because we don’t like the hangover. [italics mine]

But doesn’t the filmmaker have some responsibility there?  I mean, maybe a little?  Where do you draw the line with your art?  I don’t really have a firm opinion on this, and it’s obviously something I think about a lot.  I mean, when you make a movie about dismantling the status quo, isn’t it ironic that you might be perpetuating it with regards to traditional/normative masculinity?  Or is that maybe the point?  To “return” (even though I’m not quite sure it actually “went” anywhere) to this sort of, “lost” ideal. 

To this affect, I don’t see the character of Marla, as just the one flaw of the movie.  I think the fact that she exists in the film solely as a deux ex machina really speaks to the level of change Palahniuk actually wants.  Does he really want to blow up all of our social institutions and culture as we know it?  Or does he just want a slight readjustment, and an excuse to behave badly?

“Project Mayhem” = My Life?

Clearly, the themes in this movie are fantastic, and I actually like a lot of the ideas found within.  One of these is the concept of the “Project Mayhem.”  I kind of feel like I live “Project Mayhem” sometimes, to a very, very small degree. 

I mean, first and foremost, on a very basic level, I like to fuck shit up sometimes.  Nothing too major, most of the time, but just to make life interesting or to express my disagreement.  It’s fucking funny and amusing to me.  But on another level, I really do feel like I’m sort of doing it to provoke critical thought about ideas we as a culture take as a given.

Not to get all over-share-y, but I feel like, in a way, living a real life of “Project Mayhem” can either totally stunt you as a human being, suspending one into perpetual adolescence (cough, Palahniuk, cough), or it can be a means used towards more productive, revolutionary, innovative goals, propelling one into much-anticipated adulthood.  The difference? Is it responsibility?  Social responsibility?

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Thoughts on the Current Economic Situation

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The Craft

There will always and forever be a special place in my heart for the awful 1996 movie The Craft.  I caught part of it on TV the other day.  As incredibly dated and ridiculous it looks now, I really can’t think of another movie that captured a particular period of time for girls in this way.  For me, it had both been a reflection and an influence on my middle school/early high school friendships.

Though imdb describes it as “Carrie” meets “Clueless,” the central reason why I think many girls my age at the time latched on to this movie is because of its focus on the power and magic (literally, in this case) of close-knit female friendships. 

For me, I think middle school and early high school was a time before I had really discovered boys in any real way.  To me, they were more of an abstraction, a feature of many wild fantasies of mine, but, never had I really had any sort of meaningful relationship with one.  It was inconcievable to me that I could relate to boys in a way that I could with my girl friends, yet I remember strongly wanting to step over into that world, mostly out of pure curiosity.  And maybe a little bit of lust.

Weirdly, what was partially so fun about these close female friend groups is it’s actually really fun to talk about how much you want to date boys.  I never thought that now that I’ve since crossed over to adulthood, that I’d be nostalgic for a time that “boys” were just a fantasy, and when I could tell my girl friends anything, instead of that awful knee-jerk reaction I get sometimes when I feel like other women are secretly judging me or will potentially use my honest confessions against me somehow.  Don’t get me wrong, though, I don’t think adult women are all backstabbing, judgemental assholes, it’s just that I feel it can be much rarer nowadays to find the quality of friendships now as I did then.  It just kinda felt like we were all in the same boat, and no one was going to be judged for what they said or felt.  Now, it’s like we all have our own, different lives and circumstances, some of us with significant others we share more of our lives with, and it’s sometimes harder to be as close when you have more to lose and you’re supposed to be sort of trying desperately to understand where you fit into this model of adulthood everyone says you’re supposed to be.  I guess it’s just funny when you talkand dream and want so badly to grow up fro so long, and when I guess you do, and things aren’t the way you ever thought, you kind of start to think a lot about who you are, and what makes you happy.

But anyway, The Craft was also exciting (to me especially) because it showed girls doing “bad” and/or exciting things.  Though it was kind of a bummer that everyone but the Sarah character (played by Robin Tunney) sort of became corrupted by the power they obtained as a group and turned against  her, I was still kind of fascinated by the character Nancy (played by Fairuza Balk).  I remember particularly one scene that at the time was a little frightening, but upon later viewing, I sort of guiltily chuckled along– the scene where Nancy tricks Chris, the jerk who tries to rape Sarah (played by Skeet Ulrich, haha) , and who gets so mad at his accusation that she is “just jealous” that she flies into a witchy rage so powerful, it pushes poor little Chris  off the balcony, and he dies:

Nancy: Jealous? Jealous? You don’t even *exist* to me! You don’t exist! You are nothing! You are *shit*! You don’t exist. The only way you know how to treat women is by treating them like whores! Well, you’re the whore! And this is gonna stop! Do you understand! Do you understand what I’m saying? Hmm?
Chris: [frightened] I’m sorry!
Nancy: Oh, he’s sorry! He’s sorry, he’s sorry, he’s sorry, he’s sorry, he’s sorry!
[shouts]
Nancy: Sorry, my ass!

OK, so this is super melodramatic an absurd, but um, I totally got a sick kick out of watching it.  And I have to say, I think Nancy single-handedly influenced my unfortunate style choices in early-to-mid high school.  Oh, the nineties!  How ironic that I always wanted to be the type of girl that was allowed to wear all that stuff, and now I’m kind of glad my mom didn’t let me take it all the way.  I can only imagine the walking disaster (even more so!) that would have emerged. 

I remember me & my good friend Laurel actually did takethe whole the Craft thing a step further and frequently visited this place called The Psychic Eye, which was like this Wiccan/New Age/Whatever bullshit store, and bought each other tarot cards (because apparently, it’s bad luck or something to buy them for yourself?  I forget) and all sorts of candles for various energy emissions and “spells.”  But really, we would just sort of go home, listen to The Craft and/or The Crow (really what comes to mind is the “Golddust Woman” cover by Hole) soundtrack, light candles, paint our nails, talk about boys we liked, made collages form various magazines, and make up funny nicknames for boys we hated.

As dumb as it was, I really feel like we were both thoroughly enjoying ourselves.  Like, even though our conversations were littered with fantasies and speculation about boys, just us hanging out was enough.  I can honestly say that I think this was one of the moments in my life that I was truly happy and satisfied and not in painful anguish or anxiety about how I’m not accomplishing enough.  I felt like as long as I’m with my friends, going through the same things as they are, and have all this time to sit around and chat with them, then everything will be fine & I’ll figure it out.  Even when wearing the most heinous outfits/makeup.

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Sonseed

Disclaimer: This video is addicting for what reasons I will probably never be able to adequately convey in this post.

Ok, so this is what happened.  About 10 seconds into watching it, I’m like, “ha, ha this is pretty funny, these people look funny, are cheesy, weird & scarily into Jesus, ha, ha.”  But then, somehow, perhaps it was around the guitar solo part, I passed the point of no return.

Like, I realized that it’s kind of a good song.  Even that part of the “he touched me down inside” part.  Brilliant.  Am I crazy?  Possibly.  But I think the truly ludicrous part of the whole thing is that I am UNABLE to stop watching it.  Consider me converted, Christians, if it means never having to stop watching this video.

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Questions for Sarah Palin

Katha Pollitt, of The Nation (and my freaking hero of all time) posed some questions to Sarah Palin in her latest entry in A Subject to Debate, “Lipstick on A Wingnut.” 

Fucking brilliant.

§ Suppose your 14-year-old daughter Willow is brutally raped in her bedroom by an intruder. She becomes pregnant and wants an abortion. Could you tell the parents of America why you think your child and their children should be forced by law to have their rapists’ babies?

§ You say you don’t believe global warming is man-made. Could you tell us what scientists you’ve spoken with or read who have led you to that conclusion? What do you think the 2,500 scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are getting wrong?

§ If you didn’t try to fire Wasilla librarian Mary Ellen Baker over her refusal to consider censoring books, why did you try to fire her?

§ What is the European Union, and how does it function?

§ Forty-seven million Americans lack health insurance. John Goodman, who has advised McCain on healthcare, has proposed redefining them as covered because, he says, anyone can get care at an ER. Do you agree with him?

§ What is the function of the Federal Reserve?

§ Cindy and John McCain say you have experience in foreign affairs because Alaska is next to Russia. When did you last speak with Prime Minister Putin, and what did you talk about?

§ Approximately how old is the earth? Five thousand years? 10,000? 5 billion?

§ You are a big fan of President Bush, so why didn’t you mention him even once in your convention speech?

§ McCain says cutting earmarks and waste will make up for revenues lost by making the tax cuts permanent. Experts say that won’t wash. Balancing the Bush tax cuts plus new ones proposed by McCain would most likely mean cutting Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security. Which would you cut?

§ You’re suing the federal government to have polar bears removed from the endangered species list, even as Alaska’s northern coastal ice is melting and falling into the sea. Can you explain the science behind your decision?

§ You’ve suggested that God approves of the Iraq War and the Alaska pipeline. How do you know?

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