Dear Readers,

I now consider this blog to be my Juvenelia. Have fun perusing the archives, and find me at my new haunt, here.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Emperor's Children

I have a whole other queue of books to blog but this book was really a huge letdown. And so I'm going to do something I rarely do, and put it down.

To begin with, I've never read a book so unabatedly obsessed with interior decorating. I mean every single room was described in excruciating detail down to prints and damask curtains. I'm sorry, Mizz Claire Messud, but that is not the way we egalitarian bookworms like to skewer the upper crust. As a rule of thumb, we don't satirize the self-styled elites by lovingly describing their motherfriggin curtains.

And this only begins to touch upon the book's adjective problem. There were way too many of them, and they were way too fancy, and way too obviously meant to make the book deep, when all it really wanted to do was loll about on leather sofas and comment on the high heeled shoes of its heroines. Gah.

So I'm done with this book--and on the hunt for a new, gossipy-fun book to occupy me on my now thrice-daily commute. Any ideas?

Monday, September 24, 2007

O, Tempora! The Times screws Dems over again.

Sunday's widely circulated Times Styles piece about presidential candidates' personal lives blamed the internet and indiscreet candidates for the proliferation of supposedly "too-personal" anecdotes. It noticeably and completely ignored the mainstream media's primary role in this trend--not to mention that of special prosecutors. It just boggles my mind how much hemming and hawing had to be done--so much journalistic flip-flopping and so many pointed omissions that IMHO, the article as it is makes no fookin' sense (nor might I ad, does it give us any new 411).

Michael Powell writes that:
Too Much Information is a concept rarely honored in modern presidential politics. In a YouTube, cellphone photo, I’m-posting-it-on-the-Web world, no secret is safe, no taboo assumed, no limit observed.
Powell seems to have forgotten that his own newspaper (not to mention cable TV pundits) profiles the fashion decisions, family lives and the personal histories of candidates on a regular basis, playing to an audience that's far more established and influential than the YouTube/internet generation.
How American politics came to this pass has two answers. The short version starts with Jimmy Carter, who told Playboy magazine that that he had lusted in his heart after women. And it ends with Bill Clinton and the Starr report. President George W. Bush got the message; asked about his own past peccadilloes, he more or less said those were in the past.
Powell, while essentially praising Bush for stonewalling the press, de-emphasizes the fact that Bush was free to dismiss questions posed to him, while Clinton's hand was forced by the special prosecutor's office. By this logic any candidate who refuses to divulge personal information should be praised. But he reverses this assumption when discussing democratic candidate John Edwards.

The reporter begins by saying: “I hope this isn’t too personal.” That’s when Mr. Edwards’s inner siren should have started screaming. How, the writer asks, did you break her rib with a hug?
“Maybe it is a little personal,” Mr. Edwards says.

Here, Powell castiages John Edwards for not knowing what a reporter was going to ask beforehand, and then politely refusing to answer the question without making a big fuss over it. But in his fawning closing anecdote about Rudy Giuliani, Powell praises him for doing what amounts to the same thing as Edwards, but more rudely.

A young mother stood up and asked Mr. Giuliani about his three marriages and his frosty-to-nonexistent relationship with his two children. He fixed her with that stare.
“I love my family very very much and will do anything for them,” he said. “The best thing I can say is, kind of, ‘Leave my family alone, just like I’ll leave your family alone.’ ”
Don’t go there — what a candidate concept.

The twisted logic of this story, and its refusal to acknowledge how the Times staff and columnists like Maureen Dowd have contributed to the phenomenon of over-scrutinizing the candidates underscores how disingenuous the mainstream media can be when it comes to its own role in shaping political discourse. I mean, peoples, this is like the tenth Sunday styles article about how closeted Times reporters lust after manly manly men teh candidates. Can we get real for a second, Timesmen? Hello? Anyone?
Apparently not.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Dearest readers,

I'm going to be blogging quite sporadically for a while. It was really exciting to get all the traffic and linkage and comments this summer, and to see the numbers keep climbing and feel kind of important.

But I am totally swamped at the moment with a bunch of freelance writing assigments, a 10-15 hour/week tutoring commitment, and an internship starting on Thursday.

I have a massive backlog of books to review and corporate media items to bash and feminist analyses of music and movies to offer, and I'll try to catch up when I have a chance. But until then, read the awesome blogs I link to in the sidebar and try to keep yourselves egalitarian and bookwormy. I'll see you on the flop side. (And yes, I meant flop side. It wasn't a typo, okay?)

much love,


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Justice for the Jena Six

This is such a huge issue. If y'all do anything today, click on the image above and find out what you can do about this massive abuse of our justice system and proof that sadly, overt racism is still alive and well in America.

Samantha Bee

"Nails" conservative pundits, Sex and the City, and "Mystery," the dating guru, in one fell swoop.

Now there's a funny commedienne who actually subverts gender paradigms or what-have-you (Tina Fey, you watching?). Apolos for those of you who have already seen this clip on the feminist blogs, but hey, you can't get too much of a good thing.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ya know what rocks?

Having a hetero life-partner who rocks at witty feminist pop-cultural analysis.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Another Egalitarian (Bookworm?) Heroine

Kathy Griffin, at the Emmys:
“a lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus. So, all I can say is, ‘suck it, Jesus.’ This award is my god now.”

And of course, it's getting censored. Fuck the theocracy!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Britney Spears at the VMAs

Say what you will about her choice of outfit, her "dead eyes" and her bewildered demeanor, but, this ---> is not fat.

We all need to look at this woman and say to ourselves, "WE DID THIS TO HER."

She is a reflection of us in the end, and maybe that's why she makes us so uncomfortable.

UPDATE: in case you're wondering why I'm emphasizing her un-fatness, read this sentence from the AP (and the comments from any gossip blog that discusses Ms. Spears)

She lazily walked through her dance moves with little enthusiasm. It appeared she had forgotten the entire art of lip-synching; and, perhaps most unforgivable given her once taut frame, she looked embarrassingly out of shape
I repeat, this was an AP article.

UPDATE 2: Check out what fellow Egalitarian Britney-Defender Rebecca Traister has to say, and a great letter in reponse.

Saturday, September 08, 2007


Time for more self-promotion: I wrote the end-piece in this season's Bitch magazine, and it's a brief history of Austen-mania in the last few decades. Writing it gave me the awesomely rad opportunity to combine three of my greatest passions: Jane Austen, feminism, and being cheeky about pop culture.

Bob Dylan Has A Message For You, Egalitarian Bookwormies

Click here to retrieve it.

Friday, September 07, 2007

RIP Madeleine L'Engle

Beloved YA and adult author Madeleine L'Engle passed away today. L'Engle was one of my absolute favorite authors when I was a teen. I read the Meg Murray books, the Polly O'Keefe books, the Vicky Austin books, and I obsessed over the characters who travel in between the "chronos" world of Vicky and the "kairos" world of the O'Keefes, even going to far as to write up family trees for her characters in my journal. I also read all of her earlier YA novels and her adult novels. I read all of these booksover and over and over again (seriously). L'Engle wrote real, believable heroines. She wrote about sex and death frankly and unashamedly, and her spirituality infused her books without being didactic, allegorical, or patriarchal (ahem! CS Lewis). She loved science and so did her female charcters.
More personally, she made me want to be a writer, and she helped me feel less scared about growing up. The debt I owe to her as a figure of inspiration is almost unparalleled. So thank you, Madeleine L'Engle.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Do Blondes Have More Fun?

Hi there, my favorite left-wing radical pop-culture-loving bookworm readers.

I ask the above question of you, 'cause yesterday, at my once-annual trip to the salon during which I actually get more than a cheapie cut, I told Cherri, my hairdresser, to go funky. And apparently funky meant taking some blue-dye and putting streaks of it throughout my unassuming chestnut tresses--and now I'm a half-blonde.

I can't decide whether the look is more punk rock or Park Avenue--Paris, France, or Paris Hilton. Have I betrayed my feminist sensibilities by going blonde instead of getting a dark-brown hipster 'do? Have I betrayed my rebellious streak by going blonde instead of my previous favorite, burgundy red?

I don't know. But I wonder if people will judge me differently now that my locks are lightened.

Monday, September 03, 2007

It's Labor Day

Unions, those pesky folks who brought us the weekend, health insurance, and other risky socialist elements.


Sunday, September 02, 2007

It's Britney, Bitch

Okay, so Ms. Spears may not fall into the purview of normal EBC topics, but confound it, man. She's back! And my peeps and I are blasting this single, "Gimme More" all throughout this long weekend. Enjoy it!