Although you can count her published works on one hand, Nella Larsen's achievements went beyond literature. She was a head nurse at the Tuskegee Institute, and the first African-American woman to graduate from library school as well as the first to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Today we encounter perhaps the most difficult entry of the series. While "important" and "palatable" are not always mutually exclusive descriptors, there's no denying the cultural significance of writer-director Julie Dash's hypnotic and elliptical 1991 debut feature Daughters of the Dust, which apparently was the first nationally released film by a black female director. In 2004, the Library of Congress' National Film Registry accepted it in its canon. Its distributor, Kino International, has a close relationship with Janus and thus is similar to the Criterion Collection in its commitment to film restoration and definitive DVD packaging. However, it's a slippery movie to review, not the least of which because this critic is a white woman with a shaky grasp on the folkloric traditions represented and referenced herein.
We took a long gander at the 2010 midterm elections, and I'm grateful we've had this time together, even if electoral politics often seems like an unworthy issue to spend quality time examining. For me, assessing the rhetoric from politicians and the press who cover them is telling because it outlines the parameters of debate across a range of issues and by illuminating what gets spotlighted, we can ask discursive questions about where the silences are and what effects stem from that silencing. With this general method as context, let's take a look at the next two years, as we gear up for another presidential election.
Today's entry marks the first official selection of the horror genre. It isn't my intention to project ill will toward familial bonding the Friday after Thanksgiving, as I'm having a fine time with my partner and parents. However, maybe this post will entertain those waking from food comas or folks heading back home.
I'm a recent convert to horror movies. I started my master's program in media studies four years ago dead against them. Apart from being an easy scare, I was convinced as an avowed feminist that there was nothing salvageable about such a violent genre. I was quickly put in my place by some members of my cohort, whose feminist identity was defined in part because of their horror film fandom. My appreciation began with reading portions of film studies professor Carol J. Clover's Men, Women, and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film. I learned a great deal from her theorization of the archetypal Final Girl, a smart, resilient, often androgynous protagonist with feminist potential for whom Halloween's Laurie Strode serves as an exemplar. A smart commenter brought up the Final Girl in my recent post on Catherine Breillat's Fat Girl. The influence of Clover's ground-breaking book continues to be felt in the academy, and insinuates itself in movies like Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof. I continue to be inspired and challenged by commentary from sites like Dark Room and Fangirltastic.
Another important aspect of horror movies that needs more critical inquiry is the foregrounding of female homosocial bonding. Recent releases star groups of women engaging in physically exhausting or extreme activities. British writer-director Neil Marshall's 2005 feature The Descent focuses on six women who go spelunking in an unmapped cave system in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina.
My time with you is winding down, Bitch readers. I will miss you! But I've still got a few posts in me.
I've written about a lot of the women (and men) who have, for lack of a better word, inspired me. Voices and images and guitar, bass, and drum licks that kept me going, made me work harder, blurred out the bad things and come along with me for the good.
I could write for a year and not do any of them the justice they deserve, and there are lots of them that won't make it here—some I meant to cover and didn't because things happened and drove me in other directions, and others I remembered just recently. There are thousands of stories in my life that are connected to music, and probably even more critical lenses with which to focus on a particular song, video, album, performer.
But I've got my last post planned for you already, and so that leaves me with the open space today. And really, only one option that I simply can't miss.
Yesterday was Thanksgiving, and since today is a day of recovery/digestion, I figured it also might be a nice time to listen to some food-themed songs and reminisce about yesterday's feast. Kelsey did a food mix a few months ago, but it's such a good theme, and there are so many good songs about food, that I had to reprise it. I'm also going to steal her idea to put the songs in chronological food order, from breakfast to dessert. (The mix is a little dessert-heavy, but what can I say...I love dessert.) Dig in!
Reception is important when thinking about movies. So far, the titles I've selected played in a theater at some point, whether on a festival circuit or during a theatrical run. This wasn't always the case with the work of Toronto-based queercore pioneer G.B. Jones. Though her movies were screened at festivals, some also played in galleries or make-shift event spaces.
This post was originally published on November 18, 2009. However, this Kay ad is BACK ON THE AIR AGAIN this year, so our response is too. 12 months later, this commercial is as creepy as ever.
The holiday season is a time for reflection, love, and rampant materialism. I know this, and I expect my holiday television watching to be filled with commercials for useless items that I suddenly feel compelled to purchase for people I didn't even know I cared about. I'm never surprised to see ridiculously over-the-top ads for electronic nose hair trimmers or self-cleaning dog beds—those things are what America is all about.
HOWEVER, there is a Kay Jewelers diamond commercial airing currently that is just a bit more than this consumer can handle. Diamond commercials themselves are the worst of the holiday bunch (buy an expensive, unethical rock or you will never truly love/be loved!) but this one takes the cake by using bizarre fear tactics. Check it out:
We've spent quality time assessing the lead-in and results of the 2010 US midterm elections, and now that we're on the cusp of the 112th Congressional Session, I'd like to turn our attention to another level of civic participation: contact with our representatives and senators. After all, we are all someone's constituent, whether they received our vote or not. But more than finding resources to their phone numbers and email addresses, let's take a look at how to keep on top of the Congress schedule.
"I know what racial oppression feels like... my ancestors were Irish." "Assuming I have male privilege.... is sexist." If you missed out on the short-lived but prolific Tumblr page of Privilege Denying Dude (a series of images that used a stock photo of a white dude sandwiched with all-too-familiar privilege-denying text, like that seen here)—you missed the beginning of a genius appropriation of a popular meme (or internet trend) that shoveled smarm back in the face of the privileged cluelessness that litters YouTube and social-justice blog comment threads alike (not to mention IRL). What started as a simple trend went viral, with thousands of submissions (all with their own unique manifestation of privilege!) coming in . But due to a terms of violation with the image used, Tumblr shut down the site last Friday.