I love movies, and I am more than interested in politics. So it behooves me to think about the sizable overlap between the two. One of the things I love about political movies (and heck, political television shows, too) are the tropes they include and play to, especially as tropes reveal something about an era's ideology around politics. There's something different in the feel and mood, for example, in the original and remake of The Manchurian Candidate that goes to the heart of 1962's understanding of the Korean War and the just-after 9/11 tragedy zeitgeist's take on the first Gulf War, respectively, but both take on conspiracy theory and the presidency.
Whenever I am asked to name a film whose female actor's performance lifted me out of the recliner I immediately think of Angela Lansbury's chilling turn as Eleanor Iselin in the 1962 John Frankenheimer film The Manchurian Candidate. (Don't bother with the soggy 2004 remake, which is awful in every way imaginable) The Manchurian Candidate is a palate cleansing suspense thriller worlds away from Lansbury's sweet, meddling mystery writer J.B. Fletcher from Murder, She Wrote.
It's that time again! We're rounding up some of the most interesting things we read this week in the another edition of On Our Radar.
With the release of Forbes' list of the top 100 Websites For Women, Renee Martin of Womanist Musings writes on the incredible lack of blogs by women of color, trans women, and disabled women.
Shelby Knox reflects on body image and feminism after modeling for a mainstream women's magazine.
Over at Racialicious, Safa Samiezade'-Yazd writes on the politics of curly hair.
Bitch contributor Tammy Oler reviews the fantastic-sounding new science-fiction film Splice. The film, about a pair of scientists that secretly engineer a "gene splice, mutant test-tube baby" win's Oler's praises through, among other things, its strong female lead and its interesting evocation of gender.
U.S. Social Forum National Coordinator Adrienne Maree Brown talks to Democracy Now!'s Mike Burke about the forum and science-fiction writer Octavia Butler.
Irin Carmon investigates the "boy's club" that is The Daily Show on Jezebel.
For more on sexism in comedy, take a look at Lisa Wade's analysis of "comedy as a masculinized, heterosexualized space" on Sociological Images.
Watch out, non-dude citizens of Charlotte, North Carolina! Misty at Shakesville presents us with America's Manliest City, brought to you by the extensive research of Combos Snacks.
Via Feministing: Katie Couric interviews Gloria Steinem and Women's Media Center president Jehmu Greene on her CBS News web show @katiecouric.
Threadbared has a call for submissions for the exhibit An Other Fashion: Claiming America through Dress, which seeks to find "hidden histories stashed in the basements and attics, in the backs of closets, and in lesser-known personal and institutional archives of and about women of color."
Find something that piqued your interest this week? Leave it in the comments section!
As a bit of a contrapositive to our weekly Adventures in Feministory, I have to include these 19th-century British political cartoons by John Leech that The Sexist linked to today.
Father of the family: Come dear, we so seldom go out together now - can't you take us all to the play tonight?
Mistress of the house and M.P.: How you talk, Charles! Don't you see that I am too busy. I have a committee tomorrow morning and I have my speech on the great crochet question to prepare for the evening.
At some point between the release of 1996's Mission: Impossible and Jerry Maguire I discovered I could predict future Tom Cruise trends based on what I knew about his upcoming releases. Granted, I could not give pertinent details such as box office grosses or where he might holiday with his family, but I could predict things such as potential co-stars (I had Thandie Newton as his M:I2 co-star before I'd even left the screening of the first installment of the franchise) and general trends. I have always believed Cruise's persona was carefully constructed in a way that is much more sophisticated than many stars' audiences are used to. Personally, I don't think any incarnation of Cruise's persona is in fact representative of Cruise himself, but I do think they tend to represent areas of concern he opts to explore on screen.
In the camp of You Can't Make This Shit Up, I'd like to take a brief look—a glance, really—at a few odd stories about the weird things former politicians and lobbyists (and politicians who became lobbyists) do. Honestly, I don't think I should write about this for too long, as something in my brain might start to mis-fire on purpose. Contemplation isn't worth long-term cognitive damage, after all. First, there's the Bill Clinton weight loss story that I keep pretending isn't there, but like Al Pacino says in The Godfather Part III, it keeps "pulling me back in."
Whether you take your coffee black like Liz Lemon or full of milk, sugar, whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles like Leslie Knope, you can now drink it in feminist style with a set of oh-so-amazing Bitch coffee mugs! Behold:
This is what reality television should be like. Made Here is a new web documentary series about work and life as a performance artist as told by a variety of artists living in New York City. Broken up into easily digestible video segments, the series goes beyond "Making It In The Big City" to explore the real-world challenges of space, family, and the impediments to creativity an artist faces.
Up until now, I've looked at people who have for better or worse had their time in the spotlight of Washington, DC and who have, for the most part, faded from view, or at least have made their ways to the back of our collective memory. And starting next month I'll take a gander at folks who were not as much on the national stage but who have affected policy or political expectations more regionally.
So far going through the scandals and politicized campaigns of yore has been relatively straightforward. Not so this time around. Because I'm taking up the sordid story of Oliver North.