Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out last week, and it's pretty safe to say that most of the universe has witches (and wizards) on the brain. The blockbuster success of the Harry Potter franchise is not all that surprising, though, considering that humans have been obsessed with witchcraft both real and imagined for millennia. One of our favorite things to do throughout history has been to accuse social outliers of one form or another of being witches, whatever exactly that means.
You know those stickers that say, "Well-behaved women rarely make history"? Well, they also rarely get into the history books without getting called a witch at some point along the way. Go figure. This week, I've rounded up some historical figures of varying degrees of renown who would, according to their detractors, have fit right in at Hogwarts with Hermione, Ron, and Harry.
I have some misgivings about entering into the fourth week of the series and only now addressing a picture with a transgender protagonist. These concerns are made worse by the cruel dramatic irony that the main character in Southern Comfort is a man who dies of ovarian cancer. It is complicated by the fact that the selection in question is also the first documentary I have considered for the Bechdel Test Canon. I meet most documentaries with incredulity, encountering components like editing with skepticism rather than regarding the finished product as truth.
After the 2008 election, one of the first books that made the rounds of the daytime news shows came from none other than John McCain's daughter, Meghan. Of particular interest to the talking heads in the wake of Barack Obama's win was the enigmatic, rogue-designee Sarah Palin. Meghan had some choice words for her father's running mate, saying:
I was waiting for her to explode. There was a fine line between genius and insanity, they say, and choosing her as the running mate was starting to seem like the definition of that line.
Many pundits soon followed, casting doubt on Palin's ability to manage her own campaign, assailing her readiness for leadership, and questioning her competence—the same general terrain taken up by Democrats in the election itself. Fast forward to 2010, after the midterm elections. Politico ran an article recently about Sharron Angle's Senate campaign in Nevada, and it is a more than a little déjà vu in tone. I started wondering if there were any real similarities, and figured that for good measure, I'd take a look at what the political pundits are also saying about Christine O'Donnell, failed GOP contender for the junior Senator seat from Delaware. Was I just having a psychic whiplash, or were there any patterns in these three different races?
In that way that some people (read: me) obsessively decide which three wishes they'd choose if they had three wishes, I have considered carefully whose voice I would want if some fairy godmother appeared and granted me the power to actually not sound like a squawking turkey when I sing. The choice gets tougher, though, between the top two.
This week on Grey's Anatomy, Dr. Yang takes a trip to the Coyote Ugly, Dr. Avery's dark past comes to the fore, Dr. Grey and Dr. Karev strike out on their own to save a patient's life, and a whole lot of people get drunk. Really drunk.
Find out what the Grand Rounds crew thought of it all, after the jump!
Due to the dominance of the English language in rock 'n' roll, many artists who have chosen to record in their native language have not gained world-wide prominence. To see what else was out there, I went on a music research quest resulting in this week's BitchTapes mix of songs all recorded in French. Some current electronic French acts, a few synth songs from the '80s, some current rock, and finally a delicious pop song from the '60s (and a couple French Canadians and Belgians) made the cut. Track list after the jump! Appréciez!
Another video clip: The women of Reel Grrls have posted a vlog on celebrity weight loss and the media's obsession with it.
Terry Gross is a divisive figure here at Bitch HQ (She asks good questions! She asks terrible questions! Her voice! It's so soothing/irritating!), but it's pretty undeniable that she's been kicking ass and taking names on Fresh Air this week. We're all about the Jay-Z interview in particular, for his responses to the "Bitch/ho question" (thanks, Terry!) and the "Why do rappers grab their crotches?" question.
Jim McKay's 1996 feature Girls Town came out at an interesting time. It was released a few years after riot grrrl was co-opted by the mainstream and Sassy folded, but a year before Spin Magazine attempted to capitalize on a cultural moment with their problematic Girl Issue and Alex Sichel's coming-of-age drama All Over Me received a limited theatrical release. It made its stateside cinematic debut two days before Annette Haywood-Carter's Foxfire, an adaptation of Joyce Carrol Oates' novel that also focused on a teenage girl gang, which helped launch Angelina Jolie's career, attempted to do the same for Calvin Klein model Jenny Shimizu, and represented a liminal period for former child actress and Rilo Kiley frontwoman Jenny Lewis. While Foxfire is better-known, I'd argue that Girls Town evinces more progressive gender and racial politics.
Whatever sense one makes of the midterm elections this year, some people in Congress now claim they have a mandate or at the very least, a bully pulpit from which they can advance their own agendas, no matter their sensibility or lack thereof. As we press into the weekend before our collective, supposed Thanksgiving next Thursday, let's take a look at who has made vocal declarations for the next several months. One needn't even examine these carefully before identifying which Congressperson made a traitorous claim.
On Tuesday night, the Bitch Book Club got together to discuss Gaudy Night, a mystery novel by Dorothy Sayers that was first published in 1935. While snacking on cinnamon rolls and apple rosemary scones donated by Dovetail Bakery, we talked about this smart and witty book that has gained a reputation as the first feminist novel of its genre.