I can't add much to Annalee's farewell
to Brill Building great Ellie Greenwich, who died this week at age 68.
(Ann Powers of the L.A. Times also has an excellent appreciation of
Greenwich's life and legacy here.)
But as a devotee of the girl-group sound and the history of the
songwriting women behind it (seriously, rent Allison Anders's film Grace of My Heart,
whose fictional central songwriter, Denise Waverly—neé Edna Buxton—was
based on Brill Building women like Greenwich, Carole King, and Cynthia
Weill), I've spent the past few days revisiting her classics. Here are
Somebody should probably call these people up and inform them that actually, there is already a modern adaptation of Heathers on the air and it’s called Gossip Girl. Oh yes, of course, Gossip Girl isn’t actually witty or smart or anything but Serena did kill that one guy and dates the modern version of Christian Slater’s character if said character had poured his dreams into modern Brooklyn “writer” “soulful” soullessness. So please, for the love of God, don't try to remake it these days. We'll end up with a poor substitute for Winona Ryder, I tell you what.
Look, like everyone, I liked Heathers back in the day. I just need to amend the proposition that I think that television is nice to women, somewhat, to say I think it's nice to women over the age of 18. In fact, if anything, there is one archetype on television I think we have all had enough of in the last year: high-school bitchy. (Lest you forget, in Tina Fey's famous words, this was Sarah Palin's most annoying personality trait.) I am utterly and totally bored by the limited interpretation of the lives of teenage girls on television today. Not a one of them seems to have the least bit of a problem with the world of consumerism and hot purses, and if they have academic or professional (read: fashion) ambition at all (read: Blair Waldorf), it is because such ambition would confer on them social status they would like to have. Genuine intellectual curiosity, in a teenage girl on television today? Pshaw. You can't tear those ladies away from their Manolos! And it's the reality too! Have a look at The Hills sometime if you're looking for reasons to commit suicide, ladies!
In this, the second part of my email interview with directors Kristy Guevara-Flanagan and Dawn Valadez, the collaborators talk about breaking the rules of documentary filmmaking, getting the girls to open up on camera, how their film can be used in classrooms, and their future projects.
Facials, hairlessness, porn stars as role models...is internet porn changing sex for teenagers and twentysomethings? How has the rise of mainstream, accessible porn started fucking with teenage brains, both male and female?
South African runner Caster Semenya has been making international news for a week or so now, and this week's Douchebag Decree is honor of those news outlets and blogs that have handled the blown-out-of-proportion debate over Semenya's gender the worst. It turns out that not only are pundits and bloggers jerks about Semenya herself, but have some other unfortunate sexist hangups as well. Let's see what this gang of douchebags had to say, featuring supplemental douchey content the comments from the original posts and a Douchebag Decree honorable mention!
When it comes to Current TV, we here at Bitch thought we'd found a one-Bitch-one-woman sitch with our crush Sarah Haskins. However, it might be time for an open relationship, because we are omgsoinlove with Bryan Safi and his Current show That's Gay. Check out the latest episode on lady kisses!
Ellie Greenwich, October 23, 1940 – August 26, 2009
American singer, songwriter, and producer Ellie Greenwich died yesterday of a heart attack. Greenwich was best known for writing and co-writing such girl group classics as "Be My Baby" (The Ronettes), "Da Doo Ron Ron" (The Crystals), "Leader of the Pack" (The Shangri-Las), "River Deep, Mountain High" (Ike & Tina Turner), and many others. Greenwich and Jeff Barry, her former husband and writing partner, had 17 singles in the pop charts of 1964.
When I was growing up, one of my very favorite things was to have books read out loud to me. My mother (a total bookworm, thank goodness) read to my little brother and I every night, and it was the best thing ever. We'd beg for her to read just one more chapter of My Father's Dragon or From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and I loved to fall asleep guessing what was going to happen next.
However, I am now a bit older and I no longer live with my mother (knock on wood). That is why, for this installment of BiblioBitch, I would like to make a case for the mighty audiobook. Audiobooks have replaced my mother when it comes to reading out loud to me at bedtime, and they usually feature celebrities (something that was missing from my childhood listening experience -- sorry Mom, but it's true).
"YA Lit Bitch" is the new Page Turner series about my ever-so-slight (or ever-so-obvious) obsession with young adult literature that's not only good, but represents a wide-open range of teenagers' lives with a feminist heroine (or 2, 3) thrown into the mix. The series features interviews with YA authors about their work as well as feminism, gender, race, class, sexual orientation, and other issues.
This week we talk with author Laurie Halse Anderson, who's written five YA novels, including the New York Times best-seller Speak, one of the most compelling depictions of the trauma of the interior space of a teenage sexual assault survivor. Anderson has been getting letters from teen rape and incest survivors ever since she published Speak, which was her first novel, ten years ago. Her latest,Wintergirls, covers the well-worn, adolescent terrain of eating disorders through the lives of two 18-year-old girls, Lia and Cassie.
Page Turner talked with Anderson about growing up feminist, what she loves about the teen audience, personal power in a consumer-driven culture, and how Wintergirls brought to light her own issues with disordered eating and body image.