"Rave On" is the Page Turner series that asks feminist writers, artists, musicians, activists, leaders, and scholars to talk about a book that completely rocked their world. Today we feature journalist and scholar Tiny, aka Lisa Gray-Garcia, on the novel Comfort Woman, by Nora Okja Keller.
I had heard about the brutal rape and enslavement of the "comfort women" from Korea in World War II from an Asian-American scholar. I remembered listening to a few words and my mind crumbling into small particles of despair. As the daughter of a tortured woman, I'm never able to hear about hurt inflicted on women and children, man or animal, without bits of mi Corazon y mi alma breaking apart.
I don't really watch American Idol. I did tune in for an episode or two last season, when everyone on the planet was going nuts over the fact that Adam Lambert, a more-or-less openly gay dude and confirmed musical weirdo, had an actual chance at winning it. Unfortunately, the episode that I tuned in for was the one where he sang "Feeling Good," a song I have always really loved coming from Nina Simone, and around the time he hit that bizarre three-year-long air-raid-siren high note ("feelAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNGG") I was like, "oh. Good for you, Adam Lambert! Allow me to support you through the use of the 'mute' button."
So, no. Aside from seeing the clips that everyone else sees (because they are everywhere, and there is no way not to see them) I'm not a fan. Still, the news that Ellen DeGeneres is going to be replacing Paula Abdul as a judge in the next season of the show is interesting.
Earlier this morning in Istanbul, Turkey nine women were rescued from a fake reality show set where they had been held captive for two months. The women each responded to an ad for a new season of the Turkish version of Big Brother, and signed contracts stipulating that they would live together in a villa and be forced to pay a hefty fine if they wanted to leave early.
Now, there are a million things that are f@#%ed up about this story. These women were held captive against their will and threatened when they tried to leave without paying a fine to their captors. They were told to wear bikinis and "fight" with one another by the pool, while four men filmed them. They were on camera 24/7, even while changing. They weren't allowed contact with the outside world, not even with family members. However, the worst thing about this awful situation is that it is disturbing because the footage was not aired on national television.
Think about it. If this exact same scenario had played out with the footage being aired as a reality television show, no one would think twice about it. We have officially reached the point where just about anything goes, as long as it will be viewed by millions of people. (In this particular situation, the footage was aired only online, though the women were told it would be aired on TV.) Take the cameras away, and this is an incredibly upsetting kidnapping story. Bring the cameras back, and it's good television.
I haven't been writing about Mad Men too much because I am trying to let it simmer for a while before I make any pronouncements of quality. I will say that I'm still waiting for the good stuff, and that while I'm moderately optimistic that it's coming, this has, thus far, been a strange season for Mad Men's women.
Take Peggy, for example. You already know that I have a fondness for awkward young women on television. It comes from a sense of solidarity with the future name-taker who hasn't yet seen just how many asses she'll be able to kick someday. So it will come as no surprise, I think, when I tell you that I'm on Team Peggy in the Mad Men universe, hoping that she will ultimately triumph over the men who decided what she was before she had the chance to discover it herself. I have always preferred her awkward ambitiousness to Joan's swagger and tart remarks - there was a sense of the outsider to the former, and a refreshing sort of self-awareness.
The following is the first installment of a semi-regular blog highlighting books in Bitch Media's new Community Lending Library.
Lillian Hellman was a handful. She was the first female playwright on Broadway, one of the first women screenwriters in Hollywood, a controversial memoirist, a boozehound and a socialite, a Leftist sympathizer who gained fame and was subsequently blacklisted for her refusal to testify against her friends during the McCarthy hearings (she famously responded to a subpoena with, "I refuse to cut my conscience to fit the fashion of the times"), and an all-around tough cookie. This collection of plays showcases Hellman's best talent: hard-nosed storytelling full of wit and style.
Portlanders, we hope you're hungry, because Bitch is teaming up with our pals over at Voodoo Doughnut for our Consumed Issue Release Party! What does this mean for you, you ask? Good question! It means:
- Free doughnuts!
- Texass doughnut eating contest with fabulous prizes!
- Free doughnuts!
So join us on Thursday, September 24 at 7:00 pm at Voodoo Doughnut Too (1501 NE Davis St) for all the release-party-eating-contest-awesomeness you can handle. And be sure and let us know in advance if you're one of the brave few who wants to partake in the Texass doughnut eating competition. First come, first (very much) served. Signify your intent in the comments section (doughnut-eating-related trash talk encouraged).
So what do you say, Portland? Doughnut you want to come party with us? I know she does:
Friend-o-Bitch and blogger Jessica Wakeman has an interview with Diablo Cody at The Frisky that might be of interest to all you feminist film buffs out there. In it, Cody gives her two cents on the Riot Grrrl 90s, adolescent girl friendships, Jennifer's Body, and feminism in Hollywood.
Say! HERE'S something I can't not talk about: Chris Brown, domestic abuser, bow tie enthusiast, Oprah nemesis, and soon-to-be dancing fiend, now on approximately Week One Million of his I'm Not Really That Bad And Also Please Forgive Me For That Unspecified Thing I Did (Did I Mention I'm Not That Bad?) Tour.
For one thing, you can tell just by looking at her that she's an odd duck. She is prone, for instance, to wearing poof-y shouldered '80s jackets and things with polka dots. She claims to have intentionally gained weight because, as she put it in a recent Guardian article, "I don't want to be 'pretty'. I don't aspire to be like the Pussycat Dolls…I want to be an artist who people can believe in."
But it's Blay's songs that really do it. The twentysomething British songwriter goes by the name thecocknbullkid, and she has created her own musical world, one filled with equal parts quirky soul-pop (Macy Gray-ish), zingy synth-pop (Yaz-ish), and lo-fi computer zings (Midnight-Star-ish).