I was both depressed and intrigued when I read about the bizarre double suicide of Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake last summer. Bitch interviewed Duncan way, way back in Bitch no. 7, when she and Blake had just completed ZeroZero, the third in a series of truly awesome CD-roms for girls following Chop Suey and Smarty.
The SF Weekly's cover story this week is quite a departure. Rather than an exposé of city government shenanigans or a look at some local phenomenon gone national, it's a personal essay about gastric bypass surgery. The Weekly trying to get into the New Year's resolution swing of things by covering weight loss? Trying to capitalize on the bodies of its female staffers (albeit in an unusual and roundabout way)? Just filling a slow news week with a non-timely story? Though it's worth questioning why this is a story in the first place, I'm gonna go in another direction.
In many ways the piece is a standard narrative of self-improvement, complete with a badly lit, messy "before" snapshot paired with a professional "after" picture including careful makeup and styled hair. It would be all too easy to simply criticize author Katy St. Clair for caving in to cultural pressure, buying into the whole thin = hot bullshit she says she wants to be free from, and playing down the risks and sideeffects of weight-loss surgery—which she dismisses as "overblown" without any further information or comment; I know it's a personal essay and not a news article, but it's still on the cover of a newsweekly, so the omission seems pretty glaring—and move on.
Quoted in the New York Times about the hateful Skinny Bitch vegan "health" book phenom. Cheers to reporter Julia Moskin for including Debbie's critical viewpoint—that skinny and healthy are not the same, and vegan junk food is still junk, that these books stop short of the challenge to our industrialized food system that a more politicized vegan analysis would provide.
Every year, I'm one of the many critics invited to select their top 10 albums and singles for the Village Voice's venerable (if interesting largely only to other music critics) Pazz & Jop poll. I stopped writing about music for a (fractional) living seven years ago, and most music criticism gives me hives now, but I still love music itself, and the nice thing about Pazz & Jop is that you don't actually have to wax adjectival about your picks, you're just like: White Stripes. I liked it. Boom.
In addition to writing for and editing the Love It/Shove It blog—formerly known to our five or six longtime online readers as the S/hitlist—I'll be maintaining this, a more personal blog. The title, Dogged Pessimism, refers to the fact that a.) I'm a wee bit pessimistic and b.) I like dogs.* But I'll be covering plenty of other ground in this here space, including: my Bitch-related and freelance projects and speaking engagements, embroidery and illustration, and reviews of TV, movies, books, music, and more. Emails, suggestions, gossip, and photos of your dogs are all welcome.
I've been telling people about my plans for the advice-column part of the blog, and I've been getting the same reaction over and over: "What does that have to do with feminist response to pop culture?"
Mary Christmas started the night off with the story of her illustrious career as a young New York fashion model ending with an ill-timed family move to Chicago, where modeling perms for hair salons was considered top of your game.