It's hard to imagine that anyone in the audience for TLC's Toddlers & Tiaras has a deep passion for child beauty pageants. Okay, maybe there's a small contingent of fans who like frilly dresses and are impervious to real-time psychological trauma, but most can't help but be appalled by pageant parents' (read: moms') obsession with their children's ability to impress strangers who have god-only-knows what issues of their own (read: judges).
A while back, a commenter raised the issue of why I had focused mostly - in fact, almost entirely - on female artists in She Pop. There are a few reasons for this. First, the way that female personalities are packaged and sold, and the way people react to them, is a more interesting topic for analysis than just pointing at a sexist male pop star and being like, "look! He's being a sexist!" You might actually arrive at a conclusion you hadn't planned on, for one thing, and the discussions tend to be more complex and interesting, and you don't get stuck at that "I agree, he IS a jerk" round-table consensus level of Conversation Death. For another thing, many of the male pop stars working today are boring, at least in comparison to their lady counterparts. There are just too many worthwhile, interesting female pop stars, providing too much food for thought, for the men to compete.
But today, I intend to begin rectifying my shameful omissions. By providing you with INCREDIBLE TRUE STORIES of DUDES WHO HAVE BEEN JERKS! Dudes in the realm of MUSIC, no less!
Beginning of course, with John Mayer. Perhaps you have heard about his latest episode of jerk-like behavior?
Well, my time here has come to an end, just in time for the new season of 30 Rock to premiere and me to consequently be able to get my Tina Fey on without thinking to myself, "Why do they keep implying there's something wrong with Liz! Liz is awesome! I call misogyny! Why does Scott Adsit's wife have a stupid accent and why are they talking about her not having any sex drive as if it was always the woman's fault if the dude has an affair? That's not subversive funny!!" Instead I just ate my sad-single-lady dinner pint of Phish Food with my furry feline and laughed to my blackened little heart's content and ignored problematic storylines.
But the curse is still upon me.
Case in point: I have been watching Friday Night Lights this week because a friend turned me on to it. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am only halfway through the first season. I watched most of that with said friend after we wore through the soles of our shoes walking the entire perimeter of Vancouver over last weekend. Friend is (at least) a proto-feminist, but I think I annoyed the hell out of her by consistently pointing out that the entire conceit of the show is drenched in white male privilege. I mean really, the base assumption of the thing is that all the white kids are good at heart but the real drug abusers and anger therapy-needers are the blacks and the Latinos. (It came complete with a depiction of a Latino lying about hearing a racial slur to get a white kid in trouble when in fact the racial slur came from a black guy because we know blacks are the real racists, natch.) The show is not wholly irredeemable - indeed I am continuing to watch and perhaps it will get better. But between the lack of meaningful screentime given to the female characters and Very Special episodes about racism in which the fundamental theme is that "white people don't mean any harm," it's never going to be the kind of show I can love in an unqualified way.
Rihanna's new album is coming out soon. And with the new album - about which we know pretty much nothing, aside from a few vague quotes - comes the speculation about whether she'll address The Incident - her public assault by, and break-up with, Chris Brown. Specifically: is she going to be angry?
An article at CNN.com (via ONTD) says: maybe! Ne-Yo, who worked with her on the album, has said that we can "expect an edgier, almost angrier Rihanna on this one." And it is, as CNN reminds us, The First Album Since The Incident. But Tracey Johnson, of NeonLimelight.com, says "[Some fans] feel like it would be good for her to represent abused women in some sort of way and say something, but in my perspective, she doesn't owe us anything."
I don't know much about her website, but I'm with Tracey on this one. She doesn't owe us much. Particularly not one specific emotion. After what she's survived, asking her to present us with one simple "appropriate" or fan-requested emotion is just unfair.
In this corner, California: home to the Bay Area, which is probably among the most queer-friendly places in the world. Though notoriously "pro-H8," California has relatively comprehensive domestic partnership laws and the Bay Area, in particular, offers a host of legal and health services to the GLBTQ community.
You know that feeling you get when you have unprotected sex with the Governor's daughter, the two of you have a baby, and you become a national punchline? Well, next time you find yourself in that awkward situation, take a cue from teen dad Levi Johnston and turn your regrets into something positive: pistachios.