Over the weekend, St. Vincent's upcoming album, Strange Mercy, started streaming on NPR. The woman behind the band, multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Annie Clark, started out as a member of the Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens' tour mate. She is known for juxtaposing sweet, Feist-like vocals with dark, often violent imagery. The disconnect between body and soul (that is, between the material and spiritual) is a central theme of her third album. The newest single, Cruel," examines this disconnect in the context of the trivial cruelties of day to day family life.
My name is Kristin Rawls, and, yes, I am a preacher's daughter. I'm in my early 30s, and I was raised in an unusual blend of Protestant traditions. The preacher (my dad) grew up in the Southern Baptist church, got "saved" during the Pentecostal-influenced "Jesus movement" of the 1970s and ultimately settled in a mainline (not fundamentalist) tradition. My family practiced a confusing mix of them all. The result? I became pretty cynical about the the whole thing.
This blog series is named after blueswoman Michelle Malone's song, "Preacher's Daughter" (transcript here):
Despite the obvious social critiques in the books, I never consciously drew parallels between the wizarding world and my world. I wanted Harry Potter to exist in a vacuum. But as the books went on, the back stories grew more complex, the danger became more insidious and intimidating, and the fantasy world turned out to be as confusing and terrifying as my real post-9/11 adolescent world. I dreaded the release of the last two books, knowing I would endure them more than I enjoyed them, but the idea of simply abandoning the series never even crossed my mind. Not only did I not want to analyze the books as cultural products or actively criticize them, I was and still am basically incapable of doing so (if you would like a really feminism-centric response to Harry Potter, Sady Doyle has a good one). Because I grew up reading these books, I have internalized the messages that I uncritically accepted in a way I only really could when I was a kid. As far as I'm concerned, it's word of God, and I don't think I'm the only one who feels that way.
Oprah's very last episode was a love letter to her fans; just her on her stage talking to us, her viewers. Much of it was retread: of her rise to unprecedented success and fame, and of the life lessons Oprah has learned throughout the years. But she did touch on something that hasn't always been front and center when discussing the extreme success of her long-running show: that she is not her best without the energy of the audience.
HuffPo reports on Rachel Maddow's statement that "[g]ay people—generally speaking—have a responsibility to our own community and to future generations of gay people to come out, if and when we feel that we can." Do you agree?
Reality TV tends to focus on and highlight extreme behaviors and choices—sometimes with the intention of normalizing them. For me, nothing has been such an obvious statement about our culture's obsession with parenting and procreation as the "we have a million kids" shows that have sprung up over the last few years—and there are quite a few, particularly for U.S. audiences. I'm referring specifically to 19 Kids and Counting, Kate Plus 8 (sorry Jon), Raising Sextuplets, and Table for 12, all of which celebrate the chaos of having 8-plus people in the house. (You can also lump in TLC's Sister Wives, since though they have 3 mothers and no sets of multiples, they also have more than 10 kids.) Why are all of these shows so popular? What do they tap into that makes them worth watching? Do people secretly long for the chaos advertised in this programming line-up, or is it simple one more way to make an easy buck by exploiting a family who can likely use the cash?
Regular readers of Bitch know by now that Glee, while addictive and entertaining (if you try and tell me you didn't make a heroic attempt at recreating the choreography from "Safety Dance" alone in your room, I'm going to straight up call you a liar), is imperfect. This week's episode, which tackled religious belief (or the lack thereof), was no different.
If Sinead O'Connor can rip up a picture of the Pope, then I can certainly call him a douchebag! (See Mom and Dad, I can still make LSAT approved if/then statements). With the recent (read: this wave of crisis) sexual abuse scandal rocking the Catholic church, there is no other choice than to demand more of Pope Benedict XVI and unless he wants to keep being branded a big old doucher, we're going to need some big old action and soon!