Friday, April 08, 2005

I'm a baller baller. You're not at all a baller.

- Motherfuckers keep dying: Another good one departs.

- Moot or not moot?: This following about the word "moot" is, quite frankly, cute: The adjective moot is originally a legal term going back to the mid-16th century. It derives from the noun moot, in its sense of a hypothetical case argued as an exercise by law students. Consequently, a moot question is one that is arguable or open to debate. But in the mid-19th century people also began to look at the hypothetical side of moot as its essential meaning, and they started to use the word to mean “of no significance or relevance.” Thus, a moot point, however debatable, is one that has no practical value. A number of critics have objected to this use, but 59 percent of the Usage Panel accepts it in the sentence The nominee himself chastised the White House for failing to do more to support him, but his concerns became moot when a number of Republicans announced that they, too, would oppose the nomination. When using moot one should be sure that the context makes clear which sense is meant.

- Bitches and Hoes and shit: I wonder if anything fruitful will come of the Feminism and Hip Hop Conference. I’m skeptical, though. I get the feeling that it’s gonna be a bunch of feminists sitting around talking about something they don’t really know too much about through a filter that won’t fit as neatly as they might think. This piece and bell hooks’ piece on gangsta rap are worth a read. I think the gist of the whole conversation boils down to the following: misogyny isn’t so much a “problem” in hip-hop in that it’s promoting misogyny in real life. To me, the “problem” with it is that it’s simply symptomatic of the much larger (and still strong) sociological patriarchal pathology. To take hip-hop alone to task for being misogynistic and materialistic is to scapegoat hip-hop and ignore the history of this country that built itself upon these values. Now, that don’t make it right when Snoop raps about beating a bitch, and the hip-hop-misogyny conversation is always one that is worth having, but the most important thing we have to acknowledge is that the issue is much more complicated than “right” and “wrong”; “good” and “bad”; “should” or “shouldn’t”; and other such over-simplifying polarities.

- And I thought inner-lip tattoos were gangsta: Tattooing something on someone else’s forhead without their consent is just plain ol’ MEAN. Kinda funny. Definitely mean, though.

- How many 12 year-olds could you beat up?: This guy thinks he could take approximately 7.

- Required reading: We should probably all pick this up and talk about it. Reviews look good, so far. However, I’m skeptical.

- ”We can change our context, but we can’t change ourselves”: Whit Stillman’s “Last Days of Disco” is by no means a great, great movie, but it’s got 4 or 5 good scenes that make it quite good and certainly worth a watch. The following deconstruction of “The Lady and the Tramp” is classic and is worth the price of admission alone:

JOSH: There is something depressing about [“The Lady and the Tramp”], and it’s not really about dogs. Except for some superficial bow-wow stuff at the start, the dogs all represent human types, which is where it gets into real trouble. Lady, the ostensible protagonist, is a fluffy blonde cocker spaniel with absolutely nothing on her mind. She’s great looking but, let’s be honest, incredibly insipid. Tramp, the love interest, is a smarmy braggart of the most obnoxious kind. An oily jailbird, out for a piece of tail, or whatever he can get…he’s a self-confessed chicken thief—an all around sleaze ball. What’s the function of a film of this kind? Essentially it’s a primer on love and marriage directed at very young people; imprinting on their little psyches the idea that smooth talking delinquents, recently escaped from the local pound, are a good match for nice girls from sheltered homes. When in ten years, the icky human version of Tramp shows up around the house, their hormones will be racing, and no one will understand why. Films like this program woman to adore jerks…. The only sympathetic character, the little Scotty who’s so loyal and concerned about Lady, is mocked as old-fashioned and irrelevant, and shunted off to the side.

DES: Isn’t the whole point that Tramp changes? OK, maybe in the past he stole chickens, ran around without a license, and wasn’t always sincere with members of the opposite sex. But through his love for Lady, and beneficent influences of Fatherhood and Matrimony, he changes and becomes a valued member of that rather idyllic household.

JOSH: I don’t think people really change that way. We can change our context, but we can’t change ourselves.

ALICE: I agree with Josh. Scotty is the only admirable character. It would have been a much better movie if Lady ended up with him.

DES: I’m really surprised. I think Tramp really changed.

JOSH: Maybe he wanted to change, or tried to change, but there is not a lot of integrity there. First he’d be hanging around the house, drinking, watching ball games, maybe knocking Lady around a little bit. But pretty soon, he’d be back at the town dump chasing tail.



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