Category Archives: Wednesday Art Criticism

Drake, what are you doing?

So, uh, Drake apparently has a new single out.

[If you’re international, I apologize for the Hulu.  I have the feeling it’s the only way.]

my transcription: (0:29-0:45)

don’t make it too easy girl 

don’t take it too fast

yeaaaah

that’s it right there

that’s it

do it just like that

only you can do it just like that

i love it when your hair’s still wet

cuz you just took a shower

running on the treadmill and

only eating salad

sound so smart like you graduated college

like you went to yale but you probably went to howard

knowing you

O.o

I would be remiss not to point out that Aubrey Drake Graham

  • is half Black and all Jewish 
  • is still most famous for portraying Jimmy-in-the-wheelchair on everyone’s favorite Canadian teenage soap opera
  • apparently also goes by “Drizzy
  • IS WORKING SO HARD TO BE TAKEN SRSLY YOU GUYZ
I’m not sayin’ I agree; I’m just sayin’
I have no comment on Nicki Minaj’s outfit at this time.
I’ll be back with long[er]-form content starting in November.   Chag sameach!
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Collected Thoughts on The Hunger Games, Book 1: Team Katniss All The Way

first written 8/4/11,  edited a bunch of times.  technically beta-ed by Alice.

There is so much to talk about regarding The Hunger Games trilogy that this post is no more than a list of several themes that interest me in the first book.  Because July turned into the month of Easy A and I don’t want that to happen again, I am currently planning ONLY ONE other post on this series, at least for now*.  I won’t internet-publish it until I’ve finished rereading the remaining two books, which will take a while.   When the first movie comes out in March 2012 I will absolutely review it here, in sha’allah.

*Or perhaps one review post per book?  Vote in the comments.

This post only focuses on Book 1 because that’s the one I reread most recently, in 4 hours with almost no breaks.  I was really gratified to realize that it’s still an amazing read.  By no means is it the best YA novel out there (for 2009 or of all time), but it’s still really, really good.   Yes, Suzanne Collins jumped aboard the Dystopia bandwagon, but she did it better than most people — arguably, even better than Cormac McCarthy in The Road.   (COME AT ME, BRO.)    Book 1 (also called The Hunger Games, which is annoying) is definitely the best of the three, no question.

I’ll do my best to avoid huge spoilers, but just take a weekend afternoon to read it already. This post will be waiting when you get back.

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Exploring the Obvious Star Vehicle: The Unexpected Charm of “Sonny With A Chance” (1/2)

That’s a lot of tags, huh?   Well,the Disney Channel is pretty frickin’ complicated, even though it might not seem like it on the surface. Go ahead and skip this week if DisneyCorp makes you irrationally angry or something, but over here at Wednesday Art Criticism Central we’re too school for cool and are gonna talk about a fascinating television show for tweens, “Sonny With A Chance.”

I discovered SWAC last summer and watched most of season 1 and the sneak previews/whatever on YouTube during the off days of my incredibly draining internship.   Mostly because Sterling Knight is attractive, let’s be honest.  But that’s not why I stayed.  (There are, after all, 21 episodes in season 1: that’s  XXX minutes!)

This is not a fangirl tumblr, it’s a Srs Blog.  So I have restrained myself from posting 100 pictures of Sterling Knight in various cocksure poses and tagging this entry things like:  Sterling Knight I like your face; Sterling Knight is sexy; you can be my Knight any day; notice me Horton (big points for getting this reference, you nerd); Team Sterling; etc. Do not think that this is because I have any shame about my, uh, appreciation for this boy young man.*  No, it’s simply that I think the rise and fall of SWAC is fascinating separately from My Man Sterling here, although most of the Internet agrees that the show succeeded largely because he carried most of the dramatic weight on his lovely, lovely shoulders.   OK, OK, I’ll stop….

*For the Record:  He is legal and so am I.   Stop judging.   This will never happen, which is totally not the point of internet obsessions.   Go back to reading your Elitist Blawgs and pontificating on the use of Wittgenstein to predict the Dow Jones next month.

FIRST THINGS FIRST

If you’ve never seen a Disney Channel live-action television show for tweens, you probably have good taste and relatively in-tact eardrums.  Saturday Night Live has never been as funny as it thinks it is, but this clip is actually perfect:

My apologies to the international readers (hi, Chatulim!); Hulu is almost certainly the only option for viewing this one.  And let’s not talk about Raven-Symone here; girl absolutely deserves her own post.  (Her new show on ABC family is equally fascinating!)

Here’s the Theme Song for SWAC Season 1, which tells you all of the important context for the show, in solid cartoon theme song fashion.

And HERE is the best moment of the series, in which:  SPOILER ALERT the two love interests finally get somewhere with All That Sexual Tension. END SPOILER  Don’t skip this clip unless you were already planning to marathon the show; I saw this clip way out of order and it didn’t ruin anything.  And because it’s a Disney show, there is no touching.

Sterling did all the acting in that scene, didn’t he?  Demi’s not awful here (and she’s miles better than how she started out), but it’s really his charm as Chad Dylan Cooper that locks down the scene and creates fangirls across the globe.

(If you want to know her answer, you need to YouTube it yourself.  The 2-episode arc is called Falling for the Falls.   And kudos to the writers for not going the cliche route and HUGE KUDOS for Sterling for rocking his response to her response like A Real Boy would.)

is he really going out with her? + another 1000 links

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Surviving High School Sexual Politics: Slut-Shaming and Reputation Management in Easy A (2/2)

This post uses Easy A as a jumping off point. The movie is relevant to frame the discussion, but if you haven’t seen the movie, I still encourage you to participate. In addition, I am going to spoil the plot of Juno for you right now: a teenage girl gets pregnant by accident and has the baby. Also, Snape killed Dumbledore.

I am hereby restricting this discussion to American public high schools. If you can make a case that private/charter schools* are different/the same, please do so! But also leave all religious/parochial schools off the table: unless you were raised Catholic, I probably have more friends who went to Catholic school than you do. And Jewish day schools are an entirely separate can of taboo worms.

*If you’re interested in prep school as reflected in pop culture, check out the new music video for T-Swizzle’s single “Story of Us.” It might as well be subtitled “Taylor Swift Goes To Hogwarts”. The production value is amazing and everyone is beautiful, no matter what you think of the song.

If you are interested in adult sexual politics and etiquette, Marie Claire has an interesting article this month asking six five women, “what’s your number?” Because it is actually well edited, thoughtful, and diverse, I am including the link here. Ask me later what I think about their responses, especially the Asian chick’s.

Continue reading

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The Troubling Feminism of Teen Fantasy Films: Exploring the Erotic Empowerment of Easy A (1/2)

Due to (positive) personal life circumstances, I am very behind on my blogging for the week – I still owe Laz and CD comments on both of their eloquent posts, not to mention responding to the Beyoncé comments. I have a lot to say about the feminist issues this movie raises, so I will definitely be returning to this topic at a later date. Please consider this part 1 of at least 2 posts on Easy A.

I was excited about this movie from the minute I first heard about it last year. As a female, heteronormative pop-culture-consumer only three years out of adolescence, how could I not be? Plus, quite separately from the feminist glee, I appreciate a good literary joke, especially about something as boring as The Scarlet Letter. (Note: I do not consider all high school assigned novels boring.)

I am glad to report that Easy A lived up to my moderately high expectations. This movie could not have succeeded without Emma Stone’s charisma and endearingly clumsy grace, and they were very, very lucky to cast her. I hope she has a long, successfully feminist career in movies. Lord knows the industry needs more like her.

I would also like to compare Easy A to Juno, another well-made feminist teenage fantasy. Many reviewers before me have no doubt connected the two, but probably not in the way that I do. The movies are alike in tone – the irreverent, self-aware attitude of the 21st-century teenager – and in female empowerment – exploring and encouraging the sexuality of young women. The moral and social conclusions the feminist viewer can draw from them, however, are very different. More on this will have to go in the next post. Extra credit if you can figure out what conclusions I draw from Juno before I write them.

LINK TO SOURCE: YOUTUBE TRAILER


 

-HERE BE RELATIVE SPOILERS, FOLKS

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Breaking Down the Battle of the Genders: Beyoncé’s “Run The World (Girls)”

Administrative Note:  I am honored to post the first “real content” on AWF.  As art criticism is one of my passions, I hope to use my Wednesday posts to refine my technique as critic, theorist, and fan.  Because I can talk forever about this stuff, I try to break it up into sections below.  I would love feedback, particularly if you think I’m missing a crucial section in my analysis.

 When we were reviewing all the endless papers for college admission four years ago, my father told me that he would know I’d earned my degree when I could successfully explain to him the difference between “sex” and “gender”.  (Our college cannot legally discriminate on the basis of either one; I cannot find a good link, because the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is for disabilities.)  Daddy, I knew the difference then, but I couldn’t figure out how to tell you. 

 Would you mind if I let Beyoncé take over?
LINK TO SOURCE:  YOUTUBE VIDEO

I am not even going to touch on the music video here, although I encourage you to watch it on your own. That fascinating piece of sociological art absolutely merits its own post, which will probably go on my personal feminism blog when I get it up and running.   

 

ONWARD WITH THE ANALYSIS

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