Friday, September 17, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

Attack of the Purple Cloth

I find it pretty hilarious that after all of Adam's lies and backtracking, and after all the unbelievable events that don't quite add up, it's a tiny piece of purple cloth that has finally sent Ashley over the edge in pursuit of The Truth. Only she's not over the edge, she's right this time -- it just, you know, would have seemed a bit more likely that other questions might have occurred to her first. Such as, what really happened the night I fell down the stairs? Or, wasn't it odd that after I had Faith I wasn't sore down there?

Just sayin'.

Read today's recap here.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

On the Generational Divide and Being an Orphaned Conan Fan

As is fairly common knowledge, Conan O'Brien's last night on The Tonight Show was this past Friday. As so many other Conan fans of a certain age can probably attest, losing Conan after all these years makes me feel a bit like I've been orphaned. Since 1993, Conan has always been there -- even if I didn't watch him every night, he was there, goofing off in the subconscious of my adolescence, then my young adulthood, and now my adulthood. It's hard to articulate how baffling it is to have him ripped away in this manner. Bye, bye, he's gone?

Still, I don't mean to make the whole thing more dramatic than it already is -- obviously there are a million problems out there worse and more deserving of attention than whoever is currently hosting The Tonight Show. But on a more superficial level that pays homage to the pop culture of my generation, Conan is a huge part of that collective history, and I can't help but be pissed off at the way he was treated -- by Jay and by NBC.

Part of this feels like the generational divide at work (and by that I mean the lack of respect that exists between the generations) -- and really, at least in some small measure, how could it not be? We see this gulf all over the place, from mass media to the workplace to politics to feminism. In all of these arenas, it's hard not to notice that the older generations often fail to respect (or even attempt to understand) the cultural perspectives of Generation X & Y (i.e. the Millennials, if that's your cup of tea). I can't even count the number of times I have turned on Public Radio to hear some caller bitching about those vapid, technology-obsessed young people, who, according to many, are on a constant texting, sexting, hook-up binge... and by God, why aren't they more ashamed of it?

It's moments like those that I feel that even though we are a society obsessed with youth culture and youthful appearances -- and older people certainly do have a right to be critical of that -- as a whole we have very little respect for the younger generations or their points of view. Sometimes we fail to recognize that they even HAVE a point of view.

This was felt so much during the 2008 election. People could not get over the fact that young people actually cared about politics and wanted a say in who got elected. Yet their support for Obama and/or Hillary was usually undermined by commentary about their impulsiveness, lack of attention span, and/or vulnerability to (and perpetuation of) so-called Internet fads.

This same phenomenon of undervaluing younger opinions is also felt in feminism, usually when 2nd-wave feminists start complaining that young women just aren't that interested in feminism anymore. Um, what? It usually turns out that these older feminists are simply looking in the wrong places. Because yeah, we are HERE. And here. And quite often that means on the Internet. As Conan would say, Dear Internet... how come many older feminists often fail to notice we are here? (Some others, however, DO get it.)

So what does this have to do with Conan and Jay? It might just be another symptom of the same problem, but these last two weeks the whole overexposed drama really held my attention. Even though there were things about Conan's show that I wish were different -- does he have any women writers? -- it was hard not to see him as the underdog and Leno as the self-entitled bully (and also, Letterman as the gleeful I-told-you-so guy, more interested in bettering his own recently scarred image). Especially when Conan signed off in a way that was so classy and generous. But Jay? What could he be thinking? I mean, how much internalized privilege do you have to have in order to believe you have the right to take back The Tonight Show? Certainly part of his thought process, whether he would admit it or not, must be based on a sense of seniority, the feeling that his audience is the only audience that matters. Otherwise, why would he be so rigid, so unwilling to step aside?

But as with the Obama phenomenon and the determination of young feminists, when there's a sense of urgency about something, young people tend to STEP UP. The Conan fiasco was no exception. NBC studios were mobbed with Team CoCo supporters, and ratings were huge (7.0! for the final show!), so much so that by the second week Conan was killing Letterman in the 18-49 age bracket. Yet, the first article I came across today was one from CNN wondering if Conan fans have the attention span to stick around if he does indeed pop up on another network. The underlying assumption of the article is one I have seen so many times before, which is that young people lack the capacity to be genuine in their support of anyone. Which is, quite frankly, insulting. The comments beneath the article say as much.

However, in the face of all this cynicism about America's young people, what did perhaps shine a light on the attitudes of Generation X & Y was the authentic and look-on-the-bright side manner in which Conan himself exited the show. After everything, after all the shit that went down, he actually pled with his young audience NOT to be cynical. And really, I think that is the most telling thing of all. Somehow, despite all the crap and bad times the younger generations have grown up with and through, including the older generations' lack of faith in us, I still believe deep down we are a pretty hopeful, creative, and genuine group. And, maybe the best quality of all -- we love to LAUGH.

See you on the other side, CoCo.

Crossposted at Radiant Likeness.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Bunch of Dude Writers Congratulate Themselves on Their Inclusiveness

So, last night the National Book Awards were handed out, going to what appears to be a group of pretty white and pretty dudely dudes. Based on the NPR story I heard this morning, there was much back-slapping but also much hand-wringing over the state of publishing. Apparently, that thing called the Kindle freaks the crap out of the publishing folk.

Also interesting was the blatant self-congratulation on saving the voice of the other. Some quotes from Colum McCann, the Irish writer who won the Fiction prize:

"As fiction writers and people who believe in the word, we have to enter the anonymous corners of human experience to make that little corner right."


"As someone who's come from Ireland, I am extraordinarily honored. It seems to me that American literature is able to embrace the other."

Okay, so if McCann actually believes that American literature is completely fair, equal, and unbiased, maybe these comments are not so bad. But put into the context of a sexist and racist society, where white men are the privileged class, which sadly continues to be the case in literature as well... um, yeah, they seem pretty bad. It's almost like he's saying, as long as us menfolk are here to interpret the world and tell the untold stories, the rest of you needn't worry about it!

Then there was this from Dave Eggers, who won the Literarian Award:

"I think this is the most exciting and democratic time," he said. "There is a pluralism in publishing that is unprecedented."

Okay, guys, really? These statements are quite the head-scratchers. Could you just look around maybe, be a little self-aware, and notice who happens to NOT be standing on the platform next to you? If you're such geniuses at pluralism and noticing who's anonymous and embracing the other, then why the fuck aren't you noticing those who are invisible at your own awards ceremony?

You'd think this would have been especially apparent when
Claudette Colvin, an African American woman who as a teenager in 1955 refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus (which sounds like a pretty kick-ass story and preceded the better-known Rosa Parks incident), accompanied writer Phillip Hoose on stage. However, the main focus here was on Hoose, who was accepting the award for Young People's Literature... which he won telling her story.

Sounds like a nice moment, and again, in a fair and balanced world, I would harbor no cynicism here. Absolutely none. Just wondering, though -- when women writers unearth these types of "unknown" stories, or write their own life stories, do they usually get this much attention? Just wondering...

Late author Flannery O'Connor did take honors for the Best of the National Book Awards prize (which for some reason the NYT article fails to even mention???), but according to GalleyCat's liveblogging of the event, nobody was that excited about it:

"The Complete Stories" by Flannery O'Connor wins Best of the National Book Awards award, nominated by 10,000 votes from the public. No one can come up to collect the award for the late, great author. Borowitz: "I have nothing to add."

Great. Thanks a million, National Book Awards!

This comes only a few weeks after
Publisher Weekly's Best Books list completely SHUT OUT women writers from its top ten. Here's their confidence-building statement on that list, from PW director Louisa Ermelino:

"We ignored gender and genre and who had the buzz. We gave fair chance to the 'big' books of the year, but made them stand on their own two feet. It disturbed us when we were done that our list was all male."

Uh, yeah. You think? Could it be that your sexism and racism was subconscious? Because that's maybe a little bit how things like sexism and racism work?

I'm sorry, but if publishing (i.e. the world of the literary elite) is really a sinking ship, as comedian and NBA host Andy Borowitz put it, then I'm gonna hazard a wild guess here. Purely WILD on my part. That perhaps these problems might have something to do with publishing's inherent gender/race bias, perspective imbalance, and all-round exclusivity? Um, maybe?

And you know, maybe it's not so much about the Kindle. But hey, keep blaming it on the Kindle if that works for ya. :P

Finally, in the name of righteous indignation, commiseration, and learning more about awesome women writers, I would highly recommend checking out the online community
She Writes, as well as the recently formed WILA (Women In Literary Arts).

Crossposted at
Radiant Likeness.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

We're Done Here... Or Perhaps Not

Ever since it came out a few weeks ago that Eric Braeden was leaving Y&R and his last day would be November 2nd, I've been preparing to write a farewell post on the subject. Now, after relishing the Victor retrospective earlier today (I mean, WOW, those old school blood-boiling Victor-Jack moments are priceless) and sensing the poignancy of Eric Braeden speaking directly to the camera/audience -- er, baby Faith -- after all that, I was finally ready to bid him adieu. Well, sort of. And then I pulled up Google to retrieve some links and found this:

Eric Braeden stays put on 'The Young and the Restless'

And this:

Eric Braeden: The Fans Changed My Mind

Okay, well, GREAT! Hallelujah. I'm ecstatic and, despite feeling like I was momentarily caught up in a Brett Favre moment, I'm pretty relieved. I mean, come on, Eric Braeden/Victor Newman is Y&R and there's really nothing to be done about that. He just is.

My biggest question now, in terms of storylines, is this -- when Victor & Nikki get back from Belgian heart rehab, is Ashley still going to be permitted to stay at the ranch?

The answer I'm hoping for is hell to the no.

No word yet on the exact date of Eric's return.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Y&R Quick Hit: Chaos is Awesome

Okay. There is some crazy shit. Going. Down.

Victor could get Colleen's heart. And Jack's in favor of it, which seems unfathomable... except, how could he or Traci ever face Abby again if they just let Victor die? Strangely enough, Billy is the voice of reason here: "Trust me, she's better off." Yeah, well, that's probably true. It's sort of hard not to think so.

And then there's Adam stealing Sharon's baby and handing it off to Ashley. Wow. One thing hasn't changed: Adam still has the best luck of any soap character I've ever seen. EVER.

And the Traci-Steve scenes. The Jack-Nikki scenes. Blasts from the past there. But definitely in a good way. Both pairs are rarely seen, yet moving and emotional together.

And the most shocking thing of all:

Jill is being supportive of Katherine!?!?

Yeah. I think I need to take a pill.