Cut It Down

The word “imminent” is the new buzzword being thrown around by American government officials. When applied as a preface to ‘terrorism’, the word imminent takes on a supremely vague new meaning and can be applied to literally any situation and basically any country, in order to justify the installation of a military presence.

I could say that the tree beside my house is an imminent threat. It might fall down onto my house and injure me. I should cut it down.

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What Differentiates a ‘Chick Flick’ From a Guy Film?

keyhole look-1It’s all about angles.

Because the camera lens acts as your eye while watching a film, providing you a window to the world being presented on the screen in front of you, the camera eye has the power to frame that world in whichever way it designs. Because of this, the angle, skew and span of the camera eye influences the audience’s opinions of objects or persons in a film.

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One of the effects the camera eye can have is inflicting the Gaze upon a subject. The Gaze, a term popularized by psychologist Jacques Lacan, is the anxious state that comes with the awareness that one can be viewed, but without being able to look back. The psychological effect, Lacan argues, is that the subject loses a degree of autonomy upon realizing that he or she is a visible object; that he or she (in film, most commonly she) is being scrutinized.

Laura Mulvey, a British feminist film theorist, argues that camera angles are used to fetishize female body parts, sexualizing them and objectify them in film. Males in the cinema get to voyeuristically objectify a woman. Take this example from the film Transformers:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6L3Ef1JCC8

While the female actress portrayed here, Megan Fox, may or may not experience the anxiety of being watched, females in the audience certainly feel the effects of the male megan1Gaze on her behalf.

It is an uncomfortable feeling for a female to be put in the position of the male voyeur, forced to look at another female in a way that clearly objectifies her. My contention is that the effects of the Gaze – the feeling of being exposed and judged – can be felt by the watcher of a film on behalf of the subject being scrutinized. Vicariously, we feel awkward for the woman being totally objectified.

By contrast the opposite case, in which this type of compartmentalizing camera work is not utilized, is what sets a “chick flick” apart from male-tailored films.

An example of a chick flick that portrays the female lead without the male Gaze is the film Bridget Jones’ Diary.

Bridget Jones is by all accounts the Modern Woman who still dreams of Prince Charming. She represents what many feminist theorists call post-feminism. This aside, if we hone in on the way Bridget is portrayed by the camera, we can see a stark difference from that of the way Megan Fox is portrayed in Transformers:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8iTZm8-mbA

5594827Bridget – pijamma-clad, drunk, sprawled out, smoking on the couch, watching Frasier reruns and sinking into a thick soup of self-pity – is certainly not the hyper-sexualized femme fatale we would expect from a female lead in a Hollywood film.

Although we feel sorry for Bridget, this type of representation is a relief for most female viewers. There is something permissive and empowering about lounging around in your most comfortable clothes, indulging in a few liquid or solid vices and behaving in a way that clearly indicates that no one is watching. The stark contrast between this scene and the scene from the previous film is the complete absence of the Gaze.

poor thing

The unselfconscious freedom expressed by Bridget is made even more female-friendly due to the absence of the scrutinizing, voyeuristic camera angles, which would otherwise pass over her body, lingering on her curvaceous genital areas in a visual molestation. Instead we focus on her movements around the dank apartment, her silly machinations and sad sing-along. And from these, we devise her thoughts and feelings. Lo and behold: she is a sentient being! We are more inclined to experience Bridget as a subject. Not an object.

We sympathize with her instead of scrutinize her body, as we are being given a wider range of vision into her life. In this way, the camera breathes life into the lead female character.

Call these types of films “chick flicks”. Call them what you will.
Aren’t we all a little bored with watching dead girls on film?

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My Baby is a Genius

And his father thought he’d never amount to anything …

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Man Law is Just as Annoying as Hyper-Feminism

Man-Law is a lot like feminism.
They are both annoying and obnoxious, are poor representations of either sexuality, and come dangerously close to a homosexual combustion.

The way you guys feel about a hairy-pitted, screaming skin head feminist is exactly the way we feel towards a rude, beer guzzling, anal retentive homophobe who cant even feel comfortable if a pastel color is woven into his plaid for fear of somehow being possessed by the anal penetration demon.

I had this one friend, bless his rotten heart, who wore a storm trooper costume 5 sizes too small on Halloween. He also wears Christmas sweaters when he feels festive near that special time of year, and sometimes he listens to Madonna because she’s awesome (she sang about screwing and masturbation at a time when clit-diddling was thought heinous and evil). This friend of mine was nothing but straight. Straight as spaghetti. And he is one of the coolest males I’ve met.

Man Law is stupid.
It is like a bible for little rosy-cheeked boys who want to be men.

Let us look back on ancient literature. The Code of Hammurabi comes from about 1750 BC. It is probably the oldest recorded code of law in the world. Rule 128 of this document stipulates: “If a man take a woman to wife, but have no intercourse with her, this woman is no wife to him.”

This is understandable, I guess.

Now let us look at a real live Man Law: “When toasting with beer, should you clink with the top or the bottom of the bottle? Reply: The Bottom, because clinking the top would swap saliva and thus qualify as kissing.”

WHAT THE FUCK? HOW DO YOU MAKE THE JUMP FROM A JOLLY MIRTHFUL CLINKING OF GLASSES IN COMMEMORATION OF A HAPPY TIME TO GUY ON GUY ACTION? Jesus Christ!

Exhibit B: “Is it acceptable for a wife or girlfriend to store items other than beer in the garage fridge? No. The line is the line – It is the only sovereign territory left.” If you married some straight-edge cunt who doesn’t drink nor agree that one fridge should be dedicated to booze and booze alone that is your failure.

Don’t marry a bitch.

Exhibit C: “Interference for the purpose of attempting to steal someone’s girlfriend is an unspeakable crime and will result in a total loss of respect and reputation.” Fuck that! If someone else is willing to put forth more effort to win a girl, so be it. She belongs with him. You snooze you lose. There’s a cute little rule for you.

I could go on but for the sake of Miller Lite, which tastes like fizzy, watered-down molasses by the way, I wont.

If you have to follow a set of rules and restrictions in order to be a man, and you find yourself breaking them and being corrected by your fellow apes more often than not, and calling out others for their man misdemeanors, perhaps it is time to consider that these rules are repressing your natural urges and behaviors. These NATURAL behaviors are primitive. Freely and unselfconsciously indulging in your primitive fucked up, quirky, sometimes insanely “queer” tendencies is real masculinity. Being a man is being yourself and not apologizing for it.

That doesn’t mean pink shirts and popped collars are the new cool by any means. It just means that Tyler Durden’s fuzzy coffee cup bathrobe, Johnny Depp’s love of exotic wines, and your cute tendency to dance silly when you’re drunk … is.

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Cutting Through the Boredom with Literal Horse Shit

So what is the remedy to boredom? Why doing mushrooms of course. In a small, dank, cat-infested apartment to be exact. With Robert Delong blaring and hands up, eyes bugged, Joker-laughing until you are happy/scared. It was a good time, but boy oh boy are we ever an emotional pair.

Of course we start out laughing like maniacal schizophrenics in white nightgowns, but eventually the dark edges close in and we are both crying an hour and a half into the trip. About what? Oh anything, really. Boys. Childhood traumas. The aloe vera plant’s lack of sun exposure in the winter. One of the cats.

We are real nature-lovers when we are high. We can get real low when we’re high.

We did have an interesting realization though. We are sisters. Yeah. Pretty revelatory. But really it is an amazing thing. We are like twins, cut of the same mold; branches growing independent from the same trunk. Born with different views of the world but the same system for digesting it all. So we end up with kind of the same looking shit. You know? No, you don’t. Because you don’t have a sister who is practically the same age.

This is why I could never hate drugs. It opens up a part of your mind that otherwise gets closed off in favor of other more high-traffic channels, such as those for processing gas prices and deciding which show to watch after a “hard” day at work. Or taking the initiative to explain to your friend how to pronounce qui·noa.

The moral? Do drugs, sometimes.

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Don’t Give In or Up

Holy shit I am old. 26. And I still haven’t got it figured out yet.

First of all, I’ve sold out. I work in a footnote of my industry of choice, producing content whose headlines I wouldn’t even bother to finish reading , let alone the full breadth.

Actually that’s not true. Sometimes I get to write about home renovations and interior design and that interests me, but only insofar as it is a hobby I’d like to contract (that’s right, you contract it like a virus. It’s like an epidemic. Have you seen how many TV shows there are about flipping houses? I mean … The Jennie Garth Project? You have to be fucking kidding me, Jennie.)

I may be a sell out, yes. I’ve traded global grassroots politics for local mass media. But what choice did I have? I had to move out of my parents’ basement. I had to get a car so I could get a job so I could get to my job so I could pay my student debt so I could pay the rent so I could feed myself so I could … not die.

I realize this is melodramatic. I still have 16-year old angst in my blood and sometimes I have blood clots. The point I wish to make here is that in our generation it is much harder to pursue our Dreams. Dreams with a capital D because D is for Delusion. Now I don’t compare Dreams with Delusion because Dreams are not real. (They are as real as a metaphysical ideal can be.) I associate them with Delusion because we have been severely duped about how to pursue them. We were told if we got a good (see: expensive) education, if we worked really hard (see: conform), and didn’t do drugs and didn’t drink and didn’t have too much sex and contract a virus or get pregnant or get someone pregnant (see: fun … ok pregnancy doesn’t look that fun), then we would obtain our Dreams.

“Follow your Dreams.”

I followed mine into debt, depression, and worst of all, deception. They were wrong. Thanks mom. No I don’t blame her. It was what we were all fed. In our parents’ generation those who got a higher education got a higher quality of life because they got the jobs at the top of the chain. The idea jobs. The interesting jobs. The fun jobs. And, consequently, the high-paying jobs. That may have been the case in like 1984, but not anymore.

We were a little foolish to believe them, really.
A + B = the amazingly coveted C?
School + Hard Work = Eternal Happiness?

As that wise bitch Cinderella once said, “A dream is a wish your heart makes.” Doesn’t this formula look a little too simple to be the path to the thing your heart most desires? Why did we expect it to come so easily? I mean, how hard is it to get an Arts degree? A General Science degree? Not that fucking hard if you have a coffeemaker and a frontal lobe.

I think we are headed to a conclusion soon, so please bear with me.

To make our dreams come true, we need to be willing to wander off the path that has been set for us by literally millions of other Tap Out / Ed Hardy / LuLu Lemon-wearing drones. Universities and colleges are a conveyor belt that pumps out graduate after cookie-cut graduate. You go in one end as a girlchild with stars in her eyes and a hymen in her jeans, go through a series of social gears and mental turnpikes, jump through a series of academic and fiscal hoops, eventually get your cherry shattered underneath a clammy, acne-peppered, under-performer to the sounds of his stuttery dick-puke grunts and the sounds of your own voice imitating an Asian porn orgasm/wimper so he will just stop. (No? Just my experience?) … then you come out the other side a jaded, socially attuned, optimistic and relieved young adult.

This is one of the great things about post-secondary education. It does teach you a lot — about yourself, about other people, about the world … sort of. But real knowledge and experience comes from getting out of your ivory tower and experiencing life. The dark corners as well as the bright and sunny ones.

It is only after your hope has been utterly and completely shattered, like mine, that you begin to see the true path to your dreams. And it is a hard one, wrought with mountains and gullies and various poisonous insects and fucking Jaguars and shit. But you should go for it.

Before you have to pay rent and car insurance and it’s too late.

Or do both and just shut up and stop complaining.

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The Richest Young Musicians From the UK

From Britpop to English folk rock, the UK has fostered some of the most prominent young musicians of our time. And they have gone on to make millions. Here is The Sunday Times’ top 10 richest musicians under 30 in the UK and Ireland.

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