Friday, April 20, 2012

R.E.M. review, circa 12th grade

One of the coolest reactions I've had to my book Automatic, a memoir about my dead best friend and my favorite R.E.M. album, was this: Mayim said that it inspired her to jump up and down on the family bed with her sons while listening to Monster. 

My first reaction was: "Monster? Really?"

Because Monster is sort of cringe-worthy to R.E.M. fans. This loud, boisterous, rock-guitar followup to this beautifully whispered string-quartet album. But I actually really like Monster. (And I guess so does Mayim?) And then last week my mother came over, trying to unload all my boxes from high school, and one of them had my review of Monster. 
I promise my music writing has gotten better. Please, trust me.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Is "Hunger Games" a Fairy Tale?

This article mostly talks about Hunger Games (which I like) (the book, not the movie) (not cause I'm anti-movie, but because I haven't figured out how to go to the movies for, like, a year) -- but the quote is about Cinderella. I've been working on video games lately, so in my brain, it's about that, too:

The real problem with fairy tales is that the protagonist never actually does anything to become a princess.  Forget about gerrymandering or slaying a dragon or poisoning her rivals: does she even get a pretty dress, go to the ball and seduce the prince?  Those may be anti-feminist actions, but at least they are actions.  No.  She is given two dresses, carried to the ball, and the Prince comes and findsher. Twice.  Her only direct and volitional action is to leave the ball at midnight, and even that isn't so much a choice as because of a threat. (1)  The clear problem with this isn't that girls will want to hold out for a Prince, but that it might foster the illusion their value is so innately high that even without pretty clothes or a sense of agency a Prince will come find them. Sleeping Beauty and Snow White are worse: they don't even have to bother to stay alive to get their Prince. 
(Thanks to C. Alexander for the link.)

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