Archive for July, 2009

A Must Read

so my last week of work is crazy, so I don’t have too much time to write anything substantive, but in the meantime, check out this article. It’s about a lesbian couple and their struggle to adopt foster children in West Virginia. It’s an extremely compelling and informative read.

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Great article in the NY Times about the Chelsea Highline, which may be the best place in the city. I certainly recommend a visit if you are in NYC.

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Last night I saw (500) Days of Summer starring Zooey Deschanel and Jason Gordon Levitt, both of whom can do no wrong in my book.  I thought this movie was one of the best I have seen  in a long time. It’s your typical boy meets girl romantic comedy, but after much heartache and bumps along the road don’t end up living happily ever after. The movie is incredibly well-written, the cinematography is great, and it has a fantastic soundtrack with songs by belle and sebastian, The Smiths, Regina Spektor, and many others. I especially loved the fact that it takes place in LA, but in an LA that you never see in movies. It highlights the green spaces and the beauty of downtown architecture. It actually made me miss the city a little. Go see it, because despite it’s not so happy ending, it will definitely leave you smiling.

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The Store

Every morning on my short walk to work, I pass by the M+M store at 48th and Broadway. Before I start to complain, I must admit that I have ventured into this store on one occasion, but it was merely to enter the lottery to get tickets to see Shrek the Musical. Don’t ask me why Shrek is the only show that needs to have its ticket lottery at an alternate location (and in the m+m store of all places).  I first began hating the m+m store when I went to get the Shrek tickets.  I walked in at about 9am on a Tuesday, which is when the store opens and when you can first enter the lottery.  The store wasn’t crowded, but there were certainly a good number of people milling around admiring the merchandise.  I assumed, naturally, that all of these people were there for the Shrek lottery. I mean, why else would you be in the m+m store at 9am on a Tuesday morning? To my utter shock, only about 3 of these 30 or so people were actually there for the lottery, the rest were just there to enjoy the wonderful products sold at the m+m store.

You may think, understandably, that the m+m store mainly sells m+ms.  In fact, you might even be excited by the idea of an m+m store if you are a fan of m+ms the way i am. In fact, actual m+ms compose only a very small part of the store’s merchandise.  On the second floor they do have tubes of every color m+m imaginable (and the tubes are quite pleasing to the eye, I must admit), but these tubes are ONLY composed of plain and peanut m+ms. No dark chocolate, no almond, and no peanut butter! I mean, come on, if you’re going to devote yourself entirely to m+ms you may as well have the weird flavors!

Ah colors

The rest of the store sells really great items such as:

The entire store is filled with stuff like that. You could decorate your entire home, office, and clothe your children with only m+m merchandise.

I wouldn’t be bothered so much by the store, if it wasn’t always filled with people at 9am any day of the week. If you are coming to NYC to visit for the first time, why are you spending your time in the m+m store?! Use your time more wisely and go to the Hershey store! No seriously, within blocks is the MoMA, the Metropolitan Museum, Central Park, and Radio City.  Even one of those double decker bus tours would be more acceptable than spending time at the m+m store. Not to mention that all of the merchandise is incredibly expensive, including buying m+ms by the pound. And if you’re really dying for m+ms go buy them in bulk at the Duane Reade that’s just down the street.

Don’t get me wrong, there are many other inexplicably popular places in Times Square that I can’t stand (including Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and The Olive Garden), but the m+m store takes the cake.

The only up side to the m+m store and the trend of totally unnecessary stores in Times Square, is that it keeps the tourists (or at least the large groups of tourists) out of the West Village.

Oh, and don’t take this to mean that I don’t like m+ms. If you feel like going into the store and buying me a pound of all pink m+ms I will accept it with gratitude. 🙂

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Just had to take a minute to share this new blog: The F-Bomb. It’s a new blog/community for “teenage girls who care about their rights as women and want to be heard. Young feminists who are just a little bit pissed off and very outspoken are more than welcome here.”

Very cool.

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I saw “Bruno” on Friday, among throngs of adoring Sacha Baron Cohen fans.  Having been surprisingly delighted by “Borat,” I was actually looking forward to the movie, thinking that it would critique homophobia in the same way “Borat” critiqued racism. I was disappointed, however, not because there weren’t scenes in the movie that were genuinely funny and thought provoking, but because it just didn’t really seem to possess the same kind of important critique that “Borat” did.

Thanks to Anthony, over at Lying To Make Friends, I came upon this article, which suggests that the reason why “Bruno” didn’t live up to its potential is because it contained so many scenes that merely went for the “ick factor.”  With scene upon scene of crazy sexual practices (which I won’t describe here, but you can read more about it in A.O. Scott’s NY Times Review), “Bruno” reaffirms, rather than combats, the dangerous and demeaning stereotype that homosexual sex is gross. 

I am a great admirer of Sacha Baron Cohen, and not only for his brilliant performance in “Sweeney Todd.” I truly respect his attempts to use humor to challenge bigotry. I just worry that because “Bruno” falls short of the mark, it may push certain audiences to continue to believe that homophobic beliefs and behavior are acceptable.

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I want to take a minute and share this fabulous article by Dahlia Lithwick at Slate.  She talks about Sarah Palin’s legacy, reasons for her resignation, and why she became such an enigmatic political figure.

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All kidding aside, I was pretty disgusted when I read this op-ed in the NY Times, where Ross Douthat argues that Sarah Palin deserves our sympathy because she was the innocent victim of sexist and elitist attacks. Here’s a highlight:

Here are lessons of the Sarah Palin experience, for any aspiring politician who shares her background and her sex. Your children will go through the tabloid wringer. Your religion will be mocked and misrepresented. Your political record will be distorted, to better parody your family and your faith. (And no, gentle reader, Palin did not insist on abstinence-only sex education, slash funds for special-needs children or inject creationism into public schools.)

Male commentators will attack you for parading your children. Female commentators will attack you for not staying home with them. You’ll be sneered at for how you talk and how many colleges you attended. You’ll endure gibes about your “slutty” looks and your “white trash concupiscence,” while a prominent female academic declares that your “greatest hypocrisy” is the “pretense” that you’re a woman. And eight months after the election, the professionals who pressed you into the service of a gimmicky, dreary, idea-free campaign will still be blaming you for their defeat.

My friend over at Lying to Make Friends articulates the problem with this op-ed perfectly when he says that

There are many fascinating questions about sexism and elitism surrounding the media’s coverage of and the country’s reaction to Sarah Palin, but she was so spectacularly and uniquely unqualified for the position to which she was nominated that these issues are almost impossible to analyze.

Sarah Palin’s rise to fame is particularly infuriating because it allows conservatives to seem compassionate and concerned about sexism, despite the fact that they never once tried to call out the sexism in the public’s treatment of Hillary Clinton or any other democratic female politician for that matter.

Thinking about Sarah Palin makes me very sad, because I can’t believe that she is the woman who has somehow brought issues of media sexism to the forefront. Sarah Palin was mainly criticized because she was an idiotic choice for vice president.  She was criticized for her own  narrow-mindedness and lack of knowledge about the world and politics at large. She made a mockery of American politics. 

There are, of course, many elements of her treatment by the media that I disagree with, but I just don’t think it’s worth spending the time critiquing sexism in politics by using Sarah Palin as a model. Let’s focus on the qualified, intelligent women who face immense amounts of sexism, such as Sonia Sotomayor.

Sarah Palin is bound to pepper the headlines until the news of her resignation and questions of scandal die down, but once we’ve had enough of that, I hope we can move on to more worthwhile discussions.

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