Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bathroom Sign Alternative

A couple of months ago, after writing a post that contained an image of the traditional bathroom sign, my friend (yes, that one) asked, would you revise this picture, using the same silhouetted images?
I didn't have an answer. Truth be told, I'm not that creative when it comes to redesigning images - and, I suspect, few people really and truly are. Ask me to rewrite a sentence, and I'm all there.

During our most recent conversation, my friend (yes, still that one) brought up the bathroom sign thing again, telling me,
Some of the things that you've highlighted in the past -- like the bathroom signs -- are impossible to correct.

I responded, I'll admit, derisively. And tonight, I went on teh Google and did some Googling to see if anyone had been able to come up with a solution to the bathroom sign problem. And I found one. Now, it doesn't use the same silhouetted images. But it gets the point across.

And, I kind of like it. It makes me laugh :

And if we're going with using the same silhouettes, then there's this one, which is a slightly more graphic take on the one above:

That second one is still a bit too gendered for my taste, what with the blue-pink divide, but still is a valid example of something other than the same old, same old.

Given the advent of products like the "Go Girl" (discovered via feministe), the standing up brigade may see a swelling of its numbers with those of the XX chromosome, but I'm pretty happy with my discovery. It lends to the theory that many things - even those seemingly engrained in our collective psyche - can indeed be corrected.


I've been pondering the true reason for the male-female bathroom divide anyway. I've been known to pop into the Men's if the line for the Women's is atrociously long - or if it is moderately long and there are extenuating circumstances. I have always been a little suspicious of the Men's-Women's divide when the divided bathrooms in question are truly two separate rooms housing only one toilet. At that point, gender seems like it's pretty moot in terms of bathroom assignments.

But now, I'm starting to think that, perhaps with a few moderate practical changes, all bathrooms could really be unisex. And in event, this sign:

would do quite nicely.

Quote of the Day

I watch The O'Reilly Factor. I'm sure some people know what he is, but I don't think it comes through on his shows. He tries to show both sides of the issue.
My boss. I really have nothing more to say. Except that I hope she never ever manages to find me on the interwebs.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"The Next Culture War"

Maybe it's just because I'm a stingy Yankee, but David Brooks' column "The Next Culture War" makes sense to me. Now, I don't have the enmity toward Brooks some other feminists have, mostly because I don't care about him and rarely read his column. I know he said some stupid things about feminists' dislike of then-governor and vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin; but plenty of other people said stupid shit about feminists' dislike of Sarah Palin - and about Sarah Palin herself - so that's not the biggest news ever. A reason to not read him on gender issues, possibly.

What I love about this particular column is this paragraph:
It will have to take on what you might call the lobbyist ethos — the righteous conviction held by everybody from AARP to the agribusinesses that their groups are entitled to every possible appropriation, regardless of the larger public cost. It will have to take on the self-indulgent popular demand for low taxes and high spending.
There are other good ones. I just happen to like this one a lot. Mostly because commercial farm subsidies piss me off.

Women As Bodies

Or, as objects. Bodies as Objects? I don't know. But consider this the start of a new series, one where I put concrete examples to my assessment of women being seen primarily as bodies. Whether or not I'll keep up with it is anyone's guess.

(h/t Shakesville)

What Counts As "Rape-Rape"?

Because, honestly, I think that being a 13 year old who is intoxicated and drugged by a forty-three year old who then proceeds to have sex with the scared 13 year old would be "rape-rape" at least 3 different ways. Not, apparently, according to Whoopi Goldberg, who said on The View:
"I know it wasn't rape-rape. It was something else but I don't believe it was rape-rape. He went to jail and and when they let him out he was like "You know what this guy's going to give me a hundred years in jail I'm not staying, so that's why he left."
I've avoided the Roman Polanski arrest, because it seems so cut-and-dried, and other have covered it and covered it better than I could ever hope to. I rolled my eyes at the "He's such a great artiste" arguments that erupted from the anti-arrest side, and nodded along to the "What part of 'he raped a 13 year old' do you not understand?" crowd.

But this? This just makes me squint and look at my computer sideways. And, it makes me experience the strange vertigo-like sensation I get when I'm especially angry. My cheeks don't feel pins-and needlesy, though, and that is because this particular argument isn't incredibly shocking. It has, after all, been made before. By people in comments sections, in the "it was consensual" defense, and in the "she had sex before" defense. This defense has been made for many, many other accused rapists, and accused child rapists, in the past. Like R. Kelly.

These are, invariably, incredibly bad defenses, especially when the victim in question is under the age of consent. Because in that situation, it doesn't matter if the 13 year old high as a kite and three sheets to the wind didn't say no. S/he can't actually say, "Yes", and have that be the defense in court. Because sleeping with a 13 year old when you're 3 decades older than her, even when she isn't drugged up, is enough to make it "rape-rape". Because that is the exact definition of statutory rape. Add in the drugs, the alcohol, and the fact that the victim was scared, and it is all "rape-rape". Maybe Whoopi doesn't know this, but having sex with someone you've plied with drugs and alcohol counts as rape-rape no matter their age.

Otherwise, what we're dealing with here is the belief that some rapes don't count as much. If the victim had sex before? Not rape-rape! If the victim isn't bloody and bruised, showing she put up a fight? Not rape-rape! If the victim took off all of her clothing in front of the rapist? Not rape-rape! If the victim didn't say 'no', and often, even if she were below the age of consent? Not rape-rape! And that? Is bullshit. Because statutory rape is really rape. Because drugging someone in order to facilitate a sexual act does really count as rape. Because coerced sex, sex where the victim is too scared to voice dissent, is really rape.

The mythical 'real' rape victim, the person who never had sex before, who never walked the streets alone, who was home before dark, who carried mace to the store, who never dressed 'provocatively' and only wore white, cotton granny panties, and who was sitting at home knitting socks for the poor when s/he was violently assaulted, doesn't negate all of the rapes experienced by those who didn't always follow the rules - the ones who have had sex before, the ones who have walked alone, the ones who have been drunk around the other gender (or even the same gender). Those rapes are rape-rapes. Those rapes count as real rapes too.

Shame on Whoopi for suggesting otherwise.

(h/t Jezebel)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Odd Discoveries

So. A couple of weeks ago, my iPod, the one I got about 5 years ago and have put through more hell than any electronic device can be expected to go through without imploding, erased itself. The last 5 years of my life and a couple of weeks' worth of podcasts, gone. Then, the iPod I bought through a third party vendor to replace the old iPod in order to transfer songs before dropping the iPod into the shredder, out of my car, off of my desk, etc. caught up with it decided not to work. I then did what any reasonable person would do - I had a minor/major flip out, and - after a couple of weeks of being a crankpot - went to the Apple store and purchased a *new* new iPod to replace the other iPod that had erased itself.

Now, I'm going through the arduous process of putting the music that had been on my old iPod before the Great Wipe onto my new iPod. And here's where I've discovered some odd things. Like, I have a cd called "Sex Pistols and Sid Vicious LIVE". Where would I have bought this? Why wasn't I concerned when Sid Vicious was labelled separate from the Sex Pistols? And why, for the love of God, would I think a live Sex Pistols show would be something worth listening to in audio form? Many, many questions abound.

None of those questions, though, come close to this one: Why did Rush cover Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth" - and why do I own it?

Why I Love Rachel Maddow:

My favorite part, aside from how genuinely (and yet demurely, by comparison to certain other pundits who shall go unnamed, except to say one of their names begins with 'K' and ends with 'eith', and another who's name begins with 'B' and who is on another network) upset she is by the double standards, are the graphs that come up during her assessment.

Contractor: Lockheed Martin
Fraud Cases: 11
Amount: $68.500,000

Contractor: Northrop Grunman
Fraud Cases: 9
Amount: $501,400,000

Nice, clear, straight to the point.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

All Things Equal...

A long while ago, my friend posted a link in the comments section of this post, saying, "I think men and women are equally likely to be harassed. And women are only slightly more likely to be stalked." And he may be correct, in the definition of harassment the report he cited used. But I was talking about street harassment, the kind I detailed before, and the kind that has seemingly ignited a firestorm of posts from places like Racialicious and Feministe and The Angry Black Woman (twice) and Blog of Champions, as well as those that were linked in my previous piece. What I'm saying is, street harassment, otherwise known as cat calling, is a problem. And it is a problem that isn't unique to women (in that it can and does happen to men as well) but its effects are unique to women. What I'm saying here is that even if the amount of cat calling was theoretically 50/50 - if that was completely equal - the issue would still present a unique problem for women men don't typically face.

This same friend brought up the emerging market of sexually objectifying men on posters and in advertisements our junior year of college, and I argued my point - with various pictures of Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom and my poster of Josh Hartnett (I never said I wasn't hypocritical) - that just because women are starting to do it too in greater numbers doesn't mean that it's right. That it is equally wrong to do turn men into sexual objects as it is to turn women into sexual objects. But right there? I missed my winning argument completely (even if it wouldn't have been the argument that won him over), the argument I would have felt strong and confident in making, because what I should have said is that men and women aren't treated equally, aren't seen as equals, aren't valued in the same ways in the same spaces. And yes, men shouldn't be reduced to muscular arms and flat, tan stomachs and shouldn't begin to enter the world of debasement women have been living in for such a long time, that reaching equality at the lowest common denominator is no way to reach equality. But that men - white men, I should specify - are still generally seen first and foremost as people. Therefore, being reduced to an object is still a terrible thing, but its cultural impact is not the same if the same image is with a woman. Because, as much as I wish all things were equal, women are still primarily seen as bodies first. It is a function of not being seen or treated as equals, the differing levels of impact. A ubiquitousness of semi-nude guys on posters is a problem, partially because it turns the guy into an object and partially because it creates a negative body image for many men and can lead to eating disorders, which is never good. But women are still generally reduced to objects for consumption. The most important thing isn't whether or not the woman in question is good at X,Y or Z. It is whether or not she is attractive. Take, for instance, Jessica Lange - who's arms are too flabby for the San Francisco Chronicle. This isn't something that was said of, say, Philip Seymour Hoffman, was it? I don't think so. Meanwhile, Peter Bart of Variety compares two female directors by saying,
Jane Campion, 55, made a quintessentially romantic picture in “Bright Star,” but in person she is cerebral, somewhat severe, leans toward post-hippie attire and seems perplexed by the rigors of the award circuit. Kathryn Bigelow, 57, is tall, model thin, a one-time art student whose gracious manner belies her proclivity for tense, even violent films – “The Hurt Locker” is her contender.
As Melissa Silverstein of Women & Hollywood (who gets a h/t for this) asks, "Would anyone EVER think to write this about a male director?" I'm guessing, "no". I'm guessing, and it may be a stretch, that when the nominated (or in the running for being nominated) male directors are compared, their looks and attire aren't really given much thought and weight. And that's where the big deal lies. Because although the trite phrase is "clothes make the man", clothes - and looks - define the woman. Are there men whose looks (and weight) are criticized? Yes. Are there women who are generally left alone about their looks? I don't know of any off of the top of my head, but I'm sure there must be. However. The exception of a few men who have to deal with this shit and the few women who don't doesn't disprove the rule. And the rule is, women have to deal with more shit when it comes to people policing their bodies.

Which brings us back to street harassment. My friend's report seems to be looking at conventional harassment - like what I do when I constantly pull him out of the line up to spark a huge blog post. It probably gets to the point of harassment at times. Street harassment is the little "hey baby"s women get throughout the day. The wolf whistles, the "Where's your boyfriend at?"s the "Smile"s, and on and on and on. Cat calling. I read the report, and didn't see any indication this kind of "low level" harassment is included in the numbers. But. Suppose it were. Suppose men have to deal with women groping their crotches on the subway and asking where their girlfriends are on the street, or shouting out, "Damn, honey, you're looking good" when they're wearing their grimiest clothing because they're just running out to pick up a pizza. Even with that being equal, men still have more power, both physical and in terms of their place in society. Thea Lim explains it incredibly well in the comments on the Racialicious piece I linked above, saying,
It’s like any number of racial slurs that white folks call POCs – there is no racial slur for white folks that is an equivalent. Because white folks are the dominant culture, and the point of a slur is to “put people in their place.” If your place is top of the food chain, nothing that a person below you says can cause the same hurt, as you can cause to them.
On its most basic level, what street harassment from men to women does is remind women of their place. It reminds them that – as Ndidi so eloquently pointed out – you can be an accomplished, intelligent and complex person, but to the world at large women are only valued based on their eff-ability.
I teach freshmen and had a problem with a student who persisted in making approving comments of the way I dressed. I spoke to several different people about this, and almost all the men I spoke to said something along the lines of “Tell him it’s flattering but inappropriate.”
They all assumed that any woman must be flattered to be told she is attractive.
It is NOT flattering. It is dehumanising and – whether or not the men realise it – it is profoundly deflating. You are reminded over and over and you have absolutely no value to the world – beyond the sexual pleasure you might bring to a man.
There’s no quick quip, no reversal of this situation that can establish that.
Think of it this way: could you make a movie that would show white folks how it feels to be a man of colour facing racism, simply by portraying a universe where white folks don’t have power?
I don’t think you can – as long as we live in a world where skin colour and gender is a determinant of power, you could make 100 films flipping the binary and it wouldn’t illustrate anything to anyone – who didn’t already get it.

That's really the problem. Men are starting from a place where their worth is, for the most part, established. Their place on the chain of deciding who is fuckable and who is not is not is not suspect. Their control of the public space is tantamount. And yes, cat calling may seem like it is at times just delivering complements - at high volume - to women walking down the street. But the question becomes why did the cat caller think s/he had the right (or responsibility) to give his approval to the callee in question in the first place? It is because his/her perceived right to the callee's attention is more important than the callee's right to be left the hell alone and to be treated as a human being and not a fuckable body. The fact that the cat caller's right ever supersedes the callee's right to exist without being called out to is a problem in and of itself. The fact that it is not recognized as a problem, and that it is a large scale one facing a multitude of women, is even more troubling.

For men, street harassment may be prevalent, and it should be fought against for the same reason treating men as sex objects on posters and magazines should be fought against - because equality in negative treatment isn't the equality we're fighting to achieve. But street harassment for men doesn't carry with it the same "private sphere - public sphere" baggage, doesn't carry the same weight that being consistently being seen as a sexual (or sexualized) object does for women. And again, there are women for whom cat calling doesn't happen. There are women who are barred from the sexualized object camp. And there are men who are treated as such often and who are perceived to be more sexual plaything than human being. But for the most part, even if the rate of cat calling is equal (and I really don't believe that it is), the fact that the rest of society is not equal means there is disparate impact amongst men and women. And that needs to be acknowledged if we want a fuller, more nuanced look at what happens and why.

Also, for your viewing pleasure, two videos about street harassment:

I love them both.

A Post In Which I Review Dollhouse's "Vows"

TOPHER: But this is the Dollhouse, frenemy. And nothing happens without my... What the hell?
Hello, second season of Dollhouse! Hello, Topher! Hello, Dr. Claire Saunders! Hello, Adelle! Hello, uncomfortably dark greys and philosophical issues! I think Topher's above line pretty much sums it all up. This is the Dollhouse, where the carefully created controlled environs begins to butt heads with chaos. Events are beginning to take shape without Topher's knowledge or consent. As Dr. Ian Malcolm so artfully described in Jurassic Park, "If there is one thing the history of evolution has taught us it's that life will not be contained. Life breaks free, expands to new territory, and crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously." And this is what makes the Dollhouse (and, in part, Dollhouse) so exciting.

Let's take care of the bad first, shall we? The Engagement of the Week? Still the weakest part of the episode. I'm not entirely willing to blame Eliza for this, although this brings me straight to the next bad. Echo is still the weakest link in terms of characters. She's just kind of blah. Her story - so far - has been kind of blah. It is all wrapped up in things happening to her, rather than things she is doing. Adelle tells Ballard Echo is special, but there is no sign (outside of the unaired pilot) that assertion is correct. Echo is intriguing everyone, but there is nothing there pulling me in. It would be better if she wasn't on everyone's "sparkly" list, because then I could empathize with Boyd's devotion or wonder over Ballard's obsession. But with everyone on board, I'm less so. It is hard to find a character utterly special when all that is there is tell. And while Adelle may be correct in Echo's evolution before Alpha dumped all of her personas into her, she isn't correct in asserting that Echo is special because of that evolution. Victor started to evolve beyond the parameters of the Doll State. Sierra remembered past trauma while in Doll State. Hell, even Alpha evolved, if not admirably. If the unaired pilot was cannon and the story had been continued from there, I'd be on board. But what I've got to work with is that even the psycho Doll latches on to some brilliance that has yet to be properly introduced to us in the viewership. That's going to be a problem.

Another bad, or baddish, is Ballard. I'm not feeling his storyline. Part of it may be the fact that his obsession with Echo is just full of grossness. Part of it may be that he seems to not recognize how his "extreme devotion" to Echo is unhealthy at best and destructive (potentially to both her and him) at worst. But it could also be because I don't want him being rewarded for this weird fixation, and I'm completely not clued into whether or not I'm alone on this, if we're actually supposed to recognize Ballard as being the White Knight who gets a bit of grey on him in his determination to do right or if Ballard is supposed to not be a knight at all, and all the White Knight stuff is just a part of his own hang up and not something we should be rooting for or taking a hold of. In other words, of these two thoughts:
ADELLE: I expect he's looking for something else. A darker purpose, perhaps, or a weakness. And there's his extreme devotion to Echo.
BOYD: So he uses her to fulfill some sad fantasy about righting old wrongs by doing something worse.
which are we supposed to identify with? I'm hoping for Boyd's to come out on top in the end.

I was also taken back (but in a good way) when the client of the "sick" assignment turned out to be Ballard himself. From an unwitting player in the victimization of a Doll in Man on the Street, to an active one in Haunted, Ballard now fully completes the circle by becoming an actual client and a full and equal participant in the game. No wonder Boyd seemed so disgusted with him.

Another baddish moment (perhaps more "bad" than "ish") was Sierra's assignment:
SIERRA: I'm not comfortable with, uh, Orientals.
IVY: It'll only take a second.
SIERRA: It's not a racialist issue. It's just that... Well, your culture's not really the thing, is it?
Ivy: Have a seat.
SIERRA: I suppose I'm at your mercy. In fact, if you were to tie me down and spank me, I could hardly be expected to resist, could I?
IVY: I'll keep that in mind.
It could have been potentially good, potentially mocking the reference to Asia as one monolithic culture, potentially pointing out the insidiousness of internalized racism, recognizing how Asian fetishists are still racist, and demonstrating how difficult it can be to respond to gross stereotypes and blatant sexualization that can often occur in racial interactions. And maybe it was meant to do all of those things; perhaps it even succeeded. Unfortunately, Asians have not faired well in Whedony productions in the past. Whedon has, to put it bluntly, a bit of a race problem in regard to his work. The most blatant example of this is, in fact, Firefly. As Leigh Adams Wright's essay Asian Objects in Space notes - like Sierra merging all Asian cultures into one, undesirable, thing - Whedon's set pieces take all Asian cultures and merge them as well, and without any Asians with speaking parts to make the whole East-West merge seem realistic - or to counteract the "Asians as exotic objects" thing. Which is something Thea Lim from Racialicious also has a certain set amount of problems with (and she mentions Dollhouse, albeit pre-Sierra) in her article Joss Whedon and the Blurry Line Between Homage and Appropriation. Maybe Whedon wants to work to redress those issues present in his past works (and, if DMike from Television Without Pity is to be believed, may already be doing so by giving Sierra a Napalese name in in Epitaph One), but this scene only uncomfortably seems to harken back to his own failures without doing much to acknowledge them as such. "Racialists", it seems, are other people.

Now that we've touched on the bad, let's go back to the straight up, undeniable good. And that is Amy Acker. I'm going to be honest. I didn't like Amy Acker on Angel. I'm coming to the conclusion that it wasn't Amy Acker so much as it was Fred I didn't like, and that is a sweet, sweet revelation because Amy Acker can act the heck out of a script, let me tell you. This is the beginning of Acker's 3 episode swan song before she departs for Happy Town, and Whedon is giving her a lot to work with as Dr. Claire Saunders deals with the fact that she isn't exactly what those in Epitaph One call Actuals. Her method of dealing with actually being a Doll seems to be becoming slightly unhinged and creeping the crap out of Topher. Which is always fun:
TOPHER: Is this your idea of a joke?
SAUNDERS: You designed me, Mr. Brink. I guess it must be your idea of a joke.
TOPHER: I designed you to be a not crazy woman! You've gotta stop messing with me.
SAUNDERS: I don't seem to be able to. Maybe your work's not up to par.
TOPHER: My work is pristine. If you're losing it, that's your fault.
But the most heartbreaking scene for the both of them is this one:
TOPHER: What the...? What the hell?! Are you drunk?
SAUNDERS: I'm just trying to be my best.
TOPHER: Oh, whoa, I-I-I don't want your best.
SAUNDERS (looks down): Well, I think you do.
TOPHER: Okay, that is the minority vote. And you tricked it. Okay? A guy's asleep. Could have been Fozzie Bear and it would have (hand motions upward)... Not that I think about Fozzie Bear.
SAUNDERS: Let's stop playing games.
TOPHER: Okay, huh - how does this qualify as not playing games?
SAUNDERS: Because this is the endgame. This is where it all leads. You design someone to hate you so you can convince them to love you.
TOPHER: Hey, I could whip up a love slave any day I wanted to.
SAUNDERS: But that wouldn't be a challenge, would it? Slaves are just slaves. But winning over your enemy - the one person guaranteed to reject everything you are - that's real love. More real than anything up in the world. And I understand it now. I love you.
TOPHER: You need a frickin' treatment!
SAUNDERS: Why shouldn't I love you? Aren't you lovable? Aren't you Big Brother? Aren't you the Lord my God? Why should I fight your divine plan?
TOPHER: Because you're better than that! Because you're better than me! Dr. Saunders was dead. And Whiskey was out of service, at least temporarily. So DeWitt gave me the call. "We need a new doctor. One who's committed to our cause, who's kind and efficient and will look after our Actives."
SAUNDERS: So why didn't you stop there?
TOPHER: Because I was designing a person, not a Roomba. I needed you to be whole. If you agreed with everything I said, then we would miss something and someone would get hurt.
SAUNDERS: You don't care if people get hurt.
TOPHER: You don't know me! That's the contract. You don't know me, and I don't know you. Not fully, not ever. I made you question. I made you fight for your beliefs. I didn't make you hate me... You chose to.
SAUNDERS: How do I live? How do I go through my day knowing everything I think comes from something I can't abide?
TOPHER: So you weren't really going to sleep with me.
SAUNDERS: I can't stand the smell of you.
TOPHER: I did that - so we never... Why didn't you find out, who you really used to be? You had your chance. Maybe DeWitt would even reimprint your old identity. You've earned it.
SAUNDERS: Because I don't want to die. I'm not even real. I'm in someone else's body, and I'm afraid to give it up. I'm not better than you. I'm just a series of excuses.
TOPHER: You're human.
SAUNDERS: Don't flatter yourself.
One of the key things about that scene is the amount of depth both actors gave it, and what we learn about each character. As Boyd told Claire earlier, "Every person I know is pretty poorly constructed." Topher doesn't seem to like himself very much. He is a genius, and he's good enough and smart enough and skilled enough to know that making a Roomba isn't going to get the job done. But he is also explicitly clear that he made Claire to be a better person than he sees himself as. He created a person who could and would challenge him, who could and would win against him, because he wanted a safeguard. And because he doesn't seem to trust himself - or even like himself - that much. And yet, he seems kind of broken by the idea that she would choose to hate him. And by the end, he's closer to the Topher in Epitaph One's future than he is to the Topher we were first introduced to. That is what I call tragic goodness.

What is also interesting is the extent to which he goes to make certain there will be no sexual relationship between himself and Saunders. He explicitly makes sure his very scent repels her. Which leads to the question, if he could make a sexbot at any time he wanted, has he ever? Would he ever? Is the scent provision just for Saunders? Is it there because he knew Whiskey before, or is it there because he feels distinctly squicky about sleeping with someone he had created? Is it a way for the creator to never abuse his creations, to never cross an invisible and intractable line? I want to know.

I also find it so very cool that the premise Saunders presents, the challenge of getting someone who hates you to love you, is practically the basis for a whole huge swath of romantic comedies, ranging from When Harry Met Sally to 27 Dresses to The Ugly Truth to 2 Weeks Notice. And it is presented here as a sad notion. Which, even though I liked the two non-Heigl films above, was kind of refreshing. The idea that we'll eventually end up with that guy or girl we first hate is a weird one to push. Because, well, it means spending a lot of time (I mean, a lot a lot) with people we don't like at all. And that? Not a fun way to spend your days.

But let's forget about the incredibly talented Fran Kranz and the hidden layerness of Topher in order to discuss Claire Saunders' philosophical and ethical dilemma. Because she does so well and hits it right out of the park almost immediately. She embodies one of the main issues with the Dollhouse - leaving aside the whole "the technology gets out and makes rampaging zombie-like creatures" part out of it for now. Saunders is a real person, no matter how often she verbally contradicts that statement. But whoever Whiskey was before she was Whiskey is a real person as well. She had real thoughts and real feelings, and this body is hers just as much - if not more - than it is Saunders'. To do the right thing and trying to give the body back means submitting to death. Which isn't fair to the good doctor, who never asked to be made. The person Whiskey once was may want to be reimprinted, but Dr. Saunders can't let herself go off into that good night. And I can't blame her. And there is no easy or righteous answer to this dilemma, because no matter what the process results in the 'death' of a persona.

Grade: A-

Saturday Sesame Street

Hi ho! It has been a long time away from ze blog, and I have to say that after the initial couple of weeks featuring withdrawal symptoms, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be.

A quick rundown. I'm inclined to believe that it has something to do with the seasons, because I seem to remember around this time last year blogging dropped off in quality and quantity for a bit. It also has something to do with my low-grade health issues - back pain, eye strain, and then headaches resulting from the back pain and eye strain - making it difficult to do the thinking-and-typing-cogently thing. Also, a profound disinterest in arguing, mostly due to the difficulty in doing the thinking-and-typing-cogently thing. And - I'm not going to lie - there was a lot of Bones episodes being replayed on TNT. I do love my Bones, and I'm sure there's much to discuss in it from a feminist/philosophical/tv addict perspective - but I like having at least one show where the fandom of it is all there is to it. When something intellectually troubling happens, I like it to die a little death right there.

Anyway, this is all a long and drawn out way of saying, "I'm back, baby!"

Hopefully, that is.

And, to the 3 people who are probably still occasionally checking in to see if I've done anything spectacular with my time away, I can answer honestly with a "nope". But for your trouble, here's the song I've been obsessed with for the past couple of days:

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Random Ten

1) Walking On Broken Glass - Annie Lennox

2) Flying - Secret Machines

3) Riot Radio - The Dead Sixties

4) Blue Day - American Hi-Fi

5) Where You Lead I Will Follow - Carol King & Louise Goffin

6) That's Entertainment - Tony Bennett

7) Vintage Clothes - Paul McCartney

8) International Cover-Up - Rancid

9) The Killing Moon - Grant-Lee Phillips

10) Dream A Little Dram of Me -Ella Fitzgerald