#Culture Studies Problems

The blog of Media Rhetoric & Culture students
@ksiegfried @vautlapeine and @craigsomething

#culturestudiesproblems

profiting on objectifying blindness?

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What do we think about this? I would think it should be a resounding “no,” but I have been surprised before. Since when is being blind ‘adorable’? I’m pretty sure being blind is just being blind (and probably a pain in the ass because seeing people don’t understand). Is the word ‘LOVE’ meaningful and powerful when it’s not in braille?

Arguments for and against this are valid, I’m just interested to see how to go about it.  

-jordan

                                              YouTube Recommendation: Laci Green  

Laci Green promotes a sex positive message through discussion of relationships, body image, sexuality, and gender.  She also does some pop culture analysis and debunks many common myths surrounding sex.  Check it out, learn something new, and be sure to subscribe! 

-Kate 

Guys we promise we’ll talk about real things eventually. 

                                       Culture Studies Problems: Language Barriers 

                         Culture Studies Problems: Welcome to Germany

Yesterday, I accidentally started speaking French at a Turkish market.  In this moment of chaos, my brain just went to the only foreign language I know.  What can I say?

Who puts pig meat in tortellini? The Germans do!

The “z” and “y” are switched on German keyboards. #culturestudzproblems

Weston, what time is it in South Korea?

“Hey, look!  There’s a festival!”

At any given moment, how many carbs are in Germany? SO. MUCH. BREAD.

Have you ever had to stop a flushing toilet?

Fuck you, Blauworld.

Who knew you could lock AND double lock doors? MAXIMUM SECURITY!

There is a tree in my room. 

On Chick-fil-A and Voting.

We all know what’s going on.  We all already know how we feel about it.  We have all witnessed numerous stupidity-ridden Facebook arguments on the topic.

All I have to say about this is, I hope that come November, citizens of our country get just as excited and fired up about voting as they are about a damn chicken sandwich.

If you don’t vote, you give up your right to bitch.  And who would want to do that?

Register here (Indiana).

-Kate

YouTube Recommendation: Zefrank

Zefrank is the king of all things YouTube so you should probably be watching him. You might learn something about something or someone or maybe even yourself. 

BRIDESMAIDS: I hated it.

I was in a matrimonial mood after a wedding I went to this week, so I finally sent the 2011 Apatow movie Bridesmaids to the top of my Netflix queue. I’ve heard good things about this film from virtually everyone who’s seen it. It may be that it’s just an exceptional rom-com, or perhaps it’s a bold statement that raunchy girl-centric comedies can be successful too (I would not call this movie “feminist” since, let’s face it, most of Annie’s problems involve finding self-fulfillment only through a man and marriage). Either way, it seems that Bridesmaids is universally liked.

But not by me. I absolutely hated it.

I could rant about the endless stream of predictable plot devices, or the ridiculously overdone “grossout scenes,” or the fact Judd Apatow’s influence still makes this a dude movie (even though it’s a “chick movie”).

But this is a culture blog! So instead, I’d like to explore the character archetypes in the supporting cast. The characters weren’t just flat and boring: they followed stereotype after stereotype based on what we’ve come to expect from characters in mainstream comedies. For example:

 The Bride’s Father (“Mr. Donovan”) 

The most blatant offense. Not only is he almost the only person of color in the entire film, the only lines he ever speaks are “I’m not paying for this shit” or the like. Seriously? The man’s daughter is getting married, and all you can do is give him a line about being cheap? May as well have given him some lines about the groomsmen wearing saggy pants or the reception needing a Kool-Aid fountain.

  The Bumbling, Abrasive Bridesmaid (“Megan Price”)

Here we have the overweight, not-so-pretty, masculine bridesmaid being regulated to the position of comic relief (I was surprised they didn’t make her a lesbian too.). When she talks about men and sex, we laugh. Essentially, Hollywood tells us that it’s unnatural or unbelievable for a character like her to have sexual agency or complex emotions. Her heart-to-heart with Annie was one of the film’s genuine moments, but even then she is only being used to solve the protagonist’s problems (since Annie IS allowed to have feelings and desires).

 The Virgin/Whore Bridesmaids (“Rita” and “Becca”)

The other two minor bridesmaids represented the classic male fantasy of married life: one was a sweet, pure wife whose only sexual partner was her husband; the other talked about semen stains, fantasizing during sex, and submits to her husband on a daily basis. These girls give you the whole package, guys! (This was slightly ruined for me since I will always think of the actress who played the virginal Becca as blowjob girl).  It was also disappointing that neither of these characters developed by the end of the film—they just disappeared. 

 The Gigolo (“Ted”)

Annie’s “fuck buddy” had no emotions or real thoughts. His only desire was for impersonal, rough, and presumably one-sided sex, and when Annie ditches him, he disappears. Also, Jon Hamm was a very bad choice for this role. Don Draper is classier than that.

 The Rich White Lady Who Is Still Unfulfilled (“Helen Harris III”)

The movie had to have a villain, and what audience member wouldn’t want to hate this bitch? But wait…. SHE FEELS SAD! Her money doesn’t bring her happiness! Wow, I’ve never heard that ol’ axiom before. She doesn’t have to worry about food or money or a job: she can worry about finding GIRLFRIENDS and SELF-FULLFILLMENT! (oh please.)

 And finally….. THE FUCKING IRISH COP.

Yeah. Officer Nathan Rhodes, the Irish Cop who makes everything ok in the end. I’m not even going to comment on how ridiculous this character is, but I will say that it was creepy to see this actor (Chris O’Dowd) in a sensitive-guy role, considering he recently played the “Threesome Capitalist Creep” on GIRLS. Very creepy.

I have to say, the actors did a good job of portraying these ridiculous characters. And yeah, it is nice to see a female-centric major motion picture that bends the rules of romantic comedies a little. But even so, is it too much to ask for a little originality in the plot and characters as well?

—Craig

Hey man, have you ever been to Mali?

As I watched a stranger fearlessly chomp (literally, chomp) down on a magic mushroom while waiting for Oberhofer to take the stage at Bonnaroo, I couldn’t help wondering where the spiritual fervor of Woodstock went. 

We were in a field.  We were listening to music.  We hadn’t showered in days.  We were hit up for drugs at every corner.  Every minute, every day.  But something was amiss.  This was not a weekend of transcendent experience.  Apparently, this was a weekend of getting fucked up and laughing about it the next morning.

The Bonnaroo programing board would have you believe the spirit of the ’60s is alive in the hallowed grounds of their 700-acre Tennessee farm.  However, this post-hippie culture we observed was more concerned with escaping experience than seeking it.  

The shift was most evident in the drug highs pursued.  We repeatedly heard salutations of “Let’s get fucked up!” and, “Do you know where I can find some Molly (that is, pure MDMA)?”  This obviously wasn’t a sublime quest for mind expansion: this was a frat party run amok.  

Constantly, the prevalent feeling taking hold was that of festival attendees consuming nearly any substance in the hopes of achieving a reckless euphoria.  Within this Party Rock culture it remains unacknowledged that these substances only provide a temporary fix.  

    “But what’s worse: the pain or the hangover?”

But why look for transcendence—or any kind of solution to our problems—at all? The story, in the end, is what matters. Laughing about it all the next day, when the headaches clear up and the empty beer cans are gathered up for recycling. Right? This was the attitude, at least. We can laugh through clenched teeth, knowing that these long nights are probably killing us but pretending we don’t care. In fact, we find it hilarious. 

In short, we learned two things from Bonnaroo 2012. First, our generation tends to use drugs to feel good right now rather than finding new experiences or communing with others (maybe it was always this way, but history seems to say otherwise). 

And, if anyone asks for help trying to find their friend Molly, you should probably just walk away. Fast. And you’re allowed to roll your eyes once at a safe distance. 

—Kate and Craig (JOINT ENTRY trololololol)

i’m influential in #racism on @klout

… thats not a joke. I actually am influential in racism on klout but thats not what this post is about. 

I am way behind the outrage train so this post won’t be long. Now that its summer I have caught up on all the terrible reality television thats out there. Yesterday I decided to watch the current season of America’s Next Top Model. I was happy to see that there was finally an American Indian women finally being represented on the show. 

The producers played up her ‘exotic’ heritage in the first episode by having her portray Pocahontas in the first photo shoot. Really? Really? please someone tell me how that isn’t wrong!

And if that wasn’t enough, the picture didn’t turn out and this was the feedback she received: 

"First of all Mariah, I think you had a very easy thing to do. You’re Native American? (She nods) But I don’t feel that you’ve committed. I just don’t see the angst, I don’t see the feeling, I don’t see the passion. I just see you looking pretty."


The more hilarious thing about th
at? An English man said that to her. And then in the second episode she was kicked off for not “having enough fire.” 

Considering the beginning of the season aired a few months ago many others have already commented on the episode: http://nativeappropriations.blogspot.com/2012/03/oh-antm-where-do-i-even-start-mariah.html

Some people who’d like to think we live in some post racial society might try to tell me that I’m the racist for bringing up the issue of race. But if we don’t talk about it how are we going to fix it? And I’m not calling the producers of ANTM racists. I’m saying they’re ignorant. So let’s talk about these issues of portrayals, rid ourselves of ignorance and educate one another.  

-Jordan