Recent Comments

thumbnail
Maurice Yacowar

Old Proverb: S/he who toucheth pitch is defiled. Or is it the Stockholm Syndrome: assigned to cover Tony, Harris shifts into identifying with him. The seed is planted in Season One when Harris brings his new partner around to Satriale’s to intro him to T and they jaw basketball. The process was inexorable after that. My fave FBI scenes: Ade’s upchuck; the plumber’s son predicting T’s tank blowout in 6 mos and it hits within a day; the honorable officers intermittent Horn Dog chat about Ade and her ‘friend’. Of course Tony regards any FBI agent with a vowel-end name as a turncoat (Talk about Italian-American stereotypy!). So Harrisgoes t’other way. In the last episode Harris’s conversion parallels Meadow’s, AJ’s, Patsy’s. The theme is T’s triumph over those who might have escaped his pitch. So we don’t see the two who did: Melfi and the Buccos.

Maurice Yacowar

Say what you will, but only he in that inspired landscape merited a visit from The Virgin Mary — in The Bing. After hours. And he provoked some plausible spirits at a seance, after that message from Chris’s dip into the afterlife. So the most brutish gangmember seems to have some antenna going out there. In the Last Episode speculations many figured Phil Leotardo spared Paulie to have him whack Tony, but his earlier betrayals perhaps argued against that. Fascinating character.

thumbnail

Maurice Yacowar

Yes but… Carmela doesn’t have a lawyer; T has poisoned the well—or from wherever the show’s shysters are dredged. In that scene M even holds Finn up as a model for Carmela, someone who got a job — but T got it for him. As Finn’s father got Meadow her California job the next summer. And as Chris sets up Adriana’s business….etc. I’m not sure feminism is Chase’s issue so much as morality. Livia, Charmaine and Angie Bonpensiero (as she develops) seem to be very strong assertive women who stand apart from feminism. None work out of any sense of sisterhood. They all establish their options, no? The closest Chase gives us to a sisterhood might be the wives’ filmwatchers club, which works thru the AFI Greats List till No 3 Godfather bogs them down. But that’s a parody of sisterhood. At the end Meadow has matured right back into the Family she rebelled against. She’s marrying a nice Parisi but a Parisi — and whose uncle T had whacked — and she’ll follow the champion of justice into the law firm that’s ensuring Justice for the hounded bagmen and bigtime fraudsters. Like Doris Day wide-eyed in A Touch of Neil Mink mayhap?

thumbnail

Chuck Tryon

Tama, this is a really interesting “find.” I certainly remember the rewriting of many trailers and movies after 9/11, but the Spider-Man case is especially interesting, especially given the second film’s explicit references to the terrorist attacks.

thumbnail

Jonathan Gray

Not sure how much my comment relates to this specific clip, but I wonder about national (sexual) identity here, too. Many aspects of Canadianness (in its stereotypical polite version that is, not the drunk hockey fan or lumberjack mind you) are somewhat effeminate by nature, and more subdued than ideals of American masculinity dictate. And even some Canadian male icons, such as Wayne Gretzky or Joe Sakic, are loved in part for being quasi-feminine in conduct, not warrior/cavemen type guys. So perhaps sexual identity bisects (wow — i’m proud of that pun!) national identities too?

thumbnail

Jonathan Gray

I’m fascinated by how a lot of ads like this try to sell such conspicuous and over the top signs of privilege and control: being able to tell women to shake their “junks” and so forth.

Here, the fantasy of control and power is so redundant, since the dude with the Amp’d Up is already coded as the privileged one by race and clothing: he hardly needs the phone. Maybe then, the advertisers pounced on the wrong racialized myth, trying to speak to the desire to control rather than the desire to escape “the urban jungle” (ie: the desire that walkmen, ipods, and PSPs seemed to offer, even if not in explicit terms at all times). The latter is realizable after all — mobile media *can* help transport one out of the humdrum of a long commute — but the former is either already present (as with middle class white dude on the bus here. did his car break down today?) or not at all promiseable.

thumbnail

As Maureen Dowd would have it, 21st-century gender relations and roles have regressed to pre-second wave levels. Feminism itself seems to be the new “F-word.” My female students often say, “I’m not a feminist but…” and routinely use the word “Feminazi” to differentiate themselves from what they perceive feminists to be. At the same time, Mary Celeste Kearney points out that more girls than ever are producing their own media (music, films, blogs, websites, zines). This contradictory state of affairs suggests that if dominant culture rewards girls and women for their competence in areas other than physical appearance it does so only if they remain “feminine.” In (perhaps oblique) answer to Elizabeth Franko’s questions, it’s possible that the evolution of girl power is a case of hegemony at work: dominant culture’s incorporation of parts of radical discourses and disavowal of others. Auto mechanics may be a perfectly acceptable career goal for 21st-century young women, but only if they can change spark plugs in their Jimmy Choos (or Manolo Blahniks). This is actually nothing new, of course. In the 1970s, empowered-but-feminine was the liberal feminist compromise with patriarchy.

As a post-script, I’d add that the version of girl power we get from Shampoo, the Spice Girls, or even Our Blessed Lady Buffy is much less unruly and messy than that put forth by Riot Grrrl, which preceded but continued to co-exist alongside other girl powers in the 1990s. Shampoo, the Spice Girls, and Buffy present girl power in glossy packages that only weakly challenge conventional beauty standards, consumption, and bourgeois mores.

This is not to say that at the level of reception, corporate commercial versions of girl power cannot be put to more radical uses by the audiences for Shampoo, SG, or Buffy. In fact, without diminishing Riot Grrrl’s importance, its revolutionary message traveled through more rareified channels than did its corporate counterparts, meaning that the Shampoo/SG/Buffy version of girl power reached more people.

thumbnail

Elizabeth Franko has amazing timing. How could she have known when she posted this video that the Spice Girls would announce their reunion tour? Kudos! This video is interesting in that the resistance here seems structured well within working class tropes — I imagine they’d be branded as ‘anti-social’ if they released this song now. The positioning seems much more Lily Allen then Mel B. Something happened in the intervening couple of years after this song to water down the inscribed working class resistance. By the time the Spice Girls were performing their version of girlpower it had moved further away from this track suited (though, yes sporty wore a track suit), motorcycle riding, tough girl to a somewhat friendlier, more consumable image. A girlpower that could be stretched to include the piggy tailed insipid baby spice version as well.

thumbnail

Chuck Tryon

You’re right about Mann’s character….that’s a really odd inconsistency. I read Stevens’ original review and I’m inclined to agree with her follow-up that describes the film as “almost naively pro-life.”

thumbnail

Craig O. Stewart

Dana Stevens of Slate has some interesting things to say about smashsmortion here.

Now that you mention it, the Leslie Mann and Laura Dern characters do have quite a lot in common. Mann’s character is fairly incoherent—the same woman who freaks out about her husband playing fantasy baseball apparently goes clubbing with her sister on an at least semi-regular basis.