Archive for the 'Burst Your Bubble' Category

Burst Your Bubble: Bitch Needs Our Help!

Burst Your Bubble, Gender, Media, Pop Culture, Race, Sex & Sexuality, Writing No Comments »

As a hardcore Bitch groupie and lover of independent media in general, I am absolutely devastated after watching this video. 

 

I first picked up an issue of Bitch in 2000 during a visit to the Borders at Providence Place Mall.  I was browsing what I call the “outcast” section of magazines—independent publications for GLBT readers, writers, left-leaning politicos, artists, photographers, and women who don’t want to read Cosmo.  I admit that the name of the magazine caught my eye, but it was the tag line that had me really excited—“Feminist Response to Pop Culture.”  At the time I was a sophomore in college studying media theory and women’s studies.  I was beginning to identify myself as a feminist and starting to question the misogynistic messages I was finding on television, in movies and music.  I devoured my first issue, page by page, and I haven’t stopped in over 8 years. 

 

As a magazine junkie, I can easily blow through a publication and place it in the recycling bin before you can bat an eye.  But Bitch is different.  I have honestly enjoyed reading (and re-reading) every article.  Even the advertisements make me think.  I have recycled hundreds, possibly thousands, of magazines over the years but I have never discarded an issue of Bitch.  I can’t imagine ever finding a more suitable publication for me, unless there’s a magazine out there for gluten-free feminist freelance writers from New England who love artichoke hearts and higher education…anyone?  Bueller? 

 

Bitch has opened up an entire world to me, fully of like-minded people who have smart things to say about our culture.  Although the magazine is a quarterly publication, their articles are often timely and provide me with media analysis about pop culture trends I have missed.  I first learned about the Center for New Words and their fabulous annual conference through Bitch.  I even had the chance to meet the co-founders at a Center for New Words event.  I have discovered dozens of my favorite musicians (Girlyman!), authors (Liza Featherstone!) and products through Bitch.  Most importantly, Bitch confirmed to me that it is possible to create an entire career out of studying popular culture and its messages in regards to class, gender, race, and sexuality…and that this work is important and valuable.  I started my Masters Degree in 2006 in Gender/Cultural Studies and made a point to take courses and writer papers exclusively about these issues.  My writing has the same focus. 

 

My first professionally published work, about the thankfully short-lived imaginary girlfriends trend, appeared in Bitch’s Fall 2004 Fake Issue.  When I received my acceptance e-mail from Andi Zeisler, the Editorial Director and Bitch Co-Founder, I danced around my apartment a la Risky Business (but with my pants on).  I called everyone I knew with the good news, and fielded many uneasy questions from my family (“is Bitch some sort of sex magazine?!”).  As the publication date grew nearer, I scoured every corner of Rhode Island in search of the Fake Issue until I found it at a Newbury Comics in Massachusetts.  Then I bought every copy they had in stock…whoops.  As a gift, my partner had the article professionally framed and mounted above my desk.  During times of extreme writers block or lack of schoolwork motivation, I look at the article and it puts me back on track.

 

Two years later, after more of my writing was published in other media, I wrote another Love It/Shove It article for Bitch and you know what?  It felt just as uplifting as the first time.  There is an enormous difference between writing for a publication for the purpose of getting paid and writing for a publication because you truly believe in the mission.

 

I beg all of you to please visit Bitch online to donate towards their goal of raising $40,000.  Please don’t let yet another independent publication go under.  Please don’t let our culture continue down the path of conglomeration to the point where only a few companies control the message across all media.  Please support this vibrant, intelligent voice that stands a head above 99% of the magazines on the market. 

Burst Your Bubble: BK Burger Shots

Burst Your Bubble, Gender, Pop Culture, Sex & Sexuality 15 Comments »

Burger Shots Commercial

Update:  I found the video!

In their years-long quest to piss off every female on the planet, Burger King has unveiled a new incredibly offensive advertisement for their burger shots–mini hamburgers that come in packs of two or six. 

Unfortunately, after an hour of internet research, I figured out that these burger shots are currently only available in select markets like Providence and Denver so not many people know about the burgers or the ads yet.  I cannot find a video clip anywhere, but if you visit this website you can see screen shots of the stupidity.  On a related note, as I was searching the web for “burger shots” I found out that the phrase is a derogatory term for photos of female genitalia and/or the act of punching a woman in the vaginal area.   Way to go, Burger King.  You might want to rethink the name before unveiling these globally. 

Anyway, here’s the lowdown on the ad:  Two average guys are sitting on a bench, one eating a large BK burger and one who cracks open a package of two small burger shots.  Immediately, a beautiful woman (with cleavage aplenty!) appears and starts cooing over the burgers.  As the camera pans back and forth between the man and woman, more women keep popping up until he’s surrounded by seven women who are very excited about his burgers.  At first, I thought the ad was poking fun at the played out scenario of women fawning over men with babies because one of the women exclaims “ooo! Look at the little burgers.”  But there’s a ton of sexual innuendo too that makes the ad even more creepy and stupid.  Besides the cleavage, many of the women are borderline moaning in this ad and some reach out to touch the guy’s lap.  Another woman says “I just wanna squeeze them” as the average Joe holds his pair of burgers proudly in the air.  As this ad plays over and over on TV, I’m beginning to think of this guy’s burger shots as little beefy testicles…shudder. 

 I will post a link to the video, if it ever makes it online.

Burst Your Bubble: Tim Russert

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Back in high school, it was a friend who first introduced me to American politics.  She was a die hard Democrat at the time and often spent her Sunday mornings closely watching Meet the Press.  She also enjoyed watching hours of C-Span and memorizing films such as The American President and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.  She wanted to attend college to learn about screenwriting so she could pen important political films like Saving Private Ryan, Primary Colors or Legally Blonde. 

Sometime around her 16th birthday, my family and I took a vacation to Cape Cod and in a gift shop I found stuffed elephants and donkeys dressed in patriotic outfits.  What a perfect birthday present!  The only problem was that I had no idea which animal represented which political party.  I asked my parents—they didn’t have a clue.  So I purchased both, thinking that one would make a nice gift and the other could be used for target practice. 

After feeling embarrassed about my political naiveté, I decided to smarten up and pay attention.  I started gauging my personal beliefs and matching them to the appropriate candidates and political action groups.  At the end of high school and in college, I registered for political science classes.  Although my friend introduced me to Meet the Press in 1997, I didn’t start watching it myself until the lead up to the 2000 presidential election.  I spent many nights in college watching election coverage on MSNBC where Meet the Press’s moderator, Tim Russert, was a regular talking head.  The 2000 election was my first chance to vote and I really enjoyed Tim’s enthusiasm about politics.  No matter how late at night he was on television, he always seemed giddy and happy to be doing his job.  I’ve been a die hard Russert fan for 8 years.   

Given my personal journey in caring about politics, I am completely heartbroken about the death of Tim Russert.  I was skimming my Google Feed Reader on Friday afternoon and saw a post from Perez Hilton (oh, the shame!) about his death; at first, I didn’t believe it.  A visit to CNN and MSNBC confirmed his death.  What a loss for this country and our media. 

Watching Meet the Press had become a Sunday morning ritual in my house.  While eating cereal in our pajamas, my partner and I would talk to the television as if we were watching a basketball game.  “Yeah McCain, what do you think about that weapons report?!”  “Ohhhh, Tim’s going to bring up her speech in Iowa!  Snap!” 

When I first started watching Meet the Press, I often found myself frustrated because I couldn’t figure out Tim Russert’s political agenda.  Was he a conservative Catholic?  Liberal Democrat?  Socialist?  One week he would call President Bush to the carpet (Go Tim!), only to be equally critical of a Democrat on the next show.  It took me several months to figure out that his political ambiguity was a gift to all viewers because it meant that he was sticking to the ethical code for journalists.  Although I love op-ed pieces in the newspaper and personal opinions in blogs, it was refreshing to watch a professional journalist ask important questions without showing a personal bias. 

If you did not catch today’s Meet the Press tribute to Tim Russert, please check it out here.  The whole show was very moving and I learned a lot about the man behind the moderator.  Rest in peace, Tim. 

Burst Your Bubble: Moment of Truth

Burst Your Bubble, Gender, Pop Culture 2 Comments »

I made the mistake of turning on the TV Tuesday night and catching a glimpse at one of the most soulless reality/game shows ever created–Fox’s The Moment of Truth.  For those unfamiliar with the format, thank your lucky stars as I try to recap. Contestants are put through lie detector testing prior to being on the show.  They are asked all sorts of awful and intruding questions, about secret desires, family hardships, true feelings about awkward situations, etc.  The contestant is then interrogated on stage in front of an audience and a few of the contestant’s closest friends and family.  The whole purpose of the show is to humiliate the contestant as they respond to questions for money.  The higher the stakes, the tougher the questions.  The host, Mark L. Wahlberg (from the equally intelligent show Temptation Island), adds more drama by constanly evaluating the seriousness of the questions and telling the contestant that they can walk away at any time with the money that they have already earned.   The lovely episode that I caught on Tuesday included questions such as “As a waitress at Hooters, did you ever have sex with a customer?”  YES.  “Were you ever hospitalized for an eating disorder?”  YES.  The contestant also crushed the soul of her best friend, who was live on stage, when asked “Do you think your best friend will ever be a professional musician?”  The answer was NO.  The audience gasped collectively as the camera zoomed into a shot of the best friend’s face.  I turned it off before they reached the $25,000 round.

Burst Your Bubble: When Posts Disappear

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I had a very snarky tale about Sex and the City (which I have mistakenly called Sex IN the City for years) which has somehow vanished.  Drat!

Burst Your Bubble: Adult Entertainment Tax

Burst Your Bubble, Media, Sex & Sexuality No Comments »

Represenative Joseph Almeida (D-Providence) has proposed a 25% tax on food, drinks, and admission fees for Rhode Island adult entertainment establishments. 

Besides raising funds to help plug the state’s growing fiscal gap, the bill would also set aside some of the tax revenue to prosecute child pornographers and to treat sex offenders.  While those are great causes that need more funding, I completely disagree with imposing such an exclusive tax on adult entertainment.  I also think that the bill makes an offensive and inaccurate correlation–that adult entertainment is somehow responsible for pedophilia and child pornography.  Understandably the ACLU argues that if the bill is passed, it will be deemed unconstitutional. 

To make matters worse, the Providence Journal reported on two moments of exteme immaturity on the part of the legislators.  First, there were giggles when “…House Finance Chairman Steven Costantino glanced at, blushed, and then said of the anatomically-explicit legislation: ‘There are parts [of this bill] I am afraid to read on television.’”  Are you ready for the explicit, scary words?  They include: genitals, the pubic region, a buttock, female breast, and (gasp!) areola.  These are the people we trust to run out state?  People who are embarassed to use anatomically correct words? 

Also, “…in one of the lighter moments during the hearing, Costantino asked Almeida if he had a sense of how much, if anything, the clubs were charging now as admission fees and Almeida shot back: ‘Why are you asking me? What are you trying to say?’”  Haha, it’s so funny when lawmakers insinuate that other lawmakers frequent strip clubs!  Ugh. 

After the hearing, it was decided to hold onto the bill for further study.  Please contact your local represenatives and tell them to reject this bill and/or grow up.

A Retreat!

Burst Your Bubble, Writing 1 Comment »

I am currently sitting on a damp porch at a bed and breakfast in Provincetown, MA, nearing the end of my 24 hour self-imposed retreat.  Now that class is finished for the semester, I need to rededicate myself to my writing and other lifestyle things that get brushed aside when school is in session.  I have approximately four months before next semester, so there’s a lot of time for accomplishment. 

I decided to splurge on this getaway so I could make some space in my head, set some goals, and rejuvenate after a long stretch of stressfulness.  I had a chance to go shopping, take a bubble bath, read a book in the parlor, and spend a big chunk of time working on me.  This place is so beautiful and fit my purpose exactly.  I don’t think I’ll ever stay at a different bed and breakfast when I visit this town again.  As a sign of fate, the room I reserved (the Quan Yin) is named after the Buddhist goddess for loving kindness–a practice that many people have told me to take up.  Despite the Londonesque weather, this journey has been perfect. 

All that being said, there will be some major changes coming to this site–mostly good, I hope.  I had the opportunity to sketch out a new color scheme, blog tag line, and theme that will be created when Dan doesn’t have 1,000 things on his place.  Hopefully by July 1st.

Starting now, I will be posting at least every Wednesday and Saturday.  Wednesday entries will be miscellaneous while Saturday posts will be called “Burst Your Bubble”–happenings in media and/or pop culture that make me cringe.

 I’m off to breakfast, but expect a post on Wednesday!