Can you recall the last time American women were given Indian men as love interests or sex objects through cable television programming? I can’t either.
Indian men are so hot right now! And surprisingly, it’s not related to tantric sex or Bollywood…
( I kid, The Guru is super entertaining – way better than Eat, Pray, Love)
Aasif Mandvi, from The Daily Show
Besides his regular gig on The Daily Show, Mandvi is appearing in three films this year. Mandvi’s coolest roles so far would have to be his TV work in “Jericho” and “ER” , and the only notable movies of his worth watching are “The Siege” and “Die Hard With a Vengence”. Because of his coloration, poor Mandvi has played his fair share of terrorists.
I watched the second episode of Game of Thrones last night, and I was even more pleased with the adaptation of the book than I was last week. After the episode ended though, the first thing I thought about was Ginia Bellafante.
Like most female fans of the A Song of Ice and Fire series, I was very disappointed in Bellafante’s review of the first episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones, but I passed off her disregard for the show (and fantasy in general) as part of the same sentiment older women have for video games – the view that fantasy (and video games) are just for children or young males. When Bellafante says she doesn’t know any woman that likes fantasy, I believe her. She is from a time before video games, before the rise of the internet. Bellafante’s culturally learned distaste for the fantasy genre (and most geek culture) is also indicative of her outdated view of gender constructs. Ilana Teitelbaum writes it well in her Dear New York Times: A Game of Thrones is not just for Boys: Read the rest of this entry »
Abstract: This image problem is rooted in a failure by the mainstream media (and film) to treat video games as an acceptable pastime, making gaming “a dirty word“, and perpetuating the notion that women shouldn’t have authorship over technology around them. The male gaming community is only partially responsible, and this will be discussed in a subsequent post. This post was formulated after analyzing video game coverage by major female-oriented publications and by my personal memory of video game scenes in movies.
“One of the things we were trying to combat with 3G was how girls are discouraged from learning anything about technology beyond how to use it, [not] to be responsible or have a form of authorship with it.” – Terence Hannum, Internship and External Relations Coordinator at Columbia College
Any female in her 20’s that plays video games knows gaming has an image problem. Not only does the community you play in make you feel unwelcome a la the blog “Fat, Ugly or Slutty“, your parents find your enjoyment of video games off-putting, as do 30-somethings co-workers. I’ve had more than one conversation at slightly older dinner parties become painfully awkward when I mention I like/want to write about video games. The women scan the room and decide it is time to mingle. Then I am left with some guy, and as the silence continues between us, I begin to question his intentions. Sometimes I can see this male have an OMG-GIRL-GAMER-freak-out moment, all in the eyes, and when it abides he hesitantly remarks I must be the male gamer fantasy or some other weird crap. Then I decide it is time to mingle.
My mom keeps thinking I will grow out of my love of video games. She is not impressed when I tell her I am laying down plumbing because my city’s population explosion is forcing me to expand my city limits.
There is a common thread behind these awkward interactions: people born before the 80’s view video games as either a waste of time or a childish hobby. How can that be, when video games have been around for 30 years – and adults now play video games and teachers use video games as part of their curriculum? Read the rest of this entry »
Every where I go on the internet, I see the ads for Old Spice. Even more impressive, people off the internet can’t stop talking about the “Old Spice Guy”. He is every where I look, and I don’t mind.
I see ads on College Humor, Hulu, and Huffington Post, and people talking about Isaiah Mustafa (the actor who plays the Old Spice Guy) on Digg, Reddit and Twitter. In case you’ve been living without a TV or internet since February, here is the link to the first Old Spice ad featuring Mr. Mustafa (that aired during the Super Bowl), and I’ve embedded the brand new commercial below. Please watch both commercials before continuing.
Janelle Monae is better than Lady Gaga? Blasphemy!
Universities are now preaching the greatness of Gaga, and most of America has never heard of Ms. Monae. Your claim is ludicrous, Fruzsi.
Ah – but read me out. If you were to compare both ladies on their craft, you will see that Janelle Monae is actually the more talented artist.
Lady Gaga cannot do the moon walk. Lady Gaga does poses really quickly, and maybe does a little hip wiggle in her videos. Meanwhile, Janelle Monae does feats of slight footwork- including moonwalking. Monae doesn’t have dancers and fancy choreography masking her inability to dance. Jezebel recently wrote a piece titled “Why Has Dancing Become So Boring in Pop Videos” and surprise, Janelle Monae was the single exception.
Ms. Monae clearly has the superior voice. Lady Gaga sounds the same in every song, while Ms. Monae can change the tone of her voice and still sound wonderful. Case in point, the “Many Moons” short film embedded below showcases Ms. Monae’s various voice talents. Lady Gaga saying “Roma” does not count.
Do I really need to mention again how Lady Gaga’s music videos have nothing to do with her music? We can all agree Lady Gaga’s lyrics are vapid, perhaps intentionally. Though her rhymes may be cute (“bluffin’ with my muffin”), her content is crass and unoriginal. You could say this is because Lady Gaga is a postmodernist, and it is up to the viewer/ listener to determine and create meaning in her work. I call Lady Gaga’s post modernist craft lazy, because it is very easy to throw shit together in a music video and count on misinformation to create a story . Sure, Lady Gaga’s interviews do come off as postmodern, with her “challenging gender roles”, but Janelle Monae challenges gender roles too and doesn’t indulge in vague, sex-drenched or shocking spectacle.
Janelle Monae builds whole worlds for her albums based off her android dreams. Janelle Monae sings about the future, class differences and forms of prejudice. What does Gaga do with her position of power, beside sing about sex and telephone reception?
This category is tricky, because every artist these days borrows from someone else. So, being as I am somewhat of a “feminist” (hide your eyes, insecure men!), this category is going to focus on rise to fame and sex appeal. Lady Gaga is naked in every music video, and has some controversy only the religious right care about in every video. She is relatively pretty, blonde and white. Lady Gaga teaching kids it’s okay to be different? Hardly. Nancy Bauer recently wrote in an opinion piece titled “Lady Power” (choice bits below, the whole piece is worth reading):
Gaga wants us to understand her self-presentation as a kind of deconstruction of femininity, not to mention celebrity.
And since Gaga herself literally embodies the norms that she claims to be putting pressure on (she’s pretty, she’s thin, she’s well-proportioned), the message, even when it comes through, is not exactly stable. It’s easy to construe Gaga as suggesting that frank self-objectification is a form of real power.
Lady Gaga idealizes this way of being in the world. But real young women, who, as has been well documented, are pressured to make themselves into boy toys at younger and younger ages, feel torn.
Leave it to Simone de Beauvoir to take her lifelong partner Sartre to task on this very point… When it comes to her incredibly detailed descriptions of women’s lives, Beauvoir repeatedly stresses that our chances for happiness often turn on our capacity for canny self-objectification. Women are — still — heavily rewarded for pleasing men. When we make ourselves into what men want, we are more likely to get what we want, or at least thought we wanted.
Lady Gaga is more popular because her brand of sex is familiar. When I look at Lady Gaga, I know how I am supposed to look and behave to be a “boy toy” or a heavily jeweled “ornament“. When comparing Lady Gaga to Janelle Monae, Lady Gaga is just turning the same old tricks with a whole lot more sparkle (and the occasional cheesy fire effects). Janelle Monae on the other hand, wears a suit, gives off a female Elvis Presley vibe and has a penis -type hairdo. Janelle Monae doesn’t give a shit about traditional sex appeal or sacrificing her artistic vision to “please men”. Says Janelle Monae in an LA Times interview:
“It’s time to redefine what sexy can be, and what a woman can wear, how she wears her hair, what shoes she chooses,” said Monáe, whose signature pompadour has inspired some to compare her to Grace Jones. “I’m about uniting and helping people become comfortable with who they are. Because there are young girls out there right now going through identity crises.”
via Ann Power’s Janelle Monae in Wondaland
And that way of thinking is super sexy. (Full disclosure: I have a raging girl crush on Janelle Monae) As for why the public hasn’t caught on to Janelle Monae? I can only guess the American public (including music execs) lack the intelligence to appreciate Ms Monae’s work.
Janelle Monae is a level 18 bard, while Lady Gaga just recently obtained level 7 ( “Hypnotize” and “Fascinate the undead” are her main skills). If I was drawing together my party to save the world (because bards are important, don’t believe what any one says), I would pick Janelle Monae over Lady Gaga any day.
Over the weekend, a post appeared on Josh Whedon’s “Official Facebook page” implying Whedon was talking with Valve over a Half Life movie. The internet became excited (no one questioned the outlet for this breaking news ?), and predictably, the Official Facebook page was a dud. This isn’t the first time rumors of a Half- Life movie have hit the internet.
Back in 2006, GameSpot ran a post called “Tarantino to direct Half-Life movie?”
While making preliminary plans for their annual sojourn into the deafening neon inferno that is E3, GameSpot editors spoke with a person who has many contacts within the Los Angeles film industry. The person in question said that the hot game-movie crossover project du jour was Half-Life, Valve Software’s groundbreaking shooter.
Furthering the hoax, 6 months later someone took it upon themselves to create a teaser-trailer for this fake Half- Life movie, viewable here. Three years later, The Purchase Brothers created some very impressive short films based off the Half-Life universe, impressive enough to catch Valve’s attention.
Various blogs have written about the creation of a Half-Life movie, and just recently Empire Online named Gordon Freeman the greatest video game character of all time, over Mario or Master Chief. Even GameSpot readers from a poll last year think Gordon Freeman is a better hero than Mario (though the voting results could be due to Valve announcements). By all accounts, a Half-Life inspired- movie makes sense and I am dying for some modern action movies where the people of Earth kick some serious alien ass in an “Aliens” sort of way.
Psst…Hollywood, please don’t make another Prince of Persia movie, or any other movie where we continue to offend those in the Persian Gulf. Stick with invaders from outer space, ok? At least until the Middle East and Asia cool their war jets.