Multimedia News Sites that Refresh Constantly are an Affront to My Intelligence

Bruce Barber, Reading Room III (Bruce Barber, ...

Image via Wikipedia

I spend a lot of my day reading news. When I say “a lot” I mean roughly 2 – 3 hours of it.  Maybe this is normal in this day and age. Through my daily readings, I have come to understand the best way I absorb and retain information gathered from the internet, and I realize my way is in direct reaction to being “plugged into various magical boxes”, whether they be computers, television (and music videos with 3 – second cuts) and/or video game consoles.

When I find a website that keeps my attention for more than 30 minutes, I am delighted. If it is a news website, even better. If an article has video, audio, pictures and paragraphs? Heavaaaaaaan (in a sing-song voice)!  When news sites mix mediums, (CBS Chicago is my example), the pause I take from text to listening/watching related audio/video gives me time to contemplate the issue, leading to a better understanding of what I am reading. Sometimes, I get so confident with all the information I have processed that I form my own opinions on the issue! (How wacky is that!?)

CBS at face value looks like the perfect site for me, and it could be if they gave this habit up. All articles are related to Weis and his retirement, an issue I was looking into when I noticed this dirty little habit of CBS (habit is the title, duh!) Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

In bed with Canadians

Illustration for "The Black Cat" by ...

Image via Wikipedia

Check me out! The web-based literature, arts and culture magazine Zouch has taken a shine to me. They reblogged my “Civilization 5 offends my Hungarian sensibilities” post here.

Their website is pretty… and they also accept poetry and short stories!

And, so what if they are Canadian – if I plan on achieving global dominance, I must start somewhere, right?

Also, Hungarians love Canada for some reason. When my family was waiting around in Italy and being interviewed by the US Embassy to make sure we weren’t Soviet spies, we thought long and hard about going to Canada instead – almost every other refugee we were friends with moved there.


The internet can be kind too, like an older brother…

In lieu of the New York Times article “Little Brother is Watching” , I thought I’d update this blog (omg, not since 9/11!!!) with a poem I performed twice in the Spring/Summer of 2009, at the Green Mill’s Uptown Poetry Slam Open Mic Night.

I could write out everything in the below poem in response to Walter Kirn, but I am lazy, and hate repeating myself. Read the rest of this entry »


Lady Gaga will never be as talented as Janelle Monae

Lady Gaga live

Image via Wikipedia

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.

Dancing:

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.

Singing:

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.

Songwriting/ Storytelling:

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?

Originality:

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.

To conclude:

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.

[youtubevid id=”LHgbzNHVg0c”]


I could have been the classy 'Snooki', named Fruzsi

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 12:  (L-R) TV Perso...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

I tried out for a reality TV show about two weeks ago. No, not Chicago’s version of Jersey Shore … but the World Cyber Games Ultimate Gamer Season 2.

Sadly, I did not make it. Combined with my nerves and limited play time on the console, my Xbox gameplay left much to be desired…and as I found out after the fact, Ultimate Gamer is really “Best Xbox Player” and not the “Best Gamer across all platforms”.  The show shouldn’t call itself “Ultimate Gamer” if it doesn’t include games from all platforms.

I understand why the emphasis  is on the Xbox because this show is created by World Cyber Games…  and in all honesty, I don’t compete in tournaments (just a gaming columnist here) so maybe if I took a spot on the show it would have pissed off some “hardcore gamers”.  I still think I’m a better gamer than some of the girls from last season, though (sans Ciji)!

Read the rest of this entry »


Gender issues in video games

I read Katharine Fletcher’s piece “Confessions of a Call of Duty girl: Women in Games today” with my usual omg-article-about-girl-gaming zeal. Fletcher’s piece was interesting for a couple of reasons:

First,  Fletcher admits that she probably got her job because she was female, and that is perfectly acceptable, and understandable in the gaming industry. If you have been reading my blog, you should all know that women gamers make up about 40% of the gaming population (includes casual gamers), yet we are severely under represented, and if we are represented, it is in an overtly sexual way.  Case in point, Fletcher mentions Alex Sim- Wise, the NSFW model and game columnist. While I am not saying she should not take her clothes off to make more money off horny virgin males, it doesn’t really help us gamer ladies be taken seriously.  And, her nakedness, while strictly meant for the males, is potentially a big turn off for women who might be interested in gaming. That’s just my “feminist” two- cents popping out to say hello…. and this video below, narrated by a male, says everything I could possibly say on the subject.

[youtubevid id=”R8ZVZRsy8N8″]

Second, when talking about the cancellation of Women In Games, Fletcher wonders why the conference couldn’t sell enough tickets. I never even heard about the Women In Games conference until news broke that it was canceled this year. Ouch. Well, gaming media is male dominated, and I don’t see much effort being put by the gaming media to reach out to women, so the fact that I never heard about the conference isn’t a surprise.

Could it be that, as with third-wave feminism, the embracing of diversity of viewpoints and lack of a single unified cause is harder to promote?

via Confessions of a Call of Duty girl: Women in Games today

Third,  I wonder if the apathetic attitudes and the mis-notion of feminism as being about women over men and not about equals is a British issue, because the ladies over here in America just want some R-E-S-P-E-C-T. I don’t think the goal of gender blindness is reasonable, because let’s face, we’re all animals at heart, all motivated by sex.  Mutual respect should be our the top priority, but we’re a long way from that….

When it comes to women in the gaming industry, sexually charged conversation is the dominate voice. When male gamers ask to see your boobs, or why you don’t have a sexy picture of yourself as your avatar, they do it because they don’t respect you as a person, and view you as a sexual piece of meat, even if they won’t consciously admit this. But hey, those males don’t know any better, because there aren’t other opinions or behaviors in that subculture, right? Have they been conditioned to behave this way?

I agree with Fletcher wholeheartedly, the more voices in gaming, about gaming, the better. I would think the notion of “many voices”  would be easier to promote….


Lady Gaga is a nerd?

I know, I shouldn’t be jumping on the Gaga-“Telephone” video-page view-bandwagon, but I promise to stick to my focus: the poison diner scene, because it references geek culture and video games.

The most obvious thing to note would be that Lady Gaga is a nerd, or attempting to be one…. or her creative director is …. or Lady Gaga herself feels that it is important for the nerds to love her too by throwing in obscure references only they would get. The poison that Lady Gaga super-popstar-feminist concocts in the kitchen includes the following ingredients: Fex-M3 from Star Wars, Meta-Cyanide from Dune and Tiberium from Command and Conquer.

poison picture

Can I imagine Lady Gaga reading science fiction and playing Command and Conquer late at night? Maybe. I mean, she was pretty wacky when she was a brunette so I can’t come out and call her a “poser nerd”. Most likely though, her creative director googled “List of fictional toxins”, since they cannot use real toxins  for fear people would actually poison others, and this is the list that showed up.  All of those toxins mentioned in Gaga’s video are on that list….

Moving into “feminist” territory:

By Lady Gaga using poison to commit mass murder, she is engaging in a stereotypical feminine form of murder. Women traditionally controlled the food, and you’d be surprised how many men have died throughout history by the hands of women using poison, and it was never noted or observed because men felt it was beneath them to go into the kitchen?  There is a saying among the Hungarians that the bride Ildiko killed Attila the Hun on their wedding night by poisoning him.  A nosebleed? Come on…. but it’s cute how the men back then thought the women were content enough and incapable of committing such nefarious acts.

So it makes sense in Lady Gaga’s music video homage to Quintin Tarantino that she uses poison instead of blood shedding phallic weapons (NSFW link).  Why would Gaga, with her creative director, decide to use fictional poisons from science fiction and games popular with the males? The use of poison in a setting that asks for guns is too symbolic to ignore. But Commander and Conquer, Star Wars, and Dune don’t seem to be poisoning society like the bad man-made porn, hyper-sexualized advertising, and reality TV shows are… so why were these poisons used, instead of others on that list?   Or maybe I am reading too far into this, and these toxic references are all just for some male geek love.