Bennett on Chinese buffet lasagna part 2.
Bennett on Chinese buffet lasagna part 2.
In the midst of my efforts to find possible blogs for my Blog of the Week, I came across “Texts From Bennett”, which is not by a female but pretty funny regardless. The creator swears that the texts on this blog are completely real, and from his 17 year old white cousin Bennett. Since Bennett thinks he’s a gangster, his texts portray a naive stereotype of what a gangster might actually say about anything. He abbreviates as much as possible and has tons of typing errors, giving off a persona that seems barely literate. I’m not sure how real these texts actually are, but they do create an interesting persona for this Bennett character.
I did an internship in Los Angeles, California over J-term, and I liked the city so much that I had to go back for Spring Break. While I was there, even for the month long internship, I recognized that I was not realistically living in this great city since my parents were supporting me on both occasions. That’s where I’m an actress…may i take your order comes in. Like many people who journey to Hollywood with the hopes of becoming a big star, the anonymous blogger took a job as a waitress as a means of supporting herself. Her blog details the quirky characters that come into the diner where she works, ranging from trendy celebrities to hobos who managed to put enough money together to get a coffee. She hasn’t posted in a while, but the few posts that she does have are entertaining and definitely worth a read.
Throughout the semester, we have repeatedly discussed Millennial representations, and how they embody, or strive to embody, ideologies of the generation and resonate with audiences. The screening this past week offered Millennial representations from different ages, allowing for different perspective on family, friends, and life in general.
I had never seen Pretty Little Liars before this weeks screening, but I have friends who tell me that they are wildly addicted to the storyline. Usually they throw in that they consider the show “trashy” or that “it’s bad, but so good at the same time.” After reading the article earlier in the semester on how ABC Family implemented their marketing strategy based around shows that represented “a new kind of family,” I was curious to see how this show compared to our other ABC Family screening of Kyle XY. I was not really a fan of Kyle XY, but I went into the screening open minded, considering how Professor Stein explained Pretty Little Liars, saying “It’s like Roswell’s spirit infused into Veronica Mars’ driving serial storyline, dressed up in Gossip Girl’s clothes.” I will say that I did enjoy Pretty Little Liars much more than Kyle XY. I thought that the dynamics within the friend group and how each girl interacted with her other family members allowed for endless possibilities concerning where the show would go; everything was loaded with drama. Within the friend group, the girls dealt with the death of their best friend Allison, becoming distant after the incident first occurred; however, once the mysterious text messages, letters, and emails from A start finding their way to the friends, the girls realize that they are still connected by their secrets and that last night they saw Allison alive. While the situations these girls encountered are dramatized for entertainment purposes, how they interact with one another is a realist depiction of teen girl relationships. Though they are all friends, they conceal certain details of their personal lives from only some of the other members in the group. I thought the inclusion of technology also gave the show a more realist feel since the girls are constantly checking their text messages.
How to Make it in America was another show I had never seen, but its older cast and slot on the HBO network indicated that it would have a significantly different vibe from Pretty Little Liars. Essentially, the main characters were trying to navigate through their struggles and become financially stable, as I immediately gathered when the opening credits presented the song with the lyrics, “I need a dollar.” Characters ranged from those with silly get rich quick schemes, to the girl who did not want to rely on the trust fund that her parents set up for her. Since the show premiered in 2010, the financial struggle for young adults was completely relatable given the country’s economic state. The way the friends interacted with one another and helped one another with financial and personal issues was also a realist depiction.
Unlike the first two shows, I had seen Girls before, and I was excited to see that the screening was altered to incorporate it. When Professor Stein mentioned in class that this show was especially significant because it was written and produced by a woman, I began to appreciate the series more. Girls tells the story of four young millennial females navigating through life in the big city (three are post grad and one is still a student). In this first episode, Hanna made the most impact on me. Visually, she is not conventionally beautiful, while her roommate is the epitome of our culture’s beauty standards. In her “romantic” relationships, Hanna is involved with a guy who does not seem to treat her with all that much consideration. In addition, the pilot episode also has her dealing with her family. She had the rug pulled out from under her when she declared that her parents no longer intended to support her, thrusting her into adulthood before she has secured a paying job. Though the show presents this situation comically, I still felt the scariness of being put into this position. Other characters are expanded on in later episodes, and their relationships with one another also continue to evolve. I really appreciated the reference to Sex and the City, HBO’s former hit show about four sexy thirty-somethings living glamorously in the big city, all employed with their own apartments, but still having enough time to go out and have fun on the weekends. Girls starkly contrasts to the glamorized appeal of designer labels, focusing instead on the realist representation of how it is to really transition into adulthood.
I was really able to connect with these three shows on different levels, and I think they did a fantastic job of representing millennials in an entertaining way that showed a sense of struggle; however I still felt the shows spoke primarily to a predominantly white middle class audience. Though there was some racial diversity in Pretty Little Liars and How to Make it in America, I still had the feeling that the shows were the most relatable for the white middle class audience.
As we draw nearer to the end of the semester, I have been struggling to think of new blogs to post about each week (hence why this post is kinda late). I was intent on sticking to my focus of female written blogs infused with satire, so I decided to ask my friend for advice. The first thing she sent me was the Quizzical Pussy, and knowing that my friend is a cat person, I thought that she only sent me this because of the pun. The blog had the tagline, “a sex blog that gets curiouser and curiouser,” so I naturally became curiouser and curiouser. I’ll be honest, I haven’t had the opportunity to read too many of these posts, but this friend of mine has uncovered many hidden gems online. At this point I trust her judgement, and I am willing to take the chance and post it here for you all to see.
Before taking film classes with Professor Stein, I had never really given much thought to remix videos or remix culture in general. I did watch funny clips my friends sometimes passed along to me on youtube, but I didn’t really look beyond the comic surface of these videos; the deeper meanings and cultural significance were completely lost on me, more from naïveté than anything else. Through class discussions, assigned readings like the Russo/Coppa piece, and personal experience, I have developed a much deeper appreciation for remix culture, and how much remix is a part of my life. We talked in class about writing papers and how we take already existing information and relate it to the topic that we are writing about; this we immediately realized, is remix. Russo and Coppa touch on this point in their opening paragraph, saying how remix has existed for years, beyond the technological context it is usually associated with today.
I know I talked about this in a previous post how I made a remix video with two friends for the aesthetics of the moving image class. Our video combined clips from Disney movies like The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin with the song “Happy Ending” by Mika. Essentially, we wanted to juxtapose the imminent happy endings and notions of forever in these fairy tales with a song about more realistic relationships, particularly a relationship that ends. When we worked with the films on Final Cut, we ran into trouble finding the footage on the Disney DVDs. Disney would hide the actual film on obscure track numbers like six or eight. For each film, we had to go through the process of checking each track to figure out what number the movie was actually on. This made our project significantly more time consuming. Matching up specific clips to the lyrics also took a lot of time, but Disney did not make our work easy. I remember being very happy with our finished product, despite the original snafu with the Little Mermaid clips.
Through the project, I gained a new appreciation for the time and energy that vidders put into their work, and now I marvel at their final products; their knowledge and use of the technology I often find innovative. Even if the videos do not have some deep cultural commentary and are just funny, I still find myself admiring them. Though their only purpose may be to entertain, they still are still an example of how to use existing material to creatively express something new. I was also really struck by Disney’s obvious efforts to keep their footage difficult to obtain. The Russo and Coppa piece mentions how the “aesthetic, ideological, and legal questions” surrounding remix videos are being discussed in the mainstream media (I’m sure Disney would be in favor of copyright laws to prevent the usage of their material).
A remix Lisa, Emme, and I made for aesthetics last year. This was an earlier version where the Little Mermaid clips got screwed up. We went back and fixed them, but this was the version that we had already uploaded to vimeo.
Blogging Bonus: Smart Bitches Revisited
The book 50 Shades of Grey has been everywhere in the mainstream media for the past couple months, even adopting the nickname “mommy porn.” The contemporary erotic novel began as a sort of online Twilight fanfic, and has reached the top of the New York Times bestseller list. I know at least a couple of my friends now have their own copies. 50 Shades of Grey tells the story of a university student named Anna, who has the opportunity to interview an incredibly older wealthy man named Christian. When the two meet they have the usual “I don’t want to like you, but I do,” type situation. As they continue to interact, later it’s revealed that he’s into BDSM and is a dominant, asking Anna to be the submissive. I haven’t read the book myself, but I had to find out what the ladies at “Smart Bitches, Trashy Books” would have to say about it, especially considering all the hype. Interestingly, they did not like it; it was a DNF (did not finish). Sarah who reviewed the book explained how she did not like the Twilight-esque elements.
You can read her review here…
and the follow up regarding the book’s popularity here…
I can’t say if I will read the book for sure, but I think it’s significant that a book based around female sexuality and the more taboo BDSM sex is becoming mainstream. Back in the 1950s, a female author wrote Story of O, a French erotic BDSM novel that she published under a pen name; her true identity was only revealed ten years ago. 50 Shades of Grey’s popularity shows how far media content expressing female desires has come in our culture.
I don’t think I’ll be able to look at this man the same way again…click the photo if you want to find out why.