In defense of the sanctimonious women's studies set || First feminist blog on the internet

Beyonce Baby Drama

I have a long-standing soft spot in my heart for Ms. Knowles, and although I’m not much of a celebrity gossip follower, I was very happy to hear about her giving birth to baby Ivy Blue, with husband Jay-Z. Jay even wrote a song about it — and while it’s admittedly not the hottest track, it is extremely sweet and no I did not tear up I JUST HAVE SOMETHING IN MY EYE.

Maybe you’re better off outside.

Long before I understood concepts like consent or feminism, I understood creepy, and the song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” qualified. It’s meant to be a fun, flirty little song, but listen to the lyrics and it’s wrong. “No means no” is clear and classic, and when a guy is that insistent about ignoring boundaries, it’s a sign to get the hell out of there, cold outside or not.

Kids These Days.

Everyone should read this very excellent piece by Edith Zimmerman.

I guess this may all just be a roundabout way of saying, “I saw something that made me feel old, isn’t that crazy?” To which you say, “No,” and also maybe, “That song sounds terrible.”

Then again, the Internet is a new kind of barometer for keeping track of exactly how old you feel: how many things you don’t get, how many mini-Internet worlds you can’t find the door to; exactly how many crickets in the world you can no longer hear chirping. Unlike in generations past, when (I imagine) you just kept doing what you and your same-aged friends did, and aged into obscurity in comfort on a cloud of your own tastes and generational inclinations, until you died either thinking you all were still the coolest or not caring anymore about being cool, these days the Internet exists in part to introduce you to all these things you didn’t know about, but in part to remind you how much there is out there that you’ll never know about. The Internet is basically like being at a house party and trying to find the bathroom and opening up a door to a room where a bunch of kids are playing a game or doing a drug or having an orgy (metaphorically) or something and you get all flustered and say, “Oh, my God, I’m sorry!” and they all look at you like, “You pervert,” and you quickly slam the door shut. Everywhere you go on the Internet there are rooms you don’t understand, people playing games you don’t know the rules to, teenagers doing drugs you’ve never heard of and can’t even pronounce. And you just walk through the halls of this house party, aging in fast forward, until you open the one last door at the end of the hallway and it’s Death. Ha, ha.

Again, this may be just a truly long-winded way of saying I saw a video that made me feel old.

Don’t even get me started on this. WHY. (Although I do kind of covet her various motorcycle jackets and her bodysuits and her amazing high pony).

Against Coldplay

What SFJ said.

Seven out of ten times, Coldplay sound almost exactly like U2—the U2 that exists now, not the wiry, feral U2 of 1980 (which would be a decent idea). U2 have not broken up. This is inefficient. Coldplay should consider copying Big Star or The Monkees.

Yes. I don’t hate Coldplay with the fiery passion that I direct at, say, John Mayer, but I’m generally offended by the fact that people think they’re good. I mean, they are fine. They are generally inoffensive, even if I can’t stand listening to them for more than a few seconds before wanting to stab myself in the temple? But dear god, they are not good.

Also I hate modern-day U2.

Everyone go listen to some Tom Waits.

White devils like it.

das racist

Instead of celebrating our father’s birthday, May 29, 2011, his two ungrateful sons, the singer and the lawyer, performed at the Sasquatch! festival in Washington. My set went better than expected, considering I was performing in front of many white people who had no issue wearing Native American headdresses and face paint and didn’t even have the decency to finish off the impression by being unjustifiably killed.

Just one small part of this fantastic piece in Spin on Das Racist. You should probably read it.

Here is a pretty video.

No time to post anything of substance today, so look at this pretty video for this pretty song by Lana Del Rey. Here are the lyrics.

Control: Or, How I Learned My Feminism From 80s & 90s Women in R&B

As promised.

Well before I was even remotely cool enough to listen to music that wasn’t on the radio, I was surrounded by a fierce pro-woman message. If, as I wrote before, the message in Dirty Dancing sank in well before I had any idea what was happening to Penny, then it’s obvious that I also took a message away from the girl groups that were everywhere when I was growing up. (A lot of the songs referenced here are on this old blog post at my very defunct now WordPress blog.)

Read More…Read More…

One Silver Dollar: Concerts, Women I Love, Rock’n’roll

[The Kills, performing a cover of Marilyn Monroe’s song “One Silver Dollar” from the film River of No Return. Lyrics here.]

I learned my politics from rock’n’roll.

It’s a fact, but these days I am listening to less and less music that’s overtly political.

I like reading between the lines these days, mostly because I spend so much of my days screaming and ranting about the real thing.

So last week I went to two shows, saw several of my favorite women in rock, and got to thinking about the politics between the lines of their performances.

Alison Mosshart, anyone who follows me on Tumblr knows, is sort of an obsession of mine. Last time I saw her band the Kills play I wrote about it at Bitch magazine‘s blog, and having just come from the conference on rock critic, feminist, political thinker (and my hero) Ellen Willis at NYU, I mused:

And so on the train home from Terminal 5, the long ride back to Brooklyn, I asked myself over and over what Willis would’ve thought of Mosshart. Of her witchy black hair and smile and snarl, of her hips and her swagger and her crooning voice when she goes all torch-singer. Of her very particular performance of femininity, her tomboyish preference for skinny jeans and boots and button-downs, blazers and layers and then layers of makeup, heels and a smile—when you can see it.

Of the way she shares the mic with her male bandmates as if maybe, maybe they’re fucking but also more likely they’re just buddies. And yet there’s none of that feeling like she has to play along with being one of the boys—her sexuality doesn’t have to be buried or flaunted, it simply is and is a facet of who she is.

Mosshart’s stage presence grows more electric each time I see her; she holds the audience in the palm of her hand, can bring them dancing to a fever pitch and then quiet the room completely to sing a torch song, an old country tune from a 50s movie that you’d never have thought could make you want to cry.

Friday night I went to see Wild Flag and Sonic Youth at the Williamsburg waterfront.

Wild Flag is Janet and Carrie from Sleater-Kinney along with Mary Timony of Helium and Rebecca Cole of the Minders. It’s a fucking 90s dream come true, the queens of Riot Grrl and 90s alt rock swaggering onstage to remind you that none of the boys of 2000s indie rock can do it like they do.

Carrie Brownstein in her skinny jeans with her foot on the monitor, Janet Weiss’s drums thundering through you (as we walked down to the waterfront, we heard the drums rumble and my friend said “That’s Wild Flag, I’d know Janet Weiss’s drums anywhere”), Mary doing kicks in a pencil skirt, Rebecca keeping time and bouncing behind the keyboards…why did I ever have a crush on the boys in the band again?

And then, Sonic Youth. Kim Gordon, nearly as old as my mom, in a candy-apple red skintight minidress that I wouldn’t even dare wear in public (and I wear some tiny things, Internet, it’s a fact). Fierce as fuck. The magic of Sonic Youth is that they never sound dated even when you know a song is 20-something years old. They were too weird, too special, too utterly themselves, and I have loved and wanted to be Kim Gordon since their music was flat-out too weird for me.

See, I learned my politics from rock’n’roll and I learned my feminism from it too, I think–learned not the theory but the gut-level truth that I can do anything the boys can do, that there is magic in a guitar lick and the pounding of the drums, that that rock-star cool isn’t something you just want to touch, it’s something you can want to be, and even though I long ago gave up hope of being a rock star I still try to swagger like one on occasion, peer out from under too-long bangs and shake my head and keep dancing.

I learned that, too, from the 90s hip-hop girl groups (more on this later, because they deserve their own post).

It’s enough to keep me going at the times I think I might break, the music, the support it brings me, the communities it’s helped me find.

Changing hearts.