Monthly Archives: March 2015

A Weird Paradox(y) Kind of Peter Pan Complex and/or Rhetoric

An interesting survey (Universum), if you like that kind of stuff, and if that’s not just an oxymoron anyway, tells us that undergraduate students most want to work for Google (1st) and Disney (2nd) out of a whole host of employers.[1] Does this speak to the infantilization that is sweeping through our current culture, where achieving child-like dependency seems de-rigeur, or is it just a natural reaction to the over-loading we receive as consumers, where we never really choose, but are constantly fed things (child-like dependency image here being of parent with spoon and baby with open mouth) such as fashion, tech, lifestyles(?), and anything else you’d like to insert?

Google’s work spaces/places are modelled like playgrounds for big people, where you can indulge yourself in playful activities, whilst being creative at the same time, allegedly.

Google-work-place-slide.-Office-snapshot.com_1 google-slide

Disney’s work spaces/places, well, you probably don’t need me to picture that for you. What is it with attempting to tap into the ‘inner-child’ of adults, when the reverse seems to be the case when it comes to children, children who are bombarded more and more with images, rhetoric and the like designed to increase maturation and speed up the process of becoming an ‘individual’ who consumes?

It creates an interesting paradox, if you care to think about it. Grow up fast, get a job with Google and/or Disney, then spend your adult life trying to regress.

[1] The data from the 2015 Universum Student Survey was collected between September 2014 and January 2015. The following results are based on the responses of more than 81,000 undergraduate students. The ranking represent the employers most selected as Ideal by student respondents.


Jake Gyllenhaal #EnemyMovie

Being busy, and stuff, it’s usual that I don’t comment on films as they’re released. I tend to wait for them to come out on DVD or until I can stream them. The Enemy, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, is one such film. It’s been sitting on a shelf for over a month and I finally got round to watching it, and have not been able to stop thinking about it since, which I’m taking as a good thing.

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Ever conscious not to include spoilers, this post is a reflection on a couple of aspects of the film that have pre-occupied my mind. The first is the spider motif that runs throughout the film, and that owes a huge nod to Louise Bourgeois’ Maman. There is a great discussion about the film, and about the film’s fixation with spiders, on the following Reddit subreddit: r/movies (but be aware, this has plenty of spoilers, so maybe go there after you’ve watched the film). Spiders have long been associated with the female form, think of Ariadne and also Arachne as two ancient examples of this, and this film appears to tap into the unconscious fears associated with spiders that many humans buy into, but most interesting is the way the film also challenges this view by presenting spiders as fearful and/or subject to human cruelty – and so we are talking metaphors here that require some unpacking, not literal stuff.

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The second aspect is more a concern with the film’s aesthetics. From the off, the panorama views let you know that you can only be watching a film filmed in Canada, but the quality of the film, the filters, the camera angles (combined with the eerie soundtrack), and the angsty, not-in-too-much-of-a-hurry-to-move-the-plot-along-or-explain-everything-for-the-viewer feel of the film speaks very heavily of its European influence, and thank goodness for it. The film is challenging, slow in its pace, and offers more questions than answers, but it does make you think – and that’s a good thing, right?


Sleaziness / @NoMorePage3 / @TheSunNewspaper / @RitaOra

At a recent conference at Durham University (50 Years of Sexism: What Next?) Lucy Ann Holmes (@LucyAnnHolmes) gave a great talk on the things that led her to start the No More Page 3 campaign (@NoMorePage3), a campaign aimed, primarily, at The Sun (@TheSunNewspaper). A fairly broad question seemed to sum up Lucy Ann Holmes’ efforts: Why, at this stage in the 21st Century, are images of semi-naked women still prevalent in what is meant to be a medium of news – a national newspaper?

 no-more-page-3

This seems to be a reasonable question to ask, and the paper eventually caved in to public pressure and dropped the daily exhibition of semi-naked (topless) women. However, there are ways of getting around this, as we’ll see when we consider Tactic #2 – sleaziness.

Sleaziness in this case comes in the form of photographing a clothed Rita Ora (@RitaOra), whilst making a point of alerting the reader/viewer to the fact that you can just about see her nipples underneath her clothing. This is not a semi-naked (topless) picture of Rita Ora, but the obsession with what’s underneath her clothes speaks to the same thing.

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At best, a banal piece of ‘journalism’ – at worst, sleazy and just plain unnecessary.

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Complicity / @NoMorePage3 / @TheSunNewspaper / @KimKardashian

At a recent conference at Durham University (50 Years of Sexism: What Next?) Lucy Ann Holmes (@LucyAnnHolmes) gave a great talk on the things that led her to start the No More Page 3 campaign (@NoMorePage3), a campaign aimed, primarily, at The Sun (@TheSunNewspaper). A fairly broad question seemed to sum up Lucy Ann Holmes’ efforts: Why, at this stage in the 21st Century, are images of semi-naked women still prevalent in what is meant to be a medium of news – a national newspaper?

 no-more-page-3

This seems to be a reasonable question to ask, and the paper eventually caved in to public pressure and dropped the daily exhibition of semi-naked (topless) women. However, there are ways of getting around this, as we’ll see when we consider Tactic #1 – complicity.

Complicity in this case comes in the form of those women who are more than willing to provide The Sun with selfies in response to The Sun‘s latest ‘campaign,’ Cleavage Week (I kid you not), where said women, in the hope of winning £1000, will provide, for publication purposes, images of their best cleavage shot. Just for clarification, Kim Kardashian (@KimKardashian) does not appear to have sent her photo to The Sun‘s Cleavage Week campaign, but all the others pictured have.

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I wonder if the women providing The Sun with such selfies are aware of the derivations of the word ‘cleave,’ and how this may relate to @LucyAnnHolmes and her efforts to end the nonsensical, but continuing, exploitation of women via their bodies. In one sense, to cleave is to split or sever something. In another sense, to cleave is to adhere strongly to.


Hillary Clinton @HillaryClinton post #2

Hillary Clinton versus the GOP – some pre-pre-nomination (pre-pre because she hasn’t yet officially said that she will run for the Democrat nomination) thoughts on what this might look like. And although this is a tad premature, there are some interesting noises across the Internet that suggest that she will run (if that stands as any kind of metaphor-type-thing).

 19th International AIDS Conference Convenes In Washington

There are the supporters: Ready for Hillary #READY

And there are the detractors: Karl Rove #JUSTPLAINNASTY (changed from #NASTY because of the dodgy things that hash tag throws up (but beware, because this one might be just as dodgy – but we have to have a hash tag here, so…))

A fascinating question to consider is that at this stage, is there anything that the GOP can do (apart from accusing Hillary of being brain-damaged) to halt a nominated Hillary Rodham Clinton (if such a thing occurs)? From this side of the Atlantic, any GOP contenders seem lightweight and/or ineffective – this stands in contrast with the upcoming election in the UK where ALL the candidates are lightweight AND ineffective, sadly.


Hillary Clinton @HillaryClinton

Hillary Clinton: The Power of Women. Aired by the BBC on March 25th 2015 with the following question: Twenty years on from Hillary Clinton’s ground-breaking speech, has anything really changed? Now, I don’t remember the speech, and watching the programme was the first time of hearing it. Apparently, it was censored in China, where the conference she spoke at was held, at the time it went out.

19th International AIDS Conference Convenes In Washington

One of Clinton’s tag lines that really stands out from the speech is, ‘Women’s rights are human rights, and human rights are women’s rights.’ There are also lots of stats thrown around to indicate this or that, but the one that made the biggest impression was a statistic about the annual turnover of the sex traffic industry being greater than that of McDonalds, Apple, and Google combined.

If that is true, it is worth taking a moment to consider the above question.


Cinderella #cinderella

After trying (unsuccessfully) to read an article in The New York Times titled something like, ‘How Women are Taking Over the Movies,’ I’m reminded of the distinctions that occur on a daily basis w/r/t gender issues. Forgive the haziness of the title because I was trying to read the article over the shoulder of a fellow passenger on the flight from Austin, TX, to Atlanta, GA, and rather impolitely the guy wouldn’t hold the paper still long enough for me to get a good look at it.

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Anyway, the picture used by The NY Times to accompany the article, and to signify this new domination by women in Hollywood was the one for Disney’s 2015 remake of Cinderella. The movie has taken big bucks in its opening weekend, apparently, and I’m sitting thinking: at what point will the general public recognise the way that from a very young age boys and girls are driven into ‘liking’ certain ‘gender appropriate’ things? There’s not much choice here.

I mean, Cinderella, and the merchandise spin-offs are fuelling the line that all little girls want to be princesses – in much the same way as they’ve been doing for a good number of decades. And in the last couple of days I’ve been witness to this tired old system of classifying kids and adults: Dick’s Sporting Goods sells certain gear to and for women, and sells certain stuff to and for men (and never the twain shall meet); The Book People sell books in sections that are either ‘clearly for girls’ or ‘clearly for boys’ – there’s no ambiguity about it.

It just strikes me as dull, that’s all.


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