Category Archives: Popular Culture

Paul Weller or Paul Mason, today’s hero?

Just how disappointing it is to realise that your childhood hero has capitulated under the weight of capitalism? Very. Quibbling over royalties w/r/t to The Jam, cashing in on advertisements of late, and generally kicking back and enjoying the good life, venerated by all manner of younger artist, just seems crass.

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Just who is the 5 O’Clock hero? Well, it’s not Weller… I’d hang my hat on it being Mason, a working class man who sticks to the very principles of the working classes.

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Falsity, Never a Good Thing

Just finished watching, quite by accident, a rerun of Top of the Pops 1985, and if anyone ever says, “ooh, they should bring that back,” tell them to f*** off. Watching people mime to the words they’ve written is just sickening and indicative of the stupidity of the human race, particularly in post-industrial nations, where we’ll watch s*** like that, and other, more contemporary rubbish whilst ignoring the disparity that exists in the world.

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Popular culture wants you to be stupid. Try not to live up to expectations…


More on @ArianaGrande’s Thoughts on the Objectification of Women

A quick look back at Ben Shapiro’s comments on Ariana Grande’s Twitter outburst shows us the extent to which rape culture rhetoric dominates seemingly innocuous comments. Take Mr. Shapiro’s piece, written for The Daily Wire. It’s not overly long. It’s not massively critical of Ms. Grande. It kind of makes a point that you might agree with – until you stop to think about what it is that he’s actually saying.

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In a nutshell, Mr. Shapiro sees Ms. Grande equally responsible for the objectification of women as the young man Ms. Grande complained about w/r/t the old “hitting that” comment. Mr. Shapiro voices his concerns over the objectification of women, and points out that this is a bad thing that should not happen – all good stuff, you’d think. However, Mr. Shapiro makes plain his feelings on Ariana Grande’s conduct in public, starting with her Twitter account profile pic. He says that in the picture Ms. Grande is “crouching while naked,” which I’m not actually sure that she is (she actually looks like she’s wearing a one piece body suit – dancers wear them), and even if she were, you can’t see anything offensive or inappropriate for the setting in which it appears.

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Mr. Shapiro then quotes Ms. Grande’s words at length, before stating that Ms. Grande’s lyrics and those of her associates (Mac Miller) objectify women and that she should stop this behaviour. He picks up on one particular lyric that speaks of “bad girls” and that he takes that phrase as meaning “that women generally want to waive consent.” To paraphrase Ms. Grande, here: wtf. Ms. Grande’s lyrics, as a popular culture artist, means that they are never going to be all that explicit – and what exactly is wrong with someone wanting to access a bad girl persona? By bringing the consent issue to the fore, Mr. Shapiro is saying that if such women are raped then that’s their fault – and that’s exactly what rape culture rhetoric does, it justifies horrific thoughts w/r/t the treatment of women.

Next, Mr. Shapiro quotes more of Ms. Grande’s lyrics:

I’m talkin’ to ya

See you standing over there with your body

Feeling like I wanna rock with your body

And we don’t gotta think ‘bout nothin’

Then he asks: “Is the crude and ugly phrase “hitting that” a good deal worse than this description of a sexual relationship with no emotional connection?” Now, the four lines could actually be interpreted in quite an innocent way. There’s nothing overtly sexual about the lines, but Mr. Shapiro chooses to treat them as such. He also finishes by stating that Ms. Grande’s “art degrades women by objectifying them and contributes to a culture of objectification that she rightly opposes when it’s applied to her.”

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Mr. Shapiro’s response to Ms. Grande’s feelings of being objectified as a woman is poorly thought out, lacks evidence, and uses common clichés to do with how a woman should behave and present herself to the world. Mr. Shapiro does not wish women to be objectified, but he’d kind of like it if they just stopped dressing so provocatively, and waiving their consent and all. The History of Stupidity prospers at Mr. Shapiro’s keyboard, sadly.


(Still) Troubled by #MrRobot and the #Infinite Loop of Insanity

On the 4th or perhaps 5th time of watching, Mr. Robot, Series 1, episodes 1-3 still do not disappoint, and so the question remains… at what point will the show start to fail its subversive underpinnings and come crashing down to reveal nothing but rubble with no sign of the essential footings required to maintain the kind of integral structure I’d once imagined was possible? (Architecture metaphor?).

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There’s just no other word for it. Subversive. That’s what it is. It’s just so subversive in its first incarnation that it’s almost impossible to fail to notice its subversiveness. So, what went wrong with Series 2.0? A question I’ve been grappling with all summer, and until attending a Rosi Braidotti masterclass I’d imagined I’d be struggling with such a question a good while longer.

But now a glimmer of hope.

Perhaps there’s a need to apply Deleuzian principles in order to make sense of the shift from subversiveness to a kind of style over substance? But, better check back later when more reading has been done…


Cassettes & @PeterDoherty – How Very 1970s

Following on from the post, “If Technology is All That, What’s Going On With the #Vinyl Revival?,” there follows the news that new music is being put down on cassette format. Now, you’d have thought that cassette was also deader than dead, as was previously thought of our old friend vinyl, yet here we are with none other than Peter Doherty producing a cassette version of his new solo album, Hamburg Demonstrations.

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If this trend carries on, where do we end up, when at one end of the spectrum we have the Musk/TESLA guy banging on about the colonisation of Mars (and let’s hope to goodness that he’s using colonialism in a progressive way), and at the other we have cassette players coming back into vogue?


(Still) Troubled by Mr. Robot_2.0 – #MrRobotFinale

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<title>(Still) Troubled by Mr. Robot_2.0 – #MrRobotFinale</title>

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<p>Not as taken with season 2 as with season

Not sure if season 3 will be worth the wait

Feels like the potential for subversiveness is being eroded

Looks, feels, and sounds too much like a good video game (thinking GTA)

Drawing on well-worn tropes of character development feels fake

Going a bit too David Lynchy but not as raw as Lynchy-winchy

Is “star” involvement with production getting in the way

It seems that way</p>

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(Still) Troubled by Mr. Robot_2.0 – Sitcoms #MrRobot #HackingRobot

Do any of us still watch sitcoms in the way that we used to (probably a question for the over 40s this one)? The opening to episode 6 of Mr. Robot, “m4ster-s1ave.aes,” gave us an Elliot-esque 80s/90s-sitcom dream sequence as its opener, full of canned laughter and knowing winks to the camera, in a car that for the large part has film-stock scenery whizzing by in the background. Now, there’s not necessarily anything groundbreaking about this because we’ve seen it before, but Mr. Robot yet again seems to want us to become hyper-aware of our situation in the world, where we realise the ways in which we are “let in on the joke” of TV shows, etc., even though the real joke should be that we’re all sitting and staring goggle-eyed at a screen for however many hours a day (think Cable Guy finale).

And that’s the troubling thing about Mr. Robot. For all that it wants us to be in on the joke, and yes, it must be stressed that Mr. Robot isn’t actually a sitcom, we’re still expected to knuckle down, stare unblinkingly at the screen, and soak up all the tension from scenes such as Angela’s attempts to hack the FBI at Darlene’s request. At what point do we as the viewing public turn round and refuse to be entertained in this way – and is that what episode 6 is pointing towards?

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