Hey, There’s a Bird in This Mirror!

Diversion Enthusiast Society, est. 2007

The Girlie Show

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Betraying My Gender

What do you mean you’re not supporting Hillary Clinton?

You have a uterus!

So does she! Did you know that? Has someone explained that to you yet?

You’ve probably run into one another in the ladies’ room and talked about makeup and your shoes and your boobs and stuff.

Can we eliminate this weird, backward line of reasoning from public discourse now?

Please?

Oh, and, as long as I’m here, let me just say this – Senator Obama, the first presidential election I was old enough to vote in was in 2000. You remember what happened in 2000. 2004 wasn’t any better. If you are toying with my emotions, if you are taking advantage of how kicked around and exhausted all liberals under the age of 30 feel, how disenfranchised and confused and angry we are, I’ll – I’ll… well, I don’t know what I’ll do. Just please don’t be secretly cynical and playing all of the sad, sad 28-year-olds in the country. We’ll have no choice but to cry and listen to Bright Eyes a lot. No one wants that.

Electronic Feminism 101

Bitch PhD is one of my favorite blogs. A couple of days ago, she put up a great post entitled “The Internet is a jungle, but if you are a woman, it’s a jungle in which you deserve to be raped, you fat cunt,” in which she links to other great posts about Kathy Sierra and Alison Stokke, among others (go forth, learn these names, and be completely freaked out). As I tend to run with the boys when interacting with people online, the subject of online communication and gender is on my mind a lot. And it’s a maddening topic.

Unlike what happened to Kathy Sierra and Alison Stokke, most instances of online sexism are incredibly difficult to point to. It’s hard to explain why getting called names that refer specifically to your gender on a message board or in the comments section of your blog is different from a bunch of guys calling one another names (gender-specific or not) in the same contexts without sounding as if you’re asking for special treatment. Moreover, as the comments on the post above demonstrates, conversations about this topic understandably tend to make men quite uncomfortable. Problem is, the discomfort often takes the form of the following defense – “I don’t know what you’re talking about! I don’t know any guys like that,” implying that the female pointing to the problem is either lying or exaggerating. If you’re suggesting that she’s lying, you’re dismissing her concerns without pausing to consider them. If you’re suggesting that she’s exaggerating, you’re embracing the age-old “woman as deeply irrational animal” stereotype. You could save everyone some time by patting her on the head and calling her hysterical. Either way, the problem doesn’t get addressed.

What Do You Mean “White Chalk Isn’t the Best Album of the Year?” You Have a… oh, never mind.

Though I realize that this looks like a paltry effort by comparison, here are some of my favorite albums of the year, in no particular order:

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Living with the Living
I love Ted Leo. Just love him so much. I was once five feet away from him at a club and was too gobsmacked to say hello. It’s probably for the best (for both of us). While I don’t think this is his strongest effort to date, “Sons of Cain,” “Colleen,” “The Unwanted Things,” and “Some Beginner’s Mind” are undeniable. I will follow this boy into the musical desert and he will never fail me. I will listen to his albums on the crowded, smelly, annoying bus at the end of a lousy day and everything will be a tiny bit better. Shake the Sheets helped me keep house and home together after the 2004 election, bless his little tofu heart.

Okkervil River, The Stage Names
Okay, I know I said no particular order, but, this? This right here? This is the stuff. I hate to play favorites with the CD collection, mostly because I’m not very good at it, but this is the best album that came out this year, hands down. I won’t even argue about it. This is the album that I will leave on repeat for four hours, keep in my CD wallet for six months straight (sorry, Dave), and make all of my friends listen to. The lyrics are so artful and chewy that it’s upsetting. I wish I could cite an example, but it’s all about context. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons I love it so much – albums that reward multiple listens and careful consideration are better than Eglus and parakeets.

Once (Soundtrack)
Just sing along and think of that dumb boy or girl you forgot about five years ago. I adore painfully Irish things (that is, real Irish, not dyed-green-for-St.-Patrick’s-Day Irish.)

Iron and Wine, The Shepherd’s Dog
I’m still working on getting into this one, but it’s deliciously lyrically dense. Hearing Sam Beam on World Cafe a few months ago turned me on to this album.

Jason Isbell, Sirens of the Ditch
Dave and I have tried, repeatedly, to turn friends on to Jason Isbell and The Drive-By Truckers. It almost never works. What’s worse, it tends to make people angry. I give up. We’ll just keep Isbell’s pop hooks, his brilliant writing, and his great live shows to ourselves. This is not the brilliant album that Isbell will eventually put out. I can listen to “Chicago Promenade” while I wait.

Feist, The Reminder
Happily, “1234” has survived Apple’s attempts to ruin it, though “I Feel It All” and “Sealion” are probably my favorites on the album. I think that understanding The Reminder as fodder for the VH1 set seriously underestimates it. Though, really, they have very little in common, there is something about Feist that reminds me of Joni Mitchell.

Arcade Fire, Neon Bible
Arcade Fire always clicks for me after I’ve seen them live. I don’t say this simply so I can brag about seeing them in a tiny, tiny club in Milwaukee right after Funeral broke (though I did *cough*). We saw them in Chicago earlier this year and that’s when Neon Bible really started making sense. Their shows are like tent revivals for hipsters, complete with more dancing in the aisles than I thought I would ever see from people in ironic t-shirts. The album itself is dark, paranoid, and beautiful. Like The Stage Names, it is best experienced as a unified whole and rewards repeat listens. I’m only too happy to oblige.

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Written by Raina

January 4, 2008 at 2:53 pm

Posted in Meta, Music, Politics

Tagged with , , ,

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