Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Fun Stuff to Distract You from all the Sh*t

I am so so so into the san-x dogs stuck-in-things. puppytire is my muse.

I am also *obsessed* with sports dogs. Look at these poses! these outfits! Those little goggles and swim trunks!

And I don't even know what is going on in this one. Kitties who turn into things?

those folks over at san-x are f*cking genius.

also, I need to learn Japanese like five years ago.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I feel disturbed

Okay, I admit it. Sometimes the over-consumption of trash culture does make me sick. Right now I feel sick. Not just because of the non-stop and ghoulish ANS coverage. Not just because Britney shaved her head. And not just because Lilo sent shit-faced Brody Jenner a text message that said "I just got out of rehab and I want Mcdonald's and sex." It's the toxic combination -- that noxious cocktail. Death and pain and hate whizzed with special sauce and saccharine.

I am convinced that The Real Housewives of Orange County is simply nazi propaganda. Do you know that people have fucking myspace pages for WHITE PRIDE!!!???!! I found one while trying to get the dirt of the castmembers for the The Real H of OC. How gross and offensive can you get? I find it hard to believe that such blatant, obvious racism has become so mainstream. It is SICK SICK SICK.

And then there's the *shocking* results of a study: us involvement in iraq INCREASES terrorism. no shit sherlock. That's about as revelatory as that other story that confirmed the "theory" of global warming.

Usually, engaging in a critical analysis of pop-culture is a productive outlet for these feelings of disgust. But sometimes the juxtapositions are so jarring, the implications seemingly so grim, the content so gruesome...

Friday, February 09, 2007

Girls, Lost and Lonely: Links

Alice II
Laura Palmer
Lilly Kane
The Vigin Suicides
The Lost Girls, about the movie 13
Lost Girls an "adult" graphic novel
Little Girl Lost, twilight zone ep.
Little Girl Lost, little house on the prarie ep.
The Lost Girl, by DH Lawrence
Diary of a Lost Girl, film
A review of Factory Girl

A Little Girl Lost
by William Blake

Children of the future age,
Reading this indignant page,
Know that in a former time
Love, sweet love, was thought a crime.

In the age of gold,
Free from winter's cold,
Youth and maiden bright,
To the holy light,
Naked in the sunny beams delight.

Once a youthful pair,
Filled with softest care,
Met in garden bright
Where the holy light
Had just removed the curtains of the night.

Then, in rising day,
On the grass they play;
Parents were afar,
Strangers came not near,
And the maiden soon forgot her fear.

Tired with kisses sweet,
They agree to meet
When the silent sleep
Waves o'er heaven's deep,
And the weary tired wanderers weep.

To her father white
Came the maiden bright;
But his loving look,
Like the holy book
All her tender limbs with terror shook.

'Ona, pale and weak,
To thy father speak!
Oh the trembling fear!
Oh the dismal care
That shakes the blossoms of my hoary hair!'

William Blake

annotated bib for this poem

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Lonely Girls, Pt. 1.5

So because I've been out of the loop and not reading very many blogs lately, I'm just now catching up on the blog discussions around LonelyGirl. Thanks go to zp who pointed me in the direction of this post at the churty experiment. At the time this entry was written, the mystery around the authenticity of LG was just about to boil over, and the degree to which LG's use of "new media" was instrumental in the hoax was the subject of much discussion. In a comment on this post zp observes that LG, despite its use of new media, is in fact an "old story."

This comparison of LonelyGirl to fairy tales seems especially salient. The series was developed under the title The Children of Anchor Cove, and this sounds pretty fairy tale-ish to me. The lack of parents is reminiscent of fairy tale, as are the themes of entrapment and "being lost." I'm also reminded of the depiction of real-life lost girls -- girls like Jon Benet Ramsey in her pageant/red riding hood outfits.

What especially interests me about zp's comment is the observation of how the audience is solicited to intervene -- to mediate. Is the impulse to intervene separate from an impulse to judge and evaluate Bree? Is it a response to the absence of parents? Is it a recognition of the world as a cruel and sinister place? Does it inspire a radical critique of power?

Next: the use of the occult and magical in these types of stories

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

For Every Generation there is a Lonely, Mysterious Girl, Pt. 1

It's been awhile since the folks behind the you-tube driven phenom Lonely Girl 15 confirmed that the so-called vlog of Bree, a lonely, home-schooled teen, was in fact "not real." That is to say, that they confirmed that Bree is a character played by an actress. Whether or not this makes her "not real" is open to some debate.

I didn't begin watching Lonely Girl until a few weeks ago. I'd known about the series for some time, but it wasn't until I read this piece by the ever astute MZN that I decided to look at some of the videos.

I wasn't immediately sucked in. I thought the form was interesting and I found Bree mildly charming, but I wasn't really sure why the series was so popular. But then I watched a few more, and the mystery began to unfold.

I won't go into a detailed plot summary here (if you are interested you should check out the Lonely Girl entry on Wikipedia or else visit the lovingly-detailed LGpedia), but I would like to touch on how some of narrative strategies and themes of Lonely Girl have made me a potential victim of what fan-forum users call "lonelycrack." I think the "turn" for me happened when I saw this video:

I like this video for a number of reasons 1) Bree discusses her religion in a way that is guarded and odd -- seemingly programmed; mystery! 2) Bree responds to Daniel's vlog, thus introducing an additional point of view 3) the conflict b/w Bree and Daniel is enacted via vlog/media, and thus invites the viewer to mediate (indeed, a number of viewers began to post vlog responses to Daniel and Bree) 4) the vlog also gives us a sense of this conflict as happening in real time.

LonelyGirl reminds me more of a novel than a television show -- something like Turn of the Screw or Dracula or Rebecca (also, of course, a great film by Hitchcock). I think this is because one is forced to question the reliability of the narrators; Much like a novel that includes letters and diary entries, LonelyGirl pivots and swivels not only between points of view but also between points of address. What a character says and how she says it depends upon her intended audience. The fact that we are all here listening is (sometimes) irrelevant.

One of the most fascinating things about LonelyGirl is how the show used new media to "trick" the audience. This is similar to the supposed panic that swept the country after the radio broadcast of War of the Worlds. LonelyGirl also used the youtube platform in way that allowed viewers to engage with the videos by posting comments and gathering in chat rooms and making response videos. It was through these same channels that the folks behind LonelyGirl introduced new characters .

LonelyGirl has inspired a number of spin-offs, and one of them -- OpAphid -- has been "cannonized" by the LG "creators" as the "official" LonelyGirl alternative reality game, thus establishing that fan-created videos could potentially become part of the "official" storyline. The OpAphid videos contain clues, puzzles, and backwards messages that supposedly come from "the Order," a mysterious group connected to Bree's religion.

As MZN points out, before the videos were revealed to be "fake," the task of trying to uncover whether or not the videos were real rivaled the developing intrigue between Bree and Daniel, and later Bree's religion. MZN notes that

It comes during this cycle of greater democratization and interactivity, with media users and makers coming together like never before. lg15 has been a contradictory phenomenon, at once drawing its energy from the web community and taking advantage of it.

This give and take dynamic with the audience is certainly one of the most exciting things about LonelyGirl. Yet my hunch is that only a small number of the total viewers make response videos and post comments. And I'd be curious to know how many viewers stopped watching once the gig was up. I imagine that there are many others out there -- like me -- who started watching and keep watching because we are intrigued by the story.

So what about this story? It reminds me of some other stories. Or perhaps I should say that Bree reminds me of some other characters -- other lonely, mysterious girls -- girls like Laura Palmer and Buffy Summers. More on that in Pt. 2