Where did the term "Black Friday" come from, anyway? It sounds scary.
There are several explanations floating around as to how the term first popped up. One story dates back to September 24, 1869, a day when gold prices dropped dramatically, causing panic on the stock market. However, it wasn't until the 1950s that the term was used to describe the Friday after Thanksgiving. It has been said that factory owners dubbed the day after Thanksgiving "Black Friday" because so many employees called in ... [Read more]
Src: Flickr Creative Commons/Ralph Repo
Instead of watching an appropriately spooky flick for Halloween last night, I watched a Chinese film about females, foot binding (horrifying in its own right) and the fascinating friendship for life bond. The latter was formalized in a practice called laotong among a certain tribe in 19th century China. Before I explain to you the powerful beauty of laotong, I must first confess my fascination with Chinese history and culture—which I have to admit, I’ve mo... [Read more]
I mentioned in last week's post that I had to look up "twerking." On the other hand, I did not have to look up "cosplay." What does this say about me? [Read more]
In that context, I asked myself the question: Are artists like Thicke, who write lyrics in which they brag about the size of their penises and call women "the hottest bitch in this place" really misogynistic jerks? Or, are they just so, em, thick that they think that women find this behavior attractive? [Read more]
STOP! Just say no.
The cults of celebrity and personality are powerful in America. In fact there's almost a cult of cultishness. We hunger for distinctive characters to provide archetypes and guidance for the herd. In the supposed Land of the Individual, one is permitted to be an "individual" so long as one stays within the specific set of limits prescribed by these characters. Venture outside those limits, and you're "crazy" or an "undesirable". As Internet-fed national hysteria casts its har... [Read more]
I don't include groups like The Beatles (then) or The Jonas Brothers (now) in the list of boy bands, because they are actual bands. Boy bands have bands. Other than a little ceremonial guitar strumming or keyboard tapping, these guys arrange themselves in front of a group of nameless musicians and just 1)sing, 2)dance and 3)look good. [Read more]
I hadn't thought much about the whole Dixie Chicks / Toby Keith controversy in a long time (if you need a refresher, check out http://www.btchflcks.com/2013/03/shut-up-and-sing-dixie-chicks.html). It made me think about whether or not I consider my personal principles in the context of entertainment. I mean, I like to think of myself as fairly principled. I've done a u-turn and made a passenger get out of my car and pick up some litter they tossed out the window. I've abruptly left a party because the host used the n-word. Heck, I even had a "Free Mr. Bates" bumper sticker on my car.
But when it comes to entertainers, I seem to give everyone a pass. [Read more]
There have been many rumors about the master magician and illusionist David Copperfield in recent years. He’s been sued for breach of contract for cancelling shows in Jakarta while his Indonesian promoter held onto hundreds of thousands of dollars of his equipment in return. He sued an insurance company for reimbursement of a ransom paid to Russian mafia who had taken his equipment. He fought rumors that he was gay despite his six-year engagement to supermodel Claudia Schiffer. He later was acc... [Read more]
Fans were perplexed when the band refused to make a video for Black, another song from the album. Vedder explained that he felt that music videos robbed fans of the opportunity to “come up with [their] own visions.” I wanted to send him a letter and tell him not to bother. Apparently, without an MTV video, the average person isn't capable of coming up with an image to go with a song.
Nineteen-year-old Bieber may be, technically, an adult, but his average fan is still too young to be paying for her own tickets. If she's gonna get close enough to see the sweat beading on Justin's alabaster upper lip, Mom and Dad are going to have to shell out the cash. Back when everything about Bieber screamed "wholesome," they might have been willing to do so.
But then the pastel sweatshirts came off, revealing an ever-growing collection of tattoos. Obscene gestures and the f-word, marijuana on the tour bus and cartoons depicting Bieber in bed with a young fan...it's all had an influence on the family wallet. Parent-friendly? Not so much, Biebs. The girls may still have Bieber Fever, but this time Mommy may just prescribe an aspirin. [Read more]